If you need me this weekend you can find me here.
every walk is a sort of crusade
If you need me this weekend you can find me here.
When Kid #2 turned one I quit my job. It was a decision I made for a number of reasons that I won’t get in to because they’re boring. And despite the fact that the last job I had was not, in any way, propelling me forward in terms of my career, it was still a difficult decision to make. It took a while for me to pull the trigger.
Part of that is because I never ever saw myself exiting the workforce at this age. But at that point in my life, with a husband who had a demanding and unpredictable schedule, the results were almost immediate. Life became so much more manageable without the stress trying to do essentially everything at home on my own while simultaneously performing at an acceptable level at work. Even with the additional financial strain, I mellowed out. And there is something to be said for being sane, especially when you are the primary caretaker of small children.
For a while, on Wednesday afternoons due to scheduling issues, I used to pick my daughter up early. Her brother would nap after we got home. We would paint or cook or read books, just the two of us, every Wednesday. And I often found myself so grateful to be there, to have that time.
…and then I come across charts like this. Despite how it may seem based on my eloquence and the very important people and events discussed on this blog, my professional trajectory was not about to land me as the CEO of a Fortune 500 company if only I had stuck with it a little longer.
But obviously this chart says way more than that. And when I see things like this I can’t help but question the decisions I have made regarding my own career, including the most recent one. Decisions I have made that adhere to certain gender norms and do not move the needle when it comes to issues I care about, like this.
Since having my first child I have worked full time at the office, full time at home, part time both at home and at an office, and been a stay at home mom. And as so many articles these days are quick to point out, none are easy.
I look at my friends who are mothers and performing at the top of their field and feel a huge amount of respect, admiration, and at times envy for all that they are able to accomplish. These are the women who will change the world on a large scale, who will make the above chart obsolete someday.
And then I look at my friends that have stayed at home for years. I think of how much it has turned their lives upside-down, the advanced degrees they have put on hold to provide support for their family, and the lack of glory that comes with that decision.
I am not here to re-hash that whole argument, but this tension has become a central and long-lasting issue in my personal life for the past 4+ years, and one that honestly caught me off guard, despite having known for years that it wouldn’t be easy.
I know my choice was the right choice for us as a family and for me personally, despite my frequent misgivings.
But I also have a daughter. Of course I am going to tell her to aspire to great things, that she can do anything her male counterparts can. But can I truly instill that sense of parity and possibility that when she sees the society reflected in the chart above in the outside world as well as at home?
And yet if I had chosen differently, Wednesday would just be another afternoon in a cubicle.
And yet, and yet, and yet…
I should have known. I should have known by now that God punishes those of us who have lived long, fruitful lives, birthed children, and decide to act like it’s 2003 again.
A few weeks ago I got invited to a party in LA on a Saturday night. Somehow the stars aligned and I found myself in Beverly Hills at a fancy hotel drinking cocktails at 7pm.
I was so very, very happy.
When we arrived at the party I made the intentional, mature decision to stick with one drink for the night. No mixing. I stuck with that rule. We danced. We drank. We socialized. We drank some more. The night was so fun.
The next morning was so not.
…because it turns out that drinking JAMESON for 6 hours straight is not the best move for a mother of three who is sleep deprived and out of drinking shape…and clearly suffering some sort of residual effects from a previous head trauma, because what kind of decision-making skills are those.
Like, seriously. Life is choices.
We woke up at 9, about 5 hours after we went to bed. After spending 20 minutes making sure my head wasn’t actually going to explode all over my fancy hotel pillow, I called the front desk to ask if they had any Advil. They told me there was some in the “first aid kit in the mini bar”.
This was a lie. And after 10 minutes of crawling across the room trying to first find the mini bar (it was not, it turns out, in the safe, which is somehow where I kept ending up) and this mythical first aid kit, I called back and they clarified, oh no, there is no first aid kit in the rooms. And no Advil at the hotel.
But there was a Target a few blocks down the road. Target has Advil AND Gatorade.
In an act of pure willpower, I pulled myself upright, put my shoes on, and made it out the door. I had to take a break on the way to the elevator.
I also couldn’t find a hair elastic. I had to hold onto the ground to keep from falling over. Moments like this captured on film are a great way to remind yourself about who your real friends are. F U Juliet.
I didn’t see this coming because our fancy hotel room had, of course, wonderful climate control, but it was about 500 degrees outside. And very, very sunny.
Our hotel was located on La Cienega. For those of you unfamiliar with LA, La Cienega is one of those quintessential six lane thoroughfares you find in LA that is essentially a highway, except there are traffic lights and it winds through miles of strip malls and car dealerships instead of being a designated freeway.
It was hot. It was bright. It was loud. It was completely exposed. It was, without a doubt, the longest four blocks of my life.
i call this one “hell is la cienega”
I had to cross various intersections of La Cienega 5x. I almost lost my life 5x.
I am pretty sure that this walk took more out of me than either of the Half Ironmans I have completed, or any of the marathons I have run. This was a physical and mental feat of epic proportions.
But finally….FINALLY…I arrived.
I walked in, head pounding, stomach revolting, pajama pants clinging to my sweaty legs. Please God, I prayed, please don’t let me puke in Target.
I found the Gatorade. It was cold. I cracked it open in the aisle and poured that nectar of the gods down my throat. And then on my way to find the Advil, I realized that I was in the Beverly Center Target, aka the BEST FUCKING TARGET ON THE PLANET.
Even in my horrific, confused, mummified condition I couldn’t fight it. The racks of clothing, the kitchen appliances, the shark-themed onesies, the rows and rows of mugs (!)…all of it.
Did I have the wherewithal to go to the dressing room? Of course not. Did that stop me from throwing random articles of clothing and accessories into my basket? Of COURSE not. Did I absolutely need that pineapple-shaped teething ring for the baby? OF COURSE I DID.
…and before I knew it:
Let me tell you what that is not a picture of. That is not a picture of *just* a Gatorade and Advil.
And that, my friends, is how I ended up with this incredible pair of pants.
Meet Monty Don. My new favorite TV personality and show on Netflix.
Contrary to what the above picture suggests, the show is not about a man that hides or lives in the bushes.
Apparently horticulture plays a different role in England. I learned this because once Netflix decided to point me in the direction of Monty Don (real name), and then took note of the fact that I binged it straight out of the gate, it has since continued to recommend a plethora of other British gardening shows. England even has a world renowned diploma courses in gardening, run by this lady.
It is serious business across the pond.
Monty Don is (arguably) the biggest celebrity horticulturalist in England. (Don’t go around spouting this as fact, there are lots of other British shows with exactly this format starring other A-list horticulturalists, it could be a contentious issue. I don’t know.) And there are some serious fangirl/fanboy moments when he surprises people at the door to tell them that he is there to guide them through the process of re-landscaping their garden. That alone is reason enough to watch.
But Monty Don is great because unlike other shows that bring in teams of landscapers to completely transform a yard, he provides basic tips for how and where to plant, prune, and nurture your garden, but leaves it up to the gardener to build it on their own. It’s very DIY, which means the episodes span over the course of a few months, but there is something refreshing about watching a labor of love that results in the beautification of just a small spot of earth.
I also can’t get over the way that Brits say “oregano”.
Tonight on Overheard in the Bathtub:
“EDDIE! DRINK THE POTION! TURN INTO A WOMAN!”
I just want to live a life where I NEED one of these.
A few years ago I installed some random free meditation app on my phone. It was a stressful time, and I scheduled it to send me a push notification me at the witching hour: 7am. 15 minutes before I was supposed to have everyone fed, dressed, packed, and in the car to make it to school drop off/work on time. A reminder to breathe instead of explode.
It didn’t really work, but I never took it off my phone. So I still get the notifications at 7am.
This morning, as I was in the process of trying to figure out why my foot kept sticking to the bottom of my pant leg (mysterious, still unidentified brown goo, source unknown), while simultaneously yelling instructions across the house at my four year old who was letting me know that “EDDIE IS CUTTING THE BABY AND DADDY’S PHONE WITH HIS (plastic) KNIFE!!!!!!”, my phone dinged on the dresser next to me.
No shit. Thanks for the reminder.
When you let your 4 year old go on Amazon with you and tell her she can choose the new shower curtain.
Also, unicorns aside, I had no idea that $60 shower curtains were an actual thing.
…and part of my soul died.
Community is one of the best parts about swimming. That is, until you are post-partum.
As referenced in the last post, this guy joined us about four months ago:
I got back in the water as soon as they let me. Which I thought was a great idea until I tried to fit into my swim suit.
After squeezing myself in, and realizing that the tiny health club towels no longer fit around my new body (ego boost), I spent about 5 minutes in the locker room trying to figure out the fastest way to get out on deck and in the water without running into anyone I knew and getting stuck in a conversation out in the open in my speedo.
In the end I decided I just had to suck it up and embrace my new winter bod, because it was either that or not swim.
Getting into a bathing suit in public 6 weeks postpartum is a bold move, I know. But it was necessary.
Because today when I was in the pool I realized it is the one place that I actually have time to myself. Seriously. Life has been so chaotic and sleep-deprived the past few months that even when I am sitting in the quiet by myself (generally at 3am with a baby attached to my nipple) I am in a fog. I can’t think. Kind of like being in a dream…and sometimes you actually are in a dream, and then you jerk your head awake and scare the baby and it loses it’s latch and you have to start all over again.
But there is something about exercising, maybe it’s blood flowing to the brain. I don’t know. But suddenly my mind kicks into some sort of gear. For like at least 25 seconds.
And I get ambitious.
By the time I get out of the pool I have, in my mind, on my post-workout high, overcome my fear of sharks, signed up for a channel swim, made a list of 10 blog posts to write, and qualified for the Boston Marathon.
Unfortunately, once I get out of the pool and sit down to do anything about it this happens:
…and then I either fall asleep or spend the rest of the day obsessing about how exhausted I am.
But you have to start somewhere.