Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Night of the Rambling Thoughts

Two coffees in the mid to late afternoon yesterday equalled a night of insomnia. Thus, a night of thinking and musing, especially about the future.

I've been feeling really ambivalent about my work lately, for a number of reasons. At the forefront is this amazing SAHM summer I'm having. I enjoy being with my child for the majority if not all of the day. Before the arrival of AwesomeKid, I had always thought that I would be unhappy, bored, and unfulfilled if I was a full-time mom. I don't think that's the case anymore. Additionally, the past two years at work have just been rough. I know that's because I was pregnant/pumping/adjusting to motherhood for this whole time. I know that when I go back for the fall semester things may be different, but I'm scared that they won't.

Being a musician and a teacher/music director has been part of my identity for my entire adult life. It's weird to feel myself losing enthusiasm. Working with the younger set is easy and not as challenging as it used to be, although there is still a lot I could improve upon. Working with the older (teenage) crew has just been an exercise in frustration for the past five years, if I'm totally honest about it. I don't think I'm cut out to work with teenagers, but it could be the school climate I'm working in -- all boys, machismo values, sports above all, slackerdom rampant... And the over involved parents and their endless emails trying to wrangle special treatment for their kids... At the end of last year I really felt like giving up, but I signed the contract anyways.

Plus, I have issues working for a Catholic instutution. I'm not religious, and I strongly object to the Catholic Church's anti-feminism, sex negativity and bigotry regarding homosexuality. I don't like being one of the faces of that instutution in the minds of my students.

So, there are a lot of negatives associated with the current work situation. But it is the devil I know, and the city I live in does not support arts education in its public schools, for the most part. So there it is, I guess.

Rattling around in the back of my head, though, is this totally other field of work. I've been fascinated with birth and birth advocacy since my Bradley classes and my husband and I's amazing birth experience. The enthusiasm has not dwindled. I find the natural process of birth amazing and transcendent, despite its earthy, guttural, primitive quality. I cry when I read birth stories. My husband and I still talk about our AwesomeKid's birth on a fairly regular basis. I read articles about birth and the controversies surrounding the home/natural birth communities and hospital protocols. I firmly belief that the treatment of women in pregnancy and labor/delivery is a feminist issue, though it is largely ignored.

I'd really like to get certified to teach Bradley classes, since the method worked so well for my husband and I, but there's no way that would bring in more that spending money. I've thought about doula-ing also, but I am really really not good when I don't get enough sleep, and what would I do with a client like myself (27 hours of labor)? I was a zombie after coaching my sister's birth, and her's was fast - 12 hours from start to finish. I don't know...

But it still appeals to me. It sounds fulfilling. It'd be a completely different line of work. There would be wack hours, but more time not working... I'd be my own boss. I could subsidize with performing - my first love before teaching... I don't know. There's a training for doula/birth educator certification in my city in a few months. Is this something I should check out? Or am I just burnt out and looking for an escape from the current job? There are a lot of other things I could attempt within the field I already know - setting up a private studio, attempting to find a new school, gigging... How much of all these thoughts are pipe dreams and how much could really work for me?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

SAHM Summer: Weeks 2 and 3

Still effing loving it. It's not monotony - it's a lovely routine. Breakfast, clean up breakfast, park or playground, lunch, clean up lunch, inside play, nap, snack #1, clean up snack #1, adventure to somewhere OR more toy time, snack #2, clean up snack #2, outside time unless it's over 90 degrees, dinner, clean up dinner, possible outside time, bath, stories, bed. BAM!

10 Things I love about My SAHM Summer (so far):

1- Seeing my AwesomeKid grow up before my eyes.
2- My hippy heart LOVES eating all my farmers' market foods with AwesomeKid.
3- No dealing with moody adolescents.
4- No lesson plans.
5- Having more energy! Which means more fun extracurriculars for me after AwesomeKid goes to bed for the night. Current projects: late night gym trips and Dragon Age: Origins.
6- Being as fly on the wall and watching AwesomeKid pretending with her stuffed animals.
7- Coloring.
8- Discovering kid stuff around town that we can't do together while I'm working. So far, we've discovered a warehouse where you can go to jump on about 10 different spacewalks,we've signed up for Kindermusik classes, and we've gone to a special after hours zoo event. Planning to check out the Children's Museum and do some baby swimming lessons too.
9- I can wear whatever I want.
10 - Playgrounds.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Zen and the Art of Household Maintenance

Exhibit A1: The kitchen.

I have a lot of childhood memories of my mother being very stressed out about the state of our house. I remember feeling like my mom was missing out on a lot of fun because she was always trying to organize and stuff.   

Exhibit A2: Detail of the kitchen
We had a big house, four girls, and way too many toys thanks to our very overly genorous grandma. I suppose we were pretty messy as a group - I know that our kids' bathroom was full of dirty clothes and I guess that's pretty gross. And I recall the playroom being taken over with elaborate "houses" made from easels and blankets sand pillows.  That probably looked pretty awful through the lens of adult perspective.  And, generally, none of us cleaned our room on a regular basis...  OK, so there was some merit to her constant fretting about how much of a wreck the house was.  And in retrospect, the four of us were probably being brats by being so unhelpful about cleaning.  Things you realize with age...

As much stress as the lack of cleanliness caused, she was fighting a losing battle. Despite her crusades against clutter, all four of her progeny are pretty much slobs. We have a collective tendency to roll our eyes at folks who regularly clean their windows and change sheets once a week.  I have a terrible time with basic stuff like actually walking across the room to put things away, and (blush) even throw trash away.  My sisters are worse.  When I helped them clean out an apartment they shared a few years back, even I was grossed out by the mess - and it takes a lot to gross me out. 

Exhibit B: Toys gone mad.

Since the arrival of AwesomeKid, it's been an uphill battle to keep our house from descending into complete and total squalor. Between my laissez faire attitude and BestHusbandEver's tendency to hoard and pile ("If it's in a neat stack it's not clutter!"), AND the lack of a dishwashing machine, we are like a sinking ship in an ocean of crap. It's actually enough crap that it sometimes makes me anxious and makes me start to miss the fun stuff and obsess about the mess everywhere. Which means I might be becoming my mother.


Exhibit C: Crap everywhere!!!

So the mess generally had been taking over slowly and steadily, and with both of us working full time, the running around toddler who NEVER STOPS, and the accompanying exhaustion, BestHusbandEver and I were feeling a bit lost and hopeless about the whole situation. 

But then we did something brave, something bold, something AMAZING!  Something I never ever thought I would do.  The laissez faire attitude stopped, we recognized the importance of cleanliness and we took matters into our own hands!  We took a brave new step in the battle against the STUFF!

Did we throw out all the stuff we don't need?  Did we create a system for organization? Did we actually start cleaning up on a regular basis?  NO!

We hired a housekeeper.  Best effing decision EVER. 

Exhibit D: Shiny!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Fast Times at the Very Granola House

Little red monster
Mommy does a good impression.
And you're on YouTube.

* * *

At the Toys R Us
Legos taunt your mom and dad.
Toddler toys for now.

* * *

Baby birds in nest.
Tweet tweet tweet! They were so sweet.
Goddamn neighbor's cat.

Friday, June 3, 2011

SAHM for the Summer: Week 1 Complete

School's out for the summer, bitches!!! Jubilation, joy, etc. etc.... This was a ridiculously tough year, with the whole adjusting to full-time working mom thing and now I've got two full months of playing SAHM with my AwesomeKid!!!

Week 1 is complete, and I've got to say, this is so, so, so, um... Well, it feels bad to say it because I don't want to, like, downgrade the work of SAHMs everywhere, but as of now it's sooooo easy. Sooooooo much easier than working. We sleep til 7:30, we have time to eat breakfast as a family, we can play play play all day... Even when AwesomeKid is in a bad mood (like today, without the nap strike followed by super crankiness meltdowns), it is less stressful.

I think part of the ease and joy come from AwesomeKid's age right now. She's 17 months, so the nursing all the time thing is in the past, and she's literally adding new words to her vocabulary daily. It is fascinating to watch and interact with her. She's starting to pretend, which is just amazing to see developing. She's been really interested in dressing stuffed animals and making them turn the pages in books and things like that. So amazing.

Now, if I had been at this for 17 months already? With no breaks ever? Probably wouldn't be so chipper. Pretty sure of that. But for now, I'll savor the time I have. Yay for summer.