Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The 4 Hour Work Day...Sucks

First, the good news: I'm feeling so much better both physically and mentally than a year ago or even 6 months ago, and I'm diving into my work with gusto. I really enjoy the creativity and the intellectual challenge. And I love the fact that I can work from home.

Now, the not so good news: I still only get 4 hours per weekday to get my work done. And I'm now doing an 8 hour day workload, at least that much, and it is spilling out over those 4 hours when the babysitter is here.

So now, I'm dealing with:

1. Frustration because I can never get the work done that I need to get done each day.

2. Stress because the work is piling up and seeming unmanageable when I know I'm totally capable of doing it - and want to do it - but can't.

3. Guilt because I sneak onto my computer the rest of the afternoon when Noa wants to play or have me read to her, and all I want is for her to watch a bunch of videos to give me a few more minutes to work.

Extending the babysitter's time here is not an option right now - we'd just be spending too much of the money I'm making to really make it worthwhile.

Cutting back on work - well, I don't feel that is an option. I am feeling so much better about myself, about life, about work - it would be a setback for me that I just don't want to have.

I think things would be easier if my husband totally understood the challenge I'm facing working an 8 hour day in 4 short hours. When he complains because I do a little work after he gets home, I always remind him that he has a full 8 hour workday before he comes home, but I don't. He feels it is disrespectful that I'm on the computer when he is around. I appreciate he is old-fashioned, but it is hard to add on that pressure to an already pressured situation.

I don't know what the solution is. I'm usually good at working anything out, but maybe that was back when I didn't have a husband and baby and could just do what worked for me. Now, that is not an option.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Living the Sandwich Generation

I am living the Sandwich Generation life.....and I don't mean grilled cheese or pastrami on rye (though I could go for a good swiss melt one of these days). :)

My dad turned 89 on 9/2, and he's been having health challenges. I feel like we're in a medical circus. He's going from doctor to doctor, incessantly describing his symptons,and thus far, has not received a diagnosis. I've accompanied him at times, and other times, have faxed him a list of questions to have answered. It's been hard. I'm not sleeping well, and it's constantly on my mind.

I've mentioned my situation to a few moms I know, and others have shared similar challenges with their senior parents. This is one of the big scenarios that can potentially come with parenting later in life.

You read a lot about balance when you become a mom, and trying to keep it all together in terms of your personal and professional life, if you are working. But, what's equally as hard is finding balance in taking care of yourself when you're caring for a young child, and trying to be there for an elderly parent. Nothing prepares you for this.

When I lost my mom a number of years ago, I sought out the support of a therapist, after trying a grief support group, which I wound up hating. I think it's important to get out your feelings, yet you don't want it to consume your life.

I want to be a happy mom and wife.....and person.....yet inside me is a little girl who is fearful about her own dad. I know I have to stay strong. I'm overdue for a foot massage. Doing something good for myself would be a welcome and needed relief.

I'm not thinking the worst about my dad, but you start to feel helpless at times when you rely on experts who aren't readily coming up with answers.

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Friday, September 14, 2007

Choosing a pediatrician

Yesterday, we went to an interview with Dr. R. Just like M and V from the group said, she was superb! There were three other women at the interview. Fortunately for us, one women came with a list of questions about many things: bottles, breastfeeding, pacifiers, immunization, HPV screening policies, etc... She even had a question about circumcision, and she is having a daughter!

For us, it was important that we get a female doctor (since we are having a daughter) with a sunny disposition, open-mindedness, and good training. The number of years at practice was not too important.

We found out that she went to Yale (where my husband went) and her parents went to UCR (where I am). That was the icing on the cake. We had another interview set up with another doctor in two weeks, but cancelled it and decided to go with Dr. R.

Are you looking for a pediatrician? Do you already have one? What factors are(were) important in your decision?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Confessions of a "Later" Dad

I caught the season premiere of the Oprah Show on tv this week, and David Letterman was her guest. Broadcast specially from New York, much was made of Letterman's long-awaited appearance since he had joked for some time on his late night show about wanting to be on Oprah.

So, here they were. Two larger than life media powerhouses shooting the breeze. Letterman, who leads a very private life, for the first time that I have seen, opened up like a regular person versus someone who is "on." What I found most interesting was when the conversation pertained to his family life. Letterman, 60, along with his longtime 40 something girlfriend, is a parent to four year old Harry. He showed photos, and glowed as he spoked of him. Clearly, this is a "later" dad who never expected to become a dad, and he is super grateful for it.

What struck me was his candor. And, since you don't often hear from an "older" dad, it was refreshing. He said that one of the things he finds most challenging is the concept of "patience vs. discipline." And, I immediately thought, I know what he means.

When your child acts up, do you find yourself feeling compelled to discipline them because you don't have the patience to tolerate their behavior? This is natural....but how do you know when you might be overreacting because you're not as patient as a "younger" parent might be? Having your lifestyle changed so much by a child can't be easy for a man of 60.

Do you question your patience level? When it wears thin, does your child get a Time Out? And, do you second guess your actions?

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Monday, September 10, 2007

Decaf & a Blog

I'm catching up with emails and blogging this evening at a local cafe with free wifi. Since I'm flying solo this week in my role as "Hunting Widow" (yes, my husband is a hunter), I did some advanced planning and asked my alternate babysitter to come by every evening at 6pm and to stay with baby for two hours. I was just looking for a little bit of relief from my screaming toddler.

Tonight was the first night, and I honestly had no idea what I was going to do. Should I go to a movie? Nah, I felt a little weird going to a movie alone. Plus I still have so much work to do that I can't seem to catch up on. And I can't get to my emails. And I have to blog. And I've got some articles to prep.

So I decided to head to a cybercafe. Of course, now that I'm here, I realize that I brought my wicked fast new Macbook but it doesn't have half the things that I wanted to work on loaded on its harddrive. So I can only blog or check email.

Before coming to this coffee shop - which by the way is the impromptu rehearsal space for 4 fiddlers, a guitarist and flute player as I type - I treated myself to a dinner at a new Thai restaurant in town. I was all ready for a nice, relaxing meal eating red curry chicken and reading a magazine, when my quiet dining was interrupted by...a screaming toddler. Serves me right.

Having survived a meal with screaming in the background, I am now sipping a decaf latte, listening to the music, blogging and grateful that I'm working hard enough and earning just enough to afford a babysitter in the evenings in addition to my morning sitter.

Now if only I could figure out how to get all my old files onto my new computer without having to buy new software, too. Guess that's not going to happen.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Marital Milestone

Boy does time fly!

Marc & I will be married 15 years this week. I look at wedding photos of us (which I don't often do) and can see the youth there. I was 30 when we met, and we tied the knot two years later. I remember it well.

So much has changed since that memorable, sunny day, full of love, friends, family, and shared dreams. I lost my mom, and he lost his dad. Neither lived to see us become parents, though my mother knew we were undergoing fertility treatment at the time she became seriously ill. Looking back, it's no huge surprise that the IVF failed twice, given all the stress I was under visiting her in the hospital.

I look at photos of Marc & I now, and I can see how time and life ages you. Not that I'm an old geezer.....but 47 is a far cry from 32. There are more facial lines, gray strands, back stiffness.....etc. But, I am grateful for my overall health, and for Marc's as well. And to have Seth in our lives.

So, tonight we will celebrate. We hired a sitter for Seth, and we're dining in an elegant NYC five star restaurant, Jean Georges. To go for the gusto, we also hired a sitter for next Saturday, and are eating in another chic Manhattan spot, Bouley. We're celebrating twice because.... why not? (Also....truth be told....we couldn't decide which restaurant we preferred and so seldom really splurge. We've become Seven Seas Diner regulars with Seth.)

You only live once, so we're going for it! Here's to another 15 years!!

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Thursday, September 06, 2007

Baby in the Car Seat

I'm typing this on my laptop as I sit in a chair on the driveway with baby in the car seat asleep. I just didn't have the heart to wake her - she needed a nap - and when we got home from running an errand, I decided to leave her in the car seat with the car doors open to let her sleep.

Of course, my husband will be home soon, and we'll see how he reacts to this. Another crazy move by his crazy wife?

Am I the only one who knowingly leaves baby in the car seat in the driveway at home to let the baby sleep?

Actually, I know I'm not because I learned that this move may not be a one-way ticket to Mommy Hell when I witnessed a girlfriend of mine doing the same thing - only her car was parked in her garage. She said that both she and her husband did it often rather than risking disturbing their baby's naptime.

Okay, are we the only two crazy moms doing this?

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007


One of the members in our group made the transition from a mom-to-be to a mom last week. Everything seems to have gone smoothly (from what I can tell from her email), breastfeeding and all. So far, most of the women I have met experienced non-dramatic, non-traumatic childbirths. It feels good to know that a childbirth goes smoothly, no complications, no ER-type drama. Because, although it is interesting to listen to stories of Nightmare in the Delivery Room (as some people seem to be eager to share), it is encouraging and comforting to listen to stories of "uneventful, nothing to write home about" births. And I pray mine will be one.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Challenging Myself

I am on the path to adventure and self least for the moment.....and hopefully longer. And, who would have thought that motherhood later in life would bring it out in me.

Being the mom to a busy four year old boy has always kept me on my 40 something toes, but these days, I feel like those toes are reaching higher.

Seth has been off from camp, and school hasn't started yet, so all last week, Seth & I became pool rats (we have one in our community). Not only did we have a blast, but I took on a personal challenge.

After days of eyeing the deep end of the pool, I took the plunge. I swam where I could no longer stand. I realize for some that this is no great feat, but for someone who isn't a confident swimmer (except on my back), this was an accomplishment. I applauded my effort and am now contemplating taking swimming lessons to actually be able to do laps doing the crawl stroke.

Yesterday, we spent the day with friends at Splish Splash in Riverhead, NY. Most of the time we watched Seth and his friend play in the kiddie area. As the day went on, we decided to all take one of the raft rides. It's something I never would have done on my own, but the spirit (and my friends) moved me. While I screamed throughout, it resonated like shouts of accomplishment.

My friend and I were chatting about it afterwards and the whole notion of adventure. We were commenting how as our boys get older, they will want to do more things, and this may spur us to become increasingly bolder ourself. We want to be able to rise to the occasion, and share the fun with our kids, which means pushing our comfort levels. This is not a bad thing. And, I can see how people get an adrenaline rush when you step out of your comfort zone. My friend, Fran, who has a teenage son, lives a life dedicated to adventure, and she has quite an impressive number of experiences under her belt. While I'm not looking to swim with dolphins, as she has done, there must be other things I could try.

I'm now asking around to see what others aspire to do.

How about you? Do you challenge yourself, and what is on your to do list to further your personal growth?

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