Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Seriously, the last post wasn't meant to be terribly whiny or self-indulgent. But I am trying to be honest about my feelings and to engage (at least with myself) in a dialogue that I don't think we as women honestly engage in very often. I understand it's a loaded question: what are you? I think most of us feel obligated to answer with either SAHM or working mom as though you can't be a little of both, or as if most of us don't do both in some way. I also think that many women feel guilt inherent in either choice and that tends to cloud our discussions. I know I have a hard time seeing my own feelings clearly and that's part of the reason for using this space to write about all the changes in my life - this being just one major change for me.

The fact of the matter is that I'm in my early thirties and have long had a professional career before becoming a parent and thus I'm having to shift my own image of myself to incorporate this new facet of my identity. It's one I've longed for and yet now that it's here...well we all know that change, even desirable change can be stressful. Factor in the sleep deprivation and it's no cake walk that's for sure.

Without being active in my profession I find myself wondering if that's still a valid way to define myself. Can I tell people I'm a "non-practicing" librarian? If I can't does that mean I'm therefore a stay-at-home mom? It's not that I think that's a bad thing, it's just not how I envisioned myself for the long term, and I don't feel that it's a choice I've made in the same way that some women have chosen that avenue in their lives after desiring that for themselves for a long time. All of these questions tumble around in my head, and I am hoping to find some slices of enlightenment in Amy Richard's book "Opting-In: Having a Child Without Sacrificing Yourself". I'm only about 30 pages into the book and I like where she's headed with it. She doesn't seem to advocating for either label ("SAHM" or "working mom") for women and I like that. I don't think the choice is easy for any of us.

Monday, July 28, 2008

I'm a SAHM?!

When my husband and I first thought about having kids, we naively assumed things would go according to plan. I'd have the baby during my last year in graduate school, maybe the summer after graduating. I'd be home with the baby while attending classes or during that summer post-graduation, and then I'd head out into the work world with new degree in hand. Only that's not how it worked. It took us considerably longer than we anticipated to get pregnant and by the time we did, I'd decided I wasn't in a hurry to get back to work. Much as I loved my new career path, I wanted to cherish this time with my first baby. But honestly, I still figured I'd go back to work sometime in the baby's first year.

And then life continued to flow somewhat against our plan. Things happened in my husband's family. Big changes. More on that later, but suffice it to say, we're heading to Japan to stay with his family this fall, winter and spring. It seems as though I won't be working in my profession anytime in the near future. Or at least not in any way that I can visualize right now. This means that I'm a stay-at-home-mom right now.

Each and every day I find myself wondering what that means for me and how I can be the best mom I can without sacrificing myself too much either. Because it didn't take long for me to figure out that full-time mothering may not be my strong suit. I may be great at it for 3/4 of the day, but for that other 1/4 all I want to do is have a glass or two of wine, read the blogs I follow, read whatever book(s) I'm currently in the middle of, and generally do things all for me. I constantly struggle to stay present with my daughter rather than resenting her for keeping me from my latest book. After all, I DO adore her, but being with her 24 hours a day is a LOT of time and is more of a challenge than I anticipated and I really miss my work and colleagues. These thoughts mostly just make me feel guilty...

I'll likely re-visit this later but right now, she's napping and I'm going to read!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Note to self: music

Be sure to introduce all kinds of music to Peanut:

Classical - check
Jazz - check
Classic rock - check
Country - check
Oldies - check

All the experts say babies respond joyfully to the music they like. Nothing much so far. Until yesterday.

Madonna and Justin Timberlake "4 minutes" totally thrilled Peanut.
Maybe it was my mad hip hop dancing skills, not sure.* Requires further research.

But seriously? Madonna and JT?! Of all the music I've played you Peanut? Okay, I was a Madonna fan in the old days, but you're too young to know that. And I admit that the beat is pretty catchy, but I almost can't help but object just on principle. I'm not even sure what that principle is. And since I want Peanut to have an appreciation for all kinds of music, I guess we'll just let this one slide and try to save the world through dance!

*The only sprain injury that I ever sustained was when I was in high school. I was *ahem* dancing around my house and fell on my own ankle thus spraining it. Just to be clear, I wasn't even attempting some fancy Lord of the Dance kind of jig or anything; I was literally messing around/hopping around my house and fell like a ton of bricks.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

My date(s) stood me up

The other night, Gboy and I had plans to go to dinner with approximately 8 other new parents. This dinner was organized through a social networking type website. And maybe this was the problem. Perhaps we expected too much of these virtual relationships and connections, because we were the ONLY ones who showed up. I've never been stood up by so many people all at once! And while a part of me sees the humor in this situation, and frankly Gboy and Peanut and I had a great time regardless, a part of me was really disappointed.

Your see we're not from this area originally and we're still working on building a support system and network of friends - particularly a network of people who are relatively new parents like we are. I would have thought that others might have the same goal in mind. After all, parenting isn't easy on a good day, but if you don't have support I think it's even harder. So I'm left wondering if we're really the only ones who don't have an extensive support network of other new parents? Or maybe we're just the only ones who are courtesy enough to show up where we say we'll be. I've noticed that's something of a problem around here - people over-commit or something and very often they don't show up for events that they said they'd be attending. For all I know this was a problem when we lived back on the East Coast, but the way I remember it was that people there would just say "No I can't make it" rather than pretending they'd try.

Regardless of why it happened, it leaves me a little disappointed since I'm feeling a little lonely on some days. Luckily we do have one parent group that we joined which seems to be pretty reliable. The same members show up week after week and for that I'm grateful. Because without it, without them, I'm not sure where we'd be.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Just a spot of cleaning...

Gulp. Totally forgot the babysitter is coming tonight. My husband, henceforth known as Coffeeboy Gboy (because of his love for all those games!), and I haven't had a date in weeks. It's time for some alone time. Plus we've both been dying to see a movie. We're neither of us movie snobs. We're escapists. Give us pretty much any action/adventure flick and we're happy. As a result, you can imagine that we drool over most of the summer blockbusters. Lowbrow entertainment that's what we're after. Only I forgot the babysitter is coming tonight and I don't want her to think that we actually force our child to live in squalor. Okay, maybe we don't live in squalor, but since Peanut (we didn't actually name her Peanut but I'm starting to worry she may think that's her name since we call her that all the time!)came into our lives the amount of cleaning around here has plummeted. I know it's a common occurrence with the addition of small children to a household, but that doesn't change the fact that I just spent an hour cleaning the house in order to impress the babysitter. *sigh* I hope she remembers to check the stove top. I really gave it a good scrubbing.

As if.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Travel horror stories?

Two orders of business before I get started:

1. It may be a bit strange to start a blog with a writing-prompt challenge, but I'm still trying to shake off the dust and just jump in with the writing and I figured this was the perfect way to force fingers to keyboard.

2. No cute graphic today as either my use of the HTML provided or Blogger isn't functioning properly. I TOLD you I was out of practice! But this post was inspired by Absolutely Bananas (who designed said cute graphic) - check her out for more.
Update: *sigh* I figured it out. Sleep deprivation is a formidable foe!

I've been trying to think of travel horror stories and can honestly, and thankfully, say that I haven't had many as an adult. There was the time we spent 3 hours on the tarmac before our plane even took off for the 10+ hour flight to Japan. That wasn't a walk in the park, but hardly counts as a horror.

No. I think my most horrific travel story reaches back to my early childhood; I couldn't have been more than 7 or 8 years old. My family had gone on a camping trip. I remember waking up very early in the morning after a dream consisting of all the foods I would normally love to eat: ice cream sundaes, whipped cream, cakes, etc. but I felt sick when I woke up. At first I thought my brain had been tricked into thinking that I had over-indulged as a result of the dream, and then I realized I truly was sick. I somehow managed to drag myself to the public restroom (we were at a campground obviously) where I proceeded to toss my cookies quite literally. Ick. Being sick to your stomach is bad enough, add in a public restroom and we've hit a new low. I dragged myself back to my sleeping back and tried to go back to sleep but I felt too awful to sleep.

We were de-camping that day and heading for home. Normally I would have been expected to help with packing everything up but as soon as my mother woke up and realized what was going on, she parked me in a lawn chair and told me not to move. Needless to say the 6+ hour car ride home was not pleasant. I just wanted it all to be over so that I could lay down in my bed and rest. To this day I can't eat those multi-colored flavored marshmallows; that's what we were toasting around the campfire the night before I got so ill. (*shudders*)

Bear with me...

I'm trying to get my head wrapped around how to set-up and start my blog. I've done some blogging in the past, but I'm out of practice. (HTML what? CSS - oops never got to that...) Living with an infant (6 months old) makes sneaking even a moment for myself that much harder. Thus, I've decided just to jump in and try writing something, anything, to get the ball rolling. I suspect I'll need this space a lot of the next year or so with big changes coming down the line. For now, I'm up and running!