What’s in a Title?

Putting on my “marketing hat,” I recently was part of a meeting with our school district and other professionals as we reviewed a plan to create specific curriculum related to marketing, media and communication arts. As with many large group meetings, we started with introductions. I waited for my turn, thinking of how I should introduce myself as a now unemployed marketing professional. I settled on something like this:

Hi, I’m Cathy, marketing manager and also a  Stay at Home Mom.

I may have said “marketing generalist” because I am a sort of jack of all trades marketer, especially in my last role at a small business, but I questioned on whether or not to say SAHM. I thought I saw some women in the room give me a knowing smile, as in they understood where I was as a mom and professional, and perhaps they were once in my same position.

While I know that staying at home does not diminish my credentials, I can’t help but feel less confident in professional settings. Self doubt creeps in, leading me to question, “Am I good enough for a seat at the table?” Yes, I have opted-out of full-time work right now, and in doing so have I set myself up for the mommy-track? When or will I ever work again?

All of this worrying spins out of control and puts me in a dark place. It’s really not productive or healthy for me to go down this path.

Who cares about titles? What do they even mean?!

I’ve held MANY titles in my career: Marketing Coordinator, Zone Manager, Marketing Specialist, Channel Marketing Manager, and Director of Marketing. And I’ve never been hung up on titles. I’ve been a focused, productive employee, happy to contribute to my team and company, and simply put: get things done! So why should I fixate on titles now?

More importantly, I do truly LOVE my title of Mom! My kids and family are my life’s greatest accomplishment that no work-related achievement could ever eclipse. Hearing little voices calling for me daily (sometimes hourly or more often, depending on the need), makes me feel so needed, important and loved (and yes, sometimes annoyed). Yes, I do have demanding, and adorable “direct reports,” and I definitely need to be hands-on with my four and almost six year old kids. Yet, I recognize how far we’ve come together as a family.

Me and my cute "direct reports."

Me and my cute “direct reports.”

Reflecting on Motherhood

When I left work full-time three years ago, I wrote about why I miss work. Today when I reflect on that post, I see that many of my frustrations have been minimized in just a few years time. I have time to myself when my youngest is in pre-school, and I’ve enjoyed more adult interaction without having to contend with nap-time anymore. Plus, I’ve seen many of my kids’ milestones and accomplishments firsthand (most recently swimming and reading), so I know I am making a difference in their lives. Being a mom IS rewarding, especially with a longer term view!

Pure sweetness: sharing a story in their PJ's. What a way to start off the day!

Pure sweetness: sharing a story in their PJ’s. What a way to start off the day!

I tend to have a hard time NOT having a plan or seeing a clear direction in my life. I wrote about this earlier in Mom GPS Re-calcuating. This time at home is truly a gift, and I want to be comfortable without a grand career plan…to simply “be” in the moment and embrace my life, SAHM title and all. I am doing my best to trust that God has placed me exactly where I should be right now and am trying to learn and grow through it all. To name a few lessons, I’ve learned to be more patient and spontaneous since having kids. I’ve learned to let go a bit more, control less, and relax. My mantra to myself has been “relax and enjoy” motherhood, or taking a cue from an awesome song I hear in my yoga class weekly:

New Titles? New Outlook

I was thinking of how I describe what I’m currently doing, and I often say, “I’m just staying at home right now,” but I need to take “just” out of that sentence. Motherhood encompasses so many roles that I need multiple titles to describe what I do all day:

  • Chief Executive Officer of our home and family of four
  • VP of Marketing & Public Relations – family spokesperson, social media manager, branding, crisis management, historian / archival specialist (through blogging and scrap booking)
  • Head of Procurement – all purchases go through me or require my approval
  • Co-Director of Finance – shared with my husband
  • Accounting Clerk – shared with my husband with our split checking accounts
  • Event Planner – certified in birthday parties, mealtime prep, play dates, date nights
  • HR Professional – personal development, training, team building
  • Health and Wellness Program coordinator – swim teacher, fitness instructor, meal planning and prep
  • Facilities and Maintenance – laundry, housework, grounds crew
  • Community Relations – volunteer, giving manager

This might be a bit long to go through in an introduction, but it IS another way of thinking of my job. I’m shaping the minds and hearts of children, people!  This is a HUGE and an awesome responsibility!

A Better Outlook

Instead of thinking of how I’m viewed as a SAHM in a professional setting, I should focus more on the positives of my here and now. I feel more connected to my community than ever before, simply because I’m here more (vs. commuting and working in another city). I’m able to be part of my daughter’s school through volunteering. I have more time to help out at church. As a family, we have time to enjoy both breakfast and dinner together almost daily.  I have time to workout and get enough sleep at night. It is a healthy, more relaxed pace of life. Given all of this, I am so very blessed to be in this position, trusting that I’ll read this post in a few years after God’s plan for me has unfolded more perfectly that I could have ever imagined.

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My Venture into Direct Sales

As I had mentioned way back in September in my Fly on the Wall post, I started my own business as an independent representative of an all-natural foods company.  This is a direct selling gig – something that I thought I wouldn’t ever do! You never know what twists & turns life will take, so the old adage, “never say never” certainly holds true.

According to the Direct Selling Association (of which my company is a member), more than 16 million independent reps in the U.S. alone are part of a $30 billion dollar industry!  That’s a lot of home parties and individuals selling to their own networks! Wow!

How I Decided to Sell

I was first introduced to Wildtree through my sister, who invited me to attend a friend’s freezer meal workshop. At first I wasn’t sure what I was in for – it can be intimidating to buy groceries for 10 meals, do the prep, and haul your cooler to a friend’s house.  For the cost of the workshop, I had 7 Wildtree products waiting for me at the workshop to measure & add to each individual bag, according to the recipe instructions.  I stood next to my sister, had some wine, and chatted away with the other guest while we prepped our meals.  It was a lot of fun, not to mention productive.

Wildtree Freezer Meal Workshop

This is what a freezer meal workshop looks like!

After enjoying the 10 Wildtree Freezer Meals I had prepped the night of the workshop, I would do another workshop a few weeks later. It was a grilling workshop that included a Hickory Smoke Grapeseed oil and a Rancher Steak Rub seasoning blend.  I think it was these two ingredients that made me fall in love with Wildtree!  I’ve never had such delicious steaks before!!  Each meal felt like restaurant quality foods, making me feel like such a rockstar in the kitchen!

Plus, being the main cook in our house, I was tired of making the same things over and over again and wanted quick, easy dinners after my days at work or fun-filled summer days at home with my kids. The freezer meals were the ideal solution for my family!

When faced with attending another freezer meal workshop, or becoming a rep myself, I ultimately decided to pay for the $49.95 for the starter kit (plus shipping), and go for it back in August!

The IDEAL Job (especially for Busy Moms)

I’m excited to share the freezer meal planning concept and amazing, all-natural Wildtree products with my network on a schedule that I set on my own. The flexibility of my Wildtree business fits in so nicely with my current part-time job, while still giving me time at home with my 3 year old and older daughter who is in 4K half-days. It’s a perfect job where I’m completely in control! I think this is why so many moms are attracted to direct sales.  You can determine when you work, booking parties, or in my case tastings or freezer meal workshops when it’s convenient.  As with any job, you get out what you put in, so I do need to be disciplined to keep my business going. Ideally, I am targeting to have three to four parties a month to give me enough time to balance our family’s activities.  It’s been a lot of fun promoting and selling products I love!

Wildtree 8 Pack of Seasonings

Here’s an 8 Pack Sampler that was included in the Starter Kit.

More about Wildtree 

Wildtree is an all-natural food company that focuses on quick, easy, healthy dinners. Their all-natural products do not contain preservatives, dyes, fillers, GMO, MSG or high fructose corn syrup. Many products are organic certified too.  Most important of all in my book is the amazing taste! For more about the company & its history, click here.

Hosting Parties

In addition to helping my contacts host parties, I have been a recent host for my friend’s new Stella & Dot venture (also a mom looking for a flexible work arrangement). As with any direct sales business, it pays off to be a host because you can earn free products!  I also like the added benefit of motivation to clean up my house when people come over.  I’m definitely a people person, and I love a reason to bring friends and family together. It IS a lot of fun combining friends from all different areas of your life!

I had never really done a jewelry/accessory party before, but it was a huge hit! I loved being able to try on the items and the chance to catch up with friends over drinks & food. I’m excited to choose my accessories and do some holiday shopping with my host credit!

What are your favorite direct sales or home party-type businesses? Have you heard of Wildtree before?

If you want more info about my Wildtree business, please email me at gomamao AT gmail (dot) com.

Sometimes You Gotta Play the Game

This was advice I heard early on in my career.  Sometimes you gotta play the game. It’s so true!  Even though I may have thought that something should be done or approved much sooner, I have learned that sometimes it comes down to timing, or making your boss think it was his/her own idea!  Whatever works!

In my own personal life as a parent, I too must play the game at home!  I talked before about the rebranding I do for my kids to try to encourage cooperation and good listening, while making it fun. Sometimes this works well, and sometimes I’m just plain annoyed, tired, and too focused on getting the task at hand completed.

We had one of those times recently, when I was trying to get my son dressed.  Since he’s three years old, he thinks that all of his clothes should be a size three.  This logic works for big sister, who has pretty much been true to her size and age as she’s grown.  Little brother is still wearing some size two clothes and often boycotts wearing size two because it doesn’t match his age.  Before putting on a soccer t-shirt, he said, “Wait, I want to see if it’s size three.”  It wasn’t, so he was refusing to put it on. Frustrated, I walked away.

Daddy O. stepped in with a genius move. He took the shirt and asked little brother, “Do you want to see the number three on it?”  He nodded, yes. Daddy O. took a sharpie to the tag and wrote the number 3.  Upon seeing it, little brother GLADLY put on the newly labeled shirt.  AMAZING!

Thanks to Daddy O. I’ve learned to play the “numbers game.” Here’s the picture of the shirt I recently re-labeled so my son would wear it. Whatever works, right?!

changing little brother's shirt to 3T

Play the game while getting dressed – a new size!

How do you play the game as a parent?  Are there any other sayings you’ve heard at work that also apply to your life at home?

Related Posts

Dr. Jekyll & Ms. Hyde – The Pinterested Parent – this post applies to ANY toddler / preschooler!  It’s a good one (and an all-around fun blog to follow), so go check it out!

Mom GPS Re-calculating

Magellan Blazer12 GPS Receiver.

Magellan Blazer12 GPS Receiver. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m the go-to person in our house on where to find any- and everything. It’s a skill many moms have, and I’d like to think of it as Mom GPS (without the annoying monotone voice – I hope).

My husband will say, “Where is my phone, keys, form….fill in the blank here..” and I can typically tell him almost immediately. Sometimes what he’s looking for is literally right in front of his face. Amazing – and he’s the one with the 20/20 vision!

I know it’s because I’m home with the kids all the time that my Mom GPS is so accurate.  I’m helping with toy clean-up, cleaning and putting away dishes, clothes, art projects.  You name it: moms do it!

While my GPS for the everyday running of our house is good, I can’t help but feel it’s a little off for the rest of my life. There’s no clear direction or roadmap for how to best manage parenting, marriage, and some form of work. As of right now, as a professional SAHM, volunteer, and occasional freelance marketer, I feel like something is missing.  It’s not enough, though I’m trying desperately to convince myself that it IS.

I need to spend time re-calculating to understand how to get to a happier destination or at least feel happier on my journey right now.  I can’t really make a u-turn, as a GPS will often tell you to do. Perhaps my detour of staying at home for one year will give me time to find a new path that will work for me AND my family.

How have you re-calculated during your own life? How has your destination or journey changed after having children?

For some other posts about my job hunt and work, check these out: The Wait is Over, The Waiting Game, Getting Rejected, Could it be? Do I really HAVE IT ALL?, Slowing Down my Climb, Why I Miss Work.

Time is on our side!

Clock

Clock (Photo credit: Earls37a)

“Time is an equal opportunity employer. Each human being has exactly the same number of hours and minutes every day. Rich people can’t buy more hours. Scientists can invent new minutes. And you can’t save time to spend it on another day. Even so, time is amazingly fair and forgiving. No matter how much time you’ve wasted in the past, you still have an entire tomorrow.”  – Denis Waitley

I came across this quote, and it felt so appropriate as we turned back the clocks for daylight savings time last night.  This morning felt as if time really were on our side, as we had a wonderfully relaxing morning as a family.

Usually this is NOT the case, as I hear this fast “Tick, tick, tick, tick” coming from a gear toy magnet on our refrigerator. Much to my annoyance, my kids frequently turn on when I’m making dinner. It stresses me out, reminding me that dinner is not cooking fast enough, and my kiddos are HUNGRY and CRABBY!  AHH!!

Tick. Tick. Tick…time can seem to slip away, such as this past week, as I neglected to MAKE time to write a blog post.  I HAD grand plans, thinking of a few topics that might be fitting around Halloween time, but between interviews (yes, multiple interviews!), some consulting work, and the usual kid and home routine, it just didn’t happen.

Time really is a gift, and probably the most precious commodity above all other things!  I realize that now as a parent more than ever.  Just 15 minutes of my own time or my beloved QUIET TIME feels like such a treat.  I can’t believe how much I can get done when I am uninterrupted.  It’s awesome! Parenting truly hones your time management skills like nothing else, making you focus on just one to two things you want to accomplish today.  Yesterday, we conquered going to the grocery store.  Hurray!

Many of my posts seem to have a CARPE DIEM message to them, and this one can’t help but also share that same message. In the past two days I finished reading SWIM by Bill Coon, an inspiring story about his own life – a heart transplant at 21 days old and a heart and kidney transplant at 20 years old.  His ability to keep believing as precious time ticked away, waiting for a matching donor, was incredibly impressive and definitely helps puts life in perspective.  Gratitude for the time that you’re given and the ability to be present and embrace the little things are so important. Be thankful for today and make it a great one!