the perfect job

12.20.09

I got a new job a few years ago. It’s a volunteer position, but it requires long hours, frequent night shifts, constant worry, and patience beyond belief. Like most people, I took the position without fully understanding these requirements, and without knowing the fulfillment and joy that reward my effort.

The job requires you to combine the skills of a short-order cook, housekeeper, teacher, bookkeeper, chauffer, and entertainer. The best part is, your subordinates will love you even if you aren’t great in a few (or even all) of these areas. They do like to yell orders at you unintelligibly sometimes, but they also give bear hugs and sloppy kisses to more than make up for those moments.

I’ve found it easy to make new friends since joining this industry. The job provides an instant conversation starter. If you meet someone else in the same position, you immediately have 1000 subjects to discuss and laugh about. It’s not out of the ordinary (and no longer socially inappropriate) to have an entire conversation about bodily functions. These friends also understand when you have to stop in the middle of that conversation to discipline a subordinate or give over-enthusiastic praise to a subordinate’s work.

While you may have previously spent time with your friends shopping for the latest fashions, staying out late on weekends, and enjoying happy hour, you now meet at fast food restaurants or the grocery store and call it having a good time. On weekends, you try to be in bed by 10pm , because you have to report for work when the sun comes up. There are no days off, not that I’d want one.

For the entertainment portion of my job, I have at least 10 books and 20 songs memorized. Occasionally, I find myself singing these songs in the shower (when I have time to take one), with no subordinates in sight. One of the best perks of this job is when the subordinates take a break in the afternoon.  Although, sometimes I find myself watching their favorite TV show long after they’ve all left the room.

It might not sound like the best job to have, and the pay is certainly not great, but just seeing my subordinates smile makes it the perfect job for me. I am a mom.

My minions

..........................those kids that keep following me around..........................

Stages

11.05.09

Natertot

.................Natertot.................

As a parent, my life revolves around stages my kids are in. Rolling over, sitting up, crawling, walking, talking and, eventually, going to school, resenting your parents, driving a car, getting a job, and on and on. There’s always a next step to look forward to (or dread in some cases).

Right now, my toddler is in the “that didn’t really hurt, but you think it did, so I’m going to milk this for all it’s worth” phase. This phase begins when, after tripping and falling flat on his face or running into a table for the 8th time today because he was walking without looking in front of him, your toddler looks up at your reaction before deciding if he should cry or not.

As a first-time parent, your reaction is to immediately act concerned and run to their aide. By the second child, you’ve learned your lesson and know that kids are made out of rubber for the most part. If you don’t change to a “you’re fine, it’s no big deal” reaction, you’re in for some MAJOR drama.

Your kid will bring up the boo-boo every possible chance over the next few days and demand an Elmo band-aid even if there is no visible injury. And if he’s my kid, he will then refuse to put on the Elmo band-aid because he thinks it’s going to hurt. Or if you actually get the Elmo band-aid on, you’ll never be able to take it off, because, as you know, taking off a band-aid requires touching the area near the (invisible) boo-boo and that is NOT ok.

We are also in the “What is this?” stage. It doesn’t matter if you told him ten times yesterday that the object on the kitchen counter is a candle or that the movie his sister is watching on the DVD player in the car (you know, the one that we still haven’t taken out from our road trip two weeks ago) is Baby Noah, he WILL ask you again today, “What is this, Mommy?” And then he will act all enlightened when repeating that the object is, in fact, a candle!

So I shouldn’t have been too surprised when he pointed to a mark on my chin and asked me, “What is this, Mommy?” It was, of course, a pimple, because everyone in their mid-twenties with two kids has breakouts like a teenager (right?). I told him that Mommy had a boo-boo. He immediately went to the bathroom to get me an Elmo band-aid and didn’t let me forget I had a boo-boo for several days, no matter how much make-up I used to hide it.

attack of the mommy brain

10.22.09

*This post was printed in my Mommy Musings column in the Cedar Park Citizen today.*

Pregnancy books warn you that you may become more forgetful while your bun is in the oven. This is the understatement of the century. What they should say, but don’t because they don’t want to alarm you, is that you will become incredibly forgetful during pregnancy, it only gets worse with subsequent pregnancies, and just because you pop the baby out, doesn’t mean your brain will return to its normal functioning state.

It sneaks up on you slowly. When I was pregnant with baby #1, I would often (and by often I mean several times a day) make the short trek to my boss’ office only to turn around in his doorway because I had lost my train of thought in the twenty feet between my desk and his. I would go back to my desk and search for clues as to why I had needed to talk to him. I’m fairly certain my boss wondered if I had lied on my resume, because there is no way someone this clueless would even know how to write a resume, let alone achieve any of the things listed on it. By the time I was at the end of my third trimester, I could barely remember my own address and phone number.

It only gets worse after you have the baby and you’re ridiculously sleep-deprived. We’ve all seen that mom in the grocery store who can’t remember her own kids’ names, and thought, “That’ll never be me!” But by the time you have 2 kids, 2 cats, and 1 husband (if you also have 2 husbands, you have bigger problems!), you will go through every name before getting to the right one: “Na-, Ev-, Ter-, Do-, Rojo, get off of the kitchen table!” It’s not because you don’t love your kids, or that you don’t know the difference between a girl and a boy or a child and an animal, it’s that your brain simply doesn’t work as well as it used to.

Since having baby #2, things have only gotten worse. If I don’t write down everything on a list, I will forget it needs to be done or bought at the store. I often can’t remember if I’ve said something out loud or only in my head and I have to ask, “Did I already say that out loud?” My husband just gives me “the look”, and I know I must have repeated myself. Nearly every conversation I have now contains the phrases, “Wait, what was I talking about?” or “Have I already told you this?”

I’ve read studies (luckily, I do still know how to read) that show that having kids actually makes you smarter, but I’m still waiting for that to kick in. Now, what was I talking about again?