About Me

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I am a stay-at-home mom of two sons, 12 and 10. I used to be an advertising manager. I love my new career and have thrown myself completely into it.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Re-entering the Workforce?

This is a question I've been pondering for the last couple of months.  I've been out of the workforce for about 10 years.  Our family has subsisted on one salary, even through my husband's employer going out of business, my husband's subsequent unemployment, then a new job with a substantial cut in salary.  Through careful planning on our part, slashing expenses and my husband eventually finding better work, we have hung in there.  But now it's getting much harder to continue living on one salary and having everything hinge on my husband's job.  He's in advertising, which is notoriously unstable, although many professions have become that way now.

So here I am now contemplating trying to re-enter the workforce after 10 years away and figuring out how to best do this.  I did try to stay in the workforce after my second son was born, but I wanted to work part-time and my employer would not agree to it.  At the time my sons were a 20-month old and a newborn.  So having them go to daycard would be very expensive and it would be very difficult to work full-time, especially in the advertising position I was in.  Both my husband and I were working in advertising and these are not 9-5 jobs - the hours can be very unpredictable.

Anyway, I'm contemplating re-entering the workforce during one of the most difficult periods for anyone to find work.  Will anyone want to hire me?  Employers are putting "unemployed need not apply" in their job listings, which by the way, I think is deplorable!  I have very good skills, am very organized, efficient, dependable, a skilled negotiator, creative thinker, problem-solver, etc.  I've volunteered at my sons' school for over 7 years and have headed a committee and managed the budgets and activities for my sons' classrooms.  My sons are now old enough that they don't need after-school care, although we have considered possibly hiring a babysitter to watch them during the "latch-key" hours.  That would depend on how responsible they show themselves to be.  Also, I would have to pretty much buy a new wardrobe since all of my current clothes are jeans, capri pants and wash-and-wear T-shirts.

So the questions are:
Can I find a job?
What type of work would an employer consider hiring me for?
How much money could I realistically make?
Would it be worth it in terms of increased costs of working and quality of life issues?
Can I find part-time work?  Is that even feasible?
If I don't get a job now, will it make it that much harder to find one later if I find myself in a situation where I need one?
If I go much more beyond the "10 years" of not being in the workplace, will I become permanently "unemployable"?

Are any of you grappling with these issues or have you in the past?  What have been your experiences and do you have any advice?  I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Last Day of School

It's the last day of school.  While I'm always excited for the kids to begin summer break, I'm also a bit melancholy on the last day of school.  It's just that things will be changing - they'll have another teacher next year and different kids in their class - and another year is over.  My children are growing up.  It really does seem to be moving faster now that they're older.  When they were younger, I was much more excited about watching them growing up.  They could do more and were becomming more independent.  Now my sons will be going into 7th and 5th grade and I'm becomming acutely aware of outside influences gaining importance and my role seeming to decrease in importance.  I need to step out of the way many times and back off and let them navigate circumstances on their own.  And I've got to say, both my husband and I have been very proud of how they have done this so far.

This year I'm especially emotional because my younger son had an awesome teacher who really helped this year to be the best he has had since he started school.  Each year has been challenging, with some much more than others.  Last year he had an excellent teacher who started to turn things around.  This year, his teacher was particularly awesome and worked with our son and us to make it his best year ever.  I'm really going to miss that and I hope the momentum continues next year.

How do you all feel about the last day of school and has it changed as your children have gotten older?

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Spring "Break"

Ok - spring break was over a couple of weeks ago, but there was so much that happened during spring break and up until now.  First, my hubbie broke his ankle the Friday before our sons' 3-week break - great timing!  Our sons have a 3-week break because they go to year-round school (which I absolutely love).  So my husband was hobbling around on crutches throughout the whole 3-week break.  He could barely do anything so I had to take care of him, like a child.  So the boys were home, which means I'm constantly feeding them and cleaning up, and I was taking care of my husband when he wasn't at work.  Thankfully he was able to drive short distances because he broke his left ankle.  Add to all of that, taking care of the cat and the dog.  The boys did step up to the plate and help with cleaning the cat's litter box and walking our dog in the mornings since they were out of school.  So I just walked the dog in the evenings, because we don't feel comfortable with the boys walking him when it's dark.

So then, the Wednesday of the 1st week, we got a leak in our upstairs bathroom.  It took 2 days to get a plumber out.  So on top of everything, I'm cleaning up the bathroom and moving everything to a small bathroom upstairs.  We had to get a specialist out to pull up our carpet and dry everything because we were starting to smell mildew.  So we were now all sharing our small bathroom upstairs.  Imagine sharing a small - I mean small - bathroom with 3 males and a litter box.  In addition, there had to be a stool in the bathroom to help my husband get in and out of the shower.  You could barely move in there and counter space was teeny!  We had to replace our flooring in the main bathroom.  Between going to home-improvement stores to research our options and having a couple of companies come over for estimates, it took a couple weeks to decide.  Then it took a couple of weeks for the company to do it.  So we all kept having to use the teeny bathroom during that time.  Since we were replacing the flooring in one bathroom upstairs, we decided to do the other bathroom also.  So two days ago we got the main bathroom done, yesterday they completed the smaller bathroom and right now I'm waiting for the plumber to come and re-install the two toilets.  We're currently down to one toilet downstairs, which is a bit difficult for my hobbling husband.  He's finally ditched the crutches, but he's still hobbling around uneasily.

During all of this, our dog needed eye surgery, there was a baby shower and a birthday party to attend and we had some friends visit from the Netherlands.  So I was trying to keep the house presentable for our friends and make delicious appetizers and dinners for them.

So now the kids are back in school and we can finally use the main bathroom again (yay!!)  I took my 1st shower in there this morning and it was great!  The husband's ankle is getting better (slowly) and the dog's eye is better.  So life is looking up.

It is still busy, though.  The boys only have 4-1/2 weeks of school left and during that time there is a project where I have to make 100+ cookies and assist with a poster, 3 birthday parties, a performance where I need to find pirate gear, items to buy for a school sleep-away camp, a school carnival and 2 school open houses.  So, there will be no rest for the weary ;)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Happy Fat Tuesday!!

I hope everyone is having a good Fat Tuesday.  I love celebrating smaller holidays as much as the bigger ones.  I like to make food traditional to that holiday so tonight I'm going to make jambalaya.  I just googled "jambalaya" and looked at various versions of the recipe.  I picked a recipe that Emeril Lagasse had.  I'm just making a few changes to it.  I'm not going to use sausage, just chicken and shrimp, because I'm not  a big fan of sausage and I'm trying to be healthier (look below at my "And I Left the Restaurant In An Ambulance" entry).  Also, I'm going to tone down the spiciness for my sons - they don't like food too spicy.  However, my husband and I will be spicing up our portions.  So, here's to everyone on Fat Tuesday - have fun today, dance, wear some beads and have a good time!!

Friday, March 4, 2011

What's Your Favorite Day of the Week?

Mine's Friday.  In our family Friday holds a special significance because my husband and I were married on a Friday and both our sons were born on Fridays.  We didn't plan it that way, it just happened (except for getting married on Friday).  One of the reasons we got married on a Friday was that I wanted a Winter evening wedding and it was easier to find and book a site on a Friday evening rather than a Saturday evening.  A plus was that it was also cheaper.  Our guests ended up loving it because a lot of them got hotel rooms near our reception and had an excuse to leave work early or not go in at all.  Then our wedding became a really fun way to start the weekend (we found out later that a number of them stayed up into the wee hours of the morning, as they got adjoining rooms).

I also liked Fridays back when I was working in corporate America because it became "casual Fridays".  I liked going into work in jeans and everyone just had a more laid-back attitude.  You would never start something new on a Friday because why not just wait until the beginning of next week.  Many times my coworkers, boss and I would go to lunch on Fridays and take a long one.  In fact I had a really cool boss at one of the advertising agencies I worked at in L.A. who would sometimes take us to a local Mexican joint.  She would encourage us to order margaritas, then would encourage us all to get a 2nd one.  She picked up the tab and then we would all stagger back to work.  Suffice to say there was no more work happening on those afternoons and our department would be full of giggles.  We all sobered up in time to drive home and let me tell you, we all worked our hardest for her all other times because she was such a cool boss (this was not her only virtue).

I even liked Fridays as a kid.  On Friday evening I would be so excited that there were two full days ahead without school.  I remember liking the shows on Friday evening - The Brady Bunch and The Partridge Family (right?  Am I remembering correctly?)  Now I'm really dating myself by admitting that I used to watch them before they were in syndication.

Nowadays, I make Friday evenings special for our family by having "popcorn night".  We started this when the boys were old enough to eat popcorn without it being a choking hazard.  I spread a sheet out on the living room floor and the boys pick a movie to watch.  Then I make batches of popcorn throughout the evening with an air-popper (remember those?)  I think they're coming back in popularity.  Anyway, the popcorn tastes so much better than the microwave kind and I put real melted butter on it and can control how much salt goes on it.  I used an air-popper that I had since college until late last year.  That popper lasted about 25 years and cost about $10!!  Talk about getting your money's worth!  Anyway, it eventually started taking longer and longer to pop so my family bought me a new one for my last birthday.  I still have the old one - I can't throw it away - it just has too many fond memories now.

So, let us know what your favorite day of the week is, and why ...

Friday, February 25, 2011

And I Left the Restaurant In An Ambulance (Update)

Well it took a long time to get the results of the physical and blood tests.  Bottom line - everything looks good.  The only potential problem is that my blood pressure should be lower.  Also, I had preeclampsia with my first pregnancy and that raises your risk for hypertension later.  So this is something I really need to watch.  Also, I didn't realize before this how serious high blood pressure can be over time.  Left untreated, it can damage organs, like your kidneys and heart, and lead to hardening of the arteries, which increases risk of heart disease and stroke.

So I will make the lifestyle changes I mentioned previously to get healthier and now also to decrease my blood pressure.  Specifically, I will keep up with the exercising I already do but try to fit in little spurts here and there.  I usually walk 3x/week for 45 minutes and get on my exercise bike 2x/week for 50 minutes.  I also do some arm weight exercises 2x/week and a bit of yoga.  Now I'm starting to do lunges and squats while I cook dinner, some crunches and leg lifts in the evenings and I'll stop every so often and do 25 jumping jacks just to get my metabolism going.  I aim to do that 4x each day and then that adds up to 100 jumping jacks.

I'm also watching what I eat more.  My diet was always fairly healthy, I just ate too much and would snack in the evening after dinner.  So now I'm trying to incorporate more fruits and vegetables (at least 1/meal), replace "white" starches for whole grain ones and watch my portions!  Also, I'm trying not to eat after dinner.

So far since my last post, I've done pretty well.  However, my youngest son got sick for a few days and now I've been sick for about 3 days and my husband has just come down with it.  So I haven't had the energy to exercise for a few days and didn't do as much when my son was sick.  So I'll just try harder next week.  I am also trying to meditate whenever I can and de-stress as much as possible.  It's hard to find time to meditate, but I will keep working on that because that should help the blood pressure.  I just can't get up earlier in the morning to meditate - I just fall back asleep :)  Then during the day, there are too many things going on so I'm trying to work it in in the evening.

Let me know if any of you are on similar health/well-being quests.  We can give each other inspiration and tips.  In the meantime, take care.