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Author Archives: Carrie Talbott

Working Moms: Killin’ It?

Almost a month into my new job and I’ve collected just enough data to tell you what I’ve learned about being a working mom in the States.

It’s complicated. 

Being a working mom in Baja looked super different for many reasons, most of which revolved around flexible hours and not having to tell anyone when I went to the restroom.

Now I’m on the clock for very specific hours and learning to resist checking my cell every 12 minutes for fear someone needs me. 

No one’s gotten sick or impaled lately, but I assured my youngest he could still reach me. “Buddy… if there’s an emergency, call my office. I’m usually the one answering the phones.”


#WorkingMoms

So now I’m part of the Working Moms’ Club, which feels like I’m also a part of the crazy cycle. Thought I’d ease into the new schedule no problem, but I’m definitely not killin’ it. 

I texted a working-mom-friend on my break and asked, “Sooo… how do you do it? Crockpot? Takeout? PB&J?”

To which she responded, “Haha! Yes, yes and yes!”

Last week I got home from work, changed clothes, threw a frozen lasagna in the oven and ran out the door to string lights and tie bows on chairs for an event at church. 

No salad, no set table, no family conversation.

Since moving back to the States, one goal revolved around not jumping into the American rat race, but there I was. 

Our oldest could fly the coop in just over a year, and I have no intention of missing his firsts… or lasts. So I’m leery to volunteer for too much, and try to hang on to family dinners at least a few times a week. 

So far I’m losing. 


Curtailed Expectations (Let-It-Go)

If I promise to let a few things go, will you promise not to sing the theme song? Mkay, thanks.

Here’s my short list of how I’m currently choosing my new battles.

Laundry

“Pretty sure it’s still fine.” 

This is my new mantra for work clothes. If I can’t smell or see anything, back on the hanger it goes. Clean freaks can call me gross, but with all that unnecessary laundry, I’m probably saving some sort of Orange Roughy or Beluga while they waste soap and water.

Please tell me you use this method in your closet. 

Showers

Speaking of saving water, do you use dry shampoo or baby powder in your slightly greasy hair? My friend says they’re bad for me. But when I don’t get up early enough for a shower, suddenly I’m okay with temporarily clogging parts of my scalp, one pore at a time. 

Do you have a greasy hair solution? My husband is no help. (#bald)

Food

My people keep getting hungry. 

Every. 

Single. 

Day. 

With a man, a giant teenager, and another close behind, I barely keep up with their stomachs. So I bought an Instant Pot when it went on sale.

Cute new red and Pioneer Woman versions, making my basic black a tad jealous.

Three months later it’s still sitting in the box. In the laundry room. Alone.

Our relationship felt distant so I decided it was a girl and tried to name her. But I couldn’t decide between Juniper Grace, Canella Sage, Mcintyre Clove, Tallulah Masala, and Saffron Joy.

She sits there like a fresh newborn, waiting to go home, with rookie parents gently arguing over the legacy of classic grandmothers and crunchy aunts. 

Some days she appears to mock me, other days she’s seems to be offering help. But I have yet to invite her into my life, for the learning curve looks steep.

So instead I steep more tea and roll my lip between my teeth, ignoring the guilt and moving on. She’s cozy and I’m busy, but someday I’ll make space for her in my life. 

In the meantime, I make space for things I never grew up with: frozen pizza, boxed brownies and applesauce in squeezable packets. Subtle abominations for organic granola eaters from the 70s, but whatever. 


Writing / Speaking / Volunteering

The whole family’s eating and one out of two toilets are clean, but I can barely get a grip on this writing thing. 

If I feel led to keep up a blog, comment on every comment, outline a book and write another, how am I supposed to date my husband, engage with my kids, hang with friends, file my nails and scrub grout?

I got asked to teach a seminar at a women’s retreat this spring, and I’m scheduled to co-teach a class at a writers conference three weeks later.

Then our church’s mom group asked me to give a talk on decluttering and organizing the same week I got my new job.

  • Exciting opportunities? Yes. 
  • Fun getaways? For sure. 
  • Overwhelming schedule? Uh-huh. 

And I can’t forget the decorating committee for my son’s middle school dance. It’s hard meeting other parents, so I thought transforming a multipurpose room and serving Flaming Cheetos to pubescent people would be a good way to get connected. 

But first I need to figure out what shirts go with the only two pair of dress pants I own so I can look like I sorta know what I’m doing at work.  

Makes me want to go back and read Lysa Terkeurst’s book, The Best Yes one more time. Have you read it? I give it 4.75 stars and an enthusiastic thumbs up for the way it challenged me without guilting me. 

Is your platter overflowing? When you can’t (or shouldn’t) say yes to everything, choose the next best yes and graciously say no to the rest. 

Click to check it out on Amazon


Sleep

Years ago I heard a prominent Christian speaker with a ridiculously full schedule tell the audience, “People always ask me if I’m tired. I tell them of course I’m tired! I’ll sleep when I get to heaven.”

It got a laugh, and almost made me want to cut my ZZZs in order to get more done too, but I resisted when I read this:

Researchers at the University of Washington’s Medical Sleep Center compared adult identical twins and found the one who regularly slept less got sick the most. This supports earlier research that showed when giving sleep-deprived subjects a rhinovirus they became more likely to catch a cold.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends adults to get 7-9 hours of sleep, but 30% of the working population gets less than 6 hours per night.

I’m not trying to be an overachiever, but my desire is to tip the scales on the 9-hour side. I’m selfish about my sleep, feel terrible when I don’t get enough, and will almost always say yes to more. 

It’s when we heal, people! It’s also when the body supports learning and memory, regulates our hormones (amen), aids in lessening stress, and clears brain waste.

Even in the midst of feeling like a cuckoo working mom who is definitely not killin’ it, I choose to close my peepers and let the day come to an end. 

Because as we all know… it’ll be there tomorrow. But if you die from lack of sleep… you won’t. 

The End. 

Just kidding—that’s a morbid way to finish.

I wish all you working moms fresh cotton candy and fluffy rainbow unicorns with a side of glitter. 

All right, that’s enough. Back to work.


“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” 1 Peter 5:7 (NLT)

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Praying for Closed Doors

“I don’t know which college to pick. I got into these two schools and I like them equally, but I’m afraid to pick the wrong one.” When we ran a GAP-year program in Baja, MX, each class of students lived with us from August to June. They were all recent high school graduates and no… Continue Reading

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Donate This, Not That: Tips to Donate with Dignity

I know… I’ve had good intentions that went awry too. I’ve donated things I probably should’ve thrown in the trash. I felt guilty about the blatant waste though, so I passed it on for someone else to hopefully benefit from. Trouble is, if an item falls into that category, it’s probably going to end up… Continue Reading

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My 2018 Favorite Christmas Gift Ideas

  I couldn’t find a “Favorite Things” list for normal people with normal money, so I made my own. Unlike Oprah, my favorite gifts for Christmas don’t cost the same as a car payment or mortgage. Grouped from the five-dollar range to a fifty-dollar max, I did all the scouring so all you have to… Continue Reading

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Trust, but Verify

  Dude #1: “I am so glad I checked.” Dude #2: “I would do anything to be able to go back and check.” Where do you fall when it comes to verifying information that could tip the scales toward relief or disaster? As a mom, it’s my job, my right, and my responsibility to ask… Continue Reading

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Back to Work, Back to Reality

  His calm voice sounded kind, but his words surprised me.  “We’re spending too much and not bringing in enough. I think we need you to start working.” My husband was right, mostly, but the hardest part of his comment was that I already feel like I work. I wish my writing provided a full-time, regular income,… Continue Reading

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Lord of the Flaws

  Though some exasperated parents might joke about dropping their sassy Tweens on an island, I’m fairly certain no parent would want the experience to resemble William Golding’s version.  My son brought home his 7th grade required reading list last month. I scanned it, unfazed until I reached the one title that zipped me right… Continue Reading

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Tips & Tricks from My Classically-Trained Le Cordon Bleu Neighbor

  In 2002 I spent my days chasing a toddler while my friend Jen chased a dream to culinary school.  Fresh out of high school, she donned a white coat, white skull cap, and jumped into chef training at none other than Le Cordon Bleu. Eighteen months later, after cuts, burns and hundreds of food victories,… Continue Reading

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A Loss, a Baby & Secondary Infertility

  After five years of marriage, my husband and I decided we wanted a baby.  Sad to say, I don’t recall checking with God much about this, but He didn’t send a concerned email so I laid my clothes on the bed next to Doug’s and bam—prego. Phone calls, nursery plans and a roomy pair… Continue Reading

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Family Dinner Questions w/a Side of Candlelight

  “So…? How was your day?” “Good.” “Anything fun or different?” “Nope.” If this riveting dialogue plagues your family too, take heart and read on.  Spreading a sheet or blanket in the family room and turning dinner into a picnic sounds so quaint, doesn’t it?  Photo by not brittany shh pls on Unsplash   Mostly,… Continue Reading

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