Saturday, March 31, 2012

So Raise Your Glass: Celebrating One Year of Not-So-SAHM

It's true.  And I can hardly believe it.  Technically this blog is not one year old, but it has been exactly one year since I took a break from practicing law and started to stay home with my kids full time.  In thinking about this milestone, I went back and pulled up the "my departure" email I sent to my law firm practice group one year ago.  Here's part of it:
Next week I will begin to focus my energy on improving a slightly different set of skills than those I’ve developed at A&P -- negotiating with my formidable young son to share (without hitting, screaming, or “sharing” only the broken toys with his sister); to teach my sweet, but overly dramatic daughter to process her feelings (not every little issue could possibly merit a level-10 tantrum); and to impart to both of them that it would be to their advantage to not mouth off and generally refrain from giving me grief.  (I will remain silent as to from whom they have inherited their tendencies and my likelihood of success at curbing them). ...

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with one my favorite pictures of my son (which hung above my computer as a daily reminder). 

I don't know that I've achieved success at any of the skills I identified above.  My kids certainly continue to mouth off and give me grief -- even knowing it's not to their advantage.  But they've also given me much, much more than I anticipated one year ago.  Thanks, loves.

No Monsters in My Bed recently tagged me to play her "11 Questions Game."  And I think this post is an appropriate one in which to answer the questions for two reasons:

  (1) No Monsters in My Bed was literally the first "mommy blog" (although I don't really like that label) I read right after I left my job.  I think I was frantically googling "what the hell do I do with these kids in D.C." and I came across No Monsters and it probably saved all of us.  So, Darcy, thanks a million times over; and

  (2) this is likely the only time the kids will relinquish their pen to me to talk about me.  So here it goes.

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(1) What is your favorite children's book?
  When I was a child (although older than my kids are now), my favorite book was probably The Little Prince.  Or The People Could Fly.  Or Buffalo Woman.  I don't know that I have a favorite book to read my kids.  They tend to like the same ones over and over again.  But my son has recently started to get into Shel Silverstein's Where the Sidewalk Ends and I'm psyched about that.  Even though he frequently only wants to hear the "pirate poems" (oh will this pirate madness ever end?).

(2) If you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would you go? 
  To London with my husband.  It's not exotic, but it's my favorite international city (not that I've traveled extensively).  Everything there just seems cooler.  We've stood outside a normal office building and watched people working (probably putting covers onto TPS reports) and marveled -- "what could they be working on?  must be something super cool.  and top secret."  I want to move there long enough for my kids to acquire British accents and come back to the states and be the American kids with British accents.

(3) What is the best advice you've ever been given?
  I haven't been given a lot of straight up "advice," which probably explains a lot about me.  But I'd have to say that the best advice I've ever been given is from my husband: "don't get too high with the highs or too low with the lows."  He's much better at following it than I am.  But I'm much better at following the only other piece of advice he dispenses: "don't eat yellow snow."

(4) Name your top 3 favorite POP songs ever.  Yes, I said POP.
  This is hard.  If forced to narrow it to three, I'd say currently I'd go with:
  (1) Red Red Wine (the 1983 UB40 version -- my first tape ever, which was totally inappropriate, but pretty rad in my My First Sony red walkman);
  (2) Pumped Up Kicks (yes, indie pop is still pop.  this was on all last summer and it reminds me of driving in the car with my kids, windows down, whistling and wondering what the F I had just done up and leaving my job when so many people were involuntarily out of work.  and, upon reflection, deciding not to think about it much because I was with my kids in the middle of the day sunshine);
  (3) Tie between Young, Wild & Free and Raise Your Glass (both remind me of much younger days).

But three is so not fair (and I even cheated).  I don't even have any Justin Tinberlake up there.  I already want to change the list.  Except Red Red Wine.  That will always be number one.

(5) Who was your celebrity childhood crush?
  John Stamos as Uncle Jessie.  I was not a fan of Aunt Becky.

(6) What is your least favorite part of your daily routine?  Favorite part?
  The witching hours are probably my least favorite part.  Unless Kane wakes up cranky, then that's my least favorite - he can never quite recover.  But if they wake up happy, and Cami always wakes up happy, my favorite part is going in their rooms first thing in the morning.

(7) What did you always promise yourself you'd never do as a parent?
  Let my kids watch TV.  Ha.

(8) Biggest risk you've taken?
  Dying my hair hot pink.  Well, maybe it wasn't a big risk.  But I think it was pretty ballsy.  Not much hiding in the crowd with hot pink hair.  Even in Seattle.  I loved it.  My parents not so much.  I recently tried to get my hairstylist to put a hot pink strand back in.  He reminded me that I hadn't been in to get a haircut in 8 months, so maintaining a neon color was probably not going to happen.  Damn you sensible D.C.

(9) Most irritating thing people commonly say.
  When people learn that I'm currently staying at home with the kids, I frequently get "oh, that must be nice" or "you're so lucky."  In fact, it is so nice.  I am so lucky.  But what is irritating is that their response is usually dripping in "you've got it easy, lady.  why don't you just put your feet up, slap on the reality TV, and have some more ice cream."  I've worked full time.  I've worked part-time while raising kids.  And now I'm home full time.  And the only common thing among all of the scenarios is that none of them are easy.  They are all hard.  I think when you're in what you're in, you're in it.  And it's hard to see past it.  If that makes sense.  So I try to remember that when I curse full-time working parents for getting to go to the bathroom by themselves.

And, p.s., feet up, trashy TV, and sweets is exactly where you'll find me at the end of my day -- AFTER my kids are in bed.  So, haters, put that in your pipe and smoke it.

(10) What are you reading?
  I just finished Tina Fey's Bossypants.  I thought it was hysterical.  It contains some good advice for women in the workplace.  And it wouldn't be a bad idea to make dudes read it either.

(11) Best movie you've seen lately (as I'm nervous everyone will reply with the Hunger Games, maybe list two of the best movies you've seen lately).
  I haven't seen Hunger Games yet, but I loved the books.  In fact, I haven't seen any good movies lately -- the only movies I've seen recently were those shown on our kidless flight to San Francisco, which was fabulous.  The flight.  Not the movie.  The movie, New Year's Eve, was horrendous.

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The picture I included in my departure email has been on our refrigerator since I brought it home one year ago.  Despite my annoyance at the British poster's recent take-off in popularity (and the copycat everything it has spawned), we've sort of embraced it as our family motto.  But much like my husband's advice, I need to work more at following it.  

We are on spring break next week and I'm going to enjoy it with the kiddos.  We've got lots planned, so look for us in a week or so. 

And if you get a chance, raise your glass.  You know I will.  Cheers! 


Amy said...

Congrats on surviving year one! We are glad you decided to stay home and are looking forward to lots more fun down the road!

Darcy said...

I can't believe you had pink hair. I was just saying at the playground how i've always wanted to dye my hair purple and part of me thinks i missed my window and the other part thinks, "well, how would i like to be described? the out of shape mom who always wears sweatpants? or, instead, the mom with purple hair?" everyone at the playground was like "you're kidding, right?" but if i'm going to get old, i might as well be quirky. look at iris apfel. anyways, loved your answers and love your blog. happy anniversary!!!

Kristin Kopra said...

Beck, You are absolutely a wonderful mom--and have reminded me that you are also a wonderful writer. This is most perfectly said--humour and sensibility both evident....and it's hard for me to think of you WITHOUT your pink hair. :)