#worldstoughestjob

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So, I’m late to the party, as per usual, but I finally watched the #worldstoughestjob video that has gone viral. I watched it at work, which was both stupid and smart.

It was stupid because it made me cry, and I didn’t wear waterproof mascara today.

It was smart, because I really needed to watch it.

I wrote about my current trouble at work a few weeks ago. Things aren’t getting any better (if possible, they are getting worse).  I have been feeling pretty worthless. Watching this video reminded me that I am so much more than an employee. I am Amelia’s mom. That’s the best job in the world, and it pays dividends over anything else I could possibly get, ever. Even if the pay is actually $0.

It made me realize if they can post a fake job description describing motherhood as the toughest job in the world, I should put it on my resume. After birthing a child and taking care of a newborn, infant, and now toddler, I definitely feel like I can handle any other job.

Employers often view motherhood as a detriment to a potential/current employee. Probably because they think you’ll be calling off every other day for an ill child, or so I’m told. I’ve found the fact that I need a traditional 8-5 schedule to be an issue for a lot of employers. Whatever. I guarantee there is nothing any job could put me under that is more difficult than my true “fulltime job”. Plus, my “associate” is awesome and thinks I’m a rock star, which is more than any other job could ever do.

Potential employers, hire a mom (and if you’re in the Indy area, hire this mom). You’ll be thankful you did when you need a band-aid or an afternoon snack. I promise.

Unexpected challenges

When John took this job, we both knew he would be traveling a lot. It’s the cost of being married to a pilot. When being out of town is your husband’s profession, you have to expect to be on your own a good bit of the time. I knew this going into it. I try not to complain about it too much. Plus, if he’s grounded for too long, he gets SUPER cranky.

The past couple weeks John has been flying a ton due to the company being short staffed. He has only been home a day at a time, and his schedule is extremely erratic. He is living his dream, and working on building a future for us. I understand it is for the best.

But there is someone in our house who does not understand this and is not very happy with it. The past couple weeks, A has been moody, aloof, and difficult. She has been crankier with me lately, which I attributed to her changing nap needs and probably teething. She has been more difficult at daycare, which is really atypical because she is usually an angel for her teachers (she loves them). It wasn’t until I noticed her acting particularly, well, rude, to John the other morning that I put two and two together.

John got home from a trip late the other night, after A had gone to bed. When I got her up the next morning and brought her out to see him, she pretty much totally rebuffed him. She didn’t want to be held by him. She didn’t want to give him kisses or to get them from him, either. She didn’t want to play with him.

“I think she’s angry with you for being gone.” I told him.

He looked so heart broken in that moment, it made me want to cry.

I tell her when daddy will be home, but I know she doesn’t understand. She understands he is gone, and then he’s back, and then he’s gone again. She can’t comprehend “Daddy will be back on Tuesday,” or “Daddy will be back in two days,” because she doesn’t know what those things are. She doesn’t have any concept of time past what is happening RIGHT NOW. She certainly doesn’t comprehend why her daddy has to go away so much, even though I tell her why every day. I tell her daddy loves her, and because he loves her so much, he is working as hard as he can to make sure she has everything she needs and wants in life. I tell her that, but I think I tell her more for me than I do for her.

I know eventually she will understand. Eventually she’ll be able to comprehend time, and we’ll be able to have fun counting down to when Daddy is home (especially since I’m sure Daddy will bring her cool surprises from all of his destinations). There really isn’t a cure for this “problem” except to wait it out. Some things just don’t have easy solutions.

 

A different way of dealing with things

It’s Friday! I don’t know about you, but it has been a long week over here. Since my last post, I’ve been working hard trying to focus more on the positive in an effort to reduce stress. And I’ve been told you “get what you put out there.” It’s hard for me, because “positive” is not my default. Generally speaking, I am not a very optimistic person. Which is sad, because my life is awesome, but I let myself get caught up in the less favorable parts of it often.

Whenever I find myself getting stressed out by one of these things, I’ve been told to think about how its presence in my life is actually something to be thankful for. It’s basically an exercise in being grateful. It’s also a good reminder to make the best of whatever situation God has put you in.

This hedgehog knows what's up.

This hedgehog knows what’s up.

I had “a moment” at work today, and I spent a few minutes doing some light journaling about the things that were stressing me out and why I should actually be thankful for them. For instance:

My job: Nothing stresses me out more than my job. But I have a job, and at least I have an income and health insurance until I am able to find something that is a better fit for me and my family.

Daycare: I spend an inordinate amount of time feeling totally guilty for sending my child to daycare. And writing the check each week is painful. But A is thriving at her school. She loves her teachers, and they adore her. She is learning so much and doing really well there.

My student loan: Of all the expenses I have, the one that annoys me the most is my student loan payment. It physically hurts me to pay it each month. The past couple months, I’ve started to regret my decision to get my master’s. But, what’s done is done, and no matter what happens, I have a really great education, which is a luxury not everyone gets, and it’s something no one can take away from me.

Bills, bills, bills: Who doesn’t hate bills? But, having them means I have a roof over my head, food in my belly, clothes on my back, and I can provide everything I need for my child.

Being alone most of the time: John’s job has him out of town a lot, which means I am on my own with A 90% of the time. This is really hard, and it’s super easy to get sad about. But, he is following his dream and building a future for our family.

It’s helpful to look at these things in a different perspective. Because really, letting those negative emotions run my life isn’t helping. The things that trigger anxiety aren’t going anywhere, so it’s better to process them in a healthy way. Plus, it’s exhausting to cry more than twice a week.

In other news, A turned 18 months old last week, which is just crazy. I am hoping to have a post dedicated to her year and half old self up soon, if she ever let’s me take pictures of her. Toddlers, man, they have a mind of their own.

I hope you all have a fabulous weekend!

Where I’ve been

So, it’s been a few weeks (three, to be exact) since I’ve blogged. It’s not because I’ve forgotten, or haven’t had things to write about, because every day when I get home from work, I think to myself, “I should blog…I need to write…I have to write…” And I often find myself thinking, “This will make a great post…I can’t wait to write about this.”

And then, for the past three weeks, I haven’t.

I don’t really have an excuse other than pure exhaustion and what I believe has been a bad case of the winter blahs. I just haven’t had the energy to summon up a coherent thought. If I’m being entirely honest, a lot of this has to do with my job right now. To be frank, my work situation isn’t great. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve cried at work the last few weeks. I’m not an expert, but I’m pretty sure that’s a sign something is not right.

It’s carrying over a lot of stress and anxiety into my personal life. I’ve always been prone to stress and anxiety, so this level of stress on top of daily life stress, is really affecting everything rather negatively. It’s hurting me, my family, and my ability to be a productive member of society. I’m starting to think maybe I should talk to someone about it.

I have always been independent, almost to a fault. I don’t like asking for help. I don’t like feeling like I can’t do it by myself. I don’t like not being able to fix the problem by myself. It’s hard to admit when you can no longer do something on your own. It’s hard to admit something is not working, especially when you so desperately wanted it to work, and thus feel like a failure. It’s hard to open your heart and soul to friends, family, and strangers on the Internet. It’s hard to change. But the hardest thing, I think, would be to continue to live in unhappiness because I was too proud to ask for help.

Life is balancing act, and unfortunately I’ve never been very coordinated. Bear with me while I learn to balance better.

What’s in my toddler diaper bag

You know, I’m always amazed to find how many searches of “what to put in my diaper bag” or some variation thereof bring people to this blog. My original diaper bag post and my travel diaper bag post get tons of hits still months after I posted them. Now that A is a toddler, my diaper bag has changed a lot, so why not give the people what they obviously want and cover that too.

The best part of having a toddler is they require way less stuff than babies. Leaving the house used to take for-ev-er because there was just so much crap to haul. I was constantly restocking my diaper bag with burp clothes, clothes, diapers, and everything else under the sun. Now, I can just throw a few things into my everyday purse.

I carry the Michael Kors Jet Set Travel Tote as my everyday purse, so if you prefer a smaller everyday purse, you will probably not be able to do so, but if you are a big purse person like me, it makes it easier.

purse

whats in my diaper bag now

Diapers/wipes: I mean, this is still a given, except now I only have to bring 2-3 instead of 10.

Sippy cup: I pack an empty sippy cup for water if we’re going somewhere to eat or to a friend’s house. If we’re running errands I make sure it’s a very, very, VERY leak proof cup, and I put water in it.

Snacks: My favorite on the go snacks are Earth’s Best Happy Snax, Plum Organics Super Puffs, good old Cheerios, or any kind of fruit pouch. The best snack container? Tupperware. The kind with the screw on lid.

Small toys: I always pack a few of A’s favorite smaller toys. Right now it’s a small board book, her Sesame Street phone, and Elmo keys.

Not pictured: Hand sanitizer, tissues, lotion, extra lovie.

What I DON’T pack anymore: Burp clothes (no spit up, no need), extra clothes (unless we’re going somewhere for longer than 2-3 hours, she’s had a diaper blow out in the past 24 hours, or I know the weather will be bad), bibs (if we’re eating out I always order not messy food).

This is probably the “bare minimum” of what you need. Granted, this is for short excursions, such as errands or play dates. If we’re going somewhere for a full day or longer, obviously we pack more. But for the weekly trip to the grocery or Target or a lunch/dinner out, these few, essential items are all you really need for a toddler.

Guilty pleasures

Everyone has those “things” in their life they desperately love, that make them happy and giddy. But for whatever reason, you don’t make these little favorites known for fear of embarrassment.

Yep, I’m talking guilty pleasures. One of the little things that just make life worth it. You have ’em, I have ’em, and now I’m going to admit mine to all of you, and fear public criticism and condemnation.

If you’re having a rough week like I am, hopefully this will make you feel a little better.

Reality TV: I don’t watch a lot of television, but if I do watch it, it’s probably a reality/competition show. I can’t help it, they draw me in like moths to a flame. American Idol, The Biggest Loser, America’s Next Top Model…I love them all, but my long time favorite is the Bachelor/Bachelorette. I can’t help myself. In spite of knowing how fake it is, and reading the spoilers each season on Reality Steve, I cannot stop watching the train wreck. I love the canned drama and the vapid girls/guys they always seem to cast. This season the bachelor is a total space cadet who has no idea what’s going on. It’s awesome.

Military homecoming videos on YouTube: If I’m having a bad day, or need a good cry, these can fix both circumstances, almost instantly. I find the longest compilation and just blubber. I literally cannot resist these videos. If they are linked anywhere, I must watch.

Shopping the clearance racks at Target (also the dollar spot): I literally cannot resist the call of the red stickers at Target. Do I need four v-neck tshirts in varying shades of neutrals? No, but they’re only $4! Same goes for The Dollar Spot. Ooooh, every random thing under the sun for a buck? Don’t mind if I do.

Filling up my cart in stores (or online) then slowly emptying it: I cannot be the only one who does this, right? I just like the idea of maybe buying these things, imagining what it would be like to have said things, then just abandoning that dream because I don’t want to spend the money.

Really, really, REALLY bad music: Most people would be ashamed to admit to the kind of music I like. I too am ashamed. Some people say there is no such thing as bad music. I say that’s a lie, it does exist, and I most definitely listen to it.

Pinning recipes I’ll never cook and crafts I’ll never craft on Pinterest: Like so many other modern moms, I too fall victim to the pretty photoshopped food porn and crafts on Pinterest. I pin them knowing full well if there is more than five ingredients and/or steps, they are never, never, never happening.

What are some of your guilty pleasures?

There’s a first time for everything

There are certain firsts in your child’s life you know are inevitable, and you look forward to them. First steps, first word, first time sleeping through the night…you get the picture.

Then there are firsts you don’t expect, or at least ones you don’t anticipate and look forward to. First time they get sick, first time they get hurt, or you know, the first time they are hospitalized due to either.

Let’s back track a week. A week ago I picked up A from daycare and heard the words no mother wants to hear: “Don’t panic but…” She had tripped and hit her eye (close to the brow) on the corner of the bookshelf. She had a bump and it was red, but they iced it and she appeared to be no worse for the wear. I figured it would bruise up the next day, and it did, leading to her very first black eye.

I was pretty proud of how I didn’t freak out about it. She is starting to run and she trips often, so this didn’t surprise me at all. I took it in stride…and started calling her Bruiser.

Fast forward a few days to Thursday. The bruise was starting to go away, but her eye was draining yellow gunk. My mind immediately went to pink eye, but I hoped it was just because she’s been congested lately. Friday morning, while I am getting ready for work, I heard A crying in her room. This is highly unusual, normally I have to wake her up in the morning. I went into her room and found her with her eye completely swollen shut.

I had an internal debate whether I should take her to the ER, but decided to call her doctor first since it was almost time for the office to open. I scheduled a 9:45am appointment (the earliest available), and planned on getting there early. When we got to the doctor’s office they took one look at her and let us go straight to the back. Once the doctor saw her, she immediately told me she thought A needed to go to the hospital, as these types of infections can be very dangerous. She needed to go right away. Do not pass go, do not collect $200.

Keep in mind, John is in Nashville, and I am 1,000 miles from any family member. Having your child in the hospital is frightening and difficult, and these fears are compounded when you have to do it on your own. (It should be noted I’m pretty sure John was freaking out more than I was.)

She was admitted to the children’s hospital not too far from where we live around 10:30am on Friday. If you’ve never been so lucky to be admitted to a hospital for anything, let me just say you are not missing out on much. There was a lot of debate over the course of treatment. CT scan or no CT scan? IV antibiotics or oral antibiotics? In the end they decided since her eye was moving the infection was limited to her outer eye and not behind the eye, so they would wait on the CT scan and spare her the agony of an IV and see how she did on oral antibiotics. The official diagnosis was preseptal cellulitis.

From top left to bottom right: Tuesday morning (after hitting her eye Monday), Friday morning (at home), Friday afternoon (at hospital), Saturday morning (at hospital).

From top left to bottom right: Tuesday morning (after hitting her eye Monday), Friday morning (at home), Friday afternoon (at hospital), Saturday morning (at hospital).

 

If you’ve never spent a day in the hospital with a toddler, do your best to avoid it. It’s a lot like being in a cage with a bear cub. She was all over everything, trying to get into everything, and she just about lost it every time any medical professional tried to do anything to her. We were also in isolation, so we couldn’t leave the room, which made matters worse. Getting her to sleep in the prison cage crib was a challenge unto itself. It didn’t help that every time she fell asleep or got comfy it seemed like it was time for them to give medicine or take vitals.

Luckily her eye looked a thousand times better Saturday morning. After one very long day, a restless night, and a long morning we were discharged.

I really do have to say it all could have been so much worse. A handled the disrupt in schedule well, and in spite of being poked and prodded she was a total trooper. It helped that the hospital had a ton of toys and books she never seen, I let her watch more TV than she watches at home, and I ordered all her favorite foods from room service.

I’m very proud of how brave A was through this whole ordeal, but I’m also proud of me for staying as calm as I was. It would have been easy to panic, and part of me wanted to, but it wouldn’t have helped anything. It would have made things harder, for both of us. If this ordeal taught me anything it’s that I am strong enough to handle just about whatever motherhood throws at me. As of today you can’t even tell anything happened to her eye, and we’ve both just about recovered from the trauma. I am very happy and relieved to have my sweet, healthy girl back.