Saturday, August 28, 2010


My work-life balance is finally getting to a place that I can handle. I met with my boss a few weeks ago and, with tears in my eyes, pleaded for some flexibility. I felt like I was missing out on so much. It wasn't that I worried that the separation was bad for James. It was that I knew it was bad for me.

At the end of a long week, I just felt like I hadn't had my fill of my little boy.

My boss said that he understood where I was coming from, but couldn't give preferential treatment to people with kids. I responded like a professional, noting that I understood his concern and would try to come up with a flex option that wasn't necessarily preferential treatment. Then, as any professional mother would, I went and cried in my office.

I decided to let the issue lie since he seemed reluctant to grant me flexibility. Just in case, tough, I came up with three flex options that involved some sort of pay cut. I thought this would make it clear that it wasn't preferential.

He brought the issue up at our weekly check-in on Thursday and I had three ideas ready to go. The final decision is that I will be able to take an additional 20 days off each year as leave without pay. This is in addition to my 15 vacation days, 3 personal days, and 6 sick days. I'm so thrilled to have the option to take days off occasionally when I just feel like I need to be at home for my own sanity.

Sure, there's a pay cut involved, but my boss also told me the good news that they are realigning salary schedules for certain positions that have been underpaid and mine is one of them. Even with the additional days off, he expects my take-home pay to remain the same as it is now or increase. Woohoo!

It makes me love my job again. Plus, I feel like I can exhale. I don't have to fight and claw to each moment with my son because I can choose to spend a random day at home with James.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Fun While It Lasted


I know how much fun it is to wake up and play with mommy in the middle of the night. You get to drink milk from your favorite place, hear mommy sing you songs, get rocked, and sometimes you get a fresh diaper too. However, mommy is getting pretty darn sick of getting up with you twice a night, so I'm afraid these days are coming to an end.

You are so good about going to sleep easily and at a consistent time each night, but you are also good at waking up to nurse every three to four hours during the night. Why?


Anyone out there had experience with frequent night wakings? My pedi says that it's all just a habit and we need to pick a night and let him cry through the night. The problem is that he is genuinely hungry when I go in and nurse him -- he drinks like a madman, which he hardly does anymore during the day since he's too busy playing. I worry that I'll be depriving him of much-needed nutrition if I don't nurse him at night.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Love, Love, Love

Sometimes I just can't believe how much of it I have. When I look at that little boy, cuddled up beside me on the bed or crawling like a wild man across the kitchen floor, my heart nearly explodes.

Remember those first days and months with a new boyfriend? That feeling that your relationship was full of *new.* You fell asleep thinking of him, slept dreaming of him, and woke up counting the minutes or days until you could see him.

As Brett and I near 12 years together and six years of marriage, that adrenaline rush is, for the most part, gone. Rather than being the relationship equivalent of a new pair of heels or a flashy leather jacket, Brett's my sensible yet cute flats or my cozy cable knit cardigan. My heart may not skip a beat at the sight of him, but I swoon in a different way when I crawl into bed with him and gently drape my foot over his.

I'm just fine with that.

But, James, he's my exclamation point in life. He's the one who consumes my thoughts, whose birthday I've been planning since the day he was born. He's the one whose room I creep into to stare at before bed. I think that's exactly how it's supposed to be.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Is It Fair?

Is the way that we talk about motherhood with one another fair? I think that we tend to glorify it. We paint it with bright colors. Say things like, "it's a moment that will change your life forever." We take pictures of grinning moms holding little bundles as they're discharged from the hospital. Newborns resting peacefully on bare-chested daddies.

All these moments happen and they're wonderful. However, my recollection of the first six weeks of motherhood included lots of other moments. The nights upon nights when I woke up every two or three hours to nurse. The afternoon when I sat sobbing, bare-breasted on the hallway floor. The two empty bags of pads that I'd soaked through. The night that I excitedly texted my mom at 4 am to let her know that James had slept for an entire 4 hours straight.

It's not that I'm complaining because all those moments were 150% worth it, it's just that I'm wondering whether we adequately prepare women to become mothers. Did any of us really, really know what we were getting ourselves into when we became pregnant? Aside from a few flip comments, like, "Sleep now, while you can," did anyone pull us aside and tell us the dirty secret, "The first few weeks? They suck." Maybe "suck" is the wrong word. As James has gotten older, I find myself nostalgic for those maternity leave days when I could spend a whole day in bed, unshowered, with a tiny baby on my breast.

Maybe people tried to warn me, but I wouldn't listen because I was so excited to become a mom. It wouldn't have mattered had I understood. I would gladly and repeatedly take on those first six weeks for my son. I just think being mentally prepared for it would have been handy.

I just think we owe it to each other to be honest that those first six weeks will pretty much kick anyone's butt. But how and when? I don't have the answer, but I just can't stay tight-lipped and watch another women get blindsided by just how hard this mommy thing is.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

{Tranquil Tuesday} Working Less

I just finished reading this awesome article from the NY Times, called "But Will It Make You Happy?" Here's a short exerpt...

"One major finding is that spending money for an experience — concert tickets, French lessons, sushi-rolling classes, a hotel room in Monaco — produces longer-lasting satisfaction than spending money on plain old stuff. "

The basic gist of the article is that the recent economic recession has forced many people to rethink their spending habits. People are cutting back, getting rid of cable, staying home with their families, working less (oftentimes out of necessity.) Interestingly, research shows that a lot of these changes will make people happier. Rather than a focus on accumulating things, people are happier when they have more time, leisure, experiences.

Thus, we have Tranquil Tuesday when I plan to share some little thing I've done to make life just a little simpler. This one isn't done yet, but it's a work in progress that I'm so excited about. I'm planning to "buy" some more time with my son.

I have started discussions with my boss to give me more time with James, either by working from home once per week or even working few hours each week. I assume there may be a pay cut involved in this decision, but I'm okay with that. I'm not quitting or even going part-time, just getting a little more time to spend with my boy.

I'm nervous about how it will all turn out. My boss is older and not super-flexible, so the idea of working from home is totally foreign to him. At the same time, I think Brett's concerned about our household budget taking too much of a hit.

Monday, August 9, 2010

{Manic Monday} Here's how it's all gone down...

I'm going to try something new, that I will likely do just this once and fail to repeat, because that's just the way I operate. I thought I'd give you all a glimpse into my life, by just plain listing the way my day has gone...

  • Wake up at 1 am, nurse James for all of 10 minutes before he falls back asleep
  • Wake up at 4:30 am and listen as Brett gives him a bottle of milk, changes his diaper, and he cries for 20 minutes before falling asleep
  • Wake up at 6:50 am and nurse James in bed where he promptly falls asleep
  • Shower, give up on doing my hair since I'm "growing it out" due to an inability to find the time for a haircut
  • Put on makeup. Teal shadow is just the cure for a melancholy Monday, no?
  • Pack for the day -- four empty breastmilk bottles, three full ones, baby breakfast: mango, peaches, and oatmeal; baby lunch: squash, tofu, cheerios. For mommy: one banana, one Lean Cuisine.
  • Am all ready for work, but baby James is still asleep in ourbed and I firmly believe in the "never wake a sleeping baby" adage.
  • Download James pics that my cousin sent me.
  • James wakes up, has the stinkiest poo ever. Slips into an adorable orange plaid romper.
  • Kiss the husband and the dog
  • Drive to work listening to knick-knack paddy-whack, which is amazingly catchy
  • Drop James off at the baby-sitter's
  • Head to work, where I am somehow responsibly for planning about 50 events that all seem to be taking place in the same two-week span
  • Have a meeting about an event
  • Have a phone call about an event
  • Respond to emails about an event
  • I hate planning events
  • Drive to baby-sitters house where James has tears in his eyes and hasn't napped all morning, although he did eat his whole breakfast
  • Nurse him, which causes him to fall right to sleep.
  • Sit in the glider for 10 minutes while little man sleeps peacefully on my chest
  • Drive back to work, simultaneously calling Brett to see if the home repair folks have come out yet to fix our flooding basement
  • Eat my lean cuisine. Yuck!
  • Work some more

8 Months Old