Friday, October 28, 2016

City people

We just spent this amazing weekend in Park City, Utah. When the sun was out, it held you like a sweet goodbye to summer. The trees were green on the mountains with just a spattering of autumn colors peeking through. We were visiting close friends who left the West Coast eight years ago to move to Utah. They have family there, they all ski, and they had small kids so it just made sense. Now having visited for the second time I can really see how much sense it makes.  It's beautiful, the schools are great, you get more for your money and there is so much open space.

It's not difficult to look at real estate in LA without wanting to flee the city. The prices have climbed to ridiculous numbers. People seem to be buying the tiniest of shoe boxes just to own something in a desirable neighborhood. Most places outside of the big cities like NY, LA, and SF you can actually buy a nice home for a reasonable amount of money.  I felt this way in Massachusetts this summer too. I saw beautiful homes with nice sizable yards and day dreamed about moving there. I just know there are too many things I would hate to say goodbye to in LA.

Everything is a trade off. I hear people say that all the time when they are talking about places to live. We left our beloved house in the hills two years ago to move to an area where we could walk, bike, and have a community of people around us. It has been the best decision we made for us, as a family. We love how this is a real neighborhood that feels a lot like what I imagine a small town USA town is like -- yet, we are still in a city. It is diverse both racially and economically and is close enough to anything we are willing to fight LA traffic for. Or now we can take the Metro which has been super easy. We also have an amazing public school system and we have been so impressed with it so far. When I look at the money that goes into the schools in Utah it seems like it is this brand spanking new school. It is nicer than most of the private schools here. They even have their own snack truck with the schools sports teams logos painted all over it. We could sell everything we have here and get a really nice house there with money left over, but we would freeze half the year and there are no Trader Joe's.

So we will stay here, because we love it. Well we love the area, but we do miss our house. We miss the natural beauty that welcomed us home everyday as we drove up the hill away from the city. We miss the quiet mountains that surrounded us. We now live in a town house that we love, but wish it wasn't attached to someone else's house on one side. We don't exactly love having a board that keeps reminding us of the rules of living in this complex. We also don't love paying the HOA fees each month. There is the trade, though. I love the convenience, the friends we have made, the grounds here, and the pool. It takes a while for someplace to feel like a home, but I am really settling in. Sure I can up and try something else if we needed too. I don't want to though. I'm making myself comfortable.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

What Do You Have To Do All Day?!

Wow, someone actually just asked me what I have to do all day. She asked when I told her I wasn't sure I had enough time to help volunteer my time with one more project. She actually asked me that question, and shockingly she is a mom too. I did not respond. I did not respond because I didn't have the time to give her the real answer. 

We women need to stick together. We need to be more supportive of one another. It is not easy to be a mother and it takes some effort. I know we all have different approaches and different situations that factor in, so we may not all be able to relate completely but surely I thought every woman knew that whether you are working or not, mothering is still a job in and of itself.  I recently had a few projects and jobs that pulled me away from my regular availability to my kids. Lunches got made last minute, homework wasn't done right away, more sugar was consumed than usual, more bribes were made and less baths were taken. I had a taste of what it is to be a working mom and it is hard. My hat goes off to women who work all day and then come home with only a small window left to connect with their kids. To come home from a full day and try to feed them a healthy meal, make sure they read and brush teeth and everything else that needs to get done, you are barely left with enough time to talk to your kid. Not to mention the guilt one can feel for being exhausted and not really wanting to talk with your kids post a full work day.  It's hard!

The norm for me is not working all day at a "job," but let me be clear: I have one, and I am working harder than I have worked in my life. I have fifteen hours a week where I am not doing the mothering job, but I am always on call. Three of those days I report to another job, and then rush to pick up from preschool from there. I am a chef, a nurse, a therapist, a tudor, a personal assistant and the list goes on. I will not map out my daily schedule for you because it is pretty full and I am not looking for any pat on the back. Even sitting down to write has to be calculated for as there really isn't much time to spare. I get way more sleep than I did three years ago when I had a new baby, but he still gets us up at the crack of dawn and I am still struggling to get enough sleep at night.

Not every woman has the choice to stay at home full time. Even "stay at home" is such a poorly worded title for what a mother does. I don't do enough staying at home, if I did maybe I could tell you what soap operas were on while I tried to fold the laundry.  It takes a lot of planning, and some serious time managment. I realize this someone who asked me what I have to do all day, works another job in addition to raising her two small children. Without judgment I can also point out that she has help from a nanny, and a daycare, so perhaps her reality allows for many more free hours in the day than I have. I just don't think any mother should ever ask, "What do you have to do all day?" We should all know that regardless of how many hours we all put into it, its a big job!