Category Archives: Mama Musings

Navigating…

First Day of K!

So it’s been over a week, and among other things, I owe a first day of kindergarten update! We made it – and with big excited smiles to boot! Maybe I should re-phrase that – I made it, with tear ducts intact. I kept a brave face. Partly because there was no bus ride involved. For a few different reasons, we abandoned the bus and enrolled Red in a before and after school program that gives him time to play and socialize and get out some of his energy. It is a benefit for all of us.

The day before school, we met his teacher, and toured his classroom and met his classmates. He sat in his chair and checked out his new supplies. He was not nervous, but was quietly taking it all in. The next day, he woke up early and was ready to get out the door waaaaayyy ahead of schedule. Why can’t every day be like that???

He came home gushing about the day and his favorite part – recess, and how he saw some of his old pre-school buds, and played “poison ball,” which from what I can gather is just a cool way of renaming the classic game of dodge ball…yea, I’d say it was a good day of fun.

Never a dull moment with this guy:

goofball

So now, I am navigating the world of organized routines, guiding homework assignments, and trying to pack a healthy lunch that he will actually eat, that isn’t the same every day. Any and all suggestions are welcome to help with this one!! A few hints…he doesn’t like sandwich condiments, I tried pinwheels to no avail, we are in a nut-free classroom, and he has already said no to my novel snack idea of baby carrots with ranch dressing, but it’s not as if I haven’t tried to get creative.

Second day of K!

Second day of K!

Schedules are only going to get busier in the comings months. I have signed Red up for Lil Kicks soccer which takes place on Saturdays. He hasn’t really been exposed to organized sports, but only because we haven’t enrolled him until now, since he never expressed an interest.  It was on a whim that I signed him up.  I figured it’s just another way to meet new kids (and for me, parents), get some exercise and learn something new.  I can’t wait to be on those sidelines on Saturday mornings, hot coffee in hand, cheering for Red to “kick the ball!” and laughing at the hilarity of cleated kids racing back and forth with no attention to competition or teams, or even where their field ends and another game field begins…

Red also begins Sunday school this weekend. It was something I was putting off and procrastinating for whatever the reasons…I actually have no excuses that are very good. I have been wanting to get back to church myself, and after reading a few inspiring blog posts from some other amazing mamas, specifically this one from Natalie Falls (who has such an amazingly sweet family, and a way with words that is almost poetic, yet relateable), I realized that I needed to reach out and get it done, for both Red and myself. I was very honest in my email to the Sunday school teacher. Both of my boys were baptized at our church, but I sheepishly admitted that is the last time we attended (which was February!) I also explained that having an active 17 month old made it hard and suggested a “crying room” would make it so much easier for moms with littles. Lastly, I had to be very honest in my intentions, and explained that we (I) couldn’t always commit to attending the service / Sunday school every week, but that at least a few times a month we would be there. That was the biggest part of my hesitation, because would that be acceptable and ok???  To my relief, my message was met with understanding and support. So we’ll see how it goes and will hopefully try make it on a regular basis. 

In the meantime, we had a great Labor Day weekend and did not labor a bit…well, except for a day of cleaning and grocery shopping and cooking on Monday. But it paid off well – nothing like a nice clean home and a delicious meal to brighten an otherwise grey and gloomy day.  A colleague of mine had given me some fresh beets from her CSA (community-supported agriculture), as well as a huge head of butter lettuce, peppers, and green tomatoes. YUM!

So I bring you my roasted beet salad. I roasted with garlic, kosher salt and pepper at 450 for an hour.  I then topped mixed greens with the beets cut into chunks, goat cheese, toasted walnuts and balsamic vinaigrette.  I took inspiration from this recipe, courtesy of the blog Susan Nye – Around the Table, which I found by chance on Pinterest (of course) but her blog is pretty darn lovely, and I strongly suggest you giving roasted beets a try – your taste buds will thank you. 

Fresh

beets

beets

Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese & Walnuts

And just in case you were thinking it – much as I would love to – I don’t think I could choose this as a healthy option in Red’s lunch…  🙂

Summer has been oh so good – but I look forward to navigating all of the “new” we are approaching in the coming months, as well as fairs, fall harvests and any recipe that involves pumpkin as an ingredient!  Bring on the golden rays of “Indian summer” and say goodbye to the humidity – that I can certainly do without.

p.s.  linking up with Annapolis & Company

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Weekend ramblings…

boat day!

Me and Roo

anchor up!

We’ll get to these pictures in a minute…

Over the weekend, as I got distracted while doing laundry (or distracted myself since I didn’t want to fold the baskets and baskets conspicuously waiting around the house), I meandered to my craft drawers. They are a disorganized mess (despite my last cleaning project) and as I began shuffling through them, organizing bits and pieces, odds and ends, winding ribbon spools, sorting, organizing and re-discovering, I began to think of all of the fun projects I should be working on, and the lovely little beauties that could be spun from my idle hands….especially when they are not busy folding laundry. And then I really got to thinking. I have plenty of plans to craft more, especially as I begin to think about Christmas gifts, and as the warm weather begins to fade to fall. So, stay tuned because I fully intend to step up this B (for blog of course, though it’s also my nickname for another bit of slang, and since my blog is a she, I’ll let you figure it out for yourselves).

HOWEVER…

Since yesterday was a gorgeous day and the last free weekend of truly free summer fun before school starts, I had to abandon the craft ship and board our real vessel. Boat day! Roo’s first time out did not disappoint!! As I snuggled him, he simply looked around, taking everything in, bundled in his life jacket which tends to creep up to his chin. Red and Mike were busy crabbing and fishing and guiding us on an adventurous journey up the river. The sun was high in the sky and it was warm, but not unbearably hot. I was happy to get my pale, Irish skin some color, even if it was red and resulted in more freckles. I love my freckles by the way. I love any freckles, and Red has earned a few more scattered over his nose this summer, which I think is just the cutest thing ever.

chillin'

crab pickin'

This would be Mike, pretending to have the crab pick his nose. Classy. Don’t worry, this crab was not harmed during the making of this photo, other than having a little less dignity when he swam back to his friends.

Jelly!!

Can you spy the jellyfish??

crabs

Too short.

It was a welcome outdoorsy day, since Saturday was a day dedicated to Red’s haircut and back-to-school shopping at the mall. The sole mission was to find him his sneakers. As I mentioned in this post, he had his heart set on “light-up sneakers.” Well, that was totally fine, until I tried finding them. You would think in a place that has no less than 7 shoe stores, we would have been successful…

I only had one requirement. They had to have laces, no Velcro. The last pair he had were Velcro, and that dang material begins to unstick after a while… Oh, and they had to not be ugly…ok, so two requirements. Um, have you laid eyes on some of the light up sneakers out there? Many have super-hero’s on them, like Iron Man or Spiderman, which a. he has no concept of who these characters are because he is far too young to watch the movies they star in, and b. it is my opinion that the damn marketing license for such characters drives the price up on an otherwise cheap pair of sneakers by about $10! I wasn’t paying $45-$50 on ugly sneakers that would unstick and he would probably ditch once he saw what other kids were wearing anyway.

So, after a day of schlepping the mall (both boys were actually very well behaved, and thank God for my mom’s help because Red insisted on riding the “electric stairs” {escalator} just for the sheer thrilling fun of it), we left with a buy-one-get-one pack of socks and two t-shirts from Gap Kids. And just to explain about the socks – I completely SPACED and let Red wear his Crocs that day, which if any of you are familiar, if these shoes are worn barefoot (because why would you wear socks with Crocs?) by boys who like to run around in dirt and have sweaty feet, the end result when said shoes are removed isn’t pretty. We’re talking feet caked in grime. Needless to say, we probably gave the poor teenager helping us at Foot Locker quite a disgraceful shock. I apologetically and immediately took him up on his “bogo” sock offer, which we needed anyway. Oh well, I love my bud, stinky, dirty feet and all…which by the way, we finally found really good sneakers for today! They don’t light up, but they are cool looking and functional and were in my price range. Score!

Oh, and today, we had a Mommy-Red date day!!! It began on a high note with the sneaker purchase. He was so excited-he wore them out of the store (obviously) and proceeded to run to every store we visited throughout the outdoor outlets that we were shopping at, because he said, they made him extra fast. We came home for lunch, and then went to the movies to see Disney’s Planes. It was a glorious, be-still-my-heart afternoon in that theatre. To have him so overjoyed with excitement for the movie, to see his reaction to all the previews, to have him randomly turn to me in the dark during the movie for a kiss, to hear him tell me he loves me…I wish I could have those moments every day…I’ll be re-living them in my memory for a while.

One more day off together…we meet his teacher tomorrow which will bring its own excitements, and then Wednesday is the BIG K DAY! New adventures await.

 

So now…
…until then
….. Ramble on!

hangin'

Toddling & Grooving, With a Side of Giggles, & Kisses.

Reading Eyes

Car

Don't Bother Me I'm Busy

Daddy and Roo

I have just been enjoying Roo so much lately. I think this age, 16 months, is one of the best stages of baby – or “toddler” as Red always corrects me. And toddle he does. He is so sure of his steps. Sure of himself.

He loves, LOVES music. Music is usually on while we make dinner. He will run into the kitchen – stop – find the rhythm and begin to groove, legs bouncing, head nodding. Any music will do. Jazz, Pop, new, old, Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin… I knew he was a mama’s boy.

He doesn’t say much. He has only a handful of words he knows. One of which is “Da-DDY.” One of which is NOT Mama (much to my chagrin and constant “Ma-Ma” and “Mo-MMY” noises that I make at him daily).

Kisses

He is so much fun to just watch. He is even more fun to engage. His sweet smile when he is learning something new. His big, belly laugh when we (or, more likely RED) is being especially funny. Red sometimes complains in the morning as I am getting ready that Roo hit him, or threw a toy at him…to which I explain that he just wants his attention…that he looks up to him and wants to play.  Red will usually cave to the request, I think secretly liking his big bro status.  I love watching them together – goofing, playing, teasing…a love and friendship in its earliest stages.

Over the weekend, Sunday morning actually, when Mike and I were barely awake after bringing Roo to our bed – out of nowhere and unprompted, he grabbed my face and came at me with his mouth open to plant a sloppy, wet kiss on my lips. So of course I encourage “Kisses!” any time I can..and he cheerfully obliges to both of our delight.
He will also blink flirtatiously when asked where is eyes are…batting his lashes, making me giggle and my heart melt every time.

Surfer Boy

One of our favorite past times is to race cars and monster trucks down the hallway. I’ll say “READY!?” and I’ll zoom it as fast and hard as I can as he watches, and then, chunky little legs run after it, and like a puppy, he retrieves it to do it again..and again..and again. And I never get tired or bored…I could do it all darn day.

Toes

Oh, and he loves trying on shoes.

At night, after we play, I turn down the lights and he knows..and he reaches for me, and assumes his position for a book on my lap. He listens intently and helps turn pages. Then the lights go off and the night light on. It’s our time together at night that I absolutely cherish. He’ll nurse… stop to babble something sweet to me, and then goes back to doing his thing. When done, I kiss him about a million times, smelling his soft, baby fine hair the entire time, before I lay him in his crib.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again…and again…and again. I wish I could freeze time. It goes by much too quickly for my liking. But I am thankful every day for every month, and every stage, and phase that I get to witness and take part in. And I am soaking it all in. 16 months (<sigh> Almost 17 months actually…) and so much more to look forward to. 

Feet

“I’ll follow the rules tomorrow…”

I had originally written this last month as a guest post on Call Her Happy, a blog by Jenna, sweet mama of two who graciouslly allowed me to write for her site.

As we continue to prepare for kindergarten, and work on reigning in the social skills of our busy boy, Red, I thought it would be a good time to share how the rule-following goes in our parts… (or would that be rule-“bending”, with a sharp lean toward “breaking?”) 

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Rules.  Who likes them? Certainly not the fiery little 5 year old living in my house.
He’s not a bad kid – he just has a little trouble focusing. What preschooler doesn’t? I think boys especially?
Recently, after running off to climb a tree without telling us at a festival on our town green (where we couldn’t find him and my heart was in my throat for the longest minute of my life), he later simply stated, “I was having so much fun that I forgot the rules.”

Touché little man. Well played.

Red Train Tracks

How can I argue with that? It’s not as if I haven’t conveniently forgotten a few rules myself in the past… (Early twenties? I am looking at you).
But since kindergarten is around the corner, we have been trying to work on the listening, and the focusing, and the good manners, and the following directions….and if that list doesn’t sound exhausting, just try enforcing it all on a kid who constantly comes up with reasons why he forgot to not do such things.
He is my love, my heart and my first born…so we are both learning the routines of what works and what doesn’t.

WavesI have learned to be more patient. Just because he doesn’t jump at my request as soon as I say it, doesn’t mean that given a couple of seconds, he isn’t working his way towards doing it (sluggishly, feet dragging, but still, he is moving…).

I have learned to let him talk when he has something to say, even if it is in the middle of my asking him to do something. I feel terrible when he gets frustrated to the point where he yells, “You won’t let me talk!” so I stop and ask what he has to say, and it’s usually something completely off topic – probably a distraction technique, but I am not to be played that way.
He has, however, learned that looking at me with puppy dog eyes and asking “Do you still love me?” will reduce me to gooey mush and I will begin my lenghthy explanation of how I will always love him no matter what.

Red

He has also learned from my many times of saying that I am unhappy with his choices, to respond with “You’re not mad? Just disappointed?” as if that somehow lessens the lesson I am trying to teach.  Another time, when I used the word “unacceptable” to describe something particularly unpleasing, he asked, “What does unskeptical mean?” Oh dear, sweet boy how you make me laugh…but skeptical is exactly how your actions make make me feel!

Roar

He is full of funny strategies. My mom has told me that 5 is the age of storytelling and little fibs. Oh my yes it is….and she probably got all of her wise knowledge raising yours truly. I was a spunky kid, what can I say?

Harmless, humorous and huggable, he is so full of life. He is constantly thinking. Always coming up with answers. Always asking questions. These are qualities that I want him to keep and cultivate. I want the curiosity only to keep growing. And it will, of that I am confident. He loves to learn, and he challenges us, as parents, to search for more information on whatever subject is currently spinning around in his head. Thank you Google, YouTube and numerous websites for helping us with the never-ending question of “Why?” May it never stop.

Red

He is so innocent. Though some believe that rules are meant for breaking, (I am pleading the 5th on this one) he is not there…yet. I have said on numerous occasions, that I will take little kid problems over big kid (read: teenage) problems any day.
He’ll catch on. Eventually. And then I’ll be sad that his little innocent stories are gone, and his funny excuses will no longer be made…they will be replaced with different “big kid” issues that I’d rather not think about right now…
We’ll keep trying to find a way to strengthen the rulebook, as long as he keeps finding ways to work around it. “I’ll follow the rules tomorrow Mommy, ok?”

Sigh. Ok little man…ok.

me and finn

Kindergarten…The Next Chapter

Oh, You

I said goodbye last week to Red’s pre-school teacher who has been an amazing force behind his transformation from a 3 ½ year old little boy, to kindergarten-ready five year old.
It was such a sweet and sad-ish moment, which is exactly how I feel about the impending first day of kindergarten.

1st Day of Preschool

This was his first day of preschool 2 years ago – what seems like just yesterday. Look at that baby face!

Some people don’t understand that sending my first born off to kindergarten is a pretty big deal. It’s a day full of emotion, and butterflies, and happiness, mixed with a twinge of heartache on my part, as I prepare for officially leaving the baby years behind. I mentioned today that he is growing up too fast, and a well-meaning (childless) colleague said, well, you have another one that is still little. Yes, I do, and of course I enjoy watching the little one grow, and experience all of the fun phases that he will develop over time…but it’s the memories of how Red did it in his own unique little way, that make me reminiscent.

Baby Red

Red at 2
I welcome the “school-age” phase and all that it has to offer, and I greet it with lots of smiles and excitement for his sake. I am looking forward to watching him blossom in a new environment, and make new friends, some of which I hope will be lifelong. That’s the beauty of this part of his life. It is the beginning of a new social realm where he will come into his own. We will begin to really see his originality grow, and we’ll get to share all of his greatness with new people who will mold him, and cheer him on, and help him excel at the things he does best, while strengthening his shortcomings so he can flourish.
Red is so enthusiastic. Recently, he has been requesting (every night) that we read the book It’s Hard to Be Five, by Jaime Lee Curtis and illustrated by Laura Cornell. (Big thanks Grammy and Poppy – we really love this book!!!)

It is written from a five year old boy’s perspective who says:

“School seems so scary. School seems so strange. I’m only five. My whole world’s going to change.”

I asked Red if he was excited or nervous about starting kindergarten as we laid in his bed reading, all snuggly before lights out. It is supposed to be quiet time. When he answered my question, he grabbed my face looked right in my eyes, and in his crazy, silly way, he started shaking me and said

“I’mExcitedI’mExcitedI’mExcited!!!!!”
He’s excited. That’s Red.

Silly

I’m glad he isn’t nervous or afraid. He is sometimes shy with grown-ups, but with kids? No way! If he was feeling even a little apprehensive, it would be so much harder for ME.

The bus is one of the hardest parts of this whole progression. Unlike kindergarten, where there is an orientation, and we meet the principle, and the teachers, and the nurse, and are slowly transitioned into what he will experience and who he will be surrounded by day-to-day, on the bus, we are basically handing him off to a total stranger who will be responsible for transporting him to school every day.

He won’t be driven around by only me or Mike anymore.

He won’t be under our thumb.

HE WON’T BE WEARING A SEATBELT!

Why do they LOVE this part of it so much??? I’ll tell you why – for all of the reasons above.

Red can be very influential – and LOVES to make people laugh. Sometimes this isn’t a bad thing, because he is a very cute and funny kid! But, sometimes he is influenced. He gets “the sillies” at inappropriate times, and gets in trouble for it at school.

Who will his friends be? Who will he gravitate toward? He is a boisterous one, no doubt about that, and extremely endearing, and a charmer, and I love him for all of these traits…

And whoever he picks out of the crowd to play with, I hope they are nice to him.

And I hope he is accepted.

I hope his sense of humor is appreciated.

Aren’t these things we all wish for our children?

What about the fresh kids? We all know they exist. The bad influences…they are out there. May he steer clear, and never BE one of them!!! They are the instigators, the blamers, the bullies, the swearers (YES, cursing – I’m talking BAD swears that no kid should even know!!!) We’ve seen and heard it for ourselves within our own neighborhood.

I know Red is harmless, but again, we are now entering the NEW. And who knows what others might think… However, I am vowing right here and now, that when it comes to judgments by others, I will take most of it with a grain of salt. Only Mike and I know who Red is in his heart, as well as who we are as parents. I hope he keeps his outgoing, fearless, confidence. He doesn’t seem to care (or notice) what others might be thinking about him, good or bad. I hope he is brave enough to challenge the status quo, and march to the beat of his own drum. But for now it doesn’t matter, because he has already told me that he wants “the same light-up sneakers that ‘Jason’ has.” So, until it changes…we’ll watch him blend. And that’s ok too.

Forever, for both of my boys, I will always be their biggest fan. I will always be their advocate. I will always show my brave face when they are feeling anxious. And I will always love them no matter what. But that doesn’t mean my maternal worry won’t creep in as they inevitably grow up and face new chapters that will continue to shape their sweet personalities.
Because Red is my first, I get lumpy-throated just thinking about his first day which is around the corner. But I know that what comes with it are fun, vibrant, cheerful, colorful, happy experiences that he is about to create and enjoy and share with us, along with all of the other fun-loving five year olds. I can’t wait for new pieces of art to adorn our kitchen walls, which make it the happiest place in our home. I can’t wait to witness the creative thinking he will master, and the enthusiasm that he gets when he is learning something brand new, and how his eyes light up and sparkle when he explains all the stuff he knows…These are the things that reassure me that all of his growing-up just brings more of the good stuff that I get to be a part of as his mom.

Me and Red

There are amazing new roads ahead, and of course there will be some obstacles, which are all part of the journey. I just want to be sure we give him solid footing to navigate the path that suits him best. And if it takes “light-up sneakers” (…just like Jason’s) to light the way…by all means, kid. They are yours.

Confessions of My Dirty Secrets

Over the weekend I cleaned and organized our bedroom.

Big deal you say?

Well, for me, it was a chore that needed to be done, not only to clear the dust from under my bed, but also the dust from my mind. I am so guilty of stacking, piling, saving, filing and flinging stuff into the mess that had begun to take over my corner of the room, as well as the top of my half of the dresser. I am especially bad with papers. Things that come in the mail have a tendency to accumulate. And then there is the stuff that I have and forget about, like the Eric Carle crayons, plate and sippy cup that I bought for Roo that I had tucked away in the corner and found in an old work bag full of, again, papers. I counted five frames that I have purchased on clearance from Target. Let me re-phrase that – five EMPTY frames. We have a lot of bare wall space, and plenty of great photos that I can put in these frames; it’s just getting around to actually doing it has not happened yet. I had a ton of magazines on my nightstand that I had every intention to read, but I always end up on Pinterest or Bloglovin’ at night instead. (Can you blame me???)

I am so immersed in other things and end up ignoring the stacks that are staring at me from across the room.
I unearthed all of the gift cards that we have yet to use. Not that I had forgotten, but when I actually put them all together in one big envelope, I got pretty excited. We have movie passes, swanky restaurant cards, Pottery Barn cards, a Giggle store card…it’s enough for a couple of date nights followed by some home decorating, and a kids shopping spree.

That’s like a jackpot of fun stuff!  I need to get on that!

gift cards

I was so in the zone. Once our room was clean and dusted and nightstands cleared, and papers thrown out, and junk drawers purged, and new storage solutions implemented (thank goodness for the functionality and visual aesthetics that baskets provide!), I tackled the rest of the house too.

Dresser

We’ll talk about my Hello Kitty love later.

nightstand

Roo actually has some decorations hanging on a wall in his room – triumph!

Roo's Room

I also removed toys from the living room (aka, the playroom) and put them in his room so he has more of a reason to be in there other than sleeping. Red’s room, which was another disaster area that resembled the after-effects of a giant toy explosion, was cleaned and tidied, though there will be a major re-organization project coming up before kindergarten starts.  I’ll try to post a before and after of that!!

I am on a roll. I’m trying to be better. Organization does not come naturally to me. Well, it sort of does, like when we moved into our house just three short years ago. We went from our tiny two bedroom rental cottage, to our current, small-ish, three bedroom ranch, and we threw away SO.MUCH.STUFF! Moving is so full of leaf-turning, and good intentions, and making a space a reflection of the people in it, and I had it all covered for a time. But we are all guilty of dropping, and piling and working around the small stuff that eventually becomes something that cannot be ignored anymore.

Cleaning is so good for the soul.

In the basement, out of necessity, Mike had to clear out a closet due to some condensation on the floor from the heat wave we had. In that closet are boxes of things that we hadn’t unpacked since we moved, and we said whatever we don’t need is getting thrown out. Fine with me, but in the midst of going through stuff, I recovered things I had thought were lost forever. I found high school relics such as my yearbooks and my field hockey stick. And crazy but fun things, like a Hello Kitty air-pop popcorn machine. (Don’t judge – I had, and still have a kitschy love for that sweet, little bow-eared kitten…) In other words, I uncovered some old pieces of me that were in storage for a while…literally and figuratively.

And now that I have recovered lost treasures, and cleared the disorder from the nooks and cranny’s of the walls that we live in, I am free to move on to other things. I’m not so distracted by the hodgepodge of miscellany that began to creep back into our physical and mental spaces. Without all the clutter, I can create places to do enjoyable things, like practicing my sewing skills on the sewing machine that was buried in the basement closet or concentrate on drawing, and crafts now that I know what supplies I have and what I need. You know – actually implement some of my Pinterest inspirations, so my boards aren’t all for naught.

And maybe, hopefully, I can finally get going on ordering prints of the zillion photographs we take everyday, to fill the assortment of lonely frames that are awaiting a space on my ample, empty walls.

I am re-focusing and will continue to torpedo myself throughout the house and rearrange whatever I can to make it cozy and homey and functional, and clutter-free so that we can all enjoy it the way we should.  But hey, if you happen to stop by on a random weeknight, I’m not promising that a trail of toys won’t greet you at the door,

Getting Red to clean up after himself more consistently…is still a work in progress…but really, aren’t we all?

http://www.lovethispic.com/image/20738/decorating-your-home-quote

My sentiments EXACTLY.

Working-Mom Guilt…Be Damned.

I had knots in my stomach all day.

I wanted to post something earlier – like yesterday – but life sort of got in the way of my creative juices.  And by life, I mean work, sucking it straight out of me. 

I have always been a working mom.  It’s necessary in our household, and I like having a job that allows me flexibility, good benefits, and the luxury of going to work, doing what I have to do, and leaving it behind at the end of the day so I can come home and play.

postman

play

play 2

Lately however, as work stuff becomes more complicated and less enthusiastic, the nagging feeling that things are going to change (maybe for the better?) has been weighing heavily on my spirit.  To make matters worse, I have recently been experiencing a severely nasty case of working mom guilt that has me thinking hard and trying harder to figure things out. 

It is time for me to stop underestimating and over compensating.  I’ve decided that I have to just start standing up for myself and what I believe to be right and true – and saying it out loud.  But it’s not easy.

I’m sure every mom feels it at one point – the tired, stressed, lumpy throated remorse that comes with the thought that there isn’t enough time in the day and we aren’t doing enough for our kids.  It’s all I can do to get through the nightly routine before I crash in the rocking chair with the baby in my lap.  And I have Mike to help – I have no idea how single moms do it.  But we do it – we all somehow conjure up some kind of super human strength that allows us to run, run, run, from early morning until late at night.  And when the house is finally quiet, and I have the time reflect on everything that’s been accomplished, and the lists have been checked off, I look at those sleeping faces and sometimes all I want to do is cry.  I’m not normally an overly emotional person, but my gosh, I have been so sensitive these days.

sleepy love

Coming into work on a Monday morning to an email stating that I would have to travel for two weeks did not help my mood either.  In fact, it sent me into a tail spun panic.  I am not in a position where travel is the norm, or necessary, or expected.  But with the current state of affairs happening in my department, I knew I would be contributing some knowledge to the cause…It’s nice to be needed.  But need me from my office.  I am in no position to travel and leave Mike with two energetic boys, one of whom is still nursing.  Not that he couldn’t handle it (love you babe!) but it would be a struggle.  Did I mention it was Two.Weeks!?  And maybe it’s just me – because I have friends who travel – and I know dads who stay home, and they do it just fine.  And if it was the opposite situation, and it was Mike who had to go away – would I feel the same?  I don’t know…I think I’d be ok.  Is that contradictory?  (yes.)

The reality is – working moms can’t please everyone.  Either work or family is going to be let down at some point.  And choosing which to invest most heavily in is a no-brainer.  But sometimes it feels like a risk – which is just so unfortunate.

cars

I have great work ethic.  I am passionate when I have challenges that are motivating.  I am incredibly positive and thoughtful and use “collaboration, influence, teamwork, and agility” (all that lovely corporate lingo/jargon) when needed. 

So after two days of anxiety – I scheduled a meeting with my boss.  It took coaching from my best friend, and talking with Mike, and texting another friend, and running the scenario over and over in my head before I could even hit send on the email.  I had myself so worked up about making the statement that I cannot travel, and Google of course gave me all of the worst case scenarios (including this scary article about what your HR reps won’t tell you!  Thank GOD I don’t work in HR).  Yes, I thought I could be fired.

And after a short and reassuring meeting, it all turned out fine.  I am staying put.  No plane ticket needed.  No lonely hotel room.  I will be working remotely, still adding my valuable (my word-ha!) insights to the team, but coming home to my much-loved, much needed family every night – just like I always do.  Despite my fears, and apprehension, I did what I needed to do – what I knew was right for me, and I asked for it.  And it turned out to work in my favor.  Lesson learned.  Use your voice.  Mom voice, work voice, whatever voice it takes – and make things happen for yourself, because no one else will.

So working mom-guilt be damned.  There aren’t enough hugs and kisses in the world to give my kids before and after a long workday, but despite that fact, they know they are loved.  And I know I am needed…and while I have to, I’ll give as much as I can to the 40 hour grind.  But when that whistle blows (for some reason when I wrote that I imagined Fred Flintstone riding down a dinosaur’s tail to his car…) – I am out of the reach of emails and at home reading stories, and tucking in, and savoring every second of the short amount of time the weekdays allow us to have together.