Enough Already

I’ve been in the insurance industry since 1997. I’ve worked at different companies handling different kinds of claims. I’ve been exposed to all kinds of management processes and styles. Every few years, these companies want to “reinvent the wheel” in terms of customer service. We are currently going through this right now.

A few months ago, we implemented a new management system. I don’t want to get into too many specifics (for obvious reasons), but one aspect of this is that each team has a dry erase board that sits out in the open. Like a huge one that you’d see in a football locker room. On these boards is the name of each team member, and then next to it certain metrics. We have to keep track of how many new claims we get each day, how many we close, set targets for different things like negotiations and how many claims we want to evaluate. In addition, we have to indicate how we feel about that work day, by using a colored dot – either red, yellow or green. The board also contains important news and announcements. Every day we meet at the same time for 15 minutes to discuss this board. If you need help from teammates you can ask for it, etc.

Needless to say, people are tired of this. All this info is up there in the spirit of “transparency,” but half the time people are lying. I walk by boards and see green and I know for a fact that the person is miserable. People are scared to say how they really feel, even though they are told there are no repercussions.

Right now everyone is stressed and overworked. We are getting slammed with new claims. One coworker just went out on leave starting today. We don’t know how long she’ll be out. Another is transferring within the company and has two weeks left. Their files have to go somewhere…which means they will be split between the rest of us. More work. Yay! On top of that, they’ve started this initiative that no matter what you’re doing, is the phone rings you need to stop and answer it. Right. Is this a call center or are we handling claims? When you’re in the midst of something difficult, stopping to take a call can totally jack up your concentration. But whatevs.

I’ve had enough already. I’ve spent the months since I returned from maternity leave busting my azz to go above and beyond, and I’m tired. I value work-life balance, and I wasn’t getting it.

On Tuesday, my unit leader made me so mad, I was feeling like this:

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Her shenanigans are a WHOLE OTHER BLOG POST. I told her that I am done. Ain’t no extras. During my scheduled work hours I will work my azz off, but I’m leaving on time every day, I don’t care who doesn’t get called (this all stemmed from her IM-ing me in an accusatory tone about not taking someone’s phone call when she knew we had been in a bullsh*t meeting for an HOUR and then I was in the mother’s room pumping for the next half hour). I have left on time every day since and I love it.

I take pride in my work, but you’re not going to take advantage of that and treat me like a slave.

I hope at some point, they will realize that it’s enough already. People are wearing thin. We can’t afford to have anyone else quit. But I guarantee you that almost everyone is looking for new employment.

On Having Kids

This morning, a twitter friend was talking about how she decided at a young age that she did not want to have kids. But no matter how she insisted, she couldn’t find any doctors who would give her a tubal. She now has one child, and went on to say that people think she’s being funny when she says she doesn’t recommend kids to friends.

That started me thinking about how much my life has shifted in the last 2 years. For the first 15 years of my adult life I was child-less and husband-less. I’m counting from 22, when I got out of college. I spent that time doing pretty much whatever I wanted to do, without having to answer to someone or make elaborate plans. If you have kids early, then you don’t have all that time to get into that independent routine.

HH has been a father since he was 17. 17. So, his whole adult life there has been a child to raise. I honestly cannot imagine my 17 year old self having a child, not even my 22 year old self.

So, while I love our little Toots to the moon and beyond, when I found out I was pregnant, I kind of saw that as the end of “my” life for a few years. I spent so much time coming and going and doing whatever, and I knew that was coming to a swift end.

The simplest things need “a plan” now. You cannot be spontaneous with a child. You just can’t. Babysitters must be arranged. Schedules must be coordinated. I don’t know about every other mother, but for me with a child under 1, sleep is at a premium. Lemme say that again: sleep is at a premium. There have honestly been times where I had to decide to sleep or eat, and I have chosen sleep. And that over the top sex drive that’s supposed to kick in for us women when we get around 40? Non-existent for me. (I’m sure much to HH’s chagrin, LOL). I just want to sleep.

I mean, if I want to stop and do something after work I’ve got to go home first, because I’m carting around breast milk that I pumped during the day at work. Forget that mac & cheese commercial talking about liquid gold. Breast milk is liquid gold, and it absolutely cannot be wasted!

They say when you become a parent, you become less selfish. Maybe most folks do. But I still want my “me” time and often feel guilty about taking it, which is crazy. I’ve got to take care of myself to be there for HH and the kids. And yet, the thought of coordinating breast feeding, pumping and schedules just to take one yoga class makes me feel like, “just forget it.”

I’m just being honest here.

And I still don’t necessarily like everyone’s babies just because I have one now. LOL! I don’t envision a future where I spend my entire weekend wrapped up in my child’s sports activities. But who knows – that could very well be my future, and I’ll deal with it. My coworker’s son plays baseball and she was saying how the parents of the kids on the team become your main friends. Uh, I don’t want to lose my old friends.

Parenting is hard. Everybody knows that. It is physically draining. Some nights I’m pissed that my kid loves my b00bs so much that she wants to breast feed at 2:45am. I’m frustrated with HH’s work schedule which leaves me solely on baby duty every afternoon and evening on the weekends. He has days off during the week, so he can go freely because she’s at daycare. I miss being able to just decide to go to ATL or to VA on short notice. Matter of fact, we had a come to Jesus convo about this, because I really don’t think he understood how things were from my point of view. Again, he’s been at this since 17. Also, neither of my stepsons was breast fed, so he didn’t have that either. I think in his mind, it should’ve just fallen into place for me.

Uh, no.

Lemme tell you, when my sisters and brother started having their kids, I was not jumping up talking about, “I can’t wait to babysit!” Nope. Matter of fact, when my sisters kids used to visit in the summer time and play with my better’s kids, it was nothing but a cacophony of aggravation, in my book. I used to chuck the deuces, go to my room and close the door. LOL!

I’ve never had that internal ticking clock. Not at any time in my 20s or early 30s. Matter of fact, I tried my hardest to date men WITHOUT kids, although as I got older that got harder to do.

At the end of the day, parenting is not for everyone. I respect the people who can say without a doubt that they DON’T want to have kids. It’s smart that they know this. And if you want them, have them. If you’re healthy, don’t let that “advanced maternal age” speech from the doctor scare you away completely.

Just know that sometimes it may not feel like candy canes and rainbows.

And you may not feel like every other parent feels about parenting – I know I don’t always feel the same as my peers.

And that’s ok. You won’t get sent to parenting hell for that.

Transparency

Transparency:
openness, accountability, straightforwardness, candor
“the new government aims for better transparency”

On Saturday, my friend Steph babysat Lailah (a whole other blog post, lol) while I attended my friend Tinesha’s seminar. It’s part of a series of seminars entitled “Spread Love.” This one was about living a life of transparency.

The seminar was co-facilitated by Tarsha (pronounced Tar-Shay) Hamilton, who is the wife of An.thony Hamil.ton. Both ladies are phenomenal. They opened up by talking about their life struggles earlier on, and how they’ve both learned to be transparent in discussing the issues. Tinesha talked about her battle with depression, and how she has to learn how to process anger and deal with emotions. Tarsha talked about having lost family members to AIDS, the stigma attached, and how they did not discuss it openly when she was younger.

As an ice breaker, we each had to fill out a “Hello, My Name Is _______” page in our booklets. You have your name, how you found out about the seminar, what you hoped to take away from the seminar, and one thing you wanted everyone there to know about you. We switched papers with our neighbor, and we had to introduce each other. Several people mentioned that they wanted to find the balance between being transparent and just revealing everything.

I took a ton of notes while Tinesha and Tarsha were speaking, but I don’t have them with me right now. I also sent out some “live tweets” on statements and ideas that resonated with me.

The portion of the seminar that had the biggest impact with me was when we all shared a secret. I had flipped ahead in our packet (I can’t help it, it’s who I am, LOL) and saw the page entitled “Shhhhh…it’s a secret.” The directions were to write down something about you that was a secret. Everyone did, and then they were placed in a box. You did not have to write your name.

I don’t know about everyone else in the room, but that exercise was scary, humbling and freeing all at the same time. First and foremost, I know that putting things in writing make them real for me. And then I have no choice but to deal with them. Secondly, whenever you reveal something about yourself, you don’t know whether or not you will be judged. However, I obliged and wrote a secret on the paper, folded it up, put it in the box, and waited.

Once everyone was done, Tinesha passed took the box around to different people in the room, and each one pulled out a slip and read it. At first, there was mostly silence, and some gasps or sounds of sympathy.

And then it happened. One of the women was brave enough to speak up and say, “that one you just read, that was MY secret.”

And then another woman. And another. And each time they stepped up in the spirit of transparency to reveal themselves, great dialogue ensued. Offers of help and support were made. They were brave. There was no scorn or judging, just nods of sympathy and SUPPORT.

What I realized was:

  • We all have a story
  • A lot of us have THE SAME story…we just don’t know it
  • Transparency can lead to getting the help/support you need
  • Our stories are often the reason behind our decision making, in all areas of life
  • I have a few awesome friends

I don’t think that the point was to share everything with everyone. Of course, you have to be discerning regarding who you share your life with. But I think a good first step is being more transparent with the ones you love.

Are you transparent in your life? Do you think you could’ve written down your secret and then claimed it during the seminar? How do you think being more transparent would help you?

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Want more information on the Spread Love Seminars? Check out the following:

Tinesha’s website/blog

Follow her on Twitter: @roc_star

Follow her on Instagram: roc_star

She’s also a great loctician/natural hair stylist: Revolution EGO Salon

I Guess We’re the Village

CH has a friend. We’ll call him S. S is in the ROTC with him, and doesn’t live too far from us, now that his family has moved. I feel some kind of way about his family and his home situation.

A few weeks ago, he came to spend the night. They had an ROTC event, and he was going to ride with CH. This was a Friday night. Saturday I went to pick them up, and CH asks can he spend the night again. Sure, if that’s ok with his aunt and/or grandmother. He stays. The next day, HH heads to work and tells them to wrap their weekend up by 5:00.

At 4:55, CH comes to me wanting to know if I can give S a ride home. Something about his aunt didn’t want to drive in the rain. And? I’m supposed to drag my 4 month old out in the rain? No! Make arrangements to get your kid. Or, as an ADULT, you call me to square the situation away. Don’t send messages through the kids. As you can tell, I was a bit perturbed. We don’t send CH anywhere without arrangements to pick him up, or prior agreement with other parents to drop him off.

Long story short, these trifling azzed people his family do not come and pick him up or make arrangements for him to be picked up. HH has to take him home at 11:30pm.

Who does this?!?

He’s been over another night since then, but now that they live closer it’s walking distance. One day I asked CH what’s the deal. This was a day that I was nice enough to drop him at home, since I was running errands. To my chagrin, we pull up and there’s two cars in their driveway (grrrrrrr – you got 2 cars but can’t give your kid rides anywhere?!?) Anywho, CH says he lives with his aunt and grandmother, and from the little interaction he had with them, he even felt that they were trifling. He said that S always calls or texts him on the weekends wanting to know what he’s doing, and saying he’s trying to get away from the house. I asked him what does S plan to do after HS. He said he’s going into the military.

I don’t know where his mother is…but it appears his aunt/grandmother took him in, and they act like it was done under duress. Why would you take him in if you didn’t want to be involved in his life?

I feel bad for him, but I am not about to entertain and feed him every weekend. He looks to be well clothed. When they’re not paying attention, I check for signs of any physical abuse, and I haven’t seen any.

Yesterday morning he walked to our house so he could get a ride to ROTC. He came back with CH in the afternoon and stayed here until CH sent me a text asking if he could stay the night. I said no, maybe next weekend before we head to NY. I wasn’t feeling well, and Lailah was on one. I felt kind of bad, but I just wasn’t in the mood.

I’m trying not to make too many assumptions. Maybe he’s trouble when he’s home. Although I don’t think so, because he’s super polite when he’s here. If I go grocery shopping, he’s trying to beat CH to the car to get the bags. They made breakfast for everyone last weekend and cleaned the kitchen. He clearly knows the rules here. LOL

On the one hand, I feel good that our home is an environment that he feels comfortable in, but on the other, you’re not going to hand your kid off to me and I’ve never even met or talked to you. It takes a village to raise a child, but my goodness. I just really wonder what goes on at his house, that he always wants to escape…

Monday Randoms

I did a comparison pic of me vs. Lailah at 4 months. A comparison of foreheads shows that I am the mama! *Mau.ry Pov.ich voice* LOL!

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HH and I switched cars today. He wants to wash mine. Now that he has new rims on his car, I have to get 28 instructions on how to drive it: don’t hit any potholes…watch the curbs when you turn… I mean, really. You scratch ONE rim, and your driving skills get downgraded to “remedial.” LOL!

There’s an older man who I see in Star.bucks every morning. Today, he and his partner in crime told me that my shoes were beautiful. It was like that scene from Coming to America: “what is that, velvet? This is niiiiiice!”

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My friend Nee sent us a gift card for Lailah…using that and two other Tarjay cards I had left over from my shower, I was able to get Lailah a big pack of diapers, 2 boxes of her vitamin D supplement, some bibs, and a bottle warmer – which is more for Daddy’s use than her. Poor thing. He wanted to bottle feed her the other night, but he was so discombobulated. He forgot to turn on the water to warm it up before he went in to change her. She, like her mamma, is ready to eat when she’s ready to eat. So, she’s already aggravated by the diaper change, and now the food ain’t ready? Not happy. I ended up having to get up anyway, so I just nursed her. Next time, we will be ready. The bottle warmer heats the milk up in about 3 minutes. 🙂

Our daycare said they love Lailah, but they’re not taking any more infants unless we have another one. Alrighty then! I don’t think we’ve fully decided, but I did determine that the cut off age for another child to exit this body is 41. If it doesn’t happen by then, somebody goes under the knife.

I got back to yoga last week. I decided my days to go are Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Right now, I’m on a 30 days for $30 special. After that, we’ll have to see what’s in the budget.

Speaking of which, I set up a budget and I’m trying to get back to living on a set amount of cash between pay periods. Gas and grocery expenditures will be on one card, and I will pay in full after each statement. Hopefully I guesstimated correctly on those. I even budgeted in my Starbucks habit. Part of budgeting is being realistic, right?

We are heading to NY in two weeks. Lailah gets to meet her other grandmas, her grandfather, and aunties and uncles on HH’s side. We are staying with MamaMixtress, and I have already advised her that she will have to share. She said, “I guess!” Oldsters. LOL!
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I found a mini “Lord Business” Lego figure on Amazon. It wasn’t in the budget, but it was $9 so I ordered it. *shrug* I am going to keep it on my desk at work.

See? Totally random.

Seeds

This week’s theme seems to be about seeds. Pretty appropriate, given that it’s spring time. Although, with these temperatures, you wouldn’t know that. But anywho…

This week, I started back with some yoga classes. Long story short, HH and I had to look at our schedules and see when we had free time…and then when in that time could we fit in our “me time.” It’s pretty easy for him, because on his days off, Lailah is at daycare. But on my days off, she’s with me. And she nurses every 3 hours. And sometimes she doesn’t want to be put down. Or take a nap. And then I have to try and cook dinner or clean some clothes. You get the picture.

So, while it breaks into our time we could spend together, I scheduled my me time to be a 5:30 yoga class on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

I went to a yoga studio that is (relatively) close to where we live, and one I’ve never been to before. It’s actually in the same plaza as our gym. Since I was early, I actually changed at the gym and did 15 minutes on the elliptical, then headed over.

Joan was the teacher for my class. I told her about my prior yoga practice, how I was post partum, and filled out the release form. I didn’t really know what to expect. It was a vinyasa class, but everyone’s vinyasa is not the same. I used to take Baptiste-style power yoga classes, but I knew I was not in shape to handle that type of class. Thankfully, this was not.

At the end of the class, during savasana, teachers will do different things. Some are quiet. I had one who used to sing Amazing Grace. Others will read inspirational quotes. Joan read a quote to us about seeds. I don’t remember it verbatim…the point of savasana is to rest and just let the thoughts float by…but she talked about how seeds just have to surrender to the process. They have to burst open into the darkness, not knowing what to expect or what they will grow into. That stayed with me for a few days.

This morning, my friend Serenity_23 posted a pic on IG about a devotional she is reading. Today’s was about seeds. In this case, about how seeds take time to grow. Many of the things we do in our lives now are planting seeds for the future. It could be anything from time you spend with your kids, your fitness and dietary habits, or your friendships. Whatever it is, we have to be patient and let it develop.

Today, I went back to yoga class with the same teacher, and she spoke about seeds again. This time, she talked about how you might feel like everything you’re holding in is about to burst out, like a seed. And that’s ok, because it just means that a change is coming.

Well, how many times do you have to hear something, before you realize the message is for you? LOL! My whole life is one big ball of changes. Huge changes at work. Changes every day with Lailah. With breast feeding. With HH and I, and how we have to find one on one time with an infant in the picture. Some days it’s maddening. I think because I have a hard time just surrendering to the change. Other days, it feels pretty darn good, because all the moms I interact with on social media have been unknowingly preparing me for this time in my life, with their stories on parenting and their lessons learned. Seeds they planted long ago that I didn’t even know I would need. I’m glad they sowed into my life.

When changes come, just remember the seeds.

Friends

I was thinking about friendships recently. Mostly about how they ebb and change when your life changes. I guess we all serve a purpose in someone’s life, in one capacity or another.

I’ve noticed, since Lailah was born, some things have shifted. I don’t have the “freedom” in my schedule and cannot be as spontaneous as I used to be. We don’t have family here, besides HH’s niece; she’s in law school and just recently moved her pre-teen daughter down here, so we don’t want to impose on her. We don’t want to impose on our friends, either. So far, we’ve only had one friend babysit.

But anywho, I’ve noticed the people who have sort or backed away, and others have stepped up. Maybe I’m just in my feelings (LOL), but when I log into social networks and see people posting about events/get-togethers that I would’ve been invited to previously, that they didn’t even bother to invite me to now, that kind of sucks. Like, I still want to have a life, too. If I know in enough time, I can make arrangements. Reminds me of when Tiffany in Houston wrote about how her single friends were acting like she was persona non grata when she got married.

Then I got perturbed. I’ve noticed that some people really leaned on ME when they were having all kinds of trouble and problems. Now that life is back in order, I don’t hear from them as much.

Yes, I am a mom now. But that’s not my whole life. I was talking to a counselor about all the changes from 2012 to now. He pointed said that he is a big proponent of “me time,” and that it seems most of my “me time” outlets have gone by the wayside. I never thought about it, but he is right. When we moved to our house, that took me (physically) away from the activities I used to do and people I used to hang with. No more yoga. No more triathlon mentoring/participation. No more dropping by to see friends as much, because we live on opposite sides of the earth now. I think this has been part of my frustration and tension lately, and I’m making plans to address it.

I know they say that some people are only in your life for a season. I guess I’m surprised by some or the people who have become seasonal. Also grateful for the people who still reach out and communicate.

Do you think people can move between friend status and acquaintance status? Or are they always friends, but just move from being close to being distant?