Two Children and a Headache

There is nothing worse then being home with two kids and a headache.  In the past there have been times I have showed up to work with headaches, bad colds, and just not feeling well.  My co-workers would ask, “Why are you here?”  My reply is always the same, “It’s easier being here then at home.”

The truth is being at home is hard when you are feeling good, when you are sick, it is unbearable.  When you are sick and at work people tend to leave you alone because (1) they know you probably don’t feel very sociable, and (2) they do not want to catch your germs.  But at home there is no lenience, no break, and no timeout.  Your kids still need breakfast, and baths, and running around outside and it really doesn’t matter if you feel like you have been just run over by an 18 wheeler.  Their little minds and legs are still running.

On top of it all even if I do get to veg out a little bit, I quickly guilt ridden myself into getting up and doing something with them because I feel bad.  Last week I was home with them and I had a headache.  I was lying on my bed and the kids were being quiet in Liam’s room (which is never a good sign) and instead of enjoying the couple of moments of quietness I pushed myself to get up and do something with them because I didn’t want them to be bored. It is times like those when I think, “Man I wish I was at work.” I could just type away at my computer and not have to worry about anyone crying, getting hurt, needing anything from me.

And then it happened. Liam asked, “Mommy why are closing your eyes?” I told him my head hurt and I was trying to make it feel better. He climbed on my lap and kissed my forehead. I smiled and melted all over. My head still hurt but I didn’t care anymore.

 

Tell It How It Is

There is no mincing words with a toddler.  They say what the mean and they mean what the say.  It’s as adults we become more illusive with our message and have a difficult time being direct.  For my supervisor its even a more difficult thing.

I used to analyze and go over and over in my head what went wrong every time I had a conversation with her.  I would think maybe it’s my body language, what I said, how I said it, and now eight years later I have come up with only one explanation she is a bad communicator.

As adults we often sugar coat topics to make discussions more bearable to handle.  So different from a two year old.  There is no questioning my son’s body language, tone, and message.  It is, “I am mad and you are about to pay for it.”  My supervisor I often feel comes across in a similar way but shockingly I think she is unaware of it.  Unlike my son who is acutely aware of his behavior and what he is trying to express, my boss seems clueless on how she comes off and becomes offended when you become defensive when her demeanor is putting off a very hostile attitude.  It becomes even more difficult because she sometimes gets so worked up she doesn’t even let you finish explaining before the rapid fire questioning begins and if you dare to question her approach she becomes very stern and stubborn; very much like my son right before I at times have to put him in time out.  However there is no timeouts for bosses and what is even more upsetting is that unlike my son who is young and has much to learn about getting along with people and communicating, she is middle aged.  She is not going to change, there is no chance of growth or adapting.  So then it comes to an acceptance on my part.  Just as I accept that Liam might have a temper tantrum or that there might be a timeout today, I must accept that I will never be able to be at ease speaking with my supervisor.  It will never be comfortable and it will always leave me feeling frustrated.  Maybe that is where I can take a lesson from Liam.  Just as he walks out of his timeout and starts fresh all over again maybe I can try to do the same thing with my supervisor after our next “talk”.  If not, at least maybe I can put myself in a temporary timeout.

Compensenation

I am writing this as I anxiously await my annual review tomorrow at work.  This is where we will go over my goals for the next year, what I am excelling in, what I may need to work better at and then finally discuss a raise if one at all.  This year, it has been exceptionally difficult for me to feel fulfilled, satisfied, and appreciated at work.  I unfortunately feel a little jaded and half expect to be really disappointed.

That’s the one huge contrast about being at home.  I know what my compensation will be everyday.  It does not come in a monetary unit but with sticky hands and “I love yous”.  There is no extra pay for overtime (4:30 AM wake up call) or hazard pay (third tantrum of the day and its 10:00 AM) however it is predictable and unwavering.

I do like working.  It gets me out of the house and around adults however I don’t like the games.  At least when I play games with my kids it’s straightforward and there is no hidden agenda. You hide, I will seek.  At work it isn’t always that clear.  Between a power hungry HR and a supervisor who at times acts very inappropriate, every word and action is scrutinized.

My annual reviews and raise at home don’t go unnoticed to me.  I appreciate every moment and milestone my children make and know that I had something to do with that.  However, I like getting my paycheck and I do enjoy spending it (even if most of the times its on Thomas Trains and Plum Organics).  Compensation is a tricky word that makes a lot of people feel uncomfortable about.  For me I think it is general sign of gratitude and respect.  I get that from my kids and let’s see what work has to say.

 

Narcissistic

I love to write.  For me it’s a creative outlet that I don’t normally get to indulge in.  However, I have always been very uncomfortable with the idea of having a blog.  I used to think that they were very narcissistic.  Part of me still does.  I can’t help but think how self-absorbed a person must be to think that their “Dear Diary” entries would be enlightened and informative enough for others to care enough to read about.  However, my opinion slightly evolved after having my son, Liam.  He was my first and like many first time moms my head was spinning and could not comprehend what was going on.  I remember searching sites for ideas and tips on how to deal with sleep deprivation, unable to breastfeed, postpartum depression, the list goes on.  I found those blogs to be useful as moms would retell their trials and tribulations and sometime I would cry or laugh as I related to it.

Shortly before returning to work (part-time, three days a week, 10 hours a day) I turned to the internet once again hoping to get some encouragement and support as a part-time stay at home mom and part-time professional.  There are blogs upon blogs regaling in the joys of being a stay at home mom and giving advice on how to make your own puree organic baby food, while washing the cotton diapers and knitting booties.  There were endless blogs from mothers who rejoiced in being full-time professional but still found the time to tuck their kids into bed at night and bring them to the park on the weekend.

However, what I didn’t find was any blog to help the mom who was stuck in the middle.  The mom who enjoyed being a professional but probably would never hit the level of success as the full-time working mom did because she was not in the office enough.  There were no blogs telling the stories of the mom who stayed at home two days a week but never had time to make organic anything because she was always trying to play catch up with her kids, the laundry, the doctor appointments, etc.  There were no blogs to offer advice to the mom who was working part-time because she enjoyed the mental stimulation, the adult time, and quite frankly the time away from the house, but the minute she walked out the door she wished she was home with her kids.  On top of this, these two species of mothers who were polarized also seemed to be opinionated about the other type.  Full-time stay home moms would ridicule the full time working moms for not making the sacrifice of being with their children 24/7 and full time working moms would stick their nose up in the air to stay at home moms for not respecting themselves enough to using their college degrees and becoming powerful business women.

I was neither.  I was in this weird limbo that could not fit into either mold.  I was just hoping someone could offer me some advice on how to get some spit up out my new Calvin Klein dress I wore only once to work.  I grew increasingly frustrated and more and more lonely.  It didn’t help that in my own personal life I was only surrounded by the two mother types I described above.  I had some people question my income, my values, and my parenting skills because I did want to work.  I had others make passing comments that true success could only be achieved if I was in the office 50 hours a week.

So that is what brings me to today.  I am now a mom of two still trying to figure out the balancing act of professional and stay at home mom and being happy doing it.  I have come up with some ways to make it easier for myself and mantras to tell myself when I am down.  Maybe this blog is a little narcissistic or maybe it’s an answer to huge gaping void for the “limbo moms”.