All I want for Mother’s Day is a live-in personal chef.
That’s it. Forget the flowers. Skip the chocolates. And definitely don’t bring me breakfast in bed (all those crumbs in my sheets…ugh.) All I want is someone who will take care of the grocery shopping, meal planning, and food preparation. Because I’m done. Seriously, done. There are just not enough hours in a day.
In our household, spring sports season is the worst. Baseball three times a week, soccer twice, plus youth group and physio appointments and on and on and on. I made it extra fun this year by starting a new full-time job (!) so Chris and I basically pass each other in the garage as we chauffeur kids to various activities.
It’s not like I never have any fun. I play in a golf league, for instance. Not a real league, where you have to finish every hole and count every stroke. It’s the kind of league where the players all take a shot of whiskey when someone sinks a birdie, or when no one sinks a birdie, or when everyone loses hope of ever sinking a birdie. Most of the time I don’t even keep score. It’s a fun league.
But that’s just one more thing taking up time in my week. There are precious few opportunities to buy the groceries, much less prepare a meal. I had to resort to making a lasagna at 7:30 pm one night just so we’d have something quick to warm up whenever we found 10 minutes to eat. At work the other day, my lunch consisted of a sandwich that had spent the previous day uneaten in Brayden’s backpack. Yum.
So this Mother’s Day, I’m sure I speak for moms everywhere when I say that all I really want is for someone to keep my family fed without any help from me. And not just for one day. From now on.
Life would be so much simpler if we didn’t need to eat.
I’m not like other people. I lack the basic mammalian ability to regulate body temperature. The technical term for this is Raynaud’s Phenomenon, but in essence it means my body is trying to conserve heat by not letting my extremities have any. My hands, feet, ears, and nose have to beg for blood flow. I’m freakishly cold pretty well all the time.
This came to light when I was in high school. I’d always been mocked for my inability to tolerate cold weather (which, since I grew up in Saskatoon, comprised a significant chunk of the year) but when I had to start wearing mini gloves in class just to be able to hold a pen, my mother realized this was something beyond wussiness. I went for some tests and confirmed that yes, my body hates me. I was instructed to avoid caffeine, nicotine and stress…and try to stay warm. (In Saskatoon. Right.)
So I was ecstatic when, years later after I finished university, I landed a job in the Okanagan. I was hired in January, which was the perfect time to get out of Saskatchewan. My parents drove me out, and I remember watching the temperature indicator in the van go from -28 at the start of the trip to +7 when we pulled into Kelowna. The Promised Land!
But despite the mild BC winters, my circulation and my winter wimpiness have both gotten much worse as I’ve aged (I’m turning 40 next month — ack!) These days I have to wear sweatpants, two shirts and a couple pairs of socks, and that’s just when I go to bed. I have to layer up even more if I actually want to venture outside.
I started this blog as a way to stay connected with the world when I went on my first maternity leave. Ten years and 427 posts later, I’m proud to say that while its purpose hasn’t always been well defined, its audience is growing: it had 4800 views in 2012 (the first year I started tracking stats), 5200 in 2013 and 8500 in 2014. I’m pretty sure my mother was my only fan in the early going, but more and more people seem to enjoy getting a vicarious look into my life. Thanks to you all for making me feel like what I’m doing is worthwhile.
In honor of the blog’s 10th anniversary this week, I’ve collected some of my most popular posts — and a few of my personal favorites:
We had a run of bad luck recently that had me wallowing in negativity — until I finally decided to appreciate what I actually have. Here’s a look-on-the-bright-side rundown of what’s been happening in our house:
The furnace died. I’m grateful that we never lost our electricity. And that we have friends with space heaters.
I keep having to buy more gifts for Christmas and an endless string of birthday parties. I’m grateful that my kids have friends who include them in special celebrations. And that we’ll be spending the holidays with family members we don’t often get to see.
Both vehicles needed repairs. I’m grateful that my kids can walk to school and that my husband can work from home. And that we’re fortunate enough to own two vehicles.
The kids have had a ton of homework I have to help with. I’m grateful that the schools are open and that my kids are getting an education. And that I’m not so crazy busy that I can’t help.
Justin insists on getting up well before dawn. I’m grateful that he seems to get all the sleep he needs and that he’s old enough that I don’t have to get up with him. And that my loved ones are all healthy and happy.
Considering I write documentation for a living, it seems bizarre to admit that maintaining my private journal has become more work than it’s worth. I celebrated 25 years of journal keeping a few months ago — but I haven’t written a single entry since. And when I read over entries from the past few years, most of them are simply copies of what I write in this blog.
Why the shift to public writing? Because I got hooked on the feedback. I’m like the kid who gives a presentation to the class and then won’t leave the stage until everyone has complimented it (my nine-year-old does this; I know where he gets it from). Every “like” I get on a blog post is another brick in my personal affirmation wall.
But writing for an audience is different than writing for yourself. The up side is that I’m forced to think about how to connect with other human beings; the down side is that I have to filter my thoughts for public consumption. And sometimes I get paralyzed wondering why anyone would care about what I have to say.
That’s a 200-word way of saying I’ve had writer’s block. It will get better. Don’t leave me.
It took two or three days to settle into things at work, but overall it really hasn’t been too stressful. It helps that I vaguely recall most of the key things about at least one product, and that management lives in LA and has no contact with me whatsoever, and that the person I work most closely with is a good friend of mine. Plus I’m only there five hours a day. It’s a charmed life.
A few observations from my first week:
1. Looking at the products and systems now after being away for so long, I’m appalled at how complicated everything is. In the old days I was so immersed in my little niche that I couldn’t see the big picture from an outsider’s perspective. Now I can, and it’s a real eye-opener.
2. I’m excited to have a role that is much more expansive than just copy editing. Everyone seems to have their hands in a lot of different stuff, and that’s cool. I’ve even been given the chance to review some user manuals, which is exactly what I spent the last two years doing in my tech comm program. Awesome.
3. A big difference between way back when and now is that now I don’t look to my job to be my whole world. I don’t go for office gossip, I don’t waste (much) time on Facebook, and I’m not looking for a new social circle. Why? Because I’m only there part time, and most of my life is outside the office. That definitely wasn’t the case last time around (I even met my husband at work). But things are different now. In a good way.
4. Having just come from a school setting, where I had to produce top quality stuff to get decent marks, it’s slightly surreal to now be in a situation where the project might succeed or fail, but either way I get paid the same. Fear isn’t even a factor, cause I could take or leave this job, and I’m not in it forever. It’s very liberating.
I started a new job today, although Justin keeps insisting I was actually restarting an old one. He’s sort of right — I’m covering a mat leave for an editor at the company where I used to work. But things have changed enough that I think we can call it a brand new position.
It was actually a curious blend of old and new. There are many new products and systems to learn about, but for some things they’re still using the manuals I created 10 years ago. So it’ll take me a while to get comfortable with everything, but at least I’m familiar with some of this stuff. How they would ever explain it to a new hire, I have no idea.
My having a job makes absolutely no difference to the kids, however. I work 9-2, so I still drop the boys off at school and pick them up afterward, and continue on with our after-school activities (today was Justin’s social skills group, tomorrow is floor hockey…whew.) As far as they’re concerned, nothing’s changed. But I’m exhausted. I know I’ll find my groove eventually, and I’m really not stressed about it, so it’s all good.
Plus, when I was leaving the office, I mentally calculated what I earned today, and that made me smile. I’ve been working hard for years without earning a dime. This will be a nice change.
I blame Apple for the fact that my husband and I rarely interact in the evenings anymore.
There was a time, long before kids, when Chris and I would spend our evenings playing board games, watching movies, or (gasp) talking to each other about our day. As the family expanded and life got crazy, we were too exhausted to do anything but collapse on the couch and watch some TV together. But the point was the same: we were doing it together.
Now that we each have our own iPads customized with everything we like best, we often end up sitting on the same couch but immersed in our own separate worlds. I used to complain that Chris was addicted to his computer; now he can indulge his hobby from anywhere, and I’m heading down the same path.
But I’m not going down without a fight. Case in point: last week I found some early episodes of a comedy we both like on Netflix, and I suggested we watch them together on the TV. That was good; we laughed, we snuggled, we had quality time. But over the next couple days, unbeknownst to me, he continued to watch several more episodes on his iPad — alone. So much for sharing.
I realize it’s not really Apple’s fault. I realize it’s up to me to create the kind of family time I want.
Thanks to happy circumstances combined with basic human greed, we have now become a three-iPad family. Let me explain: Justin had some surplus autism funding that had to be spent by the end of March, so I asked his team about resources that would be appropriate for him. His speech pathologist (bless her heart) offered to authorize an iPad and some apps. I hesitated at first, since Chris already has an iPad and we could’ve just put new apps on there, but the promise of a free iPad wore me down. I didn’t tell Chris what I was doing until I got the OK from the funding people, and even then I waited until the stores were closed so he couldn’t run right out the door.
So we bought a 4th generation iPad for Chris, gave his old one to the boys…and bought an iPad Mini for me (along with a keyboard and a camera connector…but let’s not dwell on the details.) The Mini replaces my netbook and my Kindle, so I managed to consolidate devices, plus it’s way lighter, cuter and more portable than the full-size iPad. We had to pay for this one ourselves, of course, but Chris never hesitates to spend money on technology, so everyone came out of this happy.
As of today, this blog has been online for eight years. It started as a transitional experiment: I was leaving the paid workforce to have my first baby, and I wanted to find a way to share the details (and the photos) of my early parenting experiences. I wish I could claim I’ve maintained a sharp focus and always stayed true to a purpose… but unless ”give people a vicarious peek into my life and throw in the odd snide comment” is a valid purpose, I might be out of luck.