As a Mother’s Day present to myself, I am going to be re-branding this blog. In the past I’ve used it to showcase some of my creative endeavors (most recently, my 21 Days of Creativity). I’ve also occasionally linked to my cooking blog, Butter and Whisky. That stuff will still happen, but in addition, I will be writing more about being a mom.
This is not another SAHM Mom Blog!
I am a career mom. I am a librarian at a university; I am tenure-track faculty. I love my job. For the first year of my daughter’s life, I can honestly, 100% say that I loved my job more than being a mom.
These days, it’s more-or-less even. Some days work sucks (cornered by the chancellor, difficult student questions, unruly employees who love writing on the whiteboard) and some days being a mom sucks (middle of the night wake-ups, super messy/stinky diapers, unexplained tantrums), but they tend to even out.
But I felt like I did not have a lot of places I could go for advice about being a career mom. I adapted some advice from SAHM blogs, but a lot of it, I went it alone. So I am going to write out my experiences, starting from the pregnancy and going forward. Not all of it will pertain to every one, but I hope it will help someone.
Especially a couple of friends – one of whom has a career and is about to try to have a baby, and the other of whom has kids but is going back to school to pursue a career.
I’ve got a few categories of ideas thought up, but is there anything else you want to see? Let me know in the comments!
I’m going to level with you: I’m still not doing great at self-care. I suppose it has a lot to do with my Queen Bee mentality, but I am finding that unless I am forced to think about myself (like, say, by my dear husband), my default is to completely ignore myself until I implode. And obviously, imploding is bad.
Some of my implosions lately, though, I feel were unavoidable. For example, I had a small implosion at the end of the day last Friday, after that conference I attended that zapped me of my motivation (or, perhaps, more accurately, did not bolster my motivation the way I had hoped it would.) And things have gotten unceremoniously dumped in my lap in ways that leave me asking, “Well, what the hell am I supposed to do with that.”
In an effort to combat that, especially with yard sale season (and my self-care routine that goes with it) winding down for the year, I have started something new. Every morning, I identify five ways that I can practice self-care throughout the day. I try to pick a variety of things, and I always write them down. The goal when I do, is not to do all of them (although that would be awesome.) The goal is instead to do at least one of them.
I find that if I have the options in front of me, it makes it easier to follow through. I have been fairly successful at it, too, but I only just started on Tuesday, so I am reserving judgement on whether or not it has actually helped. I’ll let you guys know!
It is a little early to start talking about the holidays, but holidays have always excited me and it only got worse when I had my daughter.
That being said, I do everything big, and big is hard when your child is less than a month old. I was still recovering from her birth (and the move!) when October rolled around, and it was time to put my Halloween decorations up. I managed it, though. We even sent pictures to a couple of my coworkers who had grown accustom to seeing my decorations (well, putting up with me showing them off might be a better way of putting it.)
My husband did help me, while Baby Girl was asleep, put up some of the heavier things, like the wonderful spooky gravestones I got from Target. They still fall over some times, but at least they don’t blow away like the cardboard or Styrofoam ones! And the rest of it, I’m happy to say, I put up.
It made me feel more like a human and less like a Mombie. So if you are the type of person who decorates for the holidays, let me tell you now, it can be done – you just need to schedule the time in, and make sure that anything you put inside is baby proofed!
(My Halloween village is not going up this year for that very reason.)
My three-year anniversary is a week from today. The internet tells me that the traditional gift for the third anniversary is leather (which we certainly can’t afford, but I understand how that would have been different historically) and the modern gift is crystal/glass (which we wouldn’t want with Baby Girl around, unfortunately.)
With the budget on lockdown, we aren’t going to do gifts anyway. I have relented about cards, only because we’re both sentimental fools and have kept all the cards and letters we’ve given each other over the years. And we are going to celebrate with a nice dinner out – made all the nicer by the fact that we have been denying ourselves take-out because of budget concerns. We will be taking Baby Girl with us, which I know does not delight servers or customers, but we are aware of this and try to take precautions. We ask to be seated away from other customers (if it can be helped), we only take her places where there is a kids’ menu and therefore some expectation that kids will be there, and we tend to ask for the check fairly soon after we get our meals. (We hardly ever order dessert, mainly because there are usually better, separate places to get dessert. Unless there’s cheesecake. That’s a different story.)
I know I should be getting her used to being left with people, but honestly my husband and I don’t have a lot of options and I don’t like the idea of leaving her with a stranger when she’s too young to tell me what happened when I was gone. I also grew up not having babysitters very often (for a myriad of reasons), so I’m super-hesitant about it.
She is getting better at communicating though, and if we can get her schedule to stay fairly sane, babysitters may not be as far in the future as I think!
As for our anniversary, the other thing we’ll be doing is taking anniversary pictures. We missed doing fancy shmancy ones for our first anniversary because baby girl was literally a month old! But we took some last year and even though we did them ourselves, I think they turned out fabulously. So we’re going to do them again this year, at the same place we got married! Weather permitting, we’ll be doing them this weekend, so I will report back about how they turn out!
Sorry for the bastardization of the Star Wars quotes, but I felt like it was appropriate.
I thought I had rebounded from my lack of motivation when it comes to work after preparing for a presentation at a conference. It was not too much work to prepare it ( since it was just a rehash of a topic that I have presented on probably a dozen times- I really need to move on from that topic!) and I felt pretty good with the idea that I was going to get away from campus, meet new people, and get to talk about my work. Even scheduling snafus at my library could not keep me from being excited. This was going to be the turning point in my semester!
And then came a wrong turn, my GPS not knowing where I was (apparently its last update was before a particular interstate got extended), another wrong turn because I wasn’t sure where the interstate would spit me out, unexpectedly driving through the town where my daughter was born (a traumatizing experience I still haven’t brought myself to talk about on here), and 21 miles of construction traffic. Plus, I had to circle the block three times to find the parking for the place, but by that point, it hardly registered as a problem on my radar. I was two hours late for the conference, but mercifully still early for my presentation. And I didn’t miss lunch!
Then, I had to drive home. No wrong turns (okay, well, technically there was that one, but I managed to fix it fast) but there was still the construction to deal with, which led me to be stuck in traffic for half an hour, maybe longer. All I know is I ate a donut while I was in the car and I never eat when I’m driving.
So, this week I’m still looking for that spark to ignite my motivation again. And until then, I am muddling through. I have found that making a list of stuff that needs to be done helps (at least a little.)
As I have talked about many, many times before, my daughter’s sleep schedule is atrocious, but lately it has gotten even worse (which I frankly didn’t think was possible.) She is an incredibly willful child when it comes to sleep – on both ends. She will fight going to sleep with the tenacity of a prize fighter, but she will also squirm and fuss and whine if she’s woken up before she wants to be woken up.
And because my husband stays home with her all day, we have been way too lax about getting her on a schedule. Plus, my work schedule has been crazy and I’m afraid that any schedule we try to put her on is going to get screwed up on any given Wednesday (or Friday when I’ve gone to a conference. Or .. well, you get the idea.) I don’t want to blame this solely on my employee whose class schedule interrupts our work schedule.
So now I’m in the predicament of developing a schedule that lets me run my day-to-day with more ease (and let’s be honest, more sleep), but that can also be flexible – or at least workable – when my schedule changes. It’s a tough thing, to be sure. Especially when she seems to refuse to sleep more than six hours at night. I really don’t like starting my day at 5 am, when I sometimes have to be at work until 8pm.
I think the first step is going to be to have a heart-to-heart with my husband, since he tends to be the one who has to implement the hardest parts of a schedule (namely getting her to sleep when I’m not there.) She will fall asleep for him, if she can be convinced to sit still long enough.
I will report again when I figure out what step two is….
Had a long, mainly unproductive weekend due to a few things, including my daughter’s nightmare sleep schedule (fighting her nap on Saturday, for example, made going to the pumpkin patch impossible.) So this Monday morning, I am in great need of motivation. In case you are, too, here goes:
Build your own dream, or someone will hire you to build theirs.”
Attributed to Farrah Gray, a motivational speaker, this doesn’t apply to my work exactly (though I do suppose I’m helping people with their dreams of better education and a better job….) I’m not looking to work for myself by any means. I’m just looking to make myself happier, and that starts by laying out what my dreams are so I can work toward them.
What dream are you working toward?
I mentioned in my very first Sunday post that you would never see any religious or spiritual posts from me. I consider myself to be very logical and science minded and therefore tend to shy away from things like organized religion.
That being said, while I am agnostic-leaning toward atheist- I also consider myself a pagan; I try to see the beauty and “magic” in nature every day, and I do think there are forces beyond our current knowledge that we can tap into. I just happen to think this is stuff that science hasn’t explained yet – you know, that old Arthur C. Clarke quote, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
Science may never explain it, and I certainly don’t expect them to explain it during my lifetime. What I do know is that I generally feel better when I am at least paying lip-service to being spiritual. It’s probably just a placebo effect, but that’s okay. Studies suggest that placebos can work even if you know they are placebos!
In that spirit, I have decided to start yet another blog (yes, I know, I have a problem) to house something I like to call: Unfuck Your Soul. I don’t actually believe in a soul as the Abrahamic religions consider it – I am more referring to the energy you are putting out into the universe and your attitude toward life. Your non-logical self, if you will.
On the blog, starting on November 1st (if you are familiar with the lore behind Samhain, you’ll understand why I chose this date, though I caution that it is purely symbolic- and a heck of a lot closer than New Year’s Day!) I will start with 30 Days to Unfuck Your Soul, with activities, downloads/printables, and thought exercises that will hopefully help me – and others – get in tune with their spirituality again.
Will you join me?