Tips for Taking Your Toddler to Work

Every great once in a while, it happens. You have an important client meeting, one that you’d rather not reschedule, and your childcare plans fall through. Now what? You could call and beg and plead with everyone you know to sit on your kid for awhile, but you did that last week, and you’re out of favors. Or, you don’t have any backup resources. So you’re faced with two options: reschedule or bring your offspring along for the ride. I chose the latter.

I strapped my sixteen-month-old into her car seat, and headed into town (her older sister had other arrangements). I was a little apprehensive about how my appointment would go, but I’m glad to report that there were no major glitches. I was productive, she was happy, the client was satisfied. Win-win-win! Now, I realize it doesn’t always go this way, and in fact, I have some horror stories of unsuccessful attempts to take my older daughter to work back when I had an office job. *shudder*

So, if you find yourself in this situation, there’s no need to panic (unless you’re an ER doctor or pilot or police officer or something and you can’t get away with this, then panic away).

1. Judge Your Child’s Temperament to See if They Can Manage This Scenario
I know my kids well. My youngest is your classic “easy child” and goes with the flow. My oldest creates her own flow and doesn’t easily adjust to new situations. I’m not sure I would have attempted this with my oldest, or it probably would have been a disaster (as it has been in the past).

This girl is always up for an adventure!

2. Inform the Client and Ask for Consent
The great majority of the time, your client will understand if you explain the situation. But don’t just show up and surprise them, and don’t be surprised or offended if they’d rather reschedule. It’s not personal.

Nobody seemed to mind my little helper.

3. Remain Calm. Remain Confident.
If you’re stressing out, your toddler will sense your mood. Keep your tone light, and act as if it’s just as exciting as a trip to the library or park. And once you’re in the meeting with your client, keep your chin up. Just because you have a child in tow doesn’t make you any less of a professional, and doesn’t diminish your intelligence. Work it momma!

4. Bring a “bag of tricks.”
It’s common sense, but absolutely crucial. You’ll need a goody bag stashed with books, toys, snacks, and any other diversion you can think of. Be prepared to cycle through them all.

Goldfish, dolls, books, we had it all!

5. Give them the Holy Grail. 
For some kids, this is your cell phone. For others, your keys. Whatever that object is that you rarely let them have, give it to them now (within reason. Don’t hand them your pocket knife of anything.) It’ll buy you some time. For my daughter, this was a lollipop (or two). We can’ t pass by a candy aisle in the grocery store without her yelling, “Pop, pop!” Baby wants. Baby gets.

Stain on the shelves matches the stains on her shirt. Oh well, the peace and quiet the lollipop provided was worth it!

6. As soon as possible, let them play.
After your meeting wraps up, find the nearest place your toddler can play, and let them go to town. I was lucky enough today that my client had a kid’s play area in the store. Genius. I released her from her stroller and set her free! It was only for 10 minutes or so, but long enough to satisfy her before strapping her in her car seat again.

She was happy to get out of her stroller and play with new toys.

While taking your toddler along as your mini-assistant might not always go smoothly, it’s worth trying. Will I do it again? Only if I absolutely have to. She was a doll, and while I enjoyed her companionship, momma needs her grown-up time once a week! :-)

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This Blog is Going Big Time! (Hey, a girl can dream, right?)

This is how excited they are about mommy’s big news.

Against your better judgment, you seem to like me. Well, maybe not me, but you like my writing. Well, maybe not my writing, but you’re related to me and feel obligated to read my blog. Okay, okay, enough with the self-deprecation. (Side note: I often have to catch myself from saying “self-defecation.” Different meaning ENTIRELY.)

Seriously, though, this blogging thing feels good to me. Natural. It excites me, fulfills me, and gives me a constructive place to squeeze out my brain juice every day. As a creative person, that’s important. So important. About the only thing it doesn’t do for me is pay the bills. (Well, indirectly, but that’s not what I’m talking about here.) And while I fought against the idea of monetizing (offering ad space for sponsors), I’m now ready to give it a shot. Initially, I didn’t want to “sell out” and end up writing for “the man.” (Just who is this man? He must be related to “they.”)

But I see it this way. If a girl with a guitar starts playing for friends and family, and they give her encouragement, she may want to play for a larger audience. So, she’ll play non-paid gigs just to get exposure and boost her skills and confidence. Then, one day, she’ll realize that while her tip jar may cover the gas money to and from shows, it’s not paying the electric bill. She’s spending a large amount of time pursuing this dream, and if it could also pay the bills (or at least some of the bills), how awesome would that be? And who could blame her?

So, I’m currently in the process of building a new blog, one that will accommodate a small amount of ad space (and also allow me to install some super-cool plugins). It’s now or never. I don’t want to look back and regret never giving it a shot. And even if I only make enough to cover the cost of set-up, I’ll be happy. I’m eager to reveal the new-and-improved look, and may be blogging here a little less often as much of my time will be dedicated to the new site. (I hope to launch in a month or so.)

Angel: Your blog will be awesome! Go for it!
Devil: Your blog sucks. You suck. Give up already.
(I’m pulling for the angel.)

I’m allowing myself to be optimistic about this, and not slip into my usual “Daria” mode. Nah-nah-nah-nah-nah…(Even though she’s awesome.)

What about you? Have you ever taken a leap of faith? How did it turn out? Are you glad you at least tried even if it didn’t go so well?

The Very Inspiring Blogger Award

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Nothing quite perks up my day like seeing the little yellow notification icon at the top of my WordPress dashboard letting me know I have a new comment. (I love comments, by the way.) So when I saw it was from Jammie, an incredible woman I met at a writing conference recently, I was even more excited. Then, when I saw she was notifying me that she’d given me an award, I peed myself! (Ok, not really, but wasn’t that more interesting than saying I got even more excited?) :-)

Here’s the thing. Jammie’s reason for giving me the award meant the world to me. She said, “I met Cat at a writer’s retreat and fell in love with her ability to tell her emotional story.  Go tell it on the mountain, Cat!” Oh I will, sister. I will. (Read Eric’s Story here.)

Rules for The Very Inspiring Blogger Award: Thank the person who nominated me. Share seven things about myself. Nominate seven other bloggers for this award. Put the logo of the award on my blog site. Post the rules. Let your seven picks know they are nominated.

via The Very Inspiring Blogger Award.

Here’s where I get to practice narcissism for a bit with seven supposedly interesting things about me:

1. Growing up, I was convinced I would marry Prince William someday. Thanks for screwing that up Kate!

2. I was terrified of aliens when I was younger. So scared, I would only call them “A’s.”

3. The first thing I ever said to my husband was, “Hey, clean my boots.” (We worked at a western wear store together. He’s been putting up with my crap ever since.)

4. I’ve never seen The Godfather.

5. I like fake crab better than the real deal.

6. I can work a runway like nobody’s business.

7. I sometimes lie on the floor in my daughter’s bedroom and listen to the sound of her breathing in her sleep. :-)

Now, here’s the fun part. I get to pay it forward to seven bloggers who inspire me! Here we go:

1. Momma to Five Little Monkeys: Here’s the sad part. This aspiring blogger had to stop blogging because her laptop crashed. They’re having financial and medical complications, and she can’t replace it. Her writing is good, and now she has no outlet other than Twitter. I wish I had an extra computer to send her!

2. Creative Devolution: Okay, you know that part I said about peeing my pants from excitement? Well, I probably have peed while laughing at this blogger’s posts. Hi-lar-i-ous!

3. The Momalog: What can I say? Ado blends her emotional journey of family alcoholism with the joyous adventures of raising two amazing daughters so well. She’s been a personal and professional mentor.

4. Amy Renee Leiker: She’s a self-professed “grammar geek” and I need all the help I can get. Good stuff here. :-)

5. The Reedster Speaks: Have I ever mentioned that laughter is my favorite anxiety medication? My doc told me to read two of this blogger’s posts a day and call her in the morning. She’s funny, yet can be serious when necessary.

6. Pohlkotte Press: This blogger’s post, “And For Tonight,” perfectly captures the feeling of coming home late after a night out on the town when you’re a mom of young children. It’s amazing.

7. Judy Lee Dunn: She blogs about blogging–genius! She has been a constant source of best practices, useful tips and much-needed inspiration. I can’t thank her enough.

So there you have it. I had to whittle my list down to seven, which was hard to do. Check out their blogs and pass on the love!

And here’s what really inspires me the most. My family.

Inspiration Invitation

I’ve committed to writing a post every day, which means I’ll need a little inspiration from time to time. My friend Dianne and I were just discussing the need for creative stimulus the other day, and she mentioned that she’d found a great way to get her juices flowing by receiving daily short phrases or words from instagr.am (an iPhone photo app). Below are a few of my favorites from her collection. (And for the record, this girl oozes creativity, so she doesn’t need much help. And yes, that’s actually her closet. I’m really only her friend so she’ll let me rummage through it someday.)

So, I’m looking for a little inspiration from you. Throw out some words, phrases or thoughts, and we’ll see what I can come up with. If only I could write as beautifully as Dianne takes photos (and dresses and designs and creates small human beings)…

See more of Dianne’s awesomeness here: http://statigr.am/moonbend and here http://studio-d3.com/.

12. inside my closet. #febphotoaday

7. something I wore. fair isle knee socks, turquoise necklace, & bamboo peacock studs. #marchphotoaday

15. car. #marchphotoaday

Write Where You Are

Someone asked me recently if I consider myself a “mommy blogger.” Hmm…I’m a mom. And I blog. So, technically, I suppose I am. But I’m also a lot of other things. I’m a wife, a sister, an aunt and a so-so friend (my poor pals have been pretty neglected these past few years). It’s not that I’m boring. I just don’t have time to be interesting.

As it turns out, not everyone is a fan of mommy bloggers. “All they do is talk about their kids’ bodily functions  and tantrums and lack of sleep and blah, blah, blah…” I have to admit I was a bit intimidated to even start a blog for fear that “those” people wouldn’t think I was funny or clever.

But you know what? I really don’t care anymore. Writing is my outlet, my indulgence, my escape. And I’ve decided that it’s ok to embrace right where I am, and write where I am. I’ve included my first-ever blog post below, to remind myself why I started this in the first place. (And big props to Judy Dunn who helped my better understand my misgivings about blogging: What’s Under Your Bed?: 10 Monster Blogging Fears Worth Chasing Down.)

 

Blog Post

Oops, gotta go. Daughter just peed on the floor. Turns out mommy blogs do revolve around bodily functions.