Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Bedtime Shenanigans

I’m going to start out by saying that I don’t know how I am even finding the energy to pluck at the keys of my keyboard since bedtime shenanigans has been costing me my sleep and, in turn, my sanity.

It’s not like all of a sudden Thomas was around an hour to go to bed and then up  1-3 times during the night.  Like any bad habit, it started with good intentions and then slowly snowballed into the largest snowball in the history of snowballs.  (OK, that last part may have been exaggeration.  Sleep deprivation, among many things, blows my perspective out of wack).

It started with a bad dream here and there.  So of course I would let Thomas sleep with us.  And then his head *may* have grazed the pillow before he swore he had a bad dream.  Next thing you know, he is coming in to sleep with us.  And once I bring him to his room, he comes back to our a few hours later.

He started out sweet and would move when I would ask him to give me some more room on *my* pillow.  Gradually, he would sleep right in the middle and when I would ask him to please move, he would declare that he was sleeping there.

Next thing I know, I am sleeping face to face with Baby Jammies and Thomas, who refused to give me any room in my own bed.  MY OWN BED!!

that’s when I started to slowly snap.

What was worse was that the hours of broken sleep were totally screwing with my head.  I couldn’t focus.  I just would sit in a semi-catatonic state while watching Calliou and checking my Twitter so I wouldn’t fall asleep.  I could feel my motivation for to do anything, even things that make me happy, evaporate.

Then on Friday, I watched The Super Nanny marathon.  And it clicked.  I am in charge here.  And because I am in charge, I need to change this. Because I am sucking at everything with this downward spiral of non-interrupted sleep.

But then there is a part of me that whispers to me in a patronzing tone that I shouldn’t be such a hard ass.  Thomas very well could be our last child, and he is not going to want to sleep with his parents forever.  I should soak it up and be happy.  Did I mention that he would bring me a stuffed animal to sleep with because he had Baby Jammies?  Ugh.  It was like my heart string were being yanked rather than delicately plucked.

As much as I want to cuddle all night long and then spend all day with Thomas without any downtime or nap time, I needed to appreciate the fact that I need some time to recharge.  And the hours of 9pm - 6am seemed like a totally appropriate time to do so.

So last night, I took Thomas to bed every time he came into our room, Super Nanny style.  I gently said he could come in the morning and cuddle, but needed to sleep in his room.  He cried.  I wanted to cry.   (Except that would have required too much energy).  But in the end, he seemed to have the idea that he needs to get rest in his own room.

I wish I could have some solid conclusion, but all I can say is that I see I light at the end of the bedtime shenanigans of the bedtime routine.

How do you deal with bedtime shenanigans?  Do you feel like the worst mom in the world because you decide to put up some boundaries to protect your sanity, or is that just me?

With Baby Jammies

*3-28-13 - I may have spoke too soon since shortly after I posted this, Thomas was up and screaming to get in our bed.  And then 2 hours later, again with the getting up!  It kind of felt like I was in perpetual triangle pose, the most uncomfortable pose that makes me feel angry.  That light at the end of the tunnel may be further away than I originally thought.

Ironically, today is Thomas's 4th birthday today.  And I am as tired as I was the morning I gave birth to him.   

Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Day Alone on the Beach

Otherwise titled: The Break that I Needed

For the past couple of weeks, I have been lamenting my need for a break.  And not the “grocery shopping alone” kind of break.  One where I can breath deeply and have time to collect my thoughts.  

Well, I got what I wished for.  I had five whole hours to myself on a beach that looks like this:

And here is me, relaxing.  Actual proof that I peacefully sat on the beach.

The hat was a necessary purchase due to an application 
error of sunblock which I painfully discovered when I
 was using a scratchy round brush to do my bangs.  
Holy hell, did it hurt!

What these photos don’t show is that it was windy, and I was bundled up with a towel.  (Please note that I am not complaining because I know that I would be freezing my ass off at the bus stop).  It also does not show that my mind was not as peaceful as the view, no matter how hard I tried.

I really tried to let my thoughts drift through my mind, as they say in yoga.  No such luck.

At first, I was totally grossed out by the seagulls that were swarming around even though I had no food.  I looked around to see what was going on, and there was a lady.  *Hand feeding a seagull!* 

Really?!  Who does that?  It was like she was basking in the attention, as I judged by her puppy dog eyes gazing at said seagull that clearly had not missed any meals.  

From there, I wondered if a seagull has ever died from eating too much processed white bread and beef.  Is it possible?  

Because I feared the seagull expected the same handout from me, I went for a walk.  It was beautiful, sunny, and not too hot.  The Gulf of Mexico water was tranquil shade of blue.  As I tried to stay focused on the calming water, I was completely distracted by all the people who were so deeply tanned.  I do not think the citizens of Marco Island (and I do say citizens because it was totally obvious by their skin color that they have been enjoy months, if not years of constant summer sun) have received the message that the UVA rays from the sun cause skin cancer and that baby oil is no longer an approved product for sun safety.

Listen, I know how petty this all sounds.  So let me explain.  Letting my mind go to these random places was like a vacation because for the past month we have been in the process of selling our home and purchasing another one.  The “what ifs” surrounding this along with my mommy duties and household responsibilities and the new job stuff and blogging commitments have been running relentlessly in my mind.  Was my mind quiet?  No.  Did it enjoy silly things to ponder?  Yes.

I’ll take what I can get.

And I know that I casually dropped the information about selling and buying a house, but until we no longer have the keys to our current home and possess the keys of a new home, I am just scared to linger in my good news in fear that it will all be taken away.

Did I achieve a peaceful zen-like state?  No.  Did I have fun?  Yes.  More importantly, I feel refreshed and ready to go back to my regularly scheduled  life with much less crabbiness.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Signs that I am in Desperate Need of a Break

This weekend, I am accompanying Harrington to Marco Island for his bi-yearly work conference.  I am totally excited about this because although he has to go to conferences and breakout sessions, it is more of a vacation for me in the sense that there is a beach, grownup time, and cocktail hour.  Yes, I need to make small talk with people I don’t see very often, which is not my forte, but it is a small price to pay for three nights of uninterrupted sleep.

To be frank, I need this break.  I have a lot going on.  More than usual, and as soon as I have more deets, I’ll spill my guts.   Promise.  I’m just superstitious that way.

Due to an overload of intense activity coupled with my sleepless nights, I’ve been slipping.  I have been making sloppy mistakes and my mind ism’t focused which indicates it is time for a break.  And not going to Target at night by myself and sneak back after the kids are in bed kind of break.  No.  A *real* break which consists of a hotel, meals made by someone else other than me, and wine hour. 

Here are some observations which lead me to think this break is long overdue:

 - I am fantasize about spending time in a sound booth at the ear doctor so that I can get some peace and quiet.

- I am constantly having this inner monologue: “You can do this, Erin.  You just have to do (insert task here).  You. Can. Do. This.”  This happens several times a day ranging from getting up in the morning to making lunch or doing laundry.  You know, normal everyday stuff.

- At the pediatrician’s office while processing the news that Marie either has generalized pneumonia or undiagnosed asthma, I went into a full-blown panic at the checkout desk because I thought that I lost my wallet.  The receptionist kindly pointed out that I was holding it under my arm.

 - I feel pure rage when I am forced to deal with stall tactics during bedtime.  I know Thomas will wake me in a few hours with some excuse to sleep in our bed which results in no one wakes up fully rested.  This directly feeds the cycle of exhaustion and frustration.  

 - I am looking forward to *just* the plane ride because I will be able to do what I want (blog? read a book? take a nap?  the possibilities are endless!) in peace and quiet while I eat the delicious Delta Airlines cookies which I do not have to share with anyone.  And if I want wine instead of milk to drink with my cookies, I can.  Because I am a break, damn it!

As excited as I am, I do feel that heavy, icky guilty feeling that I am leaving my kids behind (until they start bickering, in which case I can’t wait to leave . . . until they are all sweet and cuddly, and I am flooded with guilt again.)  I write about these complicated feelings at The Detroit News MichMoms blog.  I’d love to hear you weigh in so I know I’m not alone with this internal struggle.

How do you know it’s time for a break?

Friday, March 1, 2013

My Thoughts about Yahoo!, Marissa Mayer, and her Stance on Telecommuting

I choose the word anger because making inflexible working conditions seems like a giant step back and contrary to the evolving technologies we have available to make telecommuting successful.    

I am angry because during World War II (when there was no such thing as telecommuting), it benefited men in power to have women work out of the home, therefore on-site nurseries were available to working moms.  But once the war was over, there was no more support for women in the workforce because they were not needed anymore and expected to head back to the kitchen.

Inflexible work hours was one of the (many) reasons I left my job as a junior high teacher.  There are no telecommuting options for that career, and if I wanted to be there for my kids the way that I wanted to be there for them, I had to make a choice.  

From that point on, I began plotting and scheming for a career that allowed me the maximum flexibility so that I could be there for my family.

The first time that I went to BlogHer, I was amazed to see so many women wearing their babies while wrangling microphones for the crowds and attending sessions.  There were rooms where they could nurse.  There was on-site daycare.  I reveled in this supportive environment that recognized that women can be mothers and participate in business at the same time.

When I saw this microcosm of a matriarchal community, I thought to myself, “This is what it would look like if women ruled the world.”  I felt inspired and hopeful by these women who were blending their worlds together.

I felt optimistic when I saw a woman, no a woman with a new baby, come into power at a company like Yahoo!.  I thought that this was going to be it - all the walls that separated work and family would be torn down and a new era that accepted the complexities of working mothers would be ushered in by this brand new mother/CEO.

I was wrong.  And so very disappointed.  Perhaps I projected too many of my own hopes and dreams on to someone who clearly doesn’t share my same vision.

Or does she?  I mean Marissa Mayer *did* have a nursery built at her office.  The hypocrisy of this just blows my mind.  How can she ask her employees to leave their families behind while she brings hers to work?

Managing work commitments while juggling family needs is not easy.  I was a wreck when I went back to work for one day a week.  One day, people!  I am continuing to figure out a balance that works for me and my family.  How is one expected to care for a child, run a household, and do work?  With flexibility, that is how!  And flexibility is the reason I am encouraged to make this work.

I remain hopeful that my idyllic vision of women working in a more family-friendly workplace will come to fruition.  Just not with Marissa Mayer.

What are your thoughts on Marissa Mayer and her stance on telecommuting?  What do you think of working from home with kids?