MBA Mommy

Part MBA, Part MRS, Part MOM…..All ME

Posts Tagged ‘working mom’

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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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. 🙂

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