"I wouldn’t say I’ve been missing it, Bob."

Now that peanut’s a year old, it’s also been a year away from work from mama. Granted, this time last year I was on maternity leave and struggling with the decision about whether to go back or not. I suppose I always knew I didn’t want to go back since I never really seriously researched day care options. My excuse at the time was that I worked from home anyway and would have some buffer time to figure it all out. The truth – I was completely daunted by it and too enamored with the little guy to even contemplate the reality of leaving him for more than five minutes.

Now that I’ve been away a year, it seems I finally have some clarity of mind to even think about whether I want to work or not (don’t even get me started on how the U.S.’s policy of 12 weeks UNPAID leave after the birth of a child is ridiculous on so many levels as it pertains to women in the workforce). And the fact of the matter is, I don’t really miss it that much.

I do miss my colleagues. I miss my clients. I see stories on the news and wonder if it’s one I would have worked on if I was still at work. I miss the “free” lunches/drinks/dinners. I miss the challenge of finding the right answer to a problem and then watching it implemented to successful results. But the day-to-day grind, the office politics, the dreaded sales goals, the struggle to get ideas heard, the presumption that I needed to be available all day/night every day/night (sorry, I just don’t need to feel that important)…can’t say that I miss it.

All of which makes me stop to think was I even doing the right job for me after all? PR is a vast field and I think if I could find the right firm with the right clients and the right schedule for me, I’d be all over it. At the same time, I think maybe it’s time for a career shift, time to explore different options and outlets for my skills. What a wonderful gift peanut has given me — not just the honor to be in his presence everyday, but the opportunity to explore the world with him and rediscover parts of myself that I had put aside because I was so busy being a grown-up.

And what a wonderful gift the hubby has given me. Not only by financially supporting our current household arrangement so I can be home with the peanut, but by also encouraging me to find my passions and providing the emotional support I needed (um, still need!) while adjusting to several new roles (and honey, I know this hasn’t been easy to do!).

So a year later, I still don’t know where I’m headed, but I finally feel mentally and intellectually prepared to actually think about where I might want to go and how to get there. I feel confident that I will return to some sort of work at some point. A year ago, that type of vague comment would have sent me over the edge (as my sister recently pointed out, pre-peanut, I was a lot more high-strung. I’m glad to see he’s mellowed me A LOT!) A year later, simply knowing that “someday” is out there is enough.

In the meantime, I’ve got a pretty fantastic day job to keep me going!

Food for Thought

This has been the week that peanut has decided napping in a normal routine is just too predictable (of course it doesn’t help that I keep trying to trick him into napping in the afternoon by taking him to the pool in the morning which, apparently, wears him out to the point of zonking out on the way home and sleeping for about an hour and refusing to nap again later in the afternoon…I really should know better by now) so I haven’t had my normal “downtime” to not only write, but to actually think about what to write.

It came to me during lunch, appropriately, that I had several small tidbits floating around in my head that all had to do with food. So consider this my tapas of posts:

  • iMac – What were you thinking? The new super cool, super thin all-in-one iMac computer was recently released. Along with the hardware, their new ad campaign: “The new iMac. You can’t be too thin. Or too powerful.” The Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness was on this quickly and the ad copy has already been changed. Do I think this ad or slogan would have resulted in eating disorders, no. But do I think that it was an appropriate or responsible ad? Nope. It seems that everywhere you turn you hear people lauding the “real” woman physique and yet in magazines and in Hollywood, thin is still in. When it comes to advertising, we’re still being sold the same old image…and there are only so many Dove products I can buy. I’m quite frankly surprised that this ad made it out the door – I would think somewhere in the Apple marketing chain a woman would have looked at this ad and had the guts to say, “we might want to think twice about this.” But that’s just one gal’s opinion. What do you think? Was the ad cute/insulting/inconsiderate/stupid/insert own description here?
  • How is it that PB&J with Lay’s potato chips tasted SO good after a morning in the pool with the smell of chlorine and sun block still on my skin? Felt like summer – you know, when summer used to mean no responsibility, summer when you were 7. Mmmmm, tasted good.
  • Why did I make myself a PB&J because it was “easy” and then made my child a chicken and cheese quesadilla with sliced avocado on the side. When did I become a diner?
  • My mama friends and I agree that eating food off of our kids’ plates should be considered empty calories. We’re just trying to instill good eating habits after all by demonstrating how yummy the green bean/noodle/banana/quesadilla is. And sometimes peanut wants to share, and isn’t that something I should encourage? Would someone please tell my metabolism that only the PB&J should register, not the “extra” chicken and cheese quesadilla pieces?
  • Peanut could eat dairy all day long – loves milk, loves cheese, loves yogurt. See, all that ice cream I ate when I was pregnant was for a good cause!

Sorry it wasn’t a four-course meal of a post, but sometimes a few appetizers make a nice dinner.

"The Gambler" as a Metaphor for Parenthood


As I lay in bed last night with a case of “the Sundays” — you know, that can’t sleep cause another week is starting and it’s the end of another weekend. I don’t get them nearly as bad as I did when I was working since mamahood usually means every day, whether it’s Tuesday or Saturday, look basically the same. But every once in awhile, the Sundays rear their ugly heads at bedtime, holding me captive to some VERY RANDOM thoughts.

Last night’s random thought, Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler” really sums up motherhood. Let’s take a look, shall we?:

  • You got to know when to hold ’em Pretty obvious, but one of the first things we learn as mamas is when certain cries mean feed me, change me or just hold me.
  • Know when to fold ’em — This is all about laundry for me. If I fold it when I can’t put it away, then it’s a given that peanut will find the clean laundry and proceed to strew it about the floor, begin chewing on it and hide it (like in the hamper with the dirty clothes so I can’t remember what’s clean and what isn’t). Timing the folding is a science around here.
  • Know when to walk away — Sometimes you just need to put a fussy baby in a crib and walk away so you can pee, take a breath, grab a cup of coffee after an all-nighter with a fussy baby or call your husband at work proclaiming you’re the worst mom ever (or maybe that last one was just me when peanut was still in his first “trimester” on the outside).
  • Know when to run — Because he’s hurt or scared or about to pull down an entire Sunday paper from the coffee table onto his head.
  • You never count your money, when you’re sittin’ at the table — Babies are all about budgeting in ways I never imagined before I had one, but typically my budgets are done on the fly as I contemplate how to pay at Target (where I magically spend $100 every time I walk in — how does this happen? I just went in for a birthday card and shampoo!?!).
  • There’ll be time enough for countin’, when the dealin’s done — I’m sure you all heard the same mantra from veteran parents that I did that time just flies by and to enjoy each little milestone and moment while you can. So true – and I’ve only got a year under my belt. But it explains all the nostalgic looking back when your kids are grown and gone and about to have little ones of their own (oh Lord, I need a glass of wine. Peanut’s going to leave me one day? Ack!).

So what do you think? What random songs describe parenthood for you?

Be My Little Baby

It’s official. Peanut is no longer a baby. I’m devastated and excited by this latest development. In the last week he’s decided:

  • Who needs nursing? Milk is where it’s at. He’s pretty much weaned himself. A few months ago, I was so ready for the whole breastfeeding thing to be over. Now that it seems to be, I’m kind of sad it wasn’t my decision…although I know it went a lot easier because he was the one to say “um, mom, it’s not you, it’s me. I hope we can still be friends — now hand over the sippy cup!”
  • Walking is way more fun than crawling. Not always faster, but definitely worth trying out…A LOT.
  • Testing mommy’s limits is funny!
  • Pointing is a very effective form of communication.
  • Bananas are still my favorite food…unless there is a toaster waffle next to it.
  • Mommy won’t let me watch TV yet, but it seriously can’t be better than watching the front-load washing machine fill with water and then start spinning. I mean, wow. Who needs hi-def?

So, yes, I miss my snugly little bundle of baby smell. But this little comedian cracks me up so much and fills me with such wonder at each of his little discoveries that it’s usually a short-lived wistful ‘what happened to my little baby moment?’ and then we’re off to the next thing. And chances are that thing is something we’re not supposed to be playing with anyway (see “testing mommy’s limits is funny”).

Celebrating a Milestone

Sorry for the absence. Between peanut’s birthday party, the resulting out-of-town family guests and a day playing catch-up on laundry, groceries and mental energy, the week has flown by!

First of all, the party. How is it that I said I wasn’t going to make a big deal about it and then there I was, making a big deal about it? I know he won’t remember it all, but darned if he didn’t have a good time. We did a bug theme with cute little bug cakelets decorated by the family, hung some crafty bug decorations and yes, peanut even wore a little t-shirt with little bugs on it. He loved the decorations and hugging all his little friends. He even showed off his walking skills, getting bolder and bolder in front of all the company. He loved his first taste of cake and behaved through the whole thing!


Some of our artistic bug cakes. Yum!

Keep your fly-swatters in check, these bugs were invited!

Follow the ants…they know where the party’s at!

I’m amazed at how easily peanut adjusts to a roomful of people fighting for his attention. He seems to recognize his grandparents and aunts and uncles after awhile. With our family living far away, he only sees them about once every month or two. But it doesn’t take him long to warm up to someone — really, as long as you show interest in him and get down and play, he’s all yours. Play with him enough and he’ll crawl right on up and give you a great big old hug.

But, of course, I’m bragging on my son a bit too much. With all the attention peanut and therefore the hubby and my parenting skills were getting this weekend, it made me stop and think at age one, how much of peanut’s behavior is nature versus nurture?

Peanut is a totally laid back baby. He is great at going with the flow, will eat just about anything I put in front of him, loves people, “behaves.” And we get lots of compliments on our parenting skills for having such a great baby. But can I really take credit? Not completely. I know a lot of it is his personality. He was totally nonplussed in the hospital, never really cried much in the early days (only when he was naked) and has always been a flirt.

At the same time, I know the hubby and I work really hard to get him out and about, try to keep to a routine that isn’t so strict that he freaks out if we don’t keep it, but is structured enough to keep the little guy secure (and this mama’s sanity intact). We keep him well fed and play with him and read to him. But don’t most parents do the same?

So just when I think that I can take credit for the nurture side, I deduce that I can’t and vice versa.

Although…they are my hubby and my genes that make up his personality, so I guess we can take credit no matter whether it’s nature or nurture, right? Bonus!

525,600 Minutes

At first you measure in hours (30 hours of labor), then days (first doctor’s appointment at 4 days old), then weeks (first smile at 6 weeks to the day), then months (first tooth finally arrived at 10 months) and now years.

Today marks peanut’s first birthday. 1 year. 12 months. 365 days. 525,600 minutes.

A year ago today I didn’t think I’d make it through delivery. I was exhausted and not in control. And then he was there, screaming on my chest, slimy and firm, loud, pouting and absolutely perfect.

In the months that have passed, I am struck by how much he’s changed and how much he hasn’t. Of course he’s grown and acquired new skills. He’s eating real food, babbling in sentences, pointing, laughing, walking (sort of). And some days I still feel exhausted and not in control. But he so much resembles the little boy behind the screaming bundle that I first held onto in the delivery room.

It must be how Michelangelo felt when he said he saw his figures in the stone, he just had to chisel away the excess. I feel like peanut becomes more and more of what the hubby and I have always seen in him. He’s an active kid with a very mischievous sense of humor and a fabulous giggle. He likes to observe a situation before diving in. He is a wonderful cuddler. He enjoys a bit of roughhousing but could also sit and look at a book for minutes on end (hey, for a 12 month old, that’s an eternity). Every day he surprises me and at the same time, he seems so familiar with each new trick.

I can’t believe how much and how fast he’s changed.

As I’ve marveled at all this growing in the last few days and played the “a year ago today” game, I wonder how much I’ve changed.

I’ve got a new name, mommy. The wardrobe is definitely more casual. The days are most certainly a bit more routine and the pay has taken some getting used to. Priorities have shifted as have my natural circadian rhythms. But strangely, I think I am simply becoming more of myself, just like peanut is. As our family grows, so do its individual members.

Meanwhile, today I will marvel at my little one and continue to fall more and more in love.

Happy Birthday, baby!

One Year Itch

Maybe it’s the years of working and always being on the lookout for the next best thing.

Maybe it’s seeing some working moms I know look like rock stars when they balance family and work life.

Or maybe it’s so darn hot outside I’ve gone delirious.

I saw a job opening today that piqued my interest. It fit my qualifications and would certainly take my skills in communications and media relations to the next level.

But then I had to take a step back. I know the organization that’s hiring and how bureaucratic it is. I know the travel requirement was a turn-off. I know I’m not ready to go back to work. I don’t know that I want to go back to doing what I was doing before. But there it is, gnawing at the back of my brain today.

Of course maybe that’s because I spent the better part of a trip to Target trying to get my peanut to stay in the cart (how did he figure out how to stand up in the shopping cart seat WITH the seat belt on? Does this make him a genius, a Houdini or a stunt man?). That adventure made nearly any professional communications job seem easier than trying to communicate with an almost 12-month-old on the importance of safety restraints.

Does Google Maps Provide Directions for the Hood? Toddlerhood, that is.

Peanut’s first birthday is a week away and I’m panicked.

Not about the party (that’s worthy of a whole other post), but that something is going to go wrong with peanut. It’s almost like his warranty is about to run out (because you know as soon as your car/stereo/computer/whatever warranty ends, the damn thing breaks the next day). Every scratch, bruise, heat rash, diaper deposit has been cause for intense inspection this week.

I have applauded myself so far this year for not needing to call the pediatrician all that often. I admit to doing it a few times in the beginning for non-issues. After all, he’s my first and they freak you out with all the counting of the poops and pee and temperature taking. But after a few middle of the night moments and reassuring words from the nurse on call, I felt pretty confident that the little peanut was doing okay and learned what the important things were to call about. Oh, what a laid back mom I am. I can totally handle this mom thing.

WHATEVER!

All of a sudden I’m convinced that everything is an indication of some horrible problem. And it doesn’t help that the kid is trying to figure out how to walk and is bumping into things left and right (usually with his head), and his knees are rubbed raw from tearing down the hardwood hallways at warp speed on his knees, or that it’s the summer in the South and so of course he has a bit of a heat rash in the folds behind his knees.

I realized I have a problem when I found myself wondering if his feet are too small.

Seriously.

I thought about this for a good half-hour.

I almost wrote it down on the list of questions for the next doctor’s appointment. Right behind “tell me straight, doc, am I good mom?”

Because I think that’s what it boils down to. The first year is all about survival. I kept him fed, clothed, cuddled, well-rested. He seems to be happy. He smiles a lot. He giggles. He gives great hugs. But all of a sudden, as I realize he’s about to enter toddlerhood, I’m as nervous as I was when we brought the peanut home and didn’t have a nurse on-hand 24 hours a day.

Soon he’ll be talking back and I’ll need to make sure he understands concepts like sharing and compassion and empathy and that it’s not good to drink the toilet water. What if I stink at this part of mothering? What if he likes the taste of cat food better than my cooking? What if his feet really are too small?

But then I figure I didn’t know what the heck I was doing a year ago this time when I was sitting around, eating ice cream and just waiting to go into labor. I’ve got a whole year of mothering under my belt, a ton of great role model moms with fabulous toddlers and a terrific partner in crime (aka the hubby).

And I’ll try to keep in mind that they don’t include feet measurements on the growth chart, so peanut’s little piggies are probably fine…right?