Sunday, December 26, 2010

Work-Life Balance at Its Best...

While I was on maternity leave I became the woman I secretly desired to be..."A Stay At Home Mom". I took 10 whole weeks of slow it down ‘bliss’. It was only when I started going back to school to teach the beginning of a unit, grade and import grades, give test or explain a concept that I realized that I didn’t really want to be a SAHM, I just wanted to make my own hours. J
I had a lovely routine going during this time, however, and it was this theme that afforded me the privilege of watching some day time television. It was during one of these days of getting up early, breast feeding, grading, breast feeding, “Today” show, feeding myself, 4th hour or “Ellen” that I stumbled upon this delicious read, Just Let Me Lie Down: Necessary Terms for the Half-Insane Working Mom.
Kristin van Ogtrop was on the “Today” show talking about her book and about how to simplify some aspect of your life if you have a busy life with kids and a husband and they’re always hungry and wanting something from you while your job is also hungry and wanting something from you…I don’t know what it was she wanted us to do… I just remember liking the title of her book, the way she laughed at herself and the feeling I had; the feeling that I was listening to a woman who could teach me a thing or two about work-life balance.
I bought, in hard cover, and read her book. She talked about being tired in a way that I was only beginning to understand, and about husbands who try, but just can’t sometimes (for all those clichéd reasons, and more reasons you realize are unique only to you and your family situation) and about families who help and hinder and for the first time I was beginning to relate to a woman who just years, heck months before, I perceived I would have had nothing in common.
Now, I’ve tried to read books about achieving a life balance,  Eat, Pray, Love comes to mind, that just didn’t cut it because they were too religious, or not religious enough, or too wishy washy or too exacting. It wasn’t that this book was teaching me how to have a life. It was and still is showing me how my life will be.
I’ve been sitting here trying to think about my favorite word she defined and I can’t come up with one (trying not to look at the book to search for a word), but I can tell you that I read it in a week, between ‘sleep[ing] when the baby sleeps’ and learned that, while my life is not unique and while the over the top gush I feel for this woman, van Ogtrop, is not original in any way, I am and will succeed at being a mother without turning into Chopin's dreadful 'mother-woman'.  I can tell you that I have taken many deep breathes, yelled at my husband when he doesn’t help and am unforgiving about the fact that sometimes he has to watch the kidlet while I grade, or go to a conference for a weekend or go to a meeting that last past 7pm. On the other hand, I feel no guilt about leaving a meeting early to pick up my kiddo at 4.30p, or about spending a whole weekend outside on the swing set not looking at a single essay that needs to be graded or lesson that needs to be written, or about being too tired to cook and vegging out, tiny tot in my lap as we watch Brian Williams and the husband cooks (after all he is faster at it and gets hungry first).
From the 1,691 word count introduction, she had me hooked. This book, silly as it is, has become one of the many books that are my foundation, without it, I’m not sure that I would have survived being a mother, a wife and a member of working society. I find it interesting that I have become that woman, I have become a ‘working mom’ and I'm not worried about being perfect at anything. I'll just work my best at all the facets of me.

The word I came up with after reading the book:

Tiny Person the person who has your ears, hair and toes, but your husbands’ eyes and nose. She makes you laugh just by being and your world…well it’s no longer your world, but hers, everything is hers…is aglow because of her laughter, her smile and her ability to mimic you in the most personal of ways. The person you’d quit your job for, the person who has taught you to breath and slow down. And, although this person is less than half your height and just now walking without looking like a drunk orangutan, she towers over you and commands you to the task at hand, the task of being ‘mommie’.

What’s your word and definition? It can be something totally made-up or a word that you’ve commandeered and made your own…


  1. Aw, this is so sweet! Someday "tiny person" will read this and she'll love to hear what her mom thought of her when she was a baby. What a fantastic post. I'd love to read that book after I have a child. Sounds like it could be really helpful!

  2. I LOVED Eat Pray Love. Do you mean her word "attraversiamo"? The one that means "Let's cross over"?



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