Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Walking the Tight Rope

I don't usually write "mommy blog" posts and that's because my blog is usually about me and I'm trying to block out the random things that my teenager nor my tween keeps babbling about as I'm having my "me" time. This brings me to my topic - the fine balancing act of being a mom.

I'm kind of a "older" mom. I had my first child at 28 and my last two "double trouble" at 35. That means I had lots of time in my life to be a little selfish with my time.

Prior to being "mom," I had a job that I love and was also going to college. At that point in my life, my entire focus was on having a career. Of course, the first time I held that little boy who's now taller than me, all my priorities has changed. I didn't quite realize it because I was still very focused on having my career. I had graduated just before my son was born, so I was interviewing and dealing with a newborn at the same time. It was through those early interviews that I realized how difficult having a career would be.

My son was about a year old and I was interviewing for a great position. I would be writing the monthly newsletter for a major health care company. I had this interview nailed. It was exactly what I was looking for, I had the experience and it would had paid well. There was just one little glitch, I had a meet a woman for whom I would have to occasionally write an article . So I'm sitting in the room, waiting for the meeting and this is supposed to be just a formality. This lady rushing into the room, rejects my attempt to shake hands and the first thing she says to me is, "if I have an article that I need out by midnight and I don't get the information to you until 9 p.m., what are you going to do?" I explained that although I would be home by that time because I often have other commitments (my kid!), I'd be more than happy to write at home and e-mail it to her as soon as I could. She said that she would expect me to come back to the office and stay as late it needed be.

I knew that wouldn't be for me, so I took a "mommy track" job at a private school and remained there for eight years. I make it work with my degree and I still had to maintain that balancing act between being "mom" and a career woman. I proceeded to have three more children during that time. Over the next few years, I balanced being a mom, a wife, a professional, but somewhere I lost me. That is the one role that got dropped from my act. Eventually, the wife role was dropped as well. That's what happens when you can't perfect the act.

Now I work from home and have for the past three years and you would think that it would be getting easier. It has in some aspects because if I do have a sick child, they just stay home with me. Go figure that I've only had to keep one home sick from school and that was just once. It is still tough because it's difficult to be able to do things with my children. I'm often caring for others children so I'm not able to do things like field trips or after school events. My attention is always divided between my own children and the needs of the children that I care for on a daily basis. I make it work.

At this point in my life, as my children are all in school, I'm facing the possibility of having to go out in the "working world" again and wonder if I still have it in me to have the outside pressure of that balancing act. Only time will tell, but this time I refuse to put my family last because I've worked too hard to build a good second marriage and to be a good mom to my kids and no job is worth losing that.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Memories of Fall

The end of summer is usually a bit sad for me because I love the hot summer days. I hate to admit it, but I kind of like fall, too, but I don't like what comes after it. I think each change of season has it own special magic. Especially, this year, I was over the extreme heat that we had to endure and was ready for something a little cooler.

My favorite thing about fall is the changing of the leaves. I grew up in the small town of Ortonville in Michigan. My favorite thing about fall is walking down Hummer Lake Road and just admiring the awning of leaves that formed an archway over the dirt road. Ever since I moved away from home twenty years ago, I think about that scene and how I wish I had photographed it. I can still smell the leaves and see the beautiful red, gold and orange leaves. Every year, I think about going up there just to take that picture, but haven't made it at the right time.

As I think about the leaves, I can smell the bonfires in my dad's backyard on a chilly fall evening and I'd love to be cuddled up in my favorite hoodie, watching the flames and listening to the wood crackle.  I could watch the fire for hours and maybe even enjoy a little hot cider as my hands got colder. That sweet cider would sure taste good right now.

Then I remember the hayrides. I had a friend who's birthday was in October and I remember her dad hooking up the trailer to the tractor and all of us riding around those dirt roads, occasionally one of us would hop off to stuff some of that hay into a mailbox, just a little surprise for the neighbors the next morning to let them know that we'd been there.

I miss the high school football games and watching my best friend Christy cheering and hanging out with friends afterwards or maybe going to a school dance. As I got older, it was cruising in my old LeBaron down M-15. So many memories of those time, but as all the leaves fell and made way for the cold winds of winter, those found memories came to an end. That's okay though, there's chances for new memories every year.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

What Do I Want to be When I Grow Up?

We always ask children the question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" You hear a variety of answers from doctor to policeman to teacher or in the case of my daughter, when she was 3, "the wicked witch of the east." She was a little obsessed with the "Wizard of Oz."

Then there is me, for years, I wanted to be a teacher. I went to college to become a teacher and all I'm missing is my student teaching. I did substitute for a time, but teaching wasn't my true career destiny. Truthfully, it took me a long time to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. I'm now 41-years-old and I do know, but I'm just trying to figure out how to accomplish this.

I've never been known as a person who had clear direction in life. I went through multiple majors in college and finally settled on an English major because reading and writing is are my first loves. I loved being an English major and submersed myself in the classics and long term papers.  Then came my senior year and I'm also very pregnant with my oldest child at this point and still don't know what I want for my career. I am sitting in my adviser's office and I say to him, "So I'm graduating soon with this English degree, what I am I going to do with it?" He simply said, "I don't know, I've been here for twenty years." Oh, that helps! That was nearly fourteen years ago.

Here's what I've done since that day, I've been a manager of marketing communications, administrative assistant, desktop publisher, substitute teacher and daycare provider. My Facebook page says that I'm a freelance writer and editor. That is what I want to do, that's been my career ambition. That is my passion, my love, my life. That is what I want to be when I grow up.

Here's the major do I get those jobs and be paid for them. I'm not independently wealthy and I can't work for free, that's for sure. My confidence is the other issue. I know I'm a good writer, but good isn't good enough, I need to be a great writer. I am my harshest critic and my own worst enemy. I can't let this stop me. I have a family to provide for and if I want to make a go of this, I can't let it stop me.

So here is my public commitment. I will write one blog, article, something per day and submit it in an attempt to begin this career. This has to happen and I'm the only person that can make it happen.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


It's been been a few months since I've been blogging. Most of that is because I've been going through several changes in my life and it's taken an emotional hit on me. One of my favorite sayings in my life came from the movie "Parenthood." It was the scene where things are going out of control and the grandma said, something to the effect, "I've always liked the roller coaster. Some people like the carousel. It just goes round and round though." My life is that roller coaster, with lots of ups and downs. I would like to get off the carousel right now after these past few months. I'll take a little calmness right now.

So here's a quick synopsis of what's been going on and some of this, my own family didn't know and won't know unless they actually read this. Last March, my husband and I found out we were expecting. We were thrilled and after having two miscarriage prior, we were very nervous. We found out at eight weeks though that we lost the baby the week before and that began my break from blogging because I couldn't talk about it and any writing for a couple of months just stayed personal.

Then summer started and the craziness that comes with that when you have a house full of kids and that actually helped me with my healing. Then came the big bomb that hit late last month, just a week before school started again; the house that we'd been living in for the past three and half years was being sold and we had to find another place fast. My "day job" is a child care provider for mainly elementary age children and if I didn't find a new house near the elementary school, then I lose my main source of income. Well, that's what happened. We found a house last week and it's one street away from the district line. I couldn't even keep my younger kids in the same school. So we're moving on Saturday and with the move, so is most of my income.

My dream is to be a full-time freelance writer and there's no better time like the present. So now I'll be caring for one child in addition to my own that are all in school and trying to make it in a career that has always been my dream since I was in college. It's scary, exciting and nerve-wracking all at the same time, but it's what I do and I've been missing that creative side of me since I left the corporate working world almost three years ago.

So I suppose I'm not "Just Kelly," I'm Kelly - freelance writer and editor, mom, wife, jewelry creator and exhausted. So let's raise a toast to the next phase in my life, it's been a long time in coming.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Selling out to electronics?

I admit it, I love my electronics. From my phone to my laptop to my iPod to my Kindle Fire, I always have one on me. At first, they were just tools. I used them to write, make phone calls and keep in touch with friends. My biggest hold-out was getting an e-reader.

A year ago, there was no way I'd ever buy an e-reader. I love the feel and smell of books. I love the feel of the paper and the smell of old books. Just last weekend, I went to an antique market and just inhaled the smell of all those old books. I used to go to bookstores and spend hours just wandering up and down the aisles. I had my husband build a bookcase to hold all my treasures. I thought there was no way that having my literature on an electronic tablet would ever compare.

Then I started seeing on Facebook how many of my friends just loved their e-readers and I still said, oh no, they're not for me. How could I ever read Shakespeare or Charlotte Bronte on a computer? It was bad enough that all my photography was stored on my laptop with just select pictures being printed. Then my neighbor bought a Kindle and I started looking at his. Then I saw an e-book that was available on print so I downloaded the Kindle app for my laptop. That's what started my conversion.

My husband and I used to love to go hang out at Border's. Then the bomb hit, they were closing! What was I going to do? Barnes and Noble wasn't as comfy and sure there was Half Price Books, but it still wasn't the same. I went to Border's every week as they were getting ready to close and watched as the prices were dropping and I was still buying books. I also started looking at the e-readers and still kept saying no, they weren't for me. Then they dropped to 65% off and I can't pass up a deal and my husband kept saying, oh you know you want one. Yeah, I had to admit that deep down, I kind of did.

So I excited the store that day with a new Sony e-reader in hand. I couldn't put it down and where ever I went I had it with me, but I was still reading real books along with the books on my e-reader. I still wasn't betraying my books. I was okay with that.

Then came Valentine's Day and my sweet husband, knowing how much I loved my Sony, bought me a Kindle Fire. Oh My God, do I love it!! It's never far from my side and I also love that I can get online with it and have any apps that I want. Yes, I've sold out and haven't picked up a real book in over a month. I put a leather cover on it and it feels like a fine book now, at least on the outside. I guess that I just need to go and sniff my antique books every once in a while for the smell of them.

What has become of the first e-reader that I bought just eight months ago? I'm wiping it clean for my kids because I already have one kid who loves books almost as much as me.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Why do I write?

I suppose people write for a variety of reasons. Some write for pleasure, some write for their job, and probably a plethora of other reasons. I write my own blog for therapy. I'm not good at talking to people in real life, most of them live inside this little box. I have few friends and honestly, I probably drive my husband crazy when I talk for hours at the end of the day because I have little adult interaction during the day. Most of the time, my best conversation are with a 6-month-old. For me, writing is a way to get out all those thoughts that go around in my head.

I also adore the written word. I've always been a reader and never thought of myself as much of a writing until college. To be honest, I had a middle school teacher who told me that I should avoid writing at all cost because I was so terrible at it. Yes, he had the nerve to tell a 13-year-old kid that because I used the word "the" too many times in a composition. So it wasn't until I was in college, when I was getting A's on all my papers and positive words from my professors that I could look at writing as something that I could do, be good at and enjoy.

The hardest part is keeping the self-doubt from creeping in, as it often does. I have to remember, that to be an even better writing, I have to write every day and I have a little talent as a writer and the more I write, the better I will become. Singers don't get to be great singers without practicing and athletes don't get to be great athletes without continuing to practice their skills and continue to improve them.

To be a professional writer is a big dream for me. Yes, I've had some things published and I do freelance work, but my goal is to make this full-time for me. My greatest thrill ever, as a writer, was when I picked up the phone for our receptionist one day when I was at my old job and the person asked to speak the the author of the latest piece in the company's e-newsletter. In my head, I was thinking, Oh my God, she's talking about me!! Wow, I'm an author!!! Of course, being the professional that I am, I put her only hold and told her that I'd connect her and ran back to my office. When I was talking to the woman, she went on and on about how wonderful this article was and was so complimentary of my writing style. I needed to hear that.

I know I'll be successful at this endeavor someday. I might not be today or tomorrow, but I will keep working at it until I've made it.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Thanks Peyton for the Great Ride

I love sports, I just don't play them for the simple fact that I don't like to sweat and I'm a klutz. I play a bit of tennis or go bowling, that's about it. I love the excitement when my Colts score a touchdown or the roar of the engines as IndyCars soar into the first turn. I love when my husband tears up when that Gomer Pyle guy sings "Back Home Again in Indiana because he lives and breathes the 500. I love the excitement and chaos that the Super Bowl brought to Indiana this past February. Most importantly, I love how sports bring people together for a little fun.

I admit that I was downright pissed when the Colts let Jim Harbaugh go to pick up Peyton Manning back in '98 because to me, Jim Harbaugh made me love the Colts because I had followed his career since I was in high school and he playing for the University of Michigan. That is how the NFL works though, it's all about making a better team because it's all about the wins because no one likes watching a losing team. I experienced that too much growing up in Michigan and having the Lions lose.

Peyton Manning proved himself though and we all watched as the Colts went from a mediocre team to Super Bowl champions. It was so important to Indianapolis to have a team they could really cheer for and give a sense of excitement to Naptown. We don't have much around for entertainment and waiting for the Colts to demolish the next team gave us something to look forward to every Sunday. It was awesome watching Peyton as more than a quarterback and more like a computer as he executed his precision spiraling throws to Marvin Harrison or Dallas Clark. Wow, that man can through and he can analyze and change up plays on the fly to baffle the other teams.

Then came last season and Peyton's neck surgeries. We knew it was serious and the team seemed to fall apart. The excitement was gone as we watched our Colts lose week after week. My husband and I went to a pre-season game and it was just heart-wrenching. Would the Colts be the same without Peyton? We had to face the facts though that the team would eventually have to move on without Peyton and with a chance at the number one pick, I don't see how the Colts had any other option than to let him go. I had become a Peyton Manning fan and even named a pug I once had, Peyton.

It was so sad watching yesterday's press conference when it became official that Peyton Manning would no longer be a Colt. The future of the Colts as we know is unknown, but I'm sure they will be back on top after a couple of years of re-building the team. I think everyone is a little sad right now because the team was built around him, but it will be okay.

So thank you Peyton for a great fourteen year ride and good luck with whatever team you end up with, as long as it's not the evil Patriots. Now on to racing season and I don't mean NASCAR!!