I want a sick day

December 2, 2009

I’m ill. Not H1N1 ill, but I am congested, tired, my nose and head feel heavy and all I want to do is lie down.

But that is not to be for this mommy/consultant. Children need to be fed and sent off to school, soccer, swimming. bed and the like. Client deadline demand I keep working, and my part time job demands that I go into the office. I spend most of my day alone in my office anyhow, so it’s not like I’m infecting others. But I really want a sick day.

I want to stay home and do nothing but lie on the couch and watch soap operas (are they still on anymore?). I want someone else to bring me chicken noodle soup and books to read. I want someone to take care of me.

But no, today I’m at the office, after getting the boys ready for school early, dropping them off then busing here. Then after work I have a training session I must attend for a client. If I’m lucky I’ll be home before 9. And tomorrow doesn’t seem like a day I can take off either.

Sometimes being a self-employed mommy stinks.

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Do I look too young?

October 2, 2009

I am 41 years old, and not ashamed of my age. So maybe my headline seems like a silly question. But ever since I was in my 20s I’ve been told I look younger than my age, and it came up again today in a professional context that puzzled me.

I’ve been asked to teach a course on media relations for Simon Fraser University. I’m flattered to be asked, and think it’ll be a nice feather in my cap professionally. But when I met with the Continuing Studies coordinator today to discuss it, she said she was surprised at how young I was. She’d read my resume, and therefore knew what year I got my bachelor’s degree. But still, when I told her I’d already entered my fifth decade, she was shocked.

Now, on the one hand, looking young is a great bonus at this time of my life. But professionally, I’ve always had to fight the perception that I’m too young to do my job well. There is a real professional divide between “juniors” and “seniors” in my business. Senior practitioners are seasoned, experienced, get paid better and offered better opportunities. And well we should, since we’ve got the expertise and well, seasoning. But juniors are new to the business, and get assigned less strategic roles and are paid less.

Part of my consultancy is training. I train spokespeople on how to deal with the media. I was capable of doing this training in my mid 20s, but never did, because the guys in suits who need the training wouldn’t have taken me seriously enough, especially since I didn’t even look 25 at 25. I started doing my own media training more often in my 30s, and now that I’m over 40, surely I command enough respect to teach the suits.

Yet when the SFU woman today thought I was much younger than my age, I got worried. Do I look too young to get enough respect at this point in my career? Hmmmm….


To bike or not to bike, the rain is a question

July 6, 2009

I have taken lately to biking to work. No, not the work I do at my home office. It would be very hard to bike from the kitchen to the playroom nook where my office is located. No, twice a week I work at a client’s office in Burnaby, which is 16 km from my home.

At first I couldn’t imagine doing the commute on my bike. I started this 2-day-a-week gig last September, right when the weather turned cold and wet. I had no interest in driving, since the drive takes about 45 minutes, so I bussed, which took me about 55 minutes, but I got to sit and read a book the whole way (and yes, I bought a blackberry so I could keep on top of work, both the client’s stuff when not at their office and my other consulting work when on the bus or at the client’s, but no, I rarely gave up my reading time on the bus to work on my handheld computer).

But in May, the ads for Bike-to-Work Week hit me, and I decided to give it a try. After all, I wasn’t a horrible cyclist, and the worst that would happen is the commute home (uphill) would be too much and I’d stick the bike on a bus). Besides, if  biked to work, even one way, I’d get in a workout, which would free up more time for the rest of my life, saving me from having to hit a gym or worse, go for a run (yuck!). So I tried it. And I found that it wasn’t too hard.

I found a terrific route to and from work that pretty much avoids the big hills — along the tracks by Arbutus, then along the new bike route that runs under the Skytrain, right to my office pretty much. It takes me just 55 minutes to bike to work (if you’re keeping track, that’s the same time it takes me to bus), and about 60 to bike home. So it isn’t taking any extra time, and I get my workout in while commuting. I’ve been biking out to Burnaby at least one of the two days every week for a couple months now, and loving it.

But let’s face it, the weather has been lovely, until today. Today it threatened seriously to rain on me on the way here. Now, I don’t care much for biking in the rain, but I’m hard core enough now to do it anyhow. On the way home. Because when I get home, I can hop in the shower, warm up and dry off. But on the way there, not so much. At my small office, there is no shower. It’s not usually a big problem, because I change clothes and am never terribly sweaty getting here (It’s more downhill on the way in, and cooler in the mornings. Nothing a few baby wipes can’t clear up.) But when it rains, I’d get very wet getting in, and while I can certainly dry off and change, I’m unlikely to warm up.

At least, that’s my story. That’s why I didn’t bike in this morning. Of course I feel like a woos for not biking. Especially since my next day in the office, it’s also threatening rain. And I won’t have time to work out much this week, so I do need to get in some biking on the way to something.

Would you bike in the rain if you didn’t have a shower on the other end?


They didn’t miss me

May 31, 2009

I came back last night from a three day trip to Portland, and no one missed me. Well, no one at home at least.

I was on a business trip, but I kept all day Saturday to myself to explore the city and have a bit of me-time. And I flew back just before dinner last night. My husband seemed to have worked overtime while I was away to be super-fun dad, so when they all picked me up at the airport, they were much more interested in telling me about all the fun they had with dad rather than being excited I was back.

Part of me is thrilled they had so much fun, and that my husband was so capable. But most of me wanted them to miss me terribly, unable to live without me.

Of course, in the three days I was away the kids didn’t eat a single vegetable and stayed up more than two hours past their bedtimes. And no homework was done, no piano practiced. But they had fun.

And frankly, I didn’t miss them either, so I guess we’re even. And no guilt about being away, so maybe I’m the worser parent. No that anyone is assigning blame, of course. 😉


Finally starting a blog

May 22, 2009

I’ve run Movies for Mommies for seven years now, and for nearly every week of those seven years I’ve written an e-newsletter. In each e-newsletter I write pithy, funny, revealing, helpful, or goofy stories about being a mom, being a working mom, dealing with my family, understanding my generational place in the world, living in Vancouver, raising a family, being a consultant, and other fun stuff. I’ve written about moments I’m proud of, like when my baby learned to walk or I completed my triathlon, and moments I’m not so proud of, like when I forgot to register my kid for baseball and he almost didn’t get to play or when I got old — um, make that older.

For years mommies who read my e-newsletter tell me they keep reading it long past when they have kids young enough to come to the Movies, and they say it’s because they like to read what I write. So after seven years, I’ve decided it’s time to start blogging.

I can’t promise I’ll be any good at this. Well, I know I can write — I do that for a living. But can I keep this up on a regular basis? I hope so. I’ll try to blog at least a few times a week. I’ll keep it as personal as my e-newsletter has always been, but I’ll also bring MFM news as I have it, because I hope that everyone who has read my e-newsletter over the years will drop in here to read this blog.

But now, it’s a beautiful, sunny day in Vancouver. The kids just left for school with hubby, the house is mine, and I’m going to — well, I’m going to do some client work. But then later I might go for a bike ride. Because it’s sunny. And I can. And I need the exercize. Sunshine = bathing suit season, after all. But that’s a whole other blog post for another day. 😉