Thursday, November 17, 2011

Working It

I have been working my ass off. At home. At work. With friends. Everywhere it seems I have been working hard. Hard to make things work. Does that make sense? Since going back to work, scratch that, since I became a mom things, to me, have seemed a bit jumbled. My very personality begs me to bite off more than I can chew. And I often do. It makes life more challenging, fascinating. But the thing about biting off more than you can chew when you have a child is, the thing you should be chewing can easily be your child.....maybe a bad analogy....

I took so long to go back to work. I needed time to figure things out. Because when I went back to work I didn't want to drop the ball, not with Walter, not with work. When I work I want to be fully engaged in it. I want to be successful. I am a hard worker. I love to work. Work has always been an outlet for me to very realistically measure my success. Contrast that with becoming a mom where the only measure of success I have some days is making it through with little to no tears. There are very few "thank yous" even fewer "good jobs". But nonetheless I do a good amazing job each day 24/7 365 days a week. Walter is happy and healthy, clothed appropriately, I know intuitively when they he is tired, hungry or needs a diaper change, I go to the park, I feed him healthy foods, I play with him, I make sure his needs are met. Yet, there is no measure of success, except a smile or a belly laugh or a "I love you mama" or a kiss. In some ways a few weeks after having Walter I was ready to get back on the work horse. Sleep deprivation and fear got the better of me.

So I've been back to work for just shy of six months. I have a promotion under my belt. I work hard. I put in long hours. Its been really hard and exhausting but so rewarding. I was asked to move up to the "fast track" to management. It was SO tempting. I stepped back and said no. I am going to take it slow.  I've been very nostalgic this week. It could be in part because I am in charge of our store's Holiday promotion this year--the holidays ALWAYS make me nostalgic. It could be in part that most of Walter's little friends are turning two. I can't stand it, they are growing up SO FAST. Whatever the reason I've been thinking of the past a lot lately. 

One observation that keeps swirling in my head; if I am in the same place I was six years ago, do I regret leaving the company? Do I feel like I've gone backward? And the simple answer is no. The amount of wisdom I've learned in the past six years could fill libraries. I am so grateful for those life lessons. I have a happy child who is healthy and our relationship has only strengthened since going back to work. I also know I don't have to be the consummate "go getter" at work to be doing a good job. And most importantly I feel like for the first time, in a very, very long time I am finding my sure footing. One foot confidently in front of the other. And that is the best feeling of all. So I am going to keep up all the hard work and go slow.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Adventure of Making a Halloween Costume

Jose and I began talking about Walter's Halloween Costume in about April. You see Walter has a title to defend: 1st runner up at Geraldine's Halloween Costume Contest. And so the costume creation time line goes something like this:

April-Mid-September: The great debate begins! Walter should be a ninja (Jose's idea, I wasn't too thrilled about it--we do call him our sleep ninja since he does get out of bed seemingly unnoticed and sneaks up on us, but does a ninja costume win first place at Geraldines Costume Contest? ), I wanted him to be a bumble bee (I just thought it would be cute to see him as a bumble bee because after all he did spend half the summer trying to pet them) however Jose wasn't too keen on that idea since it conjured up memories of Blind Melon songs for him. And the conversation kept going something like that, for months.

Mid-September: During a costume conversation alternate ideas were being thrown out left and right, until Max was mentioned from where the Wild Things Are. Yes we both agreed it was super appropriate, since it was one of Walter's most favorite books.

Mid September- October 23rd: I search the internet for ideas on how to make the Max costume, think about going to the fabric store and getting fabric and the supplies needed to make the costume. All the while Jose is supplying me with an increasingly frantic countdown to Halloween. "The costume will be ready won't it?" I always supplying the laid back stock answer "of course it will"

October 24th: After much internet research I figure out how I am going to construct this costume and go to the local consignment store to make the necessary purchases.

October 24th-26th Jose is becoming increasingly more and more sure that the costume is not going to be made in time and starts reminding me more and more frantically about making it. Cool as a cucumber I assure him not to worry.

October 27th: During the season finale of Project Runway I begin my costume making endeavors. Taking it as a good omen that Anya, the one who just learned to sew just four months ago won. I get the major construction of the costume done.  See procrastination always pays off in the end. Phew! I can rest a bit now!

October 28th: Get into a pretty lengthy battle between the costume, glue gun and myself. Luckily none of us were battered beyond recognition.

October 29th: A wonderful date night surprise by Jose! Where the costume wasn't mentioned once....

October 30th: The glue gun battle of '11 wages on and for the first time I seriously start freaking out that the costume won't be done in time. Thus leaving my only child costume-less on Halloween and therefore becoming the official worst mom ever.

October 31st  (Halloween): I go to work, almost shitting myself at how much of the costume must still be made. At work I construct a plan with contingency plans in my head for the execution of how I am going to get everything done by 330 in time for the Columbia City Trick-or-Treating party. It includes a trip to Ross, totally ignoring my entire family and working solely on the costume for the rest of the day, but it just might work and I might redeem myself as a good mother.

October 31st 337pm: The costume is complete! Thanks to Jose and Walter's infinite patience with me and some help from them too (they painted the crown). Walter now refuses to put the costume on. On the inside I am struggling to keep it together, if he sees how much I want need him to put the costume on I know there is a better chance of snow in hell. So I play my part and he eventually puts his costume on, only he doesn't like the whiskers, he won't wear the crown or the hood.

October 31st 4pm: It was hard work, but everyone is out the door and the Halloween celebration begins, with the whiskers tucked out of sight, the hood and the crown off the head.

This year we weren't quite as lucky as last year and did not win anything at the Geraldine's Costume Contest. It was fun and challenge to make the costume and I loved every minute of making the costume and then watching Walter wear it all afternoon and evening. That was prize enough for me.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

And hello, again.

Argh! A month has passed since I last posted anything. I truly intend to post, like three times a week, even! I feel like a trifecta of events are keeping me from doing it.
1.  I have had a massive case of writer's block/fear that causes me to think everything I write is boring and trite, and for the most part it probably is, but thats kinda the point of a blog now isn't it, its to make the boring and trite seem fun and exciting to read.
2. Then there's the whole job thing, that makes me feel like the life force has been sucked out of me sometimes. I swear I don't know how other mom's do it, children, work and blog, I am barely keeping the child and work alive, the blog has turned into an afterthought as I am going to sleep at night slowly withering away.
3. And then there are the things like cooking dinner, occasionally cleaning the house (laundry included), and trying to keep some semblance of a social life in order you know the peripheral things in life that make it all worth living?

So there is my trifecta of not blogging. Now that I have that off my chest I am going to take a stab at it again. Three times a week. November is national "write a novel in a month" month so I figure I am turning that into "write my blog three times a week" month. I can do it, and if its boring a trite you don't have to read it right? Right.

Ps I am including a link to one of my favorite vlogs by Jenna Marbles-- its inspiration to keep writing. You can find it here.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

An apple a day....

Part of the reason I took on doing the garden project was to show Walter food doesn't just 'appear' on the shelves and stands at the market but it needs to be grown, cultivated and harvested. That there are seasons for growing and then for enjoying. His love affair with the snap peas come to mind--he still goes out to the back yard and asks for them. Couple that with my love affair of going to my neighborhood's farmer's market is to build a relationship with the actual people who grow the food we consume.  I have become pretty food savvy--or so I thought.....

There is the little nugget  of information I learned yesterday that singlehandedly re-ignited my zeal for buying food from the source. Here's why; my friend was asking about Braeburn apples and why she hadn't seen them in the stores. The man replied "because they haven't been harvested this year yet". But apple season has just started and those Braeburns had just been in the market in July, somewhere they must have been harvested. And then it came out, the truth, most apples are frozen at harvest and thawed out when they are ready to be sold. Apple season only really lasts from August-October, ergo apples should only be available then. And then I think of all the apples I have eaten between October and July.

Now I realize that harvesting and freezing is not the same as injecting meet full of hormones or genetically modifying a food. But I do feel a bit bamboozled by this information. It also makes me leery of buying apples from a grocery store from now on. Or perhaps maybe I should buy a year's worth of  apples from my apple friend at the farmer's market and then freeze them myself. I just can't get over the fact that I've paid money for a very old apple thinking it was fresh.

What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Aren't you embarrassed?

A few months back I posted about "the mess" the all consuming "mess" that comes with raising a child. Here is an update in my ongoing relationship with "the mess".

"Aren't you embarrased?" Jose asked rather pointedly when he was feverishly picking up at 330pm waiting for our nanny to come watch Walter while we enjoyed a much needed night out together.

"No." I replied back at him.

It stunned me. Usually I just reply to questions like that defensively like it was somehow an attack on my ability to keep the house clean. But this time I meant it. To my core. I think I've become at one with "the mess", could that be? To quote the great author Sark from Living Juicy, "you do enough, you are enough, you have enough." I think that is singlehandedly the best piece of advice and the hardest piece of advice to follow.

Something has got to give, working 20-30 hours (I have NO IDEA how moms who work full time do it), being the sole night time parent (ie the parent that wakes up if the child wakes up), playing with and educating Walter, nursing Walter (that is a whole other post in itself), feeding the family, household chores, family calendar planner, wow, the list keeps going but I finally get it, in the words of Sark: I do enough. If there are crumbs on the floor when the nanny comes, oh well.

I think it also comes down to my priorities. And yes, I would rather go to the park on a nice day and play with Walter, than mop. I would rather teach Walter jazz hands as I teach him his ABC's, than the laundry, I would rather give my family tasty meals than vacuum. So in all honesty no, I am not embarrassed, because those things will be there in five years, Walter, however will be in first grade and then, hopefully, just hopefully there will be time to tidy. But for now, I am at piece with the mess--at least for now.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Peas in a pod

One of the best things about working in retail is you get to be a dutiful observer of other parents and THEIR children; their interactions, their tantrums, their sleeping habits. It is great!

I once listened to a child scream on and off in our lobby for 45 min, and that is after I started timing it, so I am sure it was more like an hour.  I have witnessed a mess of gargantuan proportions and a dad on his hands and knees trying to clean it up. A mom bringing her daughter still in her pajamas into the store at 530am so the rest of the house could still sleep. A dad comes in orders a coffee puts it at a table, leaves the store and only after walking his son around the block lulling him to sleep first in the stroller does he come back to enjoy his cup of coffee as his son sleeps peacefully in the stroller next to him. I have seen more 2 and 3 year-olds decide they want to crawl on the floor for a bit--more power to you all! These are all things that Walter has either done or will do at some point. My personal guilty pleasure is going through the Starbucks drive through in both our PJs when he wakes up so early.

So what do I take away from this? Kids are kids. This is what they do. And there are a whole lot of parents going through it. I have no idea why this point is driven home to me so much better when I witness these things for myself instead of the intimate settings of play-dates and family get-togethers. But it does. It also gives me the strength for the next time we are out and Walter starts screaming at the top of his lungs for seemingly no good reason. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Summer Vacation

Some say when you are a stay-at-home mom and part-time barista at the local coffee shop you don't really get to experience the phenomena known as summer vacation....or do you?

I chose to. I chose to be lazy. I chose to bask in the sun. Swim in the lake. Go on hikes. Enjoy the days that seem to never end. Grill with friends. Work in the garden (results varied click here for an account) Yes all of that was my summer. And of course the blog went by the wayside. I still journaled, and thought up posts that to me were funny and witty, it just somehow seemed I couldn't bring my ideas to coherent electronic entries, so around the end of June I decided to "go on vacation".

The best and most anticipated part of the summer was Walter's second birthday. I am an official mom of a two year-old. Walter is now a two year-old?! You mean "the baby" is now a "little boy".  Really? Because when I signed up to be a mom I thought the baby phase would last longer. Walter now tells me what he wants to do, this morning it was water coloring (he is going to give Picasso a run for his money I am sure of it). Walter now tries to express himself as best he can, a rather big work in progress. Walter jumps on the bed and laughs at jokes. When did all this happen? Why didn't anyone tell me it would happen so quickly?  I have also spent my summer awestruck at the fact Walter is becoming himself, and trying to walk to tight rope of letting him be himself and setting boundaries (no playing trains on the stairs, please). A walk that sometimes ends in disaster and sometimes, shockingly well.

Sunday it was supposed to get up into the low 90's so we went to Golden Gardens trying to escape the heat. Walter played in the surf for what seemed hours, until the sun was low on the horizon, his lips purple and his teeth chattering. A first for him, squealing and laughing the whole time. Loving every moment of it. Monday we woke up and the sun had been replaced with clouds and the 80 degree weather replaced with 60 degree weather. Summer vacation is over. Time to fall back into life.