There is nothing like being told you suck

Rejection is a part of the game when you are looking to work from home. Whether you aspire to write the Great All American Novel and freelance on the side or you’re seeking a more traditional WAHM job such as call center support or child care, you will face rejection. Its usually a temporary situation, but it is inevitable.

Most stay at home parents seek employment inside the home for a plethora of reasons and usually on the top of that list is the need for a second income without incurring the expense or hassle of child care. In my case, it was the need of a third income without the desire to enroll my children in child care. We all have our reasons. While we’re at it, let’s be real with ourselves. The more money you make, the more money you spend. The Diva is not immune. In the last week I spent $600. Where does $600 go when you didn’t use it to pay a single bill? To Walmart and Ebay if you’re anything like me. I mean, shopping therapy is a great way to destress. It’s not very cost effective, though. Perhaps that is your reason for needing additional income~ you’re a budget shopaholic like me!

So we’ve established you need more money and we know that you are sending your resume to many jobs and interviewing many, many parents for your open daycare slots yet you haven’t gotten a nibble. Understandably you get frustrated and start to stress over it. I understand. Time after time you receive the form email thanking you for your application and promising your information will be kept on file for 6-12 months. That email is so frustrating and quite insulting in a way. I’ll decode that email for you, and you will understand WHY it’s insulting. Indeed, this is how the email reads if you take your rose colored glasses off:

“Thank you for taking those precious fifteen minutes revising your resume and then another ten minutes re-entering that same information into our specialized application system (even though we could have read it right off your resume that we require you to upload). I must tell you though, we have decided that…well, you suck and we don’t like you. We are obligated to say we’re keeping your resume, but really, it’s going into our recycle bin because we only have a 250 gig hard drive and we do not fancy devoting 137 kb to a document we never intend to look at again. Thank you again for wasting your time and ours. Have a great life.”

OK, maybe that was pretty cynical, but when you receive 1500 resumes for 300 positions it’s pretty understandable that the pleasantries would soon run dry. It’s not personal, so don’t stress it. Move on. You will be successful landing the position meant for you in good time. In the meantime, think out of the box. Now is the time to brainstorm ways to stretch your income and alleviate some of the household financial stress (if that is indeed your motivation of seeking a WAHJ).

Some ideas:

  • Clip coupons
  • Shop on double coupon days
  • Buy off the sales rack out of season and 1-2 sizes too big for your children. You will save as much as 75%. Check your daily papers as well. Some department stores offer coupons in the weekly papers that will grant you an additional 20-40% off sales prices.
  • Shop eBay. Don’t laugh! You will save money, time, gas, and if you’re entrepreneurial and imaginative you may find a niche market and decide you can be a seller!
  • Pick one day to eat out a week/month and only eat out on that day. I know that sounds counterproductive, but we live in a society where most families eat out/take out 3-4 times a week. The Diva’s family is not immune to that insane syndrome. So, instead of being unreasonable and saying DON’T eat out, make it easy on yourself and commit to a set day on a schedule you can realistically afford. You will realize the savings almost immediately.
  • Embrace hand-me-downs, especially if you have young children. Embrace the fads when your income is higher. It is totally acceptable for you to recycle the clothes of older children for your younger children’s use. Not only is it smart, cost-effective, and easy but it also helps our environment. When your youngest outgrows the items donate them for a tax deduction or sell them at a consignment shop or on eBay!
  • Pre-plan meals, make a list when grocery shopping, and only take enough cash to cover your anticipated expenses.
  • Buy in bulk. The initial cost relative to club/warehouse shopping may be a lot for some households to handle but the savings realized in your very first trip will be well worth the upfront investment. As a matter of fact, some warehouse shopping facilities offer one day sample passes. Use the free pass to see if you can really benefit from a membership. Also, check the warehouse website for policies…more and more warehouses are accepting manufacturers coupons and some even offer their own coupons to members!

Last, but not least, try not to get discouraged with your search for work at home employment. Your job is coming! Remember always, a diva never stresses!

Published in: on October 25, 2007 at 9:11 am  Leave a Comment  
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The Fly Lady

I have to give a nod to the FlyLady, another flyy Diva that I respect greatly. Her proven organization methods take the stress out of cleaning and eases the pain of daily chores by providing a systematic approach to the normal rituals of housework. Go check her out!

Published in: on October 22, 2007 at 5:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Diva was on Hiatus

It has been a great week for the Diva. She started a new job and she is loving it. Part of the caveats of starting something new is that sometimes the not-so-new takes a backseat. Indeed, that is the plight of an unstressed diva. Yet, one of the reasons I am unstressed is simply because I have learned to prioritize. I make the majority of my income (or I shall) through this new job and so, it will and should, take precedence over all other things. To my loyal readers, I apologize. In the same breath, I promise that I will be here to share my life lessons at least three times weekly. Is that a deal?

My first of many new Apple machines arrived today. It is so cute, clear on front, blue on back. You all know the beloved Blueberry. Wait! Before you start booing and hissing and denouncing me as a psuedo-mac fan because I’m not touting the latest and greatest, let me explain. Simply put, the computers were cheap. There it is. Purchasing 5 good to excellent iMac G3s and G4s cost me about $500 total, including shipping. So, no, I don’t have a cute Intel chip inside my icy aluminum iMac circa 2007, but I do have a Mac and that’s all that matters. I and got one cheap~! Five of them actually. That said, I must report on the arrival of the first of five.

She’s gorgeous and I intend to give her to my mom. At first, I was quite proud of her. I transformed her from an identityless OS 9er to a sexy Jaguar. We’re working on losing her stripes and putting on something sleek and black, but that upgrade will have to wait. We have more pressing matters at hand.

UDITs, the Diva is pregnant again.  We just found out yesterday. There is no explanation mark at the end of that sentence because I had a tubal ligation a year ago. Needless to say, this may not be a good thing.  As much as we would welcome a new addition to our family, this obviously wasn’t planned.  What is one to do, UDITs? I’m going to tell you what an Unstressed Diva does. She smiles through the exhaustion and sore breasts…she nods at the positive pregnancy test stick staring back at her as she types this, and then she retreats to the bathroom to soak in a warm bubble bath and think about what happens next.  I can’t go to the doctor until Wednesday, UDITs.  Have no fear, though, I am not stressed.

Published in: on October 22, 2007 at 5:21 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Get Out of Jail Free

I have a confession to make. I make my children clean their rooms almost daily. They never get it quite clean and truly I don’t expect them to.

Honestly, in part I have them do it because I want them to learn responsibility and I strongly feel that keeping your space clean is a great exercise in responsibility. In part, I have them do it because, well, it leads to hours of stress-free time for me.

I know that if I send them into the abyss to clean it, they will be occupied for at least an hour and a half. They will start sorting laundry or putting toys away but will soon sidetrack to playing quietly (so that I don’t know that they aren’t cleaning). I will peek my head into the room “to check on the progress” and they will hustle to pick up where they left off, which ironically is not too far from where they started. It’s a cycle that guarantees me a significant stretch of space in my day when I am not referring an argument or nursing a superficial wound self-inflicted by a five-year-old with too much time on her hands and too little regard for her fragile, tiny body.

I’m not saying what I do is 100% right or fair, but it does work.

Get out of Jail Free

Sometimes, as humans (not just parent’s identified solely as So-and-So’s mom or dad) we need to allow ourselves to use our Get Out of Jail Free card. All parents have one. You just have to figure what yours is and use it.

This is not to say that I think parenthood is akin to prison or any other such negative connotation. I’m just making a point that we need not imprison ourselves mentally thinking we have to be super parents all the time, thereby denying our own individual needs and causing undo stress on ourselves.

Your homework tonight is to figure out what your Get Out of Jail Free card is, stash that valuable card away, and commit yourself to using it, guilt-free, whenever you can. Trust me, it’s a surefire way to become an Unstressed Diva.

Published in: on October 14, 2007 at 7:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Diva Needs a Little More Razzle Dazzle

If you’ve been with me since the inception of this blog you will have seen all the transformations this blog has gone through visually. No, I’m not indecisive nor am I schizo. I don’t think. I am simply dissatisfied with the status quo.

Life as we know it can be one of two things. Either exciting, full of mirth, humor, and fun or it can be boring, uninteresting, mundane, and passionless. What about the six or seven days a year that falls into neither of those categories? Those days are…dun, nun, nun…stressful. So, UDITs, what do we do?

If you are the Diva, you change stuff up. Case in point, this blog theme, my new job, my new (very old and used) van. If you are most people you go with the flow. This is not such a great idea.

In my experience I found I should handle exciting days with care. Too much excitement often leads to stress down the line. To much monotony leads to pressure to be exciting, which further leads to stress.

UDITs, if you change the everyday up just a little, and tone down the extraordinary in the same fashion, I guarantee you will have far fewer stressful days. You are well on your way to becoming an Unstressed Diva.

Published in: on October 14, 2007 at 7:11 pm  Leave a Comment  
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If it’s one thing I’ve learned writing for the web…

…it’s that all posts should be at least 400 words to be crawled by the web bots.  OK, then.  Duly noted.

Published in: on October 12, 2007 at 10:04 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Diva is Growing

And I invite you to grow with me. I am very excited about the change we are about to undertake. The Unstressed Diva has matured and has purchased her own domain. Find us at unstresseddiva.com. Yes, ladies and gents, my precious Unstressed Divas In Training (UDITs) this is a new era.

To welcome the new era and our new domain we are moving platforms. I am hanging up my Windows hat and taking this game over to the Mac world. Just one more way to make my life unstressed.

I am also getting a dedicated office. It’s funny how my dear husband has an office and he doesn’t even use it, yet I, industrious stay at home, work at home, business owning mom has no place to call her own. So we did some brain crunching and decided that the room that was going to be dedicated to daycare will actually transform into an office, equipped with nice desk and comfortable chair, one Mac, one PC, one cable enabled television, a kiddie couch, a play kitchen, a doll house, and a Nintendo Wii.  Yes, a Wii.  (It’s probably for me!)

I want to feel like I am adding to the World Wide Web, so I will take this blog seriously from here on out.   I feel it is my responsibility to share my wisdoms, insights, and experiences as an unstressed diva.  After all, a diva never stresses!

Goodnight!

Published in: on October 12, 2007 at 10:03 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Pins and needles

One of the best things about working from home is being with my children. Truly it is a blessing to not have to pay for daycare and instead have people pay me. I own a child care business. It’s thriving. I have two full time children and one part time. I love them dearly and they are the only children I want. I have great parents as clients and the children are awesome. I am living the dream. I was eagerly anticipating growing my business and becoming a six figure sister but things don’t always work out as you plan. Now I am happy with my motley crew of 5, which is a full house in all respects, and my side jobs.

Now, why am I even mentioning this? Well, Unstressed Divas in Training, the truth is one bad apple left a heck of a taste in my mouth. He stressed me out, which is the polar opposite of my philosophy of being unstressed. It wasn’t worth the aggravation I underwent and thus, I decided I would rather work four full time jobs then risk getting another like he. Today we will discuss how to handle a bad apple and remain unstressed. Yes, I said it. Bad Apple. Trust me, that’s the nice way of putting it.

What would you do if someone tried to deliberately push your infant down a flight of stairs. Are your eyes glowing red? Have you broken out in a sweat? Do you feel your underwear chafing? Indeed, someone purposefully endangering the life of a child is utterly irreprehensible. Especially when that person is a child themselves. Believe it or not UDITs, this has happened to me. I’ve faced this exact scenario. I maintained my cool about the whole situation and explained it to mom.

Mom says it was my fault for not having a squeeze and turn doorknob. Had I possessed one of those then Little Precious wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do such a heinous thing. ……OK, then……

I understand we as parents are very possessive. We are quick to defend the actions of our children but how can we remain neutral when it is our children in danger and/or our children endanger the lives of others? How can we keep a level head?

The truth is likely that we can’t. I was blunt with mom, telling her the situation but she wasn’t very receptive. While it was MY child whose life dangled in the hands of a six year old, it was SHE who was upset with me.  Through it all we have to keep perspective.

What else does all this mean? It means not much at all, actually. It’s just something to mull over as we embark on our journey to unstressed territory.  Perspective=unstressed.

Published in: on October 10, 2007 at 1:21 am  Leave a Comment  

Let’s not take it personal

Parents have a way of taking every little observation about their child personal, be it positive or negative. We are protective creatures by nature, and so our defenses are always up when our children are involved. The same goes for everything else spawn related. Our children’s successes are, by association, our successes. Likewise, their failures are our failures. And so they cycle goes. I challenge you to end that cycle.

The other day we had a house guest. The house guest has a young child about two years old. My son, at the ripe old age of three, thought he was so much bigger and older than this child, and he acted the part. Meanwhile, my house guest began to act the part, too. The Boy would ask Guesty a question, always blunt and honest (Who are you? Why are you still here? Your baby poopooed, are you going to change Baby’s diaper? That kind of thing.) My house guest kept huffing and puffing and started being quite rude to him in response. No less than four times in ONE hour did I have to remind Guesty, “He’s only three.” It was starting to get on my nerves. First, because I know he can be a little…well, annoying, with is questions. However, this is his house and HE’S THREE. Second, Guesty’s baby was quite ripe.

Then Baby dropped a binky on the floor. Binky rolled underneath The Boy’s feet. Mind you, The Boy’s just sitting on the couch, watching cartoons. Baby bends down to pick up the binky and happens to come face level with the size 7s that belong to my little man. Guest says to The Boy, “Don’t put your foot in Baby’s face!” At that point I wanted to tell Guesty, “You can pack up your stinky little bundle of joy and go!”

At that moment I was extremely displeased. I took Guesty’s comments personally. I wanted to let Guesty know how I felt. How dare you talk to my son like that?

However, because of the situation surrounding Guesty’s visit, I had to hold my tongue, and in doing that I gained new perspective. I had time to think:

Why am I so peeved?

Why am I taking Guesty’s comments personally?

You see, it dawned on me that Guesty’s comments weren’t directed at me. In fact, they weren’t really directed at The Boy. Those were Guesty’s issues, no one else’s, and it is very cheeky of me to assume that it’s all about me (or my son). Readers, hate to be the one to break it to you, but it’s hardly ever all about you. Then I thought of my words to the Guest. He’s only three. So, obviously, he doesn’t understand her frustration. Nor does he care. He doesn’t take offense to Guesty’s comments. As a matter of fact, he probably ignored most of what Guesty ever said to him, thus the reason for repeating himself. He never registered any of Guesty’s answers to begin with.

At three, he hasn’t a care in the world, the least care of which being what some random house guest has to say to him.

And there it is: If he’s not stressed about Guesty’s rudeness, why should I be?

Ahhh…another enlightening moment. My child is my child. I love him and care for him. I shall protect him and keep him safe. But I will also keep it in perspective. It’s not always personal. Thanks to that glorious revelation I am unstressed.

This lesson served me well just a day later.  The Shadow was accused of biting a little boy at school.  I was skeptical for many reasons, most significant of which being that the supposed incident happened days prior and we were just being notified despite my mother’s presence at the school daily.  The whole thing rang iffy to me but I did not jump to wrath.  I called and asked some questions.  My husband had to speak with the teacher about the incident and asked him if The Shadow had anger management problems.  Uh, no.  Or…maybe.  It’s worth thinking about.  I stepped back and thought about the situation.  I don’t see The Shadow as everyone else does.  Her “just tantrums” in my eyes may be something more in everyone else’s.

We can’t wear rose colored glasses if we want to raise productive citizens.  I called the school and told them I didn’t think she bit the little boy (which later we found out she was innocent) but that she MAY have anger issues.  I don’t know, I’m not a psychologist.  In relaying the conversation with the school to my mom later that day she was surprised.  She wanted to know if I was upset about being asked whether The Shadow had anger issues.  It never occurred to me that I could be upset.  Why would them asking about her anger managment issues upset me?

The answer is, because we as parents take it personal.  Some parents, it seems, would associate a teacher suggesting Mary has anger management issues as Mommy having anger management issues.   That’s where we have to separate ourselves from our children.
So here’s your homework.  Next time you get a phone call from school, or a letter home, or a parent shows up at your doorstep to “talk about Jimmy” take a deep breath and fully analyze the situation before you take it personally.  I’m not insinuating that Mary isn’t perfect, but in the small chance that she isn’t…let’s go forth in understanding and not in defense mode.

Published in: on October 4, 2007 at 11:44 pm  Leave a Comment  
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My mother made me write this

Again, I am not being funny. She really did. She sat down (I can imagine she was sitting; I was on the phone so I don’t know for sure) and gave me a stern talking to. She said if I write about my life, as I live it, people will listen. People will read it. OK. AHEM. *The Unstressed Diva clears her throat and cracks her knuckles*

I have four children:

  • 5 year old Dimples
  • 4 year old The Shadow
  • 3 year old The Boy
  • 1 year old Big Fat Baby

Those names are descriptive of them. Big Fat Baby (BFB) is definitely fat. It’s cute…she looks like her mama :). So now that you’ve met the suspects, now it’s time to meet the victim.

Hi, my name is Gabby and I am a Arizona Green Tea with Ginseng and Honey-aholic. I am a scream-aholic too. I scream a lot. Maybe that is why I am so unstressed. I scream the stress away. My children aren’t hearing impaired but you would think they were. Just a minute ago I was checking my email to see if an editor had gotten back to me, and Dimples was biting at my ankles. I shooed Dimples away but she just wouldn’t go. ‘Tis the plight of a WAHM, I suppose. I nicely directed Dimples away with by her shoulders. Dimples came back. This time, with The Shadow. Ahhh…THAT’S where she gets the name! So now we have 2 of 4 sitting in my office. Staring at me. Just staring. I politely tell them to go make up their beds. No response. It’s like they entered into a catonic state. I shake The Shadow to get her attention. “Shadow, go make your bed, Sweetheart.” She laughs. SO I scream. GO TO YOUR ROOM AND MAKE YOUR BED! Ok…now we’re getting somewhere. Four little legs move rapidly from the room. And all is well with the world.

The lesson of the day is: It’s ok to yell at your kids if it gets the job done. If you don’t raise your voice, you will be stressed.

It’s time to get unstressed.

Published in: on October 4, 2007 at 10:45 pm  Leave a Comment  
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