September 21, 2006

I changed my work schedule slightly so that starting next week I’ll be going to the office Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays rather than Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. The current gap of being at home both Fridays and Mondays makes it hard to stay connected at work, which hasn’t been overly problematic yet, but soon my workload is going to increase as we slide hellishly into Neverending Macworld Preparations.

I also thought it might be nice to divvy out my Riley-days a little more, especially as the weather turns to crap and I have to get more creative about entertainment options. Currently, by the time Monday rolls around I’ve had three days with the suctopus and, well, my reserves are running low. Then again, sometimes by Thursday afternoon I feel like all I’ve done all week is be in the office, rather than hanging out with my boy. Under the new schedule I hope I’ll be happily anticipating my mid-week Riley break, and my work days won’t feel like they’re tipping my Life Balance scales in the wrong direction.

If there is a way to do this – the working-mom thing – perfectly, I sure don’t know what it is. All I can do is aim for what feels right, and change the situation if it gets off kilter.

I have been thinking lately about the kind of future I want to build for myself careerwise. I like working at Workplace right now; I like the things I do at my job, I like the people I work with and the culture (mostly), I like the many benefits I’m provided. But if I could earn the same amount of money or more doing anything I wanted, what would that be?

Writing would be a big part of it, because I love writing and I think that for the most part well maybe at least sometimes okay every now and then I do not completely suck at it (pardon my self-confidence while it just sort of, like, spooges all over the computer screen, okay?).

But I’ll tell you something, it is also very important to me to get out and interact with people. It’s important for me to have a schedule that I have to adhere to, however flexibly. Otherwise the wormy, undisciplined part of my nature takes over and entropy descends.

What does that bode for my future employment, I wonder. Will I need to always work for someone, get up and drive to an office and earn a paycheck? Or will I learn the skills I need to branch out on my own someday, in whatever direction that might mean? I feel like I’ve gained so much strength this past year, I’ve become so much more motivated to invest my time and energy into the things in my life that fulfill me, and shouldn’t I be able to figure out the next steps? Shouldn’t I know what I want to be when I grow up?

You know, it seems kind of…I don’t know, controversial to even admit that I think about those things as a parent. Like I should be satisfied with my role as Mommy because, after all, it’s The Most Important Job There Is. Which I don’t disagree with; more than anything I want to be the best mom to Riley that I can be. But I want to be successful in other areas too.

The road in front of me is almost unrecognizable than the one that was there two years ago. This one has steeper curves, higher sides; the stakes are high, the consequences expansive. It unfurls like a gloriously complicated ribbon and there are times when I cannot believe this confusing, rewarding, beautiful life is actually mine.


21 Responses to “Life obscured and lovely”

  1. angela on September 21st, 2006 4:15 pm

    I’m sure writing will provide lots of interaction with people. Not the, I’ll sit at Starbucks with my laptop interaction, but I’m sure stuff will come up. Like writing research, perhaps. I’m sure you can mold writing to your lifestyle and desires.

  2. katie d on September 21st, 2006 5:05 pm

    I’m working on a creative project on my own right now, and I gotta tell you, the self-discipline thing is really hard without immediate, tangible goals. I was always a “write that term paper at the last minute” girl, and I find that hasn’t changed much in the years since. :( If you decide to go the writing route, figure out how to set a schedule you will definitely adhere to. Otherwise, it doesn’t work very well. Good luck with whatever you choose. I think you’re a talented writer. Been readin’ your diary(ies) for 3 years now, and you never disappoint. I frequently wish I were “you,” so you’ve clearly got it goin’ on. And I’ll buy any book you put out.

    Katie D

  3. Emily on September 21st, 2006 5:10 pm

    Dude, you are an awesome writer (I write for a LIVING and I can’t compete with your uber-talented ass), and I’m sure that even if you don’t leave your current job (which, if you like it there, I wouldn’t recommend, since there are so few truly enjoyable jobs in the world), you’ll be able to freelance like a mofo and rake in the bucks.

  4. HollowSquirrel on September 21st, 2006 5:36 pm

    Well, believe it, girl, because you are talented and wonderful and truly deserving. And as I’ve said before, I’m pre-ordering every thing you ever publish, so get to it! Riley will be so proud of you– any path you take.

  5. Amy on September 21st, 2006 8:31 pm

    Nicely put, as usual.

    It shouldn’t be controversial to want to be more than a good mother. Nobody is truly just one thing in their lives, and children always leave the nest eventually. More than that, an important part of being a good mother is being a complete, autonomous person. I think it’s great that you do so many things, and do them well.

  6. Mama Ritchie on September 21st, 2006 8:37 pm

    “You know, it seems kind of…I don’t know, controversial to even admit that I think about those things as a parent. Like I should be satisfied with my role as Mommy because, after all, it’s The Most Important Job There Is.”

    I have the same thought at least once a day – I go to my shrink and am amazed by how little I talk about Charlie or motherhood in general. But he’s the center of my life and the best thing I’ve done. I think part of it, for me at least, is I feel confident that I’m a good mother. I don’t have any doubts about him or my relationship with him. My career – doubts. My future endevors – doubts. But my kid – nope. Not one doubt at all. And that’s a first for me. It feels good.

  7. Jennifer on September 21st, 2006 10:48 pm

    No, it’s not controversial. I think it is controversial when the careers come before the children; when the priorites end up getting skewed and the children get overlooked.

    It is obvious that Riley comes first and you are always thinking of his best interest. I think it is perfectly okay for you to want other things, too. It appears to me that you have a healthy balance between your role as a Mother and your role in the workplace.

    Also, I would buy your book!

  8. Meg on September 22nd, 2006 12:27 am

    I like the things you write about, because I feel much the same way. I very much look forward to being a mom, and I want to be a great mom, but I also really DO want to work and be successful in other areas, and develop my own hobbies/interests/talents/whathaveyou. So, I think it’s really cool that you write so honestly about these things, because even though I am pre-kids, I feel like I can totally identify.

    In this same vein, one of the things that has always confused me is when I ask someone, “How are you?” or “So what’s going on with you?” and then they tell me about their kids. Like, that is cool, but that’s not what I asked, you know? One of my fears of motherhood has always been the fear of losing my sense of self, and I hope I never do. And I admire women who still want to maintain their own sense of self and interests, as you do, in addition to being awesome moms. I think it’s great!

    Also, seconding the commenter before me – I would buy a book of yours as well, so feel free to crank one out for our enjoyment! Hee!

  9. Nicole on September 22nd, 2006 3:52 am

    I think that to say that every mom should automatically desire to be and be happy being a full-time mom (and be really good at doing that ALL DAY LONG EVERYDAY) is demeaning the job of mothering. Everybody is good at a different job and not everyone can do everything to a “professional” level. Its like, I cook and I love to cook, but I’m not a chef. I like to drive, but I’m not a Formula 1 racer. I like to sing, but I am not Celine Dion. Some people are great moms, they love staying home all day and they are good at it. I love me daughter and I love being with her, but I feel like I am not great at my mommy job when I am doing it full-time. Like you said, I run out of steam after a certain point. And sometimes it feels like I’m failing when I see other moms I know just powering through their day and doing it so well. But, really I should just feel a bit jealous that they are one of the lucky people that have found the perfect job for them, one of the people living their passion, which is mothering. And so, in that vein, I think its totally normal for you to say that you like being a mom, but still want to find what your perfect job and live your dream. Not contradictory at all, in my book.

  10. Kristen on September 22nd, 2006 5:22 am

    I’ll say this. That for a long time I didn’t read the archives because you said they were just about Cat and Dog and your job, and I thought that couldn’t be interesting in the way that the pregnancy/baby entries were. Then I went back and starting reading them one day when I was born, and they’re GREAT, and I LOVE them. Also, I would have thought I would NOT be interested in a site just pimpin’ products, but I LOVE SundryBuzz. I have given this some thought, and my conclusion is that a great writer is a great writer: it doesn’t matter if they’re writing a long depressing Russian novel or the back of a cereal box, you’ll want to read it. In my opinion, you are an excellent, engaging writer. I selfishly hope you CAN do a career that involves more writing, because that means there will be more Sundry words out there for me to read.

  11. Graciemay on September 22nd, 2006 6:17 am

    The previous commenter made me remember what my thoughts were when you announced you were pregnant. I thought “Great, Sundry’s entries will be about pregnancy and babies/kids from now on. They will be endless, boring, sickning diatribes to motherhood.” But that hasn’t been the case at all. Riley is a big part of your life, as he should be, and you write about him often. But your are such a gifted writer that when you do write about Riley it is so hilarious/touching/entertaining that I always come back for more. Just like when you don’t write about Riley. And your Fiction Friday entries are so awesome. Sometimes I am just absolutly totally amazed that you can write as you do. I can’t even put my feelings about your writing into words that would do it justice.

    I think you don’t realize how amazing your writing actually is. YOU ARE GIFTED. You know the woman that wrote all the Harry Potter books, JK Rowling? You could do that and more. What are you waiting for? If I had your talent I would be churning out suspense novels with sequel after sequel and looking for movie deals. This could change your life…..seriously.

    One of these days I’m going to be able to say……you know, I used to read Linda’s journal/blog before she became famous. She was just as good then as she is now. I am so proud of her for going for it.

  12. ang on September 22nd, 2006 6:36 am

    I could’ve written this one myself. Only there probably would’ve been quite a few more f-bombs. Just wanted to let you know that, I’m 32, a working mother, and I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. There’s no selfishness in that. I personally, am not satisfied with building a life filled with only motherhood. There’s so much more that I am capable of.

  13. omuchacha on September 22nd, 2006 6:44 am

    I think the questioning you’re doing is a natural part of being a mother. My bean is 11 months old today, and he’s got me thinking about life and career too. I always thought I’d want to be a stay at home mom, but would never have the means to make it happen. After 12 weeks of maternity leave I know that being a stay at home mom would only stress me out! I’m not designed for that. Though I do cherish every minute I have with my bean, I’ve got to get away to recharge. It’s just the way it is.

    There’s nothing wrong with wanting to make a decision to make your work life better, especially if it’s done for your child’s benefit. Happy parents = happy babies!

  14. Kat on September 22nd, 2006 7:09 am

    Wanting to be a good Mom doesn’t mean that you have to be super Mom and focus all your attention on your children. I think it’s actually very healthy to invest some time and effort into other aspects of your life that make you happy, and if that’s your job then so be it.
    I actually feel that it’s unhealthy to focus all your attention on your children, because one day our children are going to leave us to start their own lives. And if you have spent the last 20 or so years living just for your kids what will you be left with then?

  15. Deanna on September 22nd, 2006 7:15 am

    You are a great writer! The last paragraph alone, I hate to use a cliche, but it speaks VOLUMES! Good luck with the new workplace schedule.

  16. diane on September 22nd, 2006 7:32 am

    I hope all your readers have helped to convince you that the world needs a book by Sundry. …You have a talent that is multi-faceted….You are able to share, inform, and entertain all in one entry….plus your underlying sense of humor is always a joy….How about a compilation of the entries you have done as a study in personal growth….You have so many words out there that need to be shared with a larger audience….

  17. Caitlin on September 22nd, 2006 7:55 am

    I echo Deanna–that last paragraph was just beautiful.

    My two cents: put a few pitches out there and see what happens. My guess is that the local alt-weekly would love to publish something from you on Geocaching, or home renovation with a new baby, or a quirky shopping piece, or local camping and hiking spots, or a book review, etc., etc. My job is full-time, but I still force myself to write a few freelance stories here and there–it’s a great way to find out more about the things you’re interested, exercise your writing muscle, make a few bucks, AND have to work with the discipline of a DEADLINE.

    A friend of a friend has a great little PDF on tips to start freelancing. Here’s the (very long and cumbersome!) link:

  18. MRW on September 22nd, 2006 9:09 am

    I ust wanted to thank Nicole for making me think about motherhood in a totally different way. You are right. There are lots of things I enjoy, but I’m never going to be a professional at – in that vein being a mom is one of the best things in life for me, but I’m not capable of being a full time mom and be the kind of mom I’d want to be. Those who can be full time parents are a special breed like chefs or musicians or I don’t know, top notch CEO’s or whatever, it’s a combination of skill and talent and not everyone is capable of achieving it. Really good analogy.

  19. sundry on September 22nd, 2006 9:30 am

    Nicole, I also want to thank you for sharing that view. That is an awesome perspective and it actually gives me a lot of comfort to think of it that way. Interesting I’ve never heard anyone say that before.

    Also, I know people get worked up about the term “full time mom” because of course, we’re all full time mothers regardless of our office hours, but I know exactly what you mean.

  20. Martha on September 23rd, 2006 12:11 pm

    I’m 41 and I’m just figuring out what I want to do when I grow up…

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