Guilty Mommy

The thing about being a part-time working mom with part-time daycare is that sometimes I have to work when I’m home with the kiddo. This means I try to schedule calls during nap time and check emails secretly from my phone when we pull into the garage so she can’t see me and yell “phone, phone, phone,” one million times in a row. It also means I feel a lot of guilt during the time I am home with her.

The thing about being a mom in that there is so much pressure to do it right. Choose the right parenting style, teach them the right manners, figure out how to make sure they aren’t little jerks. And with Pinterest and blogs and Twitter and Facebook I’m constantly wondering how all of these women are making time to decorate insanely adorable Easter eggs with their children rather than running from one errand to the next and constantly wiping snotty noses and doing laundry and everything else it takes just to keep the ship moving.

When I’m home with Evie I want to do things like take her to the Children’s Museum, and do crafts, and run around and play outside and just generally be an awesome exemplary mom. But it turns out the Children’s Museum drives me crazy because it’s actually filled with screaming children that aren’t mine, and I suck at crafts, and it’s freezing outside. So we go to the grocery store and maybe the Starbucks drive through because mommy is addicted to cappuccinos and then make some lunch and eat it and clean it up and play with the stacking cups for ten minutes before a tantrum hits and thank god it’s naptime. And then I do my client call and she wakes up and we start all over again.

I know what I have is truly the best of both worlds and I am lucky lucky to be able to spend this time with her and have my career, and really it’s only a few days a week anyway, but it’s hard not to feel the guilt set in some days. I know if I went to a full-time job I’d have guilt too, and I know that staying home full-time isn’t right for me either. So I’m somewhere in between, trying to be okay with that. Now I have to go look up how to decorate Easter eggs before my client call.

The Garden

Can I just give a little shout out to the weekend? We had such a good Father’s Day. We got lucky and John got on early flight home, surprising me on Friday night. I was so happy to see him. As Honest Toddler (possibly the best new blog in the world) would say, by about 3 p.m. on Friday afternoon I was comatose and about to hand Evie the iPhone and just tell her to stay alive, but we made it through.

Anyway, yeah I was happy to see him, and our weekend was great. We went to breakfast, we went to the pool, it was awesome. I even weeded (wed? weed? weeded?) the garden for about 15 minutes. I don’t know what it is with that garden. Every year I have a vegetable garden. Every year since we’ve lived in this house. And every year, despite my black thumb, we seem to at least get some zucchini and some cucumbers out of the mix. We have a raspberry bush that occasionally produces 10-15 edible raspberries if I’m lucky. At least enough to throw in some oatmeal one day. One year I actually had a successful head of lettuce. I think.

But even with the zucchini, which let’s face it a monkey could grow, mostly it’s just weeds and I think it causes me more stress than happiness. Which is not really the point of gardening is it? I like to imagine myself as some contented housewife with her floral gardening gloves and big floppy hat just enjoying the sunshine and digging in the dirt, emerging with a bounty of beautiful fresh organic vegetables that I can then lovingly serve to my family. But more often that not, it’s me out there in my pajama bottoms during nap time swatting at the flies and cursing the spade and wondering if those leaves are weeds or some sort of vegetable, wondering what I planted again and accidentally digging up the one little sprouted carrot I did have. I do enjoy the herbs, I feel proud when I actually keep the basil alive and can put it in a dish, but that’s rare.

In reality I think I just feel like I need to have a vegetable garden because we have the space for it, and lots of other people around here do it successfully, and it just seems like something I’ve always done. This year I am really trying to keep the little buggers alive, and so far I think I might be winning the war, but it just isn’t enjoyable for me. I guess I’d rather get my outside plant-y time by watering my pretty flowers that someone else planted and go buy my organic vegetables at the farmers market. Maybe I just need to accept that I’m not cut out for gardening. I’m going to suffer through the rest of this year, and so help me god we better get some cherry tomatoes or I will cut someone, but next year I give up. I’m done. I think I’ll make the vegetable garden a sandbox for Evie and call it a day.


Part Timing It

So I’ve mentioned here that I recently changed my job situation. Basically I left my full time gig – but I’m still consulting for them on the side. And I have a few other clients in the mix as well now. I started my own business is what I did. It’s called Jeni Anderson Media. 🙂 I’ve been thinking about switching this blog to my domain over there, but not sure. We’ll see.

It’s been an adjustment – first I only had Evie in daycare one day, and now we’re back up to two. It turns out I love being home with her, but I also need some time to myself if I’m ever going to get anything done. There is unfortunately no way that I can squeeze everything I need to do in on Tuesday and Thursday, which means I’m always working when she’s napping, or at night, or when she’s tormenting the dog. The good news is it’s never too much and I’m attempting to never let it interfere with my time with her.

It’s actually perfect for me and I think it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life. I was so immensely frustrated leaving her every day. And now, I don’t have to do that if I don’t want to. It isn’t just time with her either. It’s been a great decision for me professionally because it allows me to really steer my own path when it comes to my career. If I don’t want to pursue a ton of business, I don’t have to. But if I do decide to really hit it hard again one day, I know I can do that as well. I like that I’m still earning a paycheck, staying up to date on what’s going on in my field, and I still get to talk to grown ups most days. But I also get to go to the grocery store at 2:00 on a Wednesday and take my little bugger to music in the afternoon and work out at 10 a.m. I just love it.

One reason we ended up adding back another day of daycare – aside from the fact that I just needed the time – is that I really think she learns a lot there and benefits from being around the other kids. I could probably hire a nanny for a few hours every morning or something and get the things done I need to get done, but I enjoy taking her and I think she enjoys being there. She’s really bonded with one of her teachers, which is an absolute joy to watch, and she’s seriously learning from the other kids. I’m pretty sure George taught her how to crawl. And she watches Charlie eat and then she eats better when she gets home. It’s pretty cool to feel that good about leaving my kid somewhere. I know I’m lucky, because not a lot of people feel that way about their childcare centers. They have a Reggio Emilia approach, which is an Italian theory of childcare that basically allows children to direct their own learning and explore the world at their pace. It’s really great and it’s been phenomenal for our girl. Actually one reason I don’t want to leave our neighborhood is that I don’t want to take her out of this school.

The thing I miss the most about working full-time is the social aspect. Sure I can sit on Twitter all day while Evie sleeps, but it just isn’t the same as gossiping about what a d-bag old Kalon was on The Bachelorette in person. At least I can force John to watch it and we can make fun of the way that one guy said quinoa as kwin-noa together. I’m so lucky.

For once in my life, I feel really content with my career situation and I don’t think I’m going to worry about it anymore. Sometimes I wonder if I should still be climbing the corporate ladder, but I think for now, I’m doing exactly what I need to be doing. I’m a mom. I’m a consultant. I don’t always know what I’m doing on one side or the other, but then again I’ll probably never always know what I’m doing. Part timing it is definitely the way to go.


I talked to a friend today. She told me some things I didn’t know. Things I was sorry to hear, but things I was almost relieved to hear at the same time. She told me how she’s been struggling with a little bit of postpartum depression, and how damn hard it is to be a mom. And as she was talking, I found myself nodding. Nodding and saying yes and mmm hmm and I get that and I SO get that. And I realized this sense of relief flooding over me.

No, I don’t think I have postpartum. But I think I have a case of damn this is hard and I don’t know what I’m doing. I definitely have a case of that.

Every day. And it’s nice to know someone else feels that way. No I don’t want her to struggle. I want her to get better and for things to get easier and every day I’m going to be thinking about her hoping that happens for her and doing whatever I can do to support her. But I want her to know that it’s okay that it’s hard, and I’m so glad she said it out loud. Someone needs to say it out loud.

I’m new at this. The mom thing. I’ve got nothing to go on except books and message boards and millions of strangers on the Internets and nosy women at the local sandwich shop telling me what to do. Who do I listen to?

I might never know.

In fact I’m sure I’ll never know. I’ll never know until one day, I’m looking back at all this, or I see some woman in the grocery store struggling to keep her baby from crying and get the damn frozen meals in the cart because she sure as hell doesn’t have time to cook a real meal and maybe I’ll be a little judgy. But hopefully, I’ll be like this lady, and I’ll pay for her groceries and tell her to keep on keeping on and do the best she can.


I’ve been struggling with work. Going back was rough. Nearly impossible some days. There’s the obvious difficulty of being away from Evie for such a large part of the day. Then there’s pumping, which is pretty much the WORST. Side note – if you know a pumping lady, you need to go give her a cookie. She’s probably hungry. Then there’s trying to fit in exercising to lose the baby weight, and cooking healthy dinners, and getting your child on some kind of perfect sleeping schedule, oh and not to mention maintain some sort of a social life or at least pretend you still have friends, and it’s all just so stressful.

But other moms do it. Tons of them do. They do it every day and practically every single one I know makes it look so good.

But I’ve been struggling, and definitely not making it look good. I feel like I’ve pretty much been failing at both.  I’m a bad employee because I’m so sleep deprived and I just can’t focus on anything except my baby. But I’m a bad mom because I’m not home and she can’t even roll over yet and she’s getting all of these ear infections because of daycare and it’s ALL MY FAULT.

So I’ve been thinking about all of this, thinking about my life and how it’s happening NOW and I can’t just sit back and let it happen to me, and I’ve come to a decision.

I’m leaving my full-time job so I can spend more time at home.

Coming to this decision was also one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. For as long as I can remember, I have been a go-getter. A climb the ladder kind of gal, always on the move. And I have (had) a great job. I liked it and was about to get another promotion and things were going swimmingly. But Evie has changed everything, and my priorities are just different now.

I want to be with her. I want to see her more and I don’t want to race out the door to show up on time for an 8 a.m. meeting that 6 other people are LATE to. I just don’t have the patience anymore.

I still want to work, and I’ve been struggling with the thought of leaving my job, so I think we’ve come to a happy medium and I’m going to do some contract work. I’ll still get to be home with Evie more, but I can keep doing the things I’m good at and hopefully all of these things I’ve worked so hard for won’t take a nosedive.

I know I’m lucky because I GET to choose. Not a lot of people get to do that. And there is a small part of me that still feels like a little bit of a failure, like I couldn’t hack being a full-time working mama. But there’s another part that says screw it.

This is the right decision for me, and the right decision for our family.

So as of February 3, life’s going to be changing a little bit. Or a lot bit. And I still reserve the right to complain as much as I want about how hard motherhood is. But that’s okay, because I get this.

And that makes it all worth it.

40 Hour Blues

Can we please all just agree that we don’t work on Fridays? Just moving forward, it’s like another day of the weekend? And lo, a 4 day work week was given to them?

Oh I know the problems with this, the fact that retailers don’t close and it all trickles down and money and blah blah blah. I don’t care. I am selfish and I want to sleep in tomorrow. Kthxbai.

Now that we’ve settled that.

What is it with Americans and our undying need to work so hard? Where did this come from? I am especially guilty of this.

Even in high school I was bound to some weird code that said I had to get all of my reading done before I did anything fun. My parents didn’t make me do it. It was a personal choice. But I have to think it came from somewhere. There is some innate quality I have that makes me want to work, or feel guilty if I’m not working.

There is no in-between for me. No middle ground.

When I was unemployed I was miserable about being unemployed. Now, I’ve been re-employed for almost a year, and I’m happy at my job, but every day I’m jealous of my husband who gets to work from home and my sisters who are both in school.

I know logically all of those people, in fact people in every type of working (and non-working) situation, have their issues. The things they want to bitch about and the things that drive them crazy. But you know, grass is greener.

In all likelihood, there is absolutely nothing that would make me 100% happy. Were I suddenly give a four-day work week, I’d want it to be three days. But if I had the opportunity to only work three days a week, I might be bored. Or feel guilty. Because I would know that someone out there was working 80 hour weeks.

So what’s the ideal when it comes to work? 20 hours a week? 40? Should I just get over it? Or should we just trade the dollar in for giant stones like they have on Yap? What’s your work week philosophy?


Oh dear. I can’t keep up with a blog and work at the same time I guess. Oopsie. I really want to. I want to write. I want to redesign. Again. I actually want to just start a new blog, new name, fresh start, all that. But I’ve already done that, and you know, that just sounds like a lot of work. And clearly that is not in the cards for me right now. So basically, I’m just going to keep writing as the (non)Working Girl even though I’m gainfully employed.

So what’s it been like, the transition back to work? It’s hard. I love it. Mostly. I like using my brain. I like learning and doing and talking and seeing SO. MANY. PEOPLE. Every day.

But then there’s all the learning and talking and doing and seeing SO. MANY. PEOPLE. Sometimes it just gets to be, well, a lot. I miss my solitude. And you know, the sleeping in. NOT that I was sleeping in a ton. Just until 8 or so. Or sometimes 9. Okay 9:30 at the very LATEST. But that definitely does not happen anymore.

So it’s been what, about three months I guess since I started. And it’s definitely an adjustment, but I’m figuring it out. I’m even still cooking. Sometimes. Not really as much, but I am. And I’m going to the gym. Not as much, but I am. I think basically I’m still living the same damn life, I just don’t get to go to the mall at 3 in the afternoon or go snowboarding or ride my bike to the pool on random Thursdays. It’s okay. I was lucky, and I know that, even though I didn’t always feel that way.

I had my time as a (non)Working Girl, and I think I made the most of it. I got laid off. I moved to Singapore. I moved home and I made homemade yogurt and weird Asian side dishes and I had lots of fun. But I was also lonely a lot, and missed working, and I’m glad I’m back to it now.

So here’s what I’m going to do, I’m going to try to get back to blogging. I don’t really know what I’m going to write about. Pretty much just me I guess. I don’t think I’ll have a specific topic. Probably still cooking, and kickboxing, and maybe I’ll complain about how LOST is over and America’s Got Talent is absolutely ridiculoous and thank God Heidi is leaving Spencer, even though that’s probably all just a ploy anyway.

Anyway, that’s me, read if you want. Working, (non)Working, etc. It’s Jeni. Welcome me back. 🙂

Jobby Job Job Job!

So, I’ve been debating what to do with this blog for the last week or so.


Because I got a job! Woo to the hoo!!!!!!!!

As of tomorrow, I will no longer be a (non)Working Girl, I will be an actual, full-time, in-an-office, heels  and everything Working Girl (not in the dirty way obv).

So, yes, I still want to blog of course. And I want to dazzle you with all of my wonderful recipes as I have been doing for many months now. And I want to tell you all about how I finally got this job, and of course what it’s all about when I get there.

But I’m just not sure how I’m going to do that yet. I might start a new blog, just a place where I can write, but without the whole unemployment theme. Or I may just continue writing here, but try to change up that header a bit. What do you guys think? New blog or just stay put?

On The Job Search

So. Have you been wondering, what is this (non)Working Girl doing with her time? Is she searching for a job at all? Or is she just making yogurt and and watching bad movies?

The answer is yes, I have been looking, and I have been looking pretty hard. Unfortunately, I haven’t had any success. I’ve found a couple of jobs that I have really really wanted. And that I would have been good at. Neigh, GREAT at. Because I am awesome, and I know this. My mom knows this. She tells me all the time. But alas, I cannot use my mom as a reference.

Point is – I feel like I’m getting close. I’ve made it to the final rounds in a number of interviews, but for some reason I just can’t seem to close the deal. I’ve wondered if it’s the gap in my resume from the time I spent in Singapore and the time I’ve spent not working (looking for a job), but I had a coffee with a fantastic pro in my field this morning and she said she didn’t think that was the issue. So now I’m left wondering, what is the issue? If I can make it to the second or third or fourth round of interviews, I must be doing something right. I think the problem is, there are just a ton of great people out there in my field, and for one reason or another, someone else is always a better fit for the positions I’ve interviewed for.

So what am I going to do now? I’m going to make myself the best fit, however I can. I’m working on networking more. I’m reaching out and opening myself up for more freelance gigs. I’m thinking about continuing education. I’m stepping up my game in the volunteering department.

I was defeated, to be honest. I was sad. I was having a hard time accepting the fact that I wasn’t getting positions I’d interviewed for, because for this Type A personality, rejection has been a new and somewhat awful experience. But I feel a renewed sense of optimism. The economy is tough, and the there are tons of people out there without jobs. But I’m going to find something. I just know it. And whoever hires me is going to be damn lucky!

Site Redesign

So, you’ve probably noticed, I redesigned the site! Isn’t it just the cutest thing you’ve seen all day? Besides that mouse down below of course?

I sadly cannot take credit, I have to thank Emily over at The Blog Fairy for helping me with the header. I’ve also added a few new features, including a page with some of my favorite reads (you can access it up top by clicking on links). And, for all you stalkers out there, you can follow me on Twitter by clicking the little pink follow me button over on the right, or just watch my Twitter stream in the column next door. Finally, you can share my posts on Facebook, Tumblr, and a variety of other social networking sites by clicking the little buttons below each post, or you can tweet my posts by clicking the little guy in the righthand corner. I hope you’ll share with all of your friends.

Now I hope you’ll stick around, read a little and share your thoughts with me. I’ll value each and every one of your opinions. Or at least I’ll pretend to.