Scenes from Life: Being a Mom (Parent)

Go with the flow. Be flexible, agile, patient and open to experience the unexpected. Live on minimal sleep. Drink plenty of caffeine. And, some wine after the kiddos go to bed. Eat standing up while making breakfasts, packing lunches and taking inventory of backpacks. Exercise to keep stress away.  Stay organized. Two planners — traditional and smart — are what it takes; for me. Support systems of family, friends, teachers, neighbors and virtual connections for stability; and comic relief. Listening to music does wonders, too. The Killers, When You Were Young, is pumping me up.

It takes a human with a balance of love, stamina, strength, intelligence, fortitude, compassion, calm, resolve, persistence, resourcefulness, creativity and many other attributes to be a mom (parent). Prior to being a mom (parent), I spent most of my time helping Syntel, a global information technology solution provider, generate new business leads and land multi-million-dollar contracts. It was a pretty intense, fast-paced, always-changing, not-for-sissies life.

So, 12 years ago, I sat at my desk in a cubicle at the 525 office building on 16 Mile in Troy, Mich. I was prepping for the next leg in life. 22 more days. The calendar did not lie. My temporary replacement baulked at the project list he would inherit and support. Could he keep up in this needed-it-yesterday environment? That was the least of my worries.

My plan was to work from home until Issa — my eldest child — made her début. Then, maternity leave. But, my first lesson in being a mom (parent) was about being ready for and managing the unexpected. Issa arrived early. Work-from-home projects had to be delegated. Maternity leave began earlier.

What to do? Give Issa all the love and attention she needed to thrive.

The second lesson was about adaptions; survival of the fittest. Before Issa, I easily slept until 9 am. Unfortunately, Issa gravitated toward her dad’s wake-time of 6:30 am; even on weekends. In the beginning, I unleashed a few snarls of discontent at my husband; especially when he claimed not to hear her crying for some attention.

What to do? Wake up! Drink coffee. Play.

Now, early wake-times no longer phase me. In fact, I accomplish more. I stay on track with work, school schedules, volunteerism, socializing, and wine time.

A third lesson, which I am still in the midst of learning, is about resilience and resourcefulness. As Issa entered preschool, we (my husband and I) discovered she had ADD (attention deficit disorder) as well as global development delays. Riff (my youngest) also has learning challenges and development delays.

What to do? Learn. Make friends with school district decision-makers, teachers, therapists, education consultants, pediatric non-profits, and peer parents. Advocate for whatever Issa and Riff need to be on a path for current and future success. Actively support them through participation in their activities, tough love and understanding.

Finally, the most important lesson is the one of patience. Before Issa, patience was not a natural virtue. It still isn’t. It’s just not in my DNA.

What to do? Self-imposed time-outs, calming strategies, and positive self-talk.

Home life is peaceful. Well, maybe I went a little too far there. My home is not synonymous with church. There are daily moments when I snap into a being I do not recognize. I swear, yell and use not-so-nice sign language. Imperfection at its finest; beautiful chaos.

So, now what?

Go with the flow. Be patient. Experiencing the unexpected is one of the greatest gifts of being a mom (parent); and it is not for sissies.


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Random Thoughts: Rainy Wednesday Playlists

A misty trail at Huron County Nature Center Arboretum in late May 2012. Photo credit: kateschannel

Photo credit: kateschannel

Rainy Wednesdays near the end of March in Southeastern Michigan are a recipe for trouble in my household. Wishing for the sunny warmth of the previous two mornings, gloom threatens. Alarms bust us out of bed. Moods are foul. Faces wear scowls. Mumbling and snarls replace chatter and giggles at breakfast. Critical, life-changing decisions about what to pack for snacks (pretzels vs. Cheez-Itz), what to wear (sweats vs. jeans), footwear (sneakers vs. boots), head-gear (hats vs. umbrellas) push us to the edge.

A slight icy coating frosts driveway and sidewalks. We waddle — channeling our inner penguins — to the bus stop corner. Umbrellas save us and slowly change frowns to looks of contented hopefulness. Small things matter.

Image credit: Sarah Kliff, Vox, March 3, 2015

Image credit: Sarah Kliff, Vox, March 3, 2015

The kids step on the bus. Success. I am beginning to feel the power of motivation and caffeine. Today is the day. I am going to finish that newsletter I am producing for a local non-profit. Write copy. Edit. Add some pictures. Done.

Back home. I turn on my preferred desktop screen. Nothing. Blackness stares back at me. Stay calm. Turn it back off. Wait a few seconds. After all, it is a rainy Wednesday. Even desktops deserve a slow start on shit days. Turn it back on. The black hole of nothingness persists. I don’t have time for this.


Black hole of nothingness. Photo credit: kateschannel

Stay calm. Time for Pandora. The right playlist has the power to turn things around; at least for me. Plan B. A flash drive has the most recent newsletter version. Forward thinking pays off. Edited stories are in my Gmail inbox. Thank-you technology. Black hole, desktop screen funk solved.

My rainy Wednesday morning playlist: Katy Perry – Roar, Blink 182 – Small Things, Kesha – Tik Tok, Kelly Clarkson – Stronger, Lady Gaga – Born This Way/Poker Face, Maroon 5 – Animals/Payphone, Fergie – Big Girls Don’t Cry, Eminem/Rihanna – Monster, Madonna – Holiday, Blondie – Heart of Glass, Eurythmics – Sweet Dreams, Cyndi Lauper – Time After Time, Pat Benatar – Love is a Battlefield, and Lorde – Royals.


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Winter Brings Vengeance

I can feel the cold. It surrounds my house; seeping in through the crappy windows installed when we built knew more than a decade ago. Isn’t it amazing how a window company stays in business for decades when they manufacture crap windows, have crap retail service and send out crap installers to put in their windows? I don’t know how they pull it off. Anyway, my rant today isn’t about crap windows; or maybe it is. My rant is about winter showing up with all of its vengeance in southeastern Michigan. The blustery bitterness makes me long for the amiable tranquility summer offers.

Blustery bitterness comes to my corner of the world.

Blustery bitterness in my corner of the world. Photo credit: kateschannel

Amiable tranquility during Summer 2014 at Myrtle Beach, SC. Photo credit: kateschannel

Amiable tranquility during Summer 2014 at Myrtle Beach, SC. Photo credit: kateschannel

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Random Thoughts: According to Plan

It’s that time of year. Plans keep me on track for completing projects, meeting deadlines, and keeping my sanity. I consult desk and smart phone calendars multiple times each day. That’s right. Two calendars. It’s a memory thing.

But, as nature intends, plans rarely progress as expected. Uncontrollable variables sneak themselves into the picture; disrupting the schedule; causing delay or even forfeit. Weather, defiant children, moody spouses, illness, family emergencies, transportation issues, DVR dysfunction, and funked-up quarterbacks are just eight on an infinite list.

So, to make it the finish each day — with a sense of accomplishment and a glass of much-deserved wine in hand — flexibility, adaptability and a sense of humor are a must.


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It Tastes Like a Pumpkin Mated With a Turd


My question: why would you eat something that tasted like shit?

Originally posted on Break Room Stories:

Today one of my customers said she didn’t like her pumpkin ravioli I asked her why she didn’t like it (its our policy to ask in order to make the food better) she instantly said, “It tastes like a pumpkin mated with a turd then rolled in the dirt” haha can’t be mad it was a pretty funny response. Made my lunch shift a little more fun.


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Posted in Random Thoughts

Six Sentence Monday: Entry #15

I am fortunate. Supportive, loving family and friends. A glass or two of Franco Serra Barbera D’Alba to chase the chill of a wintry Monday night. What could be better? A “W” for my team — the Detroit Lions — in their contest against the Baltimore Ravens. Oh, and the lucky Mega Million ticket.

Check out this post from another who likes to drink wine, but doesn’t like to pay a lot for it.

Franco Serra Barbera D’Alba

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People Helping People: Entirely Women

A long-time friend, Karen Palka, recently invited me write a blog post for a collaborative effort — Entirely Women — she developed with 102.3 FM WGRT, Port Huron’s family radio station. Entirely Women, which went live in November, is an online community — for women — that entertains, inspires and informs. Karen is also Founder and Executive Director of A Beautiful Me®, a 501c3 charitable organization that fosters girls’ self-esteem in  3rd-12th grade through uniquely developed, interactive workshops. She and I became friends at a luncheon the Greater Romeo-Washington Chamber of Commerce hosted in 2004. Her creative talents as well as her advocacy for building girls’ self-esteem, for her community and for her friends inspires all.

Related previous post …

Empowering Self-Esteem in Girls


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