Check out the latest Speaking Of interview, where I talk to Gervase Kolmos. Gervase is a certified mindset coach for moms. For 7 years she’s been helping moms navigate the waters of “motherhood AND,” not “motherhood OR” through her companies Shiny Happy Human and The Champagne Society.
Hi all, happy Friday! Check out the latest Speaking Of Interview!
I talk with Laquanda Steed about everything from being a native Charlestonian (!!!), to the finding work-life balance as a working mom, to her blooming writing career, and advice to those pursuing their passions.
I love this interview so much that I had a hard time shortening it to even 26 minutes! If you enjoy it too, please like, subscribe, and share. 🙂
That’s what I ask myself every evening. Thankfully most of the time my answer to myself is yes. I can always say “yes, I’m meeting my daughter’s needs”. I’m speaking more of the “quality” time. Mom guilt is a daily struggle.
My daughter is very attached to me and wants to play 24/7, but life is often in the way. Whether you’re a stay at home mom or a working mom, or a work from home mom, or a hybrid of those, you probably experience the same thing. There are always so many things to do, and it never seems like there’s enough time to play.
I’m not sure what the perfect balance looks like to me, but I know that it’s not what I feel like I’m doing most days. There’s always something to do, and it doesn’t seem like there’s much that can be eliminated. Walking the dog, doing cardio (only 30 minutes at home, so it’s not like that’s taking much time away from playing with my daughter), making dinner, cleaning up after dinner, showering, grocery shopping, paying bills, the list goes on. I guess the key would be to do better streamlining the things that can be more efficient – perhaps meal planning, etc.).
Or, maybe there is enough time and I have an unrealistic ideal of how much I should be playing with my daughter? Maybe I’m just not “present” enough when I’m with her. Ugh. The struggle is constant. I feel guilt when I’m doing something other than being with her, and I feel guilty when I am with her but am not playing because I have to do something like make dinner.
The daily struggle is what leads to the nightly question of whether I was a good mom that day.
I was recently laid off, so I should have more time to spend, but am using about 4-5 hours a day to work on things like this – writing this blog, shooting the Speaking Of videos that I recently started, doing my weekly videos with Dawn, editing all of those videos, looking for regular jobs, etc. Those are all valid, but I feel guilty because I’m doing something other than playing with her. It’s still less than the time in a standard workday, but the guilt is just the same.
I suppose the key is to make the most of the time that I do have, and *try* not to get mad at myself for doing the best I can. It’s totally valid to exercise, and to walk the dog, and to make dinner (or at least pick it up…), and to work. It’s tough to let go of guilt, but I’m working on it.
Check out the latest video from me and Dawn! We chat about everything from our kids’ sticker escapades, to bathing suit shopping, figuring out what’s appropriate clothing for our age, and wanting to shop after being stuck inside during the quarantine!
We hope you enjoy!
Today I was reading a post on the Charleston Mom’s site and the post linked to one of my old posts about working mom guilt, so I figured I’d share it here.
Then I thought, I might as well post a link to all of my posts on the Charleston Moms site! I wrote for them for a few years and wrote about everything from preeclampsia to preemies to not Googling for medical advice to general life! Check it out if you’d like.
The post I linked to for general life above has one of my favorite pictures (my very own Pinterest fail):
Charleston Moms has a lot of really great stories everyday, so follow them on Facebook or visit their site.
I always wanted to work for reasons that most people want to work, and that reason is MONEY! I started working when I was fifteen years old as a bus person at Norwin Diner where I learned to quickly clear and clean tables and bus dishes back to the singing dishwasher.
The work environment was great since most of the employees were either my age or these cranky but funny, older waitresses, who had a smoker’s cough and deep voice. I fondly look back and remember one of these older waitresses selling ‘made-to-order’ erotic Christmas cookies for co-workers – more specifically, naked snowmen with more than your standard snowman parts. What a gem this lady was! I honestly think that she made more money doing this than being a waitress.
After a little over a year, I abruptly quit ‘the diner’ when someone got sick all over a table, and it was my job to clean it up. My boss said to me, you gonna clean that up? And I replied, nope, I am going home. I realized in that moment that I would never make it as nurse and chalked it up to some good life experience.
After my busing days were over, I worked in various other fast food chains before finishing my college studies and then returning to college as an adult to pursue my accounting degree. As I gained my experience in accounting at various companies, it helped me to ‘check-the-box’ in what I really wanted from my career path. Sure, I probably made some poor decisions in leaving some companies too soon, but I always felt that if I evolved from the work, or the learning ended, that I needed to move forward. I love learning and working hard.
However, it all changed when I became a mom, because I wanted to stay home!!! All the other mothers in my neighborhood stayed home, so I felt all eyes on me when I would pack my baby up in the car to drive him to daycare. I also got the mom-guilt at work, because I worked with all men; they would say, why aren’t you at home with your baby? It was a rough scene somedays. I did this for four years until I could finally step down from a full-time job and start looking for a part time accounting position.
I made it my mission to consider everything that I wanted out of my next job leap. I like to compare and think of my frequent career changes as that old tv show, Quantum Leap, always jumping into my next adventure. Pay, hours, flexibility, distance, and limited customer service – a lot of accounting jobs are a glorified secretary role, especially when you are the only girl in the office. I was not going to lower my standards.
Fast forward to my current job as a remote, part-time accountant, all my expectations are met and my employer and client value my input. Now the other side of this equation is that I no longer have daycare support and there have been cases where some ‘people’ think that I have all this extra time – so not true!
My job demands an intense schedule, so work is constant. I also find myself missing the comradery of other employees, so I often advise my son’s soccer ball, Wilson, for final decisions, haha. But at the end of the day, working remotely has drastically changed my life for the better. I get to continue my profession, and my mombligations (I just made that word up, mom + obligations). In addition, I know longer have to get rush myself to get to work, and I am available at a moment’s notice if my kids need me. My point is that you don’t have to settle for a job, there are satisfying careers, but it will require work.
It was quite literally a crappy day earlier this week. My dog, who is 5 months old, had some kind of a stomach (or poop…) bug. What a delight to walk into the room and see her crate full of poop, complete with paw-prints in it. Ugh!!
We took a short trip to the vet, where a poo test and x-rays showed nothing serious – she apparently just had some random stomach upset. The sign outside at her vet always has funny sayings and on that day said something like “sometimes you’re the bug, sometimes you’re the windshield. That sign seemed particularly appropriate for the day. I was definitely the windshield that day!
At home, I was so proud because I successfully “pilled” her with her medicine, it was truly miraculous… until she hurled it all back up. In her crate. That I just cleaned all the poop out of. :O At least we decided to hold off on her heart worm and flea/tick medicine for a day until her stomach was better – silver linings, right?
That whole debacle really made for a very Monday-ish Monday. I was really pretty excited about the day until that happened, which was around 9am! My friend and I went to the gym, we were feeling productive, and I had fun things planned for after work.
It’s amazing how much your life revolves around bathroom habits when you have a kid and a dog. Seriously, I never could’ve imagined it. You know how there are always articles telling you how “they never told you about ___” before becoming a parent? Well, my fill in the blank is definitely “how your life revolves around poop.” I even did a YouTube video about something along those lines.
But really, once you’re the parent of a puppy, and especially of a baby, poop is life.
With a dog, you’re in the yard every few hours, waiting, then cheering and praising when the pup poops, you have to get home in time to ensure they can poop, etc.
With a baby, you’re concerned with all the things – did she go, when did she go, how much, what color, what consistency, the list goes on. Thankfully, poop doesn’t gross me out like it does my husband. I don’t enjoy it, but it doesn’t freak me out.
My friend, a nurse, is on a whole different level of comfort, apparently. The running joke is how she could eat while wiping a butt. However, it’s worth noting that while she was watching a baby once (before she had her son), she was changing a diaper with these giant gloves on like she was dealing with birds of prey, so I’m not sure if she is as cool with poop as she says, haha! It was basically one of the best things I’ve ever seen and I so wish I had a picture!
Anyway, hope your Monday was less “crappy” than mine. 🙂
Wintry, rainy, January, now February days can make for some serious cabin fever. I am thankful that I have found some great activities to keep my busy boys occupied this winter aside from climbing the walls and jumping on their beds, smh, so I thought that I would share!
The first activity that I take them to is a kid’s yoga class, called, “Kidding Around with Yoga with Miss Jennie”. I found out about this class through a flier that I picked up from a downtown Irwin store, Feathers, and I have attended two classes since with both of my boys, ages 4 and 6.
I love that my kids are doing Yoga, because it doesn’t feel like a committed activity, like baseball, soccer, etc., and they both can participate at the same time. Plus, all the kids are learning great techniques in relaxing, mediation, and exercise along with coping skills when they are having, a bad day to just relax and take a deep breath. I highly recommend it!
My next activity that I practically auto-enroll them in are swimming classes at the Wilmerding Community Center, because both kids can take their class on the same night. This place recently changed from YMCA to Wilmerding Community Center, so it is an older facility but still has a great pool! Classes are reasonably priced and taught by excellent instructors who take their time with the kids when they need additional help or are scared of jumping in the pool. They also have a family changing room for parents, like me, who don’t always have their spouse around to help change kids out of wet clothes.
And finally, my last share on a winter activity is taking the kids out to the bowling alley. My kids love this place, because they get to throw bowling balls, get to knockdown bowling pins, and play in the arcade. One other honorable mention of my kids’ love for this place are the vending machines that my kids hit me up for pop, bubble-gum, and useless toys. The bowling alley is just a great way to get in some good quality time together while playing a very low-maintenance sport.
Hopefully some of these ideas help to inspire you to get out of your hibernation mode.
So, it’s been a while. Like a few years. But, here we are, trying to get back on track and start writing this for real this time!
I guess a good place to start would be to do a whirlwind catch up. In the last 3 years I’ve lived a LOT of life. I’m pretty sure that I posted in the past about what a year 2015 was (if not, let’s just say it sucked. Miscarriage, lots of relatives died – including my dad, I had a high-risk pregnancy and delivered my daughter 3 months early, she had a 3 month Nicu stay). Well, 2018 and part of 2019 looked a lot like 2015, and the second half of 2019 looked a lot like 2004 – except for me… I’m about 40 pounds heavier than in 04 (WTH???). :O
Some of the notable points are our family had a serious health issue (all is well now, thank goodness), two of our pets died one month apart, and we had a major move. We’re back in the north again! People think we’re nuts for that, but look, Dorothy was right. What can I say?
Some things that haven’t changed:
- I work for the same company I did in the south, which is pretty awesome because it means no commuting in the snow.
- I still need to lose weight (insert face palm emoji here…). I’m working on that with Caleigh.
- I still need to get this blog going (insert emoji of a clock here – what the heck have we been waiting for???) – I’m working on that with Dawn.
- I haven’t gotten to have Thanksgiving dinner or go to the mall with Bret Michaels (insert heart emoji here…) – honestly, that’s such a dream of mine, haha! I’ve met him a few times and he is the nicest human alive. I’m not even sure how he’s a real person. I have to get to hang with him at the mall for an afternoon at least once in my life!
- I still need to figure out how to make my dream of having a talk show come true – I’m trying to find the solution to that too. That one takes a lot of work. Or maybe I’m overthinking it.
Not starting a talk show definitely bothers me every day that I haven’t done anything about it. I figure 2020 is a good time to figure that out. Wouldn’t it be lovely to get it going before turning 40? Life has been very life-y since 2015, but that can’t be an excuse anymore. People do it and find a way, and I need to do that too. With everything being so accessible these days, there’s really not a reason to not do it. Here’s a cool article I read about it never being too late.
And here’s a meme that I love (and need to live by…) – note that I (obviously) didn’t create this meme, I found it on Google.
It bothers me that SO many people in my life know that about my longtime dream of having a talk show, and I’ve done nothing. I’m not one who cares what others think about me, but it bothers me that I could be perceived as a dreamer rather than a doer. How awful would that be? Do they put that shit on headstones “She dreamt of a talk show.” Ugh.
I was texting with someone earlier today and I wrote “I don’t care if it’s a talk show with an audience, it can be on youtube. I just want to get to a point where I a) do it, and b) can sustain myself doing it. I want that to be my job. I want to be like Caleigh. Cheer is her passion and she has built her gym into something amazing that I’m SO proud of her for. I want to build something amazing and have my family and friends be proud of me for it.” I have a cool corporate job, but getting to make people laugh and figure out why they are how they are is what makes me actually feel fulfilled. I LOVE talking to people and trying to learn about them.
I don’t have the answer, but I’m working on it. By the end of 2020, I need to say that I’ve been working on it and things are *happening.* I have put some videos on youtube, check them out!
Speaking of 2020, I’m not one for resolutions, but hey, for shits and giggles, I’ll put some things that would be nice to do down. Perhaps goals, not resolutions.
- Get in shape. For real. Once and for all. I don’t want to look at another damn picture and say “wouldn’t it be lovely if I ____.” I want to look at a picture and say “yes, that paid off. I’m so glad that I no longer use the whale emoji in texts to my friends when talking about heading to the pool or beach.”
- FIGURE OUT HOW TO LIVE MY PASSION. Seriously. Guys, I know this must sound stupid on some level. She wants to talk for a living. I know that sounds nuts, but seriously, it’s what I want to do, it’s what people have done, and I need that to be me so that we’re not having this same conversation again in Jan. 2021. I want to be living my passion so that my family and friends are proud of me and think of me as someone who actually lives their dreams, not just fantasizes.
- Figure out how to get the sassies (what I call it when my daughter is sassy) and periodic tantrums to go away and have the sweet smile return all the time. I know a smile 100% of the time is nuts too, she’s a kid, not a robot, but dang, I miss seeing that ever-present smile. She is still SO happy, but she’s also sassy sometimes. The other day on the phone with a customer service person, he asked if I had any other questions. I said yes, do you have any tips about toddler temper tantrums? He got a kick out of that, but sadly he had no tips to share.
So, that’s it. Dawn and I are going to make a real effort to keep this blog up, and I will attempt to meet the other goals for 2020.
What is it about babies that makes them so darn adorable and addictive??? Yesterday at work, one lady brought her 6-month old baby (because her baby got a fever and had to be picked up from daycare). The baby was so quiet – she didn’t make a peep all day! Somehow just seeing this sweet little peanut at the office made me want to literally go running home to my baby!!!
I ended up working longer than normal yesterday, and by the time I left I really couldn’t wait to get home! When I got through the door, Kennedy was waiting with a smile. That girl is too much! I just want to hug her all day, everyday! She’s really into high-fiving and making funny faces right now, which makes it even more fun when she greets you.
As it turns out, I did get to spend a ton of time with her yesterday, because that little night owl didn’t go to sleep until 1:30am! She has more energy than anyone I know. Foolishly, I thought putting the cool projector on would mesmerize her enough to fall asleep. That backfired. She did find the projector to be mesmerizing, but it just wound her up more!! She stood up in her bed, started pointing and oohing and ahhhing at the stars on the ceiling. Finally I just caved and held her til she fell asleep. Oops. I completely realize that I ended up wasting my time because ultimately picking her up just encourages her to do that again to avoid going to sleep, but 2 hours of that was enough for one night. 😀
She’s my only baby, and as mentioned in other posts, will always be the only baby. So, to be honest, I don’t really care if I “spoil” her or if she likes to be held all the time. She’s so special and with everything she went through when she was born, I want to snuggle her and don’t feel guilty about that at all! It’s really crazy to look at her now and imagine that she had a rough start. You would seriously never know. She’s my little Power Preemie who’s capable of anything! I’m ready for this girl to start talking and share all of her thoughts with us! She’s only one, but she’s had such an interesting life already and I’m sure she has tons of cool things to say!