Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Balancing the Bad Days.

Sometimes I have bad days. I know everyone does, but that doesn't make it any better. I have days where I'm so sleepy I can hardly keep my eyes open, even though my lack of sleep isn't baby-related. Baby T has been sleeping through the night for quite some time now, but unfortunately late night is when I feel more productive. It's when I do my schoolwork, write blog posts, read. I go to sleep late and my baby wakes up happy in the mornings and I want to be with him and do things with him... so I'm sleepy. And being sleepy makes me grumpy. I'm grumpy a lot, just ask Will. I try not to be but sometimes things pile up and on top of being sleepy and just the tiniest bit grumpy... it makes for a bad day.

It's hard for me to admit to bad days because my life is good. I have a happy, smart, amazing baby. I get to stay home with him. I'm working towards a degree I've wanted forever. I have a great partner who helps me out, who understands me and laughs with me, who is working towards a degree he's passionate about as well. We have it so good. So why are there bad days?

I think it's a touchy subject for me because of the prenatal depression. I feel like people might be on eggshells around me, watching me extra closely for any hint of postpartum depression. Even I analyze myself too often, every day, every hour. I wonder if it's the start of something bigger and scarier. But I love my baby too much. I can't see myself ever not wanting to hold him, cuddle him, play with him, feed him. I don't think I could get to that point. But on bad days... I don't care about much else. I could sit on the couch and read, or even just space out, and not talk to anyone other than Baby T.

What seems to influence my bad days is that I'm having trouble finding a balance. Do I spend a day focusing on schoolwork? That's more productive than grabbing half an hour here and there, but that also means I don't get to interact with the babe much more than feedings and changings. But if I let myself get lost in his beautiful blue eyes, the whole day is gone. I read to him and play with him and nap with him. And I love it. Those are happy days. But the next day is going to be bad because I have to make up the work I didn't do before. Add on to that the household chores and trying to maintain my relationship with Will and, well... it's more than a full-time job.

I'm torn, because I love my babe and I love watching him learn and grow and change so much every day, and I'm never going to get that again. But I'm also eager to get my new career started, because it's something I'm passionate about and I think I have a great idea to implement and I don't want to wait, because what if someone else does it first? I need to ace my classes and do research and stay on top of my game, all while making connections and trying to get my name out there.

Ladies, mothers, career-women, jugglers-of-it-all, tell me: How do you do it?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

101 Things in 1001 Days Wrap-Up

It seems like I started this ages ago, but as my tagline stated, it was just 34 months. Well, I’m proof that a lot can happen in 34 months! And not all of it is what you set out to do. I started on January 11, 2012, and ended last week on October 8, 2014. Here it is, my 101 Things in 1001 Days summary.

Entertainment: 12 out of 22. Just over half - I’ll count that as a success!
- I didn’t have a drink at a bar alone, because I stopped going out drinking. I should get points for that.
- I didn’t teach myself a language, but I bought a German Rosetta Stone rip-off that I’ll probably listen to one day.
- I didn’t read a book on the craft of writing every month, but I read 20 in 34 months, so that’s basically a win.
- I didn’t skydive. I have no excuse.
- I didn’t ride in a hot air balloon, because I wanted it to be romantic. My boy is scared of balloons, but told me he would ride in one with me, so it will happen.
- I didn’t scuba dive, but I didn’t go to the beach, and I didn’t want to scuba dive in the Mississippi River.
- I didn’t climb a tree. I didn’t find one with limbs 3, 6, and 12 inches off the ground, or I would have.
- I didn’t hit on a man in the self-help section of a library or bookstore. Seems like dudes stay away from this section. I seriously checked it out every time I was at Barnes & Noble, and only once encountered a person there. But she was an older lady, and I didn’t think she’d appreciate my affections.
- I didn’t visit a fortune teller, but I tried really hard. Twice. When we were out of town. Because visiting a fortune teller in your own town just seems wrong somehow.
- I didn’t see a play or musical, but I helped put on a few of them at my last job. Halfway counts.

Creativity: 4 out of 18. Wow. I am an uncreative monster. In my defense…
- I kind of took a picture of a national park at night. But it wasn’t a cool one, it was just car headlights shining on me at the entrance of Yellowstone.
- I was pretty good at submitting every quarter until the last 3. I have a nice accumulation of rejections to show for it.
- My mom made me two dresses out of that material that is gathered at the top and you just have to stitch up the side. That kind of counts, right?
- I didn’t do anything with my t-shirt quilt, but I know what I’m going to do with it. And that’s not a dumb statement… I had attempted a quilt, but didn’t measure anything or cut straight. I just started sewing. So now I have a tarp of t-shirts. But I’m going to do something cool with it, you just wait.

For Others: 11 out of 17. Massive success! And isn’t kindness more important than creativity? Yeah. Sure.
- I didn’t pay for the order of the person behind me. But a man did it for me! So I get credit by association, right?
- I didn’t send candy to anyone, but I totally meant to do it this year for my friend’s birthday. Wrangling the baby got in the way.
- I didn’t buy lemonade from a kid’s stand, even though I saw several and kept thinking “I should turn around” while I drove by.
- I didn’t donate blood, because I was never “cleared” to due to tattoos.
- I didn’t handmade holiday gifts because that is some work!
- I didn’t make charitable donations as gifts because I worked at a nonprofit for a year and my unpaid work from home was all the charity I could muster.

Food: 7 out of 11. If nothing else, you can count on me to follow through on anything related to food!
- I didn’t grill out. But Will does all the time, and he taught me how, so I could do it if the world was ending. Or if he wasn’t home.
- I didn’t cook dinner every night for a week. I tried, but it was when Will was an overnight security guard, so he wasn’t home for dinner, and the whole point of cooking dinner was to share it with someone. I had the menu all planned out and everything.
- I didn’t host a dinner party, per say, but we have people over to cook out a lot. I don’t really act like a host, but I make sure people have fun and get what they need. Kinda counts.
- I didn’t go to a diner or cafe alone, but I have before, and not just in airports. So I don’t feel like I’m missing out on that.

Travel: HA. 5 things from the longest list. Let’s just say… I bought a house and had a baby instead of traveling. I still want to accomplish all the things on this list, but now I want to wait until my son is old enough to enjoy it with me.

Domestic Life: 4 out of 4! TOTAL SUCCESS! And you know what? I went above and beyond with this one.
- I bought a house.
- I painted the house.
- I took care of the yard.
- I cleaned the gutters.
- I started using a clothesline.
- I settled down with a boy.
- I gave birth to a baby in the house I bought.

Lighten Up It’s Just Fashion: 8 out of 9. I didn’t want to be stuck with the live goldfish from my pair of platform shoes.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Book Club

One of the items on my 101 in 1001 was to attend a book club meeting. I had previously been to one at the Central Library. I can’t remember the book anymore - it’s been at least seven years ago, I bet. Let’s just say, it was so long ago, I can’t remember when it was. ‘Nuff said.

I figured, to fulfill my 101 goal, I’d just attend another meeting at the same library. Instead, it became much bigger than that. I kind of waited until the last minute, but it was worth it. In August, my sister-in-law and her friend wanted to create a book club. Will and I had been talking about starting one since the spring, but nothing ever came of it. Once we put our friends together with my SIL’s friends and her friend’s friends, we have a nice-sized group!

The rules are pretty general - whoever wants to host each month lists three books they’d like to lead a discussion about. Club members vote for a book, and the one with the most interest wins. We then have three weeks to read the book before the meeting. The host gets to pick where and when the discussion will be, but usually we take polls to see when people are free.

Our first book was Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs, which I’d read before. That doesn’t excuse the fact that, in true Allison style, I cracked it open two nights before. It was fun to discuss with other people, and Will and I have been trying to be more social anyway, so mission accomplished!

Will is actually hosting the next meeting. The book is Maus, if any of you want to read along with us! He’s read it before, and checked out Maus II and MetaMaus so he’d be well-rounded and interesting while leading the discussion. I’ve been reading a fair amount of graphic novels lately, so I’m excited to read it. But, in all honesty, I’ll probably start it two days before the meeting.