6

Chicken with Tomatoes and Lime (delicious, quick, and healthy recipe)

Posted by admin on Nov 22, 2009 in Delicious Recipes Only

Hi Everyone: 

Here is another recipe I love, thanks going to my writing cohort, Louise Ross.  It’s for Chicken with Tomatoes and Lime, and it’s another GOLD STAR rated recipe (which means it’s healthy, easy, tastes great AND my daughter eats it)! Now, if you live in the US, and you celebrate Turkey Day, you’re perhaps thinkin’ ”Uh, how’s that fit into the festivities?” (The rest of you are thinking, “Thank God! I’m tired of stuffing recipes already!” )  Here’s how it fits: when you get to *next* Thursday (that would be December 3rd), and you’ve had it with turkey, turkey omelets, turkey soup, turkey salad, turkey shakes, turkey cake, and, my favorite, turkey turkey, you’ll thank me for this easy, quick, healthy recipe with very, very few ingredients!

So, back to Louise!  She has a wonderful blog called Market to Mouth (also on my blogroll).  The premise of her blog is that you can budget shop at Whole Foods, and you can eat yummy food at the same time.  

This recipe is easy to right size, so I am writing it based on 2 adults and 1 kidlet. 

Ingredients first….

–   3 half breasts of chicken (each one being the size of my hand, which….er…you cannot see)
–   1 lime (no need to add an extra lime until you get to about 5 or 6 half breasts)
–   3 tomatoes (you’ll want 1 per breast; I used Campari Tomatoes, so I used 2 per breast, or 6)
–   White wine (I used half a cup. I can’t drink white wine, so I keep one of those mini-crates with single servings of white wine in the fridge.  That way, I don’t waste it when I want to cook with it. Louise also says you can also use Lemonade  – which I will try next time, which is probably more likely to be in a single mom’s or mom’s fridge).
–   Cooking Oil (I used olive oil)
–   Salt and pepper to taste
–   Cheese (That’s my add. I like to sprinkle cheese on everything.)
–   1 potato or rice or pasta (We did a potato friend with some olive oil though this recipe will do well with any of these sides)

What To Do…..

1) Heat some oil in a pan and toss in chicken pieces, brown slightly.
2) Slice a lime, and a couple of tomatoes, toss over chicken.
3) Add the pan lid and turn heat to low.
4) At around the 15 minute mark, remove the lime pieces. If you have any lemonade, or a fruity / oaky white wine (if not use water), moisten the bottom of the pan with your choice of liquid. Cook another 15 mins or so.
The lime infuses the chicken with a sourness that sweet tomatoes, lemonade or fruity white wine compliment by offsetting the sourness.
5) Serve over cooked pasta well oiled with olive oil, or boiled rice, or crispy pan-fried potatoes. (This where I sprinkled a bit of cheese on top.)

All of us loved this recipe, and the leftover sauce was great on pasta the next day. 

Here’s a link to this recipe at Market to Mouth: http://markettomouth.blogspot.com/2009/04/living-richly-simply.html

Feel free to share any recipes you want to as well.  You can email them to me at swatibharteey@rcn.com  and I will post them (crediting you of course) or you can leave it in a comment.

Enjoy the chicken!                                                                    

Swati

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8

Easy, Healthy Pumpkin Bread (YUMMY)

Posted by admin on Nov 20, 2009 in Delicious Recipes Only

Hi Everyone:  

I’ve gotten some requests to post recipes so I thought I would share some favorites with you.  Today’s recipe is healthy and easy Pumpkin Bread.  Thanks to my devilish friend Lesley for sharing it with me (by the way, she has her own children’s clothing business at www.cheekybanana.com check it out as the clothes are beautiful and ever-lasting).

Feel free to share any recipes you want to as well.  You can email them to me at swatibharteey@rcn.com  and I will post them (crediting you of course) or leave it in a comment.

Now this Pumpkin Bread gets GOLD STAR rating from me. Why?  Well, my rating scale goes like this:

 GOLD: Healthy, easy, tastes great AND my daughter eats it (so I assume all kids will)!
SILVER: I love it, my daughter doesn’t, but I still make it for me…may or may not be totally healthy, but likely to be easy because it’s from *me*.
BRONZE:  Probably means it’s gooey and chocolately and not so good for you…and that’s why it’s a favorite ANYWAY. 
ALL ELSE: Will not be posted on this site!

My scale is not an exact science :-). 

 Ingredients first:
2 bread pans (8 inch bread loaf pans; I buy the aluminum ones))

1 14 oz can of condensed milk

2.5 cups of flour (you can use up to a half cup of wheat flour if you want to…after that, it’s too “wheaty” for my taste)

½ cup of brown sugar (not bad for 1 loaves)

¾ cup of Wheat Germ (very good for you)

1 teaspoon ginger powder

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup of Pure Pumpkin (when buying a can, make sure you get PURE pumpkin, not pumpkin Pie filling; sometimes I put in more than a cup)

5 tablespoons of butter

1 egg

Walnuts or pecans if you want, I don’t bother

What to do with all that stuff…

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Put everything on that list up there into a large bowl and mix it up! (if you have the patience, mix the dry ingredients first so they are blended, then add the wet ones.
  3. If you have Pam Cooking Spray, spray it into your pans (nothing bad happens if you don’t have Pam)
  4. Bake for 60-70 minutes.
  5. Hide 1 loaf from the rest of your family.  Trust me.
  6. I like to drench each piece in butter before I eat it.

Let me know how it comes out!

Happy cooking – Swati

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8

Working Moms Losing Custody Battles in Divorce

Posted by admin on Nov 18, 2009 in Articles

Hi all:

I wanted to share this sobering article from Working Mother Magazine with you.  It is about an emerging trend: women losing custody battles in divorce.  It may not surprise anyone to hear about the increasing number of women taking on the role of breadwinner for their families while their husbands stay home and manage the kids.  But there appears to be an after-shock if you land in divorce court.  After reading this, I have to ask, have women broken through glass ceilings and conquered careers only to lose custody of their children? I really, truly hope not. 

When I went through my divorce, I was resentful of having to completely support our household financially and do everything on the home-front plus child-rearing.  I was so exhausted.  After reading this article, I am thankful. 

My heart is breaking for Julie, the woman highlighted in this piece, titled “Custody Lost” by Sally Abrahms.  She was seeking joint custody and instead, her husband was awarded primary custody.

Let me know what you think after you take a read, the link is:

 http://www.workingmother.com/?service=vpage/106

 –          Swati

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16

My First Night Out as a Single Mom

Posted by admin on Nov 16, 2009 in Dating as a Single Mom

Hi everybody,

The first time I felt the itch to socialize and date as a single mom, I was just two months out of court, post-divorce, not really knowing what I was after. But I knew I needed some new people in my new life.  So grab a coffee or a cocoa, take a leisurely read through, and when you’re done, tell me about your forays into the world of dating and meeting new people…

It was bound to happen to me, this whole going out thing. I was starting to have that cooped up feeling. I wanted to socialize. With adults. And I wanted to tell somebody a story from beginning to end, without any interruptions. My daughter was now at her dad’s house every Friday night, so I had one precious night a week to myself. Half of the time it was ‘booked’ with working late or putting on pajamas as soon as I got home, hitting my couch with takeout, a movie and ice cream (just writing that makes me sigh happily). But I decided it was time to reacquaint myself with old friends, and make some new ones too. And I kind of felt the stirrings of curiosity about the dating world, though I had had such little experience with it.

I hadn’t been out as a single woman in nearly two decades: one college relationship had led to another relationship, which had led to marriage. That was pretty much it. I was ready to go out, I thought…sort of. I was noticing *men* once again.

Working within my wavelength, a girlfriend called me on one fine Tuesday to invite me to a happy hour for single professionals the following Friday, and I eagerly yelped out a “Yes!”  The event sounded like a good place to start. Immediately after I hung up, I began to wonder what I would wear. And, a small part of me felt ticklish as I wondered if fairy tales still came true: maybe I could meet Prince Charming on my first night out and live happily ever after, and avoid this whole thing…? It could happen. So I’ve heard.

My closet was full of suits and other business clothes; I also had my “weekend wear,” which fit my status as a single-working-mom-with-an-almost-three-year-old: sweats. Given that I was now broke (thanks to a five figure divorce), shopping was not an option, so I had to look in my closet again.

Friday finally arrived. I indulged in a bubble bath. “Oh my goodness,” I thought, “when I took the time to fix myself up, I actually looked pretty!” Hair: shiny; skin: nice and clear. Smile: full on and present. I had slid into a pair of cool, silky underwear. I had gotten into my skinny jeans without jumping around, trying to use gravity as my enabler – the ones I wore before I had had my daughter. I had found a pretty red and pink water-colored top with billowy sleeves in the back of my closet, never worn. Shimmery eye shadow and a rosy blush made my face sparkle warmly. My fingernails matched my toes and they looked so lovely in a feathery-pink shade of polish – I had forgotten how nice it was to be well manicured. And I used an actual, Hollywood style powder-puff to put on a glittery, lightly scented powder. I felt soft and girlie inside. I had just spent an hour fixing my hair and putting makeup on my face – a luxury I hadn’t indulged in since…well I couldn’t remember. Music played in the background and I sang along when I wanted to, as loud as I wanted to, and I did a few dance steps too. Feeling very Sex and the City, I switched to a purse that matched my high heeled shoes.

As I took another twirl in the mirror, I paused. I felt like eighteen years of experiences, feelings, and significant events were a jumbled, messy stack of memories in my hand, punctuated by divorce. Woven in was laughter, sadness, joy, pain, confusion, confidence, fear, elation, heart break. And suddenly, a light breeze had come by, on its way to someplace else, and scattered my memories from my palm to random locations, connected and unconnected. It was so strange and yet it was real: I was single again. The life I thought was going to happen was not going to happen. I was going to figure it out, again. I was scared. I was certain I was on the right path. I was going out again, this time as a single mother.

I shook it off, smiled back pointedly at myself, and headed off to meet my friends for the singles mixer.

By the time I got situated in a taxi, I was bubbling with excitement; I felt so lighthearted, energized! At the bar, I found my girlfriend pretty quickly (i.e. my shield for the evening) and the ratio of men to women actually looked pretty even. Within minutes, a tall nice looking guy with a dark purple jacket walked up to us and said smoothly, “Hi, I’m Barney. It’s nice to meet you.” I immediately suppressed a laugh and sipped my drink. Barney, the tall guy in the purple jacket? I had just ordered a Barney the Dinosaur character (yes, the one who has an entirely purple body) to come sing at my daughter’s third birthday party! We introduced ourselves and made small talk. Then we asked him what he did for a living. He paused, stuttered, and said “I’m a sor-sor-sourcer.” Not wanting a pause in conversation after the stuttering, we all paused. Thankfully, my vocal chords jumped to life and I asked with a smile, “What do you source?” He paused, and then gave us a vague reply, “Well, lots of different things…” and casually wandered off. My girlfriend stared at his back as he floated away, as if on a magic carpet; she then muttered, “Do you think he meant he was a ‘sorcerer” and not a ‘sourcer’?” We laughed like we were in high school and headed towards the finger foods. We talked to a couple more single men, no sparks. Then we bumped into another man who quickly introduced himself between bites (“Hi I’m Joe ”) and told us that he worked in the women’s fashion industry. Ok, that could be interesting. He should be easy to talk to! “Do you enjoy it?” I asked. He tore into a chicken wing and said matter-of-factly:”Well I can now walk up to a woman and immediately tell her what her bra size is; want me to tell you your sizes?” We didn’t. We already knew our sizes. In fact, thanks to Oprah, we knew our correct sizes. We left, giggling silly. And that was my first evening out as a single working mother.

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12

Talk to Your Kids About Working and Why It’s Important (Secret 5: Balancing Work and Single Motherhood

Posted by admin on Nov 13, 2009 in Tips for Single and Partnered Parents

Talk to your kids about working and why it’s important

Hi everybody: 

Talking to your child(ren) about working and why it’s important is Secret Number 5 in my five part series on gaining a better balance between working and being a single mom. 

It’s important our kids recognize the importance of working and what it brings into our lives (food, a place to sleep, vacations, toys); it’s also important our kids understand that we gain some satisfaction from working.  The two messages together reinforce the tangible and intangible benefits of working. In my daughter’s case, I gained a third benefit too: she started imagining herself behind my desk, being “in charge.”

As your child begins to comprehend the concept of work and why you do it, he or she will get more comfortable with the idea that mommy has to do something else besides focus on me, and I know why (disclaimer…there will still be times when your child demands 130% of your attention – but you already know that).  The point is that by communicating with your child about work, he or she is better equipped to understand why you work, thus making it easier on you.  And that’s always a good thing. 

Naturally, you cannot converse with your kids in the way you can with an adult.  I’ve used differing strategies based on how old my daughter was.  My main goal was to try to get her as familiar as possible with what I did and why I did it.  Here are a few examples:

 – Introduce “Work” to your child in an Age Appropriate Manner: When my daughter was just two years old, I would tell her I was leaving to go to work.  I’d also bring her back little things from work  – a giveaway scrunchie ball, a cup holder, a teddy bear from an in-house health fair; whatever I could find that she could relate to.  I told her my job was to help people as I worked in human resources, and she seemed to understand this explanation.  

– Let Your Child See Your Work Space: As she got older, I would take her to my office every now and then (most people can do this on the weekends) and set her up with a marker at the white board; she would draw me a beautiful scribble to look at all week.  And she’d get a sense of what I meant when I said, “I have to be at my desk by 8:45am.”

– Let Your Child Experience Your Work Environment as Appropriate for Your Work Situation: When she was four or five, I had my nanny bring her by a few times at lunch so we could eat together and she could meet my co-workers – and she could feel the ‘buzz’ of the office.  She started asking more questions about what I did all day long and what my team members did all day long.  Interestingly, she also wanted to know if my team members were happy. 

– Explain Not Only Why Work is Important, But Also Why It’s Important to YOU: My daughter and I talk about why work is important like paying for food and our house; by the time she got to age six, I also started telling her that I really enjoy it and it’s another thing in my life that makes me happy.  I wanted her to know that it’s essential to do something you love and it’s ok to enjoy things that make you feel happy. 

Before I end this post, I must share an anecdote with you.  One Saturday I had to go in to the office (my daughter was six).   We signed in at the deserted lobby desk, went up the ever-so-lonely elevator, and then I used my badge to get in to the floor.  As we stepped through the door to a darkened hallway, I reached over to turn the lights on…and my daughter blurted happily,” Mommy, you get to be the only one who gets to come in on a Saturday! Is that because you’re the boss of everyone?”  

“Yes Sweetie,” I responded, in the only possible way to answer that question.

So, I’ve now shared my five secrets for gaining balance between work and single motherhood; I’d love to hear any ideas you have as well – or challenges you need some help with.

Talk soon!

Swati

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2

5 Secrets for Balancing Work and Single Motherhood (Number 4)

Posted by admin on Nov 9, 2009 in Tips for Single and Partnered Parents

End Your Relationship with Self-Imposed Guilt

Once upon a time, there was a single working mom who was a consultant.  And she had a H.U.G.E. client proposal to turn in by the end of the week.  She also had a team of four highly capable consultants working for her, plus a very flexible Partner (the Partner is the person in charge of the relationship with the client, the head honcho, the boss) who completely trusted her to get the proposal done.  For simplicity, we can call this single working mother “Swati.”

As luck would have it, the Thursday before this gigantanormous proposal was due, the prospective client called and said, “You know what? I hope it’s not too much trouble but I’d really like it if you could also include <insert: a whole elephant-load more> in the proposal.  Unfortunately, we can’t extend our deadline so we still need it by tomorrow. ” To which, I said, “Of course, no problem. “   (That’s how consulting is – you’re not likely to be able to get a prospective client to move their deadline).

I realized it would take our team about 12-14 hours to add in what the client had just asked for.  It was 3:00pm on Thursday…my boss was arriving back from California at 5:00pm today…the proposal had to get to our binding department by 10:30am the next day…I had to leave work by 4:45pm to get my daughter…and my mom was flying in that night for a long weekend with us.  

I called the team together and asked them who could work through the night.  Amazingly, they all said they would do it!   They plunged into their assignments and I dashed out to get my daughter.  Once the Partner’s plane landed, I called him to explain everything; he diverted his cab and headed to the office to help the team (I had done lots (LOTS) of good work for him so he was genuinely happy to do this for me).  Once he arrived, he and the team called to tell me everything was under control and I could look at the proposal in the morning. 

After some flight delays, my mom arrived at my house at 11:45pm.  Guess what I did? I packed up my computer and went into the office!   What made me go in? Self-Imposed Guilt.  It’s the worst kind of guilt because it just sticks to you wherever you go.  I couldn’t shake the feeling that I should be there.   

Just to review the facts: 1) My boss told me he had it under control and I needn’t worry;  2) the team went out of their way to tell me I was a great boss and they’d be happy to do get the work done. 

For some reason, I couldn’t just accept their help, their gift, and just stay home.  I was at work with them until 4:00am and I was at my daughter’s bedside at 6:00am when she woke.  

So, the Grand Destructor of my work-life balance was…er…me.  We won the proposal; was it specifically because I showed up?  Nope.   The team was awesome and it showed in their work.   Was it a productive use of my energies?  Nope.  All I did was beat myself up over circumstances I couldn’t control – even when the people around me told me it was covered.  And I stumbled through the next three days in a fog, all through my mother’s visit (which made me feel guilty about how I wasn’t participating enough in the weekend with her or my daughter).

Whether you are a single mom, a single dad, or a working parent, I think we all agree we don’t have time to beat ourselves up, to drink up self-imposed guilt.  We need good healthy boundaries and we need to say no when necessary; we also need to say yes when presented with offers for help like I was.  

Take the help, take the help, take the help. I didn’t even have to ask for it; yet I pushed it away.  My behavior change has been to let people help me.  People feel good when you let them help you.  So let them!

See you soon for secret number 5…

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8

Number 3: I am Super Single Mom, former Superwoman…

Posted by admin on Nov 6, 2009 in Tips for Single and Partnered Parents

…Hear Me Roar Pass Out

In point number one in this series on balancing work and single motherhood, we spoke about the importance of understanding what your boss/institution/company needs from you.  Then, in point number two, we discussed the importance of understanding what you need from your job – and communicating those needs to relevant parties.  Realistically, there’s probably some compromise from both sides; but honestly, just doing these two steps has worked for me about 85% of the time. 

And then there’s the other 15%…what can I say? I am a work in process…here’s what happened once upon a time…

I took a new role at a company thinking, “Of course I can do that role.”  And I was right, I could – so I jumped right in and I was off to a stellar start.  After all, I had flexibility – and that was my #1 “must-have” as a single mother.  But eighteen months in, I ended up completely burnt out, kaput, drained of all sunshine and sparkle.  I sat on my couch thinking, “Oh crap…what happened?”   I mean I was able to take my daughter to school three times a week and pick her up once or twice a week like I wanted; on the nights when she was with her father, I got to see my friends and be social; my career was hot, hot, hot and I continued to be promoted every one to two years; and, most importantly, my daughter was doing so well!  I made sure we had some kind of fun activity to do each evening followed by a healthy, home cooked meal.  Oh, and then we had play dates at least twice a week.  Plus I had signed up for adult art classes.  And I had finally started to work out again. And I had done a great job staying in touch with out of town family and friends by having them stay with us or going to see them – which was also important to me.  “Hmmm,“ I said to myself, “I haven’t left anything off of my checklist and I’ve done everything perfectly, so what could be wrong?”  Well, as you may have guessed, the problem was I hadn’t left anything off my list and I had done all of it perfectly.  Anything could be added to my list at any moment in time and I would just plow through it!

I had to learn the hard way that I got to have 24 hours each day, just like anybody else; lots of flexibility at work did not give me a 30 hour day.  I hadn’t thought about my new job in the context of my role as a single mom in the context of my role as a friend, in the context of my role as a sister, in the context of… and I hadn’t cut anything I did out once I took my new job.

Putting all of my roles together painted a totally different picture of what was reasonable.  So, I could in fact do that new job (stated again, in case my ego is still listening), but not in a sustainable fashion as a single mom who had no family nearby, who wanted to see her child in daylight hours, who wanted a healthy lifestyle, who didn’t want to ignore friends and family, who really did need to sleep at night, who… I just needed to stop trying to Supermom, Super-career-lady, Super-everything.

The words of another terrific boss and mentor came back to me: “Your mental capability is far greater than your physical capability.  Be judicious in what you take on.”  It hit home as I sat on my couch, on a medical leave due to stress. 

My advice: stop trying to do everything you did exactly how you used to do it before you became a single mom (or before you became a mom).  It’s not going to work (we can have an intervention with your ego if you want to).  And that doesn’t mean you’ve failed.  In fact, the faster you can come to terms with it, the happier you’ll be…which makes for higher quality mommy-service-delivery…which means success!  Trust me, you don’t want to be kaput.

In Secret #4, we’ll talk about self-imposed guilt (argh!)….see you soon!

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5

5 Secrets for Balancing Work and Single Motherhood (Number 2)

Posted by admin on Nov 4, 2009 in Tips for Single and Partnered Parents

Number Two: Know what your needs are and make sure you communicate them to the people you work with.

I have failed myself in determining my needs and sharing them with my work colleagues so many times, I decided to stop counting! When I first became a single mom, I tried my best to hide everything in my personal life, especially challenges related to being a full time mom and a full time executive. And you know what? It was a lot of work. I was constantly busy with trying to project an image of how buttoned up I was. Here’s what I’ve learned in the aftermath: 1) it’s too much work to lead a double life; 2) give the people around you a chance – you may be surprised by how helpful they are.

Before you can share your needs, you have to know what they are. Do you know what your “must- haves” are as they relate to your job? An obvious one is financial security; if your job leaves you financially insecure or doesn’t seem worth your time, it’s probably time to re-evaluate your options. Given our economic times, you will have to be patient and realistic. But your options could include speaking to someone you trust in the organization about your pay, looking for a new job on the side, learning a new skill, networking with others in your field or trying to pick up a second job.

Another key “must-have” for the single moms I know is flexibility. For me, it usually means something different depending on where I am in my life and where my daughter is in hers. Remember, an absolute “must-have” is not the same as “I really would like…” Let me give you some examples.

When I was going through my divorce, two items on my absolute “must-have” list were no more travel and the ability to work from home when I needed to. I switched out of my role as a consultant into an internal role helping to run one of our consulting practices. This move came with a significant pay cut (“I really would have liked” it if it hadn’t!). But my “must-haves” were met, I was happy and I could focus on getting the rest of my life in order.

At another job, my “must-have” was the ability to pick up my daughter from school three days a week. I was in a senior executive position myself. And my boss was the third most highly paid person in the company. I eventually told him what my “must-have” was. Guess what happened? If we were in a meeting and the clock hit about 4:10, my boss would look at me and say,” I know it’s your day to get your daughter so I will make sure we end this meeting by 4:15.” I was floored – and so, so happy. In return, I made sure that I did what I said I was going to do when I said I was going to do it. No ifs, ands or buts. And, when I did have the bandwidth to do so, I also put in a little extra. Sometimes that meant opening my laptop again after my daughter was in bed. Other times, it meant work on Sundays. It still wasn’t as simple as a bowl full of chocolate pudding for me – there were a couple of people who sighed heavily every time when they saw me leave at 4:45pm on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. Too bad for them. It was very uncomfortable for me when they sighed – so too bad for me too. But I really wanted to be able to pick her up from school, so the trade-offs were worth it.

Now, you may not work someplace where you feel you can communicate your needs openly – which is fair. No one knows your situation better than you do. But I challenge you by asking, are you certain? Because in the story I shared up above – the one about me leaving at 4:45 three days a week – I originally turned that job down and didn’t communicate any of my needs to anyone. My boss called me up to his office three times to ask me why before I broke down and told him. In one long sentence I explained that I couldn’t manage sudden travel or deliverable requests, even if it was the CEO asking because that’s not how my life was set up; and I was alone, so if anything happened with my daughter, I would disappear; and I wanted to pick her up from school; and… Do you know what he did? He told me his must have list (integrity, strategic thinking, setting and communicating my own due dates, delivering high quality work products) – and I took the job! Thank goodness he did this for me because it was an incredible experience. I was lucky. And I learned my lesson about communicating my needs.

Just a small word of caution on communicating needs…no one wants to hear anyone else’s drama all day at work – whether that person is a single mom or not :-). However, letting the people around you know that your nanny is on vacation for a week and so therefore you may be late as you piece your week together is probably a good idea. In fact, you’ll be less stressed because you won’t be trying to cover something up all week! Plus your co-workers will know what to expect.

So please, take a few minutes and jot down what your needs are. If you want input, feel free to bounce it off of me or a couple of friends, and then share it with your boss and your team. I know you can do it. No one will be satisfied without clarity, especially you.

Talk to you soon in post number #3 on balancing work and single motherhood!

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3

5 Secrets for Balancing Work and Single Motherhood (Number 1)

Posted by admin on Nov 2, 2009 in Tips for Single and Partnered Parents

Hi everyone –

This is a topic we all struggle with…trying to find some kind of balance between single motherhood and work.  This is the first post in a 5 post series…

Number One: Are you clear on what your company and what your boss need from you?

This may seem like a funny place to start – but it’s not.  We can’t talk about how to achieve balance with work if we don’t know all of the pieces we are trying to be balanced with.  So, are you clear on what your current role or job requires you to do to be successful?  Is it realistic for you to do these requirements?  There are always trade-offs and no one knows that better than single mothers. 

What are the absolute “must-haves” from your company’s standpoint?  At one company where I worked long ago, it was getting to work exactly on time and filing weekly/monthly accounting reports accurately and on the requested days.  They weren’t interested in new ideas, special projects or team building – just timeliness and accuracy.  At another company, getting to work exactly on time was irrelevant; the focus was on getting the work done in a high quality manner and as fast as possible.  And at a third company, it was whatever my boss felt was important on that particular day (that was not much fun and I didn’t last). 

Now, think about the “must-haves” you’ve listed from your company/boss’ standpoint- can you achieve them without spreading yourself too thin?  If not, can you eliminate something else from your day, your week, your life?  (Of course, some of you may be thinking of getting a new job anyway, but that’s not always possible).  

I’ve started this list of ‘5 secrets’ with clarity about your company’s needs and your boss’ needs because I have made lots of unnecessary mistakes in the past – mistakes I could have avoided if I had thought about what that particular boss or company was expecting me to deliver. 

In tomorrow’s post, we’ll talk about our personal “must-have” list.

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13

Observations on how the world works, according to our kids…

Posted by admin on Oct 30, 2009 in Quotes from Kids

I got to thinking about all of the cutie pie things my daughter has said to me over the last 6 or 7 years (not that her first year of girly gurples and tweets wasn’t cute, it just wasn’t coherent)….and I thought we should really have a section in the blog to record those tales that capture the essence of the world and what it’s all about from our kid’s points of view…I’ve been keeping a diary of these…here are a few from my household, and a friend’s household…I welcome any and all tales from your mud hut, mad house, or house of cards!

 –          At age 8: in reference to my boyfriend’s costume for Hallo’s Eve ….”Mom, J. should be a potato for Halloween (pause and contemplate for 15 seconds). Well, maybe he shouldn’t because then people might think he’s a piece of poopy.”   Hard to argue.

–          At age 8: “Mom, why are boys like THAT?” I have no answer.

–          At age 8: “Mom, why does that boy keep running up to me at recess and pulling my hair/pushing me/ laughing/etc. and then run away?” I tell her it’s because he likes her. That’s what boys do, I explain.  “Why don’t they just tell you?”  I have no answer.  Again.

–          At age 3: “Mommy, my butt itches…on the inside…”

–          At all ages: “I love you Mamma.” J (Also at all ages, “Go away MOM!”)

At my girlfriend’s house, which is now filled with 3 little angels, aged 6, 3, and “baby”…

–          The 6 year old: “Mommy, when I grow up I am going to be lots of things….a doctor to help people and then a vet to help animals…. an artist, a mommy , but of adopted kids because there are a lot of kids that need love out there….the president and a teacher ….I want to help everyone.  Unmoved and determined, her 3 year old says, “Mama, when I grow up, me be the Little Mermaid.”

–          The 3 year old: enters stage right, into my girlfriend’s room covered in finger paint; her hair was sticking straight up, primarily yellow, with multi-colored highlights…as was her face, her pajamas and her blankie.   My girlfriend asked the only logical question she could think of, “Did you get into your sister’s art box?”  “Yes,” she replied, clearly bored by the obviousness of the question.  Her reason for painting herself?  “Me not see any paper mama, and me wanted to have fun.”  Well, you really have to agree with her, don’t you?

Share your tales too please! I’d love to hear them…

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