Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Livin' the dream

Running with Airplane
this is why we do it

In honor of International Womens' Day, I'm contributing to the Blog Carnival hosted by feMOMhist on how I got the life I wanted.

I'm not sure if I've ever explicitly stated it, but I really am Living The Dream.  Not in a snarky, sarcastic way, but FOR REAL. I came to the realization only recently that it IS under my control.  It may not be easy, or the accepted "right" way to do things, but it's in my power to get what I want out of life.

For the first 24 years of my life, I did what was expected of me, for the most part.  Got good grades, went to fancypants Institute of Technology, set off to get a PhD in Molecular Biology.

Until one day I realized the path I was on was *not* what I wanted.

At that point, it took me only 2 months to get on a new train, the one that took me to my current destination.  I quit grad school, got a job in technology consulting despite having NO experience in the field, ditched the guy who was all wrong for me, and started a friendship with the man who is now my husband.

What can I say?  When I know what I want, I go after it, and quickly.

Four years of Traveling Consulting Job led to my seriously awesome job as a Program Manager at Microsoft.  The boyfriend (now husband) came to Seattle with me, and became the fiance, then finally (!) The Husband.  Somewhere in there, two dogs came to live with us and we bought a house together, despite (oh no!) not being married yet.

On a whim, I decided to take a Project Manager job at a local startup to see what life was like at a tiny company.  Turns out it wasn't for me - I missed Microsoft too much.  So I came back in 2008, and it was easy-peasy to get back in - a favorite previous manager had an open spot on his team.  I've been there ever since, and even managed to negotiate a sweet part-time gig after maternity leave with Miss Baby in 2010.

So that's where the big parts of the story fell into place.  The Blog Carnival is focusing on the day-to-day of How We Make It Work.  Honestly, for me that's the easy part.  Once I know *what* I want, I can usually figure out some way to get it.  I guess that's the Project Manager in me - the devil is in the details, but the details are easy for me to wrangle.

The Work Situation

As I mentioned before, I work part-time.  I work 20 hours a week, which is half-time.  I spend two days in the office, though it'll be closer to 2.5 now that Miss Baby is in preschool 3 days a week (and I'll likely increase my hours just a tiny bit).  This enables me to spend the other weekdays at home with BabyT.  When I'm at work, she's at preschool. 

I drop her off and TJ picks her up, so we stagger our schedules.  He goes into work ridiculously early (6am) so he can pick her up at 4pm.  He works a full time+ schedule at a tech company and his job is fairly demanding.

Our priority is for her not to spend too many hours away from home - she had been in daycare for 2 approx 8-hour days before preschool started this month.

If T is too sick to go to child care/school, we assess whose day will be disrupted least.  My work days are more "precious" since I'm not in the office much, so we try to protect those.  Sometimes we trade off - I'll go in for important meetings, and then TJ will go to work later in the day.

My parents are in town part of the year, about 15 min from where we live, so during those times, they're also happy to spend time with T if she's too sick for school, or I need to go in to work on an extra day.  They also just like it when she hangs out at their place, so I drop her off there about once a week when they're around.  It's very nice :)

The Home Situation

Our lifesaver is the woman who comes to clean our house every 2 weeks.  She spends only 2 hours cleaning, but gets all the stuff we don't want to do: bathrooms, primarily, but manages to vacuum and change sheets as well.  We do some interim vacuuming/kitchen cleaning ourselves.

Right now we're trying to cut expenses, so we ditched the Yard Guy.  It's winter, so not an issue now, but come Spring we'll need to reassess.  I HATE yard work/weeding with a passion and in this rainy climate we get a lot of weeds.

I handle chores like laundry and dishes most of the time, with occasional help from TJ.  He handles the finances and bills, and fixes stuff that breaks.  He also does most of the Dog Maintenance and vet visits, as I'm usually the one to take T to her various appointments on my days off (doctors, physical therapy, etc.)

I do a lot of the errandy stuff like Target runs and making appointments.  So far I've been packing T's lunches.  I do most of the grocery shopping, though TJ also does some.  He does a lot of Baby Maintenance in evenings (bedtime) and weekends (mornings when I can sleep in!!).  He's much better at just sitting on the floor playing with her than I am.  I guess I always feel like we need to be *doing* stuff, though I'm getting better about that.

Now that T has both Little Gym and Spanish on weekends, we split those up.  He takes her to Little Gym, and I take her to Spanish (and usually a restaurant for dinner afterwards).  This gives us each a little chunk of "alone time" in the house.

We use Google Calendar to track our home stuff (link will take you to my post about it.  We're fanatical about being home from wherever we are in time for T's naptime and bedtime (noon and 6:15pm, respectively) so for now that dictates our schedule.  It also makes it easy for one of us to slip out and do something fun in the evenings with friends - the person left at home gets a quiet house, and since T is normally a good sleeper, there's not much to do on the toddler front either.

We eat out more than we should, though it goes in spurts.  I try to cook something on weekends that'll last a few days.  Some weeks are better than others.  That's one area I'm still working on to try and get into a rhythm.  Thing is, I LIKE eating out, so I'm not sure it's something we'll ever fully eliminate.

And that's about it for our logistics.  If you read this far, congratulations :)  If you want to participate in the Blog Carnival, wander on over to FeMOMHist and look at the details.  Also, leave your link here because I want to be sure to read it :)


  1. thanks for reminding me. sciDAD and I use google calendar too!

  2. I struggle with just sitting and playing too. Luckily Moo's grandpa and auntie are pretty good at it. I'm much better at taking her to the playground or doing crazy dancing or going for walks with her. I have been trying to think of a few more settled activities we can do together (like painting and puzzles) because I think we both get a little too hyped up sometimes...

    My system for keeping on the same page with my husband is fridge based. I took the suggestion of someone over on @Clouds in the 'mental load' post and put a whiteboard on the fridge with a to-do list, together with a calendar and a categorised shopping list. We both need to 'see' the information & on-line doesn't really work for us.

  3. Yeah, I'm struggling with the on-line to do list but the calendar works well because then we can see it at work, on our phones, etc.

    We do a lot of crafty/drawing type of stuff. T loves to stamp - I let her use my own stash of rubber stamps, and bought some kid-safe washable ink. She could be occupied for 45 min or more, usually.

  4. I liked this very much. I wish it were easier to parent in America while working full-time. It's so difficult. *deep sigh*


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