Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Nine to Five

I read a ton of blogs, most of them of the Mommy-Blog variety. And most of them of the Stay-At-Home-Mom variety. So I have heard the cries and the pleas and the intelligent discussions about why staying at home is a real job, a thankless job, a job that is taken for granted and pays zero. I am honestly, truly, hand-on-my-heart saying "I hear you" and I don't judge anyone for anything they choose to do with their time, especially when it comes to children.

And while I don't want to play the "who has it worse" game, I have to vent for a bit.

I'm a working mom. All throughout my pregnancy, I had every intention of going back to work after having my daughter, and I did so, just as planned. But I never imagined that I would feel so torn about it, not right away, but 12, 18, 21 months down the road. Being a working mom is hard. Not the same kind of hard as stay-at-home parenthood, but the kind of hard that is like this:
 - You sometimes have to wake your sleeping child to get ready in the morning. She can't just wake up on her own time, she has to wake up NOW because the clock is ticking and I've got to get to work.
 - Sometimes she'll ask to have her bottle on the couch, but you don't have time for that, and multi-task by giving her a bottle while you change her morning diaper and put on her clothes for the day.
 - You'd like to slowly take her to daycare, linger around for a few minutes to get her acclimated and settled, but the longer you spend at drop-off, the later you get to work, and the later you leave to pick her up. You're just buying time from the evening if you dawdle in the morning.
 - When you finally leave work at 5:00 p.m. and think to yourself "Ugh... what a long day", you realize that your kid was at a daycare facility with other people who are not YOU all day, and that she doesn't even spend the majority of her time with you, but with other people.
 - THEN, when you finally get home at 5:30, it's time to make dinner - and if you have mom-guilt like I do, you'll want to make something from scratch (avoiding processed foods is a big mom-guilt thing for me), but sometimes you'll just give in and let her eat sugar or whatever her vice may be, just to make her happy.
 - Then it's time for a bath, an evening bottle, a few books, and that's a wrap folks.

You basically get about 20-30 minutes of free time with your kid a day.

No, nothing about my day is physically draining, I'm not running around all day after little people, constantly changing diapers, feeding, teaching, interacting... all of which I imagine are very draining. But on the flip side, I spend 30 minutes of quality time with my daughter a day. THAT is hard for me to swallow.

So I guess I meant to write this as a "we all have it hard, ladies" post, but I think it just ended up being a raging mama-guilt, now-I-have-a-lump-in-my-throat, I-need-to-go-have-a-cry post.

The hardest part is that there is no right answer. Stay at home parenthood is awesome in that YOU and you alone get to raise your child. But it can lead to (I'm totally guessing what would happen in MY situation) boredom, loneliness, and loss of income. The last one is a tricky one, because I don't want money to be the only reason I'm not a SAHM. But the reality is that employment is scarce, money doesn't grow on trees, and providing for a family isn't cheap. Working parenthood is also awesome in some regards because I am contributing to my family financially, maintaining some sense of professional self, and doing things I enjoy and that keep me learning and contributing.

So there isn't really a great way to end this post. I didn't have any magical lightbulb moments while writing this, although I do feel a little better getting it off my chest.

So I'll end this with a picture of Claire vising with Santa, who is actually a co-worker who plays the part of the jolly old guy each year, so us working parents can avoid the whole mall scene. (ONE perk of being a working parent...? That's a stretch.) Ho ho ho!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Pictures (Alternate Title: When Words Take Too Long)

My baby toddler still fits in her Moby wrap! Kills mama's back but whatever!
Claire loves bath time. Also, she loves looking at herself in the mirror. She's so vain.

Obligatory trip to the pumpkin patch! We went with our friends Jackie and Gracie. :)

The lens was blurry because it was really humid in the butterfly house. I wasn't trying to be artsy-fartsy with filters or anything! This is on Mackinac Island. Claire's first trip on a boat.

Heaven forbid any sand gets on her while playing in the sandbox.

When left to pick out her own clothes... oh, and if she picks out her own toys, she's likely to play with deflated balls (no jokes) and tupperware. Like every other kid with a household of plastic crap.

Question: Am I going to like this?
Answer: I'll give you two guesses, and the first one doesn't count.

I like this one very well. Send candy. I haz suger. More more peez.

Daddy is a household favorite as he is the candy giver-outer.

Gah! You had to see the cute little stinger!

Markering in the summertime. A favorite pasttime.

Unimpressed by the 4-H rabbits.

That's it for now. Maybe one of these days I'll write down some actual words. Or, maybe not!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

It's Raining Frogs

OK, there's a good chance I've written this post before (75%?) but I am both too lazy and not exactly deft at navigating my way around Blogger's website, so if it's a re-post, oh well.

There is a week in August every year, without fail, when the frogs come out. This, my friends, is the week. I went for a jog last night* and I must have seen a hundred frogs. Okay, I exaggerate, maybe I only saw 10. But still! I don't know if their little ponds are too hot, or they are being forced out of their habitat for the week by visiting relatives (frogs have families, too), or if they are just on a personal mission to see how many times I can have a near-heart-attack** in a 1-hour time-frame.
At one point of my jog, I went by a section of really shaded sidewalk, and being that it was nearly 10 PM, that section was pitch black. No houselights or streetlights to let me know if those warty green torturers were indeed on the ground, or if I was just stepping over fallen leaves and errant woodchips.

Needless to say, I'll be happy when the week is over.
Another reason I'll be happy when the week is over?

Vacation, bitches!!
We're shipping off the wee one*** to other family members (and hoo-boy, she's being passed around like a hot potato! At least 3 different families are helping to watch her) and Nick and I are flying to Vegas for a couple of days (I've never been!) and then driving down to Zion National Park. We're vacationing with my parents and siblings. I haven't been on a week-long vacation since my honeymoon nearly 3 years ago. This will be sooooooo(o*infinity) nice.
* I signed up for the 2011 Detroit Half Marathon. I did the same one last year, about 7 months postpartum, and it's that thought alone that keeps me going when I feel like my lungs are about to burst. I'm way out of shape and it's a rough road getting back in the swing of this jogging thing.
** When we were camping this past weekend, I woke up to my left arm tingly and numb, which casually made me wonder if I had a heart attack. Nick was like "or maybe you slept on it funny on this shitty air mattress?" and that made so much more sense.

*** Gratuitous Claire pictures (sorry to jack up the posting of these pics... Blogger is so hard to navigate!)

Snoozin' at DSW... not for long...

finding every mirror possible and lovin' herself something fierce

no really, but I'm cute, right?

tee hee hee, Mama


Monday, August 1, 2011

It's August Already?

In my relatively short time in the airport security line this afternoon, I saw three - THREE - pets in line. Really? Rilly? Two dogs and a cat. All separate people, too. Where are on Earth are people going with their pets on a Monday afternoon?
I wasn't travelling with a pet, but with a few co-workers to one of our plants in Maryland. Now, I like my co-workers, I really do. I am game to have dinner and a drink, but I got wind that there's a big group going out for dinner tomorrow night and is it rude that I kind of wish I could just go to my hotel room and hang out by myself?
I mean, I had all of these things planned to do while out of town for two nights. I brought my DSLR with me so I could teach myself how to use it before my trip to Utah, I brought gym clothes so I could hit up the treadmill, and I brought a book! A real, live book! One of those things that I never read because I'm too busy doing domestic shit. All of this glorrrrrrious time would be MINE MINE MINE to do with it what I please. That is, until you get invited to go out with a big group of work people, most of whom you don't actually know. Oh well. First world problems, I guess.
So now I'm catching up on HBO in the hotel room, watching that Leonardo DiCaprio movie about the dreams within the dreams, and while it's still all mumbo-jumbo to me, it makes a hell of a lot more sense watching it on TV instead of watching it in the drive-in movie theater, which is how we saw it last summer, with a young baby in the backseat asleep in her car seat, two cheap parents who didn't want to pay quadruple the ticket price for a babysitter so we could catch a flick. ;)
(Post title has nothing to do with anything, really, except to state the obvious. Summer flies by in the blink of an eye!)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Random Domestic Things That Probably Only I Find Interesting

Not quite sure this is worthy of a blog post. Sorry in advance if this is a waste of your time. But the 'domestic wife of the house' part of me is dying to know...

1.) Dishwasher. We have one. (Thank God.) But, the way I grew up was that you wash the dish with a scrub brush, THEN put it in the dishwasher for its second washing. So naturally, this is how I wash my dishes as an adult.

This past weekend we were at my in-law's house, and they are a put-the-dishes-in-dirty type of family. At first, this appalled me, really. I almost gagged watching those dirty dishes go into the dishwasher. I mean, the dishwasher doesn't actually wash dishes, right? It just... rinses them in detergent? :P But it seems to work for them, so maybe it's not so bad after all... or so I thought.

So fast forward to this week, I bravely (with one eye shut, the other eye skeptically keeping watch) put in some (shudder... gag) dirty dishes in the dishwasher. Fast forward 90 minutes (good lord why does it take so long?) and what do you know.... DIRTY DISHES.  The damn dishwasher DOES NOT WASH DISHES.

To rebut the comments that are surely flying through your head, dear reader... no, this is not some POS old piece of archaic machinery. It was purchased brand new less than 6 months ago. Furthermore, no, I did not let skanky dishes sit with a pile of food on them and then directly place in said dish-not-washer. They were practically clean, we're talking, a few smudges of food tops. And apparently this thing can't haaaandle the truth the food. Big fat whatever.

So my question for you is: are you a dirty-dishes putter-in'er? or a clean-dishes-putter-in'er?

2. My second domestic quandary: WHY IN THE HELL DO MY NEIGHBORS NOT RECYCLE?! Okay, I'll admit, it took me several (I'm talking.... 4) months for me to actually get around to buying a recycling bin when we first bought our house. I hang my head in shame when I think of all of the plastic I threw out with the garbage. But I'll have you know... that I saved every piece of cardboard/paper/cereal boxes for those months, and piled it in my back hall. It may have caused a bicker sesh (or two)... maybe. I admit, the pile was out of control; but once I started saving it to eventually recycle it, I couldn't throw it away.

So I finally got my butt over to the village office (literally, a mile from where I live... it's just hard to park at! was my excuse) and bought a couple of bins. Now we recycle everything, and this week we had a full recycle bin and one garbage bag from the entire house, including shitty diapers.

Like I said, the domestic part of me is wondering why on earth people in my neighborhood don't recycle. We live in an association so we automatically pay for garbage/recycle pick-up (as opposed to my in-laws, who have to procure their own garbage services... never heard of such a thing til I met them!) - so people! All you have to do is segregate it! SOO EASY. WHAT THE H-E-L-L?

My rhetorical question on the subject: if all of your garbage that your family created throughout the week was dumped in a landfill that was in your city/village/township borders, would you change your behaviors when it comes to consuming and/or recycling? 

If I had to drive by a landfill of my own waste, I sure as heck would be thinking about how to NOT keeping adding more stuff to it. Out of sight is NOT out of mind, people! I want to (lightly) throttle them.

3. Lastly, dear friends. I'd like to know what on earth you make your family for dinner. I feel like I have the same 5 things I make over and over. I am so g.d. bored with my cooking repertoire. And my goal is to get my kid back in the swing of healthy eating habits, as I fear my sweet tooth is genetic and probably not the best trait I've passed down to the poor wee one. Also, family members practically hand her a bottle of corn syrup, so there's that, too. Need to get that kid to eat more veggies, like yesterday.

Anyway, those are my domestic thoughts for the night. Time to go re-wash my dishes (by hand, obvy) -- no... I'm not bitter...

Friday, July 22, 2011

 I'm barely capable of posting with pictures, so bear with me. What little kid doesn't absolutely love to swing? Aunt Jenny in the background helping her along. :)

The big blue eyes remain... causing us parental strife as she is able to walk all over us and do whatever she pleases so long as she just looks up at us with her big blues. It's a rough gig, getting ruled by a 1-year-olds eyes.

Loves Chipotle... but really, who doesn't?

Walking w/Dada...

And running back to Mama... (jammies at the park... love it!)

Practicing her volleyball. Sorry kid, I have no pointers. I have not an athletic bone in my body...


Monday, July 11, 2011

Riiide, Sally Ride

To awake from slumber and join the world of the living each morning, I rise to the sounds of whatever is playing on the oldies station at 6:00 AM. I think it's set to the oldies station because it's the only one that comes in clearly on the dial (yes... one of those dial radio alarm clocks, it's not even digital! For shame...) AND, well, who doesn't love the oldies?
Well, it turns out, I don't love the oldies. Not all of them, anyway. On any given day, there's a pretty good chance that whatever song woke me up is what I'll end up singing in my head the rest of the day.
Today's song was Mustang Sally. NOT A FAVORITE. All day, I've been walking around crooning (in my head, mind you) "Riiiiiide, Sally Ride." Which makes me think of Sally Ride the actor, which makes me think of Mrs. Doubtfire, which makes me recite the scene in which Robin Williams prank calls Sally Ride with all of these different voices, trying to scare her off from potential nannies for her kids.
"Do you have a son?  (Yes.) Ohhh. I don't verk vith zee males.... cuz I used to be one."
"(shouting off the phone) Leila, get back in your cage!"
"I... am... job.  I... AM... JOB."
Come to think of it, if that's what waking up to (bad) oldies will do to distract me at work... I guess I'm OK with that.
Anyone else think Pierce Brosnon was a tool in that movie?! That's how I picture him in real life, based on my then-13-year-old impression of him that I got from watching that movie the first time.
More importantly, how much did you LOVE Sally Ride in Brothers & Sisters?
This random post brought to you by the letter: "Holy crap it's only 3:21 PM."

POST EDIT: Dooooooode. It's not Sally Ride... that's the astronaut! What an ejit! It's SALLY FIELD.

Friday, July 8, 2011

I Went for a Yog.

I went jogging last night for the first time in God knows how long. I made it three miles, stopping a few times for 20 second "help keep me from dying" walk breaks.
I have been thinking about going for that jog for MONTHS. You really have no idea. "What's the big deal, if you've been thinking about it, why didn't you ever do it?" you might wonder. Well. 
So let me back it up. After I had a baby, I decided to start jogging, not to lose weight really, but because I wanted to run a half marathon. Funny I mention it was NOT to lose weight. The weird thing about my pregnancy/postpartum is that I got pregnant when I weighed X, and at my 5-month pregnant checkup I weighed X+2. Yeah, a whopping 2 lbs. Well, the weight was not shy from that point on, and I think by the time I delivered, I was X+20 (or was it 25?). Anyway, the number never mattered to me, I really didn't give a shit. But who am I kidding, I probably can say that ONLY because I didn't gain more than that. If I had gained 50 lbs I probably would have been in the dumps about it.
So when I weighed myself 2 weeks postpartum, I was shocked to see that I was back at X weight. "Not too shabby, Self", I said, patting myself on the back and doing a little jig in the bathroom. I was even more shocked to see the scale announce "X-10" at my 9-week postpartum checkup. "WHAAAAT? Okay, clear the way... I have to do a cartwheel now!"
Anyway, the breastfeeding was awesome at shedding the pounds, plus I had started jogging to train for that half marathon. Half marathon came and went, I finished, I did great, I felt awesome.
And then. I took a "break" from working out, thinking I "deserved" a week or so off of running because of my awesome feat. "Hey, I went through hell and back trying to find time to run 13 miles while I had a 6 month old baby at home... I DESERVE A BREAK."
Except, it's not really a break if you never start it back up. And it's not really a break if you're not doing it just because. It's really just quitting what you had started. And to be honest, I've never been one to be a workout person, I'm not truly a runner at heart, I don't wake up and thing "God, I can't WAIT to hit the pavement." I do it for the health benefits, and truthfully because I want to look better in my clothes and feel good about my body. I didn't really need the "feel good about my body" benefits when I was training last year, I think it was more of a head-health thing.
But, combine the not working out thing with winter coming and going, then combine it with supreme laziness, also sprinkle in a few personal issues I was dealing with (or not dealing with), oh! and the ice cream.... combine in the ice cream as well. And Voila! I am back to X weight.
That's a bummer, you know? I hear about so many women having weight issues postpartum, and I can say with certainty that my weight issue has NOTHING to do with having a baby. Hell, I LOST WEIGHT after I had a baby. It has everything to do with my eating habits and those several sedentary months recently. Blurghphoey.
So, I've been reading books, checking out different websites, and trying to figure out why I do what I do, and how I need to change my behaviors to get results that I want. It's easy for me to write on my To Do List "go for a jog" (like, literally, that takes about 3 seconds to write and just about zero effort from my hand), but I've found that it's also really easy for me to NOT GO FOR A JOG. Actually, that's the easiest thing ever to do! There is plenty of TV to watch, plenty of Internet to read, plenty of other non-value-adding activities that actually make my life less full that I found myself doing. And I didn't have to break a sweat, or feel uncomfortable pains while heaving and hoeing up a long hill, totally out of breath. In fact, I felt just fine NOT GOING FOR THAT JOG, and I even had a bowl of ice cream while not doing it!
Anyway, over the last month or two, like I said, I've been at least THINKING about my health and becoming more aware of things. But I still hadn't made that leap to actually put on running shoes, and put my money where my mouth is.
So this week's To Do List included a lot of loose ends that I have to tie up (like writing Thank You cards for Claire's 1st birthday... which, omg, don't me started on how mortified I am that those still haven't gone out... today she is 16-mo... yeah, you do the math, I am 100% tacky), and I wrote "Run 5 miles" on the list.
And then I stared at it as Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday rolled around. Finally, last night, I had a revolutionary thought. A thought that was so profound, I should really get it copyrighted or something. Here it is: "I won't actually get to say I ran 5 miles until... I run 5 miles." Genius, right? I mean, hello Captain Obvious here. At your service. (I do accept tips.)
So, I got on the ole shoes (they still fit), and went for a jog. So literally, I have been thinking for months about that jog, I've said it probably a hundred times to myself, and at least a dozen to Nick, and even 3-4 times to my co-workers. My co-workers probably think I'm an idiot, by the way, as one of them is a runner and it's like Groundhog Day every time she and I talk about running. It goes like this:
    Her: "I went for a run this weekend."
    Me: "Yeah, I really, really need to start running again..."
    Her: (politely smiles)
Anyway, my lesson learned from last night: when you've taken a 9-month hiatus from running (omg, I just counted the months.... geez, 9 months?!), it's best to start on a nice, flat course. Otherwise, you end up like me: staring up the street at the 1/4 mile hill you have to run up. And you have some mental game with yourself regarding your next allowed walk break, and that walk break is AFTER the hill. So you've GOT to run up the hill, no ifs, ands, or buts. (Butts. He-he.)
So your inner dialog goes something like this.
"Rule # 1 about running up hills: Do not think about hills.
Rule # 2 about running up hills: There are no hills.
Rule (hill) # 3 (hill) about (hill) running (hill) up (hill) hills (HILL!) : do (hill) not (hill) say (hill), think (hill)  feel (hill), visualize (hill), or (hill) imagine (hill) the (hill) word (hill) "hill" (HILL!!).
Rule # 4 about running up hills: Only think about the ice cream you can eat after this is done."
KIDDING ABOUT THAT LAST ONE. Kinda. Sorta. No, I mean really. (Or do I?)
Anyway, long-winded post that actually feels more like it should be fodder for a therapist or something, but there you go. I got the first one out of the way. Now I just need to do a quick two miles and I can cross that item off of my list.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Few Things

This was sitting in my "draft" from September 27, 2010. Yeah, I'm so good at blogging! Well, what the hay. I'm posting it anyway, for my own nostalgia. At one point in my life, I had a baby and was excited about her being able to army crawl. I need to hold on to that lovely thought, as I now have a toddler who likes to torture me by throwing her food on the floor and splashing the dog's water bowl. Oh, and pinching me, she likes to do that, too. -LLC 7/7/11
1.) I am "training" for a "half-marathon". I "think" I may break something; either my will to live, the skin on my feet, out (see: sweaty all over) (get it, break-out?), or a combination of the above. Oh, and by "training" I mean: jog once a week, and pray that if I can jog 13 miles over the course of 2 weeks, that I'll eventually be able to jog that long in one stretch of time. I don't really get it either, the math doesn't compute. I need a calculator.
2.) My daughter Claire has two teeth, can army crawl, sits up like a champ, sleeps on her belly with her butt in the air, and looooves me. She is the bomb dot com. I kind of understand the Duggar woman now. If dilating to ten wasn't so painful, I could see having twenty? Err, um, where's that calculator. Divide that by seven, maybe.
3.) I know it's a blogging no-no to talk about work, so I will tread lightly. Since coming back to work in June, I have had three different jobs, technically. I am really excited about this third one; I haven't quite started it yet in practice (have in pay) but it will be exciting, me thinks. Things are looking up.
4.) An aside on number three above. And trying to be in line with not talking about work, I'll try to use a similie or methaphor or some other term I learned in third grade. Being a douchey person at work to people who make less money than you and people who may or may not be as high up as you are (rhymes with schmanagers) is like
well shit, I never did finish the simile... hence why it was sitting in my draft folder for almost 10 months. Alas, it's motivating me to write something new, as I said, for nostalgia's sake.