The focus for me lately has been on how my work is going, and where to find the ever-elusive play for me in the Vienna area.
I’ve been running my own consulting practice, MKM Strategies, for nearly two years. With just me on the payroll, I’ve supported various organizations focused on improving education in America. I mainly serve as a writer or project manager in the context of my education policy and program experience. But I’m also trying to get further into the field of outdoor and experiential ed – bringing kids outside to learn about and in nature, and connect the natural world to all parts of classroom studies and life.
Having my own business provides me with immense flexibility: I work from home, so no commute to worry about; I set my hours so I can dedicate time to mothering Bug. Yet my business also presents me with challenges: I need to obtain new business; I am lonely working at home and solo. I’ve learned much about myself: I don’t like being home all day; I like collaborating to create progress; I am motivated to connect people and ideas.
I am fascinated by how in some ways the workforce accommodates people like me who are trying to be a worker and parent, and in other ways the workforce ignores that families exist in America. I’m not the only one interested in this. A Washington Post reporter, Brigid Schulte, has been writing about women, particularly, in today’s workforce. Her latest is a piece about burgeoning part-time staffing agencies that get work-experienced moms jobs a few hours a week. She’s also written about an increase in the number of moms with ADHD and about busy mothers (that’s my favorite).
Lately, I’ve had trouble making the work part work. It’s hard to keep dedicated time to work at home when there are many distractions. It’s also tough to get into the outdoor ed world. I’m making inroads, but haven’t yet been paid to support that work. I need more energy to truly market myself in that way. Is it possible to be simultaneously excited, yet tired?
I’m also wondering where I can go to take a break. Calgon, take me away. I yearn for simplicity. Like, I was remembering the joy of experiencing an iPod playlist for the first time – it was the ultimate mixed tape, right? Such simple joy that’s now standard! Now we are all plugged in, trying to connect with our kids’ grandparents who live hours away, while we figure out how much we want to spend on a babysitter to go to dinner for two hours. I find myself thinking a lot lately whether my deceased Grandma would think our lifestyles are crazy in 2011.
So about that break: I’m looking into places nearby where I can escape alone, with hubby (childcare??) or with girlfriends. I have no answers yet, but there are some promising contenders. This winter I did take a one-night getaway to nearby Landsdown Resort. It was nice to sleep late and laze about, but 24 hours just didn’t renew me like a few days will. I found a nearby log cabin in West Virginia that looks nice (Jacuzzi!). The Jefferson Pools seem awesome – a natural hot tub 200 miles from Vienna. I also found a far away place for an inspirational journey in Utah. I think the biggest contender now is Virginia Beach to visit some family – but with the Bug in tow. Maybe a change of scenery will at least count for something?