Thursday, July 30, 2009

Am I Octamom? and other Scatterbrained Thoughts about Life

Despite feeling content and driven, my mom managed to derail my confidence in a simple sentence. It was a question, "but how are you going to do that and pay for the kids in daycare?" followed by "you'll have to keep them in daycare right." So my loan for grad school will have to be a big one. A really big one. And she expressed her disapproval in her tone. An that deflated the recent elation I've felt since kissing and mailing my grad school application.
So then I started to think, Am I Octamom? Irresponsibly having children before solidifying a career path, and taking out loans to go to grad school, and who knows when I'll have the ability to repay them. How irresponsible is it for me to change career paths midstream and stop contributions to my retirement fund and children's college accounts?
I've been feeling really ironic lately. Ironic because I'm so successful at a time when our economy is faulting and millions of Americans are looking for jobs. I've already gotten an interview for one of the three jobs I applied for before deciding on Acupuncture. And the job is for more money then I'm making now. The same day I got the call for an interview, my ex-boss who I replaced in January, told me that her project is ending in a month and she'll need to find work. I leaked to her that I am planing on leaving in September for grad school. But maybe that was too much irony for her to handle because she did not write me back.
Then I got to thinking. What is success anyway? Isn't it all relative? How much money is enough to say that you are responsibly providing for you family?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Turning Point

I send my application to acupuncture school today! Yipee off it goes. It feels right, it feels really right, and every thing seems to fit. My plans, my clothes, and the dishes even all fit in the dishwasher. So now I've got two happy days under my belt and my aura is glowing with potential. Our home value seems to be moving out of the red, which got my man and I delighted about being able to move to some farm land in the maybe not too distant future. He wants to raise all kinds of crazy animals that he's been researching, like alpaca and some other creatures that I forgot. I even got a call back for an interview for one of the jobs I applied for. But I'm not planning on going, I'm really serious about acupuncture and I'm putting all my eggs in that basket. It just took me a few years of doing something else to realize what I want my career to be. I'm kinda slow that way. Even after high school I took a year off and worked at Party City, to realize that college was the way to go. So now my time working in IT has been a necessary step in my maturing process. I know that most people know what they want to do or be early. But It took me a few years to really decide what I want to be when I grow up.
I don't remember feeling this anxious and excited since before Nalini was born. M and I were so in impassioned back then. But, then the extra responsibilities of having two children became a lot for us to handle and we lost some energy for each other. These last couple weeks we've hit a bit of a grove and things are easing up. I know its not going to last of course, but I'm writing about it so I can look back in a couple months and remember that there was a time when life seemed manageable.

Monday, July 27, 2009

getting used to 'it' : the mess

Are things getting easier, or have I just gotten used to 'it'? I say 'it' because i'm not really sure what to call my situation. It's not chaos, because there is some semblance of a structure and schedule to our days: work, eat, read, water the plants, sleep, work, etc. However there's not much order either. I mean, today Kaio ate dinner sitting on the couch in the toy room, fixated on the dora video that my man put on. We usually don't watch tv, but... Today it happened. Then the baby magically fell asleep at 7:30 and I was able to focus on reading some Dr. Seuss with Kaio. At first he cried at the thought that his dora escape would end. But that quickly faded once he saw Sam-I -am in Green Eggs and Ham. By 10pm everyone was in bed. Well, except me, but I'm too excited about having some alone time, where I'm not completely burnt-out exhausted, to actually sleep during it! So I thought that I would take the opportunity to boast about the fact that I found the space last week to make it to two yoga classes, and all that with only one meal out of the house! So again I ask, are things getting easier after 7 months of twice the work? Or am I just used to 'it'? 'it' being the mess. But I'm not going to complain about it because I'm actually feeling happy with things. Probably a lot having to do with the fact that I'm mailing my application to acupuncture school tomorrow. And also because the family is so sweet. This morning Kaio came in bed with us early and he whispered in my ear "Hi Mom", then snuggled up to me and fell asleep. Nalini chased after me and crawled into the bathroom while I was peeing... she had this big grin on her face, like, 'I made it, I'm here.' Then tonight when I was moving her from our bed into her crib she woke up and started crying, and I started singing to her without picking her up. She actually fell asleep like a sweet little baby. And tonight my man and i were talking about my parents or them being divorced or something, i forgot how the conversation started. Well he said that if we ever got divorced then he wouldn't remarry because he doesn't think he would ever be able to find a girl as good as me. Then he started to go into all the reasons why, some of which were sweet and maybe true, and some that were silly.
uh oh, I hear Kaio rusting around in his room, so maybe he didn't go to sleep and I spoke to soon. Well, thanks for listening.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Carpe Diem

In a tree pose moment of clarity at my Sunday yoga class in Tyson's I realized that I would really like to be a yoga teacher. By the time we were in downward dog i had decided that I would definitely enroll in a teaching program to get certified. This could be a way to phase out of my dependence on my boring job and have some alternative income opportunities to fill the void if I leave my job. Well I consulted with my yogi master and she recommended the teacher training at Health Advantage Yoga Studio. Apparently the cream of the crop are taught out of that studio. A couple days later I called and spoke with the receptionist. To my horror the next class will probably not be until October of 2010. That was very depressing. For the next few hours at work I was stuck in a pretty boring meeting. The whole time i was imagining my life wasting away under the florescent lights, the hum of the projection screen and processors, and the bickering of developers...
Then I had another moment of clarity. I should just apply to the damn acupuncture program that I've been contemplating and dreaming about for the last four years. At every turning point in my life I somehow talk myself out of applying. First, I wasn't ready for the commitment, then we didn't have health insurance, then I was afraid we couldn't pay the mortgage. I thought I was being selfish and reckless. Well, that's enough excuses. I'm sick of people asking me what I do, and feeling out of place and awkward with my answer. If we go into debt, we go into debt. That's what happens to every grad student, and aren't half of Americans in debt or $30K or something like that? That is what everyone does to pay for their education. And when I emerge I will do a job that I am proud of, and something I can be passionate about. And that will be setting a good example for my kids. I want to show them that they can live their dreams and be what they want to be when they grow up, even if it may be difficult at times.
So I quickly started the application process. I need to finish by July 31st to get in for September. I'm almost done, and as I was writing my application essay, I started to realize how right this feels. When I told my yoga teacher about it she said that I should still do the teacher training when it is available. That feels right too. I'm still really worried about how the money will work out, but I wont know how much financial aid will be until I get accepted.
I actually got a call back from a recruiter for one of the IT jobs that I applied for before I decided to put all my energy into acupuncture. I did not call the recruiter back though. I'm hoping that if I stick with my current employer, then they will be more open to letting me stay on part time while I'm in school.
oh I hope I get in and I hope this works out!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Golden Handcuffs

New developments in my search for a better me. Last two weeks ago my lovely hubby sent me a job req for an opening at his company. It is a job that I am almost qualified for, and close enough that I could apply. It would be a big raise, oh about 35k more that what I make right now. So I got really excited about it and was fixing up my resume when I remembered: I hate my line of work. Do I really want to get myself in deeper to the corporate culture? Each time I have slipped into this corporate world I have somehow validated it in my head one way or another. But what I know that it always came down to was the money. I was always lured by the big sounding salaries, "oh they are really going to pay me that? How long can I do this untill they fire me because they realize I have no idea what I'm doing? let's see." And here I am 4 years down the line, and what do I have to show for it, we are just as poor as we were before I sold out. Now we own a house, which I guess is the big purchase and money sucker. But I'm not sure that was such a good idea, I mean, we owe more than it is worth, and the mortgage is so expensive that we can't save money. So I don't feel like we've really progressed in our financial security.
Isn't the definition of insanity 'performing the same task and expecting a different result'? Would a higher paying job doing the same boring work really be the way to make the financial benefit out weigh the emotional cost of spending monotonous soulless hours away from my kids?
Or would we just find another creative way to spend the money and create even more ties to our lives here, like buying a boat...

So I ended up applying for the job. I think that I am wired to try the hard and challenging way. I just want to see what happens and keep my options open, I guess. But I know that I would still not find spiritual peace working in my same profession. I do however think that I would like the new job more than my current one, so that is at least a step in the right direction.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

lost my cool acting like a two year old

Kaio has been more and more of a difficult two year old lately. Last Sunday was especially bad. Around lunch time I snapped off the chain and acted like a two year old myself. I yelled at him, yelled at my man, and pretty much just lost my cool. It feels so tough sometimes. I do everything to make that boy happy, and yet he finds reasons to cry and whine. This morning when he woke up he asked for breakfast cookies - vegan, healthy, high protein and EFA "cookies" that I make often for breakfast when there is nothing fresh around. So I set him in front of Madagascar, put the baby in a safe area to crawl around, and took to making the cookies. I made him cookies, I did the laundry, I set him up to paint, I gave the baby a bath, changed her diaper, fed her and put her down for nap. Then I made play-doo characters of Kaio's favorite films, which he later squished with his little hands. And all this before 11am. That's when my man finally woke up. And when he got up, oh was I happy to see him and take the opportunity to read the news.
I forgot to eat. I got really upset about something. I think that M made me a sandwich and gave it to me without a plate and the feta cheese inside spilled on me. I went upstairs to take a nap and realized that it was almost 1 and Kaio hadn't eaten lunch yet. I started yelling at M: you sleep till 11 and then all you do is watch the history channel and make food for yourself and not for the kids. It was true, but it didn't really bother me - I just found myself yelling about it uncontrollably. I said, "I'll clean the kitchen, and do the laundry, and give the kids baths, and make them food, and take out the trash."
Kaio then came in the laundry room with me and I yelled to get out of there and leave me alone. He screamed "no!" back at me and I could tell that we were acting the same. yelling out of short tempered stubbornness and empty stomachs. When I calmed down, I was mad at myself for letting the time go by and not planning better. I mean, I should have made lunch earlier.
We had sort of a similar exchange later in the day on the way back from a trip to the grocery store. Kaio and I walked there, or well, I walked and he rode in a little blue car push toy. I went to get flour for a batch of Amish Friendship Bread and ended up buying three types of flour. I also wanted to get a treat for Kaio so that he would be happy about the trip to the grocery store and also so I could use it entice him out of the car-shaped shopping cart. But treat is there for a holistic mother at Safeway? and a stroll down the produce isle revealed the perfect treat - an organic banana. Sweet, portable, no washing needed, no trash, no chemicals, pesticides, or artificial ingredients. It was perfect! Only shame is that it was not local. But that would be impossible to find at Safeway. Well it all worked, the banana was just enough to get Kaio out of the shopping cart car and back into his push car. The problem came when I tried to put my bags of flour in the storage hood of his car. Oh ,he started crying. He refused to let me put it in there. I said please, I asked nicely, I tried to reason with him, and I tried putting it in anyway. No he screamed and begged me to take it out. uhhh. I was getting so upset. The bag was heavy, and he expected me to carry it and push him! I told him that and he didn't care. I considered just leaving it in there and ordering him to deal with it. But my inner-child-psychologist told me to respect his wishes and he would respect me later, or some crap like that. So I took off with him, heavy bag in hand and other hand fumbling to push Kaio in his little car. I was fuming as we were leaving and -acting like a two year old myself- said something like, "fine, you little brat I'll carry the bag, but you are such a freaking brat." A nice lady was walking by and I felt like a bad mom.
Well it took less than 50 feet for Kaio to look back at me and say, "mom. put de bag in de trunk?"
He was making a peace offering. By now I had already found a way to hang the bag on the hand of the push car. But I had to accept his offer and move the groceries there. It was sweet that things worked out in the end. And then I spent the rest of the walk thinking about what a baby I had been for getting so worked up about it in the first place.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Jon and Kate + 8

So even though I don't usually pay attention to pop culture news, I somehow stumbled upon the gossip that Jon and Kate are getting divorced and this info is rattling me. I only saw the show 1.5 times or so, I didn't really like it because I thought Kate was a bit obnoxious, but I remember thinking that I identified with them a bit. Young couple, very chill easy going dad, serious and ambitious mom, thrown into a situation over their heads, but yet making it work together in unique ways. But now this, once happy couple, filled with magic, is folding under the pressure of life, work, and kids, despite having access to all of the resources provided through their show. It scares me. Because it makes me wonder if it is really possible to have a healthy, happy, foreverrelationship in this society. I guess it doesn't help that my parents are divorced, and so I lack roll models. I guess I worry, if Jon and Kate couldn't do it even with all their money and support, how are we going to make it?
Me and My man diverge frequently and more lately, more prominently. But perhaps, unimportantly. What I mean is that even though we now have very distinct and different views on politics, the environment, and religion - you know, those really big things. You usually wouldn't be attracted to someone who didn't jive with you on those topics - it doesn't seem to matter so much. We playfully and passionately argue about them occasionally and then happily go about our business. I just hope that as we continue to diverge, we remain devoted, respectful, and enchanted. I've heard that it is tough.


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