8:30

April 27, 2011 at 2:13 pm (Parenthood, School, Transportation) ()

I’ve come to grips lately with the fact I’m not cut out to be a blogger.  I’m not dedicated to writing daily (or even monthly), I haven’t bothered to cover a certain niche, and I’m not good at making bunches of friends, really, internet or otherwise.  So anyway, this is actually a complete aside to this post, but this blog will continue as a place to write, when I feel like writing.  Maybe a few real-life friends and family members will read it.  Maybe the occasional stranger.  That’s who currently reads, just now I won’t try to think it ever might be more.

On a related note, I’m not particularly well-suited to stay-at-home-motherhood either.  It’s a damn hard job.  I won’t even pretend that I have anything eloquent to say on the subject.  Some people are great at it, happy.  I am okay at some of it, happy when faced with some of it.  I hold high, probably unattainable standards for motherhood and taking care of a household, and I didn’t hit them.  Not even close, ever.  I’m hoping my next boss is a little easier to please.

I also won’t pretend that our reasons for my working aren’t mostly financial.  All the other stuff is just what I’ve been reflecting on in light of this reality.

People keep asking me about my new job.  I shrug.  It’s the same job I left almost two years ago.  Not literally, but basically.  I know I’m good at it, something I didn’t always know about stay-at-home-motherhood.  I used to enjoy (parts of) it.  I don’t care about talking about the job, though, because I don’t (yet) care about the job.  They want to pay me, they’re located close to my home, they’re willing for me to start every day after I drop the boys off at school, I know old co-workers there- ok, sign me up.

I’m still a mother first.  The last three weeks since I’ve accepted the job, all I’ve worried about, planned for, is where my four wonderful kiddos will be each and every minute of my workday.  I haven’t spent any time thinking up all the new ideas I can bring to my new job.  I won’t bore you with the details of why the childcare worked out how it did; let’s just say- it’s complicated.  Four children, how could it not be?  I was assured by my new boss, I can start at 9am.  I don’t think they’d had a candidate before that was so worried about start time (hopefully not the first strike against me).  A lot of childcare starts at 6 or 7am.  But 9am for me means only paying for daycare for two kids, not four.  My boys can be dropped off straight to school.

So at 8am every day, I will drive in a figure eight.  First dropping Willa (10 months) at an in-home daycare, then fifteen minutes down to drop Greta (3 years) at a daycare/preschool, then another fifteen minutes to the boys’ (7 years) school, and ten more minutes to work, a mile from my house.  My husband will drive the same figure eight at 3pm.  I even drove it for practice (to time it).

I am SO worried about them, people.  What if Willa won’t drink her bottles (she won’t now, though she did a month ago), what if Greta starts throwing the tantrums she throws with me at her new school, what if she repeatedly pees her pants, what if Mark has a nervous breakdown under the pressure of all those pick-ups and making dinner with four hungry grouches?  It feels sometimes like the needs of our family are being met like a house of cards. 

I’m hoping they will flourish.  I’m hoping Greta makes some leaps in independence, that Willa continues to be the happy bug she is, that the girls learn to let their dad meet certain needs, that the boys’ lives are pretty much unchanged, that Mark and I’s relationship doesn’t collapse under the stress.  But, oh, the scenarios for something getting out of whack.

I emailed HR at my new company yesterday  to get confirmation I’m starting Monday at 9am.  And she replied.  “Please arrive at 8:30am.”  AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACK.  aka Fuck Me!

I know she has NO idea what a difference that half hour makes.  And I can probably make it work.  But I wanted to scream yesterday.   When you have four kids, finding childcare for just a half hour can involve endless juggling.  And I feel like all I’ve done for weeks is set up the juggle.  I wanted to take the next three days and enjoy my days with my children.  Say good-bye to the (part-time co-op) preschool we’ve loved. 

Now this person tosses in an extra ball.  And I maybe could question it.  After all, I was told I could start at 9am.  But I don’t want to set myself up to be THAT employee.  aka Not A Team Player.  Especially when this company seems to pride itself on people who work hard (aka long).  It’s probably not great to start out with “excuses” about my FOUR children.

So I will call the school today, and see what options are for their before-school care I was hoping to avoid.  And probably spend $40 plus a $100 registration fee- $140! for ONE half hour of care.  (I’m not even joking- it’s a daily flat fee, x 2.)  GRRRRRR.  (I knew I’d probably have to do it sometime, for meetings or such.  Just NOT THE FIRST DAY.)

This 8:30am issue symbolizes where my heart is.  With my kids, worrying about their schedules and activities and homework and swimming lessons and whether their emotional and physical needs are met.  I am not ready to let any of that go to anyone else and concentrate on contributing to a company I hold no vested interest in yet.  All this time, I’ve been worrying about how my kids will do with this transition.  Who I probably should have been worrying about is me.

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Skillz

July 15, 2009 at 6:04 am (Cooking, Daily Criteria, Transportation) (, )

Generally, when somebody’s not good at something, they try to steer clear of it. 

  • Not good at math?  You won’t end up an accountant.  
  • Suck at cooking?  Take-out and Stouffers for you. 
  • Not crafty?  The need to knit and sew to clothes one’s family went by the wayside, what [thinking through my foggy memory of American history here…], at least a hundred years ago.   Or maybe closer to eighty for the non-well-to-do?  I should ask my grandma.  I’m pretty sure I should know.
  • Hate kids?  Don’t have a kid.  Um, well, some people might make some mistakes there.  Most of the time it works out.

BUT, if you lead an average suburban family life (reality check- yes, that’s where I’ve ended up), you will be forced. to. DRIVE AN AUTOMOBILE.  I suck at it.  I hate the expense.  I hate the environmental impact.  But mostly, I just suck at it.  And I can tell you, I’m not alone. 

I’ve tried to explain why I’m a bad driver before, and it never goes well.  Unlike some, I do know the rules I need to play by.  I use my blinker, give the guy on the RIGHT the RIGHT of way.  The best I can say is I get distracted.  I space out and suddenly I’m on the lane bumps.  Or realize (almost) too late that everybody in front of me is stopping.

Short of moving to NYC, I don’t know what to do about it. 

Of course there are many greener options, but how does one make them work with three kids 5 years old and under, 3/4 of a mile from the closest bus stop?  To get to work, I’ve biked, walked, and ran many times.  With kids, walking or busing is the only option.  Back in my days living in Seattle Proper, I loved the bus.  I HATED bus snobs.  If I still lived there, I’d certainly take my kids on it.  But I cannot see how the current bus system in my town would be much use for an outing of, say, dropping off some library books, going on a playdate, and then picking up some groceries on the way home.  As I’m typing this, I’m considering that it could be useful on some outings, though, so I should look into that further.

So, we are left with: a) some use of the bus, b) walking, or c) not going anywhere.  I shouldn’t have to explain why c is not an option.  We can (and have) walked to the grocery store, and a drug store.  That’s about as far as we can manage, and only for “we just need milk and two other things” trips.

There’s gotta be a better way.  What am I missing here?

p.s.  Using the criteria created yesterday:

  • uncheck (did zero housework except loading the dishwasher),
  • semi-check (picking blueberries counts as fresh air and sunshine, but not aerobic exercise.  Except for the parts where I had to chase GOJ down), Some of our bounty
  • check (here’s dessert), Yum
  • check (picking blueberries), A happy outing

I was disillusioned into thinking

  • check (as far as I know, a day wholly without bandaids)

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