[Let me assure you, despite my use of it in this title, I certainly had to google twerk this week after Miley Cyrus's televised escapades. ]
So I’m a few weeks into this whole working-outside-the-home thing, and it is becoming the new normal. Some things are really different (leaving the house every morning) and some things stay the same. My early risers trained me long ago, so our mornings really feel similar except that we leave the house at 7:30 instead of starting our day inside. I discovered years ago that showering before they are awake is the only way it happens, so I’ve been used to the 6am routine for ages anyhow. On the whole, they are handling the commute well, and both of them LOVE their new school routine. I love that I can walk to them in less than three minutes at any time I need or want to. On the whole, it feels good. And something I didn’t realize? I have missed talking about writing with people. Missed talking books. Missed being in a classroom. And I can’t hide the fact that is feels so good to be back in a women’s college setting.
I’ve unintentionally abandoned the blog recently, but I intend to get back when I discover a routine. I hope your holiday weekend is restful and that fall is around the corner.
For years now, Jude has climbed out of his own bed in the middle of the night to get to ours. I don’t mind it, especially since I don’t have to get up myself and he hardly wakes me. Lately though, he’s been sleeping almost until morning, but yelling “mooooommmmmmmmm” as loudly as possible at about 5am. Then I have to go get him because he is suddenly scared to get out of his bed, and I take him back to ours. And try as I might, I cannot go back to sleep once I’m up at an hour so close to morning anyhow. So I get up once he is sleeping again, stumble downstairs, turn on the coffee. I try and enjoy the quiet of pre-dawn before the day gets busy with two little kids.
And that is when I started this entry, but now it is three in the afternoon and I am rushing to finish it before Norah gets up from nap and Jude’s television show is over. Sigh. The mom life.
Norah pretends to understand the demands of motherhood lately. She drags this doll around the house and rocks her to sleep. Sometimes she’ll insist that I hold her a bit, like baby is just too much for her to handle right now. It cracks me up.
Work begins next week for me. I am feeling both excited and a little scared. We’ve had lots of lazy time already this week, and I hope to do the same for the next few days. I am trying to balance the necessaries I’d like to do – oil change, freezer breakfasts, house work, laundry – with the fun SAHM things I won’t enjoy much again until Christmas break. We took an hour to make and eat breakfast yesterday. Buttermilk waffles on our last Monday of summer. A new rhythm is coming soon, and I know it’ll be an adjustment. I’m grateful for the next chapter, but I’m holding on tight for the adjustment period. More soon, I hope.
Hi! Let’s just say that moving with two little kids was a lot more insane than I expected. We are getting settled, but the few days of the actual move were so awful. As an adult, it is jarring enough to have a total change in your home and your routine, but throw two little ones in the mix and holy moly. It is crazy.
They have been sleeping well (we all have! so exhausted!) and we are steadily getting settled a bit. Real pictures may come one day. When I can find my camera. Ha. SO MUCH STUFF we have. It really makes you want to simplify when you move all those belongings.
It was a long moving day when we moved out of the last house. I thought I’d be a lot more emotional after living there 7 years and bringing home 2 babies, but the day of the move, it was so tiring and intense, I just wanted to wrap it all up.
The kids are opening boxes faster than I can put things away which is fun, but it’s resulting in a lot of clutter.
But we are loving the house, and it’s feeling like home already. I think this is our forever place for sure.
We are dealing with construction sites right and left at the moment. Someone doesn’t mind though.
It’s a work in progress in every way. But I am grateful to be here, and I hope to share more soon.
I guess that title is a little overdramatic. I should say something like the post I thought I’d write in four more years. I’ve been wanting to sit down and string some thoughts together about this for weeks, but I couldn’t.
I’m going back to work.
Like regular paying job, outside the home, kind of work. Not that I’ve been eating bon-bons for the past three years, so it feels weird to phrase it that way.
I’m going to back up about seven months and explain all of this. Last November, I received an email from an old contact I had who told me about a job opening at my alma mater. There were so many things about it that seemed perfect for me. It was, at that time, going to be a part-time position as Writing Center Director at a small institution. Part-time work seemed like a perfect transition back to the working world and it was a position I’d love to hold and one that matched my experience well.
The week before this email arrived, Scott and I had been talking about the possibility of moving. There are things we love about this house, but a lot of really impractical things as well (namely that it is older and there are a million improvements left to be made and we don’t have the finances or the time for that anymore now that we have kids). We chatted about the different possible scenarios…. purchasing a newer house in our same area, moving a little south and closer to the city, or maybe moving about 25 minutes northeast of here to a suburb we lived in when we first married. It’s an area that has changed so much in a few years, and it’s really become a hub of sorts for young families. It’s also about 40 minutes from my alma mater and makes this job an actual possibility (versus an hour plus commute which I am not going to do with young kids). So when the wheels started turning on this job business, it seemed like a sign, and we decided to jump in with both feet and sell our home. We love the area anyhow and would be happy there regardless, but the job possibility also gave us a valid reason to sell in a lackluster market. Our house was listed on March 15th.
In February, by the way, I am obsessively checking the job postings because the job was supposed to post and it hadn’t yet. In March, I inquired what was going on and I found out that the position had been restructured so that it was now full-time. It’s combined with an Instructor of English position teaching two composition courses. At first my feelings were really mixed on all of this. I hadn’t planned to go back at all until Norah was around 4 or 5, and certainly not full-time. But the whole possibility was too perfect to pass up. I’ve always wanted to pursue something beyond the high school arena, but I had no idea how that would happen (a PhD first or a small community college or what). To begin this career journey with my alma mater seemed like such a perfect fit.
So I applied even though it is full-time, and I completed the interview process in May. The job was posted on both the Journal of Higher Education and the university job board, and I knew there were a number of others applying. My big interview was the day after Norah’s party and four days after selling our house, and I interviewed with a panel of Deans feeling certain I sounded stupid and wishing I’d prepared a little better amidst the madness. A couple weeks went by and I was thinking maybe the job went to someone else, but I finally got the call two weeks ago, and I begin in August! (She congratulated me on an impressive interview, by the way, so I guess sometimes our self-doubt clouds our perception a bit.) I didn’t realize how rewarding and perfect it would feel until all the pieces fell together and it became official. I’m so grateful for all of it.
The university has a Child Development Center in cooperation with their Education department, so my kids can be there with me while I work. This was really the icing on the cake and the piece of the puzzle that made me feel like it was meant-to-be. I know there will be challenges and adjustments, and I’m not ecstatic about commuting 40 minutes to work every day with two kids, but I’m learning that with motherhood – whether you work outside the home or not – there are sacrifices and challenges and nothing is absolute perfection because this is real life. But overall, I cannot think of anything better for our family right now.
I’ve heard about the “sacrifices” and “hard choices” of motherhood my entire life, but I’ve been a little spoiled on having to make those choices so far. I had a baby. I wanted to leave my job. I left my job with no regrets. There were financial adjustments moving to one income, but overall that was the easiest choice I’ve ever made. Then this new opportunity came along and threw me for a loop. It feels strange to me to pursue my own career and my own path when my kids are so young, and much of my last few years (all of it?) has been caring for them and putting them first. I realize that sounds embarrassingly 1950′s for me to say that, but it’s just been my norm since I became a mother. Norah will be fifteen months when I begin working though, and Jude will be just shy of four. I’m realizing that some time in a structured environment without mom for something like 8 months of the year is probably good for them and good for me. [Side note, I'm also realizing how much time professors get versus teaching high school and it blows my mind! Three actual full months off for summer, one full month for Christmas, a spring break and a fall break... real office hours with nobody barging in so I can plan and grade!? It's such a welcome change and a testament to how insanely hard high school teachers work.]
So that’s the story. Big changes are headed our way, and I am equally excited and scared and all of those other feelings that come along with big moments. Any advice from seasoned working moms is greatly appreciated.
We are home and glad to be here. Yesterday afternoon, about an hour outside of Atlanta, Jude decided to take his shoes off on the airplane. Piles of sand fell out, and his sandles were still wet from our morning walk on the beach. It’s much of the same at home as I’m unpacking bags. Sand making its way all over our floors here, too. Grainy little reminders of some really beautiful memories we made last week.
We did a lot of nothing, in the best Caribbean way. Lounging on the beach while the kids played a little, playing with them in the pool, then coming inside so Norah could nap. Jude seems to be past that when even hours of playing in the water couldn’t convince him to sleep in the afternoons. So we’d set him up with a movie while she slept, and then we traded off parenting duties so one stayed in the room with them while the other got some time and vice versa. It’s a set-up that worked well for us in Costa Rica, and it allows for a little parental relaxation, too.
Because I want to be clear about one thing: traveling with two little kids is not all roses. They are young and don’t always behave the way we’d prefer, but the way I look at it, that’s what happens at home too, so we might as well hit the road every now and then despite any challenges. They might not remember moments of this trip, but we do. And there were some great ones.
Like everything else in life, it seems you just need to remember the best and shake off any obstacles you encountered along the way. I do love seeing new places with this bunch.
Norah was undountedly more difficult to travel with than Jude is. I think that’s a combination of both age and personality. She wasn’t crazy about the sand, so we had to keep her little blanket spread out on the beach. She’s not crazy about sitting in high chairs either, so there was a lot of lap bouncing to make it through dinners. But it’s hard to complain when she’s so tiny. I know one day she will walk next to me and exploring new places will be easier. Until then, I can do it this way though. Her little grin is a sweet reward for those frequent trying moments.
And then there’s my Jude. I’ve seen four countries and two west coast trips with this one, and he is probably my favorite travel companion. He’s so good at rolling with new plans and experiences.
It wasn’t as scenic and adventurous as our last beach trip was – partly because of the nature of the destination and partly because with two little ones we just stayed around the resort everyday rather than taking day trips of any kind. That said though, I think it was exactly what we needed at this time. The insanity of the past couple months with home renovations and buying and selling and some other stressors was balanced by such a lazy week. It was perfect.
Suitcases of dirty laundry and a mountain of tasks are calling my name, and I already wish I could bottle up a few moments of last week. But I guess that’s why vacations retain their splendor. We can’t quite hold that feeling for too long and need another reset button soon enough. For right now though, I am feeling full and grateful and looking forward to what is to come.
We have been in sunny Aruba all week, and we fly home tomorrow. As I write, Norah has finally given in to a morning nap for the first time all week and Scott and Jude have left already for the pool.
It’s been a vacation in the truest sense. I was questioning our decision to still go on this trip in the midst of packing and moving and embarking on some major changes in our lives, but I’ve found myself completely forgetting the everyday stress we’ve been encountering lately. I’ll suddenly remember – after not thinking of it at all for hours or days – that we are in fact moving to a new house and looking at a mile-long to do list at home. But here? It doesn’t seem so important. I love how travel does that. It makes you feel small in light of such a big world and all that matters is the here and now. Something I forget in everyday life.
More pictures coming soon when I’m at a real computer with the real camera. Goodbye for now. I have a breezy balcony and a sleeping baby to tend to.