why I quit

Well, it’s taken me a few months to come out with this, but I quit my day job.

Yup. Quit.



You should know, first and foremost, I loved my day job.  Yeah, there were crappy days and sometimes crappy seasons, but I love to work.  I’m kind of a junky like that.

Specifically, I loved the people I worked for and with.  Every day was new and fresh and different. That was excellent.


After a night of fitful sleeping (the twins did this sleep regression thing for like, a year, that just about ended me), I would awake to the sweet sound of my alarm clock.  Or, in a wave of terror and panic, I would awake to two eyes staring at me from three inches away from my face. Either way, most work mornings were terrible. Corralling twin two year olds, convincing them to wear the clothes I wanted them to wear (for expediency’s sake), getting them moving in the right direction (towards the door) and also making sure that I was presentable – all by 7 a.m. so that we could run out the door, stop at Starbucks, drop the girls at their sitter and arrive at work on-time – was a fiasco.  Nearly every day someone cried.  Maybe it was the twins. Maybe it was me.  Maybe it was a squall line of stormy tears that ended almost as quickly as it began.  Maybe it was a freaking hurricane that lasted two days (“Mom. Mom. MOMMY. Remember how yesterday SHE wore the pink dress and I didn’t?” Commence tears. For two days.).  But there were almost always tears trying to leave the house.

Oh, and last winter I was very pregnant and it was -20 several mornings.

It was … amazing? Yes. Amazing.  Like, amazing that I didn’t develop some sort of twitch.

Or maybe I did.

Anyway, that was just the mornings.  If I had night meetings, my mom (St. Mary Kay) did pick ups and I arrived home after bedtime, exhausted.  If I didn’t have night meetings, I picked up two tired and hungry two year old toddlers and schlepped them home to try to make something that looked like dinner that, very often, they wouldn’t eat anyway. And then, because hygiene has always been a priority in our house, I’d hose the kids off in a very unfun bath, sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” as fast as I could, and put them to sleep.

I’d like to pause right now and give a big shout out to single parents out there.

SINGLE PARENTS! Holy crap.  How do you do this, ALL THE TIME? Seriously.  Good for you. GOOD FOR YOU.  Single parents do not get enough credit or sleep or time off. While Frank was gone for four days each week, I was by no means a single parent.  I had a safety net that came home and let me sleep and made breakfast and did tuck-ins. And baths.  So, all I’m saying is, I have a strong appreciation for the legit single parents.  You rock.

So, back to me.

I did this three days a week.  On the fourth day, because Jesus is kind and my Mother-In-Law loves her grandchildren (St. Sandy), the kids would get to stay home and paint and color and have fabulous tea parties with GrahSandy.

And THEN, Frank would come home.  Now, while a lot of people do point out that he had the benefit of a full night’s sleep at a hotel and dinners out and so on, WHICH HE TOTALLY DID AND I NEVER FORGOT THAT FOR EVEN ONE MINUTE, the flipside is that he was staying in a hotel with paper-thin walls, in an uncomfortable bed and eating at Chili’s-type restaurants for every.single.meal.  As an aside, I do not actually want to know how his body has been chemically altered by that lifestyle, but if any scientists are curious about the effects of Chipotle-Chili’s-Panda Express-only food pyramid lifestyles, Frank is totally available.

And then he had a terrible commute to and from work.  Thanks to the brilliant Wright Amendment (which ended on 10/13/14 – woot!), Frank could never fly non-stop to Dallas from Midway for work.  He always had to stop. Sometimes he had to change planes.  No matter what, a generally short 2 1/2 hour flight would be dragged out at least an extra hour or so – possibly more.

Once he landed in Chicago, he had another hour to two hour drive home, depending on traffic.  His route often covered four Interstates/Tollways/Expressways, so every time he has to exit/enter a new road, there was a significant opportunity for a back up.

So that was fun for him.

Often he would walk in the door and I would launch the nearest twin in his general direction as a means of saying “hello darling.” He learned to reflexively drop the suitcase in order to catch the child.  He’s spry.

Fortunately I didn’t work on Fridays, so we used Fridays to catch up on stuff like seeing our children. And chores and paperwork.  And moving houses.  We moved houses last year.  I just finished unpacking recently.  So, yeah, we got that going for us.

And laundry.  Do you know how much laundry a family of four generates?  That’s nuts.  Now that there are five of us, we’ve reached epic levels of laundry.

I’m saying all of this to say that the way that our family was operating was unsustainable.

Considering all that we went through in order to have a family, I was realizing more and more that I was going to get to the twins 18th birthday and probably say, “What the crap was THAT?” in reference to their entire childhood.

That’s not cool.

And then we were adding a third child to this situation.

When Annie was born, I found myself looking at her little fingers and her little face and thinking/praying, “Thank you God for sending this baby to save me from myself.”

I don’t think that’s hyperbole; Annie’s birth probably saved our family from the future we were racing toward.

I would’ve kept working if we only had the twins.  I would’ve muscled through it and done the “grin and bear it” routine.  I would’ve missed events at school and stuff at work, feeling inadequate and terrible in both arenas. Frank and I would’ve put our marriage on ice and hoped there was something left when the kids went off to their small liberal arts colleges along the Mississippi River or in Upstate New York (or maybe a Big Ten school, I don’t really know).  We could’ve done it.  I would’ve done it.

It would’ve been a mess.

I wondered while I was pregnant with Annie how it would play out if I kept the crazy cycle going. And always, I just sort of knew, we couldn’t stop the landslide – so we better just sidestep it.

At first, when Frank and I started thinking about this change, we kept looking at our checkbook.  But, in an unspoken way, we kind of knew that God would provide and He seems to open and close doors for us in a weird way. We decided to trust this rhythm we had with God and we had with each other and make this move.

On my last day of work, I was filled with relief and … something else.  Turns out, thanks to an abundance of psychologists in my life, this other feeling was grief.

It was hard to quit. As I said before, I love to work.  I love projects and check lists and people and ideas and all manner of work-y type things.

I just do.  It’s weird, when I think of it, how much I do like to do these things.

So while it was hard to release the death grip I had on working, I did it.

I did it because I love my family. I love my husband and I love my children. I did it because all of those stupid cliches are sometimes true – people on their deathbeds don’t say, “Gee, I wish I worked more.” People dying say, “I wish I had more time with my family.”

I give mad props to the women who work and have families and can do it all.  That is awesome.  I so wanted to be that woman – the one who could work and, like day to evening Barbie, transition effortlessly to caring for my family with organic homemade food and manicured hands. It’s just that, for me, the reality is this: I. Can’t. Do. It.

In some ways I felt like I was a failure because I couldn’t do it all.  I couldn’t sustain all of these fires I had burning without getting burned myself.

Staying at home with the children is work, no doubt. And I went through a hazing week a few weeks ago that caused me to see my hairstylist earlier than normal to touch up my roots. My dear friend, St. Eve, had to increase her data plan due to the insane amount of text messages she received from me, many consisting of things like “Sweet Jesus help me!” and “OMG YOU WILL NOT BELIEVE WHAT JUST HAPPENED.” It got so ugly, she stopped reading my texts while eating.

Enough of that, though. (for now)

When the rays of sunshine are long, stretching across the floor of our office/study/gathering area and the twins are busy drawing a very important picture for me to review and Annie is spreading spit-up across her blanket and the floor; when the sink is happily full of dishes from meals eaten at home; when the girls’ fingers are prunes from long bath times playing; when we have a stack of books to read at bedtime from the library; when we can take our time walking to school in the morning holding hands and saying “hi” to Miss Leslie-the-Crossing-Guard (and Carrie can give her a flower); when our kitchen window is full of pictures and when the five of us are snuggled on a couch – when those moments and days and experiences happen, my heart is full and happy.

And when a whole bunch of other stuff goes down (future blog posts, maybe), I sometimes wish I could be somewhere else. Like at a job. Or hiding in my bathroom with the door locked.

But no matter the situation, this is a pretty awesome gig: this staying-at-home business.

SInce I’ve been at home, I wanted to blog more.  Write about Ellie and Carrie and Annie.  After all, this blog is for them. But no matter the blog posts I was writing in my head, I could never put them down because before I could write all of that, I had to write this.

So here it is. Sort of word vomit. Sort of an explanation.

To my daughters: if you work outside the home and have children, awesome. If you work outside the home and don’t have children, awesome (but get some dogs that I can spoil or travel a bunch so I can bore my friends at The Home with the minutia of your latest adventures). If you stay at home and have children, awesome.  If you stay at home and don’t have children, seriously, what are you doing? Go to work. Or volunteer. Geesh.

summer lovin'

Those of you who know me in real life (IRL), know that the K fam has recently been soooo excited to announce that Frank is now flying out of a Milwaukee base instead of an Atlanta base.  Milwaukee (MKE) is roughly 1 1/2 to 2 hours away from our home, whereas Atlanta requires a 45 minute drive plus a 2 1/2 hour flight.  And, if that isn’t fun enough, Frank had to allow three or four flight options, just in case he got bumped or a flight was canceled.  On his way home, he would often be running from concourse to concourse trying to find an open flight – and that was often after an 8-10+ hour day of flying.  Sometimes he wouldn’t roll into our driveway until after 1 a.m. after starting his day at 6 a.m.  With travel to and from Atlanta factored in, Frank was averaging 6-7 full days home per month.  Needless to say, it was rough, but we made it work.

Actually, I look at it as a little feather in our cap that we made it work so well.  For all that we’ve been going through while he’s been commuting to Atlanta for the last year or so, including fertility treatments and a miscarriage, the fact that we are still so in love is a blessing from God.

TOOT TOOT. (that’s me, tooting our collective horn)

While I was prepared to continue having a long-distance marriage for a while longer, we were soooo blessed when Frank won the bid for the Milwaukee base earlier this summer.  Thanks to this new base, Frank was in training to fly a new aircraft which resulted in him being home on WEEKENDS!!  This is a rare occurrence, indeed.  As a result, we hosted a dessert and cocktail party this summer, we had a holiday together (4th of July!-note – because of his seniority, we do not usually expect to have any holidays together), we went to Summerfest AND the Wisconsin State Fair (two of our favorite things) and generally did weekend-type couple-y things.  I LOVED every minute of it.  Frank is almost done with training – he is finishing up initial operating experience, which basically means he is flying with a very experienced captain who will later sign off that he is a capable pilot and set him free for regular flying.

So it has been a good summer in the K house this year.  We have felt abundantly blessed with this new base and look forward to more time together this fall!

last day in the ad agency world

Today is it – my last day at an ad agency.  When I was in college, I dreamed of being at an ad agency.  I thought there would be nothing cooler.  I have been privileged to work at ad agencies for the past 7 years of my life.  I’ve loved it.  I’ve hated it. I’ve met some of the coolest people I’ve ever known.  I’ve met some characters.  I’ve had clients call me screaming (and swearing).  I’ve had clients call me overjoyed.  I’ve seen some of the best work get scrapped.  I’ve canceled amazing media plans.  I’ve worked on teams where we negotiated amazing media programs with amazing media partners that had perfect synergy with our brands.  It’s a cool industry.  And at the end of the day, ads that are the blood, sweat and tears of teams of people inundate you in your home, at work, in your car, at the airport.  So many of us are annoyed by ads.  Entertained by ads.  Moved to take action (positively or negatively) by ads.  It’s cool to hate ads, but tell me you haven’t heard of a Sham-Wow or Tide or Toyota or Apple.  Tell me you don’t get just a little excited about the ads in the Superbowl.

Advertising is an art and it’s a science.  It’s communication at its best when it entertains and informs in :30 seconds or less, in a page or less, on a billboard on the highway, on a screen in an elevator.  It’s communication at its best when you remember the brand, the product.  And then you try it.  And you buy it.  And you recommend it.  It’s at its best when you feel that you discovered the product and become a spokesperson.

Advertising is an industry founded entirely ideas and dreams and thoughts.

The next time you experience an ad in a magazine, on TV, on a website, on the radio, on a billboard, on a bus, in an airport, on a train, on your cell phone – know that it started as an idea.  An idea that was probably hatched under the hot lights of a conference room.  Probably after hours.  By people running only on Diet Coke and Red bull and candy from the candy jar next to accounting.  And they draw from their experiences and their lives – the ones they have and the ones they wish they had.  And at 7:30 pm on a Tuesday, while memorizing the features and benefits and positioning statement of a product, someone speaks up and says, “Hey guys, I have an idea…”  And maybe that brave soul is a senior manager or an intern or a creative or a media person or a brand manager.  But it doesn’t matter because whoever has the idea, has the floor.

And this brave soul talks about a trip they took to a place they love and how it made them feel.  And then they talk about how that imagery would be a perfect visual analogy for the product in front of them.  And it ties in perfectly with this idea for a tag line that they have.  And then… And then there is a point where someone else, inspired, takes the hand-off on the idea and they build on it – I get what you’re saying –  it totally speaks to our target audience – it would work perfectly in these media options – we could shoot it in Argentina or Colorado or Iowa – and the vision for the execution and the next steps pull together like a snowball picking up speed rolling down a mountain.

And this avalanche of thinking takes over these ad agency folks lives.  Pictures are tacked up over their offices.  Media vendors are contacted, more ideas are brainstormed.  Plans.  Negotiations.  More late nights.  More lunches at their desks.

And one day, you’re making dinner and watching the 6 pm news.  And an ad for a car or a coffee maker or a shoe or a phone is in the first position of the commercial pod and the imagery reminds you of something you loved as a child.  A vacation you took, a place you went to – and you smile.  And you think, hmm, a new … interesting. And maybe you buy it or maybe you don’t.

That is advertising, when it goes well.

There are so many days when it doesn’t go well.  There are so many times when my eyes were bloodshot looking at a spreadsheet or a flowchart or a presentation.  There were many nights when I ate lunch and dinner at my desk.  When I drank more than 50 oz of diet coke.  When I walked out to the last car in the last row of the parking lot, lit by a solitary street light.

But it always felt worth it when it worked.

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Job Confusion….

Job Confusion….

So yeah, after all of this back and forth, some of you must be wondering where the heck I stand on my job situation. Do I like it? Do I hate it?

You know what? I don’t know. I think I like it … but then again… There are things I love, things I hate. Right now, I’m hating the hours.

Most Romantic-ist Husband Ever.

Frank has driven down to Chicago to pick me up from work twice this week, done all the grocery shopping, taken care of the taxes and is battling the NPD over a parking ticket I got at the train station after I couldn’t get the bills to go in the slot. It was quite dramatic–the machine wouldn’t even suck my dollar in to read it and then spit it out. As I was trying to jam money and bills in the machine, my train pulled up. I decided not to stick around and miss my train, so I ran down the tunnel, up the stairs on the other side and BARELY made my train. So anyway, got a $15 ticket. Blast it.

So anyway, Frank has been taking care of both of our lives for the past week and today he is cleaning the house and doing laundry. Do husbands REALLY come any better than this??? I doubt not! He always asks what he can do and doesn’t complain or whine. It’s fantastic!! He is just the super-duperist guy ever! 😀

Yay for good guys!

Walk o' Shame

I have a walk of shame. Well, sadly, I have two.

My first walk of shame is from my desk to the beverage station. For those of you who have not heard my tales of woe from the beverage station–Leo Burnett/Starcom supplies all of their lovely employees with soda. All you can drink–for free!!! Who DOESN’T love that?? But unfortunately I have worn a path from my desk to the station and back. This walk has resulted in many a day where I bounce giddily in my seat and annoy my cubemate.

My second walk of shame is from my desk to the Admin. Assistant’s desk. This walk has little or nothing to do with the AA–and everything to do with the table in front of her desk. This glorious table occasionally features the leftovers from meetings–huge muffins, assorted cookies, yummy bagels, cookies, fruit, pizza–you name it!

This second walk of shame is becoming a problem. I didn’t realize HOW MUCH of a problem until the AA stopped by my desk on her way to the bathroom to let me know the Proctor and Gamble team had a meeting and the table was loaded with yummy treats. While I was slightly embarassed by my reputation, I was also grateful to be given such a prime opportunity to raid the goody table. If she didn’t tell me, who knows what delicious treats would have passed me by!

That, my friends, would have been the real shame.

Happy eatin’!

Hi! Welcome to my blog!

While my life mostly consists of work, there are other interesting things going on!

This weekend:

Friday night I have a retreat for my small group. We are going to the Summerfield Suites in Schaumburg.

Saturday, I am going to the bank and then I am going to do stuff… not sure what yet… anyone want to do stuff? Then Saturday night Frank and I are going to do something, but we’re not sure what. Possibly Jamie’s sister’s birthday. Hm. We shall see how coherent both of us are.

Sunday Frank and I go to church at 5:30 at Christ Church of Oak Brook. At first I thought, “NO WAY! A church at the MALL??? What an awesome idea!” But I was wrong. Oh well. This is still a nice church and I really like the pastor, Danny White.

That’s it for now!