Millennium Mom

Sunday, January 10, 2010

1/10 Blog: Happy New Year (okay, so a bit late)

Well, it only took me 10 days to finally get back online and write my blog. I truly have NO EXCUSE except for total vegetation and relaxation over the holidays. I actually took two full weeks off. With the way the holidays fell this year, P&G gave us both Thursdays and Fridays off, so it only took 6 days to get the full two weeks. A lot of people chose to do this, so it truly was a "break".

Last year ('08) was the first year that I can remember where email traffic truly shut down over the holidays. We all figured (because we were all talking about it because no one could believe how everyone "logged off" for the holidays) that it was the tough year and bad economy and the pressures it has brought that made everyone need to get away. It was a surprise last year, but truly a delightful one. This year I think everyone was hoping and praying the same thing would happen. As many of you know the economy still has not truly turned around, so it has been another tough year of too much work and not all the glory.

At P&G we are very fortunate in many ways, because we sell "staple" goods per se...even in bad times you still have to wash your clothes, hair, teeth, floors and so forth. Our challenge is to make sure the price premium our brands demand is still worth it in tough times. So our sales may slow down a bit, but we don't tend to have the huge swings like many other industries or companies (like travel and leisure industry for example). So we have not had the huge lay-offs, salary cuts and other measures that have been taken in the tough times. That's not to say they couldn't happen in the future, but for the most part the bad economy has just meant work even harder...hence why everyone is so happy to truly get a week or two away from it all, including email.

The first week Arnie actually worked that Monday and Tuesday, so I had the days to myself. On Monday I finished our Christmas shopping. I had done all of my family, but still needed some stuff for the kids, so I blocked this day early on, knowing the kids would be in school, which meant I could buy the gifts and get them wrapped without fear of them walking in (or me having to stay up late in the evening which is tough for this morning person).

On Tuesday I volunteered in the kids classrooms. It was both of their holiday parties so I could spend the morning with Claire and afternoon with Ben in their classes. This was a treat because I never really get to go into their classrooms while the kids are there. Of course we go for open houses, book fair night, conferences and so forth, but those are always in the evening. Ben never really asked me to come in, so I would volunteer at evening activities but never in his class. I think this year Claire was in school about 3 weeks and she already started asking "why everyone's moms are in the class and not hers." I am not sure if it is the difference between boys and girls or what, but she really never stopped asking.

So it was great to be able to drive her to school (her request, rather than take the bus as usual, Ben of course still wanted to go on the bus with his buddies...and home with his buddies, even though I was at school) and spend the whole morning with her. It was actually holiday assembly day so I got to see the kids sing and perform which was great...still not sure why they don't invite parents to this, I guess maybe they don't have room, but it was great. I have made the mental note to volunteer that day every year so I can enjoy it.

Volunteering involved "making" some math activities for Mrs. Geiger in Kindergarten...think papers that have one circle all the way up to 10 circles, I guess for counting game...two versions of each number, including coloring the circles. There was another mom there so we were able to get it done before the party started. Then I just helped out at the party. For Ben's class I had lots of copying to do, cleaning up in the class and then "extra" Math and Reading help for a few of the students in the classroom. I realized how fortunate we are with Ben, who has taken to Reading and Math quite well. Already we see that Claire if very different, and requires different teaching...I can't imagine how teachers do it when magnified by 20.

I log on later to talk about our 8 days in much fun...tons of family...


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