Team Mom

There is certainly not much little old me could add to the whole opting out/opting in/off-ramping/working mom/stay at home mom debate. All I know is that I didn’t really think of it is opting out or taking an off ramp when I decided to stay home with my peanut. I thought of it as more of a pause – sure, I’ll end up behind where other people are who play the video all the way through, but sometimes you just gotta take a break to take care of a little personal business. And eventually, you get to the end of the movie and it’s just as good whether you hit pause or watched it all the way through, it’s just a matter of personal preference.

But in anticipation of the upcoming Olympic Games, I saw a story on swimmer Dara Torres. This woman is 41, a mom and swimming some of her best times against swimmers who are half her age. Gotta say, she’s an inspiration to this mama. She got back in the pool to stay in shape, not necessarily to compete again. But she listened to that little voice in her head to follow her dreams and now balances training for the Games with caring for a two-year-old. Certainly, that means that I can get off my booty to finish that project during peanut’s nap time.

So I’ll be cheering for Dara in the upcoming Olympic season – what a wonderful role model for moms, the nation, and really the world. Go Team Mom!


My Son, the Future Frat Boy

I have seen the future and I think it has a high likelihood of involving keggers and midnight streaking through the quad.

While making dinner this evening, the hubby and I were chatting in the kitchen. Peanut had run off to the living room. I could hear him bouncing off the furniture and going through (the childproofed for his entertainment) end table drawer. Just as I was thinking it had been quiet for a moment too long, he comes running into the kitchen. And let’s just say that he had been playing with a different type of “drawer” entirely:

And he was quite pleased at his achievement and its humor impact…the grin was ear to ear. Or more accurately, pocket to pocket!

Now he’s taken off his PJ bottoms more times than I can count, but he’s never taken off his pants just for the heck of it, not to mention the hilarity of it once they are placed on one’s noggin. I’m now plagued with visions of middle-aged Will Farrell going streaking in “Old School” and “that” kid who got drunk at his first house party and thought it was logical and funny to lay down and pretend to swim across a beer stained floor. Cause honestly, the hubby and I are still laughing at that guy, and not in a “hey, wasn’t that genius?” way.

Of course, I suppose there isn’t any hope for him since the hubby and I were sipping our own brews while the pizza baked in the oven. At least we were properly attired for the occasion.

Friday Frustration

I started writing a whole different post. One I just deleted. One that could pretty much be boiled down to “you can’t please everyone with your parenting decisions.” Lesson conveyed? Okay, good. It really wasn’t that great of a post. Now we can talk instead about what’s really bugging me today: Motivation. Or rather, the lack thereof.

I really wanted to make sure when I decided to be a stay at home mom that I still focused on me. It was imperative that I find an outlet, something thoughtful and creative that was only mine. This blog has been part of that initiative. But I’ve also created a few other projects for myself. Projects that I sometimes find it hard to sit down and work on.

Like right now. I should be doing something else, something I committed to myself earlier in the week. Instead, I’m finding lots of excuses – my computer is on the fritz so some of what I need to look at isn’t available to me on the hubby’s laptop, it’s Friday and I’m tired, it will still be there tomorrow, it’s not a fixed deadline. When really, I feel like some of it is just plain fear. Fear that I won’t be good at what I’m working on. Fear that it’s all just a big waste of time. And of course I know anything I do that feeds my soul is not a waste of time no matter what that thing is.

So why does it seem so hard to do it sometimes? Why is it easier to sit here and read my blog feeds and watch “A Baby Story” while peanut’s napping? The most annoying part of it is that I know I will mentally beat myself up over it later. I’m not sure if it’s simply my overachieving, multi-tasking nature finally clawing its way to the surface now that peanut’s older or just the summer doldrums, the heat sucking every last bit of energy.

I don’t know. All I know is that you really can’t make everyone happy, I just wish I found it easier to do the things that make me happy.

Okay. I feel better now that I’ve gotten that out. To any of you out there in need of some motivation to do what you love (reading a book, composing a symphony, balancing your check book, peeing with the door shut) during those few moments of quiet time we get a day – you can do it. I’m starting fresh again on Monday. You can, too. We’ll do this together. (Although if peeing with the door shut is your goal, I might recommend taking care of that before Monday).

When the Phone Rings at 4pm in the Target…

Today I got an email from a former colleague. We worked on different teams at a PR agency long, long (oh jeez, tell me not that long?) ago. He worked on a team I had great respect for and, in turn, they were one of the few teams that actually got what my skill set was. So, needless to say, we worked together fairly frequently. We were both also disgruntled with our situations at the same time (creates some pretty quick workplace bonding). We both eventually moved on to bigger and better. We caught up again last summer when he was in town doing an in-house staffing assignment for one of his current agency’s clients. But after he packed it back up for DC, we honestly haven’t been in touch. Oh sure, we’re LinkedIn, but our conversations have been nonexistent for awhile, unfortunately a trend when it comes to some of my former work pals.

Anyway, so I get an email. An email asking me a real question. An email saying he’d value my opinion on something. An email that said call me when you have time. He indicated he’d be available between 3:30 and 4:15. I pondered how soon after 3:30 looks desperate and how late do I push it risking some sort of toddler distraction that renders me unavailable to call until the next day. It didn’t matter because I had to leave a voice mail. So, I packed up the peanut and headed out to Target for diapers, wipes, toilet paper.

Then, while unpacking peanut from the car seat in the Target parking lot, I got the return call. We chit chatted. He ran down the scenario and the possible idea. Asked for recommendations. It wasn’t totally in an arena I felt most comfortable discussing (ugh, radio), but I had some suggestions and ideas I felt were pretty solid. I found myself almost vested enough to ask more pressing questions about the client, the budget, the time line. But, instead, we talked around a few easy topics (still love being mommy, can’t believe it’s been a year since we caught up, can’t believe it’s been almost two years since I’ve been in the business, he’s still thinking the DC work-horse race is going to lead to burnout and a potential outside the beltway sabbatical…) and we hung up.

I filled my cart with diapers, wipes, swim diapers, sun screen, anti-bacterial wipes, shampoo, hand soap refill, TP and some stickers for the peanut (for being an ANGEL while I was on the phone with him on my hip at the entrance to Target for 15 minutes). Then we headed home to draw on our front walk with chalk, run through the neighbor’s sprinkler with some neighborhood kids and blow bubbles.

For a moment of my SAHM day, it felt good to be needed in a professional sense. To know that even though I’m not in front of these people in a suit every day, I’m still, occasionally, front of mind.

On the ride home, though, I couldn’t tell if I was more pumped by the conversation or the fact that 7 of the 9 items I bought at Target were on sale and I spent at least $20 under the average $100 trip.

Either way, a decent day.

"Sitting on the Sandy Shore"

I promised my three-year-old niece that this would be the title of my next post. And who could argue with such a cute little girl? Not this auntie, that’s for sure.

Today I’m recovering from a mini-vacay, wedding-weekend, long-a** drive through two horrendous down pours with an overtired toddler hang over. We just returned from Pawley’s Island/Murrell’s Inlet, SC for the hubby’s baby sister’s wedding.

We left last Wednesday so we could spend a few days before the festivities at the beach. This was peanut’s first trip to the ocean and I couldn’t wait to see how he’d react. We arrived Wednesday evening and met the hubby’s brother, his wife and our niece for dinner. It was getting late, but after spending six hours in the car and then making peanut stay in a booster seat through dinner, I knew we needed to work some energy out of the little guy before bed. So, I grabbed the peanut, left the hubby and his brother to deal with the check and headed over the dunes.

I felt slightly selfish that I was going to introduce peanut to the ocean without the hubby, but the water is my thing. Some of my earliest memories are spending my pre-school summer days at the town beach with my mom. I lived in the pool as a kid. My grandparents lived on a large pond in Rhode Island and you had to practically drag me, my sister and my cousin out of the water for meals. My aunt and uncle would take us on trips to the coldest beach in the universe (or so it seemed to me), to the rocky beaches of Maine, the shores of Nantucket and the deliciousness of their backyard pool. I sank my feet into the red clay water of Jordan Lake in my hometown. I learned to sail in the still waters of Kerr Lake. I feel better, more relaxed, more calm when I’ve spent some time near (and in) the water. I couldn’t wait to share this with my son.

At first, he was completely enamored with all the sand and how his feet sank into the softness of the dune sands. The warmth of the day was still contained in the grains and he looked up at me and laughed. I took his hand and guided him to the wave-compacted sand at water’s edge and showed him the ocean. He slowly came with me to stand just at the edge of the water’s reach. A small wave finally reached us and tickled his toes. We walked in a bit more. He giggled. Another wave came along and surrounded his ankles. As it receeded, he looked up at me and said “Again.” And that was it. He was hooked.

We spent every morning on the beach. His favorite activity was running in and running out just to run in again as each wave came to shore.

Who needs sunglasses when you can just pull your hat over your eyes?

We dug holes in the sand.

Peanut in his personal pool…how’s this for a “head shot” OHMommy?

We chased beach balls. We made friends with other kids on the beach. We saw a school of dolphins. We found shells. By Sunday morning, when we were on the beach trying to get some good, professional family photos (helps when you’re friends with the wedding photographer!), peanut just ran in and laid down in the surf in his clothes.

Swim-suited dramatization of fully clothed lounging position to take place a few days later

I’m just waiting for him to ask for the ocean today now that we’re back in our landlocked hometown.

To top it off, the hubby’s sister’s wedding was wonderful. It was pouring rain from about 3 to 4pm. The ceremony was scheduled to begin at 5. Outside. But, just in time, the rain cleared. The sun appeared by the reception and it was a beautiful, beautiful day. We are so happy for J & J and wish them many years of happiness. We were so thrilled to share in their happy day and I’m even more thrilled to say this was my last stint as a bridesmaid. I loved being there for J, but I’m happily retiring my silver strappy sandals, ladies. And since all of my family is now married, I’ve decided I’m done.

One of the highlights of our weekend was watching what joy peanut brought to others. I mean, I find such absolute love and laughter in my little guy, but I am also his mother. I fully admit to my bias. But it was enlightening to see extended family, the groom’s family, wedding guests and even the catering staff (who were with us for two days…YUM!) find peanut entertaining. People couldn’t help but smile when he came in the room. Oh, we sure had our screeching, lack-of-sleep clinging, tantrum-throwing moments, but overall, he was on his very best, totally adorable, absolutely funny behavior. It was interesting to see your child through a stranger’s eyes.

I guess now it’s back to reality. I’ve been to the vet to pick up the kitty, to the grocery to restock the fridge, completed 6 of the 7 loads of laundry we managed to accumulate. Peanut took a shorter than I had hoped for nap (hence the evening instead of afternoon post) since he’s on a double digit sleep deficit. Sleeping in the same hotel room with mom and dad was not his favorite thing to do – he hasn’t been to sleep before 10pm in four days AND skipped naps most afternoons AND figured out how to climb out of the pack and play (meaning a new fun game when we tried to put him to bed at night).

I have to say, I’m ready to plan next year’s beach vacation (although I might be able to have a mini-beach trip in my bedroom this evening based on all the sand I’ve dumped out of the suitcases). So click on that sidebar of ads so I can start saving up for that beach house and permanently trade in my heels for sandy bare feet. A girl’s gotta dream.

Bloggy Break

In case anyone is really jonesing for a High Heels and High Chairs fix, you’ll have to wait until Monday.

I’m sure I’ll have plenty of interesting tidbits to share, but right now, I’m up to my elbows in tasks.

See you on the other side!

Today’s Forecast: Sunny with a 100% Chance of Poop

The hubby happens to work in the “weather industry” (totally cryptic, huh?!). He’s a computer guy who happened to have an interest in weather. Since starting this particular job “in weather” after graduate school, he comes home with little nuggets of meteorological wisdom as a result of his work.

Last week, the hubby came home and spent most of dinner explaining the concept of “gust front” to me. In a nutshell, when it rains, it cools the air, the cooler air sinks. During a strong storm (like one we experienced last week, hence my weather tutorial), this large amount of cool air is pushed out along the ground with relative force. It’s sort of like a mini cold front. If you’re lucky, in advance of a storm, you can feel this burst of cool air as it’s pushed in front of the system.

I have discovered that I am an experienced detector of a similar phenomenon here at home now dubbed the “poop front.” In the last few weeks, I have been convinced nearly once a day that peanut has pooped. Convinced, of course, by the tell-tale aroma. I’ll chase the little guy all over the house asking “Did you poop?” to which he always responds “No-o-o-o-o-o” (with each “o” going up an octave). I’ll finally catch him, check his backside and sure enough, no poop. Perplexed, I let him go and we continue whatever activity we were engaged in.

But then, 10 minutes later, it will be unmistakable. Having been recently deceived, I will peek in that diaper assuming it will again be empty. Only this time, I find that, indeed, peanut has pooped. Huh? Have I become so in tune with my toddler that I can predict the poop? Scary thought.

The only explanation is that a similar phenomenon to the gust front is taking place in peanut’s insides and I’m the lucky witness to the poop front.

Ah, the joys of motherhood!

[Hope you enjoyed the weather shout out, K & M! 🙂 ]

Group Hug

Amy Jo at the Cheese Party bestowed upon me this lovely honor:

Thank you. This totally made my day (uh, like a week ago when you did it and it’s taken me this long to get my booty in gear). If you haven’t checked out her totally adorable, totally squeezable, want to pinch their cheeks munchkins and her hilarious sense of humor and lovely photography, then click here immediately. I return the love (even if you did have to up and move away from the ATL).

I think the rules are that I’m supposed to hand this out to 10 of my choice. Hmmm, 10 is a lot and quite honestly, I do not even know where to begin. So, I’m just going to pick a few that I like to visit (with no pressure to them to tag others unless they want to) and see where we end up.

  • One of my “real life” friends (this always sounds so weird since we’re all “real” people, but I knew her before I knew what a blog was (which wasn’t all that long ago, really) and we’re pseudo-related (we’re like sisters-in-law once removed or something), have lived in the same town (although not while we knew each other) and I totally tried to get her old company to work with my old company (although they never did) and isn’t it cool how much you can say by simply adding lots and lots of parentheses (like a lot)?) Amy has a wickedly frank sense of humor that cracks me up. I hope she cracks you up, too.
  • Jean writes a great blog about art and parenting that I admittedly never comment on but love. Her blog is actually what prompted me to get some mama friends together for our art group playdates. Seeing how she incorporates what she loves – art – into her child’s life has inspired me to think differently about how I can incorporate my and the hubby’s interests into fun activities and learning opportunities for peanut. Not that that’s happened yet, but it got me thinking!
  • Speaking of thinking…MojoMom always gets me thinking about parenting in relation to work, feminism, politics. She lives in my favorite place, too, so already you know she’s got good taste!
  • The lovely Goddess in Progress is always twice as honest, twice as realistic, twice as fun…you guessed it, the lady has twins. Correction, the lady has ADORABLE twins. And she lives in Mass (the birth place of High Heeled Mama) and loves BNL (bonus points) and and is participating in NaBloPoMo, while on vacation with twins. And she wrote the most wonderful piece about Tim Russert and her father that is especially poignant this Father’s Day weekend.
  • AwakeMomma at While the Baby Sleeps is relatively new to me, but I’ve been thoroughly enjoying getting to know her through her writing.

Okay, that’s six including the Cheese Party and I think I’ll end there. There are so many wonderful, crazy, creative, inspiring moms/women/thinkers in my reader, but I think the above is a good representation of where I’m spending peanut’s nap time, which could also end at any moment (another reason why six will have to do).

Until tomorrow, I suppose, when I find a few more voices and have to find a better excuse for not getting the laundry done than getting lost on the Internet superhighway. Although maybe if I explained how it’s cheaper than my Target habit…

Toddler Bandstand

There is no end to the differences from my old work-a-day world to my stay-at-home-mom-dom. There’s the wardrobe (from suits to sweats, heels to flats, blow-outs to ponytails), the physical surroundings (from desk to floor/playground/grocery store/park/Target), the benefits (401(k) to butterfly kisses).

But some differences are just a little more glaring than others. Like today…

Peanut’s gotten into “dancin’ ” lately, which is more like stomping, running, swaying or shaking his head. He asked for “sounds” (aka music) and since I finally got him off his Raffi kick, I popped in a CD. Now, here’s where it gets embarrassing…but I’ll own it…it was a Neil Diamond CD. Oh yeah! Nothing like dancing to “Sweet Caroline,” “Cherry, Cherry,” and “I’m a Believer.” Peanut was digging it and I can’t say I ever remember dancing in the middle of the day at the office (although there were sometimes those impromptu Celine Dion sing-alongs complete with choreography from an old cube-neighbor).

I gotta say, it changed both of our moods before lunchtime and we had a grand old time. Even if my quads were still killing me from yesterday’s workout. Swinging a toddler around will certainly not help any post-workout soreness, but will help post-errand-running crankiness.

Don’t they tell you to use your experiences as a mom when you’re trying to get back into the job game? Maybe I can parlay these new dance-party DJ skills into a new career opportunity. Move over Dick Clark, DJ High Heeled Mama is in the playhouse.

Now if only I could get “I Am, I Said” out of my head.

Side Effects

I think the heat made us a little slap-happy yesterday. It certainly made us exhausted. So, while peanut naps and I relax in my central air (ahhhh…), I thought I’d share a couple of yesterday’s silly moments.

* Someone please explain to me which is the front side to the swim diapers? I was throwing one on the peanut so we could splash down with his sand and water table on the patio in the late afternoon while we were waiting for the house to cool down.

As I was putting the swim diaper on, I realized I couldn’t tell which side was the front or the back. I took an educated guess — putting the label in the front.

While he was playing in front of me, I thought, hmmmm, that’s a little bit of butt cheek I see. Maybe I put it on backwards. On further inspection, I noticed the “bow”:

Oops! Oh well. No harm, no foul.

* We grabbed dinner at a local casual restaurant (since I wasn’t about to turn the oven on in that hot house) that was playing the best mix of music. As we were leaving, the Beastie Boys were on. As we waited for our car, Peanut was bouncing and swaying (about as close to dancing as we get) so the hubby sang along to “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” to encourage him, to which peanut responded in a sing-song voice:

“No night, night.”

Makes me wonder how he (or any toddler, for that matter) would rename other songs? Sounds like a fun party game…