Henry loves his daycare, but lately we’ve struggled with getting him there in the morning because he wants to stay home with us instead.
This morning I called his bluff and said fine, he didn’t have to go, but we had to get to work. For a good 20 minutes he sat on the floor in our office naked while we replied to emails. He just sat there because I sternly told him he couldn’t play or talk or do anything fun if he was going to stay home, and the couple of times he said “I’m going to help you work,” and got out a piece of paper and a marker or something, I told him no, he had to just sit there and do nothing if he was staying home. And he was butt naked because he refused to get dressed for school.
He was fully prepared to just sit there quietly all day. Poor kid.
Finally, hearts breaking for this naked kid just sitting there silently, we told him we needed to go to meetings so he had to go to school. Several cuddles and lots of tears and protests later, he’s on his way.
I’ve said it a million times, but the working mother’s dilemma is such a hard one. I miss him all day too and wish we could just play and cuddle all the time.
But we’ve got obligations. Clients to take care of, bills to pay.
So many times I see posts on Facebook that say things like, forget your sleep training, or forget your time outs — go to your kid when he’s crying and just be with him. That he’s little and he won’t always need you. To enjoy the moments and take every cuddle you can.
I try that; to remember that he’s only little once, and that if he needs me, he needs me. When he asks for a cuddle, I never say no. There’s plenty of time to learn independence, and I do believe he’ll be better at independence if he’s confident and knows how loved he is.
But there has to be a line… I just don’t know where it is.
And I don’t know if things are amped up because of the baby coming. I want to give him all the individual attention I can, before things change forever. This morning I don’t actually have any meetings until 11:30. I can stay up late to bang out work if I need to, though my brain doesn’t work as well at night.
Things ended well today. Cory said drop-off was easy. He was all smiles. But thinking of him just sitting on our office floor doing nothing because he wants to be with us that badly — I’m just having a heartbroken kind of morning.
So there are definitely days where I feel like I’m failing at everything because I’m trying to do too much. But there are other days where I’m all “I got this” and while it’s far from easy, I’m really freaking proud of all that I’m juggling. This is going to be one of those snapshots of my days and of course it’s because it’s a killer wham-bam kind of a day. I don’t tend to snapshot the stupid days where everything goes wrong.
So. Early 2015 has been INSANE for business. Everyone is following through on their New Year’s Resolutions at the same time, and I’m right at the verge of having to turn away new business because my cup is brimming with work. I’m NOT complaining. (And I’m not turning people away. Yet.)
A few months ago when I left the Shirt Factory job I had this really foreign feeling of actually being able to get to the stuff on my to-do list that wasn’t urgent. As in, for a really long time it only got done if it was pressing. I had a refreshing couple of months in November and December and opened a boutique. And now, BAM! It’s back to where I’m spinning plates — Now this one! Now this one! Like waiting tables. Rushing from one thing to the next, but I think I’m okay. I’m handling it, and I’ve hired some help.
So we enrolled Henry in the Early Learners program at the YMCA — pre-preschool. We also have him going to It’s A Kidz World three days a week, and we also signed him up for swim class.
This morning it was my first time solo with him for this wild routine. I woke up with him, fed him breakfast, and armed with three bags (swim stuff, backpack with extra clothes and snack for Early Learners, my work clothes) we made it to the Y for Early Learners. I dropped him off and worked out to my sister’s “Disaster Mix” — Britney Spears, punk rock, 80’s dance hits. It felt great. I picked him up at 10:45 and we changed into swim gear for 11 a.m. swim class — with a LOT of crying because he is TERRIFIED of noisy potties, and there’s one with an automatic flush in the family change room.
We do swim class and somehow I manage to get us both showered and into clothes. It’s not a quick process. We drive to Kidz World and he sits down for his lunch while all the kids are sleeping and proceeds to fall asleep while eating, I’m told.
I head to work and get there about 12:30, scarf a frozen Veggie Loaf TV dinner, meet with the President of the Glens Falls Collaborative and get paid for a big project with them, reply to emails, get two projects done for clients, bang out a couple of pages on a major website I’m building, meet with a prospective client and have an Amity meeting with one of my regulars and then it’s time to go.
Cory’s picked Henry up and has dinner on the table. He cleans up Henry and dinner while I email the director of an arts organization back about this super duper major grant project with the City. The Mayor is apparently going to announce our project tonight and the media’s been alerted, and I need to send her an image. So I’m doing that while dinner’s being cleaned up (Thanks, honey!) and then Cory has to leave for work. But not before he makes a joke about how my iPhone is like a Bat signal — THE MAYOR IS CONTACTING US! WE NEED ADVOKATE!
Then Henry’s got to go to the bathroom. And there I am, wiping my toddler’s butt with one hand and texting the media my statements which might be put in print with the other hand. And that sums it up right there, really. Also, then he said he needed a Band-Aid on his butt. I had to hold him up in the mirror so he could see it. All in the middle of talking about this project.
Thank Jesus for texting. That wouldn’t work via phone. Can you imagine it? “So yeah, there’s a match and the grant is due in two days. Bend over, honey! And there are 13 organizations partnering on it. No, I’m not done yet – That’s a lot of poop! And we’re getting in-kind donations from the City. DON’T TOUCH IT! STOP TOUCHING IT!!!”
Oh, but it doesn’t stop there. Practice for my a cappella band The Skirts is canceled, so instead, Henry and I then go to the inaugural meeting of the Glens Falls Chapter of Holistic Moms at the library.
I felt so dumb not bringing something to keep Henry entertained. We sat on the floor with some coloring books but instead of chatting with the other moms, I mostly chased Henry around shushing him while people were talking. I felt at home with my mason jar of cereal for snacks, and Henry was even wearing a tie-dye shirt. I think we fit in okay, except for where it seemed like a number of the moms were working part-time or were full time moms so they could home school. It made me think that maybe I actually am trying to do too much. How possible is it to be this career-oriented and ALSO be really family-oriented? More likely, how sustainable is it? I really want both.
Anyway, we left early because Henry was being a rascal and I couldn’t blame him because he was clearly bored. I will probably join the group, but I did feel a little out of place as a vegan amidst farmers. I think we all have the same basic values, though, about living naturally and researching all of our choices to make the best decisions for our families.
We came home for bath and bedtime, and Henry’s still nursing. I’ve been feeling more and more like our days are numbered with that, but hanging with those other moms tonight made me feel more like I ought to just keep going with the flow and let Henry make the choice to quit when he’s ready.
And then after he fell asleep, I went downstairs and had a cup of coffee and proofed the grant for this major citywide project. And here I am writing about it.
Maybe I can’t balance the ultra-career-woman thing with the most-present-and-all-natural-mom-in-the-world thing forever, but today I did it LIKE A BOSS and I feel really proud of it.
I’ve definitely had people tell me that I can’t have it all. And some days it feels like a major relief to actually admit that I can’t be a perfect ethical vegan AND run my own wildly successful business AND take my kid to art shows AND make food from scratch AND run a boutique AND buy everything organic and local AND avoid chain restaurants AND not shop at Wal-mart AND work out AND do extended breastfeeding AND find time to relax AND do yoga AND do everything in the most ecofriendly and waste-free way possible AND be a total attachment-style parent AND keep everyone in the world’s feelings in mind AND make time for my husband AND keep the house clean AND… so on.
But today I feel like, while there were certainly moments of frustration, I pulled it all off. So there. I wrote it down for posterity. My one day that I did it all! Yes I CAN do it all! YES I CAN, YES I CAN, YES I CAN…
Now I’ve got to choose whether I fold the laundry or get more work done. Maybe I’ll do both! It’s my one day to be awesome at everything!
Woke up and had coffee in bed thanks to my wonderful husband. Henry was the perfect boy and read books in his crib while I showered and got ready in my businesslady outfit and darker lipstick than made sense in daylight. Then I brought him to his grandparents BobbyDeeDee in his jammies for breakfast. They were kind enough to get him ready and drop him off at daycare for the day.
Realize I actually have no idea where the thing is and GPS it. I was at the wrong exit.
Arrive and set up, despite some technical glitches.
Awkwardly “network” by clinging to the people I know at the networking event preceding my presentation on branding. Eat dry toast and fruit because I don’t want to be a vegan pain in the a.
Branding presentation. I think it went well. People had nice things to say and I had some good conversations. Pam Fisher from the Chamber is awesome. I have nice friends (Janet Nolin and Shari Olson, while I’m naming names.)
Artists drop off their work for the shop. Check email and get a few work things done. Appointment with Amity Farm Batik in which we work together creating graphics from her batik to make into scarves.
Realize I can’t stand it any more and rearrange the shop. Hang shelves, arrange things in baskets, dust, arrange things in different baskets. Put jewelry here. Put jewelry there.
Pick Henry up. He runs to me with a big smile on his face. It’s the best part of my day, seeing him do his thing in the daycare environment and then have that bright flash of recognition spread over his face like sunshine. I love when he runs to me.
Vote. I teach Henry in the car to say “Vote Green! Vote Matt!” He says it to folks on our way out. While we’re there I bump into Patree, who I used to work with at The Chronicle. She says she just proofed my next article about trying to get pregnant and I ask her what she thinks. She says it will be interesting to people who have had similar experiences, which is my hope.
Henry and I, side by side, make vegan chili and cornbread. He takes a break to poop on the big potty and (after washing his hands) he adds spices, stirs, throws the veggies into measuring cups, pours in all the cornbread ingredients and pours. He helps me do the dishes, too (by pouring water from measuring cup to measuring cup). I put beans in the fridge to soak overnight.
He decides he is done with dishes and ready to eat dinner and goes and sits in his own chair. I remember that we have Skirts practice tonight and text that I’ll be late. Henry and I raise a Pane Bello toast (because the cornbread is not finished cooking yet) to Matt Funiciello. The chili is really good.
Cory arrives home after voting and we kiss and Henry decides he wants to come to Skirts so we hop in the car and drive. I warm up by singing on the way. Henry just looks at the moon. It glowed tonight.
Chatting in Laura Lightfoote’s kitchen with her and Stefanie O’Brien and Janelle Hammond. I have a Sierra Nevada.
We move downstairs to practice. We’re working on Holding Out For A Hero, which I try not to get too excited about. I’m really excited about it. Henry plays with Laura’s son Mason, who is the same age. They’re adorable. Henry’s a good boy. Henry dumps his snacks in their play kitchen’s sink. It’s funny because Bobby DeeDee started that — they used to keep his snacks in his play kitchen’s sink, and we then followed their habit.
Henry looks at the moon on the way home. We talk about it. I tell him the moon loves him.
We skip bath tonight because it’s so late and go straight to books and bub. I read Henry a book of poems from the library and he falls asleep on my lap. I can tell it’s coming and intentionally quiet my voice and make the poems into a quiet chant to lull him to sleep. He goes heavy in my arms. I ask if he wants me to finish reading and he says yes through his sleep so I do. It’s precious.
I decide to write my day down while Cory reads The Chronicle and listens to NCPR about the results for the NY-21 Congressional Race. We sit on the couch together.