Tag Archives: stay at home parent

Nuts and Bolts

I hesitated to devote an entire post to my plans to get my ass in shape… only because “getting fit” is such a cliche goal of the post-partum woman. And it goes against everything I have previously said about loving myself as I am, accepting my “tiger stripes” and so on.

But it’s really not all about the outside. Although that is a delicious benefit of getting your ass up and moving. It’s just as much about the way my head works.

The overwhelming sense of awe I had for my body after Lucy was born stayed with me for weeks. And I can feel it fading. And I want it back. I can do impossibly difficult things. Or at least things that it turns out are not so impossible at all.

I am sitting at the precipice of a new Life.

Life is made up of the smaller moments, the moments in between. There is where you find the Joy, the Beauty. The nuts and bolts of Living, the thing that holds it all together, it is Habit. It is Routine.

I started thinking. I have an opportunity to develop a new routine, new habits that add up to this new Life that are for me. I have a chance to let the Life I build through Habits and Routine be one that is made up of who I am and what I see as important.

These years will not be made of fancy vacations and nights out. The months of planning for our Wedding and our Baby are behind us. There will be no new homes, new schools to distract us from the day to day. This is the nuts and bolts.

The next “impossibly difficult” thing I plan to do? I am going to make myself a priority.

For many years I have said two things.

The first – I hope I have a chance to be home with my kids when they are small. Here I am. At home with my kids for today. I will do everything I can to figure out a way to stay here. To support MQD in providing for us.

The second – I hope I’m in the best shape of my life by my 40th birthday. That’s four years away. Not one crash diet and a half marathon training program away. Not three times a week Zumba class and a low carb lifestyle. But four years from now.

Four years in which I hope to rebuild my Life. Make new habits, new routines. The irony is not escaping me. That this decision to stay home and take care of my family may actually afford me the time to take care of myself.

I may or may not be “at home” for the next four years. But I am damn sure gonna try to find away to be more present. And in the meantime, I daresay, I will write a fair amount about how to do this…. to take care of me. And my family. Make new Habits. New Routines.

So far I have a small plan. Thirty minutes of exercise. Every single day. More water. Less coffee. Breakfast for dinner once a week. Keep writing. Make the bed. Every day ask Em and MQD if there is anything I can do for them. Run the vacuum before dinner. That’s all I’ve got so far.


Two and half miles today. I was sweaty. She was hungry. Until she passed out. It was a good day.

Lucy, the Perfect Sweater

Have you ever had a sweater that was the Perfect Sweater? As hard as you try you couldn’t find anything wrong with it. You can wear it with everything, blue jeans, sweatpants and a dress.   It is precisely the right temperature no matter what it is like outside.  You show this sweater a lot of love.  Adding to its perfection – it never seems dirty.  No matter what has spilled on it, it smells fresh and clean and remains unwrinkled.

And then one day you decide you should wash it. It’s not even dirty you just feel like you should wash it. So you’re really careful.  No Woolite, no fancy detergent.  Just water for this Perfect Sweater.  No dryer, no washing machine.  Wash that sucker by hand in the sink.

Then after you wash it it’s just never the same.  It is like a kleenex.  Little bits just fall right off.  It’s a disaster.  If someone saw you in your favorite sweater they’d ask you “What did you do to that sweater?”

And if you were say, overtired you might reply “I just fucking WASHED it, okay?  I had been wearing it every day for two weeks, I just thought I should wash it.  I was trying to do the right thing!!!”

Yeah, that’s what I did to my baby.  Lucy is the Perfect Sweater.

Babies have dry skin. Babies have sensitive skin and I know that. And it would not be a problem if it wasn’t that I am psychotic.  I’d just lube her up with olive oil and not bathe her again for a week. 
But I am psychotic.  And I did have The Talk with my boss last Friday.  Not “The Talk” because that kind of chatter has no place in the workplace unless you are a Sex Ed teacher, but the one where I said “I think business is too slow to justify me being full time, so I kind of think you should lay me off.” And he said “okay” and by the first of march I will be a stay at home mom.  That talk.
The same talk that was slightly less terrifying because of another talk MQD and I had before we bought our house.  That one was about how we shouldn’t buy a house while we were pregnant unless we knew we would be okay if we had a baby that needed me full time, a baby that was not perfectly healthy.  Because we were dealing with 35 year old eggs after all.
And so now I am stuck in this awful moment in time where the only way to get unscared is to look for the monster under the bed. Which for me is to say it out loud.  I am scared that since I quit my job to stay at home Lucy will get sick and it will be all my fault.   Breathe.  See?  It is slightly less scary now since I can see how crazy that sounds.
Intellectually, I know there is no reason to google “infant dry skin symptom of deadly illness.”
So, last Monday I had a job and a baby that had new baby smell with milky white skin and a Perfect Sweater.
This week?  I will have no job very shortly, Lucy’s face is rotting off and she smells like old noodles… but I am not ever going to wash this sweater.
Stay tuned for the saga of the stay at home mother and her epic battle against dry skin and what will eventually be a foul milk smelling sweater.

...and the baby, ashamed of her flesh eating disorder.

Which way did he go, George? Which way did he go?

In the past nineteen days I have been to work eight times.  Lucy has been with me.

I have showered eighteen of the first nineteen days of Lucy’s life.

I have eaten pizza for dinner only twice.

I have zero dirty clothes right now and only a small basket of clothes that need to be put away.

My kitchen floor has been mopped four times and my bathrooms are clean.

I made burgers on our new grill.

I have written eight blog posts.

I helped Em make a project for her hundredth day of school.

I went to Staples.

I have vacuumed at least every other day and the couch has been vacuumed three times.  Every day I make the bed.

I have walked my dog three times.

And only twice have I stayed in bed past 7:30 am.

And yet it doesn’t seem like enough.

It’s been almost three weeks and this morning is the first time I just stayed in bed and held her. It goes too fast.

And I’ve been missing it. In an effort to not miss a beat I’ve missed the only beat that won’t be waiting for me in weeks, months and years.

I know what Lucy smells like, the way the top of her head feels against my lips.  I know the sound she makes me when she nurses because she is hungry and I know the way she sighs before she falls asleep.  I know what her toes feel like because I have taken to sleeping face to face with her, her foot in my hand.  She is in my arms or nursing or snuggled against me in a wrap nearly all of her waking hours.

I have taken more than 300 pictures.

But until this morning I don’t think I knew what she looked like.

My baby girl, Lucy Quinn, is nineteen days old and this morning we stayed in bed until 10:45.  And I took a long look at her.  And at me.

I started working full time for a general contractor on January 28, 2008 as their office manager and bookkeeper. In the last four years we have seen business ebb and flow.  But lately it has been slower than not.   As I sat down to go over the finances with my boss the other day we were discussing needing to make payroll in the coming weeks.

He said  ”Let’s talk about what is realistic for you.”

I’m afraid I know what is realistic.  For me.  I have a full time job.

Life has a way of putting what you need out in front of you. Whether or not you reach out and grab it, that’s on you.

This morning when I woke up my dream job was staring me right in the face.

And I think I have to reach out and grab it.