Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Two Sides to the Story

I had the privilege of attending the first annual Silicon Slopes Tech Summit on Thursday and Friday. The whole concept of the event was centered around building up the work that is being done in the tech industry here in the state of Utah. It's remarkable how quickly Utah based tech businesses are creating something we can really be proud of. There were panel discussions and interesting presentations. CEOs of remarkable and internationally renowned companies spoke about how they got their start, what inspires them, etc. I kept hearing the same themes over and over. One theme in particular stands out to me: we want more women in tech! How do we get more women in tech?

I think this question falls along the lines of a more broad question: how do we get more women involved in corporate America? How do we close the wage gap? How do we shatter the glass ceiling?

My thoughts are a jumbled and not well researched format:

It feels like part of the wage gap is because women are punished for being mothers. There are probably plenty of women in corporate America who don't care to climb the latter. There are probably plenty that want to climb the latter and don't care to have children. These are not the women I'm talking about. I'm talking about the women who want to have both. Who are told by successful companies who are expanding and hiring "we want you" and on the other side of that coin are told "if you're a mother, your children should always come first".

Having your children "come first" is a complicated topic. I'm not sure it's possible to address what that means for every women. However, I see it this way: women who have full time jobs are often seen as having made sacrifices of time and attention to their children. Putting them in daycare, working from home and giving them "too much" screen time or too little attention, hiring a nanny to "raise" them, etc. These sacrifices are difficult to navigate because it's hard to truly assess what is lost for each individual child, if anything, by not having a mom at home.

Let's also assume, for the sake of discussion, that women who are in the work force with children who are all of school age and in school full time are not facing the same struggles as mothers of younger children. While their struggles are certainly valid, the discussion I want to have is how mothers of young children are sacrificing time with their babies with unknown consequences if they choose to be in the work force.

These two sides of the coin are: you're a talented and driven woman who is wanted in the work force. You're a talented and driven woman who is wanted at home. Society seems to tell us that we have to choose. Society tells us that moms specifically should be home with their kids. Society asks the working mom "what do you do with _____ while you're at work?" I doubt anyone asks my husband what he does with our child while he's at work. It's assumed that I'm the one at home. I think this is what makes it difficult to recruit talent and hold onto talented women through child bearing and early child rearing years. It's a very real struggle to juggle both.

Or is it? One of two things could happen: society could change the way it talks to women about being with their young children OR corporate America can change they way they talk to women about being in the work force.

Now, to be fair, I have long held that we credit women with having these struggles but often overlook the dads. I'm sure there are many fathers who are pained to spend so much time away from home. They'd much rather be around their little ones full time. If money were no object, they would be. Nobody asks them how it is being away from the kids. Nobody asks them how they feel about the sacrifices they make to build a successful career. I don't want to ignore that but, again, this is not what I truly want to address.

What if large companies figured out a way to accommodate mothers of young children? To supply every woman's bathroom with a nursing/ pumping room equipped with a private refrigerator. To have on site daycare and preschool (where the families would be financially responsible for their child's/children's care/ early education). Better paid leave for both parents. Flexibility in the schedule that accommodates doctors appointments, pick up from school, etc. The good news is that many companies are starting to offer this kind of support. It's still ironic to me that when it comes to trends in perks offered by large companies so many have turned to on site fitness centers and fully stocked snack kitchens. Who the #e11 cares?! Help me be there for my kid.

Thanks for letting me ramble.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Things Stressing Me out Today

realizing that the 75K in available coverage for Scott's accident may not be enough to cover the expenses through the life of the injury/ recovery process

Patch approaching the terrible 2s and not feeling ready to discipline him without being an "angry" mom or one that yells

2016 taxes

making goals at work

my messy house...our bed is now down in the dining room...crowded

errands I have yet to run- going to the DMV to get Scott's disability parking permit thingie

just to name a few.

I feel better though after some high quality retail therapy.

Monday, January 9, 2017


On Thursday morning, January 5th, 2017, I got one of the most terrifying calls you can possibly get. A call came in from Scott and on the other line there was commotion and lots of frantic talking. The woman on the other end of the line realized I was there and said, "Michelle, your husband has been in an accident. He's been hit by a car. We're trying to keep him warm" and I start freaking out. I say "Is he ok?" and her response is "We're not sure." I freak out some more. She tries to comfort me saying "he's talking and he knows who he is and where he is" meanwhile I'm panicking. "He'll be ok" she tells me. "Calm down" she tells me. "Don't cry" she tells me. Lady, don't tell me how to feel. Tell me how my husband is doing. Tell me what has happened. Eventually I calm down and she tells me more details.
Meanwhile, I had taken my new car to be re-detailed. I'm sitting at my office without a way to get to my husband who is being rushed to the ER in an ambulance. I call Honda and let them know what's happened. I'm bounced around from the service to the sales and back to the service departments. Finally someone tells me that they can send the shuttle back to me. About an hour later, I get a call that they're bringing my car to me instead, mid detail. OK JUST GET ME OUT OF HERE. I DON'T CARE HOW I GET THERE JUST GET ME TO THE HOSPITAL. Anyway, they finally arrive, I grab my car and rush out to be with Scott. I got there around noon and he was not in his room. They'd taken him for a CT scan. I decide to walk down the hall and was captivated by some artwork that appeared to be made from recycled hospital materials (tube caps or something). A few minutes later I hear my husband's voice say something like "hey lady, I know you". We head back to his room and wait for more information.
My initial reaction, upon hearing what had happened was of course to find out if Scott was OK. Once we confirmed that I started questioning the severity of his condition. Did he need an ambulance ride? What hospital were they taking him to? Is it covered by our insurance? I'm in finance. Of course I'm thinking of the financial impact of this accident. I make some calls and get the logistics worked out and stop freaking out about how we're going to pay for this. Luckily, my health insurance had JUST kicked in for my new job. JUST BARELY. The important thing is that he's alive, I tell myself, and we'll figure the rest out as we go along.
All the while I'm wondering how I'm supposed to feel. Am I supposed to be the dutiful wife that drops everything and stays by his side every moment? Do I leave Patrick to be cared for by other people? Or is that the sort of behavior of someone who's situation is worse than mine? Do I take the next week off of work for family medical leave or do I make it work and help Scott learn what the new normal is for a while? How am I supposed to feel? Everyone keeps asking me how I'm doing. Here's the honest truth. I'm sad. Scott's knee will literally never be the same. He may never regain his full range of motion. There could be complications down the line. He could develop premature arthritic conditions. He may never feel comfortable kneeling down on the floor to play with kiddos again. He will endure months of therapy and checkup visits.  We are trying to have another baby and this is slowing down that process, for sure. Scott will be out of work for 3 weeks and that's going to be rough on all of us. I'm overwhelmed at the thought of what is to come.

Friday, December 16, 2016

California Dreamin

Today we had our first real blizzard of the season. To think that last week at this time I was sitting in a restaurant overlooking the ocean in San Diego dining with my brother and sister in law. Today's weather made me long to be back in sunny SoCal. The roads really were quite dangerous and I had to drive all over Utah County...and I mean all over. My schedule was as follows:

9:00 headshot photo shoot in Springville
10-1: put Patch down for nap, work on conditions for loans, bake pie as peace offering for client whose deadline was pushed
1:40: Fotofly picture session with Patrick and Santa in Lehi at Thanksgiving point (the pics turned out SO FREAKING CUTE!)
3:00: meeting with client in Linden to drop of pie and drop the news about his delayed closing
4:00: appear in court in Murray city for my "moving violation"...a gentle reminder that I totaled my car last week
5:00: clear out my totaled car so that Geico could come and tow it away from the repair shop downtown
5:20: dinner with Scott's parents in Cottonwood Heights
8:00: Scott's concert downtown

I can't complain. It wasn't the kind of day where the number of tasks to accomplish were insurmountable but, it was indeed a fairly packed day.

Too bad I had to leave dinner early because Patch got sick. I don't know quite why but he did. I also did not appear in court today nor did I clear out my car. Good thing I can do the car tomorrow morning and I can appear in court any time next week.

Also good thing...the pie worked! After my visit with the client (that I had to bring Patch to) the wife said "you really didn't have to do that" to which I responded, "I know but I didn't want Billy Bob Joe* to be mad at me for the delay". She said that he's quick to anger but also quick to calm down. I said that I had noticed that. hehe. I also said that I realized I had to talk him off the ledge 2 times already and that I didn't want there to be a third time so, I thought I'd better come with a peace offering. We both laughed and headed away in the blizzard while Billy Bob Joe continued digging trenches to remove the large puddles/ small ponds of rain/ melting snow from around the warehouse.

During that 10-1 time frame Patch decided to skip his nap. *shocker* On a day where he really really needs it, he skips it. Typical. If you're a mom, you can relate to this. He was, however, being such a sweetie while we hung out at my parent's house. I made us some food and he played on Thomas the Train, a ride on toy my parents got him. They've nicknamed it Tommy and Patch calls it "Choo Choo". At one point, he found a book of ours that we left there. It's a book of "Baby's first 100 Words" or something like that. His favorite page is "Things that Go" where there are images of planes, trains, and large vehicles. We talk about the sound that each one makes and he just loves it. Today we spent a bit of time on the "activities" page where there are images of babies sitting and toddlers walking and playing etc. While we were reading the "Things that Go" page, he said "Poop". So I asked him if he was going poop or if he had poop in his diaper and he said "nope". I sniffed him anyway and sure enough, no poop. He quickly turned back to the "activities" page and pointed to the child that was walking. In the image, the child is wearing only a diaper and he pointed to it saying "poop". Pretty smart eh? It's the little things people. What can I say? I'm a proud mama.

Now I'm having a quiet Friday night at home blogging, tidying, doing laundry, you wife-ing it up.

*name changed to protect the identity of the client

Thursday, December 1, 2016

It's the holiday season!


We spent Thanksgiving with my parents in Provo. It was a pretty quiet day with just Grandma and my parents and us. We decided to show up quite early in the day after rushing out with pie and rolls in hand. We have a few traditions we've adopted from each side of our families. My family always has pecan pie and gravy the special way my grandma makes it. Scott's family does cranberry relish with orange, Grandma Bastian's rolls, and Christmas tree hunting in the wilderwoods. This year, I did them all. Scott helped with the tree hunting but everything else, I super woman-ed myself. My rolls were a decent first attempt but everything else was pretty dang stellar.

I got to take a two hour nap by the fire in the afternoon which was an absolute slice of heaven. I was fighting the urge to nap but Grandma was the one who encouraged me so, I took her advice. :D I woke up just after Patrick and pretty soon after that we had Thanksgiving dinner. We had a nice time talking about family memories...and current family drama. We played with Patrick outside and it was just the kind of day one could wish for.

On Saturday, we drove to Preston to hang out with Doug and Heather and the kids and to go hunt for a Christmas tree. This year, we had Patrick's freaking amazing Prince of Persia hiking carrier. A-maz-ing. It was much easier than last year...oh and the fact that we were not being snowed on. We managed to find the perfect tree this year and by we I mean me. :D I found it. Scott cut it. Patrick played in the snow by it. It was a team effort. When we were cutting down the tree we let Patch walk around and play in the snow and when I had to put him back in the pack to head back to the car he absolutely LOST IT. I mean lost his mind. He was wailing so loud that I think the sound echoed through the mountains and into the valley of Preston. He was lifting himself up out of the pack and writhed around and sat back in it. Oh my heavens. I'm convinced we are in the throws of "terrible twos" already. Tell me it doesn't get worse than this. One minute he's amazing and happy and adorable and the next he's losing his mind over being taken out of the snow or his magnetic trains not sticking together in the right way or his legos not sticking like he wants them to. Luckily, I just find it funny most of the time.

When we got back to Doug and Heather's house we had "egg tacos"- what the kids call them. I teased and reminded everyone that their egg tacos are actually breakfast burritos. Patrick was too distracted playing with the "sit on" toys and his cousins to enjoy dinner. Shortly after that we headed out to watch the Preston fireworks and light parade. SO AWESOME.

I'll put up pics when we've decorated our tree.

And, by the way, I'm killing it at work.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Funny Stories

Family and friends who know me well are aware that I LOVE to tell stories but I'm only sort of good at it. I often give way too many details that in my mind are totally important and most everyone else could probably do without. Marty Rudd likes details. My mama likes details. So far, these are the only two people who have validated my method of telling stories. Anyway, here's some fun stories...mostly about Patrick.

At the end of October, we celebrated McKenna's 18th birthday at the Brunson home. When Kenna was finished opening presents from the family, she showed us the gifts she got from friends at her party the night before. Patrick was wandering about on the floor and was very interested in the tissue paper and most especially in Kenna's candy. He helped himself to an open bag and took off with it. Katie ran after him and once they were both out of sight, we hear Kaite bust up laughing. I ran over to find Patrick hiding himself in the floor length curtains in the dining room with that bag of candy. Luckily, he hadn't figured out how to open the bag. How is it that a 20 month old knows what candy is and knows that it's worth running away and hiding with?

Also within the first week of November, as I mentioned in my last post, Patrick's vocabulary has really picked up. I mentioned a few words that he's started to say but I think I neglected to mention that he says poop now. The first time Scott and I heard him say it was at the dinner table one night. Sure enough, he was actively pooping when he said it. With any luck, this kid may be ready to potty train at age 2. *oh please oh please*

At dinner on Thursday night, Patrick touched our server on the boob. I said, before even thinking about it of course, "Patrick, you've got to at least buy her dinner first". My parents, Scott and the waitress all started laughing, luckily. Then I said, "I'm so sorry. That was a little inappropriate. I apologize. Why did I say that. It's ok, we'll make sure to tip you well" and then paused for a moment, realizing what I'd said...yeah, that didn't make it any better. Of course everyone continued laughing for a moment.

At church yesterday there was a lady who was working with us in the Primary (where the children go to learn about Jesus and sing songs) and she was "released from her calling" which is the Mormon way of saying that the leadership of our "ward" (our congregation) felt that she might benefit and everyone else might benefit by her doing something different. I asked her what her new calling was and she said "I guess I get to work with dead people" to which I asked "so, you're taking care of funerals in the ward and stuff?" She said "no, even more dead than those people, I'm doing family history". I laughed and said "I felt like we were playing hot and cold there for a minute". Hot and cold is where you keep guessing and as you get closer to the right answer the person says "warmer warmer" and she said, "well, I suppose in this case I would say 'colder....colder'". I hope that is as funny in writing as it was in person...maybe you had to be there.

Now for something cliche "live. laugh. love"

Until next time...

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Don Patricio, Luchador!

Last August we took a trip to Mexico to celebrate my brother Brent marrying his soul mate Ana. It was an amazing week in Tulum staying in a home right on the beach with my family. We were bummed that the resort, Dreams, where most of the wedding party was staying was VERY outside of our price range and the cost to visit as a guest on the resort/ day was $75. That made things challenging for us considering we wanted to be there to celebrate and meet Ana's family who came from Argentina but we also wanted to enjoy the amenities we were already paying for in the beach house we rented. Anyway, I digress...we wound up having a great time in spite of feeling such torn too many unnecessary and unrelated details there...oh well. It's who I am.

So, I bring up Mexico because, during that trip Patrick started becoming very socially vocal. What I mean is, he would respond to people looking at him and talking to him with excited screams/ yells. Scott started apologizing to our taxi drivers for our loud child and said things like "he's just training to become a luchador". A new nickname was born: Don Patricio, Luchador!!! We had a fun time calling him that and he had a fun time yelling.

As of late, his language abilities have been EXPLODING. It's so exciting. I've heard people say that you spend the first 2 years of your child's life trying to convince them to talk and the next 18 trying to get them to shut up. This is all said jokingly, of course, but, there is some truth to that. Once they start...they don't stop. Buuuuut, I'll admit, I've been trying to help Patrick develop language skills, sure, I can't help it. We sing songs and read books. I talk to him in the car on my drive back from Kathie's house. When he gestures for something with little grunts I ask him to say "please".

Here's a list of words I've heard him say in the last month or so:
Please (pronounced pleeece)
Thank You
Dinah (pronounced Ninah)
Trick or Treat

that's all I can think of at the moment. My favorite is when he walks around the house holding Dinah's treat bag and says "Niiiinah" in the same kinds of calling tones that he hears us use to call for her. It's just so. freaking. cute.

Last night, during his bath, he decided to lower himself into the tub laying on his back. I think he liked the way the water felt as it filled his ears because he laughed and laughed and as he came up he was pointing to his ears as he got ready to do the whole thing over again. Just. So. Freaking. Cute.

Tonight, he was pointing up to the hooks where we hang the car keys and Dinah's leash. He obviously wanted something that was up there. He started getting fussy about it because Scott was having a hard time figuring out what it was that he wanted. He then came to me and grabbed me by the leg and pulled me over to the key hooks, obviously thinking that I might be able to help him out. Guys, he's 21 months old. Is it just me or is that pretty smart? I feel like that's pretty smart.

I think we'll keep him.