Don't Pity Me

This morning I shared my row on the airplane with a woman and her young son. As we waited for the aircraft to finish boarding, the boy peppered his mother with questions, at times interjecting with exclamations regarding the progression of his video game. She turned to me and apologized on his behalf for his outbursts, and warned that he was likely to continue for the duration of the flight. I warmly smiled and assured her that I had no problem with it since I have a young one at home and I know how it could be at times. Her brows furrowed as if she wanted to ask me what circumstance would lead to me traveling without my child. Instead of asking directly, she began the delicate dance of asking indirect questions to satiate her curiosity; a dance I have grown accustomed to, yet despise.

What do you do for a living?

How often do you travel?

Do you like it, though?

That must be really hard. I could never do that! 

Hey, can you do me a favor?

Don't pity me. 

Because I left the security of my parents' home at 18 to move to a new country to go to college, have new experiences, meet new people, and step outside of my bubble.

What's it like moving to a new country and starting over without a support system? Can't run home to mommy and daddy!

Do you miss your friends back home? You must be so lonely!

Don't pity me.

Because I did it all over again to go to grad school. New city, new state. New challenges, new expectations.

Yeah that's cool and all, but what are you going to do with a PhD?

Oh, you're stopping with your Master's? What's the point? That's kind of a waste of talent. You're smart, why don't you just get a PhD?

Don't pity me. 

Because I did it all over again to start my first job: same state, new city. Because I married my best friend and we were preparing to welcome Mimi into the world.

Do you have any family here? Does your husband?

How are you going to do it by yourselves?

You're only taking 12 weeks of maternity leave?

You're going to put Mimi in daycare?

Don't pity me. 

Because I do what I need to to for my family. Because we do what we need to do for our family. Because it's hard as hell but we're making it work.

I May Not Be Perfect, But My Husband Is

I know, I know, *gag* nobody's perfect. Bear with me, people, it's Father's Day weekend!!

I still have feelings of mom guilt. Standard, I think, for the working mom, but even more severe for the working mom who happens to travel for work.

Every Monday morning at 5:30am, I dutifully head to the airport. I leave my precious Mimi at home sleeping peacefully in her crib. She never knows when I leave, but she always knows when I'm gone. V is tasked with keeping the household going; he's captain of the ship Monday though Friday.

He always keeps me updated about Mimi's progress throughout the week. "She sprouted a new tooth!" Or "she started singing her A-B-C's!" My favorite was "she used the potty!" (This last announcement was accompanied by visual aides). He does everything without complaint, and is so gracious and loving.

When I get home on Friday afternoon, he doesn't just tap out and let me "take my shift". That's when he kicks in to high gear, mowing the lawn or tackling small projects around the house (like building our dining room table and benches... Did I mention he's perfect?) I don't know where he gets the energy, honestly.

The weekend is usually split into girls time, family time, and couples time. Couples time naturally occurs whenever Mimi is asleep, so during daytime nap and any time after 7pm. This time is so valuable because it helps us recharge, well, as a couple! Girls time happens so that he can have V time to decompress, and Mimi and I can have "we" time. We start with brunch, then run errands, and usually finish up by visiting family across town. Family time occupies the gap between couples time and girls time. (Did I mention I'm type A?)

But back to the mom-guilt bit. I can't help but feel like Mimi is growing up without me, and that I'm not "carrying my own weight" in the household. V has been so amazing and supportive in not only taking care of everything on the home front but also constantly reassuring me that he's okay, she's okay, we're okay, and that I should be okay too.

This has been the most significant Father's Day because I am able to truly appreciate everything that V has done and is doing as a husband and a father. He's pretty amazing, if you ask me.

I'm definitely not perfect. And I'll admit, he may not be perfect, but he's pretty damn close.

5 Ways To Make The Most Of Your Weekend

When I'm on the road it's easy to become consumed by thoughts of the coming weekend.

"What should we do this weekend?"

I come up with such grand ideas. We'll go to a festival! A picnic in the park! A trip to the lake! Then Friday rolls around and all the plans I carefully considered morph into "I think I just want to stay home and relax". After all, being on the road all week makes a person want to take it easy. Right?

That's exactly what happened this weekend.

While making my final descent I pictured Mimi, V, and I, all sitting out on the deck, enjoying the calm content that is being together again. That was it. That's what we would do. It was settled....

I stepped in the front door and Mimi squealed with excitement and leapt into my arms. Then V asked,  "What should we do this weekend?"

I walked right into that one because I deviated from the proven system. Here are five ways to guarantee maximum enjoyment for your time spent at home:

1. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate! I can't stress this point enough. It doesn't matter what you planned all by yourself. You need to have buy in from your significant other to make sure you can hit the ground running with your weekend plans. Nothing pops plan balloons like two people having conflicting ideals of how to spend your weekend.

2. Do The Ground Work Before You Get There You both know you want to do something but you don't know what to do. So you waste precious time on your weekend together fumbling around trying to a) see what's going on around town and b) plan for it. Where are we going? How long are we going to be gone? Would we need a sitter? Should we drive or take an Uber? These are all questions that should be answered before you walk through the front door.

3. Not Doing Anything Counts As Doing Something

Sometimes all you need to do is uncork a bottle of wine, snuggle up on the couch, and binge watch Amazon Prime Video (yeah, we're not really a Netflix household). A "date night in" takes the stress out of planning. Plus you don't even have to dress up! Unless of course you want to, then you should totally dress up.

4. Keep It In The Family Sometimes I worry that I don't have enough time to make time for my extended family. The best way to counteract these fears: make time for them! Every once in a while (read: every other week) we like to host a family get together just to eat, drink, hang out, and get in on some good ol' family bonding. Because family is the whole reason we moved here, right?? It's great having that support system practically on our doorstep.

5. Love Unconditionally And Cherish Every Shared Moment Because-- need I say more?

Apprehensive And A Bit Scared

I remember when baby Mimi was born. I went to the hospital apprehensive and a bit scared, but left with the deepest love I had ever felt. She needed me; she needed us. A tiny little thing who snuggled so perfectly in our arms. Her personality blossomed, and her smile was infectious...

I remember when baby Mimi first started daycare. I dropped her off, apprehensive and a bit scared. It was hard letting go, but I'll admit it was even harder getting her photo updates throughout the day. She's having fun! She's having fun! She's... Having fun? She's not terrified? Miserable? Lonely? Home sick? Missing me? Missing us? That's when it hit me that she was becoming independent. She was becoming her own person, and there was nothing I could do to stop it. She didn't NEED me to be happy; she didn't NEED us...

I remember when baby Mimi went to visit her cousin for the first time. I was apprehensive and a bit scared. Would they like each other? They laughed and played, rolled around, fought, pulled hair, shared toys, shared bottles, shared food, and all the fun stuff babies do. This was it, this is what we had been missing. Isolated and in our own world, we realized that Mimi needed more. Mimi needed family. That's when V and I made our decision: we're moving!!!

I remember when I got the job offer of my dreams. I remember being apprehensive and a bit scared. I had moved to a new country, to multiple states, but this would be the biggest move by far. It wasn't just about me. It was about my entire family. Were we doing the right thing???

I remember when I started my new job and I learned that I was going to have to travel every single week. I had initially anticipated that the travel would phase out as I transitioned to an office role. Not so: the travel was a permanent fixture. I couldn't help but be apprehensive and a bit scared. How can I travel when I have a young child? A young marriage? That's when V stepped in. "If this is what you want to do, I'll support you 100%". He did exactly that. And more....

I have learned that it's okay to be apprehensive. It's okay to be scared. It's okay to wonder if you're doing the right thing or going in the right direction. It just means that you're stepping away from everything you know and venturing into the unknown. It could end up being the best thing you ever did, or, you could fail miserably. Either way, success or failure, relish in the fact that you tried something new. No risk, no reward.

And So It Begins

The past few months have been a whirlwind. Abandoning the comfort of complacency and daring to delve into the unknown, we made the exciting transition to a new chapter in our lives. We leapt at the promise of new jobs, becoming homeowners, continuing the pursuit of academic excellence, but most importantly: family. Family has led us in this journey from state to state, finally settling in and feeling a sense of belonging. It's a daunting task keeping it all together, but we're making it work. We're figuring it out and making the rules up as we go-- one day at a time.