Out of the Office

This week marks a year since I left my full-time job — my career, really — to make a big change and stay at home with my kids.

Some days, it’s hard to believe it has been that long. Others, it feels like a decade since I’ve walked into the place that was my office, or since I’ve worn shoes with any real structure.  Leaving work was a leap I was scared to make — but I also knew the time was right to give it a try.  Nothing is forever, I told myself {unless you use our General Contractor for your home renovation — then, forget I said that}.

And life has totally changed since that day last year.  I’m in a different world.  One with yoga pants and playdates and navigating the mom social circles.  One without conference calls and stressful deadlines.  One where, as I type this, a crock pot is fired up and our fridge is stocked with groceries — neither of which ever happened when I was working full-time.  Not with 2.5 hours of daily commuting, semi-regular conference calls with Asia at 10pm and the ever-flashing red light on my Blackberry competing with my kids for my attention.

But one that comes with other stress — the stress that comes with full-time parenting sometimes. And one that comes without a paycheck.

There are indeed days — many days — when I want to pull my hair out.  Like today — also known as Day 10 of The Endless Spring Break (because it’s helpful when your kids’ schools close for break over two separate weeks).  Is it seriously only Tuesday?

Anyway.  It took me a while to get my footing in this new world — to find my friends, hit my stride and regain confidence in myself as a parent.

But I did the right thing, for me.  For this family.  For this time in our lives.  I’m not saying it’s right for everyone.

And recently, I started doing some freelance work, which is really the Holy Grail of Working in many respects.  It keeps that non-chicken-nugget part of my brain intact and allows me to string together complete sentences that don’t involve the Nick Jr. programming line-up.  But I can wear my pajamas.

To show you I haven’t completely lost my professional edge, I’ve assembled a brief presentation about this first year away from my working life.  I think this will give you a more in-depth view of how this transition has worked out for me.

Hey, Power Point has gone out and gotten itself some pretty new templates in the last year.

You probably don’t need an agenda slide.  You’re all smart people and, let’s face it, this isn’t rocket science I’m presenting here.  But old habits die way hard.

The first time I’ve ever used “duh” in a presentation.  I think I’ve been missing a real opportunity here. It has punch, no?

Oh, office politics — you are exhausting.  But luckily my experience here has served me well in navigating the playground social ladder.

I mean, we could go on and on with the Boardroom Bingo, right?  If you’ve ever sat in a meeting with maddening corporate speak, you know what I mean.

OK, so that’s six things.  Maybe my math skills haven’t survived the past year particularly well. Plus, I say them on a repeat loop all day, every day.

By “photos emailed by the nanny,” I mean feeble, out-of-focus and head-cut-off attempts my nanny made to take a photo with her flip phone.

Translation:  All the time.  I have one child in each ear as I type this.

I am very proud of the economic growth I’ve spurred in town since I am now home full-time.  It’s important to contribute.

Freelancing?  Yes.  Part-time?  Sure.  But full-time, commuting to the city work?  I mean, I can’t predict the future.  But my feelings are in the fairly strong to downright adamant camp towards “No, but thanks” on this one.

* * *

Oh crap — I have no concluding slide.  Sorry.  I’m clearly slipping.  But I assumed you were all so riveted by my pie chart wizardry that you wouldn’t notice.

This was fun — maybe I’ll do all of my blog posts in Power Point going forward.

Or Excel.

Or by conference call.

Wearing nice shoes with heels.

And a pretty suit.

Oh wait, does that mean I have to be showered?  Never mind — I like this gig better.




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  1. Glamamom says:

    Hilarious Kim. I’m mad I didn’t write this first. But then again, I’m not that funny.

    Glad to read you stand by your decision and don’t have any regrets. Freelancing really is the way to go, if you can piece together enough money and time to do it.

    I can’t believe the things I say as a parent either. I told my son this morning, “If you don’t stop, I’m going to get angry.” To which he responded, “Please don’t call the Easter Bunny.” I never thought I could sink so low and have zero remorse.

    • fordeville says:

      Thanks Jill. And yes, it’s amazing what we will say in the name of parenting sanity preservation. I’m pretty sure if someone had a secret camera here, I’d be mortified by the footage of what comes out of my mouth.

  2. Anna says:

    I first met you when you were about to make “the change” can’t believe it’s been a year. I’m going on four years myself, and while I don’t regret it, I am happy to have some freelance work to make sure my brain mush pie chart still has a non-mush quadrant.

    Also, has your husband completely stopped doing ANYTHING around the house? I could draw a nice graph of how that has gone over the past four years at my place!

    • fordeville says:

      Oh, you *have* to draw that graph — I think you’d get some real replies of solidarity out there…

  3. Steve says:

    Okay, it’s pretty clear that you haven’t been in the office for a while. If you had been, you’d remember that there’s really no difference between the 5 corporate things you’ll never say again and the 5, er, 6 things you can’t believe you say all day. Well, maybe one difference–your current clients (aka kids) are more mature than your old ones and probably don’t need to be level set as much. We miss you and sure as hell envy you.

    P.S. Can you teach me that pie chart thing?

    • fordeville says:

      You’re right — my kids are more mature at times. They just cry more.

      And I totally miss you guys too (well, most of you)!

  4. Greg says:

    Thanks for the PowerPoint shout out Kim. The Graceffos like that….

    • fordeville says:

      Sure thing. Because Microsoft is counting on my personal endorsement of PowerPoint to spread the word 🙂

  5. Luisa says:

    But I so miss you on those 10pm Asia calls – as I knew you had a class of red in your hand and a “who gives a crap at this time of night” attitude.. which was just like me.. except for me it was 11am. Still waiting to see the pimped basement!

    • fordeville says:

      Hmmm — It appears my attempts to disguise my “who gives a crap attitude” were not as successful as I’d hoped. Perhaps that 3rd glass of red was not the best idea prior to dialing in 🙂

      Pimped basement photos coming soon — I promise.

  6. erica says:

    This rocks!
    Totally true!
    but I think you should change one of the gray colors on the pie to hot pink….the wine store one of course.
    Love it!

  7. Suzi says:


  8. kelly says:

    So true!! The paycheck is really ALL I miss !! I was in retail as a Store manager so I was actually drinking more coming home from work than I do now with the girls!!! CRAZY!!!

  9. When your kids are both in school all day, that “No fucking way, ever” becomes a little more challenging to pull off. But I’ve managed to pull out all the stops in finding good excuses and I’m
    still rockin’ the yoga pants Monday thru Friday (and Saturday and Sunday. Duh.)

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