Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Accidental Housewife: The How and Why

I mentioned in my last post how I went back to work after my first kid and LOVED it.

Well, okay, I didn't love it, love it, but...it was so great for so many reasons. All in all, it was a positive experience.

So why am I not doing it again after kid #2?

I've been putting off writing this post mostly because I can't really answer this question very well. After mulling it around for some time, the best I can come up with is--it's an imperfect solution to an imperfect situation.

IDEALLY, I would be able to still work part-time.

Ideally, my part-time job would be interesting, stimulating, skill-building and never require me to work more than 20 hours a week (unless giving me waaaaaaay advance notice and even then, wouldn't require that many more hours). 

Ideally, my commute would be 15 minutes or less.

Ideally, I could find really cheap top-notch child care so I never worry whether my kid is languishing away somewhere being totally ignored while propped in front of a tv screen.

And since I'm shooting for the moon here, I might as well throw in other crazy wishes like peace in the Middle East, a cure for all cancers, and a pony. Seriously, I would love a pony.

In REALITY, the best I could do is to go back to work part-time at my firm knowing that the work hours are ridiculously unpredictable and completely client-driven. Whether I work 0 hours or 20 hours on any given weekend was always up in the air.

I suppose I was willing to put up with the unpredictability for a little bit with one kid. But now that I have 2 little people to juggle, somehow it just seems a bit much. Obviously if I really really really wanted to make it work, there are ways. But add to that the unending stress, the gnawing mom-guilt, and the complete lack of down-time (you're either being beat down by kids or by work), and it tipped the scale over to no-thank-you-I'll-pass land.

I decided that--You know what? I'd like to cook healthier meals for my family (a la Michael Pollan). I want to socialize more (or heck, socialize, period). I want to exercise more than twice a year. And yes, I even want a little time to myself to watch some Netflix with a bowl of ice-cream every now and then.

And that is Why.

The How is much more simple.

A lot of people wonder how we can actually survive on just the spouse's income. Well, it boils down to two factors really.

First, we are hecka cheap. We own one tiny used car, never travel anywhere, never go to movies/concerts/games/anything really, and never eat out at nice places. Wow, did I just describe the funnest people on the planet or WHAT?!

But seriously we don't really mind it. All I need to be happy is a good hiking trail and all the spouse really wants is a good book (thank you Barnes and Noble for many a happy, "free" evenings of entertainment).

Second, I've been squirreling away my Biglaw salary for five years while living like the above. And if you're at all familiar with Biglaw salaries, you know that's a lot of nuts stored up for a financial winter, so to speak. Eventually those stores will be depleted, at which point I do see myself going back to work, but for now, we're okay.

Also, I figure I'm actually "earning" a lot of dough staying home with the kids. Heck, I'm taking on the job of a full-time private nanny. The going rate for nannies in our area is about $20/hr for 2 kids, so we're talkin' bout a $40k a year imputed income I'm making! Woohoo.

All that being said, I still have a ton of misgivings about the whole SAHM thing. But that's for another post to explore. In the meantime, I'm enjoying Noah's new found ability to sit up on his own!

And to chow down on solids like a beast.

Forget the spoon mom, just dump it all in!  Noah seriously has no patience for small quantities of food.

Finally El Gordito is satisfied after 3 bowls of rice cereal and 1 cube of avocado.

And as always, pinching those nekkid chubby rolls.

Mommy just can't stand my stinkin' cuteness!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

My Wonderful Wierdo

I know I'm way behind on blogging my thoughts about being a SAHM, but I just had to capture these hilarious moments with Judah before they're swallowed up by the fog of time.

First off...
Does this pic freak anyone out?

Who knew, this is Judah's worst nightmare?

Cuz seriously when Judah saw me shucking corn for the first time 2 weeks ago, he flipped out like he saw Satan himself.  He kept screaming like the exorcist, petrified by fear, until I physically removed him from the situation.

I guess whole corn can look kind of scary--it kinda looks like it has human hair...

Secondly, Judah is annoyingly obsessed with 'using' Noah's baby items.  He's always sitting in Noah's bumbo.  Always trying to climb in his walker and jumperoo.  And yesterday I walked into the kitchen to behold this abomination.

Straight up thug toddler life.

We thought it would be funny to take a picture and as we raised the camera Judah decided to flash us what appears to be his toddler gang sign.  Seriously, what is that?!  Wierdo.

Thirdly, I'm so proud that Judah verbalized his anger yesterday instead of just screaming and melting down.  He requested that I give him a spoon so he could spoon his hot chocolate into his mouth (instead of using the much more sensible lid and straw) and I said no.  Instead of crying, he said calmly, with tears welling up in his eyes, "Mommy, you make me mad."

Wow, what emotional control!  Of course I had to reward that by letting him drink his hot chocolate the way he wanted to.  And of course he made a mess.  At which point I said, "Judah, you make me mad!"

Lastly, this picture has nothing to do with anything.  It's just a typical moment in the life of a mom.  Half the time someone, somewhere is having a melt down.

Me and my naked post-bath angry bird.

P.S. Notice the lack of blue in Judah's clothing? This week he finally outgrew his "police" clothes fetish. After 6 months of only wanting to wear his police t-shirt and police pants, he woke up one day and picked out different clothes. And said "Mommy, I want new clothes." Ah, the end of an era.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

The Accidental Housewife: The Plunge

Well, I finally did it.

I took the plunge, called my firm today and told them I'm not coming back from maternity leave.  I'm now officially a stay-at-home mom (SAHM).

I've been wanting to write about this decision (or my vacillating indecision) for a long time now but I didn't want any rumors to leak out to the firm.  I wanted my partner to be the first one to know.  And now that giant sucking sound you hear is the virtual removal of my self-imposed gag order.  SSSSSSSSSSSLURP!

Ironically, now that the gag order is removed, I don't know what to say.

Where do I begin?  How does one go about describing the multitude of contradictory and perhaps politically incorrect and controversial feelings that have been roiling around oneself for several months, maybe even years?  This could be one long-ass blog post.

So maybe I'll just break it up into a series of posts.

For now, I'll say this.  No one is more surprised than I am to be a SAHM.  My own mom worked a full-time job every day until she retired in her 60's and I just assumed that was normal and that I would do the same.  After having my first kid, I went back to work after maternity leave and loved it.  In fact I believe it was my saving grace.  Work gave me a much needed break from childcare and the intellectual stimulation and adult socialization that I so badly craved.

Lots of studies show that working moms are much happier than SAHMs and experience a lot less anger and sadness.

So why am I staying home now?  Gulp.  What have I done?

Honestly, I don't know.  But as I contemplate this question for the next blog post, here's one compelling reason for staying at home--squeezing these chubby rolls all day long.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Week...I don't know anymore

Now that Noah's almost 6 months I think it's probably time to retire recounting his age in weeks.

I can't believe we've made it this far!

Life has gotten considerably easier with Noah.  He naps only 2-3 times a day now (instead of 3-4) and has mostly figured out how to sleep on his own.  Every few days he forgets and we have to 're-teach' him, but he's a little quicker on the uptake each time.

Usually Noah just sits in the Bumbo while I putz around the kitchen cooking and cleaning.  He's really into grabbing objects and putting them in his mouth now (like every normal 5 month old).  And just yesterday, he refused to recline in his car-seat/stroller so we put him upright.  He's not quite strong enough to sit upright but he sure wants to!

Judah was very proud of Noah sitting upright and shouted to our neighbor "My baby brother sitting up like a big boy!"  Our neighbor had no idea what Judah was saying.  Why is it that only parents can figure out what their toddlers are saying?

As for Noah's eye infection, we saw a dermatologist who prescribed some steroid cream.  It's been working really well so I have high hopes that we'll lick this thing for good soon.  Yay steroids!