Category Archives: Work Avoidance

I’m a consumer consuming. Or a consuming consumer. Either way, I’ve got it bad.

I have become a woman obsessed with using her phone. Once the kids get to bed, it’s: which site am I going to go to next upon which to waste hours and hours of time and energy? 

The past few mornings I’ve woken up feeling extra groggy, and I’m starting to wonder if this is the cause. Well, either binge surfing the net, or the added caffeine and sugar I’ve slowly let creep back into my diet after months and months about being vigilant about avoiding it.

It’s just there’s SO MUCH out there to read and see and peruse and browse and buy. I’ve got world news to catch up on, celebrity news, local news. Facebook news, Instagram posts. 

And then there’s the most recent obsession: the Bloglovin’ app. It’s an app that lets you plug in all your favorite blogs so you can follow them directly and get all recent posts in one place. Right now I’m subscribed to about twenty food blogs. And a couple of writing blogs. LOVE wasting time here.

When I’ve checked all of this stuff out, there’s always Pinterest and Etsy and Wayfair and Overstock and Craigslist and Facebook yard sale groups to check in on to find ideas and inspiration and items with which to fill our new home. So far I’ve purchased nothing. But the temptation is strong. Real strong. 

I’m feeling the need soon for another of my necessary iPhone abstinence sessions, which I self-mandate every now and then. 

But for now, I’ve got to run and check out these Memorial Day sales online.

Peace out.

To be a stay-at-home mom, or not to be a stay-at-home mom. That is the question.

It’s almost that time of year. Back to school. I’ve ridden the roller coaster that is maternity leave for four long months. In less than two weeks’ time I must show up to work. On time. At 8:00. In the morning.

How I’m going to manage this as well as packing up the kids when I’ve been: 

1) Sleeping in until 7:28 every morning (Liam graciously gets up with the kids and lets me sleep in until the last possible minute—he leaves at 7:30);

on top of 

2) Nursing not one, but TWO children throughout the night (I’ve been meaning to wean the older. Really, I have. But I just get so lazy. And, instead of pumping to help reduce my supply—which is SO inconvenient—I just keep nursing and nursing and nursing);

I just can’t fathom.

But it will get done. Somehow, it will get done.

It’s funny. I used to think I wanted to be a SAHM (stay-at-home mom). I thought I’d be great at it. With my love of all things craftsy and my education background, I thought I could homeschool the hell out of my kids and enjoy every moment of it. I mean, who better to be with them than me, right?

But each time one of the kids was born, I was floored at how challenging it all felt. Wasn’t motherhood supposed to come easy to me? To fit so well? What was with all the impatience? The anger and rage I sometimes felt? And the noise?!? When the hell was I going to get some quiet? A break? Hmmm…perhaps I am not the best person for the job.

I know, I know. I’m too hard on myself. It’s one of my not-best qualities. I am mindful of the fact that the spring birthdays of the kiddos coincided with the busiest time of year for Liam and his job. I’ve often told him I think I could be a great SAHM, but only until 5:30 or 6:00 in the evening, the time most partners get home from work. After that, all bets are off.

To be with kids all day, every day, (or at least five out of seven days) and be responsible for all meals, entertaining and enriching, baths, tooth brushing and bedtime, never mind nursing, without any break or down time, is pretty rough. Even for a patient and unanxious person—unlike me—I imagine. I’ve had my fair share of breakdowns. I give mad props to people who have several kids and do this year round, as well as to single parents. I feel ya.

That’s not to say that there haven’t been moments tender and hilarious too. I’ve enjoyed being around this spring and summer for my kids. Going to the park, the pool, and the library. Taking walks and bike rides around the neighborhood. Staying in pajamas all day. Having breakfast for dinner (more times than I’d like to admit). Painting rocks. Painting on paper. Playing house. Watching make-believe dance recitals and Frozen concerts. 

I like to think that I’d enjoy being a SAHM once all the kids are in school full time. Ha!

Where the routine might look like: get up with the kids in the morning, prepare breakfast, and then see them off to school. Then, a short while later, sit at a table ALONE while drinking coffee, maybe go for a walk and do yoga, or a crossword puzzle. Knit. You know, all the things I dream of fitting into my life someday

Like writing for a few hours, uninterrupted. Getting a great dinner started. Cutting fresh flowers from the garden. Preserving tomatoes or pickles. Then, after all that, welcoming the kids home from school with a fresh baked, nutritious snack. Helping them with their schoolwork. This is the kind of SAHM routine I could get behind.

Alas, the decision has been made for us. It makes financial sense for me to work. So, from 8:00-4:00 each day I’ll work a job for which I’ll get paid. And from 4:00 until 8:00 the next morning, I’ll work as a stay-at-home mom, a job for which I will not make money, but provides its share of riches and blessings all the same.

Doing the bare minimum. No extra flair here!

I haven’t seen the movie Office Space in years and years, but I’ve watched it enough times to have bits of it memorized.

The past few days I keep recalling the scene where Jennifer Aniston’s waitress character argues with her boss about the amount of ‘flair’ she is wearing on her work uniform suspenders. The flair is just a name for the fun pins and buttons the waitstaff are encouraged to wear to express their individuality or something. The boss requires each employee to wear a minimum amount of flair—fifteen pieces—which Aniston’s character does, but then he’s always on her about wanting her to wear more, but without every actually coming out and saying so. One of their hilariously awkward encounters goes like this:

Stan: We need to talk. Do you know what this is about?

Joanna: My, uh, flair?

Stan: Yeah, or, uh, your lack of flair. Because, I’m counting and I only see fifteen pieces. Let me ask you a question, Joanna.

Joanna: Mmm-hmmm.

Stan: What do you think of a person who only does the bare minimum?

Joanna: Huh. What do I think? Um, you know what, Stan, if you want me to wear 37 pieces of flair, like your pretty boy over there, Brian, why don’t you just make the minimum 37 pieces of flair?

Stan: Well, I thought I remembered you saying that you wanted to express yourself.

Joanna: Yeah. You know what, yeah, I do. I do want to express myself, okay. And I don’t need 37 pieces of flair to do it. [she gives Stan the finger]

Joanna: All right? There’s my flair! Okay? And this is me expressing myself, okay? There it is! I hate this job! I hate this goddamn job and I don’t need it! [she storms out]

So why has this scene in particular been playing out in my mind recently, you ask? Because I have no flair any more these days. I can do no extra, be no more than the bare minimum.  And, I’m surprisingly OK with this.

At work, I find myself wanting to hide under my desk and nap all day long. If no students were to show up at my door for instruction, I wouldn’t go seek them out, or complain about it. Instead, I’d offer up silent prayers of thanks, and sit about rejoicing in my lucky fate. Like a woman who’s all too aware of her impending retirement (or, rather, maternity leave, in my case), and overwhelmed by teaching demands, and general physical and emotional exhaustion, I have checked out, so to speak. I may be showing up on a day-to-day basis, but there’s not a whole lot going on behind the great and powerful curtain.

Likewise, at home, I am all about simply surviving—just getting by. Sit on the couch or at the table coloring pictures for an hour? Great! Leftovers for dinner? Check! Take a bath for an hour and then sneak away to the bedroom to lie down while the hubs plays endless games with the girls? Absolutely. Dirty dishes left out on counters and tabletops? No problemo. Laundry not been done in days and days? Ain’t no thang.

Gratefully, my mom and our sitter, both of whom spend time watching the girls in our home, do a phenomenal job of cleaning and tidying up the house while we are at work. They make it so it’s easy to relax when I come home. Also, l’m fortunate to have a partner who can pick up the slack now that I’m getting more and more tired earlier and earlier in the day.

Taking it one day at a time over here. And hoping I don’t have to flip anyone off for attempting to get me to do any more than I’m capable of doing right now—just the bare minimum, please.

Looking Ahead Two Months

Top 8 Things I’m Looking Forward to Once Maternity Leave Begins:

1. No more lesson plans and school work until the middle of August!

2. Spending more time at home with the kids.

3. Being able to find time in the day to go for walks.

4. Watching the Dan Patrick Show simulcast on weekday mornings.

5.  Enjoying coffee and breakfast at my leisure instead of in the car, on the way to work.

6. Spring!

7. Packing up my raggedy maternity clothes and getting them out of the house for good!

8. The 2-3-year countdown that will begin until baby #3 weans and I can once again enjoy more than two adult beverages in a sitting, share a bed with just my husband, sleep through the night, and hopefully a week’s vacation with my girlfriends!!

Top 5 Things I’m Dreading Once Maternity Leave Begins:

1. No more steady paycheck until the middle of August.

2. Spending all day, every day with three kids under age 5, during Liam’s most busy time of the year. What were we thinking?!

3. Having to reacquaint myself at some point in late summer with my school-year BFF, trusty old Medela, AKA the breast pump.

4. Losing out on precious time spent with other adults.

5. And that’s it! Life is going to be pretty good for a few months. Can’t wait!

Last Day of Holiday Vacation

Does it mean something terrible that after twelve days off from work I’m hoping for a snow day tomorrow? Or a snow week, or month even? My husband had off from work the same amount of time so we have been able to see lots of each other and the girlies. The thought of having to go back to school tomorrow is making me want to run away to Mexico. Incidentally, anytime I imagine running away, it’s always to Mexico. Surely there must be other sunny places I could go in my mind. I’ll work on that.

About a month before this break I started making a list of projects I hoped to tackle over the past week and a half. I’m feeling pretty adequate since I was able to cross off more than half of them. My husband, whose name is Liam—but also answers to daddy, doggie (our younger girl easily confuses the two), Baboo (a nickname that has stuck around for two years from when our oldest called him this), honey, babe, and rarely, LIAM! (which is screamed at decibel level 90, after levels 50 through 80 have gone unanswered, often in some kind of instance in which I am in the bathtub behind a closed bathroom door and unbeknownst to me, he is outside in the garage putting garbage away. Anyway, he and I probably logged a good 20-plus hours organizing our basement, creating a craft space for me (let’s hope it gets some use this year!), a play space for the girls, and tons of shelving to store all of the shite we’ve accumulated over the years, yet have no space to put or otherwise display in our small, cramped rental house.

We also enjoyed some meals out just the two of us, as well as time spent with family and friends, an overnight trip to Philadelphia, and some fun activities with the girls, like swimming, library-ing and park-ing, to name a few.

Of course on this last day before back-to-work, the day I hoped to tackle some of the remaining items on my list, the girls have decided to come down with major colds and coughing fits. What is it with this timing? They couldn’t have gotten sick and then spread germs to us while we were on vacation, with plenty of time to rest and get well? Now I’ve got to cancel the sitter tomorrow, have the girls spend the day with my mom, which they will love, and likely take a sick day myself later this week when surely I will come down with the hacking, spasmodic lung illness. How’s that for optimism?

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Doing her best to wipe away the runnies.

Anyhoo, instead of being productive I got to spend the day holding my germy babies. It was quite nice, actually. I love that—when I’m forced to slow down and take a break, and instead of being grumpy about it, I’m able to soak it up and appreciate the time I have. Especially since tomorrow I’ll go back to seeing them less. Sigh.

The girls will go to bed early, which means I’ll have approximately two hours before I go to bed to make six batches of play dough for my oldest’s preschool class, make homemade instant oatmeal packets, fold and put away two baskets of laundry, scrub the bathtub and toilet, organize all of the family photos, clean out the fridge, update the girls’ baby books with memories before my mind goes blank, write lesson plans for the week, or at least tomorrow, pack a week’s worth of salad lunches, and get pre-approved for a loan. No problemo.

Or, I could just relax and enjoy a girls’ bath with my little sickos.

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At least the blog post is done for the day. Check.