Rebranding this Blog

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!

Savings Sunday: Summertime … and the living is… Expensive!

I don’t know about you, but I feel like April – September are the most expensive months in my life.

You’d think I’d feel the opposite: October-March have my anniversary, Thanksgiving, my birthday, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and my dear husband’s birthday, plus half a dozen other birthdays whose celebrations vary (mainly family), but I always feel overwhelmed by summer.

There’s Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, trying to fit in a vacation, lawn care and planting, back to school, and to top it off, Baby Girl’s birthday at the end of September. Plus, outrageous electric bills for at least two cycles (only two if I’m lucky!) 

One of the things I am trying to do to compensate for this problem, is to get ahead of the spending. I’ve been talking about preparing for Baby Girl’s birthday, and I’m down to just figuring out toys (which are expensive!) 

I’ve also gone around like a crazy person, turning off lights and playing with the thermostat. But mostly I’ve just been trying to budget better. It’s not like I don’t know all of this is coming every year! 

I think we’re doing pretty well, though. We only had to dip into the savings a little bit (about $200) to pull off our vacation, and the rest of her birthday will fit easily into September’s budget.

The key is planning and organization, neither of which I’ve ever been fantastic at, but I’m learning!

Self-Care Saturday: Forcing Yourself To Care

Sometimes my inherent laziness gets in the way of me actually taking care of myself. I would walk to the end of the earth for my husband, my daughter, my friends … but I  can’t be bothered to get up and make myself a damn sandwich if I want to, half the time.

Couple that with anxiety and intermittent depression, and you have a miserable woman on your hands.

So, when I woke up this morning to the sound of thunder, I thought long and hard about just staying in bed. “Surely all the yard sales are canceled,” I told myself. “Just stay in bed and wait for Baby Girl to wake up.

My husband was awake, though, and that got me out of bed. I thought perhaps we could spend some time together before she woke up. He, however, wanted me to go out and get some time to myself.

I relented. I told him, “If I can get a quick shower and she doesn’t wake up and it doesn’t start actively raining, I’ll go out.”

With those “outs” already in mind, I skipped my morning chores and high-tailed it for the shower. Go through the shower and got dressed without waking her up. It still wasn’t raining – maybe people hadn’t packed up yet? Even though Baby Girl was starting to stir, my husband urged me on.

It started raining before I got out of the driveway.

Nonetheless, I’m glad I tried. It meant I got my shower in and out of the way without disturbing Baby Girl, and at least I tried to do something nice for myself. I didn’t just give up.

Still need to come up with something, though. Oh, I know! I’ll go to Kohl’s!

Flashback Friday: My Very First Day of Work

Warning: This post is about my life before becoming a parent.

Every year around this time, I reflect on starting the position I currently have. Like many things in my life, I don’t remember my first day of this job with any kind of stunning clarity.

That’s because my first day at the library was not my first day of work. My technical first day of work was August 15th, but before that I had come to the library to check on things and introduce myself to my new employees. My predecessor had died unexpectedly (this was after I had been hired but before I was allowed to start and before I had moved to town), so I was especially eager to get my new employees to trust me and for me to get to know them.

And then there were several days of paperwork and orientations for new employees. And after that departmental meetings.

Then I started at the library. I spent that day mostly cleaning out the stuff from the old ,librarian – most of his personal stuff had been removed, but there was still clutter left. Some of that stuff, I ended up not getting rid of until last year! I was concerned that a need might arise, but I decided after three + years, we weren’t going to need it after all.

I think that set a precedent, though. Every year now, either on the Friday before classes start or that Monday (depending on the amount of meetings I have) I take some time to clean out both the reference desk and my office desk.

This has helped me tremendously. I organize papers, throw away things that are no longer relevant, and make notes for plans for the year. I review my meeting notes from the year before, to make sure I haven’t missed anything. And then I organize my binder for the coming year. I’ll be talking this coming week about how I stay organized at work. It’s part of the way that I manage to (for the most part) leave work at work while still staying productive.

Time to… Thursday: Back to Work!

The transition week is almost over! Next Monday, classes will resume and it will be back to the grind for me.

Baby Girl is not pleased. Monday she cried when I left. Tuesday and Wednesday, she was asleep when I left. Today she cried.

It hasn’t been fun, but I know she’ll get used to it again. Plus she get to stay home with Daddy all day and play.

Unfortunately, I’m not transitioning well myself. I’ve been exhausted and simultaneously not able to sleep. Today I work up 45 minutes before my alarm for no apparent reason.

I hope this will get better.

Working Wednesday: Short-term Traveling

About once a month, my job requires I go to another campus about an hour away. This meeting causes me to skip lunch and disrupts my daughter’s nap, but it’s only once a month and not even every month.

But the first week of the new school year, I have two of these meetings back to back, and tonight I am especially feeling the strain, because the new dean potentially wants to add more. As the one of only two employees this would impact (and me more so), I am seriously concerned going forward what this will mean for my family’s schedule- and my library’s. I think she is aware of the staffing issues at all the campuses and this may be my saving grace (she has only been here six weeks and may not be thinking about the logistics.) 

On the other hand, my part-time staff wanted more hours and this would potentially be a good way to give them to her.

And it could all be an exercise in futility as we get into the swing of the new semester. We will have to see.

That’s all that’s on my mind today; I’m too tired to be insightful. Hopefully better posts will resume tomorrow.

Together Tuesday: Together with Co-workers 

This post is a bit late because today was the official start of my work year. 

My work year starts with a day long retreat with my coworkers from the main campus. From 8:30 to 3:30, we’re in a meeting where we review the year before and start making plans for the year ahead. We go over the budget and the schedule for some of our standing engagements.

I guess it’s just because I’m young, or maybe it’s because I’ve known these people forever ( I worked with the majority of them when I was a student), but I am always so happy for this meeting. Yea, it may run a little long , and certain people like to talk too much, but these are my people! And tomorrow, we have the library-wide kick off, where I’ll get to see everyone else. I’ll also enjoy that, especially because I’ll have lunch with my best friend.

So today, I ask you: what are the “upsides” of some of the meetings you have to go to?

Menu Monday: Make Ahead Meals

This year, I will be working late on Wednesdays because my employee has a class.

I’m okay with this; we did this routine in the Spring, too – except it was Thursday, instead of Wednesday.

The biggest problem is finding recipes I can make ahead and leave for my husband to finish. I do a lot of the freezer meals like I’ve talked about before. But right now I’ve got a freezer full of all kinds of other things (like frozen shredded zucchini and diced tomatoes from my garden), so I’m trying to find things that are easy to make ahead the day before (preferably while I’m cooking Wednesday night’s dinner.) 

Last week, for example, when I had the dinner meeting, we did pizza. But there’s only so much pizza I’m willing to feed my family.

So the search continues…