Monthly Archives: June 2014

A Lot of This

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Well that week certainly flew by. Last week I was in New York for work and missed my guys for three bedtimes. Sad face. Our weekend, however, was chock full of soaking up every sunbeam and blue sky day. And this week was an unending cycle of the stark juxtaposition of being glued to my computer during work hours (and a few and post-kid bedtime evenings), and playing/eating/laughing completely unplugged with my family in between.

It’s the way it should be. It’s the way I want it to be. It’s what I work so hard for.

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Want to know what we did? Grilled dinner and ate corn on the cob and played on the swingset and went swimming at the town pond. Bathtime a little bit late and feet covered in dirt, but the kids were giggly and goofy right up until their heads hit the pillows. Benjamin and I clinked our glasses and smiled at each other over another happy day together. Pretty much every day.

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Lather, rinse, repeat.

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Work is nuts and our family is nuttier, and it’s a delicate balance to do both wholeheartedly without compromising. I find myself saying no to things and to people now, when I used to try to fit every gosh darn thing into every day. But when you get that balance right, even for a week? It’s glorious.

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We capped off this week with a pizza dinner eaten out on the swing set. Since I didn’t have to cook it, it was done mere minutes after we got home from school, which meant early dinner and plenty of post-dinner playtime. Then Owen deemed it time for “everyone to take their clothes off!” and after a bit more naked playtime in the backyard (kids only), we tossed those cute little butts in the bath and wrangled them into clean pj’s. The best kind of summer night.

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I have a feeling we’re going to be doing a lot more of this as the summer progresses.

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And I couldn’t be happier about that.

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She Says… The Double Bind

I don’t talk about my work much on the blog because it’s, you know, work. And it’s, you know, probably not terribly interesting to many of you. But as my time and focus has shifted toward my work recently, it has shifted away from the blog somewhat. The two are inextricably linked, as there are only so many hours in the day, and only so much brain space available for things beyond the daily rigamarole of raising children and keeping the house clean and maintaining friendships and enjoying time with my awesome husband (not necessarily in that order!).

Though having a family with two working parents has created some complicated logistics at times (ahem, understatement of the century), it has also allowed me to maintain a part of my persona that is extremely important to me, and gives me the opportunity to model for my boys that 1) women can achieve success in their careers in addition to being mothers, if they so choose, and 2) relationships can (and should) be balanced so that both partners get the chance to do what makes them thrive personally and professionally. Not to mention helping me appreciate the knowledge and experience that our village of teachers, babysitters, family and friends can share with my kids.

Right about this time last year, just before Emmett was born, I was promoted to a new role managing a team leading projects across North America at the management consulting firm where I work. Since then, and even more so since January, I’ve been working harder and longer and on more complicated initiatives than ever before.  As that ramps up, my blogging time and output has decreased, little by little. A few weeks ago I was invited to attend a training program for high potential women leaders. It was a fascinating program and it was exciting for me to be part of this group of inspiring women from various companies. One of the topics we discussed in the training is the “double bind” for women in the workplace. A double bind is essentially a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation. In regards to women and leadership, this double bind is most often experienced in the following ways:

  1. Emotions: Women are either too “soft” or emotional, or too “hard” (read: bitch), depending on the situation. Men acting the same way might be seen as “kind/empathetic” or “powerful/strong”, which do not have the same negative connotations.
  2. Rewards: Women are often held to higher competency standards than men, but are rewarded or recognized less. So they can perform as well or better as a male counterpart, but are often not compensated or celebrated in the same way.
  3. Likability: Women are seen as either competent, or well-liked, but not generally both. “Nice” women are too nice, “task-focused” women are not nice enough.

I have a lot of thoughts about how this manifests itself in the corporate world today, but I also began to think about the double bind in the context of blogging.

I see the parent blogging double bind in the following three ways (though I’m sure there are a million more):

  1. Hard days: If you gloss over the challenging times or rough days in your writing, or omit them altogether, you get dinged for only showing a fake, perfect life. But if you write about them, you get dinged for not appreciating your kids, not recognizing that they are “just being kids” or resenting their very existence.
  2. Fertility: If you wrote about struggling to get pregnant or to stay pregnant in the past, it seems you are not “allowed” to also write about pregnancy being hard or missing things about your pre-kids life, lest you awake the sleeping beast of bitter commenters. “There are millions of women who would die to be in your shoes and have a baby!”. Very true, but one comment, or even a whole blog post, does not mean that the author is not deeply grateful and thankful to their core that they have the babies who they worked so hard for. I am guessing this also applies to bloggers who did not struggle. No matter your road to getting pregnant and having babies, not every second of every day with your kids is a shiny happy sparkly rainbow moment. And that’s ok. On the flip side, if you write a glowy post about the joys of motherhood post-fertility, you’re STILL going to receive hate mail about not acknowledging that some people are still struggling and how hurtful your post was to THOSE people. Ya can’t win, no matter how your story unfolds or how you choose to tell it.
  3. Privacy: If you share intimate details of your family on the internet, you will eventually question why you’re doing it and if it’s worth it and if you are putting your child(ren) in danger somehow or doing something they wouldn’t approve of if they knew about it. However, if none of us shared these stories and sometimes quite private admissions about parenthood and the rocky road to becoming parents, we’d all be sitting around feeling alone and scared and isolated because of what we are going through. Which, at least with most things parenting-related, isn’t the case. There are amazing people out there and the internet is a remarkably rich place to find support, connection and sometimes even real-life friendships. But of course those things often come at a cost of personal privacy.

There’s a strange, warped sense of knowing a blogger’s most intimate thoughts and yet, not ever knowing all of the things that they decide not to put on the page. It doesn’t mean they aren’t thinking them, it’s just that there isn’t enough room in the entire internet for every caveat that would be necessary to write before each post so that no one is offended.

I guess what it all boils down to is… you can’t please everyone all the time, so just be yourself. And that goes for women in the corporate world as well as in the world of blogging. And… fuck ’em. Because, really, why spend time worrying about what other people think? Someone is bound to be offended by almost everything you write, so just write.

Just write, if it makes you happy. And work, if it makes you happy. And raise your family however makes you happy. Don’t worry if other people are happy with you, just be happy with yourself.

Weekend Adventure: Part Deux

Our spontaneous Newport trip two weeks ago was so much fun that we couldn’t resist another friend’s impromptu invitation to join her family on the Cape last Saturday.

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Emily is a friend I met in mom group when our babies were just 6 weeks old. These two have been playing together for nearly 4 years already!

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The drive there was… slow. It took about 2.5 hours when we were expecting 1.5-2, thanks to a couple of accidents and general Cape traffic. I think I’ve figured out our happy car ride limit for the moment, and it’s just about 1.5 hours — that last hour wasn’t the highlight of the trip, that’s for sure!

But the second we arrived to a perfect, blue sky day, all was forgiven.

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Even Emmett had a buddy to play with, and we noticed them noticing each other for the first time. We handed them some plastic measuring cups to bang around and they were happy as clams. Happy, easygoing Baby #2’s.

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As a baby, Owen’s beach experiences have been hit or miss. He doesn’t like the feeling of sand, or the way it gets all over his body (I can relate). Even last summer the crash of the waves was too loud and the sun was too hot. He just wasn’t comfortable.

But this year? This year he couldn’t get enough. The water! The sand! The rocks! The crabs! The seashells! He was all over it.

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Emmett, however, took to the beach like a fish to water. He got right down in the sand and squished it in his chubby fists and licked it off his fingers and splashed in the shallow water. He was in heaven.

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The drive home was better than the drive there, as the kids fell asleep as soon as we closed the car doors (after a quick stop for ice cream, of course!). Post-beach naps are the best.

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Despite how much fun we’ve had with our little weekend adventures, Benjamin and I are both shooting for less driving this weekend. Time to explore some of our local summertime faves.

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Summahtime, my friends. Looks like this.

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Mercury, It’s All Your Fault. Right?

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I don’t generally put a lot of stock in astrology, or where the moon is in its orbit or whatever. Sure, I love a good horoscope as much as the next girl, and once even had my “stars read” or whatever you call it when you get a report about yourself based on the planetary alignment at the moment of your birth. It’s all very intriguing to me, but in a very theoretical way.

After perhaps one of the roughest parenting days I’ve had in a while on Monday, Benjamin sent me a link to this article about Mercury in retrograde making people “go haywire with miscommunications”. And jokingly noted, “Maybe this is the reason they are so crazy?”. Ha, I thought.

As I scrolled through my Instagram feed last night, I noticed 4 separate and unrelated posts where people mentioned their kids acting completely out of character and jokingly blaming it on Mercury’s retrograde. Ha, I thought.

Benjamin’s father is a pediatric dentist and has mentioned in the past that it may seem unlikely, but his office definitely gets packed with strange dental emergencies during certain planetary alignments (and I’ve read the same about emergency rooms when there is a full moon). Ha, I tend to think.

Well, maybe the joke’s on me.

Sunday (June 8) through today my kids have been acting uncharacteristically wild. Emotional. Delicate. Fussy. Defiant. Mercury has been in retrograde since June 7 and will be until July 1st. Coincidence? Perhaps.

But if there’s any truth to this, hold onto your hats, folks. It’s going to be a long three weeks.

Have you noticed your kids losing it more than usual in the last few days? Or any weird connections to behavior and the planets/moon?

 

On a  somewhat related note, Owen’s class did a unit on the solar system last month. He LOVED learning about the planets and brings up random planet facts in our conversations every day now. Everything that is a circle becomes a planet, and he knows the order, weather and relative size of all of the planets in the solar system. I’ll be the first to admit that space knowledge is not my personal forte, so I have learned a lot from him. Here he is singing about the planets about a month ago. Perhaps HE can teach me something about this Mercury retrograde situation!

The Best/Worst School Photo Ever

I don’t even know where to begin. This school photo is too ridiculous.

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Contrary to how it looks, Emmett is not actually an 800 pound man walking with a cane.

I can’t stop giggling.

It’s so bad it’s fantastic.

 

2012:

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2013:

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Can’t… stop… laughing.

Poor Emmett.

I love these little faces so much.