When Good Enough isnt enough

I am struggling. There I said it. I want to be a full time Mom. But, many days I still love my job. The days I don’t love it however are out numbering the days that I do. And last week I actually cried because I was feeling ineffective and worthless. Yup, worthless. Not a good feeling for an employee who feels she is doing her absolute best to get the job done. Also not a good feeling for someone who has high standards and expects herself and others to live up to them.

I have been digesting all of the reasons I went back to work, and re-thinking them. Money, personal fulfilment, boredom, pride, not wanting to be a servant to my husband and kids, I could go on and on. But, you get the idea.

Hubby and I have been actively nesting our funds away, and slowly paying off all of our debt. We have finally freed ourselves from credit cards, student loans, car payments and all other revolving debt. What we are left with is a hefty house payment and household bills (gas, electric, water, cable, phone, groceries, fuel, pet food, etc.). The awesome part of all of this is that we could make it with hubby’s income only. We would have to cut out all extras however. There would be a VERY small pad, and we would have to watch our spending. We would also have to learn how to budget better and have to learn how to say NO to outings, or at least set spending limits on them.

Hubby and I are terrible at saying No and even worse at setting limits. We often feel like we ‘deserve’ it, so we treat ourselves. We have made a commitment over the last couple of years to reign in our spending and have obviously done a good job. But, there is that last bit of frivolousness that we still enjoy and currently can afford. We would have to look at things in a new light, and allow ourselves a fresh perspective on frugal life.

I have been trying to look at this like a challenge to myself. At work I set goals. So, why not look at staying home like a goal–I challenge myself to stop spending money on things I don’t need (I shouldn’t need to stay home to accomplish this…but we all need goals). I challenge myself to accept and appreciate what I already have. I challenge myself to come up with new and creative ways to re-use the items I already have; give them a second (or third!) life. I challenge myself to learn how to shop, cook, and maintain a household on a slimmer budget.

This next month we are going to give it a test run. I am going to move my paycheck over to savings, and we are going to try and live off of just hubbys income. That will give us a feel for what it will be like. I will keep you posted on the results of the trial run.

I also want to use these challenges as a way to keep my mind working at problem solving. I worry that if I quit working that I will turn into a babling idiot who can only talk about her kids and poopy diapers. I want to ensure that I am challenging myself, keeping up on current events and aware of the world around me. I dont want to turn into the SAHM at the Mom’s groups that I dont like.

We also want to have another baby. We have talked about it many times over the last 10 months, and are both so happy as parents that we don’t see a reason to wait. If we space them close together they can play with one another, I can reuse many of their toys and baby items, they can share a room, and the time commitment needed will be condensed into a shorter overall commitment (of course it will be multiplied three fold in level of difficulty…but who factors that in). Plus, maybe we will want more than 2 children…maybe we will want 3. Hubby so NO WAY, but you never know. So, if we were to ever consider 3 kids, we should get a move on! I dont want to be categorized as ‘elderly’ in maternal age (they use this term when you are pregnant and over 35-can you believe that!!!).

So, here I am again. Deliberating my future. Except this time my future is the future of my children (is this wrong?); I am not even factoring in my career goals. They just don’t seem to matter to me much anymore. I want to refocus my energy on my family, and I just cant seem to allow/permit myself to be good enough at both. I need to be great at one. I want to be great at one.

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Homemade Household Products

I want to start making my own household cleaners. I have been doing some sole searching (I want to be a full time Mom) and budget searching (in order to justify the loss in income, we would have to save money elsewhere) and have decided that household cleaners are just way to expensive. Many are also toxic to humans and animals, not to mention destructive to our environment.

So, I am going to test out my creative (and chemistry) skills. If anyone has any suggestions, advise or recipe’s–please let me know! From the research I have conducted thus far, it is a simple as this ingredient list. I will keep you posted.

Dog gone crazy

While we were on vacation we hired a dog sitter for a our dog and cat. We could kennel the dog, but then we would have to pay more, and inconvenience a friend to come over and look in on the cat. So, for less money for us and less stress for the animals we hire a dog sitter.

This gal has been dog sitting for us for a few years, she love dogs, and works full time at our local dog wash and pet store. She stays at the house most nights and works just a few blocks from our house.

There have been a few odd occurrences while she watched the house and the dog in the 3 plus years she has been here. Once the towel rack in the bathroom was broken. Another time the house was kinda messy when we returned. All simple manageable things.

This time she couldn’t get into the house, and we had to call a friend over to come and help her with the front door. Granted, we have an odd front door-that gives us issues occasionally. But, the most random thing that I discovered was that she tried on one of my dresses. You are probably wondering how I know, right? Well, let me expose how anal and neurotic I am about my clothes.

On Easter, I wore a floral dress to a party. All of my dresses are in the garage in a wardrobe. If you have been to our house, you will know that it is almost 100 years old, and the closets have not be renovated. And if you have been in an old house you might remember that closets are the size of match boxes. Ours is no exception. The only exception is that my husband has a lot of clothes too. So, we split the closet 50/50 and both store coats and dress clothes in our garage.

Back to the main topic. The dress was hanging in our room still, because I hadn’t found the inclination to walk it back outside to our detached garage, open 2 locks to get in there and hang it back up. When we returned from our trip, the dress was still hanging in the same place, but the zipper was down.

Now folks, I will say again how anal I am about my clothes. I always hang them the same direction, I fold them immediately to avoid wrinkles and I always zip them up. I rarely loan them out, and like to keep them clean and neat. So, I can only assume that she tried it on, and given her past behavior of leaving our house untidy, didn’t zip up the zipper.

All and all, not that big of a deal. The animals are happy, the house wasn’t robbed, nothing was stolen or damaged. But, to me…its a bit of an invasion of my privacy. What are your thoughts?

Mind Blogging

I have been blogging in my mind so much lately that I feel fulfilled, all the while I haven’t written a thing. I will think of something I want to write about or share, then mentally walk through what I would say, how I would phrase something, and what the title of the post would be. Then I file it away in my brain to type out another day…Well, as you can see that day hasn’t come yet.

Instead, today I want to share a few great things about my son-before they disappear from my terrible memory all together.

He goes in for his 9 month appointment this week, and I cant believe how much he has grown. He is developing an amazing little personality-after witnessing my own kid I am a firm believer that children are born with their own personalities, and that while we may be able to nurture some aspects of it, they are hard wired. Luckily, he is a pleasure to be around with smiles abounding. While he still hasn’t had any inclination to crawl, pull himself up, or walk…he is very curious about things around him and is often craning his neck from side to side to make sure he isn’t missing anything. He is extremely expressive both with his facial expressions, bodily gestures and vocal sounds. He sits up like a pro and rarely falls over-he is also rolling around from side to side, and he pivots is a full 360 degree circle on his tummy.

He is still nursing often, upward of 5 times a day, if I am home with him. However, he still wont take a bottle from him daycare provider, and he wont take one from his Dad very often either. He is particular about the source of his milk; I guess he wants it straight from the tap. I dont worry since he is certainly not wanting for calories, and if gets thirsty enough, he will drink from a bottle.

Also, what seems like all of a sudden his appetite has dramatically increased. He was eating 1-3 jars of food a day, and now is eating twice that on most days. I try and make most of his food, but I still end up buying jarred food for many items. There are some things that just don’t turn out the same as jarred food.

Looking back over the last month I was trying to analyze why I haven’t written to much and I realized that I was tired and drained. Beginning on March 5th, Elliott started waking up with more frequency. He had contracted Bronchiolitis on Super Bowl Sunday and was sick again after that for a bit, and he was getting tummy aches from eating dairy (which we have temporarily eliminated). Come to find out he was also getting his two bottom front teeth simultaneously. The night waking’s were just the start, as then it turned into hourly night waking, then shorter day time naps, cranky baby all day, and then outright nap refusal. The only way either of us could sleep is if I slept with him on the couch all night. Which, of course, for all of our own sanity I did for many nights.

Then, to my own horror and shock…I picked up the Dr. W book which suggests that to ‘help’ your child learn to sleep independently you need to let them cry it out. I had never entertained this idea in the past. I thought it was cruel, unloving and mean. I looked down on people who suggested it, and I sneered under my breath at those who espoused it as bad parents.

I didn’t know what else to do, though. We had tried everything on the Internet to soothe him and to help him sleep, all ending in sleepless nights and horrible days for all three of us. So, after some careful (albeit sleepless) thought, I decided to give it a try. It was only a couple of days that he would have to suffer and I felt that a few days of crying were unlikely to cause him long term emotional damage.

Well, let me say that my son is nothing if not persistent. The first night, he cried for 2.5 hours before falling back asleep for a few hours only to wake and cry again for 2 more hours. This pattern went on through the night. The next night was similar, but less crying and so on. By the time we left for our trip 6 nights after starting the CIO, he was waking less and sleeping more. On the 7th night we put him down at 6:30pm and he sleep solid through until 5am!!!! (I will not make a joke about how on the 7th day he rested…)

Our entire vacation consisted of him sleeping soundly (with a few stirs in the wee hours lastly 5 minutes or less). The best part of all was that in addition to him sleeping superiorly at night, he also took marathon naps during the day-most days consisted of a 1.5 to 2 hour morning nap and a 1-1.5 hour afternoon nap! Hubby and I still aren’t conditioned into sleeping through the night again, but hopefully soon we will back into our own sleep groove too. Although, who knows how long this sleeping bliss will last! If there is one thing I have learned about parenting it is that nothing stays the same for long.