Saturday, October 10, 2015

I didn't expect that Essay #2

Yesterday I suggested to Phil that we take Theo down to the park near the river before dinner. Sometimes I get frustrated being a working mom because it feels like you have this two hour window every day to have a meaningful interaction with your sweet little human. In my mind, we would go down to the river, maybe walk along the path checking out the changing colors and then head home. You know what ended up being the best part of the park? The monument near the parking lot with gasp two whole stairs to throw a ball up and down over and over. A quick run with the dog through the grassy field and then it was time to go home. I had to laugh on the way home because of course that would be how that played out. Paths left unexplored, river left lonely but the monument by the parking lot made a new best friend. 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Coffee Break: Essay #1 on Motherhood

I get so excited when I get a couple hours break that I am almost paralyzed by the possibilities. I could go to target and slowly browse the shit, wait that sounds awful. I could get my eyebrows waxed, I could and should quit the gym membership that you have to quit in person which is so stupid since I can't get there in person and hence why I need to quit it. Instead I try to listen to my exhausted, overworked, overwhelmed heart which says, go to a coffee shop, enjoy drinking a hot cup of coffee instead of having to reheat one over and over. Read a book. No pressure to create, invoke something other than just absorb and be filled with poetry. Get out of the house where the Everest of chores looms on your shoulder, go out into the world and pretend you belong at a coffee shop again. So I do and I order food and by habit inhale my sandwich until the last couple bites and realize I don't have to. 

Then I catch a glimpse of myself, dis-shuffled realize I look incomplete without my reason for looking so in towe. I Almost need a name tag that says, I'm a mom so excuse my hair, my workout pants and baggy eyes. Then a couple with kids my sons age plus a 4 year old brother enter the shop, sit down, eat and I feel defeated, I didn't know you could do that, actually sit and eat. But then you can't because the mom is up every 2 minutes at the toy box while the husband surfs his Iphone, calling her over to come look at something they're looking for on Craigslist and she walks back and forth between her boys and her husband responding to their immediate needs. I almost want to engage her in conversation curious about the age differences between the boys as I ponder our future, but then I would be just a another person requesting her attention. 

Grandma texts saying the babe is asleep, a perfect time to return to my castle or my dungeon depending on how one views it and how much sleep you got the night before.


Thursday, April 9, 2015

The lost rooms of pumping moms

Do you ever find yourself in the strangest places on your pumping adventures? I'm currently at the MN Council Of Nonprofits Technology Conference at the Hyatt hotel. The organizers were thoughtful enough to set aside an entire room for those who are pumping. It's great! It has an outlet, a chair and even a mirror. It's also an entire ballroom with a deserted bar and a kitchen that makes lots of ghostly noises. I questioned whether or not to lock the door behind me given that it has a certain  Shining feeling to it.

I am thankful to organizers that anticipate the needs of lactating moms at these events, especially because it wouldn't be a need I think those who haven't been in a relationship with a mother or been a mother themselves would easily recognize. 

This year I have found myself breasts out in the following places:
Conference rooms
Standing over sinks in public bathrooms
Vacant airport terminals with kiosks meant for charging devices
First aid tents at adventure shows
Backseats of mini vans (well I guess that wasn't the first time)
Front seats of subarus
In my assigned seat on the airplane
At the customs arrival in Canada
At the customs arrival in the US
At a hockey arena in Toronto (and not because of an amazing play)

Now here I am 11 months later in the creepiest but nicest designated areas of then all. Maybe the abundance of space is the strangest part because I'm used to my 5x5 closet at my work where the former man in charge said proudly "it meets the affordable care act standards!" 

Thank you Obama and I actually mean it.

Monday, April 6, 2015

4 things I've mastered, 4 things I'm still learning

Now that Theo has been apart of my daily life for 11 months I've become a master at a couple of things and am still working to figure out others. 

First the list of things I've mastered:

1. Diapering a non-stop speeding train. 

I've learned to adapt my diaper changing habits and can put a diaper on him whether he's standing, crawling, laying down or doing the 90's worm. 

2. Keeping him entertained.

I can keep him busy as long as I have two things: one thing to smash and the other to drum. If the items can be used interchangeably for smashing and drumming major bonus.

3.  Hanging out with Babies/Theo.

I've learned so much in 11 months about what babies like. Even if I repeat my silly games, read the same book for the 100th time, it is rewarding every single time Theo smiles or laughs or discovers something new. The other day, he found it hilarious when he pulled the clothes out of the drawer and I said in a monster voice "Put that back in the box." We played this game for 20 minutes and laughed and laughed. He also loves when I pretend to eat him - lots of monster games...

4. How to be helpful to other new parents.

I truly didn't get the whole bringing over food thing until all of a sudden the community of experienced parents showed up at my door (sometimes over and over) with food for weeks after Theo came home with us. I still get teary eyed when I think about this village effort and informal way our culture supports each other. I now know to bring food and not stay long and to read the cues about when its time to go, be a listening ear and have real expectations of the changing friendship. 

I have yet to master the following:

1. Cooking food, washing dishes, doing laundry, dusting, mopping, sweeping, or unloading any of said washing machines/devices. 

How do you do that other parents? Unless he's sleeping or my partner is around there is no way any of those things can happen unless I'm ok with the bookshelves being emptied, the dog being harassed or my little climber attempting to scale Mount Dining Room Chairs or Peak TV Stand on his own.

2. Finding a "work out time." 

My breasts are ticking time bombs as well as my baby. Working full time, still breast feeding and pumping, I have yet to figure out this magic hour in the day where a workout can happen. I think it's also partially that our beautiful baby boy sleeps almost  through the night so it's very unpredictable when a good night sleep will happen lending itself to a morning workout. For now, I continue my baby tri-cep presses, endurance bicep baby holds, and reflex training when food is thrown at my face. 

3. Gates

Our 100 year old house didn't really get set-up for baby gates when it was constructed with beautiful maple pillars, built in hutches or an extra wide stair case. It has been impossible to find gates that fit the house, thus contributing more to not mastering no. 1. At least it lends itself to no 2. since I'll run from one side of the house to the other to make sure Theo isn't going on his own stair adventure.

4. Energy

It's been an amazing 11 months. I've never known a love like this one. I've also never been so tired in my entire life. Yes, I know no. 2 would definitely assist in this area but I also know that not sacrificing sleep for working out also helps me be better at my job and most importantly be a better a mom. Trying to eat energy rich foods is helpful as well as saying no to things that aren't meeting criteria on this list:
a) contributing to my community
b) keeping up important friendships
c) contributing to Theo's learning and development
d) making the world a better place
e) being a good spouse/partner and earning brownie points
f) will possible lead to further opportunities
g) have a major likelihood of fun or will rejuvenate the soul

What things have you found that you're good at and need to work on?