Where does a SAHM part-time worker fit?

image via memgenerator

When someone asks me “What do you do?”, it isn’t an easy answer. Do I answer, “I stay at home with my kids” or do I list off my various part-time jobs as a fitness instructor and blogger? Usually I do both. It’s such a weird place to be, a SAHM part time worker, right in the middle of both “mom” categories.

As someone whose significant other earns almost all of the income for our family, are my part time endeavors even significant enough to call “working”? Even combined, none of the jobs pay much. As someone who only works part time, I am definitely thankful for the flexible schedule that I get in exchange for the lower pay. I love that I can work a few days a week at 6am, part of one weekday, and then a few hours on the weekends doing things I love. It is all a huge blessing.

But there’s also the parenting part.

As a part-time worker, I don’t get the financial benefits or structure of full-time professional childcare I would have as a working mother. I know, because I’ve been a full time working mother. When I worked full time, we had a nanny who came during set hours. If I worked full time right now, the kids would most likely be in preschool. In both situations, they would benefit from the experience and training of a professional educator and childcare expert. Someone who would teach them to read before they even go to kindergarten, most likely. They would be taken care of during set hours, during which I would be free to do my work (unless they or the nanny were ill, of course — been there, done that!).

Instead of a professional educator and childcare expert, they have me. Well, part of me. Because I spend the majority of my “spare” hours in part time work, I am not using that time to scour Pinterest for worksheets, set educational goals, read about the developmental milestones they’re supposed to be hitting and target their activities accordingly, as most of my other mommy friends do. We have fun together, sure! We go somewhere almost every day, but it’s most often the pool, the museum, the zoo — somewhere that they can run freely and play, not learn specific things. The goal is to be physically tired so they’ll take a nap. My poor second child still doesn’t know any of her letters. Neither of them understand the days of the week. I think about what it takes to do all that, the extra hours that I can’t seem to pull from thin air, and I just want to take a nap too.

It’s only due to our food intolerances that I spend as much “homemaker” time as I do: making our own bug repellant, soaps, bread, and toothpaste. In fact, that’s probably how I am using the time that I should probably be teaching my kids valuable things like Scripture memory or full moon intention-setting. That illusive time goes to hand-making things to keep Little Sir from getting diarrhea due to stomach irritation. Driving to the chiropractor. I have to make a conscious choice every day not to feel bad about how much more I should be doing.

There’s the mommy guilt, but there’s also the career guilt.

As a part time worker, there are a ton of opportunities to take it a “little further”. Getting my RYT200 is one of those. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about it, but I also know that it’s just not realistic right now. Taking that kind of time and financial resources away from our family while my children are this young is not something we are in a place to do at this time. But then another client or friend asks me to teach them what I know about yoga and I just want to do it SO BADLY!

If I am honest with myself, having one foot in the working world provides some welcome gratification in contrast to the endless energy suck that is my precious children. Not once will they say “thank you” to me (except when Daddy makes them!), but my clients and friends do say positive things about my part-time work. It takes a conscious act of the will every time to step back into those unappreciated Mommy shoes and away from the seemingly fulfilling fitness instructor/blogger shoes.

As I was writing the first draft of this post, my daughter came into the room three times asking for me to sing songs. It has taken me about 3 days to complete this post, due to interruptions of the same kind.

I know in my heart that these are the best kinds of interruptions. That singing all the songs is what life is made of, and not the Facebook-ing, the Pinterest-ing, the 6am classes, the handstand practice, the Sanskrit pronunciation.

My friend Janelle was speaking today of a kind of selfless support, of having a job that consists of supporting others: being the wind. I love that analogy. As a feminist, it’s important for me to remember that I can choose what work I do, and that one kind of work is not exclusive of another kind. I CAN be a SAHM and a part-time worker, and neither one is “not enough”. Both are exactly what works for me right now, regardless of how I answer the, “So, what do you do?” question.

Using the Megaformer to improve your yoga practice

Using the Lagree Megaformer to improve your yoga practice | Conscientious Confusion

I’ve been doing yoga for around 11 years now, and I’ve been a Lagree fitness instructor since May of 2012. Before Lagree, I was content to get a little bit of a good stretch from yoga. Since I have developed significant core strength, balance, and overall muscle tone from using the Megaformer over the past 2 years, my yoga practice has really amped up! If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see that I love participating in daily yoga challenges. Far from converting me from yoga to Pilates, Lagree fitness and the Megaformer have dramatically improved my yoga practice. I now do yoga every single day, and work out on the Megaformer 3-4 times per week.

For those of you who are looking for a way to really take ground in either your regular fitness regimen, or specifically in your yoga practice, I made a short video of some moves you would do in any Lagree studio on the Megaformer to improve your yoga practice, enabling you to do inversions and balance poses, as well as build strength safely.

Using the Megaformer to improve your yoga practice {video here}

Filmed at Ultimate Pilates Plano (where I am an instructor!). Come see us for our $10 first class!

Tell me in the comments: what yoga poses do you find most difficult in your practice?

I will do my best to post further videos on how to build your strength in that area using the Megaformer.

Contentment vs Lack of Ambition

We’re reading Sheryl Sandberg’s inspiring book Lean In for book club this month. I know, I’m late to the party since I’ve actually already heard her speak at BlogHer 2013 in July. But I wanted to wait to read the whole book until I had the opportunity to discuss it with some really smart and thoughtful ladies in my neighborhood while drinking wine. I have found this book to be extremely balanced, and not at all about how we all need to be CEO’s or how women need to kick men’s butts in the workplace.

I particularly loved how she highlights that not all of us who are not CEO’s or even full time employees at the moment have made that choice due to lack of ambition. Sometimes it is because the way we are living our life right now is just right for us at this moment. This is a yoga principle as well — being content with where you are right now and accepting both your limitations and your current accomplishments.

"Many people are not interested in acquiring power, not because they lack ambition, but because they are living their lives as they desire." - Sheryl Sandberg

All the Drama: on the Internets and IRL Episode #4

All The Drama On The Internets

I have not posted this week yet because there has been so much drama and sadness, and then a little anger thrown into the mix, both on the internets and in real life. As you know, I am typically a very peaceful person so it has all been inside my head. I’m going to give you a bulleted list of things that are currently bringing me down so that I can clear my head and focus on hope.

Petty Nutrition Mis-information

#KFCKidsMeals. I am going to start with the most petty drama on the Internets and I am going to make this one quick. KFC paid for a bunch of bloggers to come out and try their new kids meals and tweet about it. They decreased the overall calorie count of the kids meals to 210, and that was a main talking point. Nevermind that the meals are still nutritionally vacant, fried, and full of PHO’s, artificial colors, and nothing resembling a real chicken. Some people got mad that bloggers would even pretend these meals were good for people. Other people defended the bloggers. Arguments ensued.
Hope: Let’s all just agree that if you are convinced by the hashtag #KFCKidsMeals that fried meat-composite is a good nutritional choice for your kids, you are gathering your information from the wrong sources, my friend.

Blows to Feminism

Steubenville. Specifically, the reaction of the city and the media to the verdict. Instead of confirming that justice had been served in the conviction of two young football players who raped a 16 year old girl and posted photos of the rape on social media, or at the very least remaining neutral, I was horrified and depressed that the reaction seemed to be sympathy for the men. It was all, “Oh, they were such good football players and now their careers are ruined! What a shame!”. There was also a huge backlash on Twitter blaming the victim of the rape. What a shame?!! Shame on HER?! Are you kidding me? What a shame that our country has so little value for that 16 year old girl and such an apparently low value for women’s sexuality in general. What a shame that women are still seen to be at fault for sexual attacks. Shame on us for raising boys that still believe that women are objects to be used and tossed away. They had an awful lot of confidence to post those pictures and it not even occur to them that anyone would have a problem with it.
Hope: I was encouraged by this post from A Holy Experience about 25 Things Our Sons Need To Know About Manhood. Oh look, I have a son that I will be raising to fight against this kind of treatment of women.

Pycon. As a woman who worked in IT and programming throughout my corporate career, I was often the only woman in my department. I went to conferences in my early 20’s. I feel that, as a woman, I have the right to raise a complaint when I am sexually harassed (and I am…we all are, constantly). But the thing that depresses me is that Adria was fired from HER job for raising a complaint. Not just the man who made the remark, but the woman who was insulted was fired. What is this, 1960? The last time I worked in corporate America I had to sit through 2 days of sexual harassment training videos and exercises. Everyone did. Those videos told us that it was OK to report sexual harassment. I think we all know that we can be fired for what we blog, but Adria’s company knew she blogged at But You’re A Girl before they hired her. I feel like this case just exemplifies how women are really treated in the workplace. We want to think we are equals, but then something like this happens and I have to think that maybe we’re just wishfully thinking.
Hope: Sometimes when I get discouraged about women in the workplace, I read tweets from my friend Blessing @ThinkFeminist on Twitter. She is a huge encouragement! And there’s also the #workingmomchat at 7pm CST on Twitter.

My own perception of safety

In the last few weeks there have been 3 aggravated sexual assaults on women in our neighborhood. Not the kind that comes from domestic violence, but unexpected attacks from a single rapist (same perpetrator of all three, confirmed with DNA evidence) who had apparently been closely watching the women’s patterns and following them to find them alone. Two of these women also go to my church. One I knew personally. I am not full of fear because I still have a trust in God that whatever He allows for me is His plan. But I am discouraged because this seems to bear out the kind of feeling I got from the news stories regarding women. I know that in the Congo and in Uganda, rape is the #1 tool of violence. Are we heading in that direction here, even in Dallas?
Hope: Our pastor wrote a blog post addressing fear. Some of my friends organized a prayer walk in the neighborhood where all three rapes occurred.

Walmart is moving across the street

I know, it is petty of me to even write about Walmart in the context of rape and discrimination. Don’t worry, friends on Facebook have pointed out that they don’t agree with my outrage. But let me ‘splain. To me, this is a moral issue. Sure, I am concerned about our property values. Yes, I am concerned about the crime rate in our neighborhood. I am annoyed that Walmart didn’t have to ask anyone before deciding to build a 90,000 square foot store less than a 1,000 feet from my door. The traffic is going to be killer. But in the larger picture, to me Walmart is symbolic of things that corporate America is doing wrong which I refuse to support with my consumer dollars. I wish that no one supported Walmart for this reason. The culture of “cheap” that Walmart has created into a religion exploits workers in their U.S. stores and in the manufacturing plants that it supports overseas (since at least 60% of Walmart’s products are imported from China and other overseas locations). Child labor, injustice, discrimination, profitting from the poverty of the underprivileged and less educated… I could rant on and on about this, but instead I have created a Pinterest board on My Problems With Walmart. Check it out. Let me know if you have additional articles to Pin.
Bottom line, this is probably about my own weakness. I am afraid that if they build that giant store within walking distance of my house, I am going to be tired and hungry one day and I am going to cave in and go to Walmart. Then I will feel guilty for days for supporting Walmart. I don’t want that temptation.
Hope: If you do live near me, please sign our petition. We need the 2,000 signatures by April 4. Honestly, it might do nothing at all, but it’s our only shot.

~~~
Thanks for letting me get all this off my chest! Supportive and encouraging comments welcome. Flaming comments, probably going to be deleted.

BlogHer 2012: Part 2 of recap

BlogHer founders, BlogHer 2012
I’m officially BlogHer exhausted! Still sharing the love on Twitter and reading about people traveling home, seeing their kids, and unpacking swag. I got a moderate amount of swag but I was so busy this year that I actually didn’t make it to the Expo hall until the last day about 2 hours before it closed. Many vendors were completely out of handouts by then. Which is fine because really, many of the vendors I wouldn’t work with anyway (I am looking at you, LYSOL). The only one I was really sad to miss was SoDelicious, who makes my son’s favorite coconut milk. I heard they had coupons, but I never found them in the Expo hall.

We are going to power through a review of the rest of BlogHer 2012 because you and I are both anxious to get back to our regularly scheduled blogging topics, right?

Despite all the parties and socializing this year, I did attend sessions! A few were not my personal choice because I was Mic Wrangling, but I still enjoyed them. The first of the day was Advocacy: Blogging Across Issues and Borders. I am not an advocacy blogger or a Latina but it was interesting to hear women who were so passionate. Takeaway: This panel was a good reminder not to give up on blogging when it gets difficult, but to surround ourselves with others who encourage us to keep going.

BlogHer Martha Stewart

Of course, the big deal on Friday was Martha Stewart speaking at the lunch keynote. I am not going to lie, I stayed for about 5 minutes and then left. I really do respect Martha and all she’s done – she’s a powerhouse and soooo talented! But the lunch was so crowded and people were literally pushing each other out of chairs in the ballroom. I’m not a craft blogger, and I don’t do Martha-type stuff, so when I got claustrophobic I just left. I ate lunch next to this adorable baby right outside the ballroom!

Soshuga's cute baby

I was excited to see another Room Of Your Own about small blogs this year, since I am definitely considered a small blog by anyone who looks at size. Takeaway: In the Celebrate Your Small Blog session I was encouraged to keep doing what I’m doing and not be influenced to change my topic/convictions just to make more money or gain more followers. I was also reminded that I could probably work harder on ways to allow my followers to comment on the blog posts more easily from mobile devices.

Me, Carrie, and Alex from LateEnough (I was starstruck!)

After that session, I walked a few blocks and took a class at SLT NYC, a Megaformer Pilates class just like the ones I teach here in Plano. I love taking classes from other instructors because it gives me great ideas for new moves or moves I’ve forgotten. Of course, the class kicked my butt (in a good way)!

SLT NYC

I arrived at the annual Voices Of The Year keynote all sweaty and wearing workout clothes, but it was a beautiful and inspirational experience, as always. A big shout-out to my fave Fearless Formula Feeder who did a great presentation of her manifesto about feminism and formula feeding. If you were part of the Twitter fiasco following this keynote but did not actually get a chance to hear the reading, I’d encourage you to read it for yourself before taking a stance. I saw several people on Twitter misquoting things that Suzanne read in her post. It’s important to take this post in the context of its entirety.

After the keynote, it was up to my room to shower. I had several parties that night that I ultimately decided to skip so I could spend time with my friend Mica from MayBooks, who was in town for BlogHer as a vendor. We skipped the super crowded line for Hasbro and went to a cute Italian place with my roommate Jenn from Punky And The City.

Mica of MayBooks
All 3 of us spend dinner on our mobile devices 😉

It was 10pm when I got back to the hotel but Sparklecorn was just getting started!! I might have had a lil more to drink that usual, and danced way too late into the night.

Sparklecorn
The dark, thumping dance blob that is Sparklecorn

TheEcoChic and TheEcoChicMan gettin' down at Sparklecorn
Calley and her husband gettin’ down on the dance floor!

Rock on, Calley, Chris, Julie, Amanda, Alex, Carrie, and Blessing!

I was up super early the next morning for absolutely no good reason. Oh well. I do have to say that the food at BlogHer was not as good as previous years, and there was a lot less of it. I had to actually purchase food, which I’ve really never had to do before.

First session in the morning (after opening keynote) was the one I was most excited about: Pro Tips: Branding and Blogging Professionally. I was stoked because my friends Jill and Gina were leading this panel!! It was a great panel, as expected – lots of laughs but lots of practical advice. Takeaway: Do not drink so much at Sparklecorn next time or you will forget what you learned in the panel your friends led.

Next I was back to Mic Wrangling for When It’s Time To Spend Money To Market Your Work. I am not going to lie, by this time my energy was draining fast. It was a good session but about 3/4 of the way through I almost fell asleep. Takeaway: When is it time to start spending money to market your work? Probably not yet, for me. All the panelists assumed you make money at all – hahahahaha….I don’t.

Although I dearly wanted to go up to my room and nap, I was also hungry so I went to lunch and the lunch keynote with Katie Couric. Surprisingly, this lunch was less packed than the Martha Stewart lunch. Huh? I thought Katie was amazing – very personable and her upcoming show sounds really interesting.

I met up briefly with Stephanie from City Moms Blog, who is the umbrella organization for Dallas Moms Blog (you know I write there too, right?). I would like to apologize to Stephanie for my zombie-like state. I was literally about to fall over. I barely crawled up to the 42nd floor where there were free massages being offered by RosaceaFacts.com. Then I oozed back down to the 26th floor and took a good long nap. Unfortunately, I was forced to get up so I could stop by the Expo Hall before it was time to Mic Wrangle the closing keynote. This is why I didn’t get much sponsor swag – it was so late in the conference that many of them were packing up. Oh well, I still got Beth Terry to autograph my copy of Plastic Free: How I Kicked The Plastic Habit And How You Can Too, which I have already started reading and IT IS AMAZING.

The closing keynote revealed that next year, BlogHer 2013 will be in Chicago and it will be in July (2-27) instead of August. So excited!

For dinner, I got to eat at a local Asian fusion place with all the wonderful women I met and some who I just totally admire/stalk like Gina The Feminist Breeder and her husband.

The Feminist Breeder and Hyphenated Husband (!)

Powerhouse of Feminist Bloggers
Powerhouse of feminist blogging: Think Feminist, The Feminist Breeder, and Danielle Elwood

When we got back to the hotel, I packed up for a super early exit (6am!) in the morning. I was so sad to leave my friends, old and new.

Saying “bye” to Calley for another year – our third BlogHer together!

Overall, this BlogHer was another new and great experience. I am exhausted more than I’ve ever been in past years, but I’m also seeing even more opportunities on the horizon.

If I met you at BlogHer and you have any great pictures or would like to say “hi”, please do! I miss you all already!