Thursday, August 25, 2011

Thinking, worrying...

So lots on my mind lately, but the most prominent has to do with work. My career. If you can really call it that.

The future of my company, or my division really, the locally-based part of my company, is not really certain. Right now it’s just rumors, and foreboding “what-if’s”, but it’s highly possible that 9-18 months from now, we might not exist. Or what is currently here might exist on a much smaller scale. Who knows, I’m being vague because that’s what you do when you talk about work on the internet, but also because I have no idea. There have been no official decisions, it’s just water cooler talk at this point, but it’s scary, and I don’t like feeling like my family’s future is so up-in-the-air.

When I came back to work after my maternity leave I was lucky enough to go part-time. Half-way through my leave, after much soul-searching and crying over not being able to leave my baby, I made a proposal to my boss in which I stated that I felt I could come back to work just three days a week and do my same job. To my delight, he and those above him went for it, and my work-life balance ever since has been, well, AWESOME.

There have been bumps in the road, some having to do with finding part-time childcare (so much more complicated!), and some having to do with finding myself having hard-core landed on the mommy-track in the eyes of pretty much everyone here. You can’t really progress in a company as a part-timer, that is clear. There’s no such thing as a part-time manager, so any aspirations for that have been shelved. My “5-year plan” is currently an awkward little one-sentence blurb that basically amounts to staying where I’m at, plugging away, doing my best while doing the same thing I’ve been doing for SEVEN YEARS.

And that’s ok, I expected that to happen when I made the decision to cut back my hours, because in the corporate world, to be considered a top-tier employee, to be thought of as “going somewhere”, you have to at least have the illusion that you are always available, that you will take on extra work, jump when asked to jump, all that. Even if no one is asking for “extra”, it’s just assumed that when you aren’t there every day, you aren’t able to go that extra mile.

The funny thing is, I never worked an hour of overtime before I went-part time, because I didn’t need to. But now? I’ve definitely had my share of those weeks where I’ve had to work from home for a few hours on my day off, or had to go in on a Saturday when Dan could watch Gus in order to meet a deadline. I HATE having to leave early for appointments, or having to call in because the little guy is sick, because I feel like I need to constantly prove that I am available, I am reliable, I am HERE. It’s not as if my dedication to the company or my job has changed because on average I work 10-12 less hours per week than my colleagues. Still. Mommy-track. No way around it. That’s where I am.

I’ve completely gone off on a tangent here. The point is this, if I have to find another job this whole work-life balance thing I’ve got going on will be totally thrown for a loop. Corporations are not looking to hire someone for my position part-time, that’s the kind of thing you do once you’ve been well established within an organization, obviously. No, the part-time options for me are very limited. Starbucks Barista? Bookkeeping? Ha! No. Every part-time job posting I have seen would involve a massive pay-cut, and not only that, I’d be extremely over-qualified and not likely to be hired for that reason alone.

So I’m just sort of at a loss. I don’t want to go back to work full-time. Really really really I do not. Not to mention, I’m pregnant, if you didn’t know. Another wrench thrown in there just for fun. So it’s not like I can really even do anything at this point, I don’t plan on bringing this belly with me on any job interviews. If I did decide to find a new full-time job, then we’d likely be in the position of having to completely change our plans for childcare.

I have started looking into what it would take to become a CPA, so that maybe down the road I could be a part-time consultant for small companies, sort of make my own schedule, be my own boss. It sounds someone appealing, though the whole process, which would include additional schooling (I don’t think it would be much) and lots of studying for this massive test does not sound super fun. And to be certified you have to actually work under the guidance of a CPA for a year after doing all that and passing the test. That could be… complicated.

Anyway, I think for now I just have to hunker down, hope for the best, and realize that I can’t plan for every different possible scenario. Things change, things evolve, and you roll with the punches and figure things out when life throws you for a loop. Right now I have to plan for this new baby, I have to assume I’m going back to work sometime in early April and will need childcare for my two children just three days a week. Yes, that is the future I have to plan for at this point, and all that other stuff may keep me up at night, but there’s really nothing I can do about it right now. Ugh. I hate that.  Need to just let go, and trust that future Alicia will take care of this stuff if she has to. ;)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tidbits & a Little TMI

I can’t seem to fully empty my bladder. Don’t know what’s going on in there, but baby/uterus/etc. must just be taking up too much room, or my tiny little bell pepper sized baby is situated in a bladder-constricting position, but yeah. I would like to pee like a normal person one of these days, please.

I spent about $50 on a ton of clearance clothes for Gus at the Carter’s store during my lunch hour. I am preeeeeetty sure this little shopping spree was me compensating for the fact that it is DRIVING ME CRAZY that I can’t buy my child in-utero anything gender-specific. I don’t know, not finding out the gender last time was such a no-brainer for us, and I didn’t feel really all that constricted by remaining in the dark throughout the pregnancy. With your first baby, you still have all the other fun stuff to put your nervous energy into, like choosing crib sheets, purchasing a pack-n-play, deciding between the Sleep Sheep or the Twilight Turtle, or even picking out cute little gender-neutral swaddling blankets.

But now?

We have all that stuff, we don’t really need any more baby trinkets, and we certainly don’t need any more blankets. But of course this baby deserves a few of his or her own things, we will want to have a few baby blankets that don’t already have lots of Gus memories attached to them. And of course, there is PLENTY of time for this baby to accumulate STUFF and there’s a whole lifetime to acquire things that will eventually have sentimental meaning. It’s not about the things, the stuff. I realize this. I don’t know, I guess just more than last time I’m itching to give this little one his or her own identity before he or she is on the outside. I am impatient. I want to know who he or she is right now! I want to see his or her face, I want to know what my baby’s cry sounds like, I want to look into his or her eyes, I want to smell that smell of my little one, that smell that you can just taste, it is so delicate and perfect and his or her own, no one else’s. Like my mother and sister-in-law always say, “Who is that in there?!” The frustration with not really needing to buy stuff but feeling like I really really want to is just a symptom of my excitement and wonder over this whole amazing gestating and mothering process. I clearly am in love with this baby already, there is no question of that.

On the other hand, in no way do I want it to be January tomorrow. I want to really soak in the second half of this pregnancy, and I hope that in the coming months, Gus will start to understand that he’s going to be a big brother and that we will be bringing a new baby into our home. And I want right now to be right now. This is life, what’s happening now is where I want to be.

Daddy Gus

Bella Gus

Gus skateboards


Speaking of getting Gus familiar with bringing a new baby into our home, I bought some books to read with him, of course, since books (and trucks) are pretty much Gus’s whole world. I think I bought four of them, and they were definitely hit or miss. I hate buying children’s books online, it’s so hard to know what you’re getting (thank God for Amazon reviews). It was important to me that the books be (1) a little crunchy (no thank you to lots of pictures of hospitals and bottles and jarred baby food) and (2) not focus too much on the whole sibling jealousy thing, or Gus having to be a “big boy” now that he’ll have a little brother or sister. I don’t know, of course we’ll have to deal with the jealousy thing, I’m not na├»ve enough to think that this will be a totally smooth transition for him, but I certainly don’t need to put ideas into his head or tell him all the things he shouldn’t do with the new baby, like push or hit, pull hair, feed him or her pennies, that sort of thing. We will cross those bridges when/if we get there. And then the whole “big boy” thing bothers me. He is, of course, constantly growing and learning and becoming more independent, we don’t need to push him. He can do his growing up at his own pace, and he certainly doesn’t need that kind of pressure from a stupid book. There will be no deadline coming from me for how long it is he stays my baby. (Forever kiddo.)

Anyway, this is my favorite book, by far, by Rachel Fuller.

Picture from Amazon
It is wonderful. Sweet, simple, great illustrations. Multiple pictures of mommy breastfeeding baby, and even a picture of baby being worn in an Ergo–like carrier! Perfection. We just need to figure out how we’re going to refer to breastfeeding with Gus, because we certainly didn’t really think that through before reading the book, which in the past month has become part of our bedtime routine. On a few occasions, Dan has ad-libbed something to the affect of, “Baby is drinking milk from mommy’s boob and Gus is eating a sandwich and an apple!” So now sometimes Gus will proudly exclaim when we get to that page, “Baby! Mommy! Milk! BOOB! Apple!” Errrrr… Is boob the appropriate word for him to use? I’m guessing not, but I honestly don’t know what else I would teach him. The idea of Gus saying “breast” makes me break into a giggle fit. I’m doing it right now! Really, how old am I? That is just ridiculous. It is a breast. It’s called breastfeeding. Period. I mean, get over it Alicia.

Finally, I’ll quit rambling and leave you with one more bit of pregnancy TMI. Undergarments. I officially can no longer stand wearing thongs, maybe it’s the warm weather, the pregnancy, I don’t know, but it is just so uncomfortable and sweaty and especially under skirts and dresses, chub-rub inducing. Ugh. Gross, I know. So last night during a trip to target I swung into the ladies unmentionables department and picked out two packages of hard core, yeah you betcha, granny panties. Yes, I purchased undergarments that come in packages of three. And in nude/white/black color assortments, so that means there aren’t even any cute pink polka dots or lace or anything to make them feminine. Just big, huge, suuuuper comfortable but relatively inconspicuous under clothing UNDERWEAR. I will also admit to have bought a size up from what I normally would wear, just because I figured I’m pregnant, and this should guarantee added comfort. However, once home last night, and taking them out of their packages, I became seriously disturbed. Because they are just MASSIVE. They look like something that should be hung on a flag pole. And yeah. I guess that’s all I wanted to say about that. Felt like sharing, I suppose? Maybe I’m hoping someone will reassure me that I’m not alone in loving some big ole granny panties. Because I do. I love them. So comfortable. (What’s it to you 21 year old Alicia? Shut it, go bong a beer or something.)