August 21, 2013

random thoughts: the new standard of clean

You would think that I would accept my fate as a parent of a toddler who's more interested in throwing food than eating it.

I have resigned to believing my feet won't be clean for the next five years.

August 10, 2013

the tug of war within

This evening, my son was finishing a bit of jello and drinking milk from his sippy cup. Well, that's a tidy way of putting what really happened - he was smashing the jello on his dinner tray and tipping over the sippy cup to get some milk to come out, then watching the puddle explode as he smashed it, then adding more milk, then more puddle smashing... You get the idea.

Normally I whisk everything away saying "All done!" to minimize the mess and to gradually guide him to just stopping or declaring "All done!" when he's finished instead of chucking food and liquids and containers every which way. But today I decided to observe him. I grabbed my phone and shot a quick video. I realized he'd figured out a way to sort of do finger painting with the jello and milk. And it was really kind of cool. Okay, so as soon as I shot the video I cleaned him up and all that, but still.

Now that he's only in day care 3 days a week, I'm starting to see what staying home really looks like. Granted, it's not the real thing. Not really - not when I have the place, and myself, all to myself for three whole days in a row, which most SAHMs don't have the luxury of. But it's starting to feel like... okay, maybe I really could survive this way. Maybe.

There lies my tug of war within.

Who's better off if I go back to work, really? Me? My retirement accounts? Costco?

This afternoon, I came home with the boy from a birthday party and he seemed to be confused as to whom he wanted to hold him. Daddy, then me, then no one, then Daddy... it was a bit awkward. I basically told my husband he needed to spend some dedicated time with our son to make sure that bond stays secure, especially with me spending so much more time with him. It came out a bit more simplistic than that the first time, but we talked about it later.

I want to think that my perfect vision of reality (working part-time until the boy starts school) really is possible. But I don't know that - not yet. I put out feelers, network like crazy, get my website and business networking profile spiffed up. And I wait. In purgatory. While the door of stay-at-home-motherhood creaks open just a bit more.

Meanwhile, I face the possibility of compromising or abandoning my prime earning years as a mid-career professional in my mid-40s (still trying to make peace with that mid-40s thing, but that's another blog post). I'll be the first to admit that I've never really taken my career as seriously as I could have - not until recently. And now that's all being called into question.

Just now I remembered something really important:

Sometime last year, I was at a small group (church) meeting and we were going around the room sharing how we picture Jesus. An image, a representation, what He means to us. I said that I picture myself in a little boat floating on a big ocean with whipping waves and storm clouds - and Jesus is the island in the storm. When, in fact, He's not just the island. He's the boat.

August 6, 2013

random thoughts: sometimes bedtime comes too quickly

I want to rock you, my son, in the rocking chair by the window, and sing you to sleep until the stars come out. But it's summer, and I would have to rock you for hours.

Your eyes are nearly closed, your head is already slumping against my breast, your lips are plumped out while you suck your middle fingers, and your other hand is slowly falling away from your lovey. Dreamland is snatching you away from me as you embrace another night of beautiful sleep. I kiss your head over and over, inhaling your scent in the dark of the room before I reluctantly lay you in your crib.

Lord, that I could hold you like this forever. A mother's indulgence. A love that knows no end.

August 4, 2013

the single (income) life

Since I lost my job a couple weeks ago, I've been doing a lot of searching. At first, I was searching for another job. Then I searched deeper to try and decide what kind of work I want (writing, of course - I'm not one of those who can do just anything and be happy). Then I looked for ways to trim the family budget.

And now? Well... right now, I'm letting that toy boat sit in the tub and float by itself.

We really are serious about selling the condo and buying a house. In fact, we've been serious for about seven years but the housing bust had other plans for us (not to mention debt, jobs, infertility, birthing, blah blah blah). Rather than jump ship and start renting, we waited. We've stuck it out in hopes that eventually we'd at least break even and we could move on. At long last, this has finally happened. We're not exactly living an episode of The Jeffersons, but still. The time looks right, we have a teeny tiny bit of equity for the first time in over a decade, and the interest rates are still comparatively low.

Plus - plus, we went to pre-qualify for a new mortgage and found out about a stellar program that has an income limit just barely above what my husband earns. It's based on projected income. And right now, that's not hard to project.

Gee, we're down half our income. Let's buy a house! Bla-hahahahahahaaaa....!

So this month, we're going for it the old-fashioned way: we're using cash envelopes for our most vulnerable (easy to overspend) expenses like groceries and eating out, and saving anything I earn. We've done it before. It's how we paid off more than $30k in debt early in our marriage (thank you Financial Peace University). And it's how we'll figure out whether I actually need to work before our son goes to school full-time. Lord, I hope not.

But we'll try it. If I have to make a different decision, I will. We are both sick of living scared and trying to play it safe. So there. :)  But I'm still keeping him in daycare three days a week. It gives me the margin I need to prep the condo for sale while I look for contract work, not to mention the physical break it gives me from utter exhaustion.