Sunday, 14 June 2015

Resignation

It's been weeks since my last blog and I am furious. I hold three individuals responsible.  My boss and his middle man (well a woman), and me. Below are key messages I would like to deliver to these undesirables:

To Mummyfried:  You can no longer juggle 60 -70 working week, ongoing travel for work, and be a focused dedicated houseproud mummy.  Get a cleaner, ironing lady, insist on an assistant at work, insist on reducing your hours at work and highlight to the powers that the travel requirements are ridiculous. Take a stand. Get to it and sort it out. (Oh and stop eating and start exercising).

To the boss and new middle man(agement):

Introducing another level of management will not resolve the company's organisation and cultural issues.

Making your staff wait two hours after your agreed meeting time is not only ridiculous, it is disrespectful, unprofessional.

Providing advice to staff about how to manage their team and strategy is always useful. BUT if your experience has been gained because daddy and uncle got you the job, and you have zero experience or qualifications, reconsider your audience.

I prepared a business case, with costings, along with statistics and data demonstrating that a trip from Athens to London requires more than a 20 Euro a day allowance for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  I am going to London not laiki (the local fresh produce markets that with 20 Euro's you can buy a range of fresh produce to last you a week - if you know how to cook).

It was a good business case. Ridiculous that I had to create it, but that is how you create a business case, you might want to consider the style, format, research - OH and the message.

New projects will not be completed on time because the six other projects you have allocated to your team have not yet been delivered. Patience my dear manager and middle man(ager).  Wait, watch and listen.  An overloaded, underpaid, disenfranchised team will not deliver.  And that is a guarantee.

I love my job and want to do my best.  I am a professional after all, that is dedicated, reliable and while sounding big headed, am good at my job.  BUT I am not saving lives.

On the other hand, I made two lives (well bought two lives to the world) and I want to ensure those two lives are well adjusted, loved, fulfilled, confident and happy individuals. I can guarantee this work situation will not result in my personal 'desire' taking place....we are talking lives people, not projects.

And that is it in a nutshell.

So, I resign, but not in the way you think.

Instead of resigning (I can't afford to do that), I resign myself to making a decision.  Something has got to give, and after this week of travelling on a 20 Euro a day meal allowance in London - it is going to be some key, hard, messages delivered not by blog, but in person to the boss.


Thursday, 23 April 2015

Confessions of a working mummy

Not unlike other paid and unpaid working mummies, my human fuel tank has its needle stuck somewhere between exhausted and seriously exhausted to the point of vague.

My batteries are rarely recharged.  My spark plugs like my home, need a good dusting and once over.

I often leave for work before my babies are awake and return home just before their bedtime. It is awful.

Below are ten confessions that I suspect many paid and unpaid working mums relate to - but perhaps rarely admit to:

1. The ankle biters do not take baths every night
2. I don't know if they really brush their teeth every day - despite threatening them that if they don't brush their teeth, they will fall out
3. I empower my children by giving them options:  'Brush your teeth, or they will fall out. You choose'.
4. I clean only what I can see, on the weekends
5. I iron only the ankle biters clothes because I don't want them going to nursery being the scruffy untidy kids
6. I don't iron my or Mr Lucky's clothes - we have to fight it out in the playground
7. I mix whites and and darks in the washing machine when I am seriously short of clothes
8. The only calm and quiet time is when I comb the ankle biters hair. I still remember how a brush feels when run through outdoor played / wind swept hair.  I am prepared to be late anywhere/ anytime to avoid my cherubs experiencing this
9. We have no routine. Ever. No matter how much I pretend or try to
10. The ankle biters still sleep with us and we love it and they too do

Not so bad, really, it isn't, no, of course it's not, is it???


Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Put down the gun

I sit at my desk and feel my heart beat faster each time she walks past my office.

I wonder why, at age with years of experience under my belt I experience such a knee jerk, projectile vomit, knot in my tummy reaction when my eyes follow her as she strides by. I loathe every moment I have to interact with her.

The trenches were dug and war announced before I even had time to warm my desk chair.

This woman had her war cry entrenched in her psyche years before she joined this work battlefield. She has 'Warning, Armed Mean Person' tattooed on her forehead.

I observe her guarding the CEO's office, waiting, watching for her opportunity to pounce.

Four years out of the corporate office, three months into a new role and I am ready to walk out and run back into the loving attentive arms of my cherubs who with every breath make the world a better place.

Day in day out a steady stream of soldiers enter the office, ready to do their best, ready to commit their know how, their experience, keen to present their passion, excitement and dedication - that combined moves mountains. Collectively the professional spirit here is incredibly motivating and positive but that one poacher shoots down any sense of achievement, success or empowerment.

I watch fascinated wondering how and why I allow myself to react so badly to one person, and as try as I may to focus on the many other positive, dedicated professionals I work with, that I allow this one rotten egg to kill my professional mojo.

A bully in her own right, I have had to swallow my insecurities and stand up to her a few times.  I wonder if my reaction is because this woman has little sense of teamwork, team spirit. Is it because I find her intimidating or am I simply off my game?

Having spent the last few years dedicated to encouraging my cherubs to laugh, love and explore,  I wonder if I have become so Mummyfried that I have become soft?

Each morning I slap on my war paint and get ready to face battle.  I wonder if everyone else feels the same way. I suck it up and face the day determined.  I join the troops with grey, somber faces.  It would be nice if we could all put down our weapons and just play nice.


Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Empowerment or power down?

This week I threw caution to the wind and let myself go.

I felt free, limitless, unchained and alive.

I averaged on about three mini snickers bars a day.

I breathed out and let my stomach just hang.

I challenged myself to think on my feet, I forced myself to decide within three minutes, what to wear to work each morning.

I let nature take over in the hair (facial and on head) and nail department.

I worked back - very late, concentrating on work, rather then wondering how the girls and Mr Lucky were coping without me. There was no guilt.

I let the house rest, there were no daily after work whirlwind, guerrilla style tidy up drills.

While on my lunch break, rushing to get another snickers bar, I spotted my reflection in a shop window.

This unkept, tummy hanging over belt, jeans too long for chosen shoes, helmet haired, dangerously close to having a mono brow person had gone too far.

I forgot the snickers, returned to the office with my tummy sucked in. I tied my helmet hair back after slapping on a serious amount of hair wax (I always keep a stash at work for my 'hair out of control' days).  Folded up my jeans, and stapled them so they were the appropriate length for my shoes, ensuring they no longer swept the streets clean with each step. I created a 'to wear' and a 'to do' list for the rest of the week.

The  internal emergency siren stopped wailing. Order almost returned, I still need to make an appointment to lose the mono brow, starve myself for about two years to shed the snickers related ten kilo love handles and work on bringing on a guilt attack for focusing on work and not the family.

I am almost there.

Feeling empowered, dis-empowered or powered down? I am not quite sure.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Missing in very serious and important action

Since 1 January 2015 and perhaps a little before then, I have been missing in action (MIA). Aside from close friends, Mr Lucky and the ankle biters noticing, my MIA status suggests the following state of play:

1. Every one else has started the new year with much gusto and madness and they haven't had time to notice I am missing. Let's face it,  2015 to date has been operating on warp speed - I haven't had time to notice if anyone else is missing too.
2. My stats regarding my readership or followers are incorrect - nobody reads my blog.  I don't really want to explore this further but there is an ever so slight suggestion (I really hope not) that my blogs are.... floating in dead, unread, uninteresting space in the WebSphere.

In January I submitted a public service contract role application and got the job. The job, while mostly in English, requires Greek. This, like my readership statistics is a challenge and requires some attention.

Also since January I:
  • Packed up and moved South
  • Shipped my stuff over from London that has been in storage for close to two years
  • Unpacked it all, then gave most of it away as it was no longer needed
  • Found a new school, doctor, dentist, lawyer, accountant etc
  • Registered as a freelancer so I could do the job and get paid  
  • Work a minimum of 12 hour days then come home and work off work with housework
  • Somewhere I manage to bathe the girls, shower, eat (well I always make time for that) and try to relax.
Did I mention I started work three days into our move interstate? We hadn't yet moved into our new home and were enjoying the comforts of a lovely, clean, organised hotel.

Hence my delay in blogging, and explanation as to why I am up on a school night at 3 am- finally doing what I love to do, write.


So while I am super woman coordinator of the year,  a few more things stand out:
  •  I am consistently running on empty / low energy /low attention so need to prepare 'to do' lists to stay organised 
  • This freelance short term full time contract deal is not as empowering or as fun as I thought
  • I miss my girls
  • They miss me
  • I miss writing for fun
  • I don't think any one else misses my writing but I am too tired to notice
  • I have become blonde with a badly maintained regrowth and lets leave any other hair discussion just here at this full stop.
  • I am still not tall and certainly not thin
  • I really really miss my girls and Mr Lucky
  • My girls have grown and I am missing their minute by minute development
  • I marvel at other mums who manage to breeze through it all with good hair, humour, career progression and no guilt 
  • My memory at work stinks. I have an enormous workload, no different to what I  had before the ankle biters, I don't remember names or details and have to write everything down... but I can tell you what the girls are wearing today, what they will wear and eat tomorrow.

Ms MIA Mummyfried is not juggling career and family well, I know something has to give. Between January and now - that give has been me. I am trying to initiate a search and rescue mission for me and will then try to  strike a balance.

It's on my 'to do' list. A delayed 2015 resolution to return to blogging, despite my pitiful readership and writing.

Watch this space (please!).

Monday, 29 December 2014

Last post for 2014

It's come around so quickly. The end of yet another year.

I have been blogging for nearly a year, averaging on one blog a week. Not bad for a newbie. Sure the content has been snooze-worthy at times (ok most times).

On a rare occasion I have managed to crack a smile from some readers, and some comments!

This year has been the toughest yet greatest year of my life.



My immediate family has bought me joy and laughter. I treasure them each and every second of the day. I wake up each morning and can't wait to see the smile, giggle and scream with laughter.

I have been met with challenges I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. Challenges that have changed the way I view people and relationships and life in general. I have fought battles I never imagined possible. I haven't won.  I have come out wounded but hopefully wiser. The sort of wars I have had to take part in never result in a winner.

I have said goodbye to people, hello to new friends and family and have prepared for new experiences.

I have removed the invisible chains around my legs and despite my need (still) to get fitter and healthier, I am free and more alive than ever.

Mid life crisis or mid life awakening, 2014 has been a diamond, with clear, beautiful reflections and clarity - other times with sharp edges that cut glass.

Next year promises new adventures, moves, careers, cities, perhaps countries.

I am sorry to see this year end.  While only a date in time, 2014 has largely been a learning curve of emotions, experiences and perceptions.  I hope the leanings continue - but hope that they are positive.

Thank you for reading my dribble. Wishing you all positive closure to 2014, and a successful exciting 2015.

Image:  "Bye Key Shows Departing Or Leaving " by Stuart Miles courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos

Monday, 22 December 2014

Supermarket sweep

Last week I was at my local supermarket, a well known Greek chain.  I picked up a few items that were discounted if I produced my loyalty card. I had left my card at home.

The sales person promptly asked the lady behind me for her card. She used her card to give me the discount, and handed the card back.

Other than  'Oh, I don't have my card' I uttered no other words, and the above transaction took place in a matter of moments.

Gobsmacked, I turned and thanked the behind me, and also the sales assistant,

They both looked at me as though I was thanking them for jumping on my feet.

I left feeling as though I lived in a nice area.

Mr. Lucky came home yesterday with an extra carton of milk.  He explained that the day before he forget to pack the milk when he picked up an armload of groceries.

The sales assistant remembered him, and told him when he was at the checkout.  She left the till, got the carton of milk, and packed it for him explaining why.

Today, after completing the first of my big 'Christmas supermarket shop' the sales assistant left her post, walked over to the Christmas tree Little Miss and The Baby were admiring, and took down a Santa and Frosty decoration. She gave the decorations to the girls and wished them a Merry Christmas.

In other countries this act of generosity would have been viewed by management as shop lifting. Shocked,  I explained this to the shop assistant, she laughed and said, 'those rules don't apply to children, regular customers and loyal staff. We put people before profit.'

Crisis or not, this country constantly amazes me. It's often during mundane chores like supermarket shopping that I am exposed to little acts of kindness, that to the average Greek, is just part of their DNA.

Image: "Piggy Bank And Shopping Basket" by Mister GC courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos





Monday, 15 December 2014

Fight on a flight

Last week we flew from Thessaloniki to Athens. It is a one hour flight. We thought it would be a good way to see if Little Miss had overcome her inability to fly with ease. A short trial flight would be ok.

Well. We are optimists afterall.

It was on hour of hell for all the surrounding passengers. Fortunately it was ten minutes of sheer terror for Little Miss. So, while we didn't win any prizes in the fabulous family stakes, I was somewhat relieved that she freaked out for only ten minutes, rather than the entire flight.

Little Miss has largely lost her 'Port a Volcano' status. It has been replaced with a 'Meltdown on anything that moves' title.

We sat her in her own seat near the window. She turned pale and started hyperventilating. We hadn't yet put on our belts so we swapped seats thinking she would be happier between mum and dad.

This made it worse. She absolutely freaked out. The air hostess came over to help. I asked if she could sit on my lap with a belt. The air hostess refused.  Little Miss continued to scream, kick, hyperventilate. Snot, tears and sweat were airborne.

We tried to calm her down. We tried to bribe her. We tried to tell her off. Nothing worked. She was possessed. Other travellers looked on in pity, fear - thankfully I was too busy trying to calm Little Miss to notice if anyone looked on in disguist.


The screams were awful. All I could hear was 'Mummy hold me.'

Another hostess came over and gave me a belt.  Little Miss was prompty put on my lap. The exorcism sorry, baby belt worked.

Little Miss was all smiles. The hostess told us she would have to report the incident, and suggested we not fly again until Little Miss overcame her fear.


We sighed with relief, thankful that we had not been thrown off the flight. The passengers also sighed hoping the rest of the flight would be peaceful. Then, Little Miss started singing. For the entire flight.

We still are not sure whether Little Miss was fighting sitting on her own, or fighting because she was scared.

Eitherway, I am not game to find out again.  We caught the train back to Thessaloniki.  Five and a half hours of happy child for me, beats even ten minutes of distraught unhappy Little Miss.

Is she spoilt? Perhaps.

Image "Aircraft Silhouette" by satit_srihin courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.




Monday, 8 December 2014

There were three in the bed

Bedtime. We three pile into Little Miss' single bed.

I pull out three stories. We argue over which to read first.

At the end of story time, it's lights out. No moving The Baby into her cot. No, mama does not give her cherubs a kiss goodnight, and confidently walks out the door.

Mama balances on the edge of the single bed until Little Miss and The Baby fall asleep. The trundle is pulled out. There is a good chance Little Miss or The Baby will end up sleeping on it at some point in the night.

Little Miss and The Baby insist on sleeping together. They hold hands until they fall asleep.  It's lovely.

What isn't lovely is that they want me to lie with them and cuddle both of them equally. If I so much as move, they stir. At any time of the night.
 
A toilet break is a luxury.  A good night's sleep is a dream.

Last night both fell asleep quickly.  I moved The Baby to the trundle successfully and tip toed out. I was so ecstatic that I went to bed, my bed, immediately. I didn't bother telling Mr Lucky. I was too excited to be reacquainted with my own bed and pillow.

It didn't last long. I tossed and turned. Something was wrong. I peaked into their room to find Little Miss and moved to the trundle and was cuddling the baby.  I crept out and back to my bed.

At about three, I heard The Baby crying out for me.  I ran (read my previous blog entitled Jealousy to understand why).  I swiftly picked her up and we lay down on Little Miss' bed.

At five I felt Little Miss pulling at me.  We were back to position one, Little Miss against the wall, The Baby in the middle, and mama hanging on for dear life on the edge.

I sighed and the nursery rhyme came to mind 'There were three in the bed and the little one said roll over!'

Patience is what I am told. Two more years and they won't want you...that's a long time.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Doll camp.

As a child, I don 't remember being scared of my toys. Except the time my aunt gave me a clown, and my sisters and cousins would dangle it in front of my face when I slept - reenacting a scene from Poltergeist the movie.

Their giggling would wake me up and I would scream in terror as the clown grinned at me.

It wasn't an evil looking clown. It was kind of cute.  But the movie, and my sisters actions made me hide it in the cupboard and one day, I threw it out. Nobody noticed the clown went missing.

As I often lie awake in my daughters' room, I look around and watch as dusk turns to dawn my daughters toys gradually morph in my mind from innocent dolls to a gang of undesirables. There are three dolls I  pay attention to. They are on my watch.



They are like the rough kids in the playground.  I stare, I watch, I wait, I observe. I am ready. If they make one wrong move and even hint at hurting my cherubs, like a panther I am ready to attack.

One is a Minstrel doll, handmade.  If you lift it's dress, it has my mothers name sewn into it's belly, like an amateur tattoo after a drunk night out. Scary and weird.

The other two are little girls, that have curly hair, hats and are in eighteen century dresses. When they have batteries, they sing American skipping (or jump) rope nursery rhymes.

I haven't been able to make out the rhyme, but am convinced one is from the 1940's (Charlie Chaplin went to France).  Read the lyrics, and you will understand why the dolls do not have batteries. I am not ready to talk to my 1.5 and 3.5 year olds asking me about World War 11.

The girls don't play with the Minstrel doll. They get the two girls down, and play with them for about two minutes.  One has lost an arm in battle. And still, I don't pity it.  I am suspicious. They look like they're going to attack, like  possessed dolls in a horror movie.

I have decided that when we move (in a few weeks), we're sending these three dolls on holiday to the same camp the clown went to. One far far away, never to return (and if they do, we won't be here).

I feel a shudder as I make my decision. Paranoia? Yes, Overacting exhausted mind? Absolutely.  I wonder if the girls will notice.

Image: "Crying Doll" by Theeradech Sanin. Courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net