Boring Adult Things, mom blog

The Village

I’m not someone who asks for favors. When I ask you to help me out, it’s because I’m desperate. Feeling indebted to others is one of the things I despise most about being a human in a world with other humans. I will be the first to jump to your aid, but I much prefer the transactional nature of financial exchanges over asking for charity.

I think that’s where you’ll find the crux, here: I look at favors like charity. Like asking friends for a helping hand makes me weak or dependent. Like I can’t take care of myself or my family.

Similarly, we don’t have family that lives close to us. Our nearest immediate family members are a 2 hour drive away, which is nice when Brandon and I need to get out for a full night or have backup care for business trips. But in case of an emergency, our options are limited. Paid sitters aren’t available last-minute much of the time. Sometimes, shit happens.

I was stuck on the tarmac the other night on a flight that wasn’t taking off. I was more than three hours delayed when I realized I wouldn’t make it back in time for Brandon to make it to his final hockey game of the season. He is the goalie, so if he doesn’t play, the team doesn’t play – especially if he drops out last minute. He of course wouldn’t have left Cameron alone while I was flying back, but we were in a real jam because he had to get out the door.

Enter The Village. Through gritted teeth, I texted 2 of my friends and Brandon texted another set to see if someone would mind coming over on a Thursday night to sit at our house while Cam slept and I worked to get home. Brandon even offered to take him to someone else’s house so as not to inconvenience anyone too much.

The friends he texted, friends we have had for years, refused due to “an early morning,” as though we had asked them out for drinks rather than reaching out in an emergency. I have never been so floored that one of the only favors we’ve ever asked of them was rejected so soundly when we were really in between a rock and a hard place.

One of the people I texted was at work (nurses–the nerve, huh?!) and the other was someone I had been MIA from for a couple months. I had been thinking about her recently and how I hadn’t been the greatest friend because I was traveling so much I hadn’t checked in. I felt terrible asking her for a favor, particularly in light of all that, but she was instantly at our house while her husband stayed with their kiddo. “That’s what moms do,” she said. “We’re a village!”

It’s moments like this that remind you how much friendship truly means, and what a blessing it is to have a village. Moms, particularly those without family close by, sometimes end up in jams. I remember my parents asking our neighbors to watch me in the middle of the night when my brother was born. You pick the kids up at school when someone is stuck. In the case of our nanny share, the host family’s moms were more than happy to watch Cam for an extra couple hours while Brandon was stuck in some horrendous traffic back from Nashville. It’s just what you do. I would do the same in a heartbeat for any of them.

This experience also reminded me how important it is to cultivate relationships with the people that matter to you, and to distance yourself from those who don’t share your values. I am so grateful to have a community of loved ones–my chosen family–and I’m making it a pledge this year to not take them for granted. And maybe to get a little less freaky about asking for favors. But I’ll still never want to.

Boring Adult Things, mom blog

Who wants to be ordinary in a crazy mixed-up world?

Let’s do a quick recap of where things stand, as I sit about halfway past 31 (WHEN DID THAT HAPPEN?) and actively working on the rest of the items on my list. I realize as I made this, I was being pretty ambitious. But I think it’s possible.

In other news, the fam is good and business is chugging along nicely. Here are some of the latest pics from life – can you believe my baby is almost 2?

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Yeah, I friggin’ saw Obama and yeah, he friggin’ waved at me!img_2351img_2430img_2494img_2538img_2458img_2561

Kathleen’s bachelorette party in Vegas!

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TRAVEL A LOT

40. Machu Picchu. Duh.

39. Go to Australia.

38. Go to Africa.

37. Complete Handstands Across America. (To date, I’ve hit GA, SC, NC, TN, PA, WV, VA, FL, AZ, NY, NJ, CT, AL, CO, IL, and WY.)

I’ve added Nevada – check it out! I need to get MD because we went there and I forgot to take a pic. We have family up there.

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36. Take Cameron to a place that’s non-English-speaking.

We will be going to Mexico City and Oaxaca as a family in March!

35. Take my mom on a vacation.

MAKE SOME MONEY

34. Increase my income by 10% at least one year.

I doubled my income this year.

33. Attend at least 5 networking events each year.

I think I’m on track with this. It’s amazing how small and incestuous my industry is!

32. Take a continuing education course in a related field.

I’m knocking this out for sure. And I’m learning a ton.

 

BE A GOOD MOM

31. Help Cameron with his homework. Even when I don’t understand it.

30. Log at least one solid moment where I go, “My kid made the choice to do the RIGHT thing.”

29. Tell Cameron EVERY SINGLE DAY that I love him.

 

BE A GOOD WIFE

28. Show Brandon at least once a month how much I really appreciate him – even when he’s driving me COMPLETELY INSANE for whatever reason.

I think I’ve been pretty decent at this one!

27. Have a date night alone with Brandon at least once a month.

We haven’t been great about this but we’re working on it!

 

DISCONNECT

26. Give up Facebook (or whatever the hot thing of the moment is) for a SOLID month.

I already did this, but I’m taking another couple months off for the holidays, and it’s been LOVELY.

25. Go on at least 10 family outings completely without my phone.

24. Turn off the TV for a month. Before 30, I struggled to do this for a week. Let’s up the game.

 

STAY HEALTHY

23. Run another 15k.

22. Take fitness classes at least once a week for 6 months – jazzercise, dance, Zumba, kickboxing, yoga… whatever.

Um yeah, probably need to get on this.

21. Go a month without alcohol.

This one too.

20. Go a month without bread.

 

BE ADVENTUROUS

19. Participate in a big cultural event (like I wanted to before 30 :).

18. Run for a public office.

17. Learn another new skill (welding, embroidery, calligraphy, etc).

 

CHILL OUT

16. Do absolutely nothing for a full weekend.

15. Write in a journal every day for a month.

14. Read a few more classic books.

13. Go on vacation somewhere that’s purely relaxing, not necessarily an “adventure” destination, just to enjoy it.

 

BE A GOOD FRIEND

13. Send care packages to 10 friends for no good reason.

12. Check in more often on friends who are going through crappy times.

Really trying my best to do this. I probably need to get better, though.

 

PROTECT MY INVESTMENTS

11. Get my retirement savings to $500k by age 40.

On track for this, at least early on. We added about $40k this year.

10. Diversify my investments – BitCoin? International real estate? Etc?

We have some solid cash in crypto, and I don’t love how it’s doing, but we’re in it for the long haul. Also hoping to move into real estate in the next couple years.

9. Keep 6 months worth of savings in the bank “just in case.”

I don’t know that we’ve hit this (other than if you count our savings for a basement renovation and our retirement, which I don’t), but we have maybe 3 solid months right now.

8. Keep, and stick to, a freakin’ budget for 6 months (to start).

7. Start a trust fund for Cam, and keep his college money saving.

6. Get smarter about investing – take a class in stock trading or similar.

5. Donate $10k to charity/a good cause.

We’re at $1k at this point to the Stacey Abrams campaign, plus a variety of different charity donations, but we probably need to up this.

 

WOAH, BUDDY

4. Flip/renovate a house.

3. Own chickens.

2. Move internationally for a period of time.

1. This one is my secret. But I expect to reveal it next year.

Boring Adult Things, Uncategorized

Balancing Act

I’m in a pub in Erie, PA, and I’m bone tired.

Working remotely has its perks, for sure: Brandon and I were able to take a trip to Erie to visit family with the little man, and work during the day. Cameron is having an absolute blast with his Gabby and is being spoiled rotten with attention. He’s loving every second.

Seeing family is nice; I just wish I could shake this permanent fog I’m in these days. I can’t sleep (and it’s not due to the baby), I’m full of anxiety, and things just don’t have the luster they used to. If it was feasible, I’d just take a week and spend it in bed watching Netflix (and probably gaining 10 pounds).

I think what has me down and lost is the added emotional labor that comes with being a mom. As women, there’s always this need to manage all the spinning plates: so many things we aren’t paid or acknowledged for that just keep lives running. Doc appointments, bills, cleaning things when they’re gross, stocking the fridge, ordering the pet food, feeding the pets, paying the pet-sitter, vet visits, budgeting, taking the clothes to the dry cleaner’s, and on and on and on. It’s not that Brandon wouldn’t do these things if asked… it’s that I have to remember every single one.

Having a child compounds that labor tenfold. The laundry multiplies. The dishes, too. The doctor’s appointments increase. The finding and balancing of childcare can be its own full-time job. Is the baby gaining weight? When did he last eat? He hasn’t pooped in 3 days. Should we feed him prunes? Is he too young for purees? He dropped his paci; can I just lick it and give it back? Does that make me a crappy mom? Am I giving him too much attention so he can’t adjust to being by himself? Am I giving him too little attention, so he won’t attach? Why am I not producing enough breastmilk? Why does he not want to take the breast? If I give him formula, am I a bad or lazy mom? Am I traveling for business too much? Does it mean I don’t care about my career if I don’t want to be away for 3 nights to do work? Brandon has the 2-seater car and I need to go to an appointment; how will we arrange nanny share pickup? Did the cat sit in the baby’s seat, and if so, is it dirty now? We’re out of formula. We ran out of formula too quickly. That means he’s not getting enough breastmilk. We’re in the car and he’s screaming; should I pull over or tough it out? And a million other things.

It’s exhausting. I have a new appreciation for stay-at-home moms these days, realizing I could never be one. I love my career and I need it. I think to some degree, it keeps me sane and mentally challenged in a different way.

I am fighting this inclination to succumb to being absorbed by my child, and then on the flip side, I also have this weird guilt about wanting to have my own life. It’s a strange dichotomy. I really like traveling, but I hate being away from my baby. I am forcing myself to take advantage of opportunities to do things that fulfill me, as I think it’s healthier for both Cameron and me. But this layer of guilt over every little thing was something I wasn’t expecting. I’m just so tired.

I need to get another bucket list going, so I have something to focus my energy on and to get me up and moving each day. My business is going great and after a short dip in hours, I’m slated to be back full-force next week. I’m really adjusting to–and loving–life as a freelancer, and I’m getting more confident in my abilities to drum up business. But the mental anguish is so tiring. I just want to feel normal again. Maybe this is the new normal.