Thursday, April 25, 2013

Leaning in or falling down...?

"Show me a woman without guilt and I'll show you a man." Marie Wilson, founder of the White House Project, quoted in Lean In.

*Note: I'm traveling for work, which of course means I'm once again questioning my priorities, feeling guilty and missing my kids. Feel free to skip this post if you've grown weary of my internal struggles.


I am an ambitious person, and I want to be a good mother. Sometimes I feel like those two phrases don't belong in the same sentence, the two thoughts don't belong together in my mind. It is easy for me to tune into Sheryl Sandberg's message to Lean In - it goes with the grain, feels natural. I'm leaning in, sitting at the table, raising my hand. I'm not leaving before I leave.

I leaned way in to get to where I am now in my career, much of the heavy leaning occurring prior to my having kids. Baby brain and new mom struggles clouded my career path for a while. But Sandberg's message tapped into my dormant ambition and fired up the feminist that silently but persistently lurked in the shadows for the past several years.

It feels good to lean in. It is empowering to know you can positively impact your career trajectory through your own words and actions. I sat at the table with the leader of my institution just this week and had the opportunity to tell him about my professional goals for women in leadership. It felt good to have a voice and to be heard. Ambition can be heady stuff and make you want to reach for more opportunities, more chances to be heard and to make a difference.

I want to be a good mother, and I am an ambitious person. The phrases read differently when you shuffle the order. It begs the question, can we ever truly have it all? The answer to that question is no. I've never heard anyone say yes. Women will answer yes but....not at the same time. It is a qualified yes. I read an article yesterday that made me think about how timing plays into this question and whether I am at the right time in my life to lean in. Maybe I should be less ambitious and happy with a life that is 'good enough.' Time goes so fast. Charlie will be heading to kindergarten next year and things will forever shift. I will blink and he will be grown.

Lately I've been leaning in to the point of falling over. Too many balls in the air, too few hours of sleep every night. And when I lean in, it impacts my entire family. To make sure I don't miss a meeting or a class, I send a sick kid to school or call a grandparent for the umpteenth time this month for help. I made my early morning meeting this week, but I missed a few extra minutes with my kids over breakfast.

I've missed my kids all day, all week. I'm missing a level of detail in their every day - I completely blanked on the school's Spring fundraiser, we haven't made a trip to the city library since last Fall, and my pick up times at the end of the day keep getting later and later. The reality is leaning in doesn't come without sacrifice and I can't be in two places at the same time.

How do I reconcile motherhood and ambition? Can I lean in and not miss out on the million little (and big) things going on in my children's lives? Sandberg admits to being on and available 24/7, answering emails at 5am, working after the kids are in bed well past midnight. I have the potential to easily fall into that pattern, to walk that path. I've done it before, I'm just about there now.

But it's harder now and I feel torn. There are people on my life path - a husband and two kids - that weren't there before. They aren't blocking my path, only I can do that. But they make me want to walk the path a bit slower. And isn't that in effect, leaning back? The very thing Sandberg is telling us we shouldn't do?

At the end of the day, it is not Sandberg I am answering to. It is my own and my family's happiness that matters most. To be continued...

P.S. Though it may seem like I'm spending my few quiet moments away on my own feeling guilty and miserable, I am relaxing in my hotel room with a glass of wine and the worst reality tv. And I always feel better putting my thoughts into words, it is my therapy and never fails to bring clarity. In fact, I already feel more positive as I'm shaping how I will remedy my situation and have some ideas...I will share them soon.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Modern on Meadow Remodel - Week 5002

It isn't really week 5002 of our remodel, but it feels like it. We're making progress, but it is baby steps and doesn't make for great blog posts. The drywall is up and the past several weeks have been all about mudding and sanding the drywall - I actually found this interesting because I've never seen it done. But it makes for some dull pictures.

Things are going to pick up and get really interesting in the next few weeks...


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The littlest student


From Monday morning in my office to Tuesday afternoon in my classroom...


Izzy wasn't really sick today but we didn't want to send her back to school just in case. Today was a true tag-team effort with Ryan covering the home front in the early morning, Ryan's Dad holding down the fort between 10 and 2, and then Izzy got to come to work with me and be a graduate student for a few hours.

I brought snacks, toys, and the ipad and plopped her on the floor of my classroom, thinking we would stick it out as long as possible. Amazingly, she was very quiet and I was actually able to participate in the paper discussion during class. Teaching an entire class this semester I knew this was going to happen sooner or later. I thought Charlie might be the one to make it work as he will zone in on the ipad or iphone for hours. But Izzy surprised me today and was the perfect classroom visitor. Her first day as a Jayhawk!

These last few days have required a village to get me to work - husband, two grandparents, and an understanding group of students. And it's only Tuesday!!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Monday morning...



Not how I planned to start my week...with a sick kid sharing my office. This in a week when I am already behind the gun and functioning as a single parent for part of the time. When you utilize two grandparents by Tuesday, that is not a good sign. But so thankful I have them! 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

It's in the details...

We met with our architects this week to go over detailed shop drawings of all the custom cabinetry that will be in the house. It was so very exciting to think about how our amazing kitchen is going to look someday soon. I can hardly wait to cook our first meal in the space. 

And just when I thought we couldn't get any more excited about our future home, our architects had yet another surprise for us. They finally revealed the designs for the screen elements in the house (space in the kid's landing, stairs going down to the basement, and soffit panel for the deck). They had originally talked with us about making unique metal screens, but the talk shifted to simple metal poles due to budget constraints. They figured out a way to make the original screens for the same cost - and I think they are really excited about this new design tool and want to utilize it - lucky us! I realize this picture is not as exciting unless you hear the story behind it and can envision them in the space...


I will wait and reveal more about these screens once they are in place in the house. But they asked us to send them inspiration images, something meaningful to us, and they used one of the images to create the screen designs. The process uses several different software programs and is nothing short of amazing.These screens will be one-of-a-kind works of art in our home. Love!

Monday, April 8, 2013

First Soccer Game!

Our first Saturday soccer game! We made it to the fields at Swope Park and Charlie was given his very own jersey -  probably his favorite part of the whole day.  


The Roasterie sponsors the soccer league and Charlie recognized their signature airplane logo. He knows this is where we go for 'kid's coffee' (aka, milk).


Charlie was a little shy at the beginning, but he quickly came around and started running and kicking the soccer ball.


There were a zillion fields in this soccer park, with the pre-K teams on small fields really close together.



Charlie and Izzy were fascinated with the water jug. They drained the team supply before the game even started.





How cute are these little guys and girls? A couple of the kids had older brothers that helped instruct and lead the little ones around.




Charlie had a big cheering section on this very windy, Spring day.



Izzy was a great sport, watching and cheering the blue team on.



There were skinned knees, tears, a tummy ache (too much water!), and lots of smiles. And Charlie scored a goal!


This was just after his goal - he was so excited. I love this sweet face. Bring on the games.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Eggs, bunnies and golf balls

What a beautiful,Spring day we enjoyed this Easter. I wish I could hit rewind on the day.


Charlie found an egg marked with "H" for Haley, and he put it back. I give him another year before he figures out the fun of re-hiding eggs for his cousin and sister so they can't find them.


Look who we caught still hanging out in the back yard during our Easter egg hunt...









After the egg hunt, Charlie decided to play a little golf.


His first time hitting since last fall, but it didn't take him long to pick it right back up.


He's a natural! 


Squaring up to the ball...


kicking the ball...




Izzy hasn't shown much interest in golf, but she likes to watch Charlie.


The bunny ears got in the way a few times, 


but with a quick adjustment, he played on.



Another Happy Easter! And what a difference a year makes!