sharing my life experiences, reflections and insights as a mother, a writer, an Occupational Therapist, an unschooler, and and a spiritual being having a human experience

Archive for March, 2018

Changes…and dreams…home!

My life has taken a big turn this month. I sit down to write on this Sunday morning and my Writing Inspiration playlist echos my thoughts…

Well, I’ve been afraid of changin’

‘Cause I’ve built my life around you

But time makes you bolder

Even children get older

And I’m getting older, too

I have been with one job for 8 years and now I am moving on. The universe has slowly been nudging me to move on and yet I resisted for so long. But I love my co-workers and I know the building, the other staff and even the families, it feels like home to me!

I have said these things over and over again over the years, yet I have been left stagnant, my soul in dire need of change. Sometimes we need a big PUSH to move on in life. I am grateful for a big push.

Tomorrow I start a new job.

The funny thing is that I have worked at this “new job” before. I worked for this same company, in this same building, for the same boss and with several of the same co-workers several years ago. My ego can not argue about change when I am moving to something that is familiar to me and is not really new.

It feels right to move to this new job. And it also is scary. Change can be scary.

I feel excited, yet anxious, eager, yet apprehensive…

Do most people feel these things when starting a new job, or anything new?

For me, I get eager to get that first day over with….

I know once I complete my first day, it will get easier, and once I get used to the computer system and the documentation, and the people…. Part of me wants to jump ahead a few months, knowing it will be easier then and I will have less anxiety then.

Yet, there is joy in the new-ness of the beginning of a new job, a new relationship….

I can feel free to ask all my questions.

I have permission to not know exactly what I am doing.

I enjoy meeting new people and the early questions and conversations with new people.

Discovery

A new job can be like an exploring mission to a new land…

Changes

More than a new job is happening in my life

My life is full of many changes right now.

Don and I attended SHIFT Charlotte yesterday. We are embarking on a new journey together. We are going to speak on conscious parenting. We are embarking on a combined business endeavor.

Child-led Learning and Family OCD are coming together under Focused Healthy Families.

We have been working toward this for a long time.

I have been working toward this vision for 20+years, since I became a mother, and since I first envisioned, “Mommy Daddy STOP.com”.

Mommy, Daddy, STOP.com was the website I first created with the tag line: Consciously parenting our children, our parents, and ourselves.

Once upon a time

Once when you were mine

I remember skies

Reflected in your eyes

I wonder where you are

I wonder if you think about me

Once upon a time

In your wildest dreams

When I listen to songs like Your Wildest Dreams by the Moody Blues, even though it is a “love song”, I hear the message of speaking to my soul, my true self that was lost for so long.

I wonder if you care

I wonder if you still remember

Once upon a time

In your wildest dreams

And when the music plays

And when the words are touched with sorrow

When the music plays

I hear the sound I had to follow

Once upon a time

I feel reconnected with my children.

I feel recommended with myself.

I feel that Don and I are on the path that I envisioned nearly 7 years ago when he was born again, May 4,2011.

I had big visions when Don was in the hospital for 12 days in May of 2011, recovering from a massive heart attack.

I have had dreams since I first became a mother on November 10, 1997 and from when I returned to work in February of 1998.

I had dreams of finding a way to work from home so that I could be a full time mother and earn a living.

Today is Sunday, March 25, 2018

20 years + 1 month ago, I returned to work after my first child was born,

It was the most difficult thing i had done up to that point in my life. My husband was building a business, working from home and we had made this plan long before I had become pregnant. He offered to find a job again so that I could stay home full time. Yet, I knew that we had chosen this path for a reason and him building his own business was a big part of our vision which included him growing the business so that I could work less hours, and eventually even be home full time.

I remember sending away for work from home information.

I got a large roll of ribbon from one company, to make tiny bows.

This was pre-internet, 1998, when I found out about working from home from snail mail resources.

I never made those bows.

Yet, I kept searching for a way to work from home…

I started Charlottehomeschooling.com in 2008, just months before my third child was born.

I began this blog in 2012.

I began Child-led Learning blog in 2014.

I have been working toward a new endeavor for a long time and magically, my husband has evolved his career multiple times into what is now a coaching business working with families with the focus of helping people overcoming anxiety.

Here I am now after 20 years…

Bon Jovisays it well

I spent twenty years trying to get out of this place

I was looking for something I couldn’t replace

I was running away from the only thing I’ve ever known

Like a blind dog without a bone

I was a gypsy lost in the twilight zone

I hijacked a rainbow and crashed into a pot of gold

I been there, done that

But I ain’t looking back on the seeds I’ve sown

Saving dimes, spending too much time on the telephone

Who says you can’t go home?

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I AM GINA….One Week Later: Creating a New Life for Myself

I am

Powerful and creative energy

I am

I am ready to take my experience and skills and more to new work.

I am ready to use my skills as an Occupational therapist to begin a business in well- care, instead of sick-care.

Sundays are now writing time and planning time and goal setting time.

I can embrace my new Sundays.

I am also ready to see the $350 I typically earn (or used to earn) each Sunday, showing up in my life in new ways…

..so the bills can be paid.

I am ready universe.

I am open to new possibilities.

I am a writer.

I am Gina.

I wrote that one week ago

Wow

I have experienced so much since I wrote my post last Sunday.

I am home on Sunday and have time alone to myself in my own home.

Jason and Don are at my sister’s house 3 hours away for an agility trial.

I had an interview this week, a job offer and I set up another interview for Monday and got a phone call about another job.

Wow

I am amazed at how fast I am finding other work options. It used to take so long for that process.

Or maybe I was dragging my heels and that is why it took a long time

Now

I am

Creating

A new life for myself

There are many job opportunities in my area and my field right now.

I have found many job opportunities very close to my home!

I am looking for work at higher rate of pay and closer to home.

I am finding that!

I am amazed at how powerful creation is…

I am! Is such a powerful and creative statement to the universe.

I have known this truth, yet experiencing it happen this quickly and strongly in my life right now is just…

Wow

I didn’t realize it until I read my post from last Sunday.

And I read my post after I had written in my journal this morning.

After I have been struggling this week with feelings of “I should have done …” and “I wish I hadn’t done…”

I wrote in my gratitude journal and through writing, embraced the beauty of my mistakes.

I am grateful for this experience…and ALL that happened and unfolded- I have learned from it. It happened and hear I am now so much better Because of it!!!!

I am grateful for the mistakes I have made in my life!

We regret what we don’t do- not what we do.

I spoke up!

I spoke my truth!

I also wrote:

I am grateful- I spoke up for myself!

I am grateful

-I am not perfect

_I make mistakes

I am HUMAN

And being HUMAN is beautiful!

I am so grateful for this experience

I can “let it go”

And release all the “I should have done…”

“I should have not done….”

Blah blah blah

I am so grateful!

I am grateful for

Right Here

Right NOW

I AM GINA

Bipolar Depression: When Life Just Sucks and the bills need to be paid

I have been on prozac, 20mg, 9 months now. I have birthed myself a new life.

Unlike the last anti-depressant I tried 2 years ago, I feel that the Prozac is helping me and not causing side effects and mania.

It makes me wonder, why didn’t I try this medication years ago?

Here I am now. And somehow it is all perfect and in perfect order.

It can be challenging to really believe that.

The idea that life unfolds, or we create it, just the way it needs to be.

And it is what we do with what happens that matters more than what happens.

We create our life….

Yet, there are those times when it really feels like life is happening to me

Sh#t happens

I work PRN as an Occupational Therapy in geriatric rehab.

PRN means no required hours and no guaranteed hours.

I sign up to work but they can “call me off”if they don’t need me something that can happen the night before or the day of…

I am employed with 2 companies, one for almost 8 years and the other for 4 years.

PRN also means you get paid a “higher rate of pay” because you have no benefits.

Healthcare changed in 2000 and greatly for me in the field of Occupational Therapy.

I had a pay cut and salary caps happened and jobs were hard to find for a while.

My work is very different than it was when I graduated college with my Bachelor of Science Degree in OCcupational Therapy in 1992.

All those Medicare cuts and changes that happened at the beginning of this century, mean I now make less money than I did 20 years ago. I worked PRN 21 years ago in addition to a full time job. At that time, my PRN rate of pay was double my rate as a full time employee. IT was $50 an hour. The current average rate of pay in the area where I live for a PRN OCcupational Therapist is now $45 an hour.

I now have 25 years of experience as an Occupational Therapist and yet 21 years later, I am making less money.

PRN means no increase in pay.

This is healthcare.

Or better named, sickcare.

I vent about this all the time to my husband and close friends and family.

It is time I write about it.

I began asking for a pay increase 4 years ago at my job I had been with for 4 years when I found out the current rate of pay for new PRN employees, therapists, was $5 more than I was making. I got told I would get the pay increase and then called back the next day and told, “I didn’t know there was a hold on raises. But you will be the first to get a raise when it changes.”

I asked again almost 2 years later, I was told I had to wait until the fall (it was early spring) when they do reviews.

As a prn employee, I had never had a review done.

First of September, my boss schedules a review for me. Wow!

I get told I will get the “pay increase”, in other words, they will now pay me what they are paying everyone else who was hired after me.

It will be in my December pay check.

December comes, no pay increase.

I was told that the regional manager forgot to allocate the money for my raise.

Apparently, they can only do raises one time per year.

I inquired about my options. I won’t even share that here because you would never believe it.

And I know my boss went to bat for me for the raise and then after the raise didn’t happen. I appreciate her efforts.

Much to my surprise, a year later, I get the pay increase!

After nearly 8 years working nearly ever week and most weekends for this company being available for most weekends and also being called off work when the caseload was too low, I now am getting paid what they should have been paying me at least 4 years ago.

$50 per hour

The rate of pay I made 21 years ago, when my hourly rate as a full time employee was $25 per hour.

GRATEFUL?

Sure I am grateful.

I feel like i finally made it happen!

Because PRN employees don’t get raises, pay increases, nothing.

I have been told that by my other employer, where I have now worked 4 years.

Why am I prn?

Because in order to be part time you have to average 20 hours per week.

They don’t have that many hours to give me at either place. I often work 20 hours between both jobs.

Many companies only have full time and prn employees and not part time employees.

So this is all good right?

Now the company is choosing to use prn employees as little as possible.

A secret policy that I have only learned about through the grape vine.

I have been called off work as a prn employee and I get that is part of being prn and the status of healthcare.

But now, I am called off work more and more.

It doesn’t matter how many years I have been with the company, nor my experience, nor the fact that when they do my quarterly relives now, I get glowing remarks on what I great employee I am.

What is the point of the glowing reviews?

It feels like a slap in the face!

I began getting the glowing reviews after I was told my raise wasn’t happening, because the regional manager forgot to allocate the money for my raise.

Now, just 3 months after my raise went into effect….

I am finding out not from my boss but from my co-workers, that the company is now choosing to use prn employees as little as possible.

Why am I writing about this and not going to my boss?

I have gone to her multiple times.

I have had many sit down talks with her about my concerns and issues.

I have reached out to her to find out about these rumors I am hearing.

She chooses not to fill me in and not respond to my phone call or repeated questions about the changes.

Each month, I am asked to give my availability for working weekends for the coming month.

I typically let them know I am available most Sundays for a full work day and most Saturdays for at least a half work day. On average, I tell them I am available for 6 our of 8 weekend days, every month, for nearly 8 years.

I find out about how much I am needed for on the Friday afternoon or night before the weekend.

I find out if they are calling me off work on the Friday before and sometimes not until 10pm the night before.

This is the nature of prn work in Occupational Therapy. (PT and OT work in adult and geriatric rehab)

I have been told, that despite my years of experience and time with the company, that if there are no evaluations, I will be called off first rather than the COTAS (OT assistants with a 2 year degree).

OK

It is a financial thing, they tell me.

Something I have never been happy with.

When I am needed for evaluations, they need me. But I am the first to go when the caseload is low.

That in itself sucks.

But what sucks even more

Is the company deciding to use prn employees as little as possible and not sharing this information with the prn employees.

Not openly sharing it.

We all know because we talk to the full time employees

Who are now required to rotate working weekends.

Not because they want to but because they have to.

Sometimes life just sucks.

I have seen that I am being called off more often and despite really liking my fellow co-workers and the facility as a whole at my weekend job, and have been looking for more work hours elsewhere.

My other prn job I work one or two days during the week as well as Saturdays when needed also has a low caseload right now.

And that is a crazy story with its own issues but I will save that for another time.

That being said,

I now have two prn jobs with very little hours for me to work.

And I have been looking for more hours and have let them all know that I am looking for more work hours.

Instead of more hours, I am getting far less hours.

In January, I earned enough to meet and exceed our expenses, to help pay down our debt.

My February pay checks totaled $1000 less, not quite meeting our basic expenses.

So far in March, I have worked a total of 5.25 hours.

It is only March 4, but I have only worked that many hours from Sunday Feb 25 through today, Sunday March 4.
I signed up to work full day last Sunday and today and for 5 hours yesterday and got 0 hours.

The 5.25 hours came from my other prn job.

But I may have 0 hours this week at my other prn job.

The caseload is low and instead of referring patients to our in facility outpatient therapy program, the facility is referring patients to a home health company who is trying to establish a monopoly in the facility, despite our company having a contract with a different home health company.

So I shared a little of that drama…

This is the nature of health care…

Sick care

I usually work at least 15 hours per week, 20 hours per week meets my expenses.

Sometimes I work 25 or more hours per week and other times 10-15, and it balances out.

But working only 5 hours in 2 weeks won’t pay the bills.

I have been asking about other prn work and have a number of companies to call and…

I updated my resume

Today, I am applying for other jobs. I have had that on my to do list for several weeks.

Now it feels urgent

When I began looking around for other work and asking my fellow prn employees and co-workers who work prn, I was looking to give myself more options and to seek work at a higher rate of pay.

I was looking for a third prn job to have the upper hand.

To be able to tell my weekend employer,

“NO, I have other work and work where I won’t get called off the day of or the night before at 10pm.”

I enjoy the jobI work weekends, I enjoy what I do as an Occupational Therapist, the patients I work with, and my co-workers, and the facility.

But I also value my sanity.

And, heck, the bills need to get paid!

Part of the reason, I have hesitated to find other prn work, more prn jobs…

Is because I am also a writer and actively working

To grow my writing, and turn Child-led learning into a paying gig

My husband, Don, and I are making plans to speak together on conscious parenting.

I run a local homeschool website, Charlottehomeschooling.com

I run Child-led Learning blog and facebook page and my goal is to grow that into a community and to also work as a child-led learning consultant.

I am ready to take my experience and skills and more to new work.

I am ready to use my skills as an Occupational therapist to begin a business in well- care, instead of sick-care.

Sundays are now writing time and planning time and goal setting time.

I can embrace my new Sundays.

I am also ready to see the $350 I typically earn (or used to earn) each Sunday, showing up in my life in new ways…

..so the bills can be paid.

I am ready universe.

I am open to new possibilities.

I am a writer.

I am Gina.

I am creating a new realization, a new experience, for my life

…and for my family.

Mommy Guilt: “shoulding” on myself

I should have…

I should have worked more hours when i was pregnant with baby number 3.

I should have returned to work sooner after he was born in January 2009.

I should have worked more and saved more while I was pregnant.

I should have returned to work sooner so our debt didn’t grow so much.

I should have known to move money from our tax rebate to pay down our home equity line of credit after my husband had a massive heart attack so that Medicaid would have kicked in sooner, rather than exhausting all that money we had from me working extra hours and our tax rebate.

The social worker should have told me the rules…

Someone should have told me that Medicaid says if you have more than $3000 in assesses (savings, checking, cash), then you wont; qualify for Medicaid…until that money is gone…

I should have applied for food stamps once we did qualify for Medicaid

I began the application several times, I should have finished it and sent it in.

I should have gotten more help then we would have less debt.

I should have done so many things….

I should have reached out for help sooner when my daughter showed signs of separation anxiety and other issues when I was pregnant with our third child.

I should have realized it was something more than just me being pregnant.

I should have gotten her help sooner so that her Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, her anxiety disorder, her mental illness did not become so extreme and severe…

I should have gotten her on medication sooner…

I should have listened to my friend who suggested it might be OCD when it was in a mild state.

I should have gotten her to a therapist sooner.

I should have researched OCD sooner, when my friend brought it up.

I should have listened..

I should have gotten her help sooner so she did not have to suffer so much..

I should have gotten my youngest help sooner when he showed signs of anxiety and OCD from at least age 2.

I should have countered when the therapist said, “i don’t think it is OCD”

I should have completed the paperwork even though it took 6 months to get it from the Development and Behavioral Pediatrician

I should have gotten him in sooner and not waited as long as I did.

I should have taken him to a mental health place sooner to get him help, medication.

I should not have had so much fear about giving my kids medication…I should have found more support when I knew that was needed.

Going to the psychiatrist should have been paid for by Medicaid.

Medicaid should have qualified people to treat my children and I should have access to finding the resources without having to jump through a million hoops and experience unqualified people and ill equipped facilities and services.

My children should be able to go to the specialists they need because of their illness even though they have government assisted health insurance.

I work in health care, I should have better health insurance.

I have a bachelors of science degree in Occupational Therapy and training in mental health care, I should be treated with respect when the people from Medicaid speak to me.

Everyone should be treated with respect no matter what their educational level.

I should be able to access information about my health insurance and services for my children even though it is government assisted.

I have paid into the system since I was 15 1/2 years old and so now that I need these services, I should receive them if I qualify.

I shouldn’t have to jump through crazy hoops because my income varies from month to month and so does my 20 year old son’s income.

My 20 year old son’s income SHOULD NOT count toward our household income for the healthcare market place and definitely not for qualifying my younger children for Medicaid or NC health choice. My 20 year old son who purchased his own car, pays for his own insurance, and pays to attend community college part time all with his own hard earned money.

I should have listened to my gut when I realized even though their Dad had survived, that my three kids had gone through a traumatic experience and would need some counseling and help…

Survivors guilt…but he lived, there is no help when your husband lives…

I should have listened to myself because I knew that experience was traumatic for all of us.

I should have let go of “survivors guilt” because he lived and our friends who lost husbands to heart attacks that same year, did not survive. “I should be grateful that he lived.”

I should on myself and others have should upon me….

And I should on other people.

It is really a bad habit and not helpful to anyone.

I should have filled out the special forms and jumped through the hoops to see if my son could qualify for grants for college costs, because they decided to use the same year for 3or 4 semesters to look at our income, the year we took out $65,000 from IRA money to pay down debt.

I should have worked more hours.

I should have been a better mom so my children wouldn’t have mental illness.

I should have been a better me so I wouldn’t have mental illness.

I should have done something different to prevent mental illness?

Is that really possible?

Do parents of kids who have cancer ask themselves this question?

Maybe they do, Maybe they don’t.

I shouldn’t have to wonder about this.

My kids friends and their parents should have been there more for my daughter when she was crippled with mental illness, with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Depression.

They should have given her the love and support she needed just like they would have done if she had cancer.

WE SHOULD LIVE IN A WORLD WHERE MENTAL ILLNESS IS TREATED THE SAME AS OTHER ILLNESSES, PHYSICAL ILLNESSES WHICH ARE MORE SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE IN AMERICAN SOCIETY.

Mental illness SHOULD be classified the same as other illness because they last time I looked, my head and brain are attached to my body.

We need to stop shoulding on ourselves and on others

We need to embrace where we are now and make the best choices we can in the moment and realize we can not go back in time (not yet) and change the past. What is done is behind us and we must keep moving forward.

We need to stop judging other people and their choices and instead come from love to reach out to and help others with respect and kindness.

I give you this challenge today…

Pay attention to how often you SHOULD on yourself or on someone else.

We are often our worst critic and as moms, as parents, we are our own worse saboteur.

Love yourself and respect yourself first.

Only then can you love and respect others.