Monday, May 17, 2010

Weirdness


Our family has a nanny. Okay, that sounds so weird to say. I envision a family that has a nanny to be wealthy and overtaxed with the burden of raising children; a mom who just "decided" that raising their offspring was "too much" for them to deal with amongst their day of croquet and bridge. The truth of the matter is that we looked at all kinds of childcare before deciding to go with a nanny. The cost difference was nominal and having one consistent person solely employed to be concerned about the welfare of just my kids was the next best thing next to me being there.
So far things have been going well. It is strange to have another person raising your kids in your house who on occassion comes across your laundry in the dryer which has your underwear, your husband's underwear and full access to the "real" size you wear. She does the kids laundry when she has time (huge score for me), she takes them to minor doctor's appointments, reads with them, takes them to the park. The nanny does not do everything exactly the way that I'd want, but then again, no one will ever quite do it just the way I want. After all, how can she? She is not their "mommy," I am, right?

The onset of weird started late last week. Thursday I took a day off to go on a field trip with my older daughter and to also cram in a doctor's appointment I've been putting off for months. I had a little bit of time between the two, so I called Nanny and asked if I could meet them at the park they were at since it was near my doctor's office.

It was really strange to come upon my kids playing at the park with someone other than me or my husband. They were excited to see me, but she was still very present. She played with them, chased them and laughed with them. To no fault of anyone, I felt in a small way like I was interrupting and slightly competing for their attention even though I really wasn't. Nanny kept directing the kids to me - I think as a means of making me feel like I was still important. I appreciated her efforts, but if it walks like a duck, and talks like a duck...you get the gist.

Okay, I thought it's not often I get to be home in the afternoon with the kids so I'll do something special. It was a warm day so I suggested we stop and grab an ice cream - a sure crowd pleaser. "What do you want, J?" I asked. "He wants a banana ice cream on a sugar cone" said Nanny to the man behind the counter. My son was thrilled "You know what I like" he smiled and looked at Nanny. Knowing what my son likes is a good thing (or at least I keep telling myself). I should be thrilled!

Saturday morning we did a quick stop at Jamba Juice for my little ones before hitting the softball fields for the big kid. I pulled into the parking lot and found a spot. "Hey, this is where Nanny parks" said my son. "Looks like her and I are thinking alike" I smiled - no big deal. I walked into Jamba Juice and after taking our order the guy said to baby A, "Hey baby, I know you..." and then he looked at me with a puzzled face. "Does she normally come in with Nanny?" "Yes" I said. "I knew these guys looked familiar." "Yes, they like their Jamba's," I said. What else could I say?

Okay, one petty thing that happened was that another parent told Nanny that she looked great and that she's "...almost lost all of the baby weight!" I think that fact that she hadn't actually birthed the baby she was holding was a bit of a sting....people can be so stupid sometimes. I'm embarrassed to admit it, but this actually made me feel just a little bit better.

I'd like to preface that I'm not upset or angry or even really sad that the nanny has become a real part of our lives. In theory, it's the best thing I could ever ask for while working. One reason we opted for a nanny is because I wanted my kids to feel love and support from someone consistently in my absence. My kids know I love them, but they need to have hugs and kisses between the hours of 7:00am and 6:00pm when I'm gone too. The weirdness I'm confronting comes from feeling like I work so hard to give my family this life I want only to watch someone else live that life. It's just an odd sort of feeling...I guess I would equivocate it to a "sucker punch."

In my plight to be a happier, more positive person I'll say this: It could be worse, right?

Happy Monday!




Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Happy Day

Just like we are teachers to our children, our children can teach us a thing or two (or three). Today I am the student. This morning when my baby girl woke up she rolled onto her back, extended her arms and before she even opened her eyes said "Happy." You could not ask for a better start to your child's day.

It's almost noon now and my phone started exploding with calls before I even made it into my office. There has been one thing after another and the man-bitches are at it again with their whining and pouting. But, today, none of that matters. I'm ignoring the self-indulgent sulking going on around me and manning (or should I say "womaning") the ship here. The only thing I can think about is my baby's morning thought: Happy. And, amidst everything, I really am.



Monday, May 10, 2010

Pure Joy


This may have been one of the best Mother's Day weekends that I have ever had. I took Friday off and we packed up our crazy family and we headed to the beach for the weekend. I have always wanted a beach house and this past weekend we were lucky enough to be gifted the use of one. I didn't know where it was and I didn't care. All I knew was the beach was close and work was far away.

When we arrived at Manresa Beach, the sun was out and we could hear the waves hitting the coastline from the house. We immediately unpacked our goods and trekked down to the warm sandy beaches to frolic in the water. Every time the waves washed in, small hermit crabs, sea glass and shells were left on shore. The kids squealed with delight! Their laughter and pure joy to be there was the greatest gift I could have ever asked for.

The beach was good for me too. It gave me a chance to just let work and its stresses go; it gave me a chance to think without consequence. I spend a lot of time trying to get to where I think I'm supposed to be. Over the course of the next few days at the beach, I realized that I have already won the big prize. My great family is my prize for all the hard work I often feel like doesn't make a difference. I have a sweet husband and I have really great kids who are growing into thoughtful and loving people.

We spent every single day running and exploring at the beach. This might sound odd, but we had such a good time that packing up and heading home to our everyday lives didn't sound like a disappointment. At this point in my life, I'm not where I hoped I'd be (at home with my kids), but I am certainly who I want to be. I am someones wife and I am someones mommy and that is all that counts today. I'll keep working on the rest of myself, but this week when work goes south - which it inevitably will, I'll remember to keep my eye on my prize.

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Stories I Could Tell...


The last few weeks have been crazy and full - which explains the pause in any posts lately.

I could tell you how my baby woke up while I was in the shower at 5:30am, then tore off her diaper and peed on my carpet. The screaming from my big kid made me think someone is in my room dying, so I jumped out of the shower and left my own puddle on the floor trying to see what happened. I found my 6 year old telling me how sorry she was that she didn't know baby took off her diaper and peed because she couldn't see her; she only heard the pee puddling on the carpet. Of course I wasn't mad at her - no apology necessary. I could tell you how I spent that morning running from one disaster to the next. There is a similar poo story that followed, but when you've seen one poo, you've seen them all and no one wants to hear about poo.

I could tell you about how my nanny called me to tell me another nanny at my son's preschool was asking about my husband- and not in a good way (if you're his wife). I could tell you how weird it was to hear my nanny describe how another nanny thought my husband "is so hot." I could tell you how weird it was to hear this DILF story from my nanny...but I'm sure you get that already.

I could tell you about how I keep finding out more and more dirt about my corporate office that only confirms that women are truly the superior sex in my workplace. I could tell you how something good we tried to do at work was twisted into something malicious and conniving and how everyone's morale has been sent to the crapper. I could tell you how miserable my job is and yet how thankful I am to be working, but you've all heard this before.

I could tell you about how I ran my very first 10k race since the marathon in 2007 and I survived. I could tell you that the physical struggle was trumped by the mental achievement I felt. I could tell you that seeing my kids and my husband at the finish line with signs almost brought me to tears. I could tell you the emotions and clarity I worked out on that run were priceless, but you'll have to try it for yourself.

I will tell you that this weekend marked a new low for me as well as a new high as a mother. My 6 year old daughter again started on the "Why are you SO big" questions that break my heart - not because she's calling me "Big" but because she's thinking about people in terms of size.

I tried really hard to not show how much she was hurting my feelings and for 45 minutes I tried very hard to explain to her that how someone looks does not determine who they are. Earlier in the conversation she associated my "big bum" with my mom's. I didn't understand the association. "Why do you care if I'm big?" I ask her and she said "Because I don't want to be big." Ah...there it is. "But, why? Do you think big is bad?" I asked. "No, I just don't like it." For the record, I'm not THAT big!

She asked why I didn't look like my sister - who by the way is very, very thin and used to take care of the kids. We happended to see my sister the day this conversation happened. She told me she thought I didn't match her daddy because he's skinny and I'm big. She thought big people should be with big people and skinny people should be with skinny people. I explained our differences are sometimes what draw us together. She told me she wanted me to be skinny like I used to be. She wanted me to look like her Auntie L...Ugh...there was the low. Now, here comes the high...

When my daughter said she wanted me to look like my sister, my son said "NO! Don't look like her." He then turned to look at me and he said "Mommy, I like you just the way you are. I don't want you to look like her" and then me smiled at me and I knew he really saw me and loved me just the way I am. "Buddy, that is the nicest thing you've ever said to me" I told him. I just love that little boy...

I turned to my daughter and pulled the God card. "God makes us all different for a reason. If I'm supposed to be skinny or big or green or purple, then someday that's what I'll be. If not, then this is who I am and I'm happy with that. You need to remember to look at people's hearts, not their size to see if they are good people. "Okay, mama" is all she said, but I hope she heard me.

I know this will come up again. I wish it wouldn't, but as long as it's on her mind I hope she still talks to me and gets her answers from me instead of another mom or a kid on the playground