Whatcha been…?

I know we haven’t posted in a long while but I thought of a simple, fun way that we can update each other.  Each month we can answer a few questions about what we have been doing, reading, watching, eating, etc., hence the name “Whatcha been…?”  The first person to post can think of questions for everyone else to answer.  You can do as much or as little as you have time for.  Here’s mine below:

Whatcha been reading?:  I just finished the book Demelza by Winston Graham.  It is one of the books in the Poldark series which I first came upon when I watched the 1975 BBC version on Netflix (despite bad hair, bad teeth, awful cinematography, it was great).  Recently, I started watching the PBS version on Amazon and I love it.  When I found out it was a book series, I had to start reading it.

Whatcha been watching?: Becoming Jane– cried terribly afterwards.  I never realized Jane Austen was never married.  Also, Aftermath on Netflix, it is a Korean show about a kid who falls off of a roof and then he can tell when people are about to die or about to kill.

Whatcha been writing?: I don’t normally write anything when I am not in school so, the last thing I wrote (besides this blog post) was a ten page paper about the best practices for socializing a new employee onto a team.  Riveting, eh?  That is Industrial and Organizational Psychology for you.

Whatcha been learning?: Well, gross, besides everything in grad school, I am still trying to learn French but I have not been going to the free community class at the Catholic church because of my work schedule.  I am also secretly trying to learn Korean because it is more interesting than French.  (Secretly because I told myself I was learning French next).  I also just finished the 10 day boot camp at skillcrush (https://learn.skillcrush.com/skillcrush-10-day-bootcamp/).  It is just a brief overview of some coding information.  I am attempting to learn about Ruby and Python so that I can potentially use it in a career setting.

Whatcha been doing that’s new?:  We have been trying to eat healthy (that is not new) but we still like going out to eat.  We feel it is healthier when we make all of our food from scratch but once a month, Blake and I drop Clark off at his grandmother’s and go out to a new restaurant to try something different.  Last month we went to the Maple Street Biscuit Company and it was amazing!

Whatcha been thinking about?: Start a book club with me on goodreads, please, please.  We can create a private book club and we can take turns reading books that each one of us picks out.  Or, start writing reviews on this blog about what you read.

When you have time, post your answers to the same questions.


If I Could Spend a Day with You…

I have been thinking a lot about trying to plan a time to get together with all of you but with my school schedule, Blake’s work schedules and probably all of your schedules and the distance between each of us, it is just not a reality.  Ultimately, we will probably meet again at our 10 year reunion the weekend of April 22-23 because all of you will be there, right?  I want to keep up with this blog in an effort to stay in contact with you and to communicate my thoughts and memories and to hear from you in return.  That being said, I have been thinking about what I would do with each of you if I were able to spend one day with you, just you.

In alphabetical order:

Ashley: I know I said just you but I would like to see for a little bit how our children play together.  Liam and Clark are just a year a part and so they might be buddies.  After we let them play for a while, we will let their daddies take them while we go play.  We would probably try hard to think of something to do but in reality would probably end up just going to Starbucks and then Target.

Brooke: Clark loves little girls and your house is full of them so I would love to see how they play together for a while.  We would then leave the kids to go shopping and probably for a long while.

Ellen: We have never done this in the past but I would like to go hiking with Ellen.  We both like it and there are a lot of good spots to go hiking in my area and probably in her area too so no matter where we are, we have a good chance of finding a good trail, a good mountain or something to hike.  I imagine we would talk about work for her, school for me, our families and whatever else.  We could end the day with a good meal at a restaurant.

Roberta: This is easy.  I would love to sit and watch Roberta while she cooked something delicious, hopefully Korean, and talk about our memories together.  I would love to laugh about Renaissance Poetry, ridiculous things that happened in London and what has happened since.  Then, we would watch a movie together, hopefully a scary one, which would lead to us not sleeping at all that night.


My Mini, Premature Mid-Life Crisis

In 2012, I started a Masters of Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program. It was a 60 hour program which included a practicum and an internship. After completing the 60 hours I would have complete so many hours of supervision while seeing clients. You have to either get a job that pays for the license supervision or pay out of pocket for the supervision. I would also have to take three big tests in Tennessee or two if I did the process in Georgia. Then I would still have to start out making around $40,000, if I got lucky, and would probably have to start out with a company that was not the ideal job because of being new to the field. I wouldn’t be able to bill insurance directly until I was licensed for about three years or so. Before I had my son it didn’t matter the process or the amount of time it would take in school and through the license process. The amount of money for school and the lack of money that I would make in the job wasn’t a concern.

After years of being married and never being able to get pregnant, the same semester I finally stopped procrastinating going to graduate school, I got pregnant. After I had my son, I decided that I wanted to finish my education to be able to obtain a good job if I needed to ever work but that I really wanted to stay at home with him once we were financially able. Finishing up a 60 hour program and years of supervision just to work a stressful job for little money didn’t seem like a smart idea.

Also, I started working at a non-profit mental health agency in 2008 as a Transitional Living Specialist. In 2010, I was promoted to a supervisor. Specialists are basic a mix between a counselor, coach, mentor and teacher. The supervisor is just an extension of that and helps to supervise and develop the specialist. We went into the clients home and in the community. It was very stressful and after years of really difficult and disturbing cases, I came to the conclusion I no longer wanted to be a licensed counselor. I make it sound simpler than it really was. It was really kind of like a big pre-mid-life crisis for me. I have wanted to be a counselor since I was seven years old. I researched, prayed, talked to licensed counselors and I/O Psychologists before I finally came to the decision.

I searched around for other programs that I could finish quicker and with the end result being an office job with a good salary. The university in my city has a Research Psychology program and an Industrial/Organizational Psychology program. I preferred to do the Research program but to be able to really do what I want to do I would need a Doctorate degree. I researched what I/O Psychologists do and at entry level they are basically Human Resource Generalist which start out usually around $50,000 and there are always a lot of job postings at the different companies here. I figure that every job has it’s own amount of stress but in an HR job I probably won’t ever have to chase a runaway teenager down a railroad track or witness a drive by shooting when I am 7 months pregnant.


Hello world!


Walk a Week in My Shoes

I thought we would start this off by writing about what a typical week looks like for each of us.

In February, I left my full time job as a supervisor at a non-profit mental health agency. I now stay at home with my son and in August I will be switching from a graduate Counseling program to a graduate Industrial/Organizational Psychology program. I want to share with you what my life looked like before I resigned and what it is like now.

My husband works 12 hour shifts three or four days a week and he rotates between day and night shifts. On the days that he was not working or sleeping, he would stay at home with our son. When he was also working, my mother-in-law would pick up my son in the morning and watch him until one of us picked him up at her house. Each day for work I would get up, get ready, get him ready and send him with my mother-in-law or leave him with my husband.

At my job I had certain tasks and responsibilities that I had to complete each week to fulfill a monthly quota. I had to attend meetings for the supervisors on my team in the morning on Monday and Tuesday. I had a two hour meeting on Monday that I had to lead. On Tuesday, I took notes at a meeting that was led by the consultant for about an hour. I was responsible for meeting with each person that I supervised for about an hour to discuss their development within their role as a specialist and within the company. I had to meet with so many clients each month to either supervise and train staff or to help with coverage if needed; it was always needed for some reason or another. If I saw a client for the staff member then I had to write the session note and submit it into the paperwork system. I had to read each piece of documentation that a staff member entered into the computer system and either approve it or send it back to them to improve. Each specialist that I supervised would have a caseload of 9-10. Each week they would have 9-10 session notes from where they met with the client. They would also have monthly paperwork due for 2-3 clients each week like treatment plans. I reviewed all of that paperwork for quality and took note of their timeliness score which I later reported in one of my supervisor meetings. I had to read each treatment plan, safety plan and other supporting documentation and would write up a one page sheet (we called it group preparation) that was my direction to them about their treatment plans. I was on call 24/5 for my team for emergencies. Emergencies ranged from a youth has become homeless, to a youth has expressed a suicidal or homicidal thought to anything in between that required staff assistance. I was also on call on one weekend a month for the entire office. Emergencies for each program varied from a youth ran away from home, expressed suicidal or homicidal thoughts or any other concerning behavior. To basically sum up my job, I drove, wrote, typed and talked on the phone a lot.

The semesters that I was in class, I would go to class starting at 5 pm until 8 pm at the latest. I would do homework whenever I had breaks at work or when I got home at night. The days that I didn’t have class I would drive 30 minutes away to pick up my son and drive home in rush hour traffic. I would make dinner and get my son ready for bed. I usually had a million things that I didn’t get done during the day that I would stay up doing after my son had fallen asleep.

On Saturdays, I would clean as much as I could, go grocery shopping and run any errands that I couldn’t do during the week. On Sundays we attend church for three hours. After church I would try to spend time with my family. We do not go shopping, watch television or work on Sundays so I would basically play with my son all day and squeeze in a nap if possible.

Now that I am a full-time stay at home mom, my life is much simpler, easier and less stressful. Most days, except Tuesdays and Sundays, my son and I wake up anywhere between 7-9. We get breakfast and I let him play while I get ready. I get him ready and we usually go to the library for a story time or a play group. There are several libraries close to us that have different story times so we rotate between each of them. We come home for lunch and then play until he takes a nap. I either clean or nap while he naps. We usually go outside after his nap and then come in and make dinner. After dinner we play a little more and then get ready for bed. My son magically falls asleep right at 10:30 pm no matter what time I try to put him to bed. After he goes to sleep, I usually try to get some of the things done that I cannot do with him around and then I go to bed.

On Tuesdays my mother-in-law takes my son with her for the day. I clean as much as I can on these days. I also attend a community French class at the local Catholic church. I took French in college and did horrible at it. I learned Spanish after college and so I wanted to try my hand at French again. I really want to go to Marseille one day and I like to keep my mind busy learning new things. On Sunday, we attend church for three hours and then try to visit family.

As you can see there is a big difference in my life before and after resigning. The reason I decided to leave my position was to be able to have more time with my son and to focus on my graduate program. I feel a lot less crazy these days and my house is so much cleaner. We have also been able to do a lot more as a family.