As I sat there staring at a cake, a Mickey Mouse, a vase of white roses, a strawberry pillow, a card, and some cupcakes I realized this was the end. It was the end of six and a half years of working my butt off for a company that didn’t care I was leaving, the end of managing a store full of people who had no idea what change was, the end of being part of a leadership team that had seemingly left me long ago. I stared at the seven employees who had gone out of their way to ensure I got some sort of farewell. Seven. As the tears of disappointment started to form I realized this was seven more than most other managers would have had for in the past farewell parties had been planned and executed by the leadership team, a team that seemingly did not care I was leaving it. Disrespect – that was the only word I could think of as I exited the building. As disappointment flowed through me I realized that I had never truly belonged, that I had been an outsider who did their share and some. As I walked out of those doors for the last time I realized maybe it was all for the better, maybe this clean break would be for the best – a question free break. A sense of emptiness replaced all other emotions as I climbed into my car and closed the door. This was good bye for good, not a see you later.
Fast forward a year later – I’d been a Cambria employee for exactly one year and one day and I dreaded the concept of leaving, as I sat in my temporary office I just stared at the desk I was supposed to be emptying – on top there sat a list of people I was supposed to call to ensure that I had thanked everyone who had reached out and helped me in my journey over the last year. In the top drawer I had a box of thank you cards that I had pretty efficiently used and all the other drawers contained snacks. I had so much to be thankful for, it was the culture of this company that made it so difficult to leave – they embraced their people. The admins at the other centers were so willing to reach out and answer questions, I was empowered to make decisions. I knew that this was a company I would have gladly worked at for the next forty years without ever wondering why I was there; they made it feel like you were part of the family, like you mattered and belonged. The goodbye emails, gifts, and cards had rolled in – when people heard I was leaving they seemed to genuinely care and wish me the best. I was asked to participate on the last conference call where I definitely cried, I was sent out on a random trip so they could decorate my office, there was a goodbye card and cake. The whole team had come together to make sure that my absence was known, they expressed how different it would be even though I had stayed an extra month to train my replacement. This was as different a goodbye as one could imagine. As I walked out of the doors for the last time I felt like I had an entourage — six of the nine employees had meandered out to their cars and were just waiting, as I started the car so it would cool off I realized how different it was. There were hugs and tears and promises of staying in touch, there were even a couple of “I love you”s thrown out into the open, promises of visits, selfies, and planned time to see the new addition to my family. As I finally climbed into my car for the four hour drive twenty minutes later than I had anticipated I couldn’t help the tears streaming down my face — I was leaving more than my home, more than my friends, I was leaving people who were basically family.
As I sit here a week later I can’t help but wonder how goodbyes can be so different, I am baffled. Culture. That’s what the difference is. It is the ability to make people feel like they belong, like their voice is heard, making sure people are respected. Cambria was my home, it was a place where I had turned with little relevant experience but they had faith in my ability to learn and adapt. I had been a retail manager, a teller, a tutor but never had I been a logistics lead admin — they saw the potential, the ability to overcome obstacles and the energy that I promised to bring. I had the backing of the center manager and I had the confidence that bringing me in had instilled. Leaving Cambria was a see you later — a hopefully our paths will cross in the future. It is the culture of a manager and a company that keep employees and it is that same culture that drives them away, the culture at Cambria was one of education and respect, it was a culture that fostered growth and development and encouraged people to take the next step. It is a culture that expects flawless perfection but understands the fact that everyone needs to learn and adapt to change. Cambria is change.
Here goes nothing, welcome to the deep dark forest of my thoughts. As a 26 year old mother of an almost 3 year old toddler living in Phenix City, AL life is pretty interesting. I’ve found myself in a place that I never expected to be, if you told me I would be here six months ago I would have asked you what you had smoked and if you were willing to share because that must be some good shit. In the last four years I moved my five-foot one self from Framingham Massachusetts to Savannah Georgia to be with a man I wouldn’t trade for the world, got demoted, got married, got pregnant, got promoted twice, had a 6 lbs 11 oz baby boy, left the job I have had since August 2 of 2010 and then left a job I loved ever so much to be a mom – you could say I’ve been busy. My husband and I lead a life I wouldn’t really wish on anyone. Its one that involves spending very little time together. Student debt, two car payments, rent, mortgage, credit card debt, insurance payments, the cable bill, the power bill, the water bill, the hospital bills – I could go on but I think you get the idea. We’re striving to make a better life for ourselves and our little Baby J and the newest member of our family who has an estimated arrival of July 2018, yet no matter where we turn it seems that we can’t catch a break. We finish paying one bill just in time to get another. From clipping coupons to looking at what we can cut we’ve left no stone unturned, and yet nine days ago I became a stay at home mom and I am determined to make it work — so buckle up everyone here goes nothing — welcome to the world of the Mommy of All Trades, I hope you enjoy the ride. Feel free to ask any questions you like and don’t forget to join us on instagram (mommyofalltradesblog) and facebook (www.facebook.com/mommyofalltradesblog)!
L-O-V-E a simple four letters that when put together make people do crazy things. As I fly home from dropping my two year old off at my mothers I wonder how such a complex feeling got such a simplified name. Love. Poets write about it, singers sing about it, philosophers debate about it yet who can accurately define love. Who can put into words the depth of love without forgetting the vast ocean of wonder it encompasses? Who can explain the ways in which we sacrifice for love? The love between spouses, the love between parents and children, the love amongst siblings, the love between friends — is it all encompassed by one simple four letter word?
As the clouds surround me I realize I have no idea what any of these answers are. I do know that love is not stagnant, it does not sit in silence unchanging. Love tests the limits of the world around it, it forcibly changes when its environment changes stretching to encompass the changes. The thumping you feel in your chest when you hear your baby’s heartbeat for the first time or feel his little kicks that seem to be designed to remind you that he’s there and needs attention too are not comparable to hearing your baby say mama, they don’t compare to the heartbreak you feel when you see little tears well up in little eyes, yet all of these feelings are different from the love you feel when your spouse smiles that corny smile that melts your heart.
How do all of these emotions fall under the umbrella of love. Is it such a vast umbrella that in today’s society it becomes difficult to not only define but to also understand? Is it a wonder that as the world swipes right, snapping the perfect picture to prove they’re having a good time, and continuously being bombarded by everyone else’s picture perfect moments the concept of love becomes daunting? As we scroll through our feeds we see the perfect valentines post, the perfect family picture, the perfect moments of each day and yet we face the non-perfect life we live on a day to day basis, the constant struggle to find the time, the energy, the will to accomplish the little tasks. As a society it seems we compete with each other to have the most perfect, most brilliant, most breath taking – we show off the wins, the one offs, the unbelievable and sometimes when all those things are thrown in your face you forget the reality.
Love will struggle, it will fight, it will try to survive. Yet like anything else it requires care, compassion, faith. It requires going the extra mile when you can and not forgetting the little things. It needs nourishment – compliments, communication, care. It needs perspective. It needs time. Sometimes it even needs time apart so you can miss each other. Love is missing the feeling of your husband laying against you all night and the feeling of his arms around you on a daily basis. It is what you want it to be, your perfect, not the perfect of the rest of the world.
As 2017 drew to a close and 2018 draws to an open my little family has so much to be thankful for. 2017 was a rollercoaster: we bought our first home, learned just how strong our marriage was (through redecorating, buis, health issues, and the struggles of a constantly changing schedule), and learned that we were having a new addition to our family. We’ve argued and been pissy, we’ve laughed and we’ve cried, we’ve learned that there is nothing we can’t overcome as long as we face it together.
We’ve learned to be thankful for the people who choose to be a part of our lives and that those who make the choice to not be are no better or worse. We are thankful for all that we have accomplished and all the challenges we have overcome. As I look back I can’t believe I left the first job I ever had after six and a half years of dedication, I’ve started a new career with a company that values me to no end. My husband and I have spent more time together in the last six months than we have been able to in the last three years due to the consistency of our schedules. Our baby boy has slowly changed from the little ham he was into this sassy little person who knows exactly what he wants, when he wants it, and how he wants it—it’s like looking in a little mirror that shows a mini version of his dad with all the sass and personality of his mama.
To put it simply 2017 was a year of growth – we did things we only hoped to do. We changed our lives in ways we never imagined we would. We choose to expand our little family with a new addition and to appreciate those who make the time to be a part of our lives. We’ve grown. We’ve matured. We’ve remained the same clueless people we started as. We’ve gained some friends who have become family and lost some friends who we thought were family and yet we have learned that life goes on. Here’s to the new adventures, thrills, and dreams that become reality in 2018.
Parenting. A frustrating endeavor if ever there was one. Constantly having information shoved down your throats and having to sort and filter through all of it while making decisions in the moment and trying to keep a suicidal ball of energy alive. It’s exhausting. It’s grueling. It’s thankless. It’s unmerciful. It’s the worst and the best thing you could ever imagine. As you watch your little ball of energy learn something new everyday and become more of the person he is going to be you wonder what you ever did with your time before, how you ever thought you loved someone before, how you had ever thought you were complete before.
You catch yourself wondering just how bad of an idea another one would be at the most inopportune times. You learn to pee with an audience, that eating happens whenever you can find a minute, that sleeping is optional and best done clinging to the edge of a bed for sport. The love you experience is unreal, your life revolves around this tiny creature who communicates with made up sounds that resemble grunts and half words and gets frustrated when you can’t understand what the heck he wants. You catch yourself staring at him while he sleeps wondering how you created something that was so perfect and frustrated with just how much he looks like his dad, you again catch yourself mesmerized by the thought of another one knowing full and well that it’s a crazy idea. You start looking at the cost of childcare and wonder just what your husband is gonna think. And then it hits you — you are crazy. You have finally lost your mind. As you sit down to eat you contemplate how bad another one would be, how much more work could it possibly be? And that my friends is baby fever. The knowledge that you can’t handle something and wanting it anyways. The emotional roller coaster that is life finally comes to a point where you want another little human being who relies on you for everything and grows into a toddler who loves his daddy. Stay tuned.
As I sit on my couch tonight reflecting on the eleventh day of my new job I can’t help but feel peeved with myself. Sitting here I can’t help but contemplate why I feel like I am in a rut. I keep going through the different aspects of my day and trying to figure out why I feel so disinterested and disengaged and I think I’ve got it – I am just one of those people, the possessive overbearing type who has a difficult time sharing with others and today I was forced to share 1) my office with the other girls who had started and 2) my brain with someone who I felt was underusing it – you see we have someone here from a different center trying to “train” us and I can’t help but feel like I could train her on so many different aspects of life. The problem is I am being punished for catching on quickly, for paying attention to the details the first time around, for being a self-motivator.
I feel bored out of my mind while she sits here clicking on a computer not once asking how any of us learn but instead wasting our time with her concept of training. As I look at the other girls who are just staring into space day dreaming I wish I had some way of telling her that she was not getting through, that she needed to change something (be more confident, learn how we learn, provide engaging methods of teaching us instead of click click clicking through the steps) but I can’t think of a nice way to tell her she is failing and I’ve already been warned about being nice. As the frustration builds with her touching and moving and changing things without asking, my team clearly catches on to the fact that I’m peeved. My manager finds different tasks for me to do to keep me from blowing my brains out, I find things to point out to my team — things that in my eleven days I have figured out are important — while she continues to lack the personality required to lead others.
I want to tell her about self presentation, about self confidence, about how to educate others and put their needs ahead of her own yet lack the skill to break it to her without making her cry so for the time being I’m going to have to share my space, my people, my skills with someone who doesn’t seem to think there is anything to be learned from someone who has been with the company for eleven days. I’m going to smile and nod and build the bridge so in the future I may possibly be able to help her help herself. I’m going to make sure my team is present in mind and body and that together we can overcome the first of many challenges we have coming our way, I’m going to be a silent leader biting my tongue in the corner ensuring I can absorb the system based information she has been sent to present. I will take my punishment for being able to problem solve and I will be the resource she fails to be.
As I sit reflecting I also realize she lacks initiative, if she runs into the slightest problem she does not problem solve, she simply picks up the phone and calls the IT department. There is no desire to try and resolve an issue alone, instead she relies fully on a team of people who just hit the buttons for her, never learning how to fix it herself. This brings me to a whole new concept of what leadership truly is – it is the want to learn and be able to find solutions to problems without continually relying on others. Leadership is the desire to be the resource and have a network of people whom one can rely on when the solution is not readily available. Leadership is not about knowing all the answers but knowing where to find them. It is about being out of your comfort zone and being able to acknowledge that you are not the best at everything but that you know the people who are the best, but it also encompasses the ability to problem solve without having your hand held throughout the day. It is the ability to build a culture within your domain that fosters winning and a common objective that is communicated to all members of the team.
Leadership. It’s an intimidating word. It’s not meant for everyone, in fact many people shy away from it. It comes with a certain sense of responsibility and accountability for the actions of others–a scary thought. As I sit here dreading the prospect of work tomorrow I realize that it’ll all work itself out, success comes to those who put in the effort and I know that if there’s one thing I’m good at its putting in the effort.
As I sit here on a Sunday a week and a half after I shipped my son to my mom I can’t help but reflect on the freedom I feel – I know my son is in good hands, my mom is amazing with kids since she’s had six of her own and practice on the eleven nieces and nephews she had before she had any of us – it’s so freeing. My husband and I have had time to sit and do nothing, go downtown for a night, paint the house, lean up against a fence smoking clove cigarettes and debate the challenges of parenting today – even in our most selfish moments baby J finds a way to sneak into the conversation. We almost got into two separate fights on our night out, crashed a wedding, and realized just how old we were when we climbed into an Uber.
Life as parents is hard; you are constantly trying to find a balance between work, the kid, the housework, the need for a moment alone, your marriage, and your family. We have a whole month alone together — it’s the hardest, most amazing, stressful yet somehow relaxing time we have had in a while. We feel bad that our son is not home every night when we get home, we feel empty at times but we needed every minute of this “alone time” for our marriage. We have a moment to stop being zombies and start being best friend with each other. We can argue over who’s snap chatting who, what the future holds, who our actual friends are, and how we want to parent. I can definitely say that without this time it would have been damn near impossible to get the house painted (we’ve almost got the whole upstairs area done!) and our books on the same page. I am so thankful for my mother who is dealing with the little hellion that I miss so much, she’s even trying to potty train him for me. I am thankful for the transition time my husband and I are getting while we settle into the rhythm of my new job and the ability to remember what I love so much about his silly, goofy, loving self. I can’t wait to get my baby back and know that we are in such a better place now that we have a normal schedule. I am so excited about the future, I can’t even imagine what the next chapter of our story holds – our night of bad parenting will forever be part of the memories we can laugh about, I mean who FaceTimes their child completely drunk?!?!