Tuesday, August 26, 2014


Yesterday was my 28th birthday, which of course brings up all of the dinner conversation topics about time and plans and expectations.  JP took me to a beautiful, long, highly entertaining meal last night, which involved copious amounts of butter and no pauses for breath as we enjoyed adult time without a very cute, talkative 13-month-old at our feet.  I've been with JP for well over eight years, and so very much has changed for us since we met as late teenagers in college.  
There is no possible way I could have predicted where my life would be at 28: married to a wonderful man who challenges and loves me in all the right ways, mother to a little boy who makes me smile while giving me plenty of good parenting stories, well on my way to popping out another Diego pumpkinhead, homeowner of a space that allows our family to grow comfortably, and all with the luxury of being the master of my daily routine.  (Well, as much as August lets me control the routine.)  

None of this, though, is what I'd pictured at 18, or even 24.  JP and I don't have a written timeline of what we want to do at each year of our lives; in fact, we could probably do a much better job of managing our lives and calendars.  If anything, we feel a little ahead of ourselves in terms of what we want out of life: a welcoming home, a budding family, healthy bodies.  Is it too much good?  Should we be doing more with our time?  Why aren't we traveling more, spending our weekends DIY'ing our unfinished basement, entertaining at home, taking August to multiple classes each week?  
At one point last night, I was so wrapped up in telling JP the many things I thought, at 20, I would want at 28, and stopped myself.  How amazing to be ahead of schedule in our own life timeline.  How wonderful to be expecting a little sibling for August, and not be intimidated (much) that we're only the 2nd or 3rd of our friends to have a second child.  What a luxury to have time working on our side whether we realized it or not.  

28 somehow feels like a very settled, grown-up age, and I feel very rooted in my own life.  Lately there have been emotional upheavals (thanks, pregnancy hormones!), and I feel so grateful that my personal anchors are strongly set in my family and friends.  I'm not exactly sure where I'll be next year, in the existential sense, but I feel like every year gets me closer to who I want to be.  

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Career and Family: An Understanding

A good friend and I had one of those nearly age-old discussions that only women seem to have: the desire for a family vs. the desire for a career.  The two of us are on opposite sides of the lifestyle coin, with her firmly in the career corner and I in the family camp.
She has recently received a promotion at work, which entails extra hours, and is making a name for herself in the volunteer circle of her area (lots of work with women and children empowerment).  She likes being busy and having time to herself; in the past couple of years, she has been able to travel Europe, South America, and the US on her own agenda.  She spends her money, for the most part, on what she wants to spend it on.  Without a steady relationship, mortgage, and children, she is the master of her own fate, and can move, travel, or stay out as late as she wants.
I, in turn, have a gorgeous baby boy, another little on the way, a husband to share our mortgaged home with, and plenty of commitments at home.  JP and I have things to save up for, college accounts to add to, and sleeping in late means 8am.  My career is my family and home, which mean I don't have a dress code and operate on a timeline that works best for my peace of mind.
Our discussion centered around whether either of us is furthering the cause of women in the 21st century.  Neither of us can really buy into the 'women can have it all' mentality: she works because she has loans and rent each month for which she alone is responsible, and I can't afford to work unless it covers the cost of relatively high cost of daycare.  What's more, we don't really want the other's life and responsibilities that come with it.  After spending the weekend witnessing firsthand what it's like to care for a 13-month old on a minute-to-minute basis, she looked at me and said, "Is it always this hectic and exhausting?"  before confessing that she wasn't sure she ever wanted the white picket fence life.  The idea of networking and heading out to work in a suit 5 days a week, 10-12 hours a day couldn't sound worse to me.
The beauty is that none of that matters.  We chat, we visit, we appreciate the other's daily routine, and get to go home to our own reality at the end of the day.  I don't have to have a career outside of the home right now and that doesn't make me a terrible feminist or role model; trust me, I work and test the limits of my patience now more than I did with a paycheck.  She doesn't have to wear a wedding ring and pop out babies to show her self-worth or prove she's a woman.  The fact that we chose different paths doesn't mean we're at odds; our honest conversations about the struggles and triumphs of our day gives us insight and appreciation for how the other side lives.