Working Moms in Suits at Target

I used to have only one reason not to patronize Target after 3 p.m.: because my kids were busy doing homework. After a recent visit during this timeframe for an ingredient emergency, I now have another reason: so I don’t have to see women in work attire stopping there on their way home.

You see, I used to be that person in a suit at Target on the way home from work. I left the workplace a couple of years ago to spend more time with my kids, and enable my equally capable husband to more fully pursue his career. It’s paid off exponentially: things I’d hoped would happen did, like more closeness with kids, can volunteer at their school, am happier because of indulgence in hobbies like writing and photography, and being somewhat more rested. My husband’s career has grown quickly, and I could think of a dozen other unexpected benefits.

So why the lamenting at the site of a put together woman in a suit at Target? Let’s be honest, it did dawn on me how large the gap had become between these suits and my particular attire that day. That’s it! I need those Lululemon athletic outfits everyone has!

But digging deeper, It might also be because I’m still that person deep down inside. Perhaps the mistake I made was assuming I had to be one or the other (mom or HR Director) to do a decent job at either. I guess I AM both things, I just wasn’t able to DO both. The stressed-faced, suit-bearing women at Target represent something to me: accomplishment and financial independence.

I hope more women can figure this out, how to do both well. I’m still working on it. I’ll be co-authoring a book with someone soon, and expect it will result in a sense of accomplishment, but maybe not financial independence! Can’t have it all, right?


Lead or Follow — A Parent’s Dilemma

I was scanning the headlines on (Pioneer Press) and read an editorial that left me completely deflated. The premise was that despite doing the “must dos” on the checklist for great parenting — specifically parenting that will help prevent kids from getting into drugs, alcohol and addiction – this particular parent’s kid started doing drugs and was addicted.

Most people feel like they’re doing everything they can to encourage their kids to make good choices. So, all this conscious effort, but now I have to accept that my children may choose a reckless path anyway? Ugh. What else can you do?

Some tactics we’re trying: praying together, sports, giving financial and personal responsibility at home, talking openly and regularly, being visible and the most annoying, elusive one: modeling the way. Not modeling any preferred “way” in my college scrapbooks, but thankfully I grew up. Hopefully “Do as I say, not as I did” actually works.

I even did several Internet searches (favorite one is posted below) on helping kids avoid the addictive substances path, but they’re all missing what I think is the most important point: what if it doesn’t work?

To steal the lyrics from an Everything But the Girl song, “If you’re lost I’m right behind. ‘Cause we walk the same line.” Maybe I just need to keep myself strong, empathetic and connected to the girls for when they mess up, because they will, right? Maybe not drugs and alcohol but some other mistake.  And try hard to do the things mentioned earlier, because they may inspire making good choices, but they’re also the right things to do.

And now, let go.