Tag Archives: work/life balance

How I spent my random vacation.

We have 6 bedrooms.

Six.

We have 3 people (4 if you count Binky the Wonder Dog, and we probably should because he would be the first to tell you he is effing “people” and don’t forget it,) in our family.

It is too damn many bedrooms, but whatever.

So The Mr has one bedroom upstairs as his office, and I had previously taken one of the bedrooms in the finished basement as my office.

This left us with 2 fully-outfitted spare bedrooms. 2 bedrooms just sitting around waiting for someone to come along and sleep in them or whatnot.

The spare room in the basement is TRICKED OUT – you get your own LEVEL of the house, FFS. Walk-in closet, the best TV in the house, surround sound, my favorite sofa, and a private bathroom.

The one upstairs is smaller, you share a bathroom with our 5 year old (“Captain-NO-Aim”) and his army of bath toys, and you are right up in the day-to-day of our family’s crap. It was the 2nd tier spare room, for sure.

It was also time to transfer Jr to a true bed, since he was bustin’ out of his Toy Story toddler bed to an extreme degree.

So I developed “The Plan.”

The Plan entailed us moving the queen bed from guest room B into Jr’s room next door, then moving my office into said unneeded guest room, and then finally the changing of my old office into Jr’s exclusive playroom.

Genius.

We moved the bed into his room and got him rocking and rolling as a “big boy” (although he does still have to take a semi-hilarious running jump to get into the thing for the moment.)

Then came the last 2 steps.

And a confession. I have a LOT of stuff.   I had been cramming the clothes Jr had outgrown into that unused bedroom closet for going on 4 years, and when we moved in I had just shoved boxes marked “Keri Office” into my office closet and shut that dang door.  Then filled two bookshelves with a fraction of my favorite books in that room (hello, English degree nerd girl,) slapped some pictures on the wall and called it good.

A reckoning was coming, people.

I took a whole week off of work to make it happen, people. (And also because I had hella comical amounts of vacay accrued, yo.)

Things started off well:

Mimosa buneh ready 4 ALL THE PROJECTS.

But things, um… deteriorated kinda quickly from there…. (this is the kind of crap you miss when you don’t follow Keri on snapchat – @reluctntnburbs.)

I quickly discovered I hadn’t really purged ANYTHING from the time we had Jr…. I threw it in bags and moved it out of The Treehouse when we left the city.

There was this:

Uh oh.

And this:

Oh noes! It’s one of 80 hats I apparently liberated from the hospital!

Which escalated to this:

That escalated quickly.

And a LOT of this:

Chee-burger….

And this:

Ruh roh, queso. (With a SPOON, mind you.)

And of course this:

That salad is to keep my wine company, people.

Big ol’ shocker – Keri wasn’t handling change well. Because we have NEVER seen that before (ahem – hereand hereoh and lookie here…  I DIGRESS!)

Anyway – after I  succumbed to my weeping and eating honored my emotions regarding the treasures that avalanched out of my closets I discovered in my purge, so much more than just a clean office started to come into view. I was able to pack a few boxes for dear friends who have little guys that can get more use out of the tiny cutie clothes and I have taken two car loads of various gear to donate at A Precious Child.

Plus, in both Jr’s packed away gear, and the books and writings coming up from my former office, I have revisited so many special moments in the history of Keri.  I re-read papers I wrote in college (dang, college Keri could REALLY pick apart a Virginia Woolf novel.)  I sat in the Big Blue Marshmallow Chair, now newly rehomed in my office, and laughed and cried my way through the journal I kept for Jr during my pregnancy and our first few months together after his birth.  I brought up the table I use as a desk, remembering that it was a cast off from the University where my paternal grandparents worked, as a groundsman and a cook, and thought back to my memories of them as I sat, palms flattened against the top.  I repositioned, again and again, the mid-century modern typing table that my in-laws bought me after I fell head-over-heals for it during one of their first visits after we moved here, grateful that they love the history of things as much as I do.

Andplusalso, that cool old TV in the corner was my mom’s family’s when she was a teenager.

Did I get it all done in a week? No – I ended up taking the long way around, for sure. But it’s coming along nicely… both rooms are, actually.

And spending that week sorting and laundering and dusting and moving and living with those things that have gathered through the years allowed me stop and think and truly know what needed to stay, and what needed to be released back out to find another round of use and love.

Hokey? Of course. But it helps my heart, so I’ll take it.

Otherwise I am just the woman who spent her vacation drinking mimosas, eating chicken wings, and crying into a pile of 10-24 month sized punk band shirts.

(Let’s never speak of this again, shall we?)

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Legos and longing -second thoughts on working mom-dom.

I am sharing this piece which I first posted on Spirit of Power early this week, because the response has been so overwhelmingly supportive, and because the topic has consumed my thoughts since the spark was lit in my little mind.  I have joked that I seem to have triggered my midlife crisis (which it very well might be,) but I hope that I can channel the upheaval into something mildly more practical than buying a sports car.  (ha)

Original Post Here

mommy and me

Late this morning over a quick lunch break, I was diving down the rabbit hole of Instagram to let my mind wander from a project I was a bit stuck on for work. I stumbled on a simple post of an ADORABLE baby sitting in the sun in a chair, giggling at his mom off camera. SO CUTE! I clicked to read the caption of this cuteness.

Two minutes later I was broken, sobbing and groping for tissues in a haze of envy and guilt and sadness.

The cutie-patootie’s mom posted the smushy picture of him to celebrate her first day as a stay at home mom. It is a simple thing, upon first thought. It was the second wave of my mind’s wandering that kind of ripped me in two.

It was her first day of being with that smiling boy at home, completely on purpose. Not because she was on vacation and trying not to think about the email that must be piling up and the fires that will need putting out when she returns.

Not because the baby was sick, or because plans for his care fell through, or because she was working from home with him there as well due to a heavy snow storm. (The latter of which never truly works, resulting in guilt about sticking in a video and begging the kiddo to please be quiet for that conference call, followed by work guilt because productivity drops when you have one eye on the laptop and one eye on your offspring.)

It was her first day without division in her mind, her heart, and her time. No internal war to be everything to everyone. For the first time, she was all his. Concentrating on him, and his surroundings, and nothing else, is ok for her now.

Years ago, before Junior came along, I would daydream about that being my reality

It wasn’t in the cards, and I adored the lovely Christ-centered daycare Junior attended during his first year of life. I am so proud of all he learns and of the way he has found his place in his little community at the academic center he attends now, truly I am.

In our neighborhood, there are many moms who stay home with their children, and I think it has accentuated some of the things I fear Junior misses as a “day care kid.”

He misses the flexibility of schedule to try new activities, or have a play date with neighbors, or even stay in pajamas all day “just because.” There’s no chance to abandon an activity to head outside for a bike ride or snowman building or kite-flying, regardless of perfect weather conditions.

Days are full of hurrying out the door late, off to day care as mom worries over email and deadlines and trying to cram it all in, while also figuring out when doctor appointments and dentist visits and haircuts might fit in to the picture. Of course, always keeping fingers crossed that Junior doesn’t get sick and bring the whole precarious mess to a screeching halt.

It’s a tough realization to find that I am resentful of my child for getting sick, when he does, because it throws off the tightrope walk that I am barely pulling off with him healthy.

Evenings are a blur of pick-ups and meal prep and rushing toward bedtime routine to (hopefully) get him in bed before “tired” turns to “overtired meltdown madness.” Usually I am thinking of the To Do list I need to get started on once he is asleep and praying that he will drift off quickly. Then in a few short hours the whole scene plays out again.

It feels like our family, and especially Junior and I, are running and running to get to some place or goal or SOMETHING, but never getting there.

Suddenly today, while inhaling my lunch and trying to distract myself from the reality of my truth, it smacked me square in the face.

Today is the first day of a really great new normal for that mom and her sweet smiling son.

Today for Junior is just another day where his mom bustled him off to “school” early because she was stressed about looming deadlines and semi-dreading what the impending snowstorm would mean for her ability to work tomorrow (while trying to squeeze in some “one eye on each” activity with him, if possible.)

You know what? That sucks.

My proudest accomplishments lie not within deadlines met and task lists checked off. They are measured in the way he pulls my ear down close to his mouth and whispers “I love you mommy,” and in the joy on his face as we build a new incarnation of a superhero hideout out of legos.

I do imagine what it would be like to focus just on him.

I don’t know what a next step would be – Instagram mom’s new SAHM path can’t be mine right now.

Parents who do stay at home with their children have challenges and feel conflicted too, I am sure. I don’t mean to discount the mountains each person must climb each day.

But I think that the search for a new normal has begun today…. in my heart, and I pray also in my actions.

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Filed under Mom life, musing