My Nine Jobs…

I am job hunting, looking for that fabled “what I am going to be when I grow up.”
It is not an easy thing to do. I look at job descriptions and think, is that really me? Do I fit that? Can I do that? What if I can do most of it?

It is an odd time, full of doubts and insecurities. Especially since I don’t really want to succeed at it. I want to stay home snuggled up with my baby, nursing and fully embracing his youngest years. Why doesn’t Stay at Home Parent pay anything? It should, I certainly fill enough roles. At the very minimum, I should be able to list some of my responsibilities on my resume, it’s not as if I have been sitting at home eating bon-bons for the last year.

I wonder what I would earn if I was doing all my jobs outside the home, instead of inside it?

Let’s see…. In order to get an idea of what my time is worth, I went to Salary.com and looked up the various jobs I do within my zip code. According to the midrange salaries for the various positions, I should be a wealthy woman:

Housekeeper
$22,000.00 year

Chef (Fast Food Cook)
$33,000.00 year

In home Nurse
$50,000.00 year

Personal Assistant
$45,000.00 year

Secretary
$35,000.00 year

Chauffeur
$35,000.00 year

Nutritionist
$58,000.00 year

Teacher
$30,000.00 year

Day Care Provider
$30,000.00 year

Obviously I can’t do all these full time, so let’s assume I am only doing them 1/3 as much as the professionals are (remember, I can’t leave my job to go home, and working nine part time jobs is actually possible, if you are working 24/7). At 1/3 annual salary for each job, added together, I should earn approximately $109,000.00 a year.

Wow. The work I do at home is as valuable as the work I would do as a lawyer! Sadly, it doesn’t pay in cash, only in drooly, sticky love. (Okay, and lots of hand made artwork.)

What does this financial revelation really mean? Well, maybe it means that all you stay at home parents out there who feel as though you “aren’t contributing” to the household should rethink your definition of contribution. If you were to pay others to do what you do, you would have some pretty ridiculous bills.

Well, the boss is demanding my attention, so I am off to work! Here, why don’t you enjoy an oft requested (by Hatchet anyway) video of Otter toddling while I go sweep up scattered and stepped on Goldfish:

And here he is saying Balloon (okay, his version of Balloon, which is really more of a “Bavvoonmn” sound):

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Spare the crib, spoil thyself…

While taking my one year old son for a stroll a few days ago I stopped into my neighborhood coffee house. I noticed a woman with a similarly aged child sipping a coffee in the corner. We oohed and aahed over the babies and began to talk about our parenting experiences with the fervor of isolated stay at home parents.

“Are you still nursing?”
“Yes I am. It’s just so convenient.”
“Me too, you never have to worry about running out…”
“And it’s always the right temperature!”
“Do you stay at home?”
“Yes, staying at home is so great.”
“Yes, a little isolating, but very rewarding.”

We enjoyed the instant friendship created by our shared experiences, thrilled to have a few minutes to share conversation with an adult in the middle of our child filled day.
She asked me if he was sleeping well at night, as her baby kept getting up around two a.m.
“He sleeps with me, so he gets up some, but I don’t really notice.” I informed her.
“You still sleep with him? You are spoiling him.” She said in a sweet, caught you with a second slice of cake, voice.
“No way,” I responded “I don’t believe that for a second.”
“You’re right,” she said smiling ” you are spoiling yourself.”

She’s right. Like a great massage, or that sexy red pair of cuban heeled shoes, or a box of exclusive chocolates, snuggling up to my baby every night is a treat, and a way I can spoil myself. My daughter turns seven this year, so I know how quickly the baby time goes. I also am fairly certain this is my last child. So there is a part of me that snuggles up to him at night, warm and fuzzy in my bed, and feels like I am catching hold of as much of his chubby babyhood as possible.

For me, attachment parenting is mostly about getting the most out of my children’s childhood as I can. There is also a big laziness component. I like not having to walk the floor for an hour to get my baby to sleep before setting him in his crib. I love not having to get up and heat water for formula when he wakes up hungry at 3 a.m. I like the extra sleep I get by popping a nipple in his mouth when he starts to stir. I don’t have to be very awake to nurse him when we are sleeping side by side. I find slings easier to carry in my diaper bag than strollers. However, as important as these benefits are, the true reason behind my decision to co-sleep, nurse, and baby-wear, is the extra coziness of close contact with my baby.

The baby years seem so long when you are in the middle of them, but in reality they are so fleeting. They crawl before you can get the fog of motherhood out of your head, they walk before you can get used to them crawling, they start to talk about the time you are really understanding their non verbal cues. Suddenly they are two, and stridently demanding their first taste of freedom. Then they are going to school, and a part of their life is lived outside of you. The small precious baby who once required you for everything is suddenly a small person with their own friends, and experiences that you are no part of at all.

So I co-sleep, and nurse, and baby-wear, so I can keep my baby closer to me for just a bit longer.

Visit this post over at Attachment Parenting International’s new blog API Speaks!

A few changes…

No, I have not adopted an ape and an otter, so if you have noticed the appearance of Monkey and Otter in recent posts, don’t worry, the menagerie has not grown. After two years of blogging and reaching over 400 posts I finally decided to use nicknames for my children (because doing so at 100 posts would have been too easy).
I have been going back through posts and editing them to reflect the change. Why? I guess I felt the need to add a thin veneer of mystery to the sordid details of our lives. Okay, and I will also be posting a few times a month for Attachment Parenting International, on their API Speaks blog. I guess I figured that might result in some more traffic here, and since I will officially be leaving the land of “family update” blogs and entering the land of “some other type of blog” I feel the need for additional privacy. At least for the kids. Hubby is still fair game.

So, my first post should be up on API speaks soon, if you want to pop over and see it! I will be posting it here too, once it is up, so you can also just wait. However, if you go see it on their blog, then you can check out all their other cool contributors as well, so you might want to give it a go!

No weekly winners for me!

Instead, I got a totally stuffed up snotty baby with a high fever, a hyper active child with attention seeking behaviors, and a long weekend of stress. It was one of those kids all over you, never wanting to play alone or be set down kinda weekends. I am still twitching.

I had to cancel my weekly sanity break with my friends, because Otter is so sick he wants to nurse all the damn time. It sucked.

On the upside, an old friend came into the town and stopped over to see us. Lee held the grouchy man whilst I donned my new apron and made a nice pork tenderloin for dinner. Then Lee sent me out to grab dessert for everyone, as we don’t normally carry sweets in the house, so I picked up Rum Raisin Gelato and Butter Cookies. They were pretty good.

Of course, when I returned, Otter was so traumatized by my leaving that I nursed him for another hour and a half before he would sleep.

I hope he gets over this soon. It is really intense. He doesn’t want to do anything by lie in my lap and suck on me. I feel so dehydrated, and so… well… trapped. Ugh.

Tomorrow is a school holiday too… so it will be a whole day of bored six year old and sick baby.

Grant me patience please.

Prior incarnations…

It was late, nearing the witching hour, and there I was, walking the boards in flannel with a baby over my shoulder. As I hummed the burping song (my cheesy version of We Will Rock You) and patted Otter’s jammie clad bottom, I was suddenly struck with a vivid sense memory from a time long ago.

You know, the fabled Time before children.

There was a crisp cold smell, and a clack clack swish sound, and a trembling sensation from the thousands of people stomping and clapping.
Stomp Stomp
Clap
Stomp Stomp
Clap
I was back in time over a decade ago; at the first Stanley Cup Finals game between the Colorado Av’s and the Detroit Red Wings. Prince was playing in the background, an adaptation of “Let’s go Crazy” re-written to be “Cup Crazy” and I was there, newly wed to First Husband, stomping and screaming and loving every minute. I was reveling in the combined energy of the crowd, and thrilled to be close to the ice for such a pivotal game.

I shook my head, and was back in my house, in my thirties, pacing the floor with a baby.
Yes, I thought, I used to be different.

It’s so easy to forget the prior incarnations of my life. When I was a wild young girl, a swing dancer, a professional witch. When I used to braid jewelry into my hair, and wear rings on every finger, and then every second knuckle of every finger. When I would go to a new bar, just to meet new people, and dance with someone who really didn’t mean anything to me at all. The days when I would hit the thrift store, create a crazy outfit that had no style but my own, and then wear it out. When I would hop a Greyhound bus to California with $200 in my pocket and the simple belief that I would be fine, on my own, no matter what.

The past seven years of my life have been so bloody serious. They have been an amazing journey, but they have demanded so much of my soul that I dropped everything else to get through them. Some might say I separated the wheat from the chaff, but I think I may have discarded a bit of wheat too.

I used to attend drum circles every week. I would cart my giant Djembe (The one I bought from an African drum designer in San Diego and then flew home in it’s own seat, lovingly patting it’s hand carved images) to circle, and then lose myself in a swirl of incense and rythym for hours. Hours. I had callouses on my hands and arms from striking the drumhead over and over.

Now my hands have gone soft, and the Djembe sits silent in a corner.

How did this happen?

Is there a way to resuscitate the parts of the old me that bring a pang to my stomach when I think of them or are they relegated to midnight flashbacks and fond reminisences? Am I doing my children a favor by not showing them this wild past me or am I just insuring that they will alienate themselves from me when it is time for their own wild child to emerge? Is there even time for me to pull these past incarnations out of the closet and dust them off? I don’t even have time to shower most days, how will I find the time to Lindy Hop?

Eventually Otter fell asleep, and I was able to set him down, and go to sleep myself. Sadly, I didn’t wake up any closer to the girl at the game, than I was when I remembered her.

Venting…

Okay, two posts in one day is annoying, I agree, but I finally have two minutes to myself today and frac I need to vent!

I know I am a big AP (as in Attachment Parenting or small fiendish children hanging on you all day and night forever) advocate, and I know I voluntarily signed up to nurse for two years, and to stay home with my son, and to co-sleep and baby wear.

BUT DAMMIT I WANT MY PRIVACY BACK!!!!

Not all the time, just every now and then. You know, ten or fifteen minutes a day?

I used to dream of saving the world, or traveling in space, or being discovered for some artsy foreign film, or at least winning a huge Toxic Torts case. Now I dream of peeing, alone.

That’s right! Three years of educational hell and two hundred thousand dollars in student loans and my highest aspiration is eliminating in privacy!!

Otter is in such a needy place right now! (Read: He doesn’t nap and is therefore psycho) I can’t leave him in a room/crib/walker/exersaucer/whatever by himself for any time at all without him screaming! And he can scream! His little soft voice goes all sonic death ray on me as he strips his vocal cords in his attempts to be heard!

So what is a mom do? Well…. this mom finds herself either ignoring the gut wrenching screams coming from the bedroom whilst I pee…. or I bring him into the bathroom with me where I get to play the “No baby, you can’t play with the chemicals/toilet/toilet paper/toothbrush/hair dryer/choking hazard/first aid kit/ Q-tips/ medicine bottles/ eyebrow scissors/ razor blades/ poisonous gas dispenser” game, whilst I pee.

Either way, I don’t get to pee in peace. It seems like such a small thing, the chance to use the bathroom alone, and without any sense of urgency, but it turns out to be one of the trickiest things of all.

Is he like this because I am an AP parent? Are all children this way? Do other parents get to pee alone? It’s really what I want, a little peace, a little privacy, a chance to pee in private, with no screaming children in the background.

Isn’t that a goal worthy of my dearly bought talents?