Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Last Day of Being a SAHM

Well this is it.
My grand experiment of being a stay-at-home-mom is coming to an end.
My three months of "finding myself and figuring out what I want to do" is over.
I start my new full-time job tomorrow.
Instead of starting over in a new career, I'm doing the same thing I've always done.
And I'm ok with that.
It's weird.
But I guess when you're good at something, you get recognized for it.
The one-armed bandits who have shaped my career have a home-base in Austin.
And they found me.
I enjoyed my time being home with L.E.
But she needs stimulation other than me.
I had every intention of building my writing career.
I wanted to turn this blog into my job.
I wanted to write a novel.
Instead I found myself depressed. Again.
I tried to make everything good.
I tried to be happy with my role at home.
But the lack of friends and adult interaction left me broken.
Some people are most creative when they're down.
I am hopelessly blocked.
I would spend L.E.'s naptimes in a ball on the couch watching 30 Rock in the hopes it would make me smile.
I spent my time not writing.
I thought this time with L.E. would be a great bonding experience.
It was but her battle cry still sounds for "Daddy."
I was offered this job on the spot.
I had nothing to lose in taking it.
Except time with my daughter.
A 30-minute commute each way.
One hour every day.
Five hours a week.
I'm the wicked one dropping her off at school.
Daddy is the hero picking her up every day.
Her rescuer.
But when I get home at night, she runs to me screaming, "Mommy's home! Mommy Mommy!" and gives me a giant hug.
The kind of hug that's one in a million.
The kind of hug that makes her so amazing.
She's stimulated in school.
She has friends.
She sleeps better.
People will ask me if a job is worth it.
When I tell you she spends most of her time at home with me watching TV, you will wonder why I didn't find a job sooner.


Friday, October 26, 2012

Things I Hate

I try to be pretty positive on this blog, despite the posts about crippling depression. But there are some things that I really downright LOATHE. I'm going to share them now. It's ok, it's my blog.

I HATE...

The weird wavy rolls my hair gets in the humidity

When I wake up and the fitted sheet is off the mattress

The phrases "off the hook" "off the chain" and other phrases white people say to sound like black people who maybe uttered those phrases like seven years agosx

Social media posts about kids' poop or other bodily fluids

The Pottery Barn-ization of every holiday and the inadequate feeling I have for not even wanting to carve a pumpkin.

Smart asses on Facebook who always pipe in about politics when my status update is stupid and mundane like "I have on new shoes." (If you're scoffing at me, chances are it's you.)

Glass drink dispensers

Moms who protest the stupidest things like Nick Jr. programming and when they change the design on diapers. (Maybe they should protest things like equal pay for women and paid maternity leave.)

Moms like me who write statements like the above but really don't actively do anything about it because I'm too lazy.

Mosquitos

Turning left onto a four-lane highway

90 degrees one day; 50 the next

Stepping in a bowl of dog water in the middle of the night

The fact that I'm awake and walking around in the middle of the night because I can't remember if I turned off the back porch light

Spending twenty extra minutes on my eye makeup and nobody notices

Duck face

L.E's milk falling out of her bed and leaking all over the floor

Not wanting to use the toilet brush for its intended purpose because it looks too nice

Being out of coffee

When Wal-Mart is nicer than Target

My phone falling on the floor of the car.

When a headline says *insert starlet's name here* chopped off her hair but it's really just a shorter version of their long hair.

Fresh Italian parsley

The fact that L.E. talks to a ghost. Why did she have to say ghost? Why can't it be an "imaginary friend?"

Skinny jeans with bunchy knees

The little screw falling out of my eyeglasses

Having to go to the post office. Not the trip itself, just the looming notion that something needs packed up and mailed.

The Church's Chicken on Burnet doesn't have a drive-thru

Globs of hair stuck to my clothes after a haircut

Big zits that won't pop

The movie "Happy Feet"

There you have it. Things I randomly hate. What do you hate?


Friday, October 19, 2012

Be Like Gumby

Bend, baby, bend.
A few short weeks after I returned to work from maternity leave, I helped a co-worker with a big PR event at our company. I picked up dozens of cookies from the bakery, helped her set up the A/V and helpfully told people where to go. Although I usually spent my lunch hour with L.E. over at daycare, I really wanted to show I was still a team-player so this was the first time I didn't go see her. 
After the event, there were tons of cookies left over so we put them all over the company at break areas. I had a box in my hand and said I was going to take them to the daycare, which was subsidized by our company. My co-worker gave me a snotty look and said, "They're not really employees."
To say I was upset by that was an understatement. Granted, this was in the throes of my PPD and subsequent working-mom guilt. I calmly left the cookies on the table and left. 
As I sobbed uncontrollably on my way to the daycare, I vowed I would never let work interfere with my baby girl again.
The next time a big event rolled around, I didn't dare step out of my normal scope of work to help out. It was an asshole-move, I admit but I wanted to drive the point home that I wasn't going above and beyond because I was now a mom.
I don't think anyone really noticed I was making a point; I think they just thought I was being an asshole.
Obviously, that was not the most realistic and mature way of dealing with things and as I think back on that moment, I'm appalled for being that upset.* I know it was because I wasn't ready for the cascade of emotion that being a working-new-mom would bring. My PPD was in full-force and I hadn't been properly treated yet. I could go on and on about it, but that's not the point of this post.
The point is that the notion of women "having it all" is a hot-button issue right now. As a recently recommitted-to-working-mom, I don't necessarily want it all.
I just want some flexibility and understanding.
And I will give it in return.
I will work late as long as I'm home in time to tuck L.E. into bed and as long as it's not every day.
I will work through my lunch hours in order to leave on time.
And if I have to take her to the doctor or stay home with her when she's sick, I will make up the time accordingly.
If employers want happy and productive workers, they need to be willing to bend the traditions of 8-5-punching-a-clock. They need to understand that shit happens. Traffic happens. Yogurt gets flung at you as you're walking out the door. The dog escapes and it takes 20 minutes to find him. And, quite literally, shit happens.
Working-moms have the opportunity to set a new precedent. The laws are not going to be re-written anytime soon so if you want to "have it all," a good step in the right direction is to be open and honest  about the shit that can go wrong. 
And expect to make up for it.
I've heard many stories over the years about how people with kids get away with more. I'm sure there are plenty of parents out there who take advantage of the system. But I always remember that once I was the child-less worker, staying late to help out someone so they could go to their kids' recitals. 
It all comes around, people.
And if you choose not to have children, well it's hard to feel sorry for you while you're on your European-Pub-Tour vacation.
If the Entitled Generation has taught me anything, it's that the old-school rules need to be bent. 
If the Old-School Generation has taught me anything, it's to be polite and honest.
And if Gumby has taught me anything, it's to be flexible.



* This co-worker was a friend and I should have spoken to her about it sooner rather than crying about it.
If she's reading this, I hope she knows how sorry I am.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Top 10 Signs You're a Terrible Stay-At-Home-Mom

10. You had to Google SAHM.

9. Your toddler is eating Cheerios off the floor and you can't remember the last time you bought Cheerios.

8. You don't know what time Days of Our Lives is on.

7. When someone gave you a "mommy card" at the park, you laughed so hard that chardonnay came out your nose. Now you have to find a new park.
Yes. You live in a world where these exist.
Be frightened.

6. When you have dinner on the table at 6 pm, it's usually in a pizza box.

5. Your black yoga pants have yogurt stains on them. Not those ones, the other ones. No, the third pair. Dammit, woman, don't you own any jeans?

4. You don't do laundry until your towels start moving on their own.

3. Your kid wakes you up from naptime by exclaiming, "I'm done mopping, Mommy!"

2. You can't remember your BabiesRUs.com password but you can always access your PornHub account with no problem.

1. Your husband asks what you've done all day but you're too drunk to answer him.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Me and Esther Williams

She even kept her swim cap on the whole time.
This week, L.E. and I started swimming lessons. Judging by her ridiculously HUGE smile the whole time, she loved it.
And so did I.
I found a dive place just around the corner. They have a tiny super-heated pool and they keep the classes small, just three kids in this one. It was definitely more fun than I expected.
It's nice to get into the pool and leave the bathing suit anxiety behind. (Behind my big behind, yuk yuk). We sing songs and be close to our kiddos.
L.E. could not wait to get into the water. Once she did, I had to hold onto her pretty tightly. Yes, I was a little bit anxious because one slip and I'd be relying on my lifeguard training from 20 years ago. But L.E. was good about being clingy, except for when I would bounce her up in the air. "Higher, Mommy, higher!"
We learned "ice cream scoops" (over-hand strokes), kicking, blowing bubbles and submerging, which was the last part of the lesson. As L.E. told me repeatedly, "I don't like going underwater!" We finally "tricked" her by telling her to close her mouth as she jumped into the pool. She would be just under the surface when she jumped in and I would hoist her up in the air. Her giggles echoed throughout the pool.
Who knew I had a little Summer Sanders on my hands?
This is the happiest I've seen L.E. since we moved. I think she really feels at home in the water. I loved swimming as a kid, with some of my happiest memories at good ol' Scott Township Pool. I'm glad we're starting her early so she knows how to be safe in the water and have lots of fun with her friends and family.
Plus, as an added bonus, I feel like I'm getting a great workout. Carrying 30lbs around a pool for half an hour will definitely build your stamina. I love that both L.E. and I are getting something out of it.
I can't wait to take her next week.
Ready to get in!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

My Latest Post on AMB: A Review of Gone Girl


"Gone Girl" was the best book I've read so far this year. I reviewed it on Austin Moms Blog so you should check it out and then we can talk about it, like a virtual book club!