I was waiting until I had pictures before posting about the Little One's birthday, but two months have passed and I need something cheerful about which to post. The internet was incredibly helpful during brainstorming, planing, and panicking stages and I wanted to make a contribution.
In March, I threw a Dr. Seuss themed baby shower and decided to build off of that theme. The first step was to create an invitation. Since we are on a budget, we used a free invitation service with some fun wording:
Twenty four months have passedand my have they flownWe cannot believe how much[the little one] has grown!We're having a party; it's truer than trueand we want to celebrate with you!Come one, come all and join the fun.We'll lunch, jump, hop, sing and run!September is the Month, 14th is the day.On Saturday at 11 o'clock, oh we will play!You could not, would not, want to missa celebration such as this!Would you, could you, come and play?Please let us know by September 7th either way.
Finally, we want everyone to enjoy the feast
so please let us know if there is anything you will not eat
- Vegetable wraps: Truffula Tree (Lorax)
- Macaroni and Cheese: Poodle eating noodle (Fox in Sox) (either whole foods or stop and shop)
- Corn-- Hop on Pop(corn)
- Fresh Vegetables with Hummus (Lorax)
- Guacamole and Chips with Salsa-- Grinch dips (Grinch who stole christmas)
- Cat in the Hat Fruit Salad-- strawberries, grapes, blueberries, bananas
- Mini quiches from Costco-- Green Eggs and Ham (some are ham and some are spinach)
- Three Cheese Tree-- cubes of three different types of cheese on toothpicks, standing up to look like trees (fox in sox)
- Samosas-- wocket in my pocket
- Baked Beans-- Yot in Pot (Wocket in my pocket)
- Gold Fish/Swedish Fish-- One Fish, Two FishMeat1. Tuna Balls-- Oh, The Places You'll Go2. Chicken-- If I Owned a ZooDrinks1. Water2. Soda3. Punch-- Pink Ink DrinkDessert1. Cake Pops-- Mom, getting from Julia2. Cake- Whole Foods with Seuss lettering
I have been feeling really sad and stressed lately. Even though there are a lot of issues that are beyond my control, like people's personalities, I am really humiliated and embarrassed with how things have been playing out at work. My one supervisor is just very hard to work with and all my confidence is slipping away from me. My fear of fucking up and disappointing her manifests itself in knots in my back, tension in my neck, and an upset stomach.
A few weeks ago, I was approached by HR about going part time and just working with the supervisor with whom I have less drama. The HR person strongly encouraged me to take the option and said that I would have the best chance of success. From a mental standpoint, it would be nice to not feel stressed and cry every week at work. Financially, it would be challenging. I decided to take it because I imagine that it would be worse to get to the end of the probation period and not have a job at all rather than just having something part time.
From reading a lot about different types of work schedules, I know that it can be challenging to get promoted, integrating into a work team, and giving opportunities to grow as a part time employee. I also worry that I am starting to take (more) steps away from career progression. I want a career, not just a job. When I thought about my professional future, I imagined having a position that was both personally satisfying and financially stable.
I also want to be a good partner and a good parent. Being stressed, tense, and exhausted to the point where I am cranky with the Little One and sad with partner is not good for anyone's quality of life. I am glad that I will be home with the Little One two days a week. Although, I am nervous about upsetting her routine and being as awesome at keeping her entertained as the day care providers. Any stay at home parents have ideas for keeping toddlers occupied and happy?
While the decrease in hours creates a bit of financial stress, the potential for quality of life improvement is tremendous. I am looking forward to trying another way to have career, partnership, and parenthood with room for things like sleep, time to cultivate other relationships, and energy to prepare yummy healthy food for my family.
Thank you for all the kind and supportive words over the few weeks.
A few weeks ago, I was hit with an intense sensory memory of crying in a bathroom stall in elementary school because the other kids made fun of me and would not play with me. I do not remember many details except that I felt so lonely and wanted to fit in so badly; I also wanted to go home. A few other things came back to me with surprising force. I used to spend most of the morning strategizing who I would sit with at lunch and who I would play with at recess; I also tried to come up with multiple options so that I was not left by myself. Confession: sometimes I was purposely late, so that I would get detention and have to spend recess inside. Another Confession: sometimes, I faked a stomach ache so that I could see the nurse during recess or lunch.
All of these memories came back to me as I was crying in the bathroom stall at work and was struck with how quickly we all go back to being little children trying to figure out how the world works and our place in it. I had a rough meeting with my supervisors which startled me. My probation period got extended which means that in January we will have another formal evaluation and, if I have not improved to their satisfaction, I will be let go. In addition to being surprised, I was horrified and embarrassed. I wondered how I could have missed something so fundamental in my combined three hours of meetings with them weekly. On the list I of things for which I was wishing was an office with the door and a desire to not be seen or heard by my coworkers. Another flashback to my parents advice that people should not see you upset because it will only fuel their bad behavior.
I also could not call Partner because he was teaching and could not be reached. The loneliness and desire to go home hit so hard. I thought about the Little One and started crying harder because I worried about jeopardizing our economic future. I also thought of how much I miss her, how hard it is to leave her every day, how tough it is to be present with her for the time we have together when I am worried about work. For the first few months, I felt energized by this work and felt that it enhanced the time with her. (Not always, but most of the time).
Since that day, I have been doing more work from home as I am not concentrating well at the office. We have a plan in place for things to do and I am nervous about how they will be accomplished. I have tried to communicate the need for better communication with my supervisors and we are committed to making that happen. I am learning more about how I want a job that makes me better or at least does not take away from my energy and sense of worth in other aspects of my life.
Most of all, I have been thinking about my daughter. When I asked my parents for help as a little girl, I was frustrated by their response. On the other side of the parent child relationship, I know they must have felt upset. Some of the mocking from my classmates came from the fact that my father wore a turban and my mom wore Indian suits. My parents came in to give presentations and taught me to do the same. Every morning when my mom did my hair, she and I would count all the friends I have; the list included a lot of family, some of her coworkers, and neighborhood kids who did not go to my school. Even though that conversation did not change much of the reality at school, I left home feeling well liked and surrounded by a posse who loved me.
One nice thing about getting older is that our responses do not have to be so polite. After crying and getting mad at work, I immediately called and emailed my mother. She gave me solid advice. It felt really good to be able to say, "It is such bullshit Mom!" and have her agree and not scold me for my bad language. Plus, her advice was spot on and has made things better.
I hope the Little One will not cry in bathrooms. I hope that she never experiences the shame and isolation of being picked on or shunned for being different. Most of all, though, I hope that if tough things happen to her, I will be on her call list and can help her find ways to kick ass.