Sunday, June 30, 2013

A Much-Needed Break!


I am feeling very lucky to be able to take a six-month sabbatical from work. It starts July 1. I have been looking forward to this for a long 8 years at my current job. I deserve it (if I do say so myself)!

List of things to accomplish on sabbatical (besides the actual work/research I'm planning to do). You will note that most of these things are about "me"!  Wow---this feels so strange.
  • Exercise. This is far and away the most neglected and most missed aspect of my life-before-motherhood. After 3+ years without consistent exercise (aside from the lifting, running, and endurance needed to look after a toddler), I can definitely say that my body is feeling the lack...more aches and pains, and I "pull" things more easily (I recently pulled the cartilage in the middle of my rib cage---probably picking O up and twisting in the wrong way---and it felt like I was having a heart attack until I figured out what it was)! I worry about my overall health without exercise so this is my top priority.
  • Eat better. In general, the problem of poor eating derives from the lack of adequate time to prepare meals from scratch. I eat as healthfully as possible for a full-time working single mom....but I still partake in far too many frozen prepared meals from Tr*der J*e's and not enough fresh vegetables and "whole" foods. I'm going to work on O's eating habits, too. Let's face it--he's 3. He's pretty picky at the moment. But I'd like to get his diet just a bit more varied.
  • Minimize. YARD SALE anyone? I think it's time for the 20 year old television and desk chair in the basement to go....
  • Browsing. Browsing? Single moms, when was the last time you went to a clothing store and took your time browsing through the sale racks? HAHAHAHA. A joke, right? I have fantasies about this. :) It's a guilty pleasure but I do SO look forward to it.
The lovely thing is that O will also be getting break--a real summer--which is another goal of my sabbatical. This summer, we will be traveling to my parent's place, which is located in a kind of artist's colony in western New York. Lots to do, including a children's "camp" in the morning for O, and some additional free childcare a la grandparents. He'll get out of the daily grind of full-time daycare at the daycare center where he's been since 5 months of age. Then in September, O starts at a new preschool, a great "laboratory" school affiliated with the university back in our home city.

And finally:
  • Dating? Dare I try?

Goodness. Let's not put too much pressure on the situation. Really.

This is all to say: my complete lack of free/leisure/fun adult time has become very apparent of late--now that the total focus of the infant and early toddler years is waning. Thus this sabbatical could not come at a better time for my own mental health and well-being. Single moms: Do you also crave the above? Are "logistics" sometimes the most taxing part of your life, like mine? How do you integrate free time into your life? (I chuckle as I write this---aside from a sabbatical that includes full-time childcare, I have not found my own answer to this question).


Saturday, June 15, 2013

And...we're back. I think.

Hello Blogo-universe!!!

It's me, Jo. Single mom to O, now 3.3 years old. Here we are during a recent trip to California (we still live on the East Coast while mama Jo hopes that one day we'll make it back to Cali for good).

So, yes. My blog identity went to sleep for the past 2 years. I didn't even look at a *single* blog. Hmmm...Something about all my mental, physical, and emotional energy focused on well, the obvious? Blogging for me during the "thinking" and then "trying" stage was very important. I valued the community it created so much, and I often credit my blogging experience as partially responsible for my decision to go-for-it and have a baby on my own. When I started blogging I *literally* thought I might be the only one. Hilarious, right? Within a day I was assured that not only was I not the only woman out there with this "dilemma", but that I had a lot to learn from many, many others who had gone before me. When I wrote my first blog post I was completely unsure of what I would do. Nine months after my first blog post, I was pregnant.

So SMC blog world, I really do love you! 

Just recently, I started reading blogs again. Now that I am mothering, my issues and questions and problems are totally different....known donor relationships, logistics (and logistics and logistics...), career guilt, bad parenting decisions, finances (oh lordy)..SCHOOLS?....And all of a sudden, I was like: HELP! I've made it past the physical endurance of the infant stage and the mental endurance of age 2, and now, I need to TALK ABOUT ALL OF THIS! Where is my community?

I still struggle with community in my current city (the topic of many future posts, I am sure). My parenting friends are all coupled-up and while I do have one (or two) closer friends, let's face it, my  issues are DIFFERENT. In some ways, I've become so good at "hiding" my unique situation--the word would be normalizing it I guess--that many of my friends and colleagues don't even see me as "different" any more. I know I've purposely created that, and I wouldn't really want it another way, but the result is that I don't really talk about the issues unique to my situation with, well, anyone.

Well, hello SMC bloggers--- gee whiz, but aren't there a lot of you out there with the SAME issues and questions and problems! Why am I surprised yet a a second time??  Ladies, I have to say, thank you again.

Life with my little man O is totally amazing--he is loving, smart, and very funny. And crazy challenging. And yet to sum up the challenges in this first "I'm back" email would be so fruitless. The challenges are awesome, and the rewards are awesome. Life is so completely altered and I am so completely altered. And yet in many ways my struggles are still the same and my successes are still the same.

I wouldn't trade a single day.

Hope to see more of you all soon!