Tag Archives: kids

Random Compliments

26 Jan

This weekend my husband and I were up on Mt. Bachelor with our 2 year old and 4 year old, skiing as a family. For the first time since our boys were born we can actually all go up on the chairlift together, and on days when our 4 year old wants to wait for our 2 year old, even ski down together. As avid skiers, this season is so much fun. We have been waiting for the day we could all ski together – and it’s amazing that it is happening so quickly.

As we skied down marshmallow, all 4 of us,  (a nice easy run for kids off of Sunrise chair at Mt. Bachelor) an older ski instructor yelled out to us:

“You guys are great parents.”

I can’t tell you how good it felt to be recognized by a random person. After all, my husband and I could go the way of many parents, and stick our kids in “ski school” (aka daycare so parents can ski on their own), or even just not take the kids skiing and only got to the mountain when we have babysitters. Sure it would be great to actually get to use my brand new skis, beyond just being forced to snow plow behind the 2 year old who is skiing, but on a leash. BUT we consider this an investment in the future of our skiing. Already the 4 year old skis just as fast as me or my husband (albeit a little out of control sometimes), and is skiing anywhere there are blue squares. Next year he will be unstoppable. Our 2 year old actually has the stamina now, after 9 days on the slopes to do 4 and sometimes even 5 runs – which is amazing for a little guy just over 2 ft. tall.

It’s nice to feel like we do some things right! 😉

Some random thoughts…..

15 Apr

Lately life is going too fast. I mean to write on my blog every day and then all of a sudden it is the next day.  So in the interest of posting something here are some random thoughts from my life in the last few weeks:

1. The other night my almost 4 year old was having trouble going to bed. We could not get him to stay in bed and he was just antsy. I went int to talk to him about this being the last time I was going to come in. He said to me:

I know Mommy. I had this conversation with Daddy already.

If my not yet 4 year old son is already exasperated with me… I am not sure if I want to think of all the stuff that is yet to come!

2.  We have been really busy at work lately. There are a lot of cool exciting projects on the horizon which I am very excited for. Because of this though, I have had a few evening meetings and work commitments which I generally turn down in favor of spending time with my boys.  Really the only time the boys are not with us in the evenings are for the occasional business meeting, and recently for a few evening weddings. I came home from one of my meetings and my three year old said:

Hi Mommy! I have been saving some pizza that I made for you. But first I want to know how was your wedding?

He confused “meeting” with “wedding”. I was on the ground laughing.

3.  I was at a venture competition over the weekend in Portland.  My company sponsors many competitions and for this one we had sponsored a Best Written Plan Award. This meant I had read most of the business plans for the teams presenting and was excited to see the presentations. Sometimes a plan that was just not that good comes alive with a presentation, and sometimes it is just the opposite. During one o the presentations, at the Q and A portion one of the teams was asked about how they would handle customer service. One of the team members said that they had thought about this, and had decided that they would hire “house wives” to do their customer service.  I was appalled. Who uses that word these days? I mean seriously they couldn’t have used “stay-at-home workforce”, or “part-time work force”?

4. I have been helping several different  business plan competition events organize and launch initiatives lately. I am constantly shocked at how many people volunteer to be a part of something, want to take ownership, take full authority, but then just simply don’t do what they have committed to do. I just don’t get that. How can you be a successful business person and do that?

OK my random thoughts are at an end as I have to finish 5 more things before rushing home to my boys!

Can’t we all get along?

19 Mar

I am a member of the Work It Mom Community. I subscribe to the blog and as I have time read entries. Some of them are relevant to me, some are not. Some of them are interesting, some are not. Some of them are in my opinion intelligent, some are not. You get the point. Recently Nataly, the founder of Work It Mom had to defend a post titled 10 Reasons Working Moms Should Feel Great About Themselves (Reason number one: Working women are happier). The author of the article is also the author of a book that has been controversial as it pits working moms against stay at home moms (or so the controversy goes). I don’t know the book. I quickly read through the article. What I don’t understand is why there is so much venom between women and their choice as mothers?

A few months back I was feature in an article on USA Today called Mommy Wars. You may have seen my post about it here on Mommy CEO. I felt that the worst comments, the most venom I received was from other mothers. Those mothers who have chosen to stay at home with their children felt the need to say some really ugly, really mean things to me about my choice to work. Let me be clear. In the article I DID NOT claim that I thought working mom’s were happier (Leslie Bennetts does claim that in her article). I simply said I was happy, and I thought i had made the right choice for me, and for my family. So why the venom? Can I not have my choice? Can I not have my opinion? Does the nature of me working offend other mom’s so much that they feel the need to get defensive and attack? I thought that as women we were all working together to make life better for ourselves, and our children.

While I can see why Ms. Bennetts’ article may not sit well with some people. It is not LAW or FACT. It is simply an opinion – hers. And I do have to say that I do believe it is better for every person to be in a position to be self reliant and take care of their children on their own should that terrible situation present itself. So here is a little story I think is appropriate here:

I have a friend, who is helping a very close friend of hers through an very ugly divorce. This couple (I don’t know them) apparently had the dream marriage. Let’s call them Mom and Dad. They lived happily ever after in a mid west city with their 2 young children. Dad was an executive make very good money, Mom was a very happy stay-at-home mom. Before they got married Dad made it very clear to Mom that he had grown up with a mother at home and that is what he wanted for his children. Mom agreed. She gave up her career (although she has a great college degree and had good career opportunities) while she was 5 months pregnant with her first child. Five years later she is in a terrible divorce as Dad has left her for his assistant (seriously). Dad has now told Mom that he is not going to let her “sit around on her butt doing nothing all day” and that he expects her to go out and find a job. He has wiped out all money from their bank account and she is having trouble paying the bills. She has not been employed for over 5 years and she has no day care options for her 2 very young children. Dad is not letting her get any money right now. Sure the courts are not going to let him get away with this – when they finally get there. Sure he sounds like a class A jerk. Sure, we all know that won’t happen to us. But of course that is what Mom said. And now I can’t help but think that she might be regretting giving everything up and staying at home. Maybe not. But there is a little part of me that wants all women to be able to be able to be self sufficient. NOT that I think staying at home is the wrong choice, or a bad choice. I just worry that it can dis-empower a woman and put her at the mercy of someone else. And that is what I don’t like.

What is the solution? I don’t know. I am not saying everyone should work. I am not saying that working mom’s are happier. I think every woman has a right to decide what works for them and their families. But I do know this – not letting people have an opinion is not the answer. Getting angry and aggressive because someone is saying something you do not agree with is not the answer. I think this is a very complicated situation and one that has not “right” answer. But it does bother me at my core that Ms. Bennett has to feel the ugliness I felt when the USA today article came out. Can’t we all just get along?

The judgement never ends….

8 Jan

Its been a little while since I posted what with the holidays and then getting back into the groove at work. I wish I was posting on a more cheery subject but I feel like this topic is one that I will face for the rest of my working life, as long as I have kids at home.

So first the background to the story. My 16 month old son who is usually a great sleeper had a few night of restless sleep the week before Christmas when we were leaving for a family trip to Mexico. He did not seem to have cold, no runny nose, no cough, but was drooling quite a bit. He looked like he had a few teeth coming in so my husband and I just figured he was going through the seemingly endless and painful process of teething. Poor baby!

Friday December 21st at 4pm our nanny called me. She said that Leo had been doing great all day, but had just woken up form his nap screaming inconsolable and with a fever. I knew right away that what we had mistaken as teething must have been the beginnings of an ear infection. Both my kids have gotten them throughout their baby years, and this would be Leo’s 5th one. I called the pediatrician right away, as we were scheduled to leave at 5:40 am the next morning for Mexico. Our pediatrician practices in a very small practice with only 2 other Doctors. We chose them because they were small and seemed to pitch more of an “old school” care for kids. Really hands on, with real time devoted at each appointment to the child and their parents. Their hours, as posted on their web site are Monday through Friday 8:30am-6:00pm. They do not have any after hours care.

At 4:05 when I talked the receptionists and let her know what was going on, I fully expected her to just say, OK rush him in here so that we can see him before we close. But no. She told me a nurse would call back. At 4:25 I got a call back from the nurse. She basically said the only Dr. that was there was on his way out. I begged her and told her we were leaving to Mexico very early the next morning, and that I was pretty sure it was an ear infection and that he would need antibiotic. She put me on hold and talked to the Dr. A few minutes later she came back on the line and said that the Dr. was on his way out and that he said I should go to urgent care. I rushed my 16 month old to Urgent care, hoping that if I got there before 5 it would be a shorter wait. I got there at 4:40 and was at urgent care until almost 10:00 pm. My son got the antibiotic he needed and was cleared by the urgent care Dr. to fly the next morning.

When I got back from my holiday on a Sunday, I wrote an email to the Dr. expressing my disappointed in the care (or lack thereof) that I had been given. I thought that pediatricians understood that you can not predict children, and that when they get sick is beyond your control. I was polite, but I wanted the office to know that I did no think they had handled the situation well. I heard nothing from them for 5 days. On Friday I took my 16 month old in to check that his ears were clear as he was pulling them and having some restless nights again. Thank goodness this time it was teething. But more interesting this is what the Dr. (a woman) had to say about my email:

Dr: “We got your email. In the future it would be better if you could call earlier”

Me: “I completely understand, but it was not clear he was sick until 4pm when he got up screaming and feverish from his nap”

Dr.: “You and your husband both work right?” I nodded yes. ” Well maybe our practice is not for you”

She was basically telling me that because I worked I was not able to care for my children in a manner that she approved of. that somehow if I had been home with my child I would have been able to call the office earlier. She herself, a working mom, was judging me as a working parent, and insulting my choice to work. My jaw was on the ground that she had judged me for working. I never expected a very highly educated woman to try and make me feel inferior for choosing to work. Needless to say we will not be going back to that practice. We are on the hunt for a good paediatrician that can support our family choices. All of them — from our choice to co-sleep with our babies, to my choice to nurse them pas a year of age, to our choice to work and run our own business.

I just did a little searching online to see if I could find any related articles or blog posts about  another working mom having the same experience and no surprise I found one within minutes of starting the search.

Mistakes Are Good! Failure is OK

1 Dec

We are trained our whole lives to do the right thing, and to avoid making “mistakes.” Our lives are more and more bombarded with a million tools to help us make all the right choices, and help us avoid making the wrong decision, or making any sort of a mistake. Growing up you were constantly judged by how “perfect” your scores were, and how few mistakes you made on a test, a paper, etc.

Alina Tugend writes a fascinating article in the New York times entitled: The Many Errors in Thinking About Mistakes. The article includes information about an experiment done by a Stanford professor with a classroom of fifth graders. It is amazing to see how quickly a 10 year old reacts to being praised for “trying hard” vs. “being smart.” The children praised for trying hard were more apt to try harder tasks — at the risk of making more mistakes.

When you apply these theories to business, it’s even more interesting. A good manager, according to this article is one that is not afraid to make mistakes — but then learns from them. A manager that doesn’t make mistakes is probably not taking risks, and most likely won’t have big wins. In the context of being entrepreneurial, and running your own business, this idea make a lot of sense. People who start successful businesses are risk takers. Taking risks means not everything is going to turn out exactly as you planned, and you will have to be able to deal with mistakes and learn quickly from them to keep your business running.

People often say that they want to start their own business, so that they “can be their own boss.” As someone who has started several businesses I can vouch that this is not EVER true. The business is your boss. Your spouse who invested the same money with you to start the business is your boss. Your children who need their schools and daycare paid are your boss. The vendor who needs to be paid is your boss. You best client is your boss. You unfortunately are not your own boss. BUT if you are willing to take the risk, willing to learn from your mistakes, it can be one heck of a ride, and a successful and lucrative one as well.

Nataly over at Work It Mom posted an article about her fears about running her own business. I think this fits exactly into the idea that people are afraid to make mistakes. It’s this fear that makes someone afraid to just do it and start their business. But at the same time this is a healthy fear that can keep making mistakes in perspective, and fuel a business to success. While I am sure that Nataly is not the only business owner that has fears about her business, she took the risk, made the leap, and started her business. I am sure that she has made mistakes along the way, and I am eve more sure that she has quickly learned and adjusted so as not to ever make those mistakes again. That is what it takes to run a business.

Think about it when your child wants to do something that may be too hard for him/her. think about how if encouraged correctly, and with the right support what you may be actually teaching your child is that they should try anything (within safe reason) and that you are OK if they make a few mistakes along the way. You never know – maybe you are raising the next Bill Gates!

Heading out

30 Oct

I am working like crazy today, trying to get as much done as possible. I am headed to London tomorrow, with my husband, 1 year old and 3 year old. Between getting things done at work, and getting things done at home for the trip – I feel like I haven’t stopped for the last few days.

Palo Alto Software will be exhibiting at the Business Startup Show in London, on November 2nd and 3rd. Our Managing Director, Alan Gleeson, will be speaking at the show on Business Planning. Noah, my husband will attend the show on Friday the 2nd and I will be there on Sat. So if you happen to be n the area, stop by and say hi!

Most likely I won’t post much will I am gone – between work, jet lag, and 2 very young kids I hope I am still alive when we arrive back in the US on Tuesday the 6th. Somehow I think if I am just ultra prepared – the flights will go smoothly. Noah keeps telling me that yes, we should be prepared, but that I have to deal with the fact that no 12 hour flight can EVER go smoothly with a 1 year old and a 3 year old. Sigh, I think he is right! I will let you know how it went when we get back.

Oh The Guilt

11 Oct

My husband and I are going to London to attend a business conference November 2nd and 3rd. We are taking the boys with us, as we don’t want to leave them for 6 days. As a bonus they will also get to meet their 95 year old great granny who lives just outside of London. In order to get to London, and be somewhat awake for the conference, we have to fly on Oct. 31st, which means that our 3 year old will be missing Halloween and trick or treating. When we made our plane reservations a few months ago we both figured that he would be too young to really notice. Although missing Halloween was a little bummer, we thought that at 3 years old he really wouldn’t know what he was missing.

Well we were wrong. For the last week all Timmy can talk about is Halloween and what he wants to be. So we decided that we would throw a Halloween party the Sunday before we left. That would surely solve all the issues.

Wrong again. After hearing about the party Timmy got very excited and said “Yeah! I can go trick or treating with my friends! I am so excited Mommy!”

Oh the guilt. We have to get to this business conference – we don’t have a choice. At least we get to bring the kids with us… right?

P.S. – At least I am in good company:

Work It Mom – Guilt Question

Mom Guilt Never Ends

Blog called “Working Moms against Guilt”

and these are just a few of the many posts on “Mommy guilt”

1, 2, 3 or more?

9 Oct

My husband and I have 2 beautiful boys. We have often talked about whether we want 2 or 3 kids, and lately I have really felt that given a few years to recover from 2 pregnancies in a row, I would like to have a third. My husband isn’t totally sure – but he isn’t opposed to it either. Nataly over at Work It Mom Blog posts about whether your job influences your decision to have a certain number of kids. She references an interesting Wall Street Journal article called appropriately, “The Juggle” about this topic as well.

Due to the fact that both my husband and I work, and both of us work together on our own company, I have often thought about what a third child would do to our schedule. Luckily though, my husband and I have an excellent working arrangement that allows us to work and run a company of 40+ people, but still have time for our kids. We live in Eugene, Or which is a nice small town. We have no commute (It is less than 5 min between office and home) and my family is in town to help take care of our kids. Every Friday my mom takes the kids. If we need to travel for business, we either take the kids with us, or leave them with their grandparents. I can go to work early and leave earlier, my husband takes the opposite schedule. We are both home every night for our 6pm dinner.

Choosing to move to Eugene was a hard decision for us. When we moved we did not have kids, but were ready to start a family. We lived in London, and before that San Francisco. We loved big urban places and were afraid of the smallness of Eugene. But in the end we knew that this town would afford us a different lifestyle a better lifestyle when we had kids. And we were right! We chose to forgo an urban center with lots and lots of restaurants and night life, a place where we had lots of friends and a very busy social calendar, and a place where we needed to commute an hour plus every day. And instead we get a beautiful (albeit rainy) town with tons of outdoor activities, affordable housing, no commute, grandparents a few blocks away, good neighborhood public schools (yes public!), and a family business with flexibility and support.

The downside: running a family business means we are ALWAYS working. At the dinner table in between discussing what my 3 year old did at preschool, and singing songs with my 1 year old, we talk about work. When we drive to the mountains to take the kids to the snow, they nap, we talk about work. The very few times my parents babysit on a Friday night for us to go out to dinner, we talk about work. You get the picture.

But at the end of the day the choices that we made allow us to raise our kids, and not be restricted by career when we plan our family. I know we are lucky. I know not everyone has these choices. But I think that there are always compromises that can be made that will help you accommodate both career and the family you want. And maybe one day we will live in a country where all businesses will be family friendly and will help parents with the ever present work/life balance.

Very few things in life are black and white

3 Oct

Mommy Wars

In today’s USA Today there is an article entitled “Mommy Wars” that features me and my kids. At the time I am writing this post there are over 100 comments on the story, with people flaming each other and making very strong accusations about what is best for children. It was hard, but I refrained from commenting and instead am posting here. I think the big picture that people sometimes don’t see is that decision for a mom or a dad to work or not work is never just back and white. What is good for their kids is never just black and white. People are all different – everyone can live with that reality right? So why is it that when it comes to deciding whether to work or stay at home with your children their is supposedly only one answer?

There is a comment on the story that I find particularly compelling:

WHOA!!!! I have been a working mom since my 2 children were born. My husband and I took extreme care to find a person that would care and love them. (and boy does she!) Fast forward 3 years: My son just started preschool for the first time this month. His teach told me last week that he is one of the smartest, most polite and well-adjusted children she has ever taught in her 20 years of teaching preschool. My point is that there are amazing stay at home moms and not so great stay at home moms. There are amazing working moms, and not so great working moms. I do not believe working or not working is the key factor in raising happy children. It is about so much more than that. I LOVE my job, and I LOVE my children. What kids need more that anything else is to see happy, loving, parents who provide a safe and loving environment to them. Can a kid have too many people that love them?. I don’t believe so. I am proud that my daughter will see that a woman can raise a happy family, be a great mother and accomplish great things for herself at the same time. If you choose to stay at home because that is what YOU choose to do, then I truly salute you. But it in no way makes you a good mom based solely on that principle alone. What make one a good mom lies so much deeper.

Why is that so hard for people to accept? I truly LOVE being a working mom. I truly believe that I am a GREAT mommy. I have friends who are stay at home moms who are great stay-at-home moms. They have made their choice and love what they do. Isn’t it OK that we have made different choices? I live in a place where I have no commute. I work 2 minutes from my home. I can run home and put my 1 year old to sleep for his nap when he is feeling sick, or go to school and attend events with my 3 year old (which I do regularly). My husband is an incredibly involved dad who stays at home in the morning with the kids until 9am, so that he can drop our son off at preschool. I can then go to work early so that I can then be home by 4:30, and my husband stays at work a little longer, but is still home from a family dinner at 6pm every night.

I have built my career around my kids, but I still LOVE my career. I am a happy person which I believe makes me a better mother, and a better wife. But my opinion by no means disrespects those who have chosen a different way of life. That is why it is a CHOICE. As long as a woman can choose what she wants to do then I think that choice should be respected. A bad parent will be a bad parent regardless of whether he/she works. Likewise with a good one.

And lets remember there are millions of single parents who really don’t have a choice. What makes them a good parent has nothing to do with how they bring in the money they need for their family. I teach my kids that very few things in life are black and white. I teach them that they need to make reasoned and informed decisions in life and I hope that other parents will teach their children the same.
Come on after all these decades of debating this topic can’t we all just make our choices without being judged? Sigh, can’t we all just get along? 😉

One Laptop Per Child

27 Sep

Recently online there has been a lot of buzz over a company that has a campaign called “One Laptop Per Child” . The New York Times posted an article a few days ago, describing the computers and the program. Apparently for a limited time you can purchase 2 laptops for $400.00, one of which will be donated to a child in a developing country. The company has not had a lot of success in getting donations for laptops, so they are trying the approach of appealing to American consumerism and offering one of these cool looking laptops to anyone who is willing to shell out the $400.00 dollars.

Fast Company posted an entry on their blog entitled Ethics: A Bad Day for American Altruism where the author questions the 2 for 1 marketing approach. Chris Dannen, the author of the entry says:

“We don’t need hand-cranked laptops; power is thankfully ubiquitous. There’s more processing power inside an iPhone than in this thing; even our most out-dated school computers are light-years ahead in technological terms. Not to mention that their intended use is as network terminals, so even giving your solitary XO laptop to your kid isn’t too useful. So why is this donate-one, get-one incentive a viable proposition? Because the computers are cutesy, and because Americans might want to play with one.”

I tend to agree with him. Why not appeal to American nationalism and change the program so that you can still buy 2 laptops, with one going overseas and the other one going to underprivileged schools right here in the USA? Dannen comments that the people who can afford to participate in this program — are not the ones that need laptops for their children in the USA. So why not appeal to their altruistic nature – and instead of bribing them to donate by allowing them to buy one of these specialized machine (the limited program is the only way a regular consumer can get their hands on one of these machines) — and join with one of the many US program trying to get computers into all schools for our children? There are plenty of schools int he US that are in economic areas where the school and the parents can not afford to buy computers for their kids.

Nicole, from Silicon Valley Mom’s Blog , posts about how her father runs a non profit in the US called Computers for Everyone that focuses on getting recycled computers into schools that can not afford to buy them. If “One Laptop Per Child” aligned itself with the right US programs, they would increase their marketing reach and possibly appeal to more people. I frankly would rather pay $400.00 and know that I am helping 2 underprivileged children, instead of helping one, and buying another gadget for my child.

Just my 2 cents!