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Grab My Button
There’s been tons of talk about Sheryl Sandberg’s book, “Lean In” that’s somewhat grown into a mild modern feminist’s canon. Yet with all of this chatter, I do wonder if I’m doing “enough” with my career.
Before being a mom, my identity was infused with my role in the workplace. No, scratch that. My job was my identity. I was Melanie Coffee, the journalist.
When I got married, I didn’t feel like it changed how I defined myself. I simply did the inevitable: Married my longtime best friend. Then came my first child and like I’ve said before that wasn’t an “adjustment” it rattled me to the core.
After my seven-month maternity leave, I worked part-time for four months, which I loved. I felt I had a foot in each world. The fun parts of the Stay At Home Mommysphere and the adult interaction/professional gratification of the workforce. Then I resumed working full time, which called for long work days and an unsustainable amount of stress that made me an irritable mama and a witchy wife. I was miserable.
Up jumped kid No. 2 and everything had to change. Again. This time, I’m trying to do the part-time thing, but I’m freelancing. Working for myself is liberating. I have much more control over my schedule, which is a crazy-good blessing.
There’s also many challenges. Because I’m working for myself, it can be hard for this Type-A to keep it at “part time.” After all, this is the “Melanie Coffee” brand I’m working on, why wouldn’t I give it my all? Why wouldn’t I “Lean In”?
The answer is in two pairs of deep brown eyes. I like volunteering to work in Logan’s classroom and taking leisurely strolls around the neighborhood with Ethan to hunt for roly polies. Or having a day with nothing on the agenda except play.
There’s times when I’ll stumble upon a great story, and I do feel myself “leaning back” so that I don’t have to hire the nanny for an extra day or hide in a locked bathroom while conducting an interview or stay up until 3 a.m. writing.
In my small moments of quiet, I admit that I wonder if I’m doing enough with my career. Should I have pushed myself to write a particular story? What about reaching out for more collaborations? Producing some of the videos on Chicago’s civil rights struggle or a father’s fight to feed his family?
Ugh, it’s enough to make me schpindle. And when that happens, I have to take a huge step back and ask myself the question that I always use to make big decisions “Which will I regret the least?”
I’m the kind of person who will always have regrets, but I don’t want them to keep me up at night. I would regret not taking impromptu picnics way, way more than I would telling most stories.
Yes, there are some stories that to me are worth the extra day of our nanny coming over or interviewing a source behind the locked bathroom door. And on those days I’ll Lean In.
On the other days, though, I’ll lean back and try to remind myself that that is more than enough.
Do you guys have these conflicting feelings? If so, how do you handle them?
I’m excited to announce the winner of my $100 gift card giveaway! It’s none other than the DIY blogger Laughing Abi.
There were tons of entries and through Rafflecopter, she was randomly selected as the recipient. I want to thank everyone who entered my biggest giveaway ever, especially those dedicated folks who entered time and time and time again. I very rarely enter giveaways, so it was neat for me to see your diligence through the continual stream of comments and Tweets.
Also, clearly none of this would have been possible without Scotts Miracle-Gro. Thank you for reaching out to me and introducing me to your Premium Plants (which are doing great in our garden, BTW!) and sponsoring the $100 gift card to Home Depot.
Congrats again Laughing Abi!
Hubby and I have always been pretty lucky when it comes to our friends. We think they’re amazing people and they are all different on the outside: from born agains to atheists, seven-figure executives to welfare moms, and corn-bred white farm boys to inner-city brown-skinned survivors.
One evening the scheduling gods smiled upon us and allowed for us to have dinner with another couple. She’s an amazing journalist and he’s an amazing musician. I have no idea why they like us, but I’m just glad that they do.
We went to Pars Cove in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. It’s a family-owned Persian restaurant that is snuggled along a bustling Diversey Avenue. It boasts of three quaint dining areas, sizeable fish tank, stained glass wall and fireplace. I can’t quite figure the motif, but you do feel as if you’ve stepped into the 1970s, but strangely, it seems to work.
Maybe it’s because the place opened in 1976. The owner, Max Pars, is a charming sweet guy who is fun to talk to. He weathered a rough bit in 2007 after his food sickened people at the Taste of Chicago festival, but hasn’t had problems since. People love this place and I can see why.
Hubby and I got to Pars Cove a smidge late because we were having a pre-dinner drink at Duffy’s Tavern & Grille. (If you are over the age of 25 or not a University of Michigan fan, I would suggest avoiding this place. When I ordered a lemon drop martini the bartenders made a big deal of me “classing up the place.” This is a college bar with an impressive, spacious layout. But it embraces all that is good and bad about college bars. Again, if I was 22 and it was a University of Missouri bar, I’m sure I’d love it.)
But once at Pars Cove, we felt relaxed and at home. The Musician ordered a Grey Goose martini with a twist and though I usually go for wine, that sounded perfect. I suppose I needed to wash away the college-era martini of the previous place.
Honestly that martini went down so smooth and was so yummy, I wanted the glass to be bottomless. Admittedly I tried to create that affect by ordering round after round.
We started off with a wonderful appetizer called the Cool Sampler. It was a platter of Hummus, Kashk, Bulgarian feta, Dolmeh with a salad in balsalmic virgin olive oil.
The hummus is the best I’ve ever had, very fresh, bright with flavor and a smooth even consistency. It was hard not to lick the plate. If I was at home, I admit, the plate would have been licked clean.
For dinner I ordered one of the signature dishes, the chicken fesenjan, which is a marinated chicken breast simmered in a walnut and pomegranate sauce and is just as yummy as it sounds. I took a bite of the chicken and thought, hmm, that has a little kick. I didn’t think the fesenjan would be spicy. Soon we figured out that I was actually devouring the tasty chicken zarreshk, which was a chicken breast marinated in saffron and simmered in a wild currant citrus sauce. The Musician had my chicken fesejan. We swapped dishes and though we enjoyed the other’s meal, we loved ours own much more.
Our table also had the lamb fesejan, which I think was the best meal at the table and I’m not a big fan of lamb. It was succulent, tender and mild flavoring blended perfectly with the rich, sweet-but-not-too-sweet fesejan sauce.
Finally dessert came and it was a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream, drizzled with honey.
As the meal was coming to a close me and the other journalist were presented with a rose. That’s part of the tradition here at Pars Cove, ladies are treated with flowers. Like the décor, it’s kinda cheesy but it’s also a nice touch, so it works.
I am sitting here in front of Potbellys in the suburbs because it’s a nice day and I want to write outside. Admittedly, it’s not an inspiring atmosphere because I’m at a café table on a sidewalk next to a black top parking lot in the middle of a bland strip mall that could be anywhere USA, but hey the sky is blue, there’s a slight breeze and I’m writing.
So no complaints here.
There is one weird/amusing thing though. There’s this apparently 60-plus year old honking on the saxophone. And he’s horrible. I suppose he’s practicing, I’m not sure.
I didn’t know a sax could sound that bad, and I remember when my nephew was in fourth grade and started playing the sax. He was, well, he was still better than this guy.
It’s been great to watch people’s faces when they get out of their car and hear his squawking.
One woman frowned and asked the guy next to her, “what the heck is that noise?”
“I don’t know, a goose I guess.”
To prove to you how much he’s really honking, I’ve overheard two other conversations identical to that one.
But part of me admires the Kenny G wannabe’s fortitude. He’s practicing his horn, honks included, for all to hear and he doesn’t seem to give a damn, which you know, is kinda cool. So cool that I don’t mind the squawking all that much, which is why I’m going to sit here awhile longer and just write.
Remember my earlier post about my lack of a green thumb? Well, you can imagine how happy I was when Scotts Miracle-Gro contacted me about writing a sponsored post. They gave me a couple gift cards and I hit up the local Home Depot to buy some new Miracle-Gro Premium Plants.
These plants boast of vibrant blooms that are fast-growing and last all season. Sounds good, right? It seemed like the perfect match for my not-so-green thumb. They’re a new product and only available during the month of May at Chicago area Home Depots, so I felt lucky to nab some.
I got marigolds and impatiens, plus some gardening soil to boot.
When my 5 year old spotted the flowers and soil, he began to jump up and down, screaming: “It’s happening! It’s happening! We’re planting flowers! It’s happening!” Kid you not, he was more excited about these flowers than he was on Christmas morning. Who knew?
First we laid down the soil and worked it into the ground and then the digging began. We dug deep holes, deep enough to put the plants in. The ground had many squeal-worthy treats like worms, spiders, roley polies and six-legged creatures.
After covering up the plants’ roots with soil, they looked awesome. I felt a sense of accomplishment because instead of having to transfer some weak little wisp of a plant into a flower bed, I had these robust-looking flowers all set to go in the garden. There’s certainly something to be said for instant gratification.
Not to mention, I’ve now got the best-looking garden in the neighborhood. (Ahem.)
So thanks Scotts Miracle-Gro! And I want to thank them on behalf of you guys, my readers because they are sponsoring She’sWrite’s biggest giveaway to date. It’s a $100 gift card to Home Depot to my Chicago area peeps and there’s several ways you can enter to win.
Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway
The giveaway begins today Wednesday, May 8 and lasts one week until Wednesday, May 15. I will announce the winner on May 16.
Good luck and happy Spring!
For more info on the Premium Plants watch below: