There’s no time like… later today?

So this morning, I woke up and started getting Margo ready to take to school (“I wanna watch a whole EPISODE -yes she says episode- of Curious George!” “I don’t want to wear those shoes.” “Did Smarty poop on the floor today?” and on and on). Scott had an early meeting and I was gonna take her in then run at work. And as I’m sitting with her and she’s screwing around at breakfast and the clock keeps creeping past 8:00, 8:10, 8:15…, I’m like… no. I don’t have time to run this morning. So I changed out of my running clothes and into my work clothes. (And I had my gym bag all packed, so what a breakfast show it was for Margo!) So that’s what sealed the deal on the transition, something I probably should have been smart enough to look at a calendar and figure out but I decided it’d be more fun to *try on* today’s workout clothes and get dressed hurriedly downstairs without a mirror. (Or coffee, in my defense)

This week has been particularly challenging in the Scheduling Department. At least two days in the last 5 I’ve skipped a shower entirely bc I kept kicking the workout can down the road a few more hours until it was “meh, I’ll just go tomorrow.”  I’d gotten into a good habit of running early this summer. It only made sense, with long runs up to 7 or 8 miles and the early sunrise and trying to “beat the heat” (quotations designed to imply it was still hot. But you prob got that.)

Well, these days, my 6:15 start is now 7:15, which has a huge impact on my arrival time at work. I think it’s time to officially give up the morning run ghost and transition to lunchtime runs. We’re also looking at running in 48 degrees or 70? Not a tough choice for me. But I have grown to like morning running. It’s so nice to be done with it before you even start work, even though I will admit actually having energy and focus on days of my long runs… didn’t really happen. (Sorreh, boss)

Showering becomes the motivating factor for me quickly. With apologies to my co-workers, I pretty much just tossled my hair and refreshed my deodorant this morning… hope I don’t stink! I am MOST OF ALL looking forward to a good shower after my quick 3 mile run (high five for TAPERING!), so in the worst cases, that will motivate me to run. Is that shameful to admit?

Scheduling runs (and other workouts) is hard, it was hard when it was just me, and having a husband, then kid, then job, have all made it even harder. But I remain committed to the *importance* of working out to me. I know a lot of moms struggle with this, and I empathize. It’s something I’m thinking about differently too as my marathon is approaching and my workout obligation will be different! I signed up for Pilates next month! It’s so exciting to do something different and non-competitive and fun.

When are you guys running these days?

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15 minutes & Making After Work Time Work

While surfing Pinterest the other day, I saw a pin that included a list of ideas to make sure each of your children felt special and loved, and one suggested that you spend 15 dedicated minutes with each kid, where you’re not doing anything else. Just playing, focusing on the kid.

Well, we’re a one kid household at this point so that sounds super easy. But as I got to thinking about it, I wasn’t sure I could say I *did* in fact spend 15 minutes without my phone, not picking up or folding laundry… just playing and focusing. Big, fat whoops.

So, I started being deliberate about it. Nights when I pick up Margo from daycare and come home, things can go really well or it can be a constant back and forth of her whining/yelling for me to pay attention to her and me throwing fishsticks in the oven or unloading the dishwasher and yelling back “Just a minute, sweetie!” Know what the determining factor is in our evenings? 15 minutes of focus.

I come home and bring all our crap in from the car (honestly, we look like we live in the car between the daycare bag, gym bag, sometimes the produce box, my purse…) and I just leave it. I fight the urge to take my sweaty running clothes upstairs & put them in the hamper and fight the urge to thumb through the mail. And we do whatever she wants to do (that’s not TV, that’s the babysitter that will come in handy during the second successful phase of the evening: dinner prep.) We often do a puzzle or read a book. We color (SO relaxing for me…) We pet the cat, sit on the porch if the heat isn’t brutal. We go outside if it’s possible, but frankly, indoor cuddling and mind games allow us more bonding.

Snuggles for all!! Exhibit A.

Then, after 15ish minutes (I don’t set a timer), I peel away and start dinner prep. Note: I don’t MAKE dinner, I generally warm some leftovers up or we eat something frozen. She can continue to play independently, or more often, she’ll ask to watch Curious George and I’ll say yes.

For so, so long I resisted TV. WHY did you do this, Jamie? For 23 minutes, she sits there and I can actually get shit done. It’s a beautiful, beautiful thing and I have begun to be okay with this daily. Not like it’s all day, I tell myself, it’s 23 minutes when I sorely need it.

On a good night, I have all our stuff ready and the two of us eat together. Family dinners are something that’s still a work in progress for us. It’s complicated, frankly… Scott and I generally aren’t eating the same things, and Margo has some overlap now, but she’s also got a unique plate. I work on the two of us, Scott does his. It’s working for us, for now. I do wish the three of us could eat together more, but right now given our schedules and diets, just not happening and I’m letting us off the hook for that. So.

What makes your nightly routine work or not work? Do YOU spend 15 minutes focused on your kid?

 

Blog Guilt & A Reimagined Purpose…

THIS is why blogging can be a drag, if I may be frank. I’m doing like 50 thousand things and from time to time I think “Hey, I could blog about this, I have funny/insightful things to say.” But it’s always while I’m running or driving or something. It feels like it doesn’t really fit in with my lifestyle sometimes, and I’m not really willing to give up evening fun (reading, TV, picking up my home – though THAT’S not fun) to cram it in.

But yet, there’s something that keeps me feeling like I want to do this. I am a writer by trade, this is way funner than the writing I do for work so I always find a little bit of something that makes me want to keep it up and go for it (again.) Blogging can be therepeutic, helping me parse events & situations. It can be helpful, with comments pointing me toward solutions I never knew about. There sort of IS a middle ground though, where it feels like you’re blogging for no one, and the unresponsiveness makes it feel not worth the effort.

But whatever, I guess I’m going to do it. Again. I am an inconsistent blogger, at best. It’s just something you should know about me. I’m going to try to be better.

So, I give you my blog repurposing: In the coming 6 months, I’m going to train for a marathon (through the North Carolina summer) while working full time with a 2 year old. That sentence makes me feel slightly insane. But in a “no time like the present” leap, I’m going for it and why not try to rationalize it with a blog to make you all understand my insanity?

Have Child, Will Travel

Work travel isn’t something I want to do a lot of, nor something I should have to do often. But, this week, I’m spending 4 days in San Diego, without my kid or husband. Of COURSE it’s harder, leaving my child behind. But, I’ll admit, I’m excited in a lot of ways. A hotel room to myself, a gorgeous, oceanfront hotel room, at that. I’m excited to get my schedule and figure out when and where I can run. I’m excited to learn stuff and perhaps get a grasp on the general ins and outs of my book subject matter. I’m even excited for the plane rides (gonna read Think!) Oh, and I’m also reading a biography of Michelle Rhee for part of my research. I wouldn’t be shocked to find a feministy post about girl power and smart women in the near future…

I am gonna miss the crap outta my girl though. And I feel the need to let daycare know that if her hair is a hot mess it’s not my fault 😉 I’ve been trying to teach Scott how to do ponytails, but that’s a hard skill to teach a man. And, a skill that’s pretty essential in Margo care! Although I’ve been left behind while Scott travels several times since Margo came into the picture, this is the longest time I’ve been gone.

I’m sitting in the airport right now actually, finally getting the free time to finish this post and as much as I AM looking forward to all of the things above, it was pretty sad to say good night last night. Pretty sad to teach Margo that Mommy was going to “California!” Pretty sad I won’t actually see her till Saturday.

It’s going to fly by, right??? :looks around hopefully:

A Writer

I am a Writer, did you guys know that? I’ve tweeted here and there about it, but I’m working on a book. It’s for work, so not the Great American Novel or anything like that, but it’s going to be, like, a real, buy-it-on-Amazon book.

So, in the interest of mental and professional practice, I’ve been making an effort to *write* more. Work has been generally good, but with so much reading and outlining (pretty much the EXACT way I was taught to do research in high school, btw), I quickly get glazed over. I mean, it utilizes my mind and I’m learning oh-so-much in doing all of this, but I almost feel like I need to take stretching breaks for my mind or something to make sure it’s continually engaged. I’ve been prone to zoning out, I’m afraid.

And, (hopefully), the writing phase will begin on the book soon and I’ll be frantically busy, needing every moment to be full of good, coherent words that are going toward the end goal: book. My theory is that coming in to work and writing for 10 min here (or on my private work blog I don’t share with anyone cause it’s just a lot of bitching, really) will, to use a ridiculous college drinking euphemism, sort of “break the seal” and get the thoughts flowing to the fingers.

Besides that, writing has always centered me and helped me to move past things that are on my mind… bring on the catharsis.

It’s weird, being a writer. It’s weird because it’s what I’ve pretty much always wanted to be, and now I am one. It’s almost like being an actor or a princess – you can’t just say “Oh, I’m a writer,” without feeling like you have to qualify it somehow. “Oh, I just write technical documents.” “I’m writing a book, but it’s a boring research book, not a novel.” Despite all of those disclaimers, my job is “writer” now. I love it, actually, and having this level of professional fulfillment is something I’m completely unaccustomed to.

I guess I’ll have to find other stuff to complain about.

Back to Work!

So, I might have neglected to mention I’ve gotten a job! Over the past month, we’ve transitioned to Margo going to full time daycare and my working full time. It wasn’t an easy or streamlined transition by any means… at times a lot was up in the air and, well, I don’t generally do too well with uncertainty and helplessness. So long story short, I didn’t feel much like blogging.

It was kinda like when you’re pregnant and past 39 weeks and everyone’s like “When are you gonna have this baby?” and you’re like “I DON’T KNOW, if I had it, you’d know!  But thanks for reminding me of my helplessness and impatience!” That was life for like 2 months for me. I’m really glad to be past it, so now I can happily communicate with family and friends without dreading the well-meaning questions.

Margo is doing really well with daycare, or “school” as we call it with her. She loves her teachers and has learned snazzy skills like drinking from an open cup and cleaning up her toys and spitting out chewed up food to try to make us laugh (it’s adorable. Not.) I really worried a lot about our decision on the school and what it’d be like for her to go from being home with me exclusively to daycare… but honestly, it’s all good. I’m happy and she’s happy. She’s social and is learning rules and making crafts and friends. I love having freedom and time to workout and outsourcing naptimes and mealtimes… (does that make me a bad mom?)

Working is going well so far. It’s actually kind of nice since I started last Monday, the first day of a holiday week. So I got a 3 (er, 2 – Margo was home sick Wednesday) day stretch under my belt and a catch up break. It’s a bit of a transition for me too, getting used to this whole putting on make up, sitting in one place all day, being around grown ups all day thing… but I’m pretty confident it’ll only get better. I’m happy and validated in my choice, and couldn’t ask for much more right now.

But it’s clear there’s a very delicate balance with this whole working mom thing… time is far more precious than it was before. Let’s explore that, shall we?