This SPM Had COVID

No doubt being a single mother has its challenges. Add an international pandemic, working remotely, and the kids home, well have fun with that. My biggest fear was getting COVID. I go down, my household goes down. I broke a rule and paid for it. My daughter went to a friend’s house and brought it home. I allowed her to see her friend and four days later, my entire household was sick

Luckily, it didn’t hit my daughters as hard as it hit me. I’m blessed to be here to write about it, but I couldn’t rest. I needed to rest. I wanted to rest. But as an SPM, my kids were sick and I had no one to call to take care of us. I was the someone. But what happens when the house doctor is sick?

Every morning I got up with the hopes of feeling better and wanting to login to work. I missed an entire week, but woke each morning to my alarm in the attempts of logging in. I tried to sanitize the house as much as I could, but the fatigue was relentless. Finally I talked to my BFF and she said two words, “Be sick.” I thought, “how?”

Three days into trying to play supermom, I heeded her obvious words and spent an entire day sleeping. I woke once for no more than an hour, then retreated back to bed. Although my body rested, I couldn’t shut off my mind. Worry set in. I had podcast episodes to record, I was missing work, my book relaunch push was this month, I had to finish my manuscript, and, and…

COVID was kicking my ass and I kept trying to go back to the grind. I didn’t want to take off work, even though I had hundreds of hours of PTO. My kids had minor symptoms compared to mine and had the ability to make and order food. And look, not only did my body need to recover, but my mind needed to rest. Taking care of myself was not selfish.

Sis, let’s talk. There are no rewards for a relentless grind. We are doing above and beyond on the job front, never mind bossing our households, parenting, home-schooling, all the while enduring a friggin’ pandemic. Let me tell y’all, cut it out. You need you more than anyone. Not the kids, not your job, but you. I hope it’s not COVID or any illness that slows you down, but if you don’t put your physical and mental health first, the grind will break you. Remember, you go down, your household goes down. Make your choice.

Happy Father’s Day JPH

My father protested the Vietnam War. In 1974 they adopted a mixed race daughter from Saigon and raised her as their own. On my father’s side my grandfather was 100% Irish and my grandmother 100% Italian. Uumm… I stutter knowing where my mother’s exact bloodline traces, so I won’t guess, but believe me, once she reads this I will know. Love you mom.

img_3808These past two months have been mentally exhausting, almost to the point of breaking. But it’s made me reflect on why I’m here. It’s made me reflect on the truly defying steps my parents took to give me life.

Oh if my father was alive today, how his heart would break for me, his granddaughters, and our country. To know we live in a world where lynchings are on the rise (if they even stopped) and black women are robbed of a peaceful night’s sleep because police are not required to break into the right house.

I may not be in the streets marching, or shouting the BLM mantra. Hey, I’m an introvert, it’s not gonna happen. But I will say I have committed to POC at my workplace having a different experience moving forward. I’ve set a video project forward which requires a commitment to equity and inclusion if you want to be in it. I’ve brought a book to the Book Club, that would have gone overlooked due to it’s “controversy”, The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas. Maybe they won’t choose it, but you won’t call it controversial in my presence. It’s relevant. And for the first time in over its 50 years of existence, we acknowledged Juneteenth.

So today I wish my father a heavenly Happy Father’s Day. I thank him for being the example of being the change you want to see in the world. This Asian woman. This black woman. This woman with an Irish last name, will continue to try to change the world, one video, one book, one celebration at a time.

Happy Father’s Day to James Patrick Hazlett. I love you Dad.

Allyship or Fad?

Am I gaining a white ally or someone riding the wave? No matter social media, television, or just work, racism seems to be the new “hot topic”. You see, George Floyd, was not the first and, call me a pessimist if you will, he will not be the last to die because of racism. George Floyd was the final straw. And I’m not sure who viewed it as the final straw, people of color or white America, but streets around the world have filled with protesters of all races and nationalities against racial injustice.

Let’s be real, the Black Lives Matter movement did not start with the tragic death of George Floyd. No. No. It was a little boy by the name of Trayvon Martin and the acquittal of his murderer that triggered the BLM movement. His murderer wasn’t even a cop. You see, that did not upset white America enough for black lives to matter. But hey, there was no video, it went to the courts, and the jury did not see the murderer as guilty. I’ll give a pass…I guess.

Ok, so now you have to see it to believe it. Is that really true? I won’t go through all the videos of the black men/boys I’ve watched die, because I will say George Floyd was the first I watched in it’s entirety because I didn’t know who or really what I was watching. My point, there have been countless videos, some just surfacing now of innocent men and women of color being brutalized by police, and for some odd reason, their black lives didn’t matter enough to white America.

Why watching little 12 year-old Tamir Rice being shot caused no outrage for white America, I don’t know. What I do know, which brings me to my next point, that caller should have talked to the 12 year-old boy and not 911. Because that is what also made it the final straw for me, I won’t speak for black America. I saw the George Floyd video within days of seeing the racist white chick, terrorize the law-abiding Harvard bird watcher, as she choked the hell out of her dog. Mind you, I watched these two videos weeks after choosing not to watch the video of Ahmaud Arbery. Oh yeah, let me not forget about consistently reading about Breonna Taylor. Yeah. Somehow racist 911 calls, vigilantes gunning down joggers, and a hard working essential employee trying to get a good night’s sleep, wasn’t enough for white America to care about black lives.

So now white America is upset about racism. Now white America wants to take a knee. When Black Lives Matter protested seven years ago, they were thugs running the street. When Colin Kaepernick wanted to take a knee to protest peacefully, white America lost their minds and burned all their Nike gear and fired the black man. And the white silence surrounding outrageous racist 911 reports jeopardizing black lives has been deafening.

Is this allyship or is this a fad? I welcome the allyship because this battle cannot be won without unity. I welcome the collaborations to move race relations in America forward. But understand, for black America, this is not a fad. For black people, we are enduring a pandemic, social distancing, and still watching our fellow brothers and sisters murdered at the hands of systematic racism in America. Not only are we not allowed to jog in the “wrong” neighborhood, we are not allowed to go to sleep at night or birdwatch in public places. We may not even be able to write about how we are feeling right now without retaliation.

So if you’re truly “woke”, “down for the cause”, or trying to comprehend what your fellow black American is going through, make sure your passion is genuine, because as long as we are black and racists exist, this fight will never be a fad for black America.

Legacy Letter

To My Future Generations,

For those of you who are reading this, you may know me as grandmother, great grandmother, or maybe even great great grandmother. I do hope the writing and speaking career I created has benefited your lives.

There was a time when the world shut down and unemployment unleashed its curse. The leaders of our world determined who was and who was not essential. What a sinister label to have to wear to determine if you were worthy enough to continue to support your family.

Well my loves, they deemed me worthy enough. However, it was that essential label that made me realize it was time to begin my writing career. I pulled together all my finished and unfinished writing projects. I signed with a small book and media publisher who showed interest in not only my writing, but my podcast as well.

I created a plan to complete my projects and began to absorb anything I could that would help me on my journey for a successful writing career. Therefore, in the worst of times and labeled as essential, I began to write with a purpose. I wrote to remove the labeling. I wrote to ensure single professional mothers throughout the world would have a cheerleader in their corners. I wrote so one day you would know I began a legacy in the midst of a worldwide pandemic.

With Love,

Legacy Starter

Trying Times

By: Mia L. Hazlett

Hey Sis, how are you doing? Nope. I didn’t ask about your kids, your momma, or your family. I asked how you are doing. You. As a world, these times are unimaginable. As a single professional mother, these times are trying to say the very least.

Can I say I’m fortunate to be an essential employee? Yes. Can I say I’m fortunate I can work remotely? Yes again. There are many among us who don’t have these two components to our job and no longer have an income to support the household. And sis, if you are one of these people, I don’t have the words for you. Screw thoughts and prayers. Bill collectors don’t seem to accept those as payments when your life is falling apart.

Or, maybe you are an essential employee, but you can’t do your job remotely. What a conundrum for us single professional mothers. Especially if your daycare is closed and school has shifted to home. How do you support your family, go to work, and watch your kids? I feel for you. That may mean nothing as your life seems to implode, but from the bottom of my heart, I understand your struggle.

For however you feel, understand these times are trying. I say trying because we are never perfect the first time we try something. So don’t worry about getting this right. Don’t worry if you don’t know who is watching your kids tomorrow. You’re not supposed to. Be pissed. Be mad. Be scared. Life just slapped you across your face, so stop responding the way you think you should and deal with the reality head on. Sis, get as messy as you need to right now as you get through this. I know this is an extremely isolating time, because we must socially distance ourselves, which puts childcare on the shelf. I mean, the one time you want to set your pride aside to ask for help, you can’t. Damn!

I remember sitting in my house the night before I was going to return to work. We were sitting around the dinner table, a rarity in this household. My oldest asked me if I had to go to work the next day and I immediately responded yes. I had the capability and permission to work from home, but I had it in my head to go to the office. There was something in her tone when she said, “okay”, that was unsettling for me.

It was the first time the reality of this pandemic set in and I only recognized the single and mother in my self-given title. Yes, I require the professional to support my family, but I couldn’t risk leaving the house and bringing something home to them. I couldn’t risk getting sick, because who is taking care of my daughters if I get sick? Shit, who is taking care of me if I get sick? Um, no one. We are not only the breadwinners, but we are the caretakers. There is no backup in our household when we don’t show up to run it.

Sis, we are going to get through this. Look at everything else life slapped us with and we got the hell up and handled our business. It’s not going to be easy, but all I ask is that you try to give it your best. This to shall pass. If you need to reach out, mhazlett@singleprofessionalmother.com.

Getting Out of Your Own Way

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By: Mia L. Hazlett
9/12/14

When marriage ends, it is like a death. There is an initial shock and anger and stages and blah blah blah. Again, I’m not a licensed shrink or anything, but I am separated and have been for five years now. Fingers crossed , that the end is close. One of my major accomplishments over these five years; forgiveness. But like death, forgiveness comes with memories. Sometimes the emotions that go with those memories, leak from the big hole in my face. I believe that’s what makes me human, I’m not perfect.

The thing about it, forgiveness gives me a freedom to let go of a lot of pain that went along with the memories. It allows me to love my ex as the mother of his children and let him into our lives freely. This may be confusing, so let me explain. He’s the father or my children and always will be. I’m the mother of his children and always will be. I would be devastated if I ever had to tell my children something happened to their father. They love their father to pieces. He’s not always around, but that’s my issue, not my children’s.

So it was my daughter’s birthday the other day and we, father, mother, and daughters, had dinner together. At this dinner, we took a family selfie. It wasn’t about love and us getting back together, it was about my daughters. I’ve had friends say they could never do it, and I truly comprehend. There was a time, before forgiveness, that finding us in the same house would be impossible.

So why the change? Last year my youngest daughter had a project at school, which required her to bring in a picture of her family. Now over the years her drawings have included my parents or her aunt and cousins, but in all, there has always been her father. I found the predicament quite sad, because between myself and the girls we all knew of one picture we all posed for. We looked throughout the house and finally after over an hour, found the picture. My oldest had framed it and hid it on the dresser in her closet. She wasn’t sure if she should put it in the open. Another sad discovery on the quest to find the one family picture.

I vowed at that point to take more family pictures of us. My children should not have to hold onto one picture and then fear that they won’t get it back. I reassured them if we didn’t get it back, I could just print another one. I was missing the point. My kids had nothing to do with our separation. I had to get over myself and allow for visual memories.

I get there is a reason you are separated or divorced from your ex, but the courts divorce you and your spouse, not your spouse from their child/ren. If the pain is still fresh and years have gone by, it’s time to work on forgiveness. If you can’t do it for yourself, kids are a pretty important reason too.

Copyright © 2014 – Mia L. Hazlett

Weary Single Mom

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I awake while morning sleeps 
And arrive to work as the sun takes its first yawn.
By the time 10 AM rolls around
Six hours of my day have come and gone.

By 12 PM I’ve already had an 8 -hour day.
A two hour commute,three meetings, one more on the way.
I wrap it all up and back in the car I ride.
As I reach my doorstep, the sunset is about to die.

I swap my clothes and get ready for job number two.
Not everyone can do this, God gives it to only a few.
It’s one I signed up for, when I said for better or for worse.
But somewhere down the line, we parted ways through divorce.

There are no accolades, nor a paycheck, no rewards.
I come into the house and throw together, a dinner with what I can afford.
You see this week there is no paycheck, no money coming through.
And with only $37 left, there’s not a hell of a lot I can do.

As homework, baths, and ironed clothes are ready for tomorrow,
My bed beckons my weary bones, and my body starts to follow.
Before my head meets the pillow, so I can drift to sleep and snore,
I hear my youngest unloading her dinner on the bathroom floor.

With throw up cleaned and a child bathed and put to bed,
My alarm awakens me three hours later, to face the commute I dread.
Before getting ready, I have to check to make sure my baby is okay.
I can tell when I touch her forehead, I’ll be using my last sick day.

Where is this work-life balance thing that I’ve read about in all the magazines?
I love my children and I need this job, but there is no in between.
Today with a sick kid and three hours sleep, home is where I need to be.
Because for as many times as I’ve chosen work over them, today’s about family.

You see when I chose to have kids, there was a father in our lives.
I wish he would understand they still need him, even though I’m no longer his wife.
Even though I act like I’m okay and that nothing could possibly be wrong,
Trust me, 21- hour days are too much for this weary single mom.

© 2018 Mia L. Hazlett

Can You Write?

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By: Mia L. Hazlett
2/20/2018

Writing and editing are going to be you

 

r top daily tasks as an EA. So ask yourself, how are your writing and editing skills? When I first began as an EA, I thought my writing and editing were unquestionable. I wrote blogs and stories, authored a book and considered myself a writer.

What I failed to realize, business writing requires a totally different set of writing and editing skills. When I craft a story, there are outlines, drafts, character development, and I can walk away from it and come back in a day or two, three, …

That’s not how it works when you work for the C-level office. Sometimes you have all day, but most of the time it is only hours. Depending on what is being sent, there is no time for all the preparation. Most of the time I’m editing what is already written, but there are the times when I’m pulling from a general idea of the message to convey.

Because it was such a huge part of my job, I took business writing courses. I also read the material my bosses wrote, so I could copy their style. I’ve found the key to good business writing, brevity. Whether email or letters, you need to be quick and to the point, but you must do it with your boss’ voice.

Nowadays, it’s about the email. Your email is probably going to have the formal letter attached. I rarely mail anything through snail mail these days. So no matter how polished that letter may be, they are going to read the email first.

Here’s some things that have brought my little typos to my attention when I proofread:

  • Do it at about 250x magnification,
  • Read it backwards,
  • Read it aloud,
  • Printing it,
  • Actually proofreading.

Most of the time, your email or letter are going to be the only thing people read that represent your office. Nine times out of ten there is some sort of ask related to the correspondence. It is imperative your writing represents your office in the best light.

Confidential

Mia L. Hazlett

There is a saying about Vegas, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” Same for your boss’s office. The C-Level (CL)/Executive Assistant (EA) relationship is one of the most unique within the organization. Trust and confidentiality must prevail.

I’ve not met one person who didn’t hconfidentialave a bad day on the job. Not one. I am happy with the career I chose. It doesn’t mean I like my job every day. Whether it be a stressful deadline looming, or a Girl Scout meeting on Board Meeting day, stress can be overwhelming if you can’t vent. Besides venting, there are just some issues handled at the executive level, which need to stay there

Stress hits everyone, even the big boss. They are the leader of the company, but as their EA, they should be able to vent to you. No matter what or who they vent about, that stress relieving session stays behind those closed doors and is shared with no one.

For instance, early in my career I had lunch with the EA of the company. It was a group of five of us. Very innocently she shared her boss’s, our president’s, dog was sick and he may not be going to an upcoming meeting she had spent weeks prepping for. We weren’t a huge company, so we saw our President often. Two people from our lunch group talked to him later in the day and wished his dog well. Our next lunch together, Miss EA told us she was pulled into the office and reprimanded for telling us about his dog. She was upset with us for saying something to him. She wanted to apply the Vegas Law to our lunch session.

At the time, I thought our president overreacted, but now as an EA, I understand. They reviewed his schedule and he shared his dog’s health. She took it upon herself to not only share about the dog, but about his scheduling as well. That was not lunch talk.

Besides the health of a CL’s pet, there are going to be conversations, which could have an impact on someone’s employment or the company as a whole. Most of these things are strategically rolled out and require the strictest of confidentiality. I have been part of conversations like this, and my opinion was heard, but not adopted. I was frustrated and my journal heard all about it. To this day, my journal has not shared it with anyone.

The dog slip-up I can understand. But when I worked for a different company, one of my colleagues was going to be terminated. This decision was determined at a C-level meeting. There were three people in that meeting, the president, his EA, and the HR director. Somehow, my colleague heard the news through office gossip. Confidentiality is crucial for your boss to operate effectively and appropriately. You should never put them in a position where they must be reactionary when there was already a plan in place.

I realize my boss and I will not always agree, but I vent to my journal. Venting to your coworkers is not a thing when you are an EA. You represent your boss and that office. You may think sharing the condition of your boss’s pet is minor, but that is not your call to make. What happens in that office, stays in that office.

©2018 Mia L. Hazlett

Define Your Own Title

By: Mia L. Hazlett
10/4/2017

Climbing the corporate ladder was always one of my dreTyped-Writerams. But throughout my life I gained so many titles. It wasn’t until I shed them all, except mother, that I started defining who I was and wanted to become. I’ve gone from the title of orphan to Writer, and Executive Assistant to the President and Board of Trustees.

Please enjoy my TedX Talk, Define Your Own Title.

 

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