Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Maternity Leave

So I had a friend return to work this past Monday after being on maternity leave. She texted me last week and asked if it got easier.

Enter in to a dilemma.

I didn't know how to respond! I, obviously, hated returning from maternity leave so badly I stayed on it permanently. I wrote about my experience returning after Carter's birth, but I never wrote about Gabe's. I think it was insanely different because I knew there was a *very* good chance I wouldn't be working for much longer. I think it ended up being only one month longer. Yippee!

The summer of 2010 is when I had Gabe. I took 8 weeks off with Carter and decided to take the whole 12 with Gabe. During this time I said to Marc, "I cannot and will not return. I can't do it. I can't work. I can't be away from my babies. Do something." And by golly he did it! He immediately started contacting folks and setting up meetings. A hop, skip, and jump later it was official, we were moving. HALLELUJAH! HALLELUJAH! HALLELUJAH! I was so proud, and happy, that my man was able to make this happen. He was willing to start a new job and move his family so his crazy, kid obsessed wife could live out her dream.

At no point did I worry about the move or the new job. I knew this is what I was born to do. And lemme tell ya, I was not a girl that was dying to get married and have babies. It actually grossed me out to think about something growing inside of me. Ewww. Luckily I got over that and have two adorable kiddos.

So my 6 month review is about to come up and I am very interested to see how Marc, Carter and Gabe assess me. I hope I've made them proud. There are definitely some hard moments, hours, days, but overall I think only one day did I think, "man, being at work would be so much better!" Sure I miss dressing up sometimes, wearing cute heels, shoot I even miss make up some times! But there's something so delicious about wearing comfy clothes all day, a ponytail and seeing my kids laugh at each other. And I did just observe Carter writing on herself with a purple pen. Can't say I ever saw that in Human Resources. HA!

Please send out good vibes so I can pass my review. Here is a link to my one six months ago - http://teampatrouch.blogspot.com/2010/10/performance-reviews.html

Maternity leave, I love you. And yes, I consider this a permanent maternity leave. Maybe I'll return to work one day, maybe I won't. Only time will tell.

Kel, I hope you are adjusting well! Your daughter is beautiful and you look super happy! Congrats on your awesome family!

How about you? Did you look forward to returning to work or did you want to stay at home?!

Friday, February 18, 2011

You mean there is a 4th member to Team Patrouch?!

So when I write on this here blog about "Team Patrouch" the team usually consists of Carter, Gabe, and me. There are sprinkles of Marc, but nothing ever dedicated just to him. So this post is for my man, the one, the only, Marc J. Patrouch.

Now, if you know our story you know it's a funny one. If you don't, keep on a readin.

(And I LOVE a good story of how people met, so please please share!)

I started working for UVa right out of college in 2002. I was pretty much doing the same type of work in 2006 and thought maybe I needed to change it up a bit. I didn't want to leave UVa or HR, but I wanted something new. An opportunity presented itself and I took it. The job I took was to be a staff recruiter. Now let me just say, when you are a staff recruiter you hardly ever actually meet any of the candidates. Everything is done by email and telephone. Well, one of the first offers I had to make was to a guy named Marc Patrouch. (I actually said his last name correctly the first time we chatted, I was proud of me for that.)

Of course I had his application materials and knew where he went to school, when he graduated, where he worked, all that good stuff. So I saw that he was my age. I automatically thought that meant he would be a cool guy and easy to talk to. Boy was I wrong. Total jerk head. For real, not lying. Like almost every other candidate he countered the original salary offered to him. I was ok with that. But let me tell you, it took days for this to finally come to an end and he was sort of a turd the whole time.

The real kicker though was his lack of a sense of humor!

When I have the really fun candidates I like to joke with them. We have to do background checks on everyone, and if someone is funny I'll say, "Is there anything you need to tell me before I give you the results?" The FUNNY ones will say something like, "Oh, did they find the head in the freezer?"...hilarious, right? Well, Marc, with a c, did not like it. He said, "well that wasn't very nice". My eyes immediately rolled and I quickly finished the conversation.

Done. Over, Never have to deal with this guy again. Hallelujah. (We actually used him as a case study. HA!!!)

Well I couldn't have been more wrong. His start date was about a month after the offer was finalized. And well the jerk face decided to write me when he moved to town. With an email that was not far off from this....

"Is this the Emily that jacked up my offer?"

YEAH HE WROTE THAT!

I am guessing that my eyes rolled then as well. But for whatever reason I wrote him back. Not sure what the first few exchanges were about but I liked his picture enough to invite him out. (See, I didn't know what he looked like the whole time we were talking on the phone. When I finally saw him I thought, "well ok then!") UVa had a football game that weekend and I had friends coming up, so I told him to meet us out at the bars.

WTF?!

It's rare that I interact with a candidate after they've accepted a job. I can name a few that I am still friends with, but it really didn't happen a lot. Anyhoo, I invited him out and HE CAME! Now, all I told him was "my friends", it really could have been a bunch of girls and that might have sucked for him. Luckily it was Alicia and her boyfriend, and Paul and Michelle, a damn fun group.

Well that night my beautiful friend Alicia told Marc that if he asked me out I'd say "yes" (I never told her that, she just made it up). She also made him look at my butt a few times. Wild girl that one! (The whole night was very strange but I'll have to save that for another post). Well at the end of the night I drove him back to his apartment, said goodbye, and wanted to go on my way. This is when Alicia told me I had to go out on one date with him. I honestly thought he was a dork and didn't want to go!! HAHAHA! He only said a few words to me the whole night "Oh, that explains the Steelers thing" and "Were you scared?". The rest of the night he held his beer and smiled. So strange!!

But that Monday he asked me out. I said yes. Then I didn't hear from him for a few hours. I was hot. Livid. Pissed. I told him if he asks me out and I say yes, I expect a response from him. His excuse, to this day he always has one, was that he was new to the area and had to find a good place to take me. Blah blah whatever. Basically, I didn't like him and was being a brat. BUT it set him up to know the real me, so I guess that's good!

Our first date was dinner at South Street Brewery and then a Thursday night UVa football game. IT.WAS.PERFECT! Probably the best date I've ever been on.

But I still didn't like him.

I was a brat, I'm telling you!

I thought he was too nice. Me=loser.

Long story short on the third date I knew. I knew that I never wanted to be away from him. Ever. (This is another thing I will have to write about at another time. This was the date that Marc that it was going to be OVER! He thought he had no chance.)

So here we are today living a splendid life. I'm glad I listened to all of my supporters that told me to give the nice guy a chance. They were right, I was wrong. They were smart, I was stupid.

I love me some MJP. He is awesome, truly awesome, and I am blessed. I often wonder why he picked me and didn't want to meet some more ladies in Charlottesville! I always tell him, "I was the first one you met, what if there was someone else?!?!" But he swears I am the one for him, I guess at this point I have to believe him!

So I am dedicating this song to him, because it makes me laugh. And he makes me laugh.

"I've got the world on a ssstring, I'm sitting on a rainbow! Got the ssstring around my finger. What a world, what a life - I'm in love!"

(There really is so much more to all of this, but I tried to do the funny highlights. I will add though that after our first date he invited me to drive to Roanoke with him (2 hour drive each way) TO MEET HIS FAMILY!!! How I didn't run for the hills then I will never know. HA!)

Monday, February 7, 2011

A Great Sacrifice

"You can only become great at that thing you're willing to sacrifice for." ~ Maya Angelou

I heard Ms. Angelou say this quote as I watched "Oprah's Master Class" ~ fantastic show by the way. Anyhoo, as soon as I heard it I thought "moms", specifically, myself.

Now I know this will come across as me being very high on myself, but if you don't think you are a great mom then what the heck are you doing?! HA! In all seriousness though, I really do think I am a good mom and the proof is in how good my kids are. And I have had many people tell me this, not just making it up.

But what I started thinking about is how much moms/parents give up to have kids. Then I thought, well I don't really feel like I gave up anything. So maybe Marc and I don't travel as much, go out as much, see as many concerts, or hang out with friends, etc. etc., but we still do a lot. And maybe I don't go to a job everyday and have money coming in, and maybe I don't have fancy new clothes, or shower when I want, go to the bathroom when I want or even have hot coffee most days. But I get to see Carter turning in to a little kid and I get to see Gabe get in to EVERYTHING!!! I get to sit back and watch my children be whatever it is they feel like being in that moment. Truly, I just sit and watch them. By being at home I get to see it all, the good, the bad and the ugly. My kids have been sick lately which has caused some whining, crankiness, and general unpleasantness at times. But thank the good man up above that I am the one taking care of them. I don't want to be around my kids just in the good times, I want to be around for every event that can happen.

And you know what, I CHOSE all of this. The single best piece of advice I have ever been given was by my fantastic endocrinologist Dr. Zitnay (love you, miss you, mean it!). When joking with him about how fat I was getting while pregnant with Carter and saying this kid owes me a lot, he stopped me and said, "No, this child owes you nothing. You are choosing to have this child, this child isn't choosing to have you. You owe this kid everything, and he or she owes you nothing." I have never forgotten that. I think sometimes with the craziness of the days we forget why we had kids. So why did I have kids?

TO LOVE THEM!

All I want for my kids is happiness and joy. I want them to enjoy the innocence of childhood, the growing pains of adolescence, and the emergence of wonderful human beings as adults. I want to give more than I get. Of course I want my kids to like me and want to be around me, but more importantly I want them to be good people. I want them to be strong and independent, kind, generous, happy, sensitive and always curious. If my children turn out to be half as good a person as their dad, I know that my sacrifices were worth it. That I was great because I sacrificed for them.

So what I think Ms. Angelou was saying is that you have to put on the blinders and focus on that thing you want to master, to be good at, no GREAT at. Well, I have done just that. I want to be a fantastic mom that has fantastic kids and I'll do whatever it takes to make that happen. Well, maybe not WHATEVER it takes, I still like to eat at restaurants, listen to live music, and have fun. Hehehe! And I do think it's important for mom and dad to be happy in order for the children to be happy. Balance is the key, if you can find balance, you can find happiness.

As an end point I will note that I/we have LOTS of help...which is crucial when raising a family. You can't do it all alone, not sanely anyway. And if you can, let me know the secret! We have an amazing support system and I make sure to thank God for them every night when I pray.

I wouldn't be who I am today without Marc and my kids. And I wouldn't sacrifice for anyone other than these beings. They make my heart happy and just being around them is all I need.

"We can always look back at what we did, all these memories of you and me baby. But right now it's you and me forever girl. And you know we could do better than anything that we did, you know that you and me, we could do anything."