MBA Mommy

Part MBA, Part MRS, Part MOM…..All ME

Archive for the ‘MOM’ Category

Colorado

Posted by mbamommy on August 14, 2012

It’s been a rough summer around here. From the wildfires across the Front Range to the police shooting in City Park to the Aurora Theater shooting, I’m starting to look forward to a new season and get this one behind us.

I know the theater shooting has been discussed, dissected and debated already. But, I feel like I need to voice something myself.

I don’t get it. Truth be told, I don’t get a lot of things. I don’t get how someone could do that. I don’t get how it could happen here, in a place where people choose to move to. And I don’t get how it’s happened again. I was living in Aspen when Columbine occurred. I remember the dulling shock of watching the news. I remember the horror I felt. I remember being terrified for friends who lived near there. I remember thinking “How?” and “Why”? And I hate that I felt all that again a couple weeks ago.

But, what I don’t get most is the absolute (in my opinion) wrong reaction people seem to be having.

I read an article about how after the shooting, gun applications in Colorado increasing by 40%.

40%?!?

And then I read an article about a guy who was arrested for carrying a holstered weapon into a movie theater. No, he didn’t break the law, he had a license for that fire arm. Fine. But, his rationale for carrying it was that if found in a terrible situation, he can and will reduce casualties with counter fire.

Counter fire.

Reduce casualties by shooting more.

W.T.F.

I don’t get it. I don’t get how SO many people don’t see that two wrongs don’t make a right. That unless you’re going to escalate things to the point of everyone walking around with an atomic bomb in their pockets; thereby essentially disarming everyone, you’re not making the world a safer place by adding more fire power to it. Russia and America escalated things to that point in the Cold War. And, they came to a standstill because neither one was going to be the first to pull the trigger. Because no one was going to win. The entire world would have been blown to high heaven.

But I don’t think that would work on a micro level. You’d get two hot shots walking around with pocket a-bombs and someone inevitably would flip the switch.

I think a better solution is to outlaw guns 100%. That’s the only way you’re going to guarantee that no one’s going to get shot. No guns. No chance of shooting them.

I get why people use guns to hunt for animals that they plan to feed their family with. I personally could never do it, but I get that. And, I get the desire to have a gun if you’re living in the middle of bear/lion/tiger infested woods. Again, I personally couldn’t do it, but I get it.

What I don’t get is how someone living in the middle of a large city is allowed to amass a collection of semi-automatic weapons. And I don’t get how we got to the point where someone felt the need to arm himself to go to a movie.

And I’m mad. I’m mad that this a$$hole has made me think twice about taking my kids to see their first movie in a theater. I’m pissed off that he’s made me feel that terror again. I’m furious that I had to think about what I would say to my 5yo and my 3yo if they came asking questions. I’m sad that some of the trust I felt has been taken away.

*sigh*

My heart aches for Colorado this summer.

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Make it Count

Posted by mbamommy on August 7, 2012

In my last couple posts, I’ve made reference to the fact that there’s been a lot of change around here recently, which led to my blog absence. In some sense it’s been pretty life changing. All good changes, thankfully, nothing like going through Z’s diagnosis a couple years ago, but life changing nonetheless.

Almost exactly a year ago today, I posted about my life as a slot machine. Well, the slots have stopped. The Refresh button has been pressed. FINALLY!

The kids are fully entrenched in their languange immersion school. They’re doing so well that S actually won a speech contest earlier this year. They’re making friends, having fun and learning a ton. What more could I ask for?

J’s job is going great. He’s loving it and is on a fantastic career track.

We bought a HOUSE. We’re no longer renting our teeny tiny temporary home and have found our dream house. I’m never moving again. Seriously, it’s from here to the old folks home. I can walk the kids to school. I can walk to Starbuck’s. I can walk to the parks, the pool and my friend’s houses. It’s an easy commute to downtown and basically anywhere else I’d want to go in Denver. I’m so thrilled to have found it and so happy to have that stability in our lives.

I found a JOB. A full time job, working at a really great digital agency, managing top brand clients, making more money than I expected and with a Senior Director title.

I quit that JOB. A full time agency job, with all its stressors, travel, and demands on my time and mental bandwidth turned out to not be what I wanted. I could have done the job. We, as a family, could’ve manage the travel, the hours, the chaos, the craziness. But I realized that I didn’t WANT to. Yes, it was great to have the extra money. Yes, it was fun to be challenged and work with smart, engaging peeps. But, I wasn’t sleeping. I was eating poorly, not working out and drinking too much. I wasn’t healthy and I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t being true to myself and playing to my strengths.

I started another JOB. A part time, work at home opportunity with my previous client. This one is perfect. Just enough responsibility without requiring me to be on call 24/7. Minimal travel (only once a year), working with great folks in an industry I love and with the flexibility required to keep my family running smoothly. I’m making some money, not a ton, but some.

And, who knows, maybe someday it’ll lead to something more. But for now, it’s allowing me the balance I so deeply crave. It’s allowing the MBA, the MOM, the MRS and the ME to have equal opportunity to shine. I’m happy and I’m being true to myself.  Not all the time, of course. I’ve certainly had my moments. This is life, not a game show, afterall. But, with the balance I’ve created, worked for and am lucky enough to have, I can handle those moments better.

I can (dare I say it?) have it all.

The morning after I left my previous job I looked at myself in the mirror and said, “This is the first day of the rest of your life.”

Now that we’ve completed the refresh of our lives I can actually start living it. Between Crossfit, eating well, working part time, playing with the kids, playing with J and living in Colorado, I think I can make it count.

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Identity Crisis

Posted by mbamommy on March 8, 2012

I’m ready to tell you something.

*Deep breath*

I’m having an identity crisis.

Two years ago I transitioned from being a Mom looking for work, subsequently finding work and then struggling with balancing work and home (MBA Mommy) to being a Mom of a Boy with Asperger’s (MBA Mommy), leaving her job, ramping up on all things Asperger’s and then struggling with the daily challenges that come with having an extra special kiddo.

I’ve invested a lot in this identity. I’ve spent hours, days, weeks, months becoming the best damn MBA Mommy I could be. For myself. For my family. For my Z.

And then, a few months ago, that all changed. I may not be a Mom of a Boy with Asperger’s anymore.

And while I SHOULD be screaming it from the roof tops and jumping for joy, I’m actually struggling with it.

Let me back up a bit.

I’ve mentioned before, that Z’s progress has been nothing short of fantastic. And that we stopped his behavior therapy last summer but continue to do OT on a weekly basis, for his sensory needs. We also hired an aid to come into his class last fall to help with some behavior issues. This was short lived though because once she had a chance to teach his teacher some strategies, the issues went away. What I failed to mention was that when we switched OT’s last September, he was re-evaluated by the new OT. And said OT looked me straight in the eye and said (paraphrased),

“You know, he really doesn’t present as autistic. Granted, I’m not qualified to diagnose autism, but I’ve been in this business for 25 years and I’ve worked with a lot of kiddos on the spectrum. And we don’t see the eye contact, interaction and reciprocity that Z shows in kids diagnosed with autism. Now, I don’t know if he was mis-diagnosed before or he’s had enough intervention at an early enough age that some of the difficulties he had have now been overcome. What I do see is a very intelligent child that has sensory integration issues. And once we can address those challenges, I think you’ll begin to see a much happier and better behaved child.”

Huh.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s wonderful news. As are the follow up reports from teachers/administrators in his school that say he doesn’t stand out anymore. That a stranger coming into the room wouldn’t see any differences between Z and the other squirmy boys in the room. I have a hunch that if we got Z re-diagnosed he wouldn’t fit the criteria for Asperger’s Syndrome anymore.

So, why have I been so hesitant about announcing this wonderful news? Certainly not because my kiddo is gaining the skills he needs to be happy, make friends and succeed in school (please note that I didn’t say he’s cured of autism). No, I’m over the moon about that. I’m hesitant because, again, I’ve invested so much into this identity, this label, this way of understanding and relating to my child that I’m a little confused as to what these new developments signify. It’s a little unnerving to have continual dramatic shifts in your outlook on your life in such a relatively short period of time.

And, why am I hesitant to have him re-diagnosed? Certainly not because I want him to keep a label that has such amazing cache. No, I’m over the moon about that too. I’m hesitant because if he no longer has a diagnosis of autism, some of the service he still needs, regardless of the label, may not be available to him. Especially if the DSM-V does change the criteria for autism. John Robison, author of “look me in the eye” and “be different“, wrote a great post that summarizes his concerns of a criteria change —> here <—-.

I find myself thinking, yet again, “What now?”, “What next?”. Do I need to change my blog name to MBSPD (Mom of a Boy with Sensory Processing Disorder) Mommy? MSB (Mom of a Spirited Boy) Mommy? None of those fit right.

More importantly, what do I tell people about Z?

J, as usual, was able to cut through all my hemming and hawing and state the most important and obvious bottom line. After one of my many monologue diatribes he told me, “It doesn’t matter what the label is. We know our kid. We know he’s not a typical kid. We know he struggles with sensory issues and anxiety. But we also know what he needs. And, right now, he’s getting it. That’s really all that matters. Why change anything?”

And, as usual, J’s right. All that matters is Z (and S, of course). He’s getting everything he needs right now. He’s doing fantastically well even with the continued challenges he faces. It doesn’t matter what label he has, he’s still Z.

I’ve heard stories from other parents with kiddos that have an autism diagnosis about these shifts that come throughout the years. They call it the “best possible outcome”; when your kid has progressed enough along the spectrum that he essentially falls off it. Z is a testament to the importance of early intervention. If we hadn’t addressed his challenges head on with everything we had, it’s very possible he would be a much different child right now. A child who wouldn’t be able to handle a full language immersion program. One who couldn’t/wouldn’t show affection for his Mom or be able to play with his sister. One who was frustrated that people around him didn’t understand him. One who didn’t have the tools and skills needed to explain himself and instead relied on meltdowns and lashing out to get what he needs.

I am so grateful for the preschool teacher who, 2.5 years ago, told me something I didn’t want to hear. I am so grateful for all the angels who have gone above and beyond to truly see my son. I am so grateful for HIMAT and early intervention and J’s and my willingness to shove aside our ego’s and admit that our kiddo may need some additional help. I’m grateful for the support groups I’ve been a part of, the same ones I haven’t felt comfortable participating in recently given this new (and wonderful) development. And I’m grateful to everyone who reads and comments on this blog, letting me know that I’m not alone in this, that they get it and that they care.

I guess I’ll stick with MBA Mommy. It’s got a better ring to it. Besides, his/my/our story is far from over. 🙂

Posted in ASPERGER'S, AUTISM, MOM | Tagged: , , , , | 8 Comments »

Last Night

Posted by mbamommy on March 7, 2012

Image

Last night, my evening consisted of:

  • Great kids eating all their dinner and happily splitting the last cookie for dessert
  • Both kids in time out (z with his pants around his ankles) because i couldn’t get them to stop playing long enough to wipe them down (no bath tonight, my call)
  • Every single fire alarm in the house going off at the exact same time (or triggered by each other? dunno)
  • Me running around frantically trying to turn off said alarm because everyone was completely freaked out
  • A dog who hasn’t left my side since said alarm (well, once she agreed with me that it was ok to come out of the closet)
  • A failed attempt at reading books because kiddos couldn’t stop fighting over toys so i sent them to bed without books
  • A failed attempt at discussing said punishment with sarah and telling her i wasn’t going to listen to her screaming and when she was ready to talk, i’d come back in
  • A rushed shower listening to sarah scream at the top of her lungs “i’m ready to talk!”, not to be outdone by zach yelling “mommy, sarah says she’s ready to talk!”
  • A rocking/calming down session with sarah while still in my towel
  • An agreed upon second attempt at books, this time only one and mommy’s choice
  • Two kids pulling out all the tricks to get me to stay in their rooms longer
Stick a fork in me. I’m done.

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Shut Up About Your Perfect Kid

Posted by mbamommy on March 4, 2012

I somehow have never mentioned this book on this blog. And, I’m a little baffled as to how that happened. Because I really should have. I mean, really really really should have.

My sis-in-law sent me this book about a year ago. It’s written by two (VERY funny) sisters who are raising special needs daughters. One daughter has asperger’s syndrome and one has bipolar disorder. Neither of which one would expect to be very funny topics. And, frankly, if I had read this book when Z was first diagnosed, I may not have found as much humor in it. I think you need to be at a certain comfort level with the diagnosis and your ‘new’ life to truly appreciate it.

But I read it at the perfect time. And, it made me cry from laughing so much. From their description of an IEP meeting to chatting with mom’s of “perfect” kids, it was perfect. Light hearted, informational and real. I totally wanted to meet these women and have SEVERAL glasses of wine with them. 🙂

And then I found out that it’s not just a book. That there’s a whole Imperfect Movement out there. There’s a Facebook page. There’s tweets (@shutupabout). And there are lots and lots of parents of special kiddos joining together in support of one another, embracing their (our) own imperfect-ness and our children’s.

And then….in all their glorious imperfect-ness, these “Shut Up Sisters”, Patty & Gina, didn’t update their blog enough. And they decided they needed to let their imperfect readers/followers have a voice. And they asked if anyone wanted to be a guest blogger.

Both of my hands shot up immediately. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, let me be a guest blogger!

And, guess what? They did.

My readership has skyrocketed. My ego has been inflated. My soul has been humbled. And, my writer’s block has been lifted.

So, thank you, Patty & Gina, for everything you do.

And, for those of you interested, BUY THEIR BOOK! (or borrow it from me!) It’s awesome!!!

Posted in ASPERGER'S, AUTISM, MOM | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Play To Your Strengths

Posted by mbamommy on January 25, 2012

My friend Rebecca over at unexpecting! recently invited me to write a blog post talking about Motherhood Lessons for MomsTalkNetwork. You should go read her post about what she’s learned as a Mom: nobody’s perfect. It’s awesome…and so, so true.

I find it ironic that she invited me when she did. I’ve been mulling this idea over in my head for a couple weeks now. There are a million lessons I’ve learned since becoming a mother almost exactly 5 years ago. Give yourself a break. Take time for yourself. Focus on your marriage. Give lots and lots of hugs. Take deep breaths in crisis moments. Cherish the kairos moments. Go to the gym. Etc, etc.

But, what resonates most with me, at least recently, is this idea of playing to your strengths. I mean…..

If you’re a coach of a football team, would you put your quarterback in as a linebacker?

If you’re a soccer coach, would you put your fullback in as your center forward?

If you’re a choir instructor, would you assign a tenor part to a soprano?

If you’re a manager, would you put your IT guy in front of your biggest prospective client?

Probably, not, right? You’d probably play your strongest team member…the one who has the natural inclination, the “at-bats” experience to succeed, the one who has spent time training just for this moment. Not the one who thinks the should be doing it.

So, why in the world do we do that in our daily lives?

I do it all the time when my brain gets going with the “shoulds”. I should be working. I should be stay at home. I should be doing more/less/different than what I’m doing right now. I have this ideal in my head of what my life should look like. And, guess what? It’s not. Not even close. And you know what? That’s ok. It’s more than ok, it’s absolutely perfect in its own imperfect way.

But, I struggle with reminding myself of that on a regular basis. When the should demons start up, that’s when I start getting annoyed at J because he forgot to bring S’s bunny to school when he dropped off the kids one day. Shouldn’t he know better? We ALWAYS bring bunny. And, now I have to go home, grab bunny, bring her to school, sneak in to S’s class without her seeing me and sneak out without Z seeing me through his adjoining classroom. Ugh.

The should demons guilt trip me into doing bath time with J when all I want to do is finish cleaning up in the kitchen, get lunches packed for tomorrow, and then kiss my sweet kiddos goodnight. Because frankly, I’m pretty much out of steam; it’s been a long day, after all. Instead, I force myself to help out, which annoys J because I’m annoyed with the kiddos, which makes for an unpleasant bed/bath time. And then I’m annoyed because after we’re done J sits on the couch and watches TV while I’m in the kitchen cleaning up, packing the lunches (God forbid I let J pack a lunch…he does it all wrong!) and wishing I could just collapse on the couch.

When, in reality, if I stepped out of the situation and did what I wanted to do, it allows J to have his daily quality time with the kiddos and me to finish up my tasks such that we finish at the same time and can collapse on the couch together.

The should demons force me to fight against the natural flow of what my life is. I don’t want to work full time (at least not in a role that requires me to work outside my home…but give me a WASM role that allows for some flexibility? I’m all over it.) and yet I feel like I should be contributing more to our family finances than I currently do. If I were completely honest with myself, I’d admit that I’ve got it pretty good right now. If those damn should demons would sit still and be quiet, I could look around and appreciate my life for what it is.

Here’s a few things I’m really good at: running the house, keeping the kiddos on schedule, running errands, taking breaks for myself, and working on and off throughout the day. I’m good at creating a balance with all the different things I juggle. After 5 years, I better damn well be a ninja master at it.

Here’s a few things I’m not really good at: missing the kid’s school activity because I have to work, spending all day in an office or traveling and not seeing the kids in the morning and at night, having so much stress weighing me down that I can’t see the kids for the sweet little rugrats they are, and letting J take some of the household responsibilities because he doesn’t do them the way I do. It’s not that he does them wrong, it’s that I spend waaayyyy more time at home and if something is off or misplaced or the wrong brand is purchased it annoys me.

So, why….WHY….do those stupid little should demons keep coming back and biting me in the ass?

That’s my biggest Mom lesson so far. Play To Your Strengths. Embrace them and live them like the warrior-ess you are. Recognize what you’re good at with this new life that includes dependents. Do them. And tell those should demons to go suck it.

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An Ode To Shel

Posted by mbamommy on January 24, 2012

Listen to the Mustn’ts

Listen to the MUSTN’TS, child,
Listen to the DON’TS
Listen to the SHOULDN’TS
The IMPOSSIBLES, the WON’TS
Listen to the NEVER HAVES
Then listen close to me–
Anything can happen, child,
ANYTHING can be.

-Shel Silverstein

Listen to the Should’s

Listen to the SHOULD’S, mama,
Listen to the MUST’S
Listen to the OUGHT TO’S
The HAD BETTER’S, the WOULD’S
Listen to the HAVE TO’S
Then listen to your SELF–
She knows what can happen, mama,
EVERYTHING can be.

-MBAMommy

Posted in MOM | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

I Got Picked Up….Again!

Posted by mbamommy on January 22, 2012

So, you all are probably aware by now that I’m a guest blogger for Mile High Mamas, right? I’m still so fired up they see fit to post my musings……and yet, I’ve been so wrapped up in getting my act together in 2012 that I failed to notice they had posted another one of my guest posts. Here’s a link to it. I’m still so floored by the responses I’ve gotten from people via that venue. It’s just wonderful.

And, now, another amazing website has picked up my blog. Remember when I wrote about the documentary, Refrigerator Mothers? Well, unbeknownst to me, the folks who put together that amazing documentary also have an amazing non-profit called JJ’s List. The site is basically a review of disability friendly businesses…mostly in Chicago but nation wide as well. Amazing, right? (Have I beat that amazing horse enough yet?)

Anyway, someone at the company and I started chatting a while back and would I mind if she profiled my blog on their monthly D-blogger review? Well, of course not!!! What an honor!

But, I had no idea how wonderful the review was going to turn out to be. J calls it a “Siskel & Ebert” style review…and it sounds like I got 2 thumbs up. Take a look and spend some time getting to know JJ’s List. They’re pretty amazing.

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Labels

Posted by mbamommy on December 15, 2011

I am….

a mother

a wife

a sister

a daughter

an advocate

a friend

an ear

a shoulder

a heart

a brain

a body

a life

a tear

a smile

a giggle

a tickle finger

a Mommy monster

a squeeze

a hug

a kiss

a hand

a sigh

beautiful

strong

willful

independent

curious

scared

unsure

confident

loving

angry

sad

joyous

…me.

I do…

autism

a job

an exercise

a meal

some housework

a lot of talking

a lot of reading

a lot of writing

some yoga

some meditating

errands

pick up/drop off

child care

driving

discipline

…things.

There’s a difference.

Posted in ASPERGER'S, AUTISM, MBA, ME, MOM, MRS | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

“No More Worthy Work That Needs To Be Done”

Posted by mbamommy on December 13, 2011

I talk a lot about special needs. I talk a lot about the personal education choices we’ve made for our children.

I don’t talk about it nearly enough. I don’t do nearly enough.

Here’s a few things I haven’t shared.

I was educated at a private school in Miami, FL because the public school system in Dade County is/was terrible. My Dad always talks about how he went to public school in Rochester, NY and got a great education but knew when he moved us down to Miami that my brother and I would wind up in private school because his property taxes were so low. Meaning, public schools didn’t get the funding they needed.

If I hadn’t gone to said private school, I would have gotten lost in the mix and probably dropped out of high school.

Because of the foundation in education I received, I went on to college and eventually graduate school.

Last year I applied to be a Broad Resident so that I could be a part of the change we need in our public school systems. Broad Residents are graduate level (mostly MBA) educated individuals who have a desire to make a change in our school districts. They are Change Agents. J always talks about how he sees a discrepancy between how we pay teachers and how we pay Wall Street. He thinks that the reason highly educated individuals (MBAs) don’t typically go into education is because there’s not a lot of money in it. MBAs generally go to consulting firms, Wall Street firms and brand management firms where they use their education and skills to further sell products and make money. They could be the change agents needed in school districts but don’t because they don’t get paid enough. The Broad Residency helps bridge that gap.

I wasn’t accepted into the program but it peaked my interest in what’s happening in our education system.

I have a vested interest in education because I have 2 children entering into the system. I chose a private school so my children can be fluent in two languages. I also chose this private school because of the smaller class sizes and higher levels of expectations of the students. Saying that, we have also chosen to live in Cherry Creek Public School District because other school districts in the Denver area are terrible and just in case the world collapses and we can’t send our kids to their current school, I won’t have to subject my children to a bad education experience.

I also have a vested interest because if the education system continues the way it does now, my children will be competing against peers from other countries for jobs. I’d rather them be competing against Americans.

I recently watched Waiting For Superman and was literally left speechless, furious and inspired to do SOMETHING. ANYTHING. I’d highly recommend watching it. If you need to borrow my copy, I’ll gladly loan it to you.

I just watched a video of Michelle Rhee speak at an Ace Scholarship luncheon here in Denver last year. I want to sit and listen to her and follow her and do anything I can to help her work. She’s truly amazing. Two things she said that truly hit home for me are: “There is no more worthy work that needs to be done.” And, “Don’t underestimate our children.”

I have been searching for something to do since all of this came to my attention. I don’t know if that something is in the form of a job, volunteering, or what. I know I could give money, but that seems to be too easy. I want to DO something. My biggest pet peeve in the world is inefficiency (just ask J, he knows) and if all these documentaries and speeches are correct, inefficiency is rampant in our education system. It’s a waste. It’s our fault. And it needs to change. I’ve been telling J for years that I’m tired of making money for a big company. I’m tired of doing something that I’m not proud of at the end of the day. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very good at what I do. And, what I do helps on a micro level – it benefits my own children enormously. But, my career to date can be summed up with the phrase of “putting heads in beds” (hotel slang). I’d like to do something more. Bigger. Better.

I am participating in a conference call with Michelle Rhee and her organization Students First tonight. Maybe this will help me in my search for that elusive something. Consider joining the call. It’s worth the time.

Posted in MBA, MOM | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

 
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