Workin for a livin

**Disclaimer–this post only speaks about MY experiences as a working mom, a stay at home mom, and a part time work from home mom.  I am in no way making gross generalizations about any of the above groups.  I’m just  talking about how it is for ME**

I went back to work when S was about 4 months old.  It was hard but we got uber organized and settled into a routine.  I actually had to do lists for both the hubby and I posted on the kitchen cabinets listing out each and every step that had to be done in each night and each morning.  Might sound anal but it helped SOOO much.  There were parts about working that I loved: being around other adults, feeling competent, feeling productive, going to the bathroom by myself, and generally doing something I loved.  Of course there were the sucky parts: feeling like I wasn’t working enough because I never stayed late anymore, missing out on time with S, cramming all of our errands and to-do’s into the weekend and not being able to do fun family stuff.

After A was born I decided to stay home.  Paying for 2 in daycare would eat up most of my salary, plus I had always wanted to be a stay at home mom.  This was hard at first.  I had a newborn and was trying to figure out new routines for all of us while also adjusting to one income.  Just like any job, there are parts I love and parts that suck.  I’ve noticed that stay at home moms job description is filled with minutia, it’s mundane…making dinner, washing dishes, doing laundry, etc.  It’s hard to feel like a productive member of society when you’re big accomplishment of the day was peeling potatoes or matching socks (I swear I can NOT stand matching socks up).  But I really love it.  I don’t mind the days school is cancelled for S.  I love the art projects, the silly games, the amazing imagination she has.  I love watching them be sisters.  I love it in spite of the fact that I find it much harder than when I was working (**before one gets all irate and comments about who’s life is the hardest, please see disclaimer above).  Just imagine for a minute that your boss has the emotional maturity of a three year old and the constant immediate demands of a 10 month old.   Yeah, no matter how unreasonable a work demand may be, it does not beat someone saying ” I want apple slices with no skin” and after you peel and slice said apple, crying and screaming on the floor “I changed my mind, put it back, I want it whole” for 20 minutes. 

We planned and budgeted for me to stay home.  We had savings set aside for this and were planning on drawing from those savings for 2 years.  By then we figured A would be in preschool part time and S potentially in kindergarten or pre-k and I’d go back part time.   But then life happened, as it always does.  My grandmother died which necessitated an unplanned trip to Florida, our HVAC broke, car needed repairs….you all know how it is.  Husband did not get the raise he had hoped for, or the promotion he had been all but guaranteed.  Now his agency is facing lay offs and furloughs as Congress slashed their budget. 

Things are tight but I’m very fortunate to have worked in a field that allows me to be able to do private consulting work with families.  So now I am a work from home mom.  And for me, it is by far the hardest gig I’ve had yet.  I’ve got the girls on a schedule were they both nap at the same time in the afternoon (I am very big on sleep schedules and protecting the nap at all costs).  The second their little heads hit the pillow (metaphorically in the baby’s case), I have to decide.  Do I prep dinner or start to work?  Do a put on a load of laundry or answer those emails?  Do I unload the dishwasher or finish that report?  And it sucks.  I try to cram as much work as possible into those naps because I am useless at trying to get anything done once they go to bed at night.  I don’t even want to think about how I’m going to get everything done when S drops her naps.  Then I spend the weekends seeing clients.  So zero family time. Husband has been taking the girls to all these fun fall festivals and I’m so jealous.  I do all the crap work during the week of making her eat her veggies and fighting with her about brushing her teeth while he gets to play hero and take her to the pumpkin playground.  I want to stomp my feet and whine “It’s not fair”.  I know I’m very lucky that I can do this and bring in some money to help stop the hemorrhaging but it sucks.  I feel like I’m doing nothing well and the days I set S up with a movie in the morning so I can work I feel like the worst mom ever.  I could get a babysitter for a chunk of time but then that just eats away at my earnings. 

I think I need to find a balance but I hate that word.  When I was working I always said there is no such thing as a work-life balance and just vowed to be 100% in whatever moment I was in.  That’s easy when your work and your home are different.  But right now its just not possible and I think that’s one of the reasons I’m having such a hard time with this. 

Has anyone mastered this?  Or at least are you doing it better than me (meaning you cry less often than 2-3 times per week and regularly shower)?  What has worked for you logistically in terms of time management and emotionally in terms of being actually there for your family?

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September 28, 2011. Uncategorized. 5 comments.

You know you’re getting old when…

Back in July S took a header into the fireplace and ended up with a fantastic black eye.  Everyone who saw her said “nice black eye”.  The other morning she climbed into my lap and said, “Nice black eyes mommy”.  Needless to say I was out upgrading my eye cream later that afternoon. 

In my inbox the other day, from one of those Gr.oupon type places, was a coupon for botox.  I ignored it.  Two days later, from another company, I get another email coupon for botox.

I think the universe is trying to tell me something

September 26, 2011. Uncategorized. 3 comments.

Playing dress up

We’re heading up to New York next week to visit the in laws and are going to actually go out one night.  In the city.  By ourselves.  Without children.  We’re going to get to go out with some friends we haven’t seen in far too long.  The last time we were out in the city I was just starting the cycle that brought me S.  So we’re talking almost 4 years now.  While this is all very exciting, it brings with it a very big anxiety producing stressor….what the hell to wear?????

Nothing cute I own from years ago fits.  And if it did it’d probably be horribly outdated.   I’ve started to pick up some new clothes and are cute and fit well but that is by stay at home mom standards. Right now all I’m usually going for is a semi-put together look.  As in not yoga pants and a t-shirt.  I know that even my nicest, cutest, stay at home gear is not appropriate for a night out in the city. 

The whole thing is even further complicated by the fact that I have NO idea what one wears anymore for a night out.  Cute embellished top with nice jeans?  Was always my go to in the past but like I said that was a long time ago.  The very LAST thing I want to do is look like someone who never gets out and is trying to hard.  (so basically I don’t want to look like myself).  I just bought a cute long sweater to wear with leggings or skinny jeans…would that work?  Or is it too much like pajamas?  ( I know the answer to that question…I bought it expressly because it is an acceptable pajama replacement)  Flats or boots….ahhhh….too many choices and too little fashion sense!

What would you wear?  Budget has to be kept in mind and that budget is painfully small right now. (thank you Congress for pretending it is possible to balance the budget on the backs of federal workers)  But tell me what types of things I should think about and I can take it from there…thanks

September 23, 2011. Uncategorized. 4 comments.

The one where I make up excuses for myself yet again

Yeah, I know, I said I was going to get back into blogging, write a few posts, and then disappear.  Not cool, I know.  And this time I don’t have the excuse of licking my wounds after the big bad internet was mean to me.  The only thing I have to say is that 3 year olds are exhausting.  And 10 months old are equally, if differently, exhausting.  And we’re running a serious deficit in our monthly budget so I’ve been trying to consult and work more.  But that is a whole other post.

So yeah, my only news is that 3 year old are hard, hard work.  Which is hardly news to anyone who has ever met one before.  It astounds me how she can be the sweetest, most obedient little angel one minute and then go bat shit crazy the next.  Over NOTHING.  I’ve never been one for parenting books (because seriously, when did the word “parent” become a verb.  All this ‘parenting’ nonsense drives me crazy).  I also have never gotten into the discipline books figuring that I’ve got a masters in behavior change and have done it for a living with other people’s kids for 12 years.  But it’s much easier to deal with someone else’s child between 9 and 3 each day then it is to remain calm, neutral, and positive with your own 24/7.  Which is just a long way of saying I’ve got to hit the library and find some books for how on earth to handle this child.  More specifically, how to get her to sleep at night.  If there wasn’t a 90 minute battle each night I think I could handle the rest of the day better.  Because by the end of the day I am DONE and…she is too.  There is only so much time two females can spend together before it gets unhealthy and unproductive, regardless of age. 

So that’s where I’m at, and why I haven’t been posting as much.  Because after bedtime battles all I want to do is pour myself a glass of wine and veg in bed.  But instead I do the dishes, or laundry, or wash bottles, or pump, or pick up the stupid pieces of the ever-loving (like how I’m working on the cursing?) train set for the thousandth time.   But I’m going to try to do better.

September 22, 2011. Uncategorized. 2 comments.