mom who works

the joys and challenges of being a working mom trying to find "balance"

The housecleaner dilemma February 27, 2010

Filed under: general — Deborah @ 9:37 am
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Corporette graciously provided a link in her weekly roundup to a post by Get Rich Slowly on “How I made my peace with hiring a housekeeper.”

It was refreshing to see someone else who has had some of the same reticence that I have had with having a house cleaner. I never talk about it (hello world!), and I would imagine that most of our friends don’t even know that we have someone who cleans our house once a week.

When our daughter was born, I was working full time, going to law school part time, and hubby was valiantly caring for an infant on his own for 13-hour days (school days). There was no way on earth that if we could help it, we would spend the precious few hours we had together on Saturdays cleaning the house.

This was a bigger hurdle at first for hubby than for me. I was just desperate for the help – he was concerned about his privacy and security. We were lucky enough to get referred to an amazing woman whose husband was a police officer and also ran a landscaping business on the side, and was willing to take us on as regular clients in her already full schedule.

That was 8 years ago, and even though we’ve hit a budget crunch just like everyone else in this economy, I would fight tooth and nail to keep her on for as long as I could.

I too have felt some guilt over not being willing or able to keep my own house clean. As a modern woman in America, there is an expectation that we can do all, be all, and deliver the goods. I’ve come to realize that trying to do that is a good way to end up in an early grave. I’ve since embraced the value of my time and the time I can spend with my family, and am grateful for being able to afford this little luxury.


hard of hearing July 11, 2009

Filed under: general — Deborah @ 3:32 pm
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I used to be able to sleep through anything – thunderstorms, tornadoes, earthquakes, LOUD snoring – BEFORE I had children. Then my daughter was born, and that blessed talent disappeared.  Why is it that moms can always hear the faintest peep of the little ones, even when they don’t WANT to? Even when it’s THEIR TURN to sleep in? Me actually getting an opportunity to sleep in is kinda pointless, as my super duper mom ears tune in to the faintest whisper.

This “skill” is apparently not limted to children – it apparently applies to all young’uns in need. Case in point, our 11-month-old German Shorthaird Pointer puppy Clifford (okay, so the 7-year-old named him, what can I say?). Our daughter was at her grandparent’s house this past weekend, we stayed up late watching movies on Friday, and we had nothing we had to get up for on Saturday. I was really looking forward to a few *extra* hours of sleep Saturday morning. Well, Clifford had other plans. At 5:40 AM, the highest pitch whine on the planet began.

I tried really, really hard to ignore it. I even tried the old “pillow over the head trick.” No use, I ended up getting up at 5:50AM to start the dog’s morning routine (out/food/play/out again & walk/naptime). Funny how men don’t seem to have the hearing problem. Hubby was literally 3 feet away from the dog (sleeping downstairs on the couch because the A/C keeps it much much cooler downstairs than up in our rambling bungalow), and didn’t wake up. Not once.

It’s hard not to get frustrated, although I sometimes just have to realize that at some point in their lives (both the kid, and the puppy), they won’t need me as much. So grin, listen and bear it.


impossibly french? June 17, 2009

Filed under: family,general — Deborah @ 12:30 pm
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All You need to be Impossibly French

I’m reading a fluffy little book titled: “All You Need to Be Impossibly French” by Brit Helena Frith-Powell. I am a real sucker for all those “how to be like the French” books, because as a Midwestern American woman, it seems, at least from the outside, that the French women have it all covered. Work, family, men, clothes, food, beauty, you name it, the French *appear* to do it better.

Some of the later chapters expose some of the darker underbelly to the French mystique however, including the somewhat surprising chapter on breastfeeding. According to the author, French women, as a general rule, don’t breastfeed their babies. Something to do with pleasing their men, a perception of saggy boobs, and weight loss. Granted, the author shows her zeal for nursing in the scorn she heaps upon these “misguided” French women.

This caused me to think about my experiences as a working, nursing mother, which were in turns amazing, difficult, challenging and wonderful. I have never been as proud of something in my whole life as nursing my daughter for 13 months while working full time (and going to law school part time to boot).

I relished the opportunity to spend time with my daughter in the middle of the night (even though like most new parents I was sleep deprived), because that was the only quiet solitude we had together. And they grow up SO fast.

Why breastfeeding is controversial I will never know. There should be nothing LESS controversial than breastfeeding. But unfortunately, there are nursing nazis out there who consider feeding with formula a type of child abuse. Nonsense.

Yet it makes me sad when I see moms who aren’t nursing. I wonder if it’s something they wanted to do but didn’t get the support they needed to get through the rough patches? Are they not able to nurse for medical or other reasons? Or did they just not want to, because, like the protagonists in “Impossibly French” they had concerns about their appearance and sex appeal to their husbands or boyfriends? There could be dozens of reasons a woman doesn’t nurse, and dozens of reasons she does.

Lord knows it is tough enough to be a new mom, without the world (myself included) scrutinizing your every move with a disapproving eye. My words of advice to those would-be nursing nazis is that you will do the “cause” of promoting breastfeeding much better if you keep your opinions to yourself and not harass the poor, sleep deprived mother of an infant.