Internally, I feel jumbled and lost. As I have been job searching, I keep replaying and thinking back to my last job. I wonder if I have been jinxed and feel worried that I will not find a good position. In the past month, I have been asked twice if I am pregnant by strangers. Many things are messed up about that question, including the underlying assumption that there has to be a reason I am big.** Once I simply said no because I was at a Temple in Buffalo with my in-laws and trying to be on good behavior. The second time I was in Costco and said, "No, I am just bigger than I used to be" while maintaining eye contact. The toughest part about these comments is that it feeds my insecurity and feeling of being jumbled. Parenting is wonderful and brings you into a community, but it is also isolating and lonely. Four years in and I still do not know how to carve out time and resources for myself effectively.
RESOLVED: Less feeling like crap because of body size.
Over Christmas weekend, I had a massage. My father-in-law gave me a gift certificate and watched the kids with Partner, so I could go. It was wonderful! At the end, the therapist told me that my entire body was tense. She had gotten a lot out, but there was still a lot of tension remaining. She highly recommended that I get regular massage or do something for myself more frequently. I wanted to cry.
RESOLVED: More self-care, including massage, eating better, and walking/swimming/yoga for me.
When she was home for vacation, my friend Erin from high school came to visit. She got to meet the kids and had lunch with us. She arrived with a drum that was filled with other instruments for the kids. She said that she gave it to them because she and I met in high school band. It was so thoughtful; I keep trying to remember that when the kids are banging away. One of my favorite sounds was hearing her laugh and their laughs together. Keeping in touch and making plans takes work. Hanging out with adults is not the same as it was before parenthood, but maybe that is okay. Would I trade the image of Erin giving a piggy back ride to the Little One in the parking lot? Hell no. Would I let go of Little Mister saying hello to her and them smiling when she responded? Absolutely not.
RESOLVED: More connection with loved ones, including making plans, sending emails, making calls. Telling folks I am thinking about them even if I am lousy at staying in touch.
A few other resolutions:
1. I read 18 books last year. Wow! I did not write any reviews on the blog, but still I read. This year, I would like to read more and try to write reviews on the blog, but mostly read. RESOLVED: Read 19 books
2. The only gatherings we hosted at the house were book club and kids birthdays. I want to host a party. More details here. RESOLVED: host a party not connected to kid's birthday or book club
3. Speaking of book clubs, I miss being part of one. RESOLVED: Start or join a book club
**Pro-tip: please shut the FUCK UP about people's bodies. The only exception are compliments and that too-- "You look great!" or "That color brings out your awesomeness"-- as opposed to, "You have lost weight." **
I was very detailed and specific in my resolutions for 2015. When I read those entries now, I feel both admiration for the person I was hoping to be and amazement that (yet again) life takes many unexpected turns. I loved getting to know Little Mister over the past year; watching him transform from a baby into a little boy is a treasure. Many of my happiest moments are of him, Little One, and Partner. The Little One continues to develop both spunk and sass. We had a lot of fun adventures together as a family. We made a HUGE move from MA to MD. We are closer to family and it is wonderful for us, but especially the kids, to be part of a community that is a blend of family, old friends, and new friends.
The past year was also rough. Job drama led to many sleepless nights, anxiety about the future, and questions about capabilities. Transitions are hard, but it is the toughest to experience with the Little One. We cried a lot over missing MA and getting adjusted to a new school, doctor, house, and routine. She is smart and insightful; I do not feel fully grounded and I think that makes her worried. Partner likes his new job, but the work culture is different. He struggles with the trade off of attending department events and spending time playing with the kids in the evening (as opposed to only seeing them at night while trying to get them fed and to bed). Partner and I continue to work on finding time for each other; trying to recharge as a team is crucial and so difficult with growing kids and limited budget. Because of the rush and struggle to get the kids to have dinner and then sleep, we often do not eat together. We sometimes pick up dinner as a treat (and because it is easy). I am struck that my treat dinner does not taste that good when I am eating quickly alone after everyone has gone to sleep, so that I can clean up and get to bed myself.
Oh 2015, you rocked and shook me to the core. Here's a look back at how I did on the resolutions:
1. Read one more book than I did last year; I believe the number will be 17. I did not write up a single review on the blog for a book I finished in 2015. When we moved to our new place, I stopped looking at my phone or watching television while I breastfeed. Instead, I started reading a book. I also tried to read a few pages before I slept at night. The result, I READ 18 BOOKS and actually met my goal!!! BOOM!
2. I am hooked on signing up for reading challenges. I would like to complete at least one. Since I did not officially sign up for any reading challenges, I did not complete any. However, if I had signed up, I would have completed the ongoing South Asian Reading Challenge.
3. I want to host a party. More details here. We had a great birthday party for the kids. Did not come close on this one; pushing it to 2016.
4. Cooking: I want to get food on the table. Lost track, so do not think I did. Going to scrap this one.
5. Try again to post on average four times a month. For the first time since I made this resolution, my blogging has decreased. I posted a total of 13 times in 2015. It is an all time low. Hoping to bring it up to averaging two times per month.
For the winter season, I want to do the following:
1. Build a snowman with the Little One. Check
2. Try a new soup recipe and make a soup recipe I enjoyed before. I feel like I did this, but cannot remember.
3. Get a picture of the Little Mister experiencing snow (weather permitting). Check
4. Have one hour of alone time with Partner outside the house. One of the nice things about the Little One's new school is that they have monthly Parents Night Out where we can drop off both kids for 4/5 hours for a relatively low cost and then have a date. Partner and I have done this three times. The dates are relatively simple: dinners out, movies, book store browsing, walking around holding hands, but ALONE TIME is AWESOME!
In some ways, we are settled pretty well in our new digs. The kids rooms are mostly set up; preschool for the Little One is going well. She and I are taking yoga classes together. She was excited to learn more about the Sikh culture and religion, so we enrolled her in some Khalsa school classes at the Gurdwara. The Little Mister and I have established a loose weekly routine which includes library trips and yoga. I even found a sitter for the Little Mister who comes two days a week to give me a chance to job search and do other things.
In other ways, I feel so scattered. We are trying to figure out boundaries with family. We are struggling with the differences in parenting styles with the grandparents. I did not expect to have to frequently remind my parents not to yell or constantly use screens (computers, phones, tablets) to entertain the kids. The job search is a big source of headache and heartache. I go from feeling panicked that I do not have a job yet to resenting Partner when he expresses concern about our finances.
I had heard that parents, particularly mothers, face challenges in the work force. A lot of assumptions are made about commitment and focus, but at least for the job search in the DC area, I was focused on social justice organizations. I thought that it would not be an issue for me. I have gotten some interviews, but no offers. I saw an opening for the organization I was working for when I was pregnant with the Little One. In spite of my misgivings because of the tough parts of my experience before, I applied.
A few weeks later, the ED called and I thought she was calling to schedule an interview. Instead, she said that she saw my application and wanted to make sure I knew that the job was more than 40 hours a week. Since I have small kids, she wanted me to be aware of that and to see if that changed my candidacy. I said that for now I wanted to be in the mix and if I changed my mind I would let her know. The encounter felt odd, she was cordial. I could not tell if she was talking me out of the position or trying to convince herself that I would be a good fit. After I hung up and thought more, I felt really angry with the assumption that my commitment had to be verified because I have small children and I was upset because the organization has helping parents parent the children they have AS PART OF THEIR MISSION. I wish I had thought fast enough to tell her that being a parent is the ultimate more than 40 hour a week job. That I have experience working through extreme fatigue and exhaustion. That I have experience working with difficult personalities and managing tantrums and meltdowns while in public.
I wonder if I am not getting offers because other organizations share the concern about my commitment and capabilities. As I continue to apply for jobs, I am struggling to stay positive and optimistic.