Saturday, January 30, 2010

The problem of priorities

By the time you have kids you really should have picked a team in the chicken and egg conundrum. Clearly, the chicken came first or else the egg would not be there. Where the chicken came from is a mystery that parents need not worry about but that the chicken came and still comes first, that it should get enough sleep and have first dibs on the remote control, is no longer the question.

Quite a few things about my introduction to parenting were a bit unplanned. First, with Frost, I became pregnant while living on another continent from the rooster. This led to an abrupt truncation of my current domicile, high-flying career and ultimately citizenship. Secondly, Wren, who was disobliging enough to be born with a serious heart defect (thus making me feel bad about dumping him at a daycare and resuming said career) came at a time in which I was seriously planning a return to work. I had formed a LLC to use with my planned employment as a research consultant, had sent off some resumes and even had an interview with a local research company with the hope of being hired on a project basis. Having had three miscarriages in prior years I did not feel I was being overly optimistic while having a job interview in the first trimester. Bluntly put, I did not expect the egg to hatch.

Yet here I am again in the whole murky question of priorities. It is coming to a head because of the Franklin Covey Balanced Life Planner I bought a few weeks ago and have been dutifully filling in. You can scoff about them but having a paper system for keeping notes and plans and thoughts really works for me. Call it what you will - Josh calls these things part of my search for an external locus of control - I like to work with a list. My planner is the Boss.

This week my planner guide told me I had to set Priorities. I was supposed to have high level life categories and then to implement these categories into goals and next actions. So I started to pick goals from their list. I picked:




... and then I stalled. The next one was WORK. I sat there and thought about it. My current official status is "I want to work". If some survey company called and asked me if I was currently looking for work I would say YES and go into the ranks of the unemployed.

But I'm not.

But because I am an obedient planner-user if I pick WORK as a category does that mean I have to do something about?

I guess so.

Then, not a day after this awkward epiphany, a friend emailed asking whether I was interested in bidding on a focus group project she is outsourcing. I mentioned this to Josh and he said "when are you doing it?" I said that I was going to hear more about it. He asked "when". I started to get the feeling that I was going to be offered another external locus. I said that I would do so when I had the details.

He thinks I am procrastinating but I'm not.


I know I can do and manage part-time or contract work and would leap at any opportunity like that. However, there is not much of it out there and this is where I get to the chicken and the egg again.

Kids exist full time. So, if YOU - the full-time parent - want to work somewhere else then you have to find someone to look after your kids all that time. That costs lots of money and you don't have lots of money because you don't get paid to look after your kids. Also, while having your brain stabbed all day by shrieking children you are not in the confident and collected state of mind that finding work requires. It feels as if there are two, mutually exclusive states. State 1 is being a full-time parent. State 2 is being at work (and from the perspective of the brain-injured mother it looks like a meditative zone of contemplation and easy access to coffee although I know that is not true) but in reality those states overlap.

I wrote WORK as one of my categories. As an act of faith.

Anyhow. I could probably find some elegant way to bring this entry to a close but that would undermine the message which is that I am having a problem bringing this issue to a close. It is a work in progress. It's a chicken laying an egg while the egg writes its resume.

Get a part-time or contract position that allows some flexibility to meet family needs.
Watch Californication with a cup of tea.

Thus the world turns.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

My kids want to be Chinese

The family has gone crazy for Lunar New Year. Right now, Frost and Wren are eating peanuts

"If we eat Pomelo we will get abundance, prosperity and CHILDREN!"

"We must do decorations. We must get LIVE BLOOMING PLANTS. And we must get FLOWERS. And BAMBOO. Bamboo is for compatability, flexibility."

Frost has drawn some fish artwork.

Wren: "Can we can put some peanuts on the shelter [aka altar] for Chinese New Year so people can eat them."
Frost: "The peanuts are for a LONG LIFE."

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Fever Diva

Wren was feeling a bit warm this evening and had a fever of 101 when I checked. He's OK, slightly glassy eyed and has a mild cough and upset stomach. I hope this doesn't develop into anything worse than a cold. Wren hates having "snot" (and will cry if his nose is stuffy) and was worried that he was coughing.

Both boys had a bit of extra screentime after Frost was done with homework. Frost played mini-ninja's and Wren watched. Wren is worried about boss fights and doesn't like the ogres.

Wren's favorite books are Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy and Ned's New Home which we read at bedtime.

Frost needs to get out more. He was bouncing off the walls after school and did his homework at rocket speed. He has an awful habit of starting writing in the middle of the line and drifting the margin to the right as he goes. After 7 lines his paragraphs are only a few inches wide. My threats, cajoling and punishments (making him rewrite it or do more, correctly) are not leading to any improvement. Other than this, all is well at home. Almost.

Joshua has to have a [repeat] root canal tomorrow. The dentist fears he has an abscess on a tooth under a loose crown. Perhaps some root tissue was left in the last procedure a few years ago. He has been on antibiotics and has the excavation tomorrow morning. He may take the day off if it is very awful or time consuming.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The broken moon

This evening Wren saw the moon rising over the lake as we scootered home. He said "there is half the moon!" When we got home he saw the half moon again. "THERE IS THE OTHER HALF OF THE MOON!" he said with great excitement. I wonder how it got broke?