Tag Archives: working moms

Yup, I’m Still Human

I’ve had a hectic year. I spent most of it playing a work-from-home single mom. And then in the fall, I became an unemployed single mom. And now in December, I’ve rejoined the workforce as a full-time working, quasi single mom. (Trust me, I’m counting down the days until my husband’s travel schedule has nothing on it–for now.)

My first week returning to an office job was a little rough. My life as a solo parent/head of household only worked because it was programmed down to the minute. Consequently, an unexpected 15-minute delay was enough to practically derail my whole day. So, working through the kinks of a new schedule is fairly painful.

For example, I’ve never been what I call a morning “miller.” I never got up and milled around, drinking a cup of coffee, reading the paper, or watching the morning news before I got going with my day. I have always been a get-up-and-get-out-the-door kind of person. Not possible anymore.

I have figured out that I need to build in a 15- to 20-minute buffer of sorts if I want to (a) actually have a few minutes to speak with my child before herding him out the door and (b) have enough time to deal with unforeseen time sucks, such as missing keys, uncooperative dog and/or child, and major messes (like the extra grande, extra full coffee mug that tipped over, spilling sticky, flavored coffee all over my counter, my stove, my floor, and me yesterday morning).

And I’ve definitely had a couple of why-am-I-doing-this-again moments. The big one was the same morning as the coffee incident. That morning I also tore the house apart twice looking for my office security key (to no avail), the dog refused to eat or leave the back deck to do his thing, and I dropped the brand new roll of tin foil, which of course completely unraveled across my kitchen floor. (Have you ever tried to put tin foil back on a roll? Yeah, not going to happen.)

With all the mini crises, I barely took a second to look at my child much less smile at him. I nearly cried when stopped at a traffic light, I looked in the rear view mirror and he was totally silent, with this look of what-the-heck-is-wrong-with-my-mom on his cute little face. The killer was the dog had a similar look on his mug and had  laid his head down on the crumb cruncher’s lap, almost in reassurance that my craziness, too, shall pass. I totally felt like the worst mom ever.

But the next day was better, so I was reassured that I would figure out a way to make it all happen because somehow moms always do. And by the end of the week, I felt pretty in control of my new schedule and could let myself feel as excited as I wanted to be about my new job.

By Saturday I felt nearly invincible. I had taken my weekday efficiency measures into the weekend. Baby and I went to the gym; turbo shopped in Target, knocking a ton of stuff off our Christmas to-give lists; dropped the dog off at doggy day care; had brunch with our cousins; went grocery shopping; retrieved dog; and was home a little after 3pm. I was pretty proud of myself.

I let the crumb cruncher loose in the backyard with the dog, thinking how lucky we were to have a fenced in yard, as I put away my groceries. How great was it to have a place for him to play where I could keep an eye on him and yet still take care of everything I needed to take care of? Not to mention that I had just powered my way through a super productive day. It was as if life itself was telling me, “You got this, girl,” when it came to dealing with all the craziness of my life.

Almost.

As I was putting away some dishes, I thought I heard a cry. So, I took a closer look out the patio doors. There was the dog pretty much dragging my child across the yard by his hood. Face down. Funny how life has a way of reminding you just how human you are.

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Filed under daily life, pets, working mom

A Day in the Life of, Well, Me

Ok, so let me put the disclaimer on this post right up front: This post is totally self indulgent because it came out of having one of those days. It may border on a pure-bred venting session, but I’ll also argue that it’s important to chronicle days like today so that I can remind my husband how awesome I am the next time he complains about, well, pretty much anything. I’m kidding. Sort of.

At any rate, the day started out great. I got the gym despite the sleet. That’s gold-star worthy in my book. The extra bonus was that my quick trip through Target proved more fruitful than the baby oatmeal I set out to buy. After months and months of searching, I ended up finding jeans that fit the new breastfeeding me perfectly. Don’t ask me what possessed me to bother taking off my sweaty gym clothes to try on jeans on a whim, but I did and I don’t regret it one bit. Especially since they were 30% off, so the price tag was a whopping $13.98 a piece. I bought three pairs–two bootleg in two different washes and one skinny leg. (As an aside, Target also had some great “boyfriend” cardigans.)

I got home in enough time to put a load of laundry in, take the dog out, shovel the back deck, install the dog barrier bag in the back of the truck, and set up a new toy for baby before the nanny arrived. I think she arrived around 12:15pm and I believe I was showered and out the door, wearing my new jeans of course, at 12:35pm so I could make a 1:00pm rendezvous with the contractor who’s installing some new windows. (Ok, so I was a little late.)

Why I’m having to meet the contractor at the Home Depot is a whole other story. It involves a housing downturn that led to some late child support payments that then resulted in the loss of a drivers license and the saga goes downhill from there. But he does incredible work, so hauling myself out to Home Depot for cans of spray insulation is the type of sacrifice that’s worth it to not only get the job done right but done at all. Plus I need to pick up color swatches because two other guys are coming to repoint and paint the brick in the back of our house the following week.

I got to HD before the contractor, so I decided to head to the paint section to get a jump on my color swatches. On my way there, a young female associate stops me.

“Do you know you have  a sticker on your leg?” she said.

I give her a look like “what the heck are you talking about?”

“On your jeans. You have a sticker running down the back of your leg. I just thought you’d want to know.”

Yes, thank you. Always good to know that you forgot to remove the size/style sticker from the brand new jeans you just bought at Target for less than most nannies get paid per hour.

I was slightly embarrassed but mostly just amused by my oversight, but it really was a sign that I was going to need a lot more humor to get through the rest of the day.

At any rate, I left HD with a bag full of color swatches, a bunch of moulding, spray insulation, and some clamps. (I’ll get to the clamps in another post.) Next stop: Target for the big box of diapers  that I couldn’t carry that when I was on foot earlier that morning and then PetCo for some really expensive dog food and not-so-expensive cat food. Last stop of the day before I make it home, unpack the car, and prepare for a 4:00pm interview: the grocery store.

Now, I love going to the grocery store; I actually really like to go through every aisle and look at all the different products. But having an infant that could meltdown at any moment has made me a very efficient shopper even when I’m restocking the whole fridge and all the cupboards like I was this day. I think I arrived at 3:05pm and was out of there by 3:40pm.

In the 35 minutes I was in the store, the weather went from a wintry mix to a full-fledged snow storm. There was not a chance with the caliber of DC metro area drivers that I was going to be home in 20 minutes for my interview despite being 5 miles from the house. So, I pulled over, grabbed my pen and paint swatches, and prepared to do my interview curbside to the Iwo Jima Memorial. (I’m all about improvising.)

With every minute of my interview, I watched more cars start to line up on the entrance ramp to the main road back into town. By the time my call concluded, I realized I was going to have to take the back way. Two hours and five miles later, I finally arrived home. That would also more than an hour after the nanny was supposed to leave to pick up her own  kids from school. (Thank god she has good friends who can pick up her kids in a pinch.)

Even though it wasn’t my fault and there was nothing I could about the weather and the traffic situation, I felt bad. Almost guilty, like I had somehow super inconvenienced her.

But I soon forgot about that feeling when I went up to let the dog out of his crate. Nothing says welcome home, mom, like poop in the crate. Now, I should have felt bad because obviously he’s having stomach issues, but I’m not going to lie; it felt like a huge F-you. Especially when I grabbed the dog’s collar to make sure he wouldn’t step in it and he peed everywhere. I love having to do a load of laundry, Swiffer, and disinfect before even taking the groceries out of their bags. Awesome.

At this point, it’s way past baby’s feeding time, so he’s melting down as I’m trying to put everything perishable away. (Seriously, the sushi would’ve been nasty had I forgotten about it.) Screaming babies do wonders for the nerves after two hours of gridlock. I’ll admit that I pretty much lost it three blocks from my house when a cab got stuck halfway up a small incline and a cop had to come and help him push the car to the intersection. (Seriously, guy, spend the money on the Blizzak tires; driving is your business.)

I finally got the kid tucked into bed at about 8:30pm. No thanks to the dog, who, because he got no real walk today because of my traffic-inspired tardiness, decided to do helicopters in baby’s room, causing baby to giggle rather than shut his pretty eyes.

My phone rings. My mother-in-law wanted to know if we had power because news reports were circulating that the winter storm has taken out power to more than 100,000 DC metro residents. (Great, one more thing to worry about.)

It’s 9:19pm and I’m thinking I probably should go shovel my front stairs, which are so steep that my mother always says you need to be a mountain goat to get up them. This is what my mother-in-law said when I told her I was going to get off the phone so I could take care of that chore:

MIL: You might want to rethink that.

Me: I don’t want to, but I’m worried it’ll freeze overnight and then I won’t be able to shovel tomorrow.

(At this point, I’m also cursing myself for not shelling out the $20 to get the pet- and child-friendly salt that I saw at Petco.)

MIL: Well, do you have candles out in case the power goes out?

Me: Well, I know where they are.

MIL: Do you have chocolate?

Me: Yes.

(In fact, the box of Belgium chocolates I had in lazy Susan fell out onto the floor, spilling all the hand-crafted delectables on the tile floor when I was putting the groceries away.)

MIL: Well, then, I wouldn’t bother shoveling.

Okay, then. Love the logic.

But more than candles or chocolate, I was thinking wine. (After all, didn’t I deserve it?) I decided to check the weather forecast. If it was supposed to be really cold and nasty the following day, I would buck up and go shovel. If not, I wouldn’t worry about it until the morning. Fortunately, it was supposed to be sunny and mid 30s, so I decided nothing could better put this day–and me–to bed than a big ole glass of red wine. Or two.

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