Friday, March 15, 2013

Week without Mommy? I Got This. (The Hub's Guest Blog)

Last week, I was away on business in Philadelphia. This was the first time I was away from my family for more than a night. A couple of years ago, The Hub was out of town on a work assignment for a month, so I know how challenging it is to suddenly become a temporary "single parent." Before I left, I made sure the house was in order and I laid out the girls' clothes for school for the week... just to make it a little easier in the mornings for him. We talked every night and The Hub would tell me the highlights of each day...all were good and reassuring. I can honestly say, I did not doubt his ability to go it alone for the week... and I was right to be so confident. I came home to find the house still standing, the kids were not sold on the black market, S did her homework, and B left the house with her pants on everyday.

Later, I learned that there were a few moments of complete chaos and rule bending that The Hub left out of our phone conversations... He didn't want me to worry. I asked him to write about his week alone with our kids. Enjoy!!


Getting Ready in the Morning

Two bathrooms plus three people, T-minus twenty minutes until the bus arrives. The math did not work that morning.

B: I wanna wear my Tinkerbell nightgown to school.
Me: Sure. Why not?

B's Daycare Teacher: B's hair is full of static! It's standing straight up!
(I walk over to the sink, wet my hands, and slick back her hair.)
Me: TA-DA!
B's Daycare Teacher: When does your wife come back?

B: Daddy, you need to put a ponytail in my hair.


 Working from Home
(I'm on an important business call with a client.)
Me: Yes. I'll get that proposal to you in 10 minutes.
B: (Walks into the room with pants around her ankles) Daddy!! Can you wipe my butt?!
Me: Make that 20.

S: Daddy! I spilled my drink!
Me: I'm sending out an email right now. Just put a paper towel on it and I'll clean it up in a minute.
(She used my work notes.)

Making Dinner

: What do you want me to cook for dinner tonight?
S: Happy China.
B: McDonalds.
Me: Okay.
The Kids: YAY!

Me: I'm ordering pizza tonight.
Kids: YAY! You're the best cook ever!!

The Bedtime Routine

The Kids: Daddy, we need to take baths tonight.
Me: (Give each kid a sniff check.) Nah, you're good.
The Kids: YAY!!

 (30 Minutes past bedtime and the kids are still goofing off in their room.)
Me: You better go to sleep or I'll call your mother and tell her to stay in Philadelphia FOR-EV-ER!
The Kids: Complete silence for the rest of the night.

I got this.


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Leaving on a Jet Plane

I was in the 3rd grade. It was the week before the start of winter break and I was already daydreaming about Christmas. The teachers were on auto pilot with our lessons. They were busy planning the student Holiday Showcase for the last PTA meeting of the year and anyone not in the showcase did busy work. I was not in the show. In fact, I had no idea there was a show until I saw my grade school best buddy, TC, walk into my classroom with five other girls. My teacher choreographed a “Candy Cane Dance” for a small group of 3rd grade girls and they used our classroom as a practice area. I know I should have kept my focus on long division rather than watch the girls twirl and curtsey while holding cardboard tube “candy canes,” but I couldn’t keep my eyes off of them, not to mention, I was a little jealous that TC was doing something other than long division.

This went on for another few days: Six girls tapping their toes and trying to remember their left foot from their right and I was faking through my math work. The song, which escapes me now, was burned into my brain. Then it happened. TC came down with a really bad cold and stayed home from school . I overheard my teacher tell the girls at the next practice that they would have to make due without the 6th person in the dance group. I don’t know what came over me, but I stood up and said, “I can do it. I know the steps. I can fill in for TC.” My teacher looked at me and said, “Are you sure? You know it’s in front of a lot of people.” I nodded, walked over, took a “candy cane” cardboard tube and preformed the dance perfectly the first try. That Friday, I danced for a full house... erm, cafeteria. I felt like a super star and completely confident. I didn’t mess up. I nailed it. I was made for the stage.

Fast forward a couple…okay, okay… almost three decades later. I’m two months into my new job. Less than two weeks ago, my boss asked me very last minute to go to Philadelphia for our company’s big conference to fill in for another employee. It was déjà vu. Over the course of the last week, my responsibilities grew and next week, I will be speaking in front of approximately 300 people. It’s been one crash course after another and I know what I have to do. I’m really honored. My boss believes that I can handle this even though I am still very new to the company. They trust that I’ll do a good job. I know the steps and my right foot from my left. My red and white striped skirt is now a business suit. My cardboard tube candy cane is now two laptops and a microphone. But, the audience will be less forgiving than the PTA and I’m not the confident super star 3rd grader I once was. I’m nervous. Like, I’m not sure my deodorant is working and I'm really gassy nervous.

What happened to my 3rd grade bravado? I do "brave" things all the time. I speak in front of people. I introduce myself to groups of strangers. I sing karaoke... badly. I say YES when a comfortable NO would suffice. But, I now find that I regret jumping into the scary and question why I put myself into these situations. I usually come out okay in the end with a good story to tell, but the anxiety that plagues me the minutes, hours, days, and weeks before the event is almost too much to bear. I've lost my natural ballsy attitude somewhere along the way.

As a mother, I have to be brave for my kids, so in turn, I can encourage them to be brave and try new things. I have to show them how to take bold steps. I have to fly away from the nest to show them how it's done before I kick them out. Yes, the 300 pairs of eyes starting at you are scary, but you'll be amazed at how good it feels to survive a good scare. Try the spinach. Yes, it looks like snot, but you might actually like it. Introduce yourself. Show off a talent. Take a trip to a strange new town by yourself. Take on a huge responsibility. That is how you grow. That is how you live.

I'm putting on a brave face for my family. I'm honest about being nervous, but I back that up with "but I'll be okay and you will, too." The Hub is more than capable to handle the monkeys while I'm gone. I'm almost ready to board my first flight in 6 years. I'm ready to experience a whole bunch of unfamiliar. I'm ready to do a fantastic job.  I'm ready for a quiet night in a hotel room where I am sole master of the remote control. As long as I remember my deodorant and underpants, I'm sure I'll be fine.

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