Friday, September 24, 2010

The working mom blog that never talks about work

I advertise this as a working mom blog.  Because I work.  And I'm a mom.  But really, I rarely talk about W*RK.  Largely because I don't want to Dooce myself.  And I'm not very good at being honest whilst being funny whilst not saying things I shouldn't.  Perhaps you remmeber this post?  Yep, got in trouble from the hubs for that one.  I tend to reveal more than I should.

Anyway, I recently flirted with the idea of stopping the PhD and teaching community college.  I met a great lady and blogger who happened to be looking for someone to teach as well, it all seemed so perfect.  But it turns out teaching is hard.  I knew that, to be fair.  But I realized it's just not for me.  Every day I got to come back to the lab and not teach was glorious.

What really happened is that an awesome job opportunity came about right as I was starting back to work after maternity leave.  And going back to work was REALLY hard.  The first couple months in particular.  But going to a job I didn't like was even harder, even if I knew it was a stellar opportunity.  It reminded me why I chose the path I did.  Why I started back to graduate school.  Why I chose to study geology and climate.  Why I love the freedom that graduate school and academia allows, even if the pay isn't all that great.

It gets easier.  The first few months back, all I did was miss MJ.  But at some point, I realized I had my self back.  I didn't even realize I had missed her, I had been so focused on my child. So to anyone in the midst of going back, the best thing I can tell you is that it gets easier.  If you like your job, in particular.  I realize I am lucky in this, to have a job I love and not need to find a better paying job.

But I have this great thing right now.  I have work/life balance.  It seems almost impossible to find, and I'm told it's even harder with a second child, but I have it.  And I don't think I could have found it without work, because, much as I love my child and love spending time with her, my life would not have been balanced.  It would have been happy, but it would have been unbalanced.  So maybe, more than seeking what makes you happy, it's important to seek balance.  And balance will give you happiness.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Presents? I don't need no stinking presents.

MJ had a bit of difficulty with the concept of opening presents. Sitting on them was about as far as she got.  Her birthday was a blast, particularly by the time we go to the opening presents phase.  Everyone had eaten, everyone was satiated, I could finally relax and enjoy some MJ time.

On a side note, this is the face that DH and I have started to make when we're provoking each other, doing something we know we're not supposed to do.  Someday she'll be embarrassed by this, but we'll continue to explain that she started it.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

MILFdom and gender bending friendships

I'm fairly certain I got hit on at Starbucks today.

On Sunday, whilst preparing for MJ's party (the details of which I still owe you), I put my hand directly on a yellowjacket.  I haven't done great at not cursing in front of MJ, but that was a whole new territory of "not great".  Before my ring finger swelled up, I decided I should take my wedding ring off. 

So I'm going ringless for a few days.  Mr. Guy at Starbucks appeared old enough to have done the ring-finger-check.  It's nice to know I still got it.  Though Mr. Guy doesn't know that there used to be a lot more of "it", and his lack of suave suggests he was just going after the weakest gazelle on the savanna, it's still nice.  Before getting married I told DH that one of my goals in life was to be a MILF.  I never specified whose definition of MILF that would be.   

On an only-slightly-related note, I've lately been pondering the subject of friendship between men and women.  I remember (or, possibly, misremember) a conversation between my stepmom and I when I was a teenager and swore that some boy was "just a friend".  She told me that it's impossible for men and women to be just friends.  At the time I thought she was totally wrong, but after many (like, 5) dates-that-I-didn't-realize-were-dates-until-some-guy-tried-to-kiss-me in college, I started to wonder if she's right.  Not in the they-can-never-be-friends sense, but in the they-can-never-be-CLOSE-friends sense.  The kind of friend you have deep conversations with, tell secrets to, etc. 

Furthermore, the desire to have guys as "just friends" is seemingly far stronger from women than men.  Nearly every woman I know claims that "most of her friends are guys", which is mathematically impossible.  Granted, most the women I know are somehow related to Geology, so for this group it may be true.  But it extends beyond that.  In contrast, I have never met a straight man who claims that "most of his friends are women".  Men seem to understand the "impossibility".

So what do you think?  Is it impossible?  Do you even care to have close friends of the opposite sex?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

One year

On the eve of the anniversary of your birth, you are asleep. Even after two 2-hour naps, you were ready to fall asleep by 6. We stretched it to 7. This means it could be a rough night, so I better write this before I get too grumpy with you.

Little girl, I love you whole hog. I'm sorry that I sometimes get grumpy with you. I try to remind myself ::over:: and ::over:: and ::over:: again how short each little moment is. We are currently with dad at a conference. The most family friendly conference I've ever seen, which is pretty great. Today you got to splash in the waterpark and play at the arcade and run through a huge field. But I see all these moms-of-tweens jealously eyeing you, missing their own babies baby-days. This year has flown by, and I know it will only continue to go faster.

Last year at this time I didn't quite know when you'd arrive, but I knew it'd be soon. Each day seemed like an eternity. Now each day is an instant.

What are you doing at 1 year?

You walk like a wild woman. Everyone quizzically looks at you and says "Wow, she's awfully young to be walking" and I say "No, she's almost a year, she's just a peanut". And you are a peanut. You've been consistently at the 15th percentile, and I wouldn't be surprised if you've even dropped a little. I think that the massive quantities of food we feed you go into fueling your constant motion, and that you never sit still enough for body fat to accumulate.

You started in the older infant room this past week. They said you walked right in like you'd been there for a year, and apparently are no longer enamoured with Baby-Boy-S now that there are older boys to flirt with. They say you're very good and very smart. Of course I love to hear these things, and as every mom is convinced of their own, I'm sure you're the cutest-and-the-smartest-and-the-best ad nauseam. I am far more traumatized by you already moving to the next grade than you are.

You are actually more cuddly than you used to be. Now that you've found some measure of independence and can get where you want to go, you have decided it's okay to come back and snuggle with Mom. This is one of my favorite developments. You will sometimes nap with your head on my shoulder, as you did today, and it is the most heart warming moment of my week.

You are not much for being read to, though I endeavour to change this. You are far too interested in turning the pages yourself or walking off with the book to sit still enough for me to read to you.

You torment Vito, though not too badly. You love to dance. You have recently discovered the TV. You like to feed Vito his dog food. You like to wear my purse around your neck like a St. Bernard brandy barrel. You love all fruit, particularly melon and blueberries. You hate hummus. You love to flirt with strangers, and will make little, insistent sounds until they pay attention to you. You say "mama" and "dada" and "hi", and you sign "milk", "food" and "more". You are a pretty good though highly erratic sleeper. You love to climb up everything, including your dresser.
You may be the mosttraumatic but are certainly thebest thing that has ever happened to your dad and I. Happy birthday munchkin.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A photo that captures how I feel.

I love taking photos. I'm not a photographer, I just like to capture a moment to help my poor memory hold on to it. But the downside is that I rarely end up in the photos. It's a small price to pay to have my own vision the one of record. But sometimes, DH picks up the camera. And sometimes the results are beautiful.  And I don't even recognize myself.  Or my daughter, sitting calmly, staring off into the distance.  And yet it captures a brief instant in time that I desperately try to hold on to, because they're rare moments.  This was a gift that I don't even think you knew you were giving me.
I love upstate New York.  I love my daughter.  I can't believe she's almost 1. 
We went to the fair yesterday, and I constantly thought about last year at this time.  On the dawn of giving birth.  Not even being able to conceptualize what my life would be like afterward.  How painful walking even a block was.  The impatience.  The fear.  Life is good right now.  It's nice to have my body back.  And my mind, even if my life is permanently altered.   Life 1 year later is glorious.  I never thought of myself as a motherly person, but, if you're lucky, your own child will make you motherly.  And that's all you really need.