Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Love

GrandPa and The Bean (and Elmo, of course)

Thank goodness for Wordless Wednesdays, it's the only post I have time to make these days...

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Stop the madness!

Life is just hectic - and I'm not sure why. Oh wait, yes, I do know this one. I have a toddler. And a full time job. Both of these are good things - but they are squeezing out pretty much everything else, save occasional errands and my husband. Friends have been relegated to Facebook and Twitter, and face to face contact with anyone I don't a) live with or b) work with had become a rare and exotic occurrence. Which, frankly, sucks. And forget hobbies - the art that I love and can't find time for. The craft projects undone. Blogs unwritten - it's all falling away. And this is SO not cool. Don't get me wrong, I get the life balance CONCEPT, but the practical application part is where it all collapses.
There's also some portion of the fast. cheap, and right theory that ends up applying. Since the Hubble is going back to school full time, we are on a bit of a budget. A lot of the 'tips' designed to help a working women achieve life balance assume a certain amount of disposable income - hiring a mother's helper a few times a week, having meals delivered regularly, outsourcing the day to day basically. Good in theory but not practical to the pocketbook. Daycare pretty much cleans out the disposable income category.
Mercifully, the Hubble is generally a rock star and helps out tremendously with the Bean and around the house. But school is starting back full time in a couple of weeks and even that help is going to be less available. So how to do it? How do you do it all?
The bottom line is, you can't. That's what no one bothers to tell woman - that this bring home the bacon, fry it up in the pan crap is just that crap. There are inviolable limits in the real world - things take time, and time doesn't expand. (Well, unless you want to get all string theory, and I just don't have the brain power to even consider the implications.) Mother's kill themselves chasing the impossible dream of having it all - and then getting confused and frustrated and resentful when they seem to never be able to achieve this 'balanced' state. What they don't realize is that there are simply too many things to balance.
Working full time means that during the week, I get very little time with the most precious knee-high creature in my life since she's zonked by 7:30. That means weekends are all about family time. Which in turn pushes out friends and me-time. And all of these are vital to me being sane. So what to do?
The past year and 1/2 have forced me to come to the conclusion that to achieve this mythical work life balance, you have to give things up. Maybe just for a day or a week or a year, but you can NOT have it all, and you will drive yourself batty trying. Many women give up work for a a couple of years, so they can focus on their child. This has a bunch of pros and cons, but for me, it's moot. With the hubs in school full-time my income is it. It's all good because he's building a future for ALL of us with his new degree. But it does mean I have to be a 'can't lose' employee at work, which means zero slacking allowed. So working ain't going anywhere, but the other pieces and parts that make up a fulfilling life, friends, time with the little one, time with the Hubble, time for ME, those parts can bend and move and twist. And bend and move they must - time to start giving it up, cause I can't have it all - at least not all AT THE SAME TIME. So with that mind set, I've started the horse trading.
This weekend, I'm going to have some over-night friend time (a high school reunion/birthday event), and in 3 weeks, a girl's weekend. A couple of weeks after that, I'm taking 7 days off work, and the Hubble, Stinky Bean and I are going on vacation together. So I'm trading family for friends, then I'm trading work for family. The art - my personal passions, those I'm still working on - what do I swap for those and when, but I know I'll find some time, sometime. Ultimately, it's a shell game - there's never enough time for everything. But, if you are able to say 'not now' there is enough time for SOME things.
So ladies - you can't have it all, all the time, at the same time - but over time, with some juggling and compromise and a serious resetting of expectations - you CAN have an awful lot of it...
screw this bringing home the bacon and frying up in a pan crap - the new marching orders? I'm going to have my bacon and eat it too - so there.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Fake or Real?

I've been watching the Blogher '09 tweets fly fast and furious for the past few days and feeling a combination of regret and relief that I'm not there. Regret because it sounds like such FUN - and so many people who I've gotten to know and really like through twitter and their blogs are there, all in one place. I could meet them in person! And that's where the relief kicks in... there's a certain safety in the 'anonymity' of tweeting and blogging. But once you meet someone IRL, once you can put a face to the name, things change. It's the Seinfeld "world's colliding" scenario.
Online life is often completely segregated from real world. In some cases its logistics. Some of my favorite twitter friends are in Canada, and Seattle, and Maine. It would be tough for us to get together for lunch. But Blogher, THAT we could coordinate, maybe. But what if we don't like each other in person, what if it just doesn't translate? That would just blow, but odds are, that's the last thing that would happen. People are who they are, regardless of which world they are in... If you like someone on line, you'll like them in person.
The other source of the relief centers on the conference itself. It's a BLOGGING conference - If I went to Blogher, since I'm an attendee and a chick, people would think that *I* was a BLOGGER. I'd be totally misrepresenting. *I*m not a blogger.... I mean, yes, I have a blog - you are reading it, so you know that. But I'm not, like, a BLOGGER. REAL bloggers post every single day, and make money and have sponsors and fans and banner ads and are so WAAAAAY cooler than me. I just blog sometimes, I'm not really a BLOGGER. HerBadMother and Sweetney (really everyone at MamaPop), and basically all the smart clever women I've met on twitter, THOSE are BLOGGERS. Me? I'm a just chick with a Blog...(see: 'Impostor Syndrome')
But maybe, just maybe, not everyone at that conference makes six figures a year off of their adsense accounts. Maybe the conference is full of women just like me - normal people, who blog when they can, as best they can, not because they have a huge adoring audience who demands it, but because they like to - who go to the conference because they want to meet other people, just like them, who just blog for the love of it.
Or maybe they go just for the swag...
Either way, I'm thinking I need to start saving now for 2010...

Friday, July 10, 2009

I have nothing

Really. I've got nothin'. Which is surprising since I normally have a million ideas, and words and just STUFF bouncing around in my brain, but recently... nada. Just a yearning for sleep and endless to do lists. And this bothers me more than you can imagine. I'm not sure the WHYs of this change, but I wish I did know. My deep and abiding fear is that I used up all of my creativity making a human from scratch and I've got nothing left.
I LOVE being creative, it is a big part of who I am and how I view myself - but these days, I'm suffering from an identity crisis. I sleep I work I hang with the Hubble and I care for the Stinks - and it's all good, but I don't create. I make dinner, I don't make art. I'm suffering from a severe and measurable lack of inspiration.
Is it because I am exhausted? I hope so. Or because I haven't put anything inspiring into my brain? Maybe. I'm really really hoping that its lifestyle or tiredness or not visiting enough art galleries. See these options are fixable - they would mean that I'm still creative - I'm just too tired or busy to DO it. And that can be changed. My fear is that I'm not creative anymore. That I've lost that spark - that I gave birth to it, or that is just died from lack of tending and that I'll never get it back. And that terrifies me. So much so, that it's a self fulfilling prophecy. I'm now afraid to even TRY to create - to force it without the inspiration, because what if it really IS gone? Then what? The who am I? And thus begins the panic.
Something is going to have to change though - I need creativity in my life - it's who I am - or at least who I was. I'm going to have to take a class, or paint something, or sculpt something - I'm going to have to find out if, somewhere under all the powerpoint presentations and spreadsheets and budgets and laundry, there is still a woman who can make beautiful things. Because if not... well... I don't want to even think about that...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Makes me smile EVERY TIME...

I just LOVE the cuteness! Ah childhood - where did it go?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Bad to the bone

Her Bad Mother: The Bad Mother Manifesto

First of all - go read this. Right now. (insert Musak version of Purple Rain) you done?
Back now?
OK - let's discuss.
This post was eye-opening to me and apparently to many many other mothers. What was eye-opening to ME is that many other mothers found it eye-opening. And that is sad.
For those of you who lied and said they read that post without actually reading the brilliance, let me summerize - Media definitions of 'good mothering' are ridonkulous, dehibilitiating, demoralizing and full of crap, and we, meaning all mothers, should rise up and call bullsh*t on it all. We need to shrug off the yoke of stupid expectations and just focus on loving our kids and being honest with them, and ourselves, and especially, each other.
I love this, but was a little surprised at how many mothers were shocked, SHOCKED, to discover that other mothers struggle. That other mothers aren't perfect and don't color coordinate their kids socks, or home make baby food, or spend hours developing their tot's brains with classical music and latin flashcards. Good God people you have a child, you should know better than to buy that crap! MOST mothers are excited when everyone, including themselves, simply survives the day.
I started my blog when I was pregnant, and I didn't glow, I bloated. I didn't have magical dreams, I barely slept. I didn't float, I could barely walk without blinding cootchie pain. It sucked, and I was pretty clear about that from day one. I guess that honesty just stayed intact, cause I am more than happy to post about just how much of a butt-head my beloved child is becoming now that toddler-hood has hit. And about the suckitude of every other stage to date, 'cause, well, it's true. I'm also just as happy to blog about the sheer joy of hearing her giggle, and the thrill of her learning how to give a kiss (I will regret teaching her that when the hormones kick in I'm sure). I'm pretty bummed to discover that approach is not the norm.
I think the reason that I was mostly able to avoid falling prey to the 'perfect mom' syndrome is because I have amazing friends, both real and virtual. Mommies who aren't afraid to say, I love my kid, but I don't much LIKE them right at this moment. Friend who said, ignore the hype, just do what feels right. Twitter moms and blogger moms who are huge fans of gnomes, and bubblewrap, and Xanax, and who always offer sympathetic non-judgmental support when you have a 'holy f I'm losing my mind' mommy moment. And there are many of those.
The worst days were the early ones, when you are exhausted and clueless and terrified. That's when the 'authorities' can really get in your head and screw with you. The sheer panic and desperation of the early days of your first child can not be overestimated. It's horrible. And who do you turn to? No one teaches you how to be a mom, all you have are the books and the tv shows and the news articles. I think this is a core failing of life as we know it today - everyone is mobile, no one is anchored and we've lost the community of mom's next door and grandmothers passing on their knowledge (however flawed), and the history of mothers helping mothers.
Or we had, until the mommy blogger phenominon. Women like HerBadMother and every single mother who ever wrote a blog post, commented on a blog post, even read a blog post, tweeted dug or facebooked. We are rebuilding that vital community that we all need to be mothers. We are sharing knowledge, and creating the support network that can guide us and help us as we perform the most difficult job in the world - raising a child. Specifically raising a child to not be a d*ckhead.
And all communities, all relationships are built on trust, and trust comes from honesty. So mommies who blog, mommies who comment, mommies who just talk to other mommies on the playground - don't lie. Tell the truth - if you are struggling, SAY you are struggling, it gives the rest of us the chance to help. If another mother tells you she is struggling, don't be a d*ckhead yourself - HELP! Tell the truth, tell them you were there, tell them you survived, tell them what you wish someone had told YOU when you were in the same place. Don't front to make yourself look good. It's selfish and dishonest and isolating to the parties on both sides. You deny all of us the opportunity to help or to be helped, and you feed the ultimate lie - that there is a RIGHT wat to mommy.
We all deserve better than that.
Love your kid, love yourself, and tell the truth, for it shall set you free...
Preach on HerBadMother!

Friday, June 5, 2009


Vacation is all about rest and relaxation, right? Well, yes, if you are single, or even a couple (provided the descriptor is 'happy'), but throw a kid in the mix and relaxing isn't really the word anymore. It can be fun, or interesting, but with a kid, regardless of setting, there is no downtime. Especially if your special little kidlet loathes napping. And toting the sheer volume of crap involved with kid care is a passel of work in and of itself. I freely admit to being an overpacker, but not to any level of insanity, just, you know, a few too many outfits for the circumstances. Not 3 suitcases worth or anything. I say this with mild defensiveness considering our car was literally packed to the ceiling with baby crap. In the end, we used nearly all of it, so I felt somewhat vindicated. I also found myself thinking, you know, maybe a minivan isn't such a bad idea...

A little vacation compare and contrast for those of you living the kid free life -

With Baby - The 4-hour drive required a food stop, a diaper stop, a run around in circles stop, and a juice stop along the way.

Before Baby - 4 -hour drive is done in 3 hours and you pee in a cup to get to the beach faster.

With Baby - pack the car with 47 cubic tons of baby crap

Before Baby - put underware, swimsuit, and a credit card in a backpack and call it overpacking.

With Baby - stay at a 2 star motel 'suite' with a fridge for the milk, a microwave for the baby food, and 2 rooms so you have somewhere to hide when the baby goes to bed at 7pm (at least until you go to bed at 8pm).

Before Baby - stay at a 5 star hotel suite with a jacuzzi tub and a king size bed covered in 1000 treadcount linens that you never use cause you are out at the swim up bar until 2am, before swinging over to the all night on grounds club to do jello shots, and end up sleeping on the beach.

With Baby - spend 45 minutes setting up all the beach canopies, blankies, towels and toys, only to bundle them all back up 30 minutes later when you realized how badly you mis-timed the need for napping as indicated by the ear-bleeding screaming so shrill it brought the lifeguard over to your encampment just to 'check in'.

Without Baby - arrive at the beach at 6am with towel and book, lie down, nap, roll over, drink a fruity drink, nap, roll over again, read, nap, and leave at 6pm.

Ah, how times have changed.

In spite of the last night being chockfull of teething misery, overall, for baby's first vacation, I declare the trip a success. Every last bit of it was worth it for this:

Friday, May 15, 2009

Mother's Day Surprise

The Hubble took me and The Bean out for breakfast on Mother's Day. What I really wanted was to sleep THROUGH breakfast well into mid afternoon or perhaps dinner time, but schedules unfortunately did not allow. Nor will they likely ever allow until roughly 15 years from now, best case. The week before we just had an anniversary, and his gift had finally showed up, so when we started our meal I said, "Hey babe, I have your anniversary present. I've been trying to decided when to give it to you, and now seems as good a time as any." He looked at me and said,

"Are you pregnant?"

[Pregnant?! WTF?!?]

Me: "Um.... no. No, I'm not. Why on EARTH did your mind go there?!"

Him: "Oh I dunno, it just did."

[Are you CRAZY?! I just shed enough baby blubber to get back into my fat pants! Pregnant AGAIN?! *snort*]

Me: "Oh, um, well...I'm not. Pregnant, I mean. Not."

Him: "OK, well, that's just what I thought you were going to say..."

Me: "Um, yeah, no. Not pregnant.

[long pause while curiousity overpowers good sense]

But, well. . . what was your reaction? Before I clarified that I was not in the family way, I mean?"
Him: "Elation - and some serious questions about finances and logistics. But mostly elation."

[Wait - He'd actually WANT another baby?!]

Me: "Seriously?! Wow. Um . . . huh."

Him: "What? It's surprising that I would be excited to make another one of these [gesturing to kidlet vigorously rubbing pancakes into her hair] with my beloved wife?"

Me: "Well, [looking at kidlet now vigorously rubbing bananas into her hair] they do have their downsides. . . plus, we'd not really TALKed about it. So I guess I was just . . . surprised, is all."

Him: "What, do you NOT want to have another one?"

[Damn. That is a good question. DO I want another baby?]

Me: "Oh! Well, No. Not NOT want to have another one. But I wouldn't mind a good night's sleep before we started again. If we WERE going to. Which we aren't, right now, at least. Are we?"

Him: "Well, probably not. I mean, not NOW. With school and finances the timing might not be ideal. "

[Um, have ya SEEN our bank statement recently?]

Me: "Um, no. Not ideal is the understatement of the century."

Him: "But I guess there never is a GOOD time, for something like this...."

[especially since I'm not getting any younger, and we can't wait too long if we really DID want another one cause it might not happen...]

Me: "True, I suppose . . . but still, RIGHT now may be VERY not good vs. kinda not good. Maybe."

Him: "So, yeah. Not now, I guess."

[The physical and emotional toll, the constant what if worries, the blood pressure nightmare, the chance of birth defects, the loss of sleep before AND after, and doing it all with a rambuncious toddler? I can't honestly say I'm ready to sign up for that today.]`

Me: "Yeah, I guess not. Not NOW, like 'this second' now."

Him: "But not 'never', right?"

[looking over at toddler styling her hair into a crazy spike-y mohawky mess and *squee*ing with the pure joy of it all.]

Me: "No. Definitely not 'never'.

[Baby giggles get me every time.]

So, um, anyway. . .

I got you tickets to Cirque du Soleil."

Happy Belated Mother's Day!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Dessert Sushi!

<-- Dessert Sushi NOM NOM NOM!!!! These were an insanely huge hit at a work event, and when I say insane I mean batsh*t feeding frenzy INSANE. People LOVED these! Plus, much fun to make. I may just quit and start my own sushi making company. I shouldn't reveal all my trade secrets, but since the new business hasn't exactly taken off (i.e. no one has offered me money in exchange for making these - odd.), but while I wait (and wait and wait ;-)) I figured I could at least contribute goodness to the blogosphere. Behold - step by step process to making dessert sushi!


Step 1: Go buy a lot of sweet stuff My ingredients list included: Rice Crispie Cereal, Marshmallows, Gummy worms, Fruit leather, Dried fruit (spears and slices mostly), and butter - of course.
Cause nothing goes better with sugar than butter.

Step 2: Sushi Rolls - lay out your rolls BEFORE making the rice crispie treats on a piece of parchment paper or a sushi rolling mat, if you are SUPERHARDCORE. I am not. Thus the parchment paper. The RCTreats are quick and easy in the microwave (just follow the instructions on the package), but accent on the quick. These harden up fast and once they do harden, we're talking concrete, so you have to move FAST. Prep first THEN mix, cause unrolling that freakin' fruit leather without tearing it is a real patience tester, you don't need the Jeopardy theme playing in your head on top of it.

Step 3:
Spread the RCTreats on your fruit leather, then lay the centers in - I used one or two flavors of gummy worms and dried papaya spears. Then roll it up like a regular sushi roll. Don't be afraid to squish the ever livin' crap out of it. Those little crispies are hardier than you'd think.

Step 4:

Keep your knife sharp and clean, 'cause these buggers are sticky and the knife will catch if it gets dirty. I had a harder time than I want to admit cutting these flat and the same size (note jaunty angle of the cut). When they are stacked side by side you can really tell. Squishing into more acceptable tolerances is possible, but you can only get an eighth of an inch-ish best case, so try to measure each cut off of the previous one to keep them at least in the same ball park .

Step 5:
Nigiri - mix the CRTreats and wad them into mounds. Smoosh the bottoms on parchment paper so they'll sit flat. By batch 3, I was fast enough to use the RCTreats leftover from the sushi rolls to make Nigiri bases, but first go around I'd recommend saving yourself the stress and doing a totally separate batch.

Step 6:
Measure your strips of fruit leather to wrap twice around each piece. I was using Fruit by the Foot, color by the foot, and it was wicked thin so I doubled up. Other brands might treat you more kindly, so the double-up is optional - your call.

Step 7:
Drape your slice of dried Mango on top of the nigiri RCTreat base then wrap with your 'seaweed' band - and by 'drape' I mean, forcibly make conform to the top of the rice ball. The RCTreats are sticky enough to keep the 'fish' on top especially with the fruit leather strapped around the whole shebang. I did use left over fruit by the foot as an adhesive for my alternative fruit strap made of organic green apple fruit leather (Whole Paycheck, of course).
Pretty but not as effective as the probably chemical laden and I'm sure wholely un-organic Fruit by the Foot.

Step 7:
Admire the glory of your sushi!

So I went totally out of control and got some sushi to go containers. I packaged them in groups with a small pile of shaved dried pineapple and a green gummy candy as wasabi. (I'm thinking next time will be colored marshmallow creme, or icing - depending on which looks better).

So the final result?

Drum roll please....

SWEET! ;-)

Monday, April 27, 2009

First steps!

As a first time mommy, I pretty much got nuttin'. I have zippy info on what to expect from, well, anything in this process. So I find myself regularly surprised (read: baffled) by some developmental milestone/behavioral change/general new weirdness on the part of my child. The latest WTF appeared this weekend after she took what could arguably be called her first steps.
She's been doing this 'step LUNGE' thing for a week or two now, but this was a step up (heh heh). This was 3 full steps IN A ROW! I know in my heart of hearts that these were her TRUE first steps, mainly because I turned the video camera off approximately .03 seconds before she took said steps. Proof in my mind, cause that's just my gift of timing.
So cheers and huzzahs, mostly, with a slight underlying tinge of 'oh crap, we are REALLY going to have to step up the baby proofing and how in the holy hell am I going to be able to get anything productive done ever again while she is conscious?!'. But mostly cheers and huzzahs. She then proceeded the spend the next 45 minutes practicing - teetering precariously between The Hubble and I. As soon as she got to one of us she U-Turned and started back to the other - back and forth back and forth. Squee-ing the whole time in delight.
I knew that she was due for her first step, and that it's a neato milestone and how wonderful it's supposed to be. And it was exciting and sweet and neat and all those things people said it would be. What no one warned me about was the immediate ripple effect this would have on her behavior, and clearly we are only scratching the surface of this one.
Since The Step, Bean has developed a SEVERE case of the Lemmegos. She is infected by wiggleworms and nothing seems to help. Save, of course, putting her down and watching her pull up on everything she can grab and heartstoppingly pitch face-first from object to object. I know that this is the first step (no pun intended) in a long path leading away from me, and I cheer it (theoretically) but its still a mini little heartbreak, this sign of successful parenting, this independence. (Her still having all her limbs is my own personal parenting high water mark - and at the rate she's going if that is still the case at the end of the learning to walk process, then I am a mommy rockstar!).
This first step is a first step for both of us. For her, it's just the beginning of her standing on her own, taking bold adventurous steps into the world she will conquer. For me, it's my first step toward learning to let her go, in spite of the pain I know is coming, the bonked heads, the skinned knees. She's a brave thing to take those tottering steps, those leaps of faith from thing to thing. But I need to be even braver to let her.
You GO baby girl! Mommy loves you...

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Why Maddie Matters

Mommies need support, even those with healthy children. Parenting is hard (for either gender) and the classic 'it takes a village to raise a child' comment is true. Parents need people to turn to when their child is crying and they have no idea why, when they are tired (oh so very tired), when they are proud (first steps!), pretty much at any stage in the process. We live in such transient times that many of use don't even know our neighbors, much less would be comfortable leaving our children in their care while we ran out for milk. That tight network of help and support that our grandparents had has slowly disintegrated generation over generation. Those of us raising children hours from family, new to areas, far from friends, experience the natural isolation of the early months of infanthood to an excruciating degree. Where can you turn when there is no one near? While we often bemoan the over connectedness of our hyper-wired lives, this very connection can be a parent's salvation.
I have been honored to become a part of the Mommy blogging nation. I'm merely a bit player in a community populated with rock stars - women who share their soul in smart, moving, & interesting ways. Blogher is filled with these women, and men, sharing stories of parenthood and the challenges and rewards it can bring. This blogging community I joined then expanded into twitter giving me the chance to interact real time with other women and men, parents and not, sharing stories of their lives with and without children. Twitter became my virtual community center, only without the bingo, a place to get information, to offer and get support, laugh, learn, and just hang out with like minded, and differently inclined folk - all with something compelling to offer. Intuitively I sensed this was a community, but I didn't know until today what power there was in this connection.
Today has been an amazing day - heartrending and overwhelming, and it's because of a little girl named Maddie. I don't know her. I never had to honor to meet her, and now I never will. She passed away 4 days ago before even reaching the age of two. I can't do Maddie justice but her family can - read their blog: . It is full of pictures of a beautiful joyful child that reminds me of my own preemie baby enough to make my breath catch at the thought of how close we were to the same situation.
I can't comprehend what this loss is for Heather & Mike, literally, I can NOT comprehend it. But this family is right now deep in this tragic and painful place. Whenever I try to put myself in their shoes, my mind, my HEART, refuses to go there. I can't. I just can't imagine it. It too dark and horrid and terrifying. If ever a parent, a family has needed the support of a community, it is the Spohrs and it is now.
And they got it. This beautiful little girl has triggered an outpouring of love and passion and support from this virtual collective that has shown me what a 'community' really is. #maddie has become a top trend on Twitter, meaning that everyone is talking about this tragedy. Her story has flown from blog to blog, and people from all over the globe have used the internet to pour love and hope and support and even donations towards the Spohrs and Maddie's cause, the March of Dimes.
When people roll their eyes at Twitter or Facebook or blogging, I will point to this story, to this experience. These websites, these technologies aren't the point. They are only tools, and they can be used to superpoke people, or spam market with twitterbots, OR, as today, they can be used for overwhelming good. In spite of the devastating loss of a child far to young to go home, the response of this community makes me believe that meaning can be found even in the unthinkably wrong, and that evil doesn't triumph, not when we all band together to fight it, even if it is virtually.
Maddie, you have touched the world & spread love and joy even in your passing - your parents should be proud of their beautiful baby girl.

Monday, April 6, 2009

My that was SO refreshing!

I went away this weekend to visit my mom. Generally, 'taking the baby and going to mother's house' is viewed as a little girls getaway, and/or indication of serious marital trouble. In this case it was neither (although, upon arriving home from this somewhat 'challenging' trip and seeing the dishes STILL undone, there was a small bit of, et-hem, relational discord, shall we say - Love you baby! really ;-)).
This trip was not the relaxarama one would think for a few reasons - 1) mom lives 4 hours away. Driving alone for 4 hours with a one year old is not something that ever shows up on a list of relaxing spa services. Cause it's not relaxing. At all. Not even remotely. Even when the baby is quiet, you still can't relax cause it's not a baby - it's a ticking shrieking timebomb and it could GO OFF AT ANY TIME!
Reason number 2 this was not a chillathon - the baby is teething. Yes, a giant chunk of enamel is boring it's way through her gum. I can't blame her for being a crankhead, when you look at it that way, but it doesn't make her any more pleasant to be around. So of course that means she wants to be around you ALL THE TIME. Add that to her being at the clingy age in general and you get a small ill natured barnacle that freaks the everloving F OUT whenever it is pried from your hip and you move outside of the pre-approved one yard radius. Not out of eyesight mind you, just more that 3 feet away, and the infant alarm at 140 dbs starts wailing.
Number 3? Mom's house isn't baby proofed. There is a baby gate to keep her from plummeting down the stairs, but other then that, free for all. This means constant adult supervision is required. And there really aren't many baby restraining devices at my parents house that we can use anymore. The bouncy seat is nothing but chains and handcuffs to a mini Houdini and buys me nothing but a 30 second head start - ergo useless. Considering she wrapped herself around any limb she could get a-hold to, this did have the positive side effect of reducing the chance she'd grab the gallon of bleach and start licking it, or whatever. She was too busy adhering to me to bother... mostly. I won't go into the whole wine bottle battle of wills, but suffice it to say she can't reach the counter top, and I can, so nenner nenner.
And the last reason that it wasn't a cold chillin' weekend, is my mom has MS. Which is why I went down in the first place. My dad had an out of town trip planned, and it seemed like a long time for her to be alone. Mom's at the stage now where her strength is waning, so if she falls, it can be hours before she gets herself back up. Her neighbors who usually look in were busy with cancer surgery (for God sake) so they weren't available. My dad is on duty 24/7 though, and he NEEDED this trip, so enter us.
Mom can't move far or fast, so her vs. a motivated crawling baby is no match - I was on my own with the Critter. And Mom isn't really able to whip together dinner any more - she is on the pointy end of the 'cognitive effects' bell curve for MS, and has trouble staying on track. Things burn, ingredients get left out, and she gets exhausted 1/2 way through. So the weekend was filled with my week-a-day chores of baby care (with a +2 difficulty for teething and location) and cooking and cleaning, so mom could eat something that didn't come from take out or a microwave and so dad wouldn't come home to more work with a leftover mess. Sandwiched between 2 4-hour drives. Um, whee. This was, in fact, the definition of an anti-relaxation weekend on logistics alone, forget about the emotional component of having to parent your own parent while parenting your one child. No. I did not relax.
But for all the stress and baby shrieks and dishes, it was worth every second. Because it was also filled with the baby crawling over to cling to grandmas leg by day 3, and three generations of giggles when the little one decided that peek-a-boo behind a toy cow is THE BEST THING EVAR! This weekend, for all it's challenges, was a great gift for all of us, and I know it and am grateful for it.
That being said, I'd really rather a spa trip next time, so, you know, if you are making plans...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


I've been gone. For a while. Not REALLY gone, just not blogging.
The reasons?
Honestly, I don't know.
I think part of it was a change of life (no I'm not talking hotflashes, but God knows those are probably closer than I want to even consider). I mean, change in life FOCUS. The first 6-8 months of mommyhood are all consuming, and that meant I had plenty to say about being a mommy since, basically, it's all I did. Sure I 'worked' but it really took a bit to get back up to speed and my heart was elsewhere.
Round about Sept or Nov of last year, baby-related things got a little more routine, a little less interesting. Everything wasn't new anymore so it all seemed a little less blog worthy. And work started to take over a good chunk of my attention. I think this blog, in my mind, was all mommy all the time, so really, details of work? Who cares? Go start another blog if you want to complain about PowerPoint, this is not the forum. At least, that was my thinking.
And that is stupid. Cause it's MY BLOG damnit! I can write about whatever I want! Now granted, y'all may have zippy interest in READING it, but that's probably the case regardless of subject, so... Might as well entertain myself at least.
I AM still a mommy, in case anyone wondered - I know sometimes I do. I've had a large project at work over the past 2 months (thus the obsessional focus on the evils of PPT) and its required a lot of my time and attention. Since The Hubble is going to school full time, his schedule is much more flexible, and he's taken over a lot of day to day kidlet duties. He's been on night duty for 2 months running now (WHEN will she finally sleep through the night for God sake?!?), and also gets her dressed and ready most mornings. I just drop her off at daycare.
The only time I really get with her during the week these days is feeding her dinner and putting her to bed. I dread days when I have to work til 6 and she refuses her afternoon nap cause it means she will fall asleep on the way home and I won't get any time with her at all. So I get to be a mommy, at least a little. Sometimes. And it's hard when I can't.
Now, do I want night duty not rly. Or do I want to stay home full time? REALLY not rly. I like my job & I love the people I work with & I adore the industry I'm in. I have several very good friends who are full time SAHMs and I think they are the strongest people I know. I don't think I could do it. Not and be any good at it. It's the toughest job going.
That being said I wouldn't mind a little more balance, and that's been my ongoing struggle, and that of every parent really. How can I be a good wife, a good employee, a good mommy and still have time left to be good to myself? I am a loooong way from having that one figured out. And guess what goes first? Me. And Me-time.
And I am not alone in this. Exhibit A:
(This is why I love twitter - you find people like this, who say things like that.) It's NOT easy to strike the balance. I still swing wildly back and forth like some crack addled monkey. I do believe, as in all things, a balance will finally be struck. It will probably be well after the hot flashes have come and gone, but one day... one day....