Saturday, April 19, 2014

Change is Good

I feel like I'm on the pinnacle of change in my life. This is somewhat ironic since I've been experiencing life-altering changes the past three years. First, we moved out of state for a job opportunity which was presented to my husband. I went through a period of determined unemployement where I took a part-time job and worked my butt off to be the best damn book selling employee there was. I suffered a miscarriage, was hired into full-time employment at a large organization and got pregnant again (withing 2 months). Then of course I experienced what it was like to carry a baby full-term, give birth and be a mother to little boy. A few months after my son was born we bought our first house. Now he's about to turn one and internally I keep feeling like something big is about to happen.

What more could there be?

Financially, life has been a struggle this past year. I wouldn't change any of what led us to this point though. We have to pay for daycare, formula and diapers, but guess what, we have a son! Never could I ever consider for a moment gaining that money back and not having him in our lives.

Purchasing this house was harder on us than we expected. It was a foreclosure, and though it was a great value for the space, it took all of our savings and then some to put in a down payment to prove that we could afford it. Additionally, the previous owners took everything with them and left the house with no appliances and in general disrepair. So, we're slowly turning it into a home. I do not regret our decision to buy though. We're in a way better living situation than we've ever experience before. Now, more than ever, as parents, we need a safe clean place to live.

My car died. The same car that was given to me by my Great Aunt before she passed, which I used since college. The car that got me to my first job outside of DC, day in and day out. It took me back to see my then fiance and family every other weekend from Maryland to Pennsylvania. The car that I affectionately called "Bertha" after my Aunt and poured thousands into keeping it operating. Sometimes you get to a point where the cost of the repairs is not worth the life of the car. We got to that point. I'm okay with it. For as perfect as it was for my needs as a young twenty-something, it wasn't going to be the best family car. Now I have a used SUV that has four-wheel drive for getting over the mountains in the snow so I can get to work, it's large trunk is perfect for Jake's stroller, diaper bag, groceries, etc. Most importantly, it's a very safe "family vehicle." I don't regret buying it.

But now we're in debt with college loans, medical bills, car payments, utilities and mortgage, along with all of the smaller bills that add up.

Something's got to give.

So yes, I feel that change is coming. Maybe a new job... a part time job... something. I'm determined again and I'm looking. I will not be stopped. I see a problem and I solve it. Right now there's a giant puzzle in front of me that is weighing heavily on my mind and body. I will put it together. I just need to keep reminding myself that there's got to be a solution, I just need to find it.

Change is good.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Bathroom Etiquette

Let’s talk about something that I like to call: Bathroom Etiquette

Maybe it’s just me, but when it comes to the bathroom I feel like there are a few different unspoken rules that should be sworn by. They are as follows:

1.       In a mixed-gender bathroom – Keep the toilet seat down. (Can I hear an amen ladies?). Though feminist that I am, I still believe in chivalry in the most basic of forms. Just as I expect a man (or woman for that matter) to hold the door open for the person behind them, I also expect us all to put the seat back to its engineered position of down.

2.       Replace the roll – I’m going to take this one step further. If you see that the roll has just one or two sheets left, you do not get off on a technicality. Put another roll in there preparing for those two sheets to possibly not be enough for the next person to get by with.

3.       Knock Before Entering – Not only is this good manners it will also save you and the fool who forgot to lock the door a lot of embarrassment. Especially at work! You do not want to see that!

4.       Lock the Door – You saw that coming right?

5.       Respect the bubble- What I mean by this is if you’re in a public restroom and you have plenty of stall options, don’t go next to the occupied stall. It’s a solo activity, so why not form a mutual understanding that we all ignore each other in there? (Unless somebody is out of paper.)

I’m sure there’s more but those are my top 5. Which rules would you add?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Work/Life Balancing Issues

I’m not sure that there’s been a day since my son Jacob was born that I haven’t been faced with the whole work/life balance issue. The first time I ran head to head with it was while out on maternity leave. Though “officially” clocked out and supposed to be focusing on my family alone I was still keeping tabs on work through email during late night feedings, during Jacob’s naps, etc. Plus, near the end the interactions were getting more interactive – I was getting calls and emails that expected clearly expected responses. Funny that, because at least one of those calls I was being lectured to stay away from work and instead put my focus on my family right now. Then maybe you shouldn't call!

The next bout of balance issues came when Jacob started daycare and I headed back to work. I swear, every known germ found him and clung on for dear life. New mom that I was I jumped at every fever. With my husband’s work schedule taking him in at 3am each morning I’m essentially a single mother in the morning. So I often made the call to stay home and take Jake in to see the pediatrician. Every single day off (only 3 or 4 in total) my guilt at not being at work grew.

Then came the snow…

Mother Nature’s wild mood swings left me with daycare closing or delaying opening constantly. Yet again, points off for ol’ mom because though work closed occasionally, I was out of paid time off and starting to look downright irresponsible with my inability to get into the office. Plus, the bills were piling up.

Now I’m faced with a potential job offer that would rock our world financially but might kill me personally. I’d be rescuing us from debt that’s been amassing since we decided that having a baby and buying our first house in one year was the BEST.IDEA.EVER. However, I’d also be working crazy long, erratic hours that would force me on the road and away from my baby. But hey, my dad did it, didn't he? So did a lot of other father’s I know. “You've got to do what you've got to pay the bills,” as they say. However, though I know they exist in a mythical type of way, I don’t personally know any moms who have taken this particular beast of burden on.

So ladies, I know you’re out there, how do you do it all and drop the guilt? 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

My Something to Smile About

I'm not great with introductions. They overwhelm me. I wonder how much is too much and how little is... well, you get the picture. So instead, I'll go one blog post at a time and hopefully you'll find each little blurb exciting and new as we get to know each other. Gosh, lucky me. It sounds like we're dating.

So first let me explain this blog's title, "Something to Smile About." Technically, this is STSA Part 2. I created the first blog right after I gradated from college in 2007. I had taken a job at a publishing company where we printed financial newsletters on, GASP, paper! In fact, blogging at that time was just starting to take off in sub-genres, as far as I could tell, and my editor suggested I try blogging to keep my creativity alive in an otherwise dreary subject matter. Stock market mini-crash anyone?

My job was hurting my soul. In 2008 I got a promotion, gave up the ativan and quit. My then boyfriend had just proposed and I moved back home. At the time my editor, my friend and mentor, said something that stung for years later. She said, "I expected more from you then just getting married and having kids. I thought you were going to do more first."... Or something along those lines. In any case, I was clearly letting her down and that really bothered me. Now? Not so much. Because indeed, I did get married and in 2013 I had a baby boy. I am perfectly happy with the choices that led to my meeting the love of my life - twice.

Once the adventure of life after college, my first job in my chosen field and late nights out with friends were my something to smile about. Now, it's this face. He amazes me. So, there we have it, I've poured out a little bit of my heart for you and now we're friends. It was nice meeting you. I hope you'll leave a post below and let me know what your something to smile about is.