Category Archives: Serious

What Color Is Your Para-Shoot Me!

Aside from being disheartened with my nanny situation, being disheartened with my work situation was the other big reason behind my momamorphosis from working mom to stay-at-home mom.  The truth is, I have always been a big nerd.  In first grade, I put my head down on my desk and cried for an hour the first time I didn’t get 100% on a spelling test (and the gumball that came along with it).  I recently read that sad little story in a note from my teacher, Mrs. Randall, which my mom had saved.  My mom thinks my teacher shared it to show how smart and dedicated to learning I was.  I think it was a polite plea to send me to therapy.  In any event, this need to always get an “A” (and gorge on candy) has pretty much shaped my life to this day in both good and bad ways.

On the good side, I’ve always loved school and done well.  On the bad side, the only passion I developed in my 19 years of education from Kindergarten through an MBA is a passion for getting good grades.  I never gravitated heavily toward a particular subject and I was undecided with respect to my major in college for the first year-and-a-half – that’s a long time.   I ultimately chose finance and accounting because it is what my dad does, I was good at the academics of it and it would allow me to get a job that would pay enough to cover NYC rent after graduation, not because it really spoke to me.

My first job in real estate at an investment bank fell in my lap through a contact and my course was set.  Work followed the same pattern as school – it was the positive feedback from bosses and colleagues that drove me, not the content of the work.  For a long time, it didn’t strike me that there was anything wrong with this kind of value system.  Doing a good job at work felt good, I appeared to have a successful career to the outside world and somehow those things made me content.  But then everything changed when Addy and Zack came along.  Suddenly, the “good jobs”, the pats on the back and the titles meant nothing to me compared to the little smiles and giggles that awaited me at home.  I increasingly felt that I only really wanted to be leaving those sweet faces each morning if something more profound was happening where I was going.  To me, profound meant contributing a substantial share of the household income, impacting other people’s lives in a meaningful way or doing something that truly engaged me, made me feel more alive, and therefore made me a better version of myself and a better mother and wife.  Because none of this was happening when I walked out that door each morning (and because the nanny situation was less than ideal), I made the leap and resigned.

Staying at home is not the end goal for me though.  Finding that perfect, “have-it-all” state as a mom is tricky and “have-it-all” means something different for every individual.  For some, having it all means being able to stay at home with the kids 100% of the time.  For others, being able to have kids and dominate a demanding job is the end-all be-all.  For me, it’s something in between.  But before I can figure out what ratio of family to work is my ideal, I need to delve deeper into what kind of work truly deserves to be a piece of the “all” I want to have.  I now understand that the work part of my equation isn’t just about a paycheck or a breather from the kids or a pat on the back from grown-ups.  It has to be more meaningful in some way so that years from now, when my family and I reflect on the time I spent away from them to work, we can all be proud of what I was doing and why I was doing it.

In the meantime, I’m settling in to an environment where my bosses are three feet tall and the feedback I get is mostly whining and crying that I’m not working fast enough.  But that’s OK because I’m passionate about the content.  🙂

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Stop the Insnannity

Back in the spring, I decided to resign from my job and stay at home with my kids.  Why would I do that after ten years in the work world and two years of expensive business school you ask? Why would I trade in a decently paying job to spend more time funneling cash directly from our bank account into diapers.com’s?  Why would I give up my right to say to Max “Clean your own damn coffee maker.  What do you think?  I don’t work and sit at home all day eating chocolate covered pretzels (way better than bon bons in my opinon)???”  Well, aside from really wanting to be with my kids more, I did it to stop the insnannity.

Ever since I returned to work when Addy and Zack were six months old, our nanny situation had been a source of massive unhappiness.  Nanny #1 was our former night nurse* whom we really liked at first and really disliked by the time she was gone.  The fact that her previous experience was a job where she worked strictly in the dark, had minimal interaction with adults and usually left before the babies were three or four months old should have been the first red flag of many.   But what did I know?  I had never hired a nanny before.

She was great at first but as Addy and Zack approached one year and Zack started physical therapy for some developmental issues, things started to go downhill.  She clearly did not want to participate in Zack’s therapy and she approached playing with and reading to the kids with the same enthusiasm as one would approach cleaning a bathroom.   As luck would have it, it turned out that she was as unhappy as we were.  Just as I had arranged to do a trial week with a new nanny (Nanny #2), Nanny #1 asked for two weeks off to “go home to visit her mother” and then called a week later and said she had to stay there indefinitely.  In NYC nanny language, that translates to “I got another job, peace losers!”

My instincts during Nanny #2’s trial week told me not to hire her because she was a little too pushy for my taste, but since Nanny #1 had called at the end of it and quit, I told my instincts to shove it.  Nanny #2 was pretty great with the kids, cooked dinner for us, did lots of exercises with Zack…but let’s just say she wasn’t quite as awesome when interacting with grown-ups.  She would basically tell me I was a horrible mom if I asked her to shift the kids’ nap by one hour and constantly talked about how I would never find anyone as amazing as her, and I actually believed her for awhile.  I stomached her harshness for a year-and-a-half because she was good with the kids, but then it became clear that she was just as charming to the other nannies in the neighborhood as she was to me.  When I realized Addy and Zack’s playdates were dwindling and then our best friends’ nanny called to tell me she refused to hang out with Nanny #2 anymore because she was so nasty to her, we decided to cut the cord.

By the time we hired Nanny #3, Max and I were in full blown talks about me quitting but I wasn’t 100% sure yet.  Nanny #3 was a refreshing change from Nanny #2.  She was happy, positive, energetic and just plain nice.  The feeling of utter depression when I walked out the door in the morning was beginning to fade….until I noticed $400 missing from our safe.  Needless to say, our safe and key are not showcased in the middle of the coffee table in our living room, so swiping this money required a healthy amount of digging.  Because multiple people were in our apartment in the time period that this went down, I decided to buy a hidden camera to see if it would pick up any action.  Sure enough, the first day I set it up, the camera caught her in the act 10 minutes after I had left the apartment.  When we confronted her, she immediately copped to it and, although we felt sort of bad for her (you have to be in a tough situation to risk your whole job over $400), we let her go.

Bad luck?  Maybe a little.  Terrible hiring skills on my part?  Definitely.  Fate?  Perhaps all of this was the universe screaming “Stay home you idiot! Don’t you get the picture already!?!?”  Whatever it was, here I am spending more time with my cuties than I ever imagined I would and truly enjoying it.  Goodbye insNANNity, hello pandeMOMium!

*A night nurse is a baby nurse who comes at night to take care of the babies so the parents can sleep – something wimpy NYC mothers like me claim is an absolute necessity with twins