Posts Tagged ‘Career vs. parenting’

The Battle Continues

Friday, November 4th, 2016

From Friday Mom – Erin:
It took me 2 hours to get Rory to bed last night.  His daddy had dinner plans, and so we waived bye bye around 7:45, and then began the slow, draining saga of five good nights followed by a slew of excuses, trips downstairs, quiet time on the couch, etc, etc, etc.

I survive with my crazy schedule by signing back in by 8 and working another couple of hours.  Eventually last night I told Rory that he would simply need to watch me do that.  I felt like a bad parent, but the best way to shut down his toddler antics was to deprive him of the attention and reaction he appeared to be seeking.

Things have been beyond busy around our house lately.  It is no fun, and I know the kids can sense it.  But I also know that he is pulling levers and pressing buttons to see what he can get away with.  We’re going to need to curb that a bit more moving forward.  The question is how. Guess we have the topic for post-bedtime discussion for the next few days.  At least we get an extra hour to sleep off the bad bedtime. . .

Both Ends

Friday, June 17th, 2016

From Friday Mom – Erin:
I have perfected sleeping sitting upright.  At least three times in the last two weeks I have nodded off at my computer while trying to finish work late at night.  Fortunately, I have not yet fallen asleep on the actual keyboard, but that could be coming.

Work life balance is a complete misnomer.  It is a fiction that we tell ourselves to try to stay sane in the daily effort to organize chaos.

Why do we do it?

Because the chats with Rory on our way to school and work are fantastic.  Because the hugs when I get home for bedtime are divine.  Because there is value in our children knowing and understanding the sacrifices that we made to be there for them no matter what, but still being very good at what we do when we are not at home.  

Does that make having to explain why I have to go to work on the weekend easy?  Of course not.  But I make sure to explain that I get paid to help people solve problems, and sometimes problems don’t happen on timelines we can control.

For now, Rory seems to get it.  I know that razor thin balance will shift over time, as will his willingness to accept my inability to be omnipresent.  And I know I will repeat the same coming to terms with it a year or two later with Charlotte.  Whether it will always be this busy, I have no idea.  My only hope is that if things do stay this way, they will realize and appreciate all that goes in to keeping our little family afloat.  Even if that recognition is 30 years down the road when trying to find their own balance– that will be just fine.

Snow Storm

Monday, January 25th, 2016

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
It’s always important to be prepared for inclement weather. You must winterize your home and car, have an emergency plan in place, and of course, stock up on the necessities. For most people this means two things: bread and milk. If you are the mother of a young child, let me add one thing: DIAPERS. I usually get big packages of diapers delivered to our home, as many families do. I take out one sleeve and put the rest in our utility closet. If I forget to restock—no problem—I just run to the drugstore for emergency supplies while I await the new package delivery.

As luck would have it, I ran out of diapers on Sunday morning. Not a great time for that to happen in snowy New York. The CVS around the corner—that’s usually open 24 hours—was closed. Luckily with a bit more trekking we found some. And the kids were delighted to be out in the snow and even procure some yummy fresh bagels.

We pretty much hunkered down at home for the rest of the weekend and didn’t run into too many problems. Even our car was in a lucky street parking spot that didn’t get covered in snow, and now that the streets are plowed, we can use it whenever we need to. Now that winter has kicked into high gear, I’m eager to see what else Mother Nature will throw our way.

Stay warm!

Perfect Timing

Friday, January 8th, 2016

From Friday Mom – Erin:
In celebration of her first birthday, Charlotte has brought home a stomach bug from daycare.  Two kids in her class came down with it mid day on Thursday, and by Thursday night our little girl was down for the count.  The timing could not possibly be worse.  We have a joint birthday party planned for both Rory and Charlotte on Saturday afternoon, and we have been diligently scrubbing, washing, and sanitizing everything in the house in blind hope that we can keep Rory from coming down with what is ailing Charlotte.  If we’re lucky, she’ll be feeling better by then.  But I’m not counting on it.

I’ll be calling the party venue in the morning to confirm my fear– that we are likely out the full cost of the party even if neither child can actually attend.  I suppose that will cause me to think twice about going all-out for young kid birthdays.

I am hoping that my pessimism is unfounded and that both kiddos are feeling well by Saturday.  Even if mommy and daddy are down for the count and we have to send them with the grandparents, I’d really like at least Rory to get to enjoy his party.  He’s been talking about it pretty much non-stop for the better part of the last month, and I know he will be absolutely devastated if he can’t attend.

As hard as the past day has been and the next 48-hours may be, I know these are truly minor problems in the grand scheme of things.  With the exception of the virus of the hour, our children are both happy and healthy.  They bring home their fair share of germs and the juggling act of caring for them when they get sick while managing two full time jobs can be quite a load to bear.  But the good far exceeds the bad, and I just try to remind myself of just how lucky we are.  Even if we are up to our elbows in dirty laundry.

Resolving To Do Nothing

Monday, January 4th, 2016

From Friday Mom – Erin:

Happy New Year!

We wound down 2015 with good friends and a home cooked, family friendly meal of tacos, lots of toddler giggles, late bedtimes for the kiddos, football for the grown-ups, and early bed times for mom and dad.  Despite our best intentions, the holidays have not brought the rest and relaxation we might have hoped.  Both my husband and I ended up far busier at work the week between Christmas and New Years than we would have liked.

Between welcoming Charlotte into our home and undergoing a seismic change in my job, 2015 has left us reeling somewhat.  The chaos of the holidays was no different.  Even in our “downtime” we were in seemingly perpetual motion.  We are hoping 2016 brings a little less excitement and perhaps a little more time to stop and be present in the moments that are passing by all too quickly.

So today, rather than celebrating with any types of high impact activities or outings, we are camping out on the couch with more football, fuzzy slippers, and PJs (maybe even all day).  We’ll have plenty of snuggles, probably the occasional breakdown, perhaps a few more baby steps from our little girl, and a weekend of early bedtimes to rest up for another crazy year.  I can’t think of a better way to savor family and the joyful anticipation of a new year ahead.



Friday, December 18th, 2015

From Friday Mom – Erin:
Our little girl has been sick this week.  She started running a fever on Monday morning as we were trying to get ready for the day and ended up staying home from school for four days straight.  Her demeanor has been fine, and her spirits have been high, which makes it all a little more tolerable.

My spirits, in contrast, have been quite low.  This week has been a roller coaster of stress and frustration.  My work load has managed to pick up to unbearable levels right as we head into what I had been hoping would be a quiet holiday season.  Between working from home to monitor the new baby sitter, taking Charlie in to see the doctor, and  keeping my previously scheduled teacher conference with Rory’s teacher, I have gotten much less that I would have liked from a work perspective.  That, in turn means that I have been working late and sleeping too little.  Even as I write this, I should probably be preparing for a meeting in the morning.  Unfortunately, my eyelids have gotten too heavy to bear.

At this point, all I want for Christmas is a good night’s rest and a healthy family.  Here’s hoping that a week from now I’ll get at least one of those things.

Leaning In

Friday, July 3rd, 2015

From Friday Mom – Erin:
We are in the market for more help in the evenings during the week.  While I have been successful so far at keeping the same work hours that I did when Rory was an infant, it is growing more and more apparent that from a professional standpoint I am going to need to put in longer hours at least a few times a week.

As much as my husband could probably handle it,  we are leaning toward trying to get a college student to help out one or two nights a week.  Our hope is that such a sitter would also be able to help on weekend date nights.  We are realizing that this little family team needs a slightly deeper bench in order to survive.  Never one to ask for help, I have struggled with whether I want to outsource in this fashion. But I watch how the stress can grate on both mommy and daddy and I have no doubt that it is the right choice for us right now.

Now we just need to agree on the job description.  My hope is that by having regularity in whatever set up we come up with, the kids will simply be used to mommy being away on Wednesdays or Tuesdays,or whatever the case may be.

I know that these are not real problems when compared to folks much less fortunate who have no choice but to work multiple jobs or long hours, so I try desperately to keep that in perspective when grappling with my own mommy guilt.  For me, balance is not a matter of “having it all,” it is simply a matter of owning your choices and being okay with them.  And I am working on it.



Shifting Priorities

Monday, June 1st, 2015

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
Since I became a mom four years ago, I have been somewhat obsessively focused on parenthood. My husband and I made the decision for me to be at home full-time, and we’ve sort of never looked back. It’s a system that really works for us. We like having an adult household member home to take care of the children, the house and other domestic-type chores. We don’t enjoy the loss of my income, but it’s a trade-off. Transitioning from a highly educated and highly productive member of the workforce to simply “Mommy” has been interesting, but lately I’m wondering if the pendulum might soon swing in the other direction.

We’re gearing up for Haley to enter full-time school. Hudson is still a baby and will require full-time care for many more years. Yet having one child who is doing her own thing all day long really has me thinking about what my plans are for the future. For the past few years, I have dabbled in freelance writing (this blog being the most consistent and personally meaningful engagement), but in some ways, it’s something I’m disillusioned with. The internet has broadened writing opportunities greatly, but with so many voices out there, websites and editors are more interested in how buzz-worthy a piece is rather than if it actually has something compelling to say. I’m left wondering if I’ll pursue writing in a new form or take an entirely new path.

This situation is so distinct from when I was asking myself, “What am I going to do with my life?” in my early twenties. Back then the possibilities seemed endless. I don’t have vast amounts of time or resources to devote to a new enterprise because I have a family. But I don’t believe that being a mom means you’re cut off to new opportunities. It just means that whatever you explore will have to be worth it. I can’t wait to see where the next chapter takes me.

On Returning

Friday, May 1st, 2015

My Dearest Charlotte:

This upcoming Tuesday morning I will be putting on my work clothes, packing up my briefcase, and heading out the door with your brother for school and work. You will stay behind in your grandmother’s capable hands while I return to work, and you will be spending your days laughing and cooing at her. I’ll return each evening for hugs, snuggles, bath-time, and bedtime. And each day we will begin the dance again—a carefully orchestrated attempt to get out the door and home from work all in time to maximize the few moments I’ll spend with you each day.

Later in the month, you’ll spend your days with Daddy, as well. Perhaps he’ll be the one to see you roll over for the first time, or to become more consistent with your adorable belly laughs. You’ll gobble up bottles and giggle away. And, if I am lucky, he’ll capture some videos to share.

You and your brother will never know anything other than life with two working parents. Come June, you will join him in daycare, and you’ll join us as we embark on the daily adventure to school. I’ll drop you off with your caring teachers and you’ll get to experience a whole new world of stimulation and experiences.

Our “normal” is and will remain a sort of organized chaos: daily checklists, bags and lunches to pack, cups to wash, and bottles to prepare. While sometimes it may seem as though your parents are moving in a constant blur to prepare for the next thing, please know that we love you more than you can possibly imagine. Each day that we are away from you, we are looking forward to the next time we can hold you or witness your latest trick. It isn’t easy, and it isn’t perfect, but so little ever is.

It is my hope that, some day, many years from now, should you have children and choose to make such a similar return to your own office or career, you won’t be wracked with the same guilt or doubt that I am facing. Perhaps society will have stopped its constant focus on women “having it all,” and you will be comfortable with your choice. But, God forbid, if the doubt hits you too, I’ll let you in on my little secret for getting through: consider the hurt in your heart mere confirmation you care deeply and worry to your core. Because that, quite simply, is what any mom does.

All my love,

The List

Friday, April 24th, 2015

From Friday Mom – Erin:
I head back to work in a little more than a week from today. I am savoring these last few days with Charlotte, but I am also trying desperately to make it through the final items on a fairly lengthy “to-do” list that I had hoped to accomplish while I was on leave. As I mentioned last week, my work schedule is often too demanding and unpredictable to plan ahead with any degree of certainty. That means that our social calendar is plagued with uncertainty, as is our around-the-house, long-term chore list.

When we moved into our new house at the end of last July, we put off a number of activities until the winter, knowing that I would be home full-time with our new baby girl and able to tackle some of those tasks. Before children, we tended to tackle a few house chores each weekend. Whether hanging pictures, weeding flowerbeds, or organizing storage rooms—we were able to steal away a few hours here and there for those tasks. Since Rory was born, our weekend time is largely dedicated to him. As a result, a number of the lengthier “projects” have fallen by the wayside. This includes both simple tasks, like reorganizing the kids’ closets, and larger ones, like hanging a gallery wall in the stairwell or calling an electrician to assess a failed light fixture. Sure, naptime provides a short window of opportunity each day. But let’s face it—sometimes mommy and daddy need a nap then, too. This is even more the case now that we have two children.

When Charlotte was around a month old and finally falling into a bit of a schedule (of sorts), I started slowly checking these items off the to-do list. I purchased artwork for bare walls, I hung shelves, I rearranged furniture, I emptied boxes, I sorted clothes, and I sifted through a fair number of items that made the move but probably shouldn’t have and collected them all by the curb for the garbage men to carry away.

Some weeks I tackled a lot. Others, I ignored the lists in favor of taking in all of Charlotte’s adorable baby smiles and savoring these fleeting days. Most days, I found a delicate balance between staying in the here and now of it all, and keeping my eye on the goal of feeling “settled” in this house before I head back to the office in May.

In this last week, however, I am trying very hard to remind myself that this is likely our last child. As a result, these are the last few weeks in which I have no obligation other than to bond with our newest little blessing. The house will not fall apart around us if we leave a wall bare, a paint job unfinished, a light fixture dark, or a shed unorganized while I enjoy these final days. As I ready for my return, I am constantly reminding myself that a two-working parent household is marked by a certain degree of chaos and unbalance and “to-do” lists left undone. Hopefully, by the end of next week, I’ll be okay with that!