Thursday, January 26, 2012


This morning I found a gray hair in a place where....(well, you can guess). 

There have been some amazing things about turning 40 -- self awareness, boost in confidence, the I'm-gonna-do-what-I-wanna-do-and-not-give-a-f*@^ attitude, great sex...the list goes on.  But this...this unexpected and unruly reminder that my body is not fully under my control does not make the list. 

What makes it's mere existence even worse is that whenever these reminders pop up (it's happened more than I care to admit in the 359 days since I turned 40), I get anxious.  Because it's a reminder the clock is ticking.  That I can no longer talk about all the things I'm going to do "someday" and be looked fondly upon as FULL OF POTENTIAL.  No, I have approached the age where FULL OF POTENTIAL turns into WASTED POTENTIAL .

Over the last couple of years I've looked at my single, no kids (SNK) friends who've picked up and moved to new cities, traveled the world, started new businesses and I've come up with a laundry list of reasons (excuses?) why I can't do the same:
  • I can't move the kids away from their dad!
  • I have college tuition to save for!
  • Where would I find the time?
  • I'm a single mom, I can't quit my job!
But then, it hit me.  When my kids ask me to help them with something, my response is often, "Be solution oriented."  This isn't (only) lazy parenting.  My job as their mom is to raise them to be happy, self sufficient, successful adults.  Doing everything for them runs counter to that.  They hate it (especially my son...what IS it with boys?) but they've come to expect it and I hope are better for it.

So this year I'm taking my own advice. Rather than focusing on what my SNK friends are doing and making excuses (there, I admitted it!) for why I can't do the same, I'm spending 2012 focused on what I CAN do within my own personal parameters -- single woman living in one of the most expensive cities in the country with two lovely kids with expensive tastes in private school, one only 3 years from college and dreams of going to a very expensive school across the country. 

And then I'm doing it. 

This blog was the first step.  I'll let you know when I've figured out step 2.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Today's Dilemma

Originally written 6.15.11

I have an important meeting tonight that’s been on my calendar for 3 weeks.  I f’d up last week.  Had a sitter all lined up (my best friend and godmother to my oldest) and then realized that morning I had the wrong date.  Note:  I only realized this when I sent the person I’m meeting an email reviewing what I wanted to accomplish.  His response, “WTF?”…Embarrassing! 

So the meeting is tonight.  Did I say it was important? 

Well late last night I realized my 9 year old son, Aidan, has a project due tomorrow morning that we haven’t even started. 

And here’s where I stop to gripe about the hardships of single motherhood.

1.   Married moms would have a partner to get it done…don’t have that (I know some married moms will say they don’t have that either but that’s a topic for your own blog!)
2.   His dad actually gets the same homework notices I do and even though Aidan was there all weekend, it wasn’t done.  I kick myself for not texting his dad a reminder (no, divorce does not eliminate this from my to-do list, if I want to keep my sanity). 

Which brings us back to my dilemma.  Although I will have an adult in the house with my kids tonight (aforementioned godmother back again this week for the REAL meeting), I feel it is my responsibility to help him with the project.  It’s a parent’s job, right? 

I considered canceling.  Not a good look professionally but it would mean I could get home, help with the project and get my son to bed at a decent hour.  Until about 11am, that was the plan.  Excuse all lined up…”Big PTA meeting I have to attend.  Ex can’t cover it.  Got sick.  I don’t know, some stomach thing I think.  I know, totally sucks and I’m really sorry.”

But no, I won’t cancel.  I talk through the plan with the godmother and decide it’s a go…do mtg for an hour, duck out at 8, hop on the train, pick up my car at the lot (parked there instead of the street because my registration expired and I haven’t had a chance to get to motor vehicle to figure out why the hell I never got anything in the mail), stop at the grocery to get supplies for the project (don’t ask) and get home by 9pm to start. 

Aidan prepping his project:  Creating a recipe for sliders and making enough to feed the entire class

Now all this means Aidan won’t be in bed until 11 but oh well.  We’ll have a solid 2 hours together, to work on this.  It would have been wonderful to do it as soon as he got home from school (or better yet, a week ago when assigned!) but if I beat myself up for every infraction of the Leave it to Beaver mom code, I’d be too black and blue to get all the things done on my to-do list.  So he’ll be a little tired, but he’ll have a great mom-supervised project to share with the class tomorrow.  It’s the best I can do. 

And that, readers is work/life UNbalanced!!


I've started jotting down my story of working motherhood because I realized I had been hoodwinked (bamboozled...led amok -- love that movie!)  into thinking I should reach this higher state of being called WORK/LIFE BALANCE (cue angels singing).  For years I thought I'd done it.  Perfectly balanced being a wife, mother, nurse, referee, chef and high powered professional.  I was bringing home the bacon AND frying it up in the pan (totally dating myself with that one).  At least that's what I believed until my husband informed me I wasn't really as good at it as I thought and he loved me a lot less because of it (on my first day of post layoff unemployment no less!).

So what have I learned one divorce and 5 years later?  Work/life balance in it's advertised form doesn't exist.  Why do I say this?  Well first there's the math.  We're taught that if you do something, give 100%.  Well you can't give 100% to work, home and yourself.  That's 300%, right?  

Second, is physics.  The definition of balance (according to Webster):  a beam that is supported freely in the center and has two pans of equal weight suspended from its ends.  

TWO.  Not 3. Which means work/life balance for working moms is a pipe dream. Can't be done (at least based on my limited knowledge of physics which I chose to skip in high school after barely getting a C in Chemistry).

And so I write.  For working moms who are continuously disappointed when they don't achieve this mythical state of being.  Maybe my on-going saga will make them feel less guilty.  Be honest, it always feels just a wee bit better to know someone is worse off than you!