laid off and learning to love it… my journey from corporate sprinter to life marathoner

sahm: sing it, mama 08/24/2009

Filed under: Activities,Laid Off,Parenting,SAHM Choice — ccatet @ 10:07 am

i have always liked to sing. i usually sing in the car and around the house, especially when music is on. now that i am home full time, my kids now hear me sing – a lot. at first, my son was NOT a fan. he would often tell me to stop singing. as you can imagine, this did not go over well.

he used to really hate it when groups of people sang songs, especially “happy birthday.” at his 2nd birthday party last november, he actually cried when everyone started to sing to him! my husband and i talked about it and we knew there was something wrong but we didn’t know how (nor did we really have time) to try to figure it out with both of us working full time.

when i was first home with them, i started putting music on a lot: in the car, in the house, and for no reason other than for background sound. i sang along and was often told to stop. but i kept going. i found some tunes for him – silly kids songs that were still tolerable for adults (ex. laurie berkner, justin roberts). i referred to this music as HIS music. i think it worked.

amazingly enough, in the past 6 months, i have been so fortunate to witness my son overcome his social dislike of singing. and to top it off, he sings himself! his mind is like a steel trap so if i stop singing mid-song, he can finish almost every verse. his vocabulary has expanded one hundred times over, just from lyrics.

we now sing constantly. he asks for his music and wants it turned up louder. he yells, “sing it, mama!” if it’s a favorite song of his. we sing together. it’s awesome.

the best part is that for my birthday 3 weeks ago he actually sang to me, by himself, at the breakfast table that morning. i cried. one of my best mommy moments ever.

sometimes you don’t know how to *fix* or work through an issue or phase with your kids… you just live your life and hope it works itself out. i don’t think this one would have worked itself out this quickly or with as much enjoyment (for both of us) had i still been working.

so for this alone, i want to say thank you to my former employer for laying me off. totally worth it.


sahm: let it go 08/14/2009

Filed under: Parenting,SAHM Choice — ccatet @ 3:10 pm

with two kids under 3 who equally enjoy time in the dirt pit, sandbox and jumping in mud puddles, i have to work very hard to let go of my inner clean freak tendencies. when i was working, i consciously avoided messy activities as we rarely had time for the clean up efforts. now that i am home, i want both kids to have these tactile experiences and feel comfortable getting dirty… but i need to be comfortable with them getting dirty too.

i know many SAHMs who hate messy activities. we’re all entitled to our outlook on kid activities. however, after seeing my kids both enjoy the messes that came out of child care, i know deep down that i need to give them plenty of opportunities to get messy. to do this, i honestly have to take deep breaths and just let it go.

when i say let it go, i mean that i don’t worry about that flying cake mix or the egg that just dripped on the floor. i don’t focus on the chocolate footprints through the kitchen or the milk spilled on the cabinet doors. at least, i don’t think about it for 20 minutes. i look at my kids and their smiles, listen to their laughter and maybe take a few pictures. it’s almost peaceful to me.

thankfully,  most kids’ attention spans are quite short, so by the time i start to get anxious, the kids have moved on and i can do a quick clean up. i have also been known to give baths at 11am if there was a good morning dirt pit session. why not – who says all baths have to happen at night?

my husband likes to remind me that their fingerprints – which are on everything – are a reminder of them. without them, there would be no fingerprints. he’s right. but i don’t get sentimental about it much because every time i wash them away, i know i will see the fingerprints again very soon!


sahm: pick your battles 08/10/2009

Filed under: Parenting,SAHM Choice — ccatet @ 2:36 pm

when i was working, a significant amount of parenting in our family was done by our child care center. right or wrong, sometimes this didn’t sit well with me. however, since i was laid off, it’s all me – all the time… and this can get to be a little exhausting and frustrating. as a SAHM, i find that i have to constantly pick my battles when it comes to parenting. if i decided to make EVERY moment a teachable moment, i would go crazy.

these moments didn’t really emerge until our son crossed into the land of the two year olds. and lucky me, i was laid off just 3 months after his 2nd birthday. my son is conversational, curious, and precocious – which are all wonderful. however, he is also pushing his limits and exploring the world which can really challenge me. as someone who formerly worked outside of the home, i find that being a SAHM is significantly more intense than being a working mom. being a SAHM is much messier, literally and figuratively, yet it is also ridiculously fulfilling and joyful. thankfully, almost every mess is outweighed by the good stuff.

to keep myself sane, right now i try to focus on three areas mainly because my kids are still pretty young: safety, kindness/manners and dining. the safety piece is a non-negotiable. also, we want the kids to be able to eat out without a major scene so dining is elevated. finally, i believe kindness and manners are areas where a solid foundation is required for the kids to grow into decent human beings. we’re hoping through our efforts that we avoid the principal’s office and other similar locations!

there are days that i wish child care would just take over: yes, please… potty train my almost 3 year old son… yes, please feed my 1 year old daughter because after she eats there is over half of her meal on the floor and mushed into her clothes.

however, they can’t keep them for long. i would miss them too much.


sahm: garden therapy, part 3 – pesto love 08/09/2009

Filed under: Activities,Garden,Saving Money — ccatet @ 1:47 pm

a few weeks ago, i cut my first crop of basil… keep in mind that i would have probably reaped 2 or more crops by now if not for the homemade insecticide fiasco, but let’s not relive that nightmare!

DSC_0122trimming the basil took no time at all, but i lingered over the task as the smell is truly heavenly. the kids only sleep for around 2 hours so i couldn’t hang out too long! once inside, i rinsed the basil and threw it into the food processor along with a few other ingredients and whipped up some pesto. we had no immediate plans for the pesto, so i froze everything. i had a full ice cube tray of pesto… yet i secretly wondered if we’d ever eat it?

low and behold, the time came upon us. last night, i decided to make pasta, salad and french bread with baked pesto & parmesan on top.

DSC_0124not to be outdone, my brother delivered homemade tomato sauce – 14 cups – just before i started cooking! i am grateful for the sauce as it will last us until winter, but seriously, what does he feed his garden???

i added a cube of pesto and ground turkey to the simmering sauce, baked the bread, then cut the bread up to broil the pesto and parmesan on top.

i have to say that the pesto bread plus the homemade sauce (with added pesto) were      FA-BU-LOUS.

so far this gardening thing is not so bad, now i am just waiting on our zucchini. it’s been almost 3 months since i planted that monstrosity and only have one small zucchini to show for it. the full plant is seriously taking over the dirt pit! everyone keeps saying it looks good and healthy and they will come – i guess i just have to wait and see…