EVPHO

Executive Vice President, Home Operations

Archive for the category “Management Team”

I’m Famous!

If you are here looking for another funny story about my adorable Associates and poop, sorry to disappoint.  This post represents a bit of a regression in my recovery as a former Political Operative (sounds so mysterious and important, right?!?).   In the days after Obergefell v. Hodges I fell off the wagon.  I have read more news than I have in 2.5 years… since the day Associate A was born to be exact.

My former self, Campaign Kathryn, is fired up. It is my job as EVPHO to keep her in line.  But lately I can’t stop thinking about the issues, the politics, the future of our country.  I’ve lost sleep and scared the CEO with ideas of getting involved with a race in 2016.

I have been interested in the overall reaction to Obergefell, but was specifically looking for the responses of leaders of my party…. the Republican Party.  Polling clearly indicates that the American public has moved to agree with Marriage Equality, and I was looking for any glimmer of hope that a leader would emerge to help move our Party away from arguing semantics and fear.

I didn’t expect an about face, but I did hope there would be one or two brave leaders able to recognize this was a civil rights issue, firmly rooted in the 14th Amendment, and to speak up and address the fears of Christian conservatives who worried this would affect their church and faith.  (It doesn’t affect the vows you made in your church before your God one bit.  Your Christian pastor will still have no legal obligation to marry two Buddhists, two Hindus, or two women.  The decision doesn’t affect your tax break, your right to visit your spouse in the hospital, or your right to be listed on their death certificate.  But our government will no longer deny those rights to your fellow Americans.)   We have so many who claim to love the constitution, would they be able to recognize this as consistent with the ideals laid out there within?

Anyway, seeing the lack of leadership, my mind then turned to the thousands of hard workings young professionals who work for our leaders.  They do everything from answering the mail to writing talking points.  They research issues and help craft the message.  They set the meetings and the agendas, and then they do the work to follow through on what was decided.  And for many young professionals, they develop trusted relationships with the Members they serve.  Their opinion is valued and their advice heeded.

So as my mind raced, I wrote a letter hoping to inspire even one young GOP staffer.  A former colleague at Famous DC blog agreed to run my letter, and there you have it.  I’m on FamousDC.

famous-dc

I put my money where my mouth was, of course, and reached out to my former boss and had a conversation about how he will respond to this issue.  I hope my letter will encourage others to do the same.

Call me an idealist, but I agree with Voctor Hugo,

Nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come.

*** For those of you who knew me in my grunge phase in Junior High, and don’t think I am a Millennial, may I just point out that I was born less than 30 minutes before MTV went on the air at 12:00am Aug 1st 1981.  I’ve never known a world without MTV and Apple computers = Millennial. ***

Dad Bod Is Sexy

” dad bod would be more like a grazing manatee than a speedy dolphin.”

http://www.vox.com/2015/5/14/8607369/what-is-dad-bod

Holidays with Toddlers

So yesterday was not my finest day.  I was, how do I put it…. mean, crabby, impatient, annoyed… let’s just say all of the above.  The Sunday after a long Thanksgiving weekend, and I was mean mommy all afternoon because I wanted to finish decorating the tree and get all the Holiday decorations out and storage boxes put away, but of course all my little Associates wanted to do was take things OFF the tree, climb in and out of the mountain of boxes in our garage and stay up in the attic all day.

I knew I was being mean.  They certainly knew it.  Associate P was telling me to “Calm down, calm down Mommy.  It’s ok.  Look you have lots more ornaments that I didn’t break.”  And of course, the CEO took notice.

I like to think normally I’m a better parent when the CEO is around, just like any employee is when their supervisor is watching them, but reality is I usually act the same and just make sure he doesn’t hear me whispering bribes or threats to the Associates.  (kidding.  kind of.)  But today, he heard it all, and it was all pretty bad.

When things calmed down a little and we were making dinner while the Associates played in the other room he asked me what was wrong.  I then let out my sob story of “I just want to be able to enjoy the holiday stuff like I used to.  Now it is all work, that I don’t have time for and can’t get done with them running around. I can’t take my eyes off Associate A for a minute or he ends up covered in dirt from digging up half the flower bed.”

He looked me square in the eyes and held my shoulders and told me I’m crazy.  That I have two young kids and I’m the one setting unrealistic expectations for Holiday decor, traditions, crafting and efficient shopping.  And then he emphasized the point that I should, under no circumstances, ever take my eyes off Associate A. Even for a Minute.  That kid is cray-cray just like his momma.

I know he is right – and it is so hard to admit when he is, especially if it means I was wrong.  This was the end of an amazing weekend.  We hosted Thanksgiving for our extended family, had a football watch party the next day, I had a girls night out Saturday night, and I did in fact manage to get 90% of our holiday cards mailed, lights up on the house, the tree decorated, a fun family outing this am, and even had time to empty and wash out the kitty litter box.  WOAH.  That is a detail I rarely do.  I must have really been in the zone.

Our Family Christmas Tree

Our Family Christmas Tree

So I tried to end this amazing weekend on an up note, playing with the boys and not worrying about all the other Holiday to-do’s that had been running through my head all weekend.  I am trying so hard to relive happy memories of big family Thanksgivings and decorating the tree with my family as a kid, that I’m focused on my enjoyment of these things, and making them perfect for me.  Not my boys.

I dunno.  I was a bit of a cleaning obsessed, Martha Stuart wannabe, not at all attentive momma the last few days, and looking back I can only hope they are young enough to either be oblivious or only remember the highlights… playing with cousins, singing Christmas Carols while helping me with the tree, and reading Dinosaur Rumpus a few hundred times.

After all, I only remember the good times.  It is possible that my mother may have been high strung, bossy and impatient around the holidays when she was playing hostess, but that’s not how I remember it.  I remember being thrilled she trusted me to dust the legs of the dining room table (very important busy work, right?!).  And I remember my dad always letting me help get the decorations down and back up into the attic.  I don’t remember him ever threatening to leave me up there.

So let’s go on assuming my parents are the saints I have built them up to be in my head, and that my little associates will do the same.  After all, they did get to spend a lot of time up in the attic this weekend, and that is pretty darn cool.

#youwanttostayuptherealldayfinewithme #noididntreallylockthemintheattic

 

Yes We Can!

Ok – so I have to rant a little bit here, and some of you may not like it. In my previous career, I was a loyal Republican political operative, working for leadership offices in DC and campaigns in California and Florida.  From 2000-2010 I was pretty much obsessed with the national political arena and watched more C-SPAN than any young adult should.  I tell you this so you understand my utter and complete annoyance with Bob the Builder.

My boys discovered Bob and the Big Dinosaur Dig on Netflix, and for the last week or so their two loves – construction equipment and dinosaurs – have merged.  We have watched this little Bob the Builder 4 episode mini-movie a few times and so of course that catchy show tune is in all of our heads.  “Bob the Builder, Can We Fix it? Bob the Builder, Yes We Can! ”

It was cute at first.  One of us would start to sing and we would all chime in. Giggles all around when I mimic Lofty, “Uh, yea I think so!”

Well yesterday it started to turn South, and by the end of today it was like nails on the chalk board to me.  My sweet little Associate A is running around just singing “YES WE CAN!”  It is his favorite answer to every question, and he is so damn enthusiastic he is losing the Bob the Builder cadence and instead sounds like a little Obama-obsessed baby circa 2008.

Then tonight as I struggled to get them into PJ’s and to bed at a reasonable hour, I asked the question “Can you two please just sit still!” And in a calm patient voice he said it not once, but twice, like only then Senator Obama could….  “Yes we can. Yes we can.”

So now, guess what is stuck in my head?  Not cute Bob the Builder, but the Obama ’08 campaign slogan and catchy inspiring viral video that Will I Am made.

Awesome.  Kids are down at a reasonable hour, and rather than dive into half a season of So You Think You Can Dance that I had missed I have now watched it twice… wondering what in the heck went wrong and getting my political tail feathers in a tizzy.  So much hope and opportunity squandered by a promising but unprepared politician.  ugh…

I’ll stop there before this resembles a political rant.  My anger tonight really is at Bob the Builder.  I had successfully shut politics out of my life for the last 3 years until you came along… Bob.

Bob the Builder giving the politician's classic thumbs up

Bob the Builder
giving the politician’s classic thumbs up

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Run In With The Law

So picture me driving home from a busy morning of activities and errands, completely spaced out thinking about my to-do list of emails to answer, doctor appointments to make, moving logistics to plan, what will be a quick and easy lunch for the kids and praying Associate A doesn’t fall asleep for the last 5 minutes of the drive home.   Transitioning a sleeping toddler to their bed is a complete fantasy that only happens to magical mommies and their fairy children. The rest of us end up with upset little dragons who did not want to be woken up.

Anyway, when I finally do look in the review mirror I see beautiful twinkle lights in the car behind me.  As I pull over to the side of the road, I am still in mommy la-la-land that I tell my associates “oh look guys, a police car is coming” assuming the officer was going to pass me and speed off to help some poor soul with real problems.

traffic stop

Nope.

He pulls over right behind and I begin to realize that I am getting pulled over. I shift it into park, and fire a quick warning to my Associates “A police officer is coming to talk to mommy, please be quiet.” That was Mistake #1.  Associate P then begins to get excited and spirals into a serious of questions that make my head spin.

While P is still babbling on in the back the officer approaches my window and asks if I know why he pulled me over.  I have no idea. It could be anything. Much of the last 5 minutes of my drive is a blur as I was thinking about everything but driving.  I couldn’t even remember if I’d checked my phone while driving… is that illegal in FL yet?

When he tells me it is an expired tag, I stare blankly at him.

Sure. Why not. If you say so. On my list of things to worry about, I promise you the little yellow sticker on the back of my car has not been ranked a in a long while.  The tag expired 3 weeks ago he informs me.  He takes my info and heads back to his car.

Associate P is still firing off questions, interrogating me from the backseat.  After the 65th “Why did he want to talk to you mommy?” I responded, “Because mommy messed up.”

“Oh no. Oh no. Mommy why did you do it? Was it an accident? You should apologize. Will you get a time out? Why would you do it mommy, why?”

At this point I am still calm. 3 weeks expired is nothing right? He’ll check my record and see I’m a great driver and give me a warning. Nope. Mr. Officer DoGood writes me a ticket – $119 – and strongly suggests I go get it taken care of ASAP because I can, and probably will be pulled over again by our overzealous beachside cops with nothing better to do.

At this point my lip is quivering and I am holding back tears.  He tries telling me a quick visit to DMV can have it solved today. I look back at the now sound asleep Associate A and Associate P, who is so excited he is almost busting out of his 5 point harness trying to press his face against the glass and look at the police man right outside his window.

Still composed, but feeling the frustration beginning to well up, I ask if I can be cited again for this if I can’t get to it for a few days.  “Oh yes, absolutely.”  Then I lose it. The quiet tears start to run down my cheeks.  This was mistake #2. I waited entirely too long to pull out the water works.

The guy melted like a smores in a camp fire.  I could see his composure change and he was no longer Officer DoGood, he was Officer I-Hate-these-Stupid-Quotas-I’m-Sorry-I-Had-To-Do-This-To-You.  He apologized for not giving me a warning.  “If it was only a week, I could have let you go with a warning. Please just get it fixed as soon as you can.”

As we parted, I was now angry at myself for letting the darn tag expire AND for not crying sooner.  Silly me to think he would let a little mistake slide.  The Man was imposing his authority on me because he had to, not because he wanted to.  Had I shown a little emotion a little sooner he would have backed off and let me slide.  I had it all figured out, I know how to beat The Man next time, I’ll just start crying and get away with whatever stupid little thing I did that was against the rules….

Wait a minute… that thought process sounds an awful lot like the antics my Associates pull 10 times a day.  Only I am The Man imposing the silly rules… hold a railing on the stairs, take turns with your brother, you MUST put pants on… and they are the ones who whip out the tears and all too often get me to let them slide on their bad behavior.

Well, well well.  This was an interesting little insight to the psychological warfare the Associates and I battle daily.  The odds of me getting pulled over anytime soon is slim to none (I did make the effort to get to the DMV and get a new tag), but the odds of my Associates trying to weaken my will is a sure bet.  So the question is, will I now be more motivated to remain firm and hold the line, or will I cave to the pungent guilt their alligator tears emit.

Only time will tell 😉

Honey, I’m Home… OMG!!!

Funny story today, worth sharing.

The CEO popped home to grab lunch, only to walk smack into a huge playdate in progress. You could see the sheer horror on his face as he lay witness to so many women and children destroying his house.  He was probably also extremely disappointed to be unable to identify his own children in the crowds of wet, sticky wee ones running around.

He came in, politely smiled and waved to the few ladies he maybe recognized despite our SAHM day attire (ie no makeup, baggy clothes and sweaty).  At least I hope he recognized them.  Some of these women are good friends that we usually only see on social occasions where we have all showered and clean clothes on.  I wouldn’t want their husbands to have seen me today, and as soon as I saw him, my first thought was to APOLOGIZE to my friends… “I’m so sorry. I didn’t know HE’D be here.  Its so awkward!!”   Like when a boss would pop into the after work happy hour… CEO encroachment was a total playdate buzz-kill.

Anyway, he came in and found me cutting cheese – literally – into little cubes for the kiddos.  I gave him the “WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?!?!” look.  He responded with the “GET ME THE HELL OUT OF HERE!!!” look.

I felt like a teenager getting busted by her parents for having a party while they were out (not that I ever did that 😉  “Oh Hi Hun.  I thought I mentioned I had a few friends coming over today… um, you want some cubed cheese, watermelon or blueberries?”   I felt the need to apologize … making the mental note I’d really, REALLY have to clean up now.  He will be avoiding coming home all day thinking it will be a disaster zone.

His response was swift, “No I’ll go out and grab something.  See you later.”  Faster than you can say “Daddy’s Home” he was gone again.

I bet some of the women didn’t even notice him.  Most of the kids, including mine, were totally unaware a man briefly crashed the party.  They were too busy splashing in the baby pool, digging in the sandbox or finding every last toy in our house.

But after I scrambled to clean up during my Associates quiet time, it occurred to me that unlike the mad dash to clean after a high school party, I would not be getting in trouble this time.  My CEO would not be mad at me for throwing a party while he was out. In fact, I bet he is glad I did.  He knows I need to be social and see friends, and after seeing just how crazy a playdate can be, I am positive he would prefer I only do them when he is not home.  In fact, I bet he’ll never make the mistake of coming home at lunch again without checking in via text first!

 

 

 

 

 

OMG They Are Just Like Us!

From the moment children are born, everyone loves to comment about what traits they get from which parent.  Associate A has a cleft chin like his daddy, and Associate P looked just like me when I was a newborn… but we could already tell he had his Daddy’s feet.  I joked that he was me from the belly button up, the CEO from the waist down 😉

Trying to identify all those cute little physical traits is magically mind-blowing because reality is kids are 50/50 of their parents, and even the most adorable mini-me parent look alike will have some undeniable similarities of the other parent.

The REAL fun begins as the Associates develop their personalities and it because obvious – sometimes awkwardly – that they are just like us.

  • Associate P has his daddy’s OCD tendencies already in full bloom.  Lord forbid I put two foods on the same plate or hand him a wet cup… “DRY IT mommy!”  And he already is very eager to wash hands if at all dirty.  Cute, if you like washing a million kiddy cups every day.  But, just like his daddy, this OCD tendency is just that.  Thankfully, neither are fully over the cliff with quirks, and both are completely oblivious to the tornado of mess they leave behind them.  As long as what is immediately in front of them makes orderly sense, they are happy campers.
  • Associate A does not like to be told “No.”  I have always struggled with this, and become more defensive than a Buckeye lineman facing off against the school up North if I hear the big N-word.  Associate A has also had a visceral, primal reaction to the word from just a few months old.  He throws a mini-terror for 30 seconds…. usually.  Sometimes longer.   Combine that with the way he is eating lately and maybe he will grow up to be a Buckeye lineman.
  • Associate A also loves to dance like his mommy.  Put on some music and that kiddo will bust a move.

Maybe we should look for more of the cute positive personality trait similarities, but usually they only jump out at me when they are the negative ones.

Just yesterday I really reached outside of my comfort level to suggest some painting with BOTH associates.  I am not naturally creative, nor is that where I would say I enjoy spending my time… but it is good for both kids imaginations and fine motor skills, so thus I am compelled to offer it.  Normally this is an activity I enjoy 1:1 with Associate P.  Associate is the wild card free spirit, which is even more reason I should be doing this with him.

Easel and big brown paper on the ground on back porch, check!  Washable paints, check! Clothes off the associates, check!  Towels, rags and wash bowl ready, check!   We were all set to have some amazing creative fun…. for exactly 6 minutes.  They had a great time. Associate P painted two nice neat pictures of garbage trucks for daddy, and Associate A made an amazing amount of mess covering himself in gooey paint from head to toe.

Associate A Mixing His Palette

Associate A Mixing His Palette

They impressed me with their focus.  Associate P set out with a vision and took great care mixing his colors.  Associate A was giddy with joy at the creative process. I thought to myself, “OMG they are just like the CEO.”

The entire time they were painting I was also shallow breathing telling myself it was ok.  That is what they were supposed to do.  It would all clean up. Thanking God for washable Crayola paint.

And after the brief inspired burst ended, they were more than happy to spend 30+ minutes washing the brushes, scrubbing down the easel and wiping down the messy paint cans.

Associate P Washing Brushes and Hands With Great Care

Associate P Washing Brushes and Hands With Great Care

As my blood pressure dropped, I felt a sense of pride swell up as I saw Associate P hose his brother off and help him wash the brushes.  Then I thought “OMG, are these kids me or what??”  I am the one who restores order and is a caretaker… and only enjoys creative release in small doses.

It was a perfect example of their 50/50 split.  They are a little me, a little of the CEO and everyday we get to see a little bit more of their own unique personalities shine through.

 

 

 

 

BUSTED!

So this past weekend I was exhausted… for a number of reasons other than just being a mom of a teething toddler.   I ran a 5k (go me!), the CEO had been out of town for an entire week (i.e. I stayed up too late every night working on the computer), and I’d been losing sleep over a to-do list that has grown out of control.

So Sunday, as jet lagged daddy and associate A napped, I took Associate P out for some 1:1 time.  We biked around the neighborhood and parked at the playground.  After about the millionth game of “pay a toll with a kiss to get by,” I could barely keep my eyes open.  It was 78 degrees, sunny, perfect and breezy.  All I wanted to do was lay down.  So I pulled a play from the dinner playbook and bribed my little one.

“If you let mommy lay on the bench and take a little 10 minute nap, I’ll give you a cookie when we get home!”

Associate P enthusiastically agreed, and promised to stay in the little playground area and play quietly.  I flopped over on the bench and passed out faster than you can say “I LOVE NAP TIME!”

I know he is only 2 1/2 but he is the most cautious kid in the world and won’t consider doing anything remotely exciting or dangerous unless my hand is within reach, so I had full confidence he would stay clear of the huge climbing wall and just be playing “yard work” — cleaning the mulch and bushes  — like he usually does.

10 – maybe 15 – minutes later I open my eyes.  My sweet boy is siting on the ground next to my bench playing with a stick. Then I notice there is another family that has joined us at the playground.  I sit up, wipe the drool from my cheek, and say a quiet prayer they just arrived and didn’t just observe me sleeping while my kid examined rocks and mulch.

I was totally BUSTED napping on the job.  Hopefully they didn’t then hear Associate P say, “can we go home and get my cookie now, mommy?”

We Really Can Have It All

I very vividly remember arguing with my women’s studies professor.   I could not believe a modern American educated woman could complain about our opportunities and choices.  We are the most blessed class of people to have ever lived, IMHO.   We can take on men in the classroom, board room and bedroom, yet we can demand they treat us like ladies and welcome all the traditional acts of chivalry.  Even after working in Politics, a classic example of a male-centric industry, I never doubted that myself or any other amazing woman I worked with could achieve anything we set out to.  We could if we wanted to.

But the reality is, many women don’t want to.  Many women reach a point in life – I blame the hormones – where they value their opportunity to be mother and they willingly choose to “sacrifice” career.

Girls increasingly outnumber and outperform boys in all areas of higher education, and are graduating with  degrees left and right.  In fact, social science is beginning to turn its concern to the poor boys being emasculated at young ages or left behind as their female peers accelerate.

But opportunity to succeed can’t change the simple fact that women are the ones who have both more of a physical and emotional investment in child rearing.   Women not only have to spend time away from work to give birth to the children, but many women choose careers that will allow them flexibility so they can be more available to their families.

From an interesting 2012 article in The Atlantic

“a big part of the difference comes from an hours gap. The vast majority of male doctors under the age of 55 work substantially more than the standard 40 hour work week. In contrast, most female doctors work between 2 to 10 hours fewer than this per week”

Some might read that and think it is a negative for women.  No way.  It is another example of how women today really do have it made.

This TED talk is so worth a watch and really explains very well that

 “60 years after The Femine Mystique was published, many women actually have more choices than men do.  We can decide to be a breadwinner, a caregiver or any combination of the two.”

I love this TED talk, for so many reasons.  It highlights how modern dads, like my CEO, take pride in being an active parent, help around the house and even enjoy cooking – things not embraced by previous generations.  It highlights that having a partnership where one is a caregiver and the other is a breadwinner isn’t traditional or old fashioned, it is functional and purposeful.  It also has a few great lines in there, like “we need to re-socialize men.” 🙂

But mostly I love it because hearing this self-described feminist explain her ah-ha moment gives me hope that maybe my poor old women’s study professor has had her ah-ha moment too.

“I have come to believe that we have to value family every bit as much as we value work” Anne-Marie Slaughter

YUP! And when we do, we, men and women, really can have it all!

 

 

Forbes: 7 Crippling Behaviors That Keep Children From Growing Into Leaders

Wow – great article on Forbes about how we as Parents might be sacrificing their kids long-term growth for our own short term comfort.

“Care enough to train them, not just treat them to a good life. Coach them, more than coddle.”

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kathycaprino/2014/01/16/7-crippling-parenting-behaviors-that-keep-children-from-growing-into-leaders/

Post Navigation

Executive Vice President, Home Operations

I Live on a Boat

Adventures of sailing with a toddler and three Jack Russell Terriers

Hands Free Mama

Letting Go...To Grasp What Really Matters

TRU Parenting

Executive Vice President, Home Operations

St. Augustine Florida Photographer – Angel Gray Photography

Executive Vice President, Home Operations

Hello, Dearest!

Executive Vice President, Home Operations

Grasping for Objectivity

Executive Vice President, Home Operations

%d bloggers like this: