Wednesday, August 29, 2012

It Takes a Village

Since our son arrived in February we have had so much help, and it's still been hard to adjust to the dramatic increase in responsibility at times.  Initially we had friends and family bringing meals several times a week, which was wonderful, because otherwise we would have been eating out every single meal (or eating peanut butter sandwiches).  Each month has been easier than the previous one, particularly as Jackson has become more and more predictable and I've cut back on pumping (at one time I was pumping over 3 hours a day combined with 2 hours of bottle feeding). 

Since Jackson's arrival my husband's work travel schedule has increased tremendously.  Blake now  travels anywhere from once a month to every single week in a month.   When Jackson was a month old Blake's travel schedule exploded, and he was gone three out of four weeks in a row and I would get physically sick with anxiety--which even in hindsight I totally understand because things were SO much harder then.  Thankfully I don't feel very anxious anymore when Blake is gone, and I've learned that if he's going to be gone for more than 3 days I have to ask for--and accept help--even when I don't think I need it.

Yesterday my sweet neighbor volunteered to keep Jackson, and it allowed me to go visit my friend who is pregnant and on bed rest in the hospital (and to have a peaceful late lunch).  Last week it was too hot to take Jackson on a walk, thus I couldn't walk our dog who had been inside all day while we were out of town (and Blake was out of town).  So our neighbor offered to take him to the park when she walked her dog.  Tomorrow Blake's dad is watching Jackson for a little while just so I have some kid-free time and they get some one-on-one time.  All of this help not only helps me, but I think it's so good for Jackson to be with people besides me (and I love hearing about all of the different things others do with him that would never occur to me) and it really helps our marriage.  These breaks help me not meet my weary, over-traveled husband at the door with our child and exclaim "here, I am exhausted. Take him please. I am done!"  This help often allows us to have alone time to connect, worship, or even get chores done--and while our baby is with people we admire and trust.  What a blessing to have a village to help because we certainly need one!

p.s. I'm thankful for my crock pot.  I love cooking 8 portions of a meal at one time because that's the only way I avoid eating totally awful when Blake is gone.

Wordless Wednesday: First Trip to the Library

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A List: My New Job (SAHM)

With my last few jobs I written lists of what I do and don't like about the position to serve as a reminder of sorts because over time it's easy to forget or distort the good and the bad.  So now that I have a new "job" (staying at home with my six month old Jackson) I figured it was time to write a new list.

I like:

(1) I get to be with my son all day long, which means I have so many opportunities to have sweet moments with him. Plus I get to decide what he does (and learns) all day long. 

(2)  Being at home makes it SO much easier for our families and friends to be an integral part of Jackson's life.  Because I'm not interacting with people all day in the office and get lots of one-on-one time with Jackson, I'm glad to have family drop by or keep Jackson whenever is convenient for them--even last minute.  It's also easy for Jackson and me to go to my hometown for the day, so we can visit with my parents, sisters, great aunt, and his cousins. And of course, we have plenty of time for play dates with friends (Jackson watching older kids play:)

(3) That I don't have to "work" anymore nor do I have to figure out how to balance parenting and working (or how to get out the door every morning with a baby or pumping at work, etc.).  I didn't love my job and definitely don't miss the stress of my profession. I have no idea how I could focus for hours each day and do quality work with the lack of sleep I often experience.

(4) Because I'm with Jackson at home, Blake (who works at home) gets to spend more time with Jackson.  I think it's such a gift for Jackson to get so much time with both of his parents.  Plus sometimes I get to go to the pool or gym alone during the day!

(5) The dress code (pajamas, shorts, robe).

I don't like: Things that can be hard (I'm hesitant to say don't like because really this is my dream job that I've wanted for so long, and I'm so grateful to be able to do it and have never once wished I wasn't staying at home with Jackson (and Thatch!)):

(1) Loss of income.  I suspect that if I ever go back to "work," this would be 90% of the reason.

(2) Lack of least with an office job you get a peaceful lunch break; you can quietly play on the internet or drink coffee or use the restroom.  I always liked the time in the morning before I started working when I'd sip coffee and check my email, blogs, and Facebook.  Now I'm doing that on my phone while I feed Jackson--often at some unreasonable time of night :)

(3) The constancy can be challenging, especially on the days Jackson doesn't nap or is unusually fussy.  Thankfully this has gotten much easier as he gets older, but there have been periods of time when Jackson didn't nap at all and Blake was out of town for days, and I was really overwhelmed.  I'm learning that when Blake is going to be gone for 3 days or longer, I probably need to arrange some sort of help for a few hours one day.

(4) It's really unpredictable.  I may think we've got an easy day ahead of us, and then I find myself starting the third load of laundry by 10 a.m. because we've had a poo-plosion and projectile vomitting all over the crib/rug/bedding/baby and Jackson refuses to nap longer than 30 minutes. 

p.s. I'm thankful for the time to blog! It's a great way to reflect.