MBA Mommy

Part MBA, Part MRS, Part MOM…..All ME

Posts Tagged ‘work’

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.

Posted in MBA, ME, MOM, MRS | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »


Posted by mbamommy on December 8, 2011

You know, every time I think about the title to this post, the “Wassssuuuuup” Budweiser commercials come to mind. WAAASSSSSSM.

I bet you’re wondering what WASM stands for, right? Well, these days, we Mommy’s have a lot of acronyms to describe how we live. There’s the SAHM (stay-at-home-mom), WAHM (work-at-home-mom), PT mommy (part time working mom), Mompreneur and working Mom (ok, ok, those last 3 weren’t acronyms but work with me here people, I’m trying to make a point).

Today, I’d like to introduce another acronym into our blogging landscape: WASM (work-at-starbuck’s-mom).

Because, that’s what I am. I’ve done all of the above labels (literally all) and finally settled into this new WASM model. See, I work part time. I have my own marketing consulting business (SaZa Consulting) and a few amazing clients and I love the work, the flexibility, the time spent working and not working. I love it all except my work environment. We are still renting our home and my “office” is a falling down desk filled with paper and to do’s and all sorts of crap that is NOT conducive to productivity and creativity. Our home is waaayyyy to small to be a WAHM. My printer is on the floor, under my desk and I kick it about every 5 minutes. My files are in plastic boxes on the floor next to my desk and if I want to get into any of them I have to move the plastic desk organizers that are stacked on top of them.

I know, I know, bitch bitch bitch, right? Because, you see, I have it really good. I get to work part time and have flexible hours. I get to do this for several reasons:

  • Because I CAN work this way (hubby’s got a good job)
  • Because I NEED to work this way (2 kiddos and lots of therapy appts requires one of us to be available during working hours)
  • Because I WANT to work this way (managing 2 challenging full time careers was just too much for my little family)
  • Because I HAVE to work this way (finding balance in my life is a huge priority for me so that I can do all the things I need to do to keep my little family running smoothly)

My working environment isn’t all that terrible. I do get to work in yoga pants and workout shirts and my office mate only wants a pat on her head every now and then.

My spoiled little pup...isn't she cute!

But, it isn’t ideal either. It’s cramped, crowded and there’s a million other things I could/should be doing around the house.

Enter Starbuck’s. My salvation. I can go to Starbuck’s, find a table, plug in my headphones and all of a sudden I’m like the Tasmanian devil of productivity and creativity. I get to see people but they don’t bother me like they do in an office. I get to listen to my own music. I get to be completely focused on the task at hand without external interruptions.

Can I get a Whoop Whoop?

Sounds great, right? Lemme guess, you’re gonna run out and set up shop at your local Starbuck’ right…..NOW!

Well, hold on just a minute grasshopper. There’s some things you should know about being a WASM. Not a lot, just a few. And if you can get these things down, you too can be a seasoned WASM in no time.

Golden Nugget of Wisdom #1: Bring a Sweater

Starbuck’s is cold. Really cold. Winter, summer, spring, fall. It’s cold. I didn’t get it at first. I thought, maybe they’re trying to kick me out? But, no, there’s plenty of other people that sit forever nursing their one Tall Coffee with Room. So, one day I asked if they could turn up the heat. The nice guy behind the counter said, “I’m really sorry but we don’t have control over our heating system. It’s run by a company down in Texas that manages all the Starbuck’s in the country so we can be greener with our energy usage…..But, would you like a nice hot beverage to warm you up?”

Those evil masterminds in Seattle. Not only do they get me feeling guilty for even asking to turn up the heat because now I feel like I’m the reason there’s global warming….but, damn them if they didn’t try to stick a convincingly polite upsell into it! Don’t worry, I didn’t fall for that trick.

Golden Nugget of Wisdom #2: Choose Your Spot Wisely

Comfy chair? Small table? By the window? So many options when it comes to choosing your work domain. But, there’s pros and cons to each. I’ve found that a comfy chair is ideal for doing fun stuff, like writing this blog or watching YouTube videos. But when it comes to actually getting work done, it’s much more motivating to have a hard chair under your tush. And, if you choose to sit at a table, DEFINITELY get a small one. There’s plenty of room to set up your laptop, coffee and snack but not enough room to encourage that lurker who didn’t score a table from coming to share with you. Because, really, who wants to share your work domain? By the window is preferable unless it’s next to the door (too friggin cold in the winter) and you want to be as far away from the counter as possible – less foot traffic. Extra points if you find a spot close to an outlet. If you do, you may want to call home and let them know you’ll be at Starbuck’s for the next 6-9 months but they should definitely come visit often.

Golden Nugget of Wisdom #3: Rock on With Your Bad Self

You’ve got your toons, you’ve got your got headphones, you’ve got your favorite playlist… so go on, rock on, do a little dance in that comfy chair, bob your head, shrug your shoulders to the music. No one’s looking, no one cares and it keeps your blood flowing. But, never. NEVER take a cell phone call. It’s ok if you’re with someone and talking really loudly (that’s why God invented noise canceling headphones, right?). But, if you’re doing it solo? People WILL look at you funny. Don’t ask me why, I didn’t write the rules, I’m only relaying them. Apparently talking loudly to yourself in public is taboo. Go figure.

Golden Nugget of Wisdom #4: Excuse Me, But Would You Mind Watching My Stuff?

You brought your laptop, your iPhone, your wallet, your car keys.  Hell, you brought everything of importance with you, right? So, why wouldn’t you ask some complete stranger to watch your things as you run quickly to the restroom? They’re trustworthy, right? Well, it’s a common courtesy and one of the unwritten rule of Starbuck’s. You CAN and SHOULD do that. Because you may lose that perfect spot if you take all your stuff to the bathroom. And, if you look someone in the eye and ask them to watch your stuff, it’s like an Unbreakable Vow a la Harry Potter. Your stuff is safe for the 3 minutes it takes you to tinkle.

Snape guarantees Narcissa can pee without her stuff being jacked

Golden Nugget of Wisdom #5: If You’re There Long Enough You’ll Get Free Stuff

Now, this is contrary to most eating establishments. Usually, the longer you stay, the more often you’ll get reminded that you’re taking up precious real estate and wouldyoupleaseorderanotherdrinkimmediately. But not at Starbuck’s. If you stick around long enough, they’ll come around with samples of some new yumminess you can’t say no to. And that’s just all sorts of awesome.

Golden Nugget of Wisdom #6: Give Starbuck’s Gift Cards

Because omigod you mean I HAVE to go spend this money at Starbuck’s and not on groceries, kids clothes, gas, rent, mortgage or dog food? SA-WEET!

Golden Nugget of Wisdom #7: Buy Starbuck’s Stock

I don’t care what time it is. I don’t care what city you’re in. I don’t care if there is a Starbuck’s on EACH corner of a particular intersection. If you go in, there will be a line. If there’s a drive through, there will be a line. If it’s peak hours, you will have to wait to get a table. And people are spending a minimum of $2 for a cup of coffee. Even in this economy. Seriously. We wait in line to have the pleasure of giving this company our hard earned money for over priced, burnt tasting coffee. And, it’s a little nuts that we all know their lingo. “I’ll have a grande-no-whip-half-caf-skinny-mocha”. And you get annoyed if you don’t say it in the right order ’cause you want to be as cool as they are, right? And, do I need to mention gift cards again? Between giving and receiving, Starbuck’s got $125 of my holiday spend. That’s prepaid, recognizable revenue for them. From a corporation’s perspective there’s nothing better! And for me? Prepaid excuse to get out from my crappy home work environment. It’s a win. win. win.

So, now you know. Venture forth into the world armed with this knowledge and you too can be a WASM.

You’re welcome. 🙂

Posted in MBA | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »


Posted by mbamommy on November 18, 2011

I have a problem.  Well, I think it’s a problem.  Maybe it’s not.  Maybe it’s a dilemma (are those even different?).  See, on one hand, I can’t figure anything out that’s actually wrong with my situation.  But, on the other hand I can’t figure anything out that’s right.  Something’s not quite fitting in my round hole/square peg life.

Wanna hear about it?  Great, I’m glad you asked.

I work part time right now. I work for this amazing company who’s agreed to let me do my job when and where I want to do it.  This is a company that is considered THE thought leader in my industry; one that I’ve admired since I began my career 10 (15!) years ago.  They pretty much have said, “So, what do you want to do?  OK, how about a mix of that and a little of some stuff that isn’t super interesting but needs a capable mind to manage it?  Yes?  OK great!  Now, how much do you charge?  OK, that’ll work.  Here’s your deadline.  Send the work in by then.  Thanks so much for the help and let me know if you have any questions.”

I am still able to do kidlet drop off and pick up.  I can still take Z to his therapy appointments.  I can still run errands and go grocery shopping.  I can still (in theory if not in actual practice) go to the gym.  And I am contributing to the family checking account.  I have one foot in the business world and one foot in MBAMommy-land.

Perfect, right?

And then this amazing company invites me to attend and work at their conference.  Again, this is THE conference for my industry.  One that I’ve wanted to attend since I began my career 10 (15!) years ago.  So, they fly me to a warm place, put me up in a gorgeous hotel and give me a job that’s fairly mindless but allows me to watch all the presentations for 3 days.  I don’t really have a whole lot of responsibility, especially compared to my counterparts working the registration booth and speaking with clients and being the collective face of the company.  I can just sit back, relax, and watch things unfold.  Hell, I even have time to go to the gym almost everyday.  No kids, little responsibility and warm weather for an entire week.

Perfect, right?

Seriously, how could I ask for more?

And therein lies my dilemma.  I don’t have a lot of responsibility.  I don’t have to be in front of the client.  I have one foot in the business world and one foot in MBAMommy-land.  And I sit back and I watch major events unfolding on both sides.  While sitting on the sidelines.

Back at home, poor J is dealing with one illness after another.  Before I left, Z had strep and croup and I was sick as a dog, staying in bed trying to get better so I could come to this conference.  So, J comes back from his own business trip and jumps in with 2 feet to take care of all of us.  2 nights before I leave, Z runs downstairs at 9pm to inform us that he’s just swallowed a nail.  And, off to the ER J & Z go.

See the watch pin?  Turns out we didn’t have much to worry about.  But that damn pin didn’t see the light of day until AFTER I’d already left for the conference.  Since I’ve been gone, J’s had to deal with gross kidlet issues from both kids and both ends (‘nuf said).  And, here I am, at this amazing conference, soaking it all in very intellectually.  Sleeping well, working out, eating like a queen and getting to know my co-workers.

Can you say Mama guilt?

But, the issue is more than just Mama guilt.  I’ve found myself in an awkward position here too because of the one foot in, one foot out situation.  The MBA in me is frustrated that I’m not busier, that I don’t have more responsibility, that I’m merely benched and watching everyone else work their magic.  And, when I am confronted with doing the polite chit-chat of getting to know someone professionally, I struggle because I’m most comfortable talking about kids and Asperger’s…..not exactly a hot topic at a business convention.  And, I’ve found it hard to explain my role and my background.  Below is an example of a recent conversation:

Co-Worker: “So, I’ve heard your name before….what is it that you do?”

Me: “Well, I work part time as a project manager, but I also dabble in sales stuff and research stuff and I’ve worked on X and Y and Z.  But, really I’m also a stay at home Mom to 2 kids that are in school full time.  My older one has Asperger’s so I can’t really go back to work full time because he still needs someone to drive him to his therapies and neither kid handles a full day with after school care very well.  But, I can work part time while they’re at school and still pick them up when school is over.  Hopefully someday I’ll be able to go back to work full time….”

Versus a similar exchange 5 years ago:

Client: “So, what’s your role at your company?”

Me: “Well, I’m the Director of Client Strategy.  I oversee the account teams and help with strategic direction and business development.”

See the difference?  One is a great elevator pitch.  The other? Ramblings of someone who’s not quite sure of where she stands because she’s got one foot in two distinctly different worlds.

So, I guess my dilemma is this.  In MBAMommy-land, things are perfect.  I’ve found an amazing balance between work and life that I’ve wanted since I had kids.  I’m in a perfect situation with a great company.  I get to experience things I’ve wanted to experience my entire career but don’t necessarily have a lot of skin in the game.  But out in the real world, when i’m confronted face to face with those that have skin in the game, it’s not easily packaged and delivered.  At least not yet.  I’ve got my work cut out for me figuring out this new spot I’m in.

What about you?  Does anyone else out there have this same challenge of explaining the round hole/square peg you live in?

Posted in MBA, MOM | Tagged: , , , , , , | 11 Comments »

From Here to There, From There to Here…..

Posted by mbamommy on August 4, 2011

…funny things are everywhere.

I realized yesterday that it was a year ago this week that our migration to Colorado began.  J had just received his job offer and I jumped on a plane and spent 4 days looking at rentals, schools and therapy providers.

Was it really just a year ago?  It feels like a lifetime and a minute all rolled into one.  So much has happened in a year and so much more will happen as we go forward (ugh….I shouldn’t try to be philosophical before I have my coffee in the morning…that was terrible).

I have an analogy I like to use to describe my family’s situation right now.  You know how when you play a slot machine, you pull the the lever (or, I guess these days you just press a button), and the slots spin around and around, slowing down one by one until they line up along the line?  And then you see what you’ve won?  I feel like our life is kind of like that slot machine.  The first slot has stopped spinning….the kids/school situation.  The second one is slowing….J’s job situation.  The third one is still spinning and will need to continue until the other two are in place (me!).

To go in more depth about that, I should give a (semi) brief update on how everyone’s doing.

Z is doing amazingly well.  When we first got here and he started preschool with his IEP and private therapy services, they had to do a lot of interventions to help him regulate his sensory overloads and learn how to play with other kids.  We (J, I, his therapists and the teachers) literally had to teach him how to play.  And, not just the turn-taking stuff that every kid has to learn. We also had to teach him to read expressions, understand the give and take of a conversation and how to be flexible enough to allow other people (adults first and then kids) influence the games they were playing without having a complete meltdown when he wasn’t scripting everything.  In the beginning, the OT would bring him in from recess early and take him to the ‘motor room’ where she had a swing and a dark, quiet corner where he could wind down.  Otherwise, his sensory system completely overloaded with the transition from playground to loud, chaotic bathroom to sitting down in a classroom.  By the end of the year, not only was he a part of every minute of the class, he was helping other kids resolve conflicts and the SpEd team was using games/therapies they usually reserve for kindergarteners because he blew through the more age appropriate stuff!

It wasn’t an easy road in the least.  I spent a lot of my time driving him to and from school and therapy (he spent 10 hrs a week in school and 10 hrs a week in therapy).  But the teams he worked with were all angels…truly seeing my son and his strengths and using those strengths to work through the weaknesses.  One example: Z is obsessed with airplanes.  Has been for as long as I can remember.  So, his school OT created a game where she’d ask him “How is your engine running?  Fast, like an F-16?  Just right, like a Blackhawk? Or slow, like a Bi-plane?”  She used it to help him identify how he was feeling and she altered the traditional usage from Winnie the Pooh (fast like Tigger, just right like Pooh or slow like Eeyore) to something he could relate to.  She made charts for school, home and his private therapy so we could all use it.  He loved it and was able to identify how he was feeling and we could help him regulate from there.

A year ago, Z would scream when we washed his hair during bath.  He HATED getting his hair and face wet and we’d have to take extra precautions not to get water in his face or ears….I think it actually hurt him somehow.  We started swim lessons at the beginning of the summer and for weeks he would cry and get upset whenever his teacher wanted him to put his head under water.  And then…one day…BAM….he was swimming.  Something clicked in that little head of his and now we can’t keep him ABOVE water!  He graduated to the next level of swim school.  He’s extremely strong and can swim a good ways across the pool underwater.  We’re at the pool all weekend, with him jumping in, swimming to us and back to the wall, jumping off our shoulders, playing with older kids…he even ventured into the deep end last weekend!  J and I look at each other sometimes and say, “Is that really our little Z?!”

Before we moved here, I heard horror stories about services available in Colorado.  How the schools weren’t great, how there weren’t experienced service providers, insurance didn’t cover autism related services, etc etc.  I have to say that I’ve had nothing but amazing experiences with everyone who’s worked with Z.  They were right about insurance….the situation is abominable….I’ve even thought about getting in touch with Erin Brokovich to see if she could make a difference, but I’ve been a little busy with my own little life so far.

So….Z’s doing so well that we stopped therapy for the summer.  I don’t think we’ll be starting ABA again but we are in the process of getting OT rolling again.  He’s still got some challenges regulating himself (what 4yo doesn’t, right?) and because of his new school environment (more on that in a minute) we think it’s still important to have outside support.

The biggest change (for me, at least) is my relationship with me.  A year ago, he could take me or leave me.  He was ALL about Daddy.  I would have to coerce affection out of him.  For some reason, he just wasn’t interested in hugging and kissing me…or anyone else for that matter…just Daddy.  There were nights when I would go into his room to say goodnight when he and Daddy were reading and J would be close to threatening him with timeout so that he’d give me a hug. I always stopped him before it got to that point, satisfying myself with just blowing him a kiss.  And, I understood what was going on.  But, it still sucked.

He still fights me at every turn.  His logical little brain constantly looks for ways to rationalize his way out of doing his chores or anything else I tell him to do.  He questions everything and refuses to accept a half answer, which I mistakenly try to give him sometimes.  But instead of hitting, scratching, biting, kicking when I say no to him, he (mostly) accepts it.  Pouting and telling me he’s mad at me of course…..but a FAR cry from our arguments of a year ago.  Folks, he TELLS me he’s mad.  Do you understand how HUGE that it?

Anyway, our relationship has changed and evolved into something I treasure.  He asks for me to read books to him at night.  He asks me to cuddle with him.  He comes to me when he’s upset.  He freely gives me hugs and kisses, even sometimes without me asking for them.  He tells me he loves me and squeezes even harder.  Those parents of kiddos on the spectrum that are reading this will understand how unbelievably precious this is.  Those parents of NT kiddos…..please cherish each and every hug, they are a blessing.  I find myself waiting until he lets go to end an embrace because every hug reminds me of when I used to not get them.  And I never want them to stop.  Hopefully now they won’t (at least until high school and I’m a constant embarrassment to him).

OK, so now little S….who’s not so little anymore.  My baby girl.  What can I say about her?  Well….not much without getting teary.  She’s our angel, she’s our diva, she’s the light of our house and she can just as easily bring our home crumbling down around her with her tantrums.  She’s growing a very funny, very sweet, very LARGE personality.  Her teachers all love her and comment on her dramatic way of talking.  She’s all hand gestures and exaggerated facial expressions.  She’s a smart little lady who excels at everything big bro doesn’t: relationships, friends, reading people….street smarts to his book smarts.  She’s a tough little girl who won’t back down to bullying by big bro.  She’s a natural athlete who can throw a ball better than Z.  She’s not afraid of anything and is usually the one leading Z into trying new things (like swimming).  She’s my girly-girl who loves all things pink (including her elephants) but is dirty from head to toe at the end of every day.  She idolizes big bro, is a Daddy’s girl and has an amazing bond with Mommy.  She’s a snuggler and a cuddler and a jokester all in one.  What’s the saying?  “When she’s good she’s very very good.  And when she’s bad she’s terrible.”?  Something like that.  Well, that’s my S.  She’s stubborn, independent and opinionated. (I have NO idea where she gets that). She keeps us on our toes and laughing all the time.  I remember being terrified of having a girl….and now I couldn’t imagine life without her.

So…school.  We’ve decided to send the kids to a language immersion school to learn Mandarin.  They’re in camp at the school this summer and they both LOVE it.  They come home every day with new words, new songs, new friends.  J and I are so far extremely impressed with the school, the community, the education….we’re so excited we found this for our kids.

And, because that first slot has stopped moving, everything else can slowly fall into place.  The kids are in a great spot…they’ve got their groove on.  And it’s so wonderful to see after all we’ve been through.

As for J….well, he’s getting his groove on too.  I’ll write more about his marathon in another post (or, maybe have him write it? hmmm….) but as far as getting involved in the Denver community and finding a good job fit…well, it’s all there.  Now that my gregarious, outgoing husband is out from behind his desk and doing what he was born to do, his career path is bright and solid.  His “thing” this summer is golf and he’s taking full advantage of the Colorado summer to get out on the course and hack away.  Recently, he and I began a workout program called Insanity.  The workout is hard….insane, if you will.  But what’s truly insane is we get up at 5:30am in the morning to do it.  Crazy, right?  But, it’s been fun.  It helps your motivation when the person who’s sleeping next to you is pushing you out of bed when the alarm goes off.  It’s motivating to hear the huffing and puffing and under-your-breath swearing going on right next to you.  It’s an amazing way to wake up and keep your energy going throughout the day.  And, if NOTHING else goes right for the rest of the day, at least you worked out!  J and I end every workout high fiving and fist bumping.  It’s fun to have something new to do together.  And, boy, do we sleep well!

I know I was the driving force behind us moving to CO, but he’s certainly a willing participant.  He drank the kool-ade and we’re both loving living here.

And, finally, me.  Well, my slot is still spinning.  There are a lot of things that still need to be finalized before mine stops.  Things like finally selling our house in NC (we have a contract but it’s contingent on them selling their house).  Things like figuring out whether I want to/need to and can/can not go back to work full time.  And, what will that look like?  Where would I work full time?  Do I  formalize the contract/consulting I’m doing now?  Do I want to?  And, what’s best for my family?  For me?  So many questions.

But, that’s all really ok.  Because, I’m having the time of my life right now.  J and I have dubbed this summer the “Summer of MBA Mommy”.  I’m working part time and the kids are in camp all day.  I’ve got free time to do the things I want to do (yoga, blog, reading, writing, walking, seeing friends) and free time to do the things I need to do.  I’m making some money….not a ton….but not nothing either.  I’ve written before about wanting to Be Present in my life and I will write more about Finding Balance.  I feel that I’ve struck the perfect balance this summer.  Frankly, I feel like I’ve won the lottery.  Freedom during the summer in Colorado?  There’s not much more I could ask for….well, except for someone to buy our buyer’s house so I can stop my obsessive online house hunting and start for real….anyone in the market for a new house in Raleigh?  I know a GREAT one you could buy. 🙂

Because then? JACKPOT.

Posted in ASPERGER'S, AUTISM, MBA, ME, MOM, MRS | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

In the Beginning (part 1 of our journey with Asperger’s)

Posted by mbamommy on July 18, 2010

Note: this is the first of 3 posts I plan to do that describes the past 8-9 month journey of getting Z diagnosed with Asperger’s.  My goal is that by putting my story out there, it may be of some help to someone else in a similar situation.  Going through the diagnosis process was probably the hardest, most emotionally draining thing I’ve ever been through.  It’s scary, overwhelming and all encompassing.  But, it doesn’t have to be because no one is alone out there.  Part 2 is here.  Part 3 is here.

So how did all of this start?

Back in late October/early November 2009, Z was attending a 3 day a week, half day preschool, partly because I thought he needed more interaction with other kids but mostly because I really needed a break during the week.  I had been a SAHM for over a year with a difficult baby (S) and an even more difficult toddler (Z).  I desperately wanted to go back to work and was finding it difficult to find a job (thank you, economic downturn).

And then, it happened.  I got an offer from BBI for a Director position that was an amazing fit.  I mentioned it back here.  It was a quick transition; Brooks called me on a Monday and my first day was the following Monday.  Luckily I had everything tee’d up in terms of full time child care and I quickly rearranged our lives so I could start immediately.

The Beginning came while I was on my way to the BBI office for the first time the Friday before my start date.  Z’s preschool was having their parent/teacher meetings and even though he wasn’t going to continue going to that school I decided it would be great to get some outside feedback on how he was doing.  I figured I’d stop by, meet with his teachers for 10 minutes and then head to the office to bring cupcakes to the team, introduce myself and fill out some paperwork.

Nothing they told me in that meeting was a surprise.  Z didn’t like being around other kids.  He didn’t like getting dirty.  He didn’t like wearing hats.  He took inappropriate risks on the playground.  He was defiant.  Well, yeah, sure.  That’s Z.  He’s an independent little guy who loves to run, just like his Daddy.  And he’s a helluva terrible two.  What did surprise me was that all of these things were warning signs of potential sensory issues.  The teachers suggested I contact Project Enlightenment to set up an evaluation and to read the “Out of Sync Child“.  Out of Sync?  Who the hell are you to call my kid out of sync?  And what the hell is Sensory Processing Disorder?

I left the parent/teacher meeting numb and a little shell-shocked.  On my way to BBI, I called J and told him what they had said.  Both of us were (to say the least) a little perplexed and unsettled.  BUT, I had to put my game face on and walk into my new office fired up to meet them and ready to take on the world.

Looking back I find it ironic that at the same time my “MBA” life gets back on track, my “MOM” life gets derailed.

Next up: Hurry Up and Wait (part 2 of our journey with Asperger’s).

Posted in ASPERGER'S, AUTISM, MOM | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 13 Comments »

My recent epiphany

Posted by mbamommy on March 31, 2010

Have you ever heard of the job title “Chief Customer Officer“?  I have only recently and it’s been a complete game changer for me.  No more do I aspire to be a CMO….I want to be a CCO.

The idea behind a CCO is to truly put your customers first in everything a company does: customer service, sales, account management, product development, operations, accounting, finance, HR, marketing, PR, R&D, etc etc.  Instead of just *saying* you’re customer-centric, this role is responsible for *creating* customer-centricity.  It’s perfect and is in line with everything I believe in and have blogged about.  Treat your customers well, treat your employees well, set up your company to acknowledge the importance of your customer and you will succeed.

And, here’s my new role model: Jeanne Bliss.  Every single professional mentor I’ve ever looked up to has been a woman and they all pale in comparison to Ms. Bliss.  This is as close to “girl love” (think Scrubs….”guy love“) as I’ve ever gotten.

I just ordered her two books, “Chief Customer Officer” and “I Love You More Than My Dog” and cannot WAIT to start reading.  Kind of makes me feel weak in the knees.

Posted in MBA, ME | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Sabbatical….take 2

Posted by mbamommy on February 4, 2010

October 22, 2009…does that date mean anything to you?  It does to me.  It’s the last time I posted anything on this blog.  Did you give up on me?  I sure did. Until…

I was flying home from a CLIENT pitch with my new CO-WORKERS and listening to Colin Hay’s “Waiting For My Real Life” and I decided to play a little game.  I challenged myself to listen to the whole song.  I mean, really listen.  You know, focus on the words, direct all your attention onto one thing, quiet your mind, block everything out, yada, yada, yada…..and it took me 6 replays before I was able to do it.

And it dawned on me….I’ve got a s*^tload going on right now and I needed to start up my babble once again.  I figure, if I can release some of the *stuff* going on in my head, it may make it easier to focus on the various responsibilities that make up my day.  Granted, this could be considered just one more thing I need to do on a pile of things I’m having difficulty keeping up with already, but I’m a heckuva a multitasker.  Case in point: I’m sitting at my desk typing this up while shoveling the salad that I picked up at the grocery store while buying cupcakes for RunZMC’s 3rd bday party tommorrow on my lunch break into my mouth during the 10 minutes of downtime I have before my next meeting……..huh?.  Besides, I miss writing.

So…did you notice anything in the previous paragraphs?  That’s RIGHT, I have a JOB!  Not just a job but a really AMAZING job with an AMAZING online marketing agency working with AMAZING people on some really AMAZING projects.  You’re probably thinking it’s called AMAZING advertising or something, right?  Not quite….it’s called Brooks Bell Interactive and you can learn all about it here:  I’m the Director of Client Strategy which is just about the most perfect role I could imagine.  I work with 2 fantastic account teams on creating the strategy and deliverables for a variety of different clients.  I think the best 2 aspects of my job are (1) I really like managing people and (2) I really like not being on the frontlines anymore.  I’m digging the whole, “What do you think about this idea?  OK, let’s flesh it out….ok, show me how you’d go about doing it”. 🙂

So, while I’ve been on a multi-month sabbatical, it doesn’t mean I’ve been completely out of touch.  And, I’m re-committing to MBAMommy.  Here I go…..again…..

Posted in MBA, ME | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Waiting for my real life

Posted by mbamommy on September 30, 2009

I’ve had lots of favorite bands in my life.  I’ve even had lots of favorite genres.  I went through the glam rock phase, the grunge phase, the classic rock phase (for my age group, that means Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and The Doors), the punk rock phase, the hippie phase, the Top 40 phase, the classical phase and the rave phase.  But, at the end of the day, I’d have to say that my reigning favorite musician is Colin Hay, former lead singer of Men At Work turned solo artist.

Why?  Well, there’s lots of reasons.  First, he has an amazing, distinctive voice.  Second, his songs and lyrics have some meat to them. Third, and most importantly, his music, one song in particular, seems to keep coming back to me over the years. 

I was first introduced to his music by an ex-boyfriend – probably the best takeaway from that relationship.  Boyfriend X played the song “Waiting For My Real Life to Begin” when I was getting ready to go to b-school in Michigan and leave him behind in Boston.  It became an anthem for that life Change and my impending breakup with Boyfriend X.  See, he wanted me to stay with him and I was waiting for my real life to begin.

Later, I introduced Colin Hay to JC.  He fell in love with the music as well.  His defining moment with the song was during Run ZMC’s birth.  Here’s an excerpt from that story:

The doctor came in and went over some last minute instructions with us. Then her beeper goes off, and she stepped out to check on another patient. The nurse followed, then returned and informed us that another mother-to-be requires and emergency delivery. So, we are now on hold, lying in bed, lights off, locked and loaded. We wait. Exhausted, Rebecca’s eyes are weary but open. I tried reading a book my boss gave me, knowing full well that whatever I read will be lost in a matter of hours. My mind drifted off to the song we heard earlier that day, and I realize how it now applies to us:

Any minute now,
My ship is coming in.
I keep searching the horizon ….
I’m waiting for my real life to begin.

When I was on maternity leave with Run ZMC, I’d feed him while watching DVR’d eposides of Scrubs.  The length of the show was perfectly timed with how long it took him to finish a bottle.  I was a huge Scrubs fan already….and it solidified one day when I saw this scene.  Colin Hay on Scrubs?  A full, sleeping baby?  This newly minted MBA Mommy couldn’t have been happier.

Later still, the song became a theme song for my brother and his wife’s wedding.  Granted, I’m not sure it was appropriate, given they knew the story of Run ZMC AND it’s not a very romantic, wedding-esque song, but up it went onto their wedding website.

And now the song comes to mind again as I prepare myself for my next big life Change (whenever that may be).  For some reason, I keep waiting for my real life: the next big thing, the next Change, the next challenge, the next opportunity.  When I was thinking about this blog entry, I started a mental checklist of everything I’ve accomplished in my 34 years on this earth.  High School? check. College? check. Traveled through Europe, Middle East, Australia and New Zealand? check. check. check. check. Partied my way through my 20’s? check. Master’s degree? check. Launched my career? check. Married the love of my life? check. 2 Kids? 1 Dog? 2 Cars? Suburban House? Picket Fence? check. check. check. check. check.  OK…so what’s next on the list?  Ah, yes, re-focus on my career….

And then it hit me.  I need to stop waiting for my real life because this IS my real life.  And it’s pretty damn good.  Colin’s words, yet again an anthem in my life.

Album : “Going Somewhere”
(written by: Colin Hay / Thom Mooney)
Colin Hay

Any minute now, my ship is coming in
I’ll keep checking the horizon
I’ll stand on the bow, feel the waves come crashing
Come crashing down down down, on me

And you say, be still my love
Open up your heart
Let the light shine in
But don’t you understand
I already have a plan
I’m waiting for my real life to begin

When I awoke today, suddenly nothing happened
But in my dreams, I slew the dragon
And down this beaten path, and up this cobbled lane
I’m walking in my old footsteps, once again
And you say, just be here now
Forget about the past, your mask is wearing thin
Let me throw one more dice
I know that I can win
I’m waiting for my real life to begin

Any minute now, my ship is coming in
I’ll keep checking the horizon
And I’ll check my machine, there’s sure to be that call
It’s gonna happen soon, soon, soon
It’s just that times are lean

And you say, be still my love
Open up your heart, let the light shine in
Don’t you understand
I already have a plan
I’m waiting for my real life to begin


And, just for fun, here’s a link to my favorite Dr. Cox rant.

Posted in MBA, ME, MOM, MRS | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Say it Loud, Say it Proud

Posted by mbamommy on August 13, 2009

I subscribe to eMarketer’s daily newsletter.  Sometimes, I actually get around to reading them.  If you haven’t, you should, they’re great at compiling various reports and giving it to you in an easily digestible summary.  Which, considering both of my kids are doing batty things with their naps, is hugely important to MBAMommy.

Today, they posted this article8 million women bloggers?!?  That’s so awesome.  Ladies, find your voices, find your keyboards and keep typing.  This could be the next step in equality for women – a place to share uncensored thoughts, ideas, plans, complaints, praises.  Why not, right?  You’ve got nothing to lose.

And then, right after I read that article, I read this article Tweeted by @MomCorps, which only underlines eMarketer’s point about marketers and PR folks paying attention to who they want to help promote their products.  These bloggers don’t mess around.

I also think it’s amazing that many of these women are actually able to make a living out of their blogging.  The July BlogHer conference shows that.  So, marketers out there, pay attention to what these ladies are saying and target them appropriately.  They can be hugely influential.

    Posted in MBA, ME, MOM | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Moms Going Back To Work

    Posted by mbamommy on August 4, 2009

    I wanted to pass along a link to yet another great article about job searching.  This one focuses on women who’ve left the “working” world to raise their kids.  Sounds familiar, right?  Well, the main difference between these women and myself is they took significant time off (their kids are in their teens).

    Not surprisingly, they’ve found it very difficult to re-enter Corporate America.  But, the article highlights some great strategies that everyone, not just Moms, should utilize while looking for a job.  For example,  work with other job searchers to tackle resume updates, stay involved doing non-profit or volunteer work and keep (or get) your skills up to date.  Each of these women seem to have found a different solution and all of which seem to work for them.

    Posted in MBA, MOM | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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