Feb 17 2014
I used to fumble my words when someone asked me what I do for a living. Having a baby and being laid off while on maternity leave will do that to you.
My self worth bailed right along with my sanity. I was set to return to work 12 weeks postpartum as a counselor working with patients and families dealing with a terminal illness. I loved my job. As depressing as the population I worked with sounds, it was one of the most humbling and gratifying jobs I have ever held. Then, about four weeks into my maternity leave, I received notice that the company I worked for was restructuring and I was out.
The true story is that they tried to get me to quit so that I would not be eligible for unemployment. I held my own and finally got a statement from the new COO (who I never met as she started while I was out), conceding to the fact that they were indeed laying me off. I could have been over the moon to be laid off while on maternity leave, approved for unemployment, but instead I found myself deflated and defeated. Read the rest of this entry →
Nov 6 2013
It took me a long time to admit it, but I’m the person everyone has been talking about. I’m the person who uses Facebook as a world-wide picture sharing site, a 21st century baby brag book. It’s me; I’ve “ruined” Facebook for the cool kids.
I wasn’t always this type of person. In fact, before I turned into me, I used to hate people like me. You know the people I’m talking about: the kind of people who post funny things their kids say (or things they think are funny), share anecdotes from playdates, or statistics from doctors’ visits; the kind of people who (gasp) use their kids as their profile picture. You’re not your child, I would silently fume as I would see yet another one of my friends fall victim to the rampant child-picture-appropriation on Facebook. Your child is not your identity! Your role as a parent doesn’t solely define you! I would swear that I would be different–I would still be ME (as signified by the oh-so-telling Facebook Profile Picture). And yet, as soon as my baby was born and was big enough to wear a hat with ears–bam, he was my profile picture. I mean, come on, how could I resist? He was wearing a hat. With ears!
So how, after consciously trying not to, did I turn into this person? Read the rest of this entry →
Aug 6 2013
My intention after my daughter was born was to return to work four months later. My employer, however, had other plans and let me go while on maternity leave (citing downsizing…which yes, is apparently legal).
I never thought I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. Somewhere in the back of my head, I kept seeing the stay-at-home mom painted as an uninspired lady who ate bonbons all day. (I have never actually seen anyone eat a bonbon no less multiple bonbons.) You’re home with a baby who can’t walk or talk…what could you possibly be doing all day?
But now, eight months into it, I realize my job is getting a crazy, irrational human to eat, sleep, and not sit in her own excrement for prolonged periods of time… all while distracting her when she cries by being a complete doofus, singing or dancing, plus trying to teach her “no,” (while allowing her to explore her environment) to be gentle, wave, the difference between a red ball and a liger, balance, and to understand the English language. And when she naps, there are clothes to be laundered, fruits and veggies to be steamed and pureed, preschools to be researched, and writing that attempts to get done. I quickly learned that this is the hardest (and most rewarding) job I’ve ever had.
And I never realized just how much time I would spend literally staying within my home. Read the rest of this entry →
Aug 1 2013
Being a teacher is one of those jobs that is SUPER-challenging from September to May, and then SUPER-easy from June through August–because having the summer off is a huge perk! In the past, I haven’t been the biggest fan of this unpaid vacation, because I like to keep busy and this two and a half month break tends to lag after the first few weeks. In the past, I’ve taught summer school or gotten a summer job doing something full time, anything I could do to make money during the break.
However, this is my first summer off being a mommy; it’s super-busy, super-fun, and it’s a whole new world! Read the rest of this entry →
Apr 5 2013
I recently returned from spending Passover at a beautiful hotel in California with my two kids. One of the great perks of being married to a musician (and don’t throw a virtual shoe at me; there are negatives to being a wife in music life, too) is that so far, I get to go away for Passover, and thus bypass all the meticulous cleaning, multi-meal cooking, and various other daunting tasks that the holiday entails.
Now, I had realized that once we returned home, if we wanted to eat, we’d have to actually cook something ourselves; there would be no lavish tea room to quell hunger pangs between meals and I correctly anticipated seven loads of laundry (my baby likes to spit up on a brand-new dress approximately three seconds after I change her into it). Read the rest of this entry →
Feb 5 2013
I, the cool and interesting mama, have been demoted. By my kids.
Unnamed child, age 9, invited me to participate in Career Day at school. Then uninvited me because “Daddy works for Crayola and you just stay at home now. I don’t think the kids at school will find you very interesting.”
For those who don’t know, I was a pulpit rabbi for 12 years before off-ramping to stay at home full-time to do a better job of caring for our kids, one of whom has autism. A difficult decision at the time and many days since. Read the rest of this entry →
Jan 23 2013
My friends like to tease me that I act like an “old lady.”
I go to sleep by 10 p.m., wake up with the crack of dawn, and love naps. My skirts have elastic bands and I refuse to wear anything that isn’t comfortable. I don’t like to clutter my days with too many activities. For instance if I have a doctors appointment, and I have carpool, I will tell my friend that I can’t meet her for coffee, because my day is filled up. I hate surprises and repeatedly remind my husband never ever to make me a surprise party.
For that matter, I don’t much like regular parties either–for myself or others. I get nervous when something unplanned crops up (I know, I am a mother of four and it happens all the time, but I still don’t like it). Read the rest of this entry →
Dec 21 2012
We’re thinking of going on a trip to Russia. I suddenly realized that I have no idea what happened to the arch villain of my youth, the Soviet Union. I know it broke apart, but why and when I can’t tell you.
I also realized that there are specific social references to popular TV shows and music that are unfamiliar to me. Totally. Never heard of them.
When I thought about it, it came to me that the 80s were my lost decade. Actually, I lost from 1976 to 1992. Those were the years that I was immersed in raising young children.
Everything from those years seems to be just a blur, although I do remember large shoulder pads. Read the rest of this entry →
Well, I knew it would have to happen. I knew the date was rapidly approaching. But I didn’t expect it to feel like such a shock…
Yes, I have gone back to work. Noooooo!
While I was not working, especially in the first few weeks when Charly wasn’t doing much other than sleeping, eating, and pooping, I really couldn’t see how anyone could be a stay-at-home Mom. It seemed so boring and lackluster. But I was really being shortsighted. Now, I totally get it. Read the rest of this entry →
Nov 27 2012
When I was pregnant with my oldest son I made him a promise, and his brother after him, that I would do my best to give them happy childhoods full of wonder and magic, that I would prepare them for adulthood as best I could and give them the tools to live fulfilling lives.
That promise was at the center of my thoughts when we decided to homeschool and is the first thing I think about when I sit down every week to plan our schedule. Read the rest of this entry →