Thursday, March 20, 2008

my split personality

So... It went well. I'm totally conflicted about this situation, so it's hard to get very enthused about a potential job, but I'd say it went about as well as it could have gone.

Apparently there are a few different options at different law firms that might work, but most of them want me to come into the office, rather than work out of the home. This leads to the always present problem of working out the economics of having to hire a babysitter or finding a daycare. The starting pay for contract attorneys isn't that high, although they assured me that the rates go up as you go along. Josh and I need to work the numbers, because it is possible that tutoring in the evenings and on weekends might even pay more than doing legal work because I wouldn't need childcare. How crazy is that?

My headhunter did make one comment that introduced a whole new idea into the mix. She has tons of contract work that requires a full-time commitment, but they are short projects. One week, maybe two, tops. It is conceivable that I could go in for one intense week per month, or two intense weeks over a couple of months, rather than a smaller amount every week. I don't know why, but that resonated with me. I might find it easier to leave Gabe for 40 hours in one week, knowing that I wouldn't have to leave him again for another 3 or 4 weeks. Is that nuts?

Basically, I'm waiting to hear the final word back from the headhunter, and in the meantime, I'm scouring my own brain to see if this is what I want. Do I want to take a break from law and jump somewhere totally new and fun? Or am I not ready to make that decision? Should I do contract work just to keep law on my resume and figure it out as I go along?

Ugh, decisions, decisions. For now, I'm taking a break from thinking about it and snuggling this adorable boy on the floor while he points at everything in the room and calls it a "cahhhhrrr". Maybe a babysitter could teach him some new words?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

let's hope those skillz are impressive

Well, I finally did it. I revised my resume and sent it into a couple of places, and I have an interview tomorrow afternoon for some legal contract work.

I am intermittently excited and depressed about this. We need the money, and frankly, I'll be relieved to stop worrying about money for a bit. This could turn out to be a great situation, because allegedly all of the projects we are going to discuss could eventually turn into a working from home gig. I'll need to come into the office in the beginning, at least, so that the employer can see that I am a qualified and capable attorney. But the hope is that I can continue working from home once I show my "skillz".

On the other hand, I'm still going to have to leave Gabe, even if it is just for a little while. I wish there were parts of being at home that I hated, just so I could feel relief at leaving for a while, but there just aren't. I really never thought I'd love this pace so much, and I certainly never thought I'd love hanging around with a 14 month old as much as I do. He isn't the best conversationalist, and he doesn't have the best table manners, and he sometimes exhibits some crazy grumpy behavior, but I would never want to spend my days with anyone but him. His kisses and smiles make my whole day worth it.

I have a new mantra- it isn't forever. It isn't forever. Maybe it'll be great, and if it isn't, well, we'll figure something out. But wish me luck, anyway.

Monday, March 17, 2008

now we need to address the leftover cellulite

I have two goals to accomplish before I am ready for us to start "trying" for baby number 2.

The first was to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight. I cannot believe I gave birth 14 months ago and there is still pregnancy weight lingering around. I dropped most of the weight within just a few months, but couldn't shake those final 5-8 pounds, and I cannot believe what a difference 5 pounds makes in the fit of my clothes.

The second goal is to have 6 months in which I am neither housing a child, nor nourishing a child, with my body. I just feel like I need a tiny bit of space for my own mental sanity, and I want to give my body a chance to recover from any kind of nutritional deficiencies. I stopped breastfeeding Gabe right around his first birthday (a story for another post), so six months from then is around July.

I am happy to report that yesterday was a monumental day around here, because as of 10am, I am one pound below my pre-pregnancy weight. Hurray! One goal down!

I was rather surprised by this turn of events, because a few weeks ago, I'd accepted the fact that maybe I wasn't ever going to get back to that weight. I thought maybe my body had changed and this was my new "normal" weight. And to tell you the truth, I was okay with that. Having Gabe has changed my life for the better in a million different ways, and if a few extra pounds is all I have to sacrifice, I'm happy to do it. Plus, pregnancy and labor and motherhood have given me so much confidence in myself, I've noticed that I place much less emphasis on the physical side.

As I came to this realization, though, I decided to make a few "spring resolutions" that I thought might improve my life in general, rather than focusing on the number of the scale.

My new resolutions are:
1. Watch less television. I am ashamed to admit that I tend to turn on the television first thing in the morning to watch the news, and then leave it on all day long as background noise. I don't let Gabe watch any television, but I still hate that he is going to get used to seeing the television on all the time, even if he doesn't pay much attention to it.

2. Have some form of exercise 2-3 times per week. We joined a gym in January, but getting Gabe dressed and out the door, over to the gym, and then back in time for nap time was proving impossible, so I was going to the gym less than I'd hoped. In the afternoons, Gabe wakes up late and there is barely enough time to work out and get dinner on the table. I end up feeling harried more than anything else when I find the motivation to get over there. When I couldn't make it to the gym, rather than feeling motivated to try some exercise around the house, I would feel defeated and just sit around for the rest of the afternoon. With this new resolution, I have made an effort to throw Gabe in the stroller most days and take a walk around the neighborhood. I figure, even 15 minutes is something.

3. At the risk of sharing too much information, have sex at least 2-3 times per week. I think I don't need to elaborate on this one.

4. Go to bed by 11pm during the week. This one will have a direct impact on Goal #3, I think. I am a night owl, and love to stay up late watching movies or recorded television shows, but it really impacts Josh and my time together. I stay up late, then I wake up late in the morning, and we end of being on totally different schedules. If I can get myself to go to bed early during the week, then I'll save up the staying up late for Friday or Saturday nights, and both of us will be happy.

I made my resolutions a couple of weeks ago, and I really think the walking during the week and turning off the television during the day were what pushed me to lose the final few pounds. So I guess that old saying of 9 months on, 9 months off, doesn't really apply to me. 9 months on and 14 months off is more like it. I'll take it, though. I'm happy to have accepted my weight for what it was, but I'm also selfishly happy to fit into a few more outfits in my closet.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

a round of naps for everyone

I am clawing my way to the surface amidst piles of snotty tissues and Infant Tylenol bottles and dirty diapers.

Yes, yes, Gabe is sick AGAIN. This is coming on the heels of a cold while we were in California. It is starting to feel like he really is sick all the time, and it makes me crazy because he isn't even around that many other kids! He isn't in daycare, he doesn't have daily play dates, he doesn't run around outside licking sick people. He does take a music class every Friday, and another developmental class on Mondays, but we didn't even attend this week because he was so sick.

He is moaning and groaning around the house with nose running and huge unhappy sounding coughs. He doesn't want to sleep during nap time and he doesn't want to go to bed at night. He is perfectly content to play downstairs indefinitely, but once we hit the bedroom and get near the crib, the screaming starts. Last night he stayed up until 11:45pm, refusing to sleep. I was desperate and exhausted after a loooong day of no napping and lots of whining, and when he refused to sleep at bedtime, I was close to tears.

I sat up in his room rocking him in his rocker, singing song after song, but he wouldn't calm down and just kept gesturing toward the door and throwing his pacifier back at the crib in a show of "take me out of this room now!" I finally put him down and walked out, amidst hysterical screams, and a few minutes later the screaming stopped and he lay down and slept until 10am this morning. I felt horribly guilty for walking away from a sick baby, but I didn't know how to help him give in to the sleep. He was sad and overtired and couldn't seem to let himself relax.

This morning we headed into the pediatrician's because I wanted some confirmation that he was fine, and OF COURSE, it turns out he has an ear infection. We're not going to jump in with antibiotics just yet. I'd rather treat the pain and see if maybe he can get rid of it on his own. We'll be doing another ear check on Monday, and in the meantime, I'll be hoping for some relief for all of us.

As the day has continued, I've started acquiring an aching body, a sore throat, and a general feeling of ickiness. Now at least I have an inkling of how poor Gabe feels. I hope Josh feels good when he gets home from work, because it looks like he has 2 patients to take care of tonight.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

pants on fire

Is it just Gabe, or do all kids make liars out of their mothers? It seems like every time I make a statement about him, whether it be what he likes to eat, or what he does, or what tricks he can accomplish, or words he says, he turns around and does the opposite of what I said.

Evidence #1:
Gabe knows how to moo like a cow and woof like a dog. If I ask him in front of people, though, he'll just look at me blankly.

Evidence #2:
I told my mother in law that he didn't like broccoli. That night for dinner, he scarfed down all the little chunks of broccoli we put in front of him.

Evidence #3:
I told friends at dinner the other night that Gabe likes almost everything except pasta. Of course, when a friend offered him some penne alfredo, he ate it happily and then begged for more throughout the rest of the meal.

Evidence #4:
Josh went into the bathroom today, and clear as a bell, Gabe ran toward the closed door and called out "Dyosh!" I was cracking up and told Josh the story when he came back out, so we tried to get him to say it again, but he kept sweetly looking at us and saying "Da da".

Evidence #5:
When we're not paying attention to him and music comes on, Gabe boogies down to the beat. He bends his knees up and down, shakes his booty from side to side and bobs his head. If you put on music to show people his rhythm, though, he acts like he's never heard music before.

Evidence #6:
Gabe naps every day, Monday through Friday, like clockwork, for three and a half to four hours. When Josh is around on the weekends, though, and we could use some time to do things around the house, he'll nap for an hour, tops. Josh thinks I'm the hugest exaggerator ever, but I think it is all part of the conspiracy against me.

Evidence #7:
Gabe's vocabulary is skyrocketing by the minute. On most days, he'll surprise me by repeating words I've said to him earlier, but never in front of Josh or his grandparents. The other day, I finished getting him dressed and told him in a teasing voice, "Oh Gabe, you look so pretty!" He smiled at me and said "dyat dyoo" (thank you). It was the cutest thing ever, but he won't do it for anyone else.

Is Gabe particularly gifted at making me look like I tell tall tales? Or is this a regular occurrence among children? Maybe it is the same gene that tells him to stop doing whatever cute thing he was doing as soon as the camera comes out. He has a special gift for that too.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

nightmares about work is a step too far

On Sunday and Monday nights, after the last post, I spent hours tossing and turning in bed. I was up until the wee hours of the morning with insomnia, most likely attributed to my anxiety about the employment and money situation. It is getting a little ridiculous, I'm starting to wonder if I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from work or something crazy like that. I know it sounds silly, but I can't explain why I have such extreme anxiety every time the topic of work comes up.

Thank you for all the advice. I'm still not sure what to do, and one of the questions I'm wrestling with is whether I should jump right into something serious, like starting my own practice, as some of you suggested, or start simple. I've been tossing around the idea of tutoring, or even working part-time at a local Spanish program for kids. If I started with something very temporary, I'd be able to better decide whether I want to take the plunge into something more.

Starting a practice out of my home, or looking for clients of my own, is a hefty undertaking. I would need some kind of insurance, and I'd have to create a special account required by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in which to hold client funds. Not to mention that my chosen fields, international financial transactions, securities, venture funds and private equity, don't necessarily lend themselves to working out of the home. Still, people have suggested real estate closings or wills and trusts as an easier choice, and I could certainly find a way to get trained from someone and then go out on my own. These are all great ideas.

I guess what I really need to do is embrace the anxiety and take the leap. Maybe if I update my resume and start sending out feelers, my fear will lessen and I'll start to worry less about working. Or maybe once I start working, I'll finally calm down. Who knows, but I need to do something because I can't keep feeling like this. It is way too stressful for me, and it is way too stressful for Josh to listen to me complaining about the stress. Wish me luck!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

decisions, decisions, decisions

We've been doing some number crunching lately, and the bottom line is that money coming in is not equaling money going out. Even when we spend zero dollars on non-necessities, we still aren't making enough to cover all of our expenses. To be fair, we knew this was a possibility, and before I had Gabe and while I was on maternity leave, we saved as much as we could so that we could have a cushion to cover our expenses. Of course, now that we have the money saved up, it is painful to watch it be drained away by expenses like groceries or gasoline.

Don't get me wrong, Josh makes a good salary, but it is still less than half of what I was making at my law firm. We bought our house based on my salary, not his, so our mortgage takes up a monstrous chunk of our income. We've considered making all kinds of changes, like selling our house, moving to a less expensive suburb, getting rid of a car, or losing our cell phones or cable television. The housing market isn't what it used to be, so selling this house doesn't make much sense, and we really can't survive without both cars. Josh works long hours, and I'm responsible for the bulk of errand running, so I need a car to get around during the day. We're trying to cut our costs wherever possible, like eating only at home, not making unnecessary purchases, taking hand-me-downs for Gabe from friends where possible.

In the end, though, I really think I'm going to have to get a part-time job. Josh is adamantly against it, mainly because he sees that I hate the thought of having to leave Gabe. We're also hoping that this May, at the one year mark of employment for him, he'll receive a raise that will make all the difference. Once we make enough to cover our expenses, enough not to drain our savings, I'm more than happy to live like a pauper. Our parents are extraordinarily generous and are happy to cover our plane tickets to visit them, and all of our expenses once we are there. My mom bought me some new clothes and Gabe some new books while we were visiting. My in-laws help us out with household projects, including putting up new fencing when our old fencing fell over from the weight of a snowstorm. My mother-in-law also provides sporadic babysitting so we don't have to pay someone else to watch Gabe. In short, we are very very lucky, and living like a "pauper" is really not bad at all, even when I haven't been to Starbucks in months. Oh, the tragedy.

It feels so irresponsible to be pulling money from our savings, though, especially when I am perfectly able to work just a few hours a week and give us a little bit of protection on the money front. The problem is that every time I sit down in front of the computer to look up available jobs, I feel paralyzed with the prospect. I left work in such a bad state at the end of my maternity leave, and the idea of putting myself back into a situation like that, is enough to make me nauseous. Logically, of course, I know that not all jobs are the same, and I won't be working at a law firm, I won't be working 70 hours a week, it will be different. But that terrified part of me screams as I revamp my resume, what if it isn't?

Maybe the best thing for us is for me to jump back on the work horse and try something out. It could be good for me emotionally, it could help me face my demons, and it will definitely be good for our budget. The jobs I've been considering are far from full-time, and have flexible hours. I could try it for a while, and if it works, then great. If it doesn't work, we'll reconsider and readjust. Plus, maybe I'll love it. Maybe I'll realize that I've missed the interaction and stimulation of the work force. If I don't, well, let's keep our fingers crossed that May brings a huge raise for Josh.