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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Confessions from a Fellow Working Mom

I have a confession... I watch the show John and Kate plus 8. I have been watching the show since the kids were babies and my son is close to their age so in a way I'm watching our kids grow together. I still watch the show now and secretly hope they can work things out. Not for the kids (well, maybe for the kids, too) but also for the two of them.

When I first started watching the show, I was fascinated (and a bit freaked out) how they managed to manage a large family. Some days I feel like I'm barely able to manage having one child. And how they could manage 8?? With two toddlers and six babies? I was in awe. I would joke with my husband about diapers x6 kids, potty training x6 kids. Trying to get the child to take a nap x6 kids. eek! I admired Kate for doing as much as she was doing and not breaking down into tears each night. And she and John are very engaging to watch on the camera. They are a fun couple and work well with the cameras.

Then the kids got older and they moved into a bigger house. I kinda figured they were being compensated for being on TV, but not until recently was it revealed how much they were being compensated. But you know what? So what? They have become the everyday family turned celebrity, and they are engaging to watch. Yes, probably not a perfect marriage but whose is? And yes she is strict with the rules... but c'mon people... 8 kids! If you're not strict and there are no rules, the kids would take over. It's just simple math. And I'm watching them and so are other people, so TLC should be compensating them for their time on the camera.

Another confession: I can relate to Kate. When she started the show, she was a typical stay-at-home mom with everyday hair, everyday clothes, and everyday lifestyle. And day-after-day with 8 kids. I love my "me" time - regardless if it's my job, my networking groups, or my toastmasters. After I had my son, I became so much more focused and driven at work to try to prove that motherhood did NOT change me or my drive to succeed at work. And when my son started to get bigger, I realized I was putting all of my time and energy into taking care of him when I wasn't at work, and "me" time had no priority. At all. And I missed that. So I started making time for myself. And I realized that I liked having stuff to do outside of work, outside of my family. It made me happier, more productive at work, and happier when I was spending time with my son.

So now Kate has had a few plastic surgeries (and c'mon ladies... if you had 8 kids and had the chance... so would you) and she has a stylish hair-do, nice manicures, and a tan. And she's more stylish. And she travels around for speaking engagements and book tours. That's pretty cool. Yes, she's still a mom. She admits that the show IS their career. That must be tough... They can stop the cameras if and when they're ready, but that's their choice. Obviously being on camera puts strain on your relationship, but it has also given them many opportunities to help support their growing family and offer them a few perks that all working moms wish they had. There, I've said it. Every working mom wants help around the house. We want highlights and manicures. We want our kids to have cute clothes, we want a big house, and we want the ability to travel with or without our families and we don't want to worry how we'll make ends meet. And an occasional day at the spa. But we also want to appreciate the time with our families, and sometimes having our own "me" time makes the time we spend with our families that much better. And I like my "me" time.

My son tells me when I need to get off the computer and go outside - he's helping me find my balance. But he also likes to watch TV with me, and sometimes we watch John and Kate.

The funny thing that I've noticed is their marital issues have given the show more viewers, driving the ratings even higher. Has anyone else noticed that TLC might be jumping the shark by adding in other "celebrity" guests to visit with the family??? Last night I saw an episode with Emeril Lagasse. Followed by an episode with Charm City Cakes. And more are coming, I'm sure.

Remember cousin oliver?
Brady Bunch's attempt to say "HEY - LOOK OVER HERE. No problems with this show. Nope. Just look at the cute kid with the glasses. HEY - CUTE KID WITH GLASSES OVER HERE."

So now TLC is trying to add in all these great celebrity appearances to "enhance" the show about everyday people. But the everyday people are not every day people anymore. They are celebrities. They have bodyguards. They have barbie jeeps.

So my final confession is that while I still enjoy watching the show, I'm glad I am not John or Kate. It's a lot of pressure to be in the public eye, and I would not want to be in their position to be scrutinized by the media. Yes, the perks would be nice, but living in front of the camera would be a bit too much for me. Even if Alice came over to help watch the barbie jeeps so I could go to the spa for my manicure...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

More Free Workshops for Michigan's Unemployed or "In Transition" workers

If you're looking for work, you may want to check out the new free Take Charge workshops at Walsh College:

My recommendation is to attend the first kickoff session, to network with other job seekers. Here's more info:

Kickoff Event and Networking: Creating Success in Today’s Job Search

Walsh College President and CEO Stephanie Bergeron and Ford Motor Company Fund President Jim Vella will welcome attendees and introduce a panel featuring faculty teaching the workshops and previous attendees who will share their success stories. Following the panel, the Walsh College Career Services Department will lead a workshop covering networking do’s and don’ts in the quest for a job. At the end of this workshop, all participants will be invited to participate in a Job Seekers Networking event in the lobby area of the Jeffery W. Barry Center. Attendees can practice their networking skills, meet new friends who are also in transition, as well as learn about job opportunities that other attendees may be aware of.

FEE / ELIGIBILITY: Free and open to anyone who is currently unemployed.
DATE: Monday, June 8
TIME: 9:30 a.m. - noon
LOCATION: Troy Campus
AVAILABILITY: This workshop is still accepting registrations. Spaces are limited. Click here to register.
WHO SHOULD ATTEND: Any displaced worker seeking additional business education and/or looking to network with other job seekers.

Opening Remarks: Walsh College President Stephanie Bergeron, Ford Motor Company Fund President James Vella.
Panel Discussion: Moderator: Tammé Quinn Grzebyk, MSM; Panelists: Dr. Barbara Ciaramitaro, Dr. Lee Meadows, Lesia Mahon, MS., and former "Take Charge" attendees.
Instructors for Networking Workshop: Laurie Siebert, Director of Career Services at Walsh College, and Cheryl Carr, Outreach Coordinator / Advisor for Career Services at Walsh College

You never know who you'll meet... plus a great opportunity to gain moral support from other job seekers. Plus, you can meet some great people I've met through Take Charge who will share some of the things they have learned from Take Charge, and how it's helped them in their job search, including:

Mary Ann Tindall:
Eric van der Meulen:
Keith Burke:

They have impressed me with their positive attitudes, willingness to network, and desire to take advantage of opportunities during their transition. And they continue to inspire me. Thanks Mary Ann, Eric, and Keith.