Showing posts with label Working Mom. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Working Mom. Show all posts

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Surviving Preschool And Doggie Drags

I apologize for my absenteeism the past week or so.  I had a bit of the "out and downs".

No, not the down and outs.  I went out and ended up down.  On the ground.  Twice in 48 hours.  I got my ass kicked by two 100+ pound dogs during leisurely walks around their neighborhoods.

I am woman, hear me fall! (On the upside, Operation Fattypants has left me with 18.8 fewer pounds to hit the ground.)

The first dog was an enormous one year old black lab who thinks every living being should be greeted with Marmaduke-like enthusiasm.  
Marmaduke-like Enthusiasm - Exhibit A
Unfortunately, if you're at the other end of the leash and not holding onto a tree when it happens, you will become very well acquainted with the surrounding grass and/or shrubberies.

I feel like I'm freakishly strong, but some things are just BV (Beyond Vic).  When he saw another puppy, he took off.  And I went flying as I stumbled, tripped on the sidewalk, and did a face plant into the grass.  I was a human kite. Very attractive and professional.

The second mishap happened two days later.  I was walking a large and sturdy Swiss Mountain dog when a potential customer approached me with her two dogs.  He lunged, pain shot thru my right side and off he went, as I caught myself on a conveniently placed holly (ouch!) bush.  

The only thing I could say to the woman was a deadpan, "Wow.  That must make you feel REALLY confident about my abilities, huh?"  Fortunately this dog has done this to his owner, so if only one of my 20 visits was a fail, I guess I looked pretty good. She hired me.

Needless to say, my body was killing me.  And I discovered that if I lost use of my right arm, I'm entirely unprepared to start using the left.  My mom asked if there was anything she could do to help and my answer was, "Sure.  Could you come over around 730am and shampoo the right side of my head?"  Try brushing your teeth with your other hand.  It's like you've never brushed teeth before.

Oh! Hey!  I survived preschool!

No one had to take me to the loony bin.  I thought for sure that Justin was going to be a mess, but it was me, not him, who started crying when we got in the car.  It felt like just the other day that I was getting to know this tiny, new being in the hospital.  Suddenly, she talks, walks, and bosses us around, and we are leaving her with strangers for 2.5 hours twice a week.  How in the hell did THAT happen???
As Phil Robertson would say, "Happy happy happy."
At the open house, I joked with the teachers to not be afraid if they see Justin lurking in the woods with camouflage and surveillance equipment.  He warned them not to worry about the string that would be running from her ankle and out the door, because he would be on the other end and just wasn't ready to cut the cord.
Allie and Daddy after her first day
She did very well when we finally left and I kept hearing your words of advice (extra thank you to Madeleine M.!).  The teachers said she was just fine and asked once where we were.  When she told Allie that we went to the store to get something, she suspiciously asked, "They aren't outside without me are they?!"  Leave it her to be worried that she might be missing out while we were playing with all of the awesome toys outside.
Serving me tea at our pretend tea party at school.  Shortly after this I was sobbing in the car .
Allie has wonderful teachers who are truly lovely people.  I'm so excited for her!  I'm also sad for us.  She has officially taken her first major step toward independence and education and a social life of her own.  I really hope I am able to help her navigate all of this well.

You all should hope that I don't have any of your phone numbers because I foresee me making desperate calls saying, "You'll never believe what she just did!  What in hell am I supposed to do NOW???"
Opening her very first "big girl backpack" that was delivered AFTER she got home, of course.
By the way, Happy 50th Blog Post!  I can't believe that no one hacked and cancelled my blog account 49 posts ago.  Yous guys/Y'all/Younz keep letting me ramble on, which still amazes me.  Thanks for sticking around, even if you just got here!

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Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy 237th Birthday, America!

Happy Independence Day, everyone!  It's July 4th and everywhere I turn there are pool parties, barbecues and bevericues (parties with hosts who love to get shnockered and hate to ruin a good drunken stupor by providing food for their guests' stomachs).

I wonder if our forefathers did the same thing each year.  Did they celebrate their freedom from the laws of another country by hanging out near the closest swimming hole (did rich people have some kind of swimming structure back then?), tossing back a few mugs of moonshine and torching up a bonfire to cook some sort of burger (venison?) and corn for everyone to eat?  

That last question made me realize that I did not pay enough attention in history class because I have no clue what colonial life was like beyond covered wagons and corsets.  I know they had corn though because there was that whole thing with the Native Americans teaching them about maize and stuff before the greedier settlers stole the land and murdered some of them.

Moving on....

This marks the end of my fifth year with no holidays.  Whoo hoo!  Next month I start my sixth year of business and I think I might be a rebel and actually take some holidays off.  Holidays are business booming events for people like me, but I really do miss having Thanksgiving dinner without thinking "I should've blocked off more than three hours to driver here, celebrate, eat and get back to work out there."

Last winter I officially became disgruntled when my daughter had to wait until I got home at 11am to open her Christmas gifts.  That's when I stomped my foot (after I cried like a big baby) and said, "NO MORE!"  I'm missing events that I can never relive.... because I'm working?

I'm not looking for a pity party here, so you can put your tiny little violins back in their cases. For the previous four years I really didn't mind working on holidays at all.  But once Allie started to participate in them, I loathed going to work on those days.  Suddenly things aren't as "routine" as they used to be.  I get to see the magic in the holidays all over again.  Before Allie, the magic was a little more "rabbit in a hat" and less "saw the lady in half and see her move around while her top half was away from her bottom half."

However, this Independence Day I was a-OK with working.  

Why, you ask?  (just pretend that you asked)

Because I live in a town where they "celebrate" July 4th on the Saturday BEFORE the holiday.  My town doesn't let the rest of the United States boss it around!  It celebrates when it's convenient and it's damn well ready to get its independence on!  Back off USA.

Seriously, we have our little celebration the Saturday prior to the actual holiday. The whole week before that, the firemen have a carnival and then on that Saturday they give us a lovely fireworks display to conclude the week long celebration.

Why they don't do it the same week of the 4th, I cannot say.  These are the people who will save my family and pets while putting out a fire if it happens in my house, so they can do whatever they want on whatever day they want and I will be very compliant and cheerful about it.  

My home is a 5 minute walk from the park where they have the carnival and fireworks display, which works out quite nicely. Every year  I make Justin drag lawn chairs out on the lawn by our patio, light citronella candles, grab a drink and we plop our asses down to enjoy the show.  My parents live across the street and usually come over to watch with us, too.

This year we waited on the damn lawn for about a half hour until the firemen decided that there was an appropriate amount of darkness to bust out their lighters and get things going.  About 5 minutes before that, my mother looked at us and asked the question that you frequently ask and/or hear when you have a two year old.  "Did she poop?  I smell something."

How appropriate!  Perfect timing to push out a pooper!  I'll chalk it up to the excitement of anticipation.

I leaned over and took a whiff and said, "No.  I don't smell anything.  Allie, did you poop?"

"No," she answered, straight faced lying to me.  And I was feeling lazy so I believed a two year old over my mother who has the sniffer of a bloodhound.

This is a conversation I never imagined having on an every day basis before I had kids.  It just wasn't something I considered when the topic of having children popped in my head.  "I'd like to have kids someday.  I wonder how much time I'll spend discussing poop when that happens?"

The answer to that question is A FREAKIN' LOT.  Anyway....

About 2 minutes before the show began, the smell hit me like a ton of bricks.  Allie was sitting right next to me and you would've thought she was standing on the chair with her butt pushed up against my head.  Yowzers.

There was no denying that someone had pooped and that person was 3 feet tall and insisting that she had a clean diaper.   Knowing that time was limited, I jumped up and whisked her out of the seat and ran for the house, with her yelling, "Mommy where we going???  Why you running inside????"

I think I freaked her out by moving so briskly.  She thought she was in trouble and was on the verge of tears.  But I had a mission.  Shoes off.  Pants down. One diaper tape ripped off.


"Mommy!!!!  It started!!!"

I have never changed a diaper so fast in my life.  Even Sadie, who is terrified of fireworks and was hiding in the bathroom with her head behind the toilet, peeked out to see what the commotion was all about.  Diaper off, wipe, new diaper, fasten tape, pants on, shoes on, whip child up in my arms, run back through house, toss diaper into garbage with NBA-like precision as I pass by, out the door without smacking into the screen, thru the patio, to the lawn chairs, plop her on Mom's lap... and then I sat down, gasping and panting.  Cuz fireworks are big doin's, you know!
The festivities begin
The best part of it was that Allie spent over half of the time that the fireworks were going on telling my mother, "I almost missed fireworks cuz I pooped!  I almost missed it!"  She announced this about every ten seconds, very loudly.  Loud enough that my neighbors could hear it over and over again too...and then tell me about it the next day.  Yay.

Mom and Allie watching the fireworks.  This have been one of her announcement moments since her  mouth is open....either that or she was in awe of the show.

Justin and I spent the second half of the show cracking ourselves up with our weirdo imaginations.  People used to tell me that I "see in cartoon" and I kind of think there's some truth in that.  I take situations and imagine funny outcomes.  One of the reasons why I married Justin is that he can take those dreamed up outcomes and run like a mudder flucker with it.

This particular situation was a pause in fireworks.

Justin leans over, "What's going on?  That's not it, is it?  Cuz that's a shitty display if that's it."

Me: "No.  That's not it.  They do a finale.  We haven't had that yet."

Justin: "So, what are we waiting for."

Pause as I start seeing in cartoon and begin giggling.

Me: "What's happening is that there are two guys back there fighting over who is going to light the next one cuz they both think it's their turn."

Justin (deadpan): "I'm sure you're right."

More giggling.

Justin: "What now?"

Me: "I was just thinking that if that was you and me we'd be back there yelling at each other and blowing each other's flame out:

  • "It's my turn! (blow)" 
  • "No, it's not! You just did the last one! (blow)" 
  • "I did not!  That was YOU!  (blow)" 
  • "Oh my gawd!  What are you fucking smoking?? (blow)" 
  • "YOU are the one with the shitty memory here! (blow)" 
  • "If you blow out my lighter one more time I'm going to bitch slap you."
  •  pause. 
  • "(blow) Now what, BITCH?!"
(for the record, that would be me starting the fight and then finishing it by calling him a bitch)

Justin: "And then we start pushing each other, throw down the lighters, drop to the ground and start beating the crap out of each other."

Me: "MMA fighting on the lawn at the park."

Justin: "Rolling down the hill into the crowd."

Allie, from two chairs away: "I almost missed the fireworks cuz I pooped!"

We giggle.  The fireworks start up again.

Me: "I'd totally kick your ass."

Justin: "Nice.  Beat up a cripple.  Very nice."

On that happy note, I will leave you with a photo from earlier that day.  This is one of my favorites.  Allie loves her "little Sadie"stuffed animal, and when we let Sadie near it, she gently cleans it like it's her puppy.  It's adorable.

We were on the pack porch when our neighbor lit a bottle rocket. I'm surprised there wasn't a Sadie-shaped hole in the screen door right after this.  Two minutes later, however, Sadie could be found in the bathroom trying to fit behind the toilet.  She's 80 pounds.  Our toilet isn't that big.

I hope you all had a fun-filled, safe 4th of July!

(A little something for those of you who didn't know how old our country's okay....THESE people were WAY OFF *click here*.  Feel better now?)


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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Identifying With Dads

Let me begin by wishing all of you wonderful Dads out there a very happy belated Father's Day.  I hope you all enjoyed the day in whatever way you wanted to.  It was your day, so you should get to pick the way.  I saw a lot of dads at the Bergen County Zoo this weekend, doing the dad thing.  However, if peace and quiet was the way to go, I hope you got it!

Excitement at the zoo.....whatever could they be looking at????

I've been thinking about our (Justin's and mine) parenting roles since Mother's Day and how the ways  we chose to celebrate Mother's and Father's Day was in line with that.  On Mother's Day I just wanted to be with Allie.  All day, all about her.  On Father's Day Justin wanted to take a nap.  He took two.  He wanted to spend time with Allie, but since he spends all day with her every day, a nap was a luxury. 

When I had to pick a theme for this blog earlier this year, I thought 'what is a strong factor in MY momness?'  What came to me was that I have a very different role than I had expected I would as a mother.  I always said that I was going to wait to have kids until I could raise them myself for the most part.  If I was going to have to work, my job was going to interfere as little as possible.

I hear the gods of fate snickering already.  Buncha wiseasses!

Needless to say, I didn't get exactly what I had planned.  Most of us don't, so I'm working on accepting that.  My little business has been a brat since Allie was born.  It was like a first-born child, determined to get my attention in any way it could, trying to divert my focus from Aliie.  I am still working on it, but I'm becoming a better business parent.  It gets proper attention and when it acts out, I take disciplinary action.  

Not long ago, the parallels between my life and that of the traditional dad started to reveal themselves to me.  In the morning, I wake up and immediately begin getting ready for work.  Justin is left to change Allie, find her breakfast, and get her started on her day.  In the afternoon, I'm calling in to report when I think I'll be done with work and Justin is filling me in on what he and Allie have been doing all day.  At night, I make getting her ready for bed my job so I can have that time alone with her.  Justin is sitting in another room decompressing after playing with a 2 year old all day.

Neither of us thought that things would work out this way, but considering that we have no choice in the matter, we've accepted the roles and hope that one day they will reverse.  In the meantime I try to focus on all of the benefits of Allie spending so much time with her father.  I know first hand how the father daughter relationship determines so much of how a girl will handle the rest of her relationships in life....along with the type of man she will be drawn to.

Side note....if there are any men reading this who have little girls, I don't want to put pressure on you with that last little ditty.  Try to view it as both a compliment and a future reflection of your Dad Skills.  It is no joke that you will play a  huge part in who your daughter chooses as a mate.  It's SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN.  People have devoted their lives to proving this.  

So, on behalf of daughters (and their potential mates later) I implore you to keep this in mind when you make decisions about how you live your family life.  You are what will be familiar.  Do you want your daughter dating someone like you?  Are your ethics and morals good enough for your little princess?  Do you want someone treating your daughter like you treat her mother?  I am rooting for you....let it be a YES!  And those things you don't want your daughter subjected to are maybe something you can work on.  If you change, her choice of mate will change too!  

Back to my original point.....

There are many days when I walk through the door and think, 'So this is what a lot of working dads with SAHM wives feel like.'   I feel like I'm walking into a show already in progress.  Life has been going on here with the rest of my family and I'm just joining in.  Actually, it seems like I have two separate movies going on and I jump from one to the other.  Neither one totally "defines" me and they are extremely different.

I have a newfound respect for Dads.  I get it.  Well, I don't totally understand because, let's face it, I'm a girl so I was raised on the flip side of the traditional parent roles.  Plus I'm overly sensitive sometimes, wear a bra and girly underwear, and get a little bitchy every 28 days.  Those things also tend to set us apart.

I think we all should try things out on the other side.  I'm not going to preach about how tough it is to be a mother.  After all this post is about dads.  But I know that if fate hadn't forced me to be a mom who works full time while my husband is a full time parent, I wouldn't know what it was like to be on this end of things.

I feel honored to have this Traditional Dad Insight.  Hats off to all of the men who do it and make it look so appealing that women have been trying to do what you do for half a century.  It's not as easy as I always thought it would be.

Personally, I'd prefer to be June Cleaver staying at home with Wally and the Beav.  I'll let Ward be the dad, thank you very much.

Just in case you were wondering, this is what was exciting at the zoo.....there were 30 prairie dogs running around and I think these three were in charge.  That one on the left seems to give off a body guard vibe.  He looked like he was going to lunge at me and eat my nose off at any moment.  I'm sure he likes to rough up the paparazzi.

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Friday, March 1, 2013

Drive-by Dreams and Holding Hands

Well, that was a short lived dream.  For a week I felt as though I was going to have to look for a new blog name.  I almost believed I was going to Side A.  Ahhhhh.....that was not going to come to fruition.  

As much disappointment as Justin felt about not landing the job, I felt twice as much about not having the chance to be a full time mom and bond more with my little girl.  I rarely let myself get my hopes up, but toward the end of the week, I started imagining what this new life was going to be like.  Not good.  

I was sad.  I spent a whopping 30 minutes crying over the loss of opportunity, angry at myself for allowing myself to imagine, pissed at him for presenting this potential change and then taking it away (that was more of my own bullshit, not his).  After the thirty minutes, I told myself that I didnt lose anything because I never had it to begin with and decided to focus on helping Justin through his sadness.  That's how I chose to cope.  Time to move on.

I have so many versions of this photo.  This is the most recent, but I have ones from her first month of life, holding onto my fingers with her beautiful, perfect little hand.  She's always sleeping on my lap and we are snuggled under a blanket. Im not sure why I feel the need to capture these particular moments, but I think that I feel connected to her mentally, physically and spiritually at the time.  She needs to touch me and I need to feel needed.  Oodles is accomplished here on both of our parts.  I wonder how many more years of these moments I get before they sort of fade out. 

I can't remember the last time I held my mom's hand.  Maybe at some point in the past year when I was at her house, crying about some situation that had me upset in a big way, she reached over and held my hand to comfort me.  Since Allie was born Ive had more of those moments in the past 2.5 years than in the decade before.  So perhaps there's a point in time when you go back to needing to hold your mother's hand?  I hope Im still around when Allie comes back for round two later in life so she can see both sides of this mother and daughter at the same time.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sunday Sunday

This morning my alarm went off and I rolled over to see Allie between us, looking like a little cherub in her fleece footie pajamas, knees tucked under, tushy in the air, mouth open slightly, fast asleep. On the other side was my annoying phone which was vibrating and telling me it was time to go. Go, go, go.

Im trying to remember what Sunday's were like before this job. It was six years ago and that feels like it was a lifetime ago because we weren't married, BA (before Allison), my father was still alive and I worked some job that I both loved and hated. Im sure we slept in way past when normal people got up, and when we woke up Im sure we laid there like blobs trying to discuss how we could/should/would spend the day until after noon. Saturday was cleaning day (THAT I freakin remember...ugh) so I guess Sunday was for doing....whatever.

Now, Sunday is for getting up early, driving all over our town and towns nearby to get to appointments, in hopes that I can get home and spend quality time with Allie before I have to go out and do it again later that same day. For Justin, Sunday is getting up when Allie does, turning on Peppa Pig or Mickey Mouse, fetching her breakfast, laying in bed or playing in the living room until I get home. I seriously like his version better.

Periodically, I'll have no work on Sunday and I will be able to have the Justin version of Sundays, but its foreign to me. As much as I love it, I know its a fluke and it won't last. There is a tiny part of me that will not let me enjoy the moment because Im afraid to get comfortable and then have it taken away from me. Most of all, I spend a lot of time wondering how long it would take for me to adjust to that being the norm if I no longer had this way of living. I'd like to think it would be speedy! Although I think I would feel like a fish out of water for awhile.

I'd like my weekends back please. Or at least give me Sunday.