My last post, in January, was a bit negative.
But can you blame me? No. Not if you are reading this and you are a parent.
But boy, things have improved! In April, Luca went to stay with his grandparents for almost a full week. ALL BY HIMSELF! Ash and I had a much-needed break, and Luca had the time of his life in the infinite-play-land that is my parent's house. When he came back, he didn't have time to ask to nurse before he fell asleep. The next day he nursed for the last time.
(Playing at Mamaw and Papaw's! By the way, I blurred the photo because he has started expressing an unwillingness to change his clothes and diaper around others. I consider that a sign of needing some privacy.)
Shortly thereafter, he decided to start sleeping through the night; and in his own bed too! I am experiencing a deep brain cleansing from finally getting the sleep I need. Combine that with monthly trips back to Mamaw and Papaw's house (which allow me to NAP), and my mood is just all-around better. He still wakes occasionally, like if he's not feeling well or if he is having a growth spurt. But hey, that's life.
I also just started a job. A new job. A REAL job. The kind with sane hours and fair expectations. The kind with living-wage hourly compensation and health benefits. The kind where you finally get off of government benefits and stop crying about money all the time. We're not rolling in it (heck, I don't even think we're "middle class" just yet) but boy did it take some weight off of my shoulders.
What's the big deal about having an average desk job, anyways? Can it really be that different from those low-wage jobs that make up the majority of the economy, like in sales and food service?
Well, I'LL TELL YA!
1. I don't have to fill out government forms every 3 months anymore. Don't even get me started on the phone calls with social services. I don't mean to sound ungrateful for these social safety nets. But, they don't make it easy to obtain, keep, or keep track of. The amount of our food money was always changing, and it never covered more than half of our food at the maximum level. But, we definitely couldn't have got by without it; even with both of us working.
2. I get to CHOOSE where Luca goes to the doctor, instead of frantically calling places and begging to get him on their Medicaid wait list. And my husband will have health insurance for the first time in ten years. 10 YEARS! No more LONG ASS WAITS at the community clinics!
3. I can do things like buy a waffle at a restaurant, or get a haircut, or buy myself a book and not feel EXTREMELY guilty and like I'm risking my entire livelihood. I get to go to the movies more than once per year.
4. I can do things like make a dentist appointment, because I know what hours I will be working ahead of time. And I can even skip work sometimes to go do stuff I need to do, like go to the dentist or take care of my sick kid, or whatever.
5. I can go on vacation.
6. I can have more than 1 or 2 days off per month. Actually, I get two whole days off EVERY WEEK! And then I get PAID TIME OFF!! Who knew that existed??
7. I can stay home from work if I am sick.
8. I can ask for things that I need. I can even eat whenever I want to. Today I got up and made myself a cup of tea, and I didn't have to ask permission. If my back hurts, I can lay down on my desk for a minute or go for a walk. People care if I am in physical pain. My body is not at risk for serious injury at this job.
9. I am treated like an adult in general, and it is assumed that I know what I'm doing and I can handle things without messing it up. My opinion is heard, and valued. I am given everything I need to do my job; I didn't have to pay for my own uniform (nor am I being forced to wear one), nor any of my own office equipment.
10. People have finally stopped asking me if I'm still in school, or if my position is just an internship. Ya know, some people wait tables because THIS IS NOT 1995 (or 1950 or whatever they remember as being a normal job market). 40% of people with bachelor's degrees today are working jobs that do not require education (sales and food service).
EDIT: 11. All the anger, resentment, and jealousy I felt has vanished. When you see everyone around you (living in houses that don't leak when it rains and aren't infested with cockroaches, driving cars that rarely break down, saving money for retirement) doing so much better than you are, it really gets to you and makes you think horrible negative things... not just about strangers, but about people you love, too. I am not trying to shirk responsibility for my own thoughts and feelings. I was working very hard on improving this all the time, with little progress. But these feelings have surprisingly vanished with the lifting of the financial pressure cooker.
EDIT: 12. I have felt another major shift, socially. No longer am I a problem to be solved. I now have the capacity to be a solution. Money is definitely power. And without power, you lack the ability to execute any dreams or visions for a better world. You can't even donate $5 to freaking NPR. Now that I have days off, I can volunteer. Now that I have basic needs covered, I can contribute to others' projects and my own projects. Feeling paralyzed in a world that desperately needs more Soldiers of Good is a desperately low feeling.
Now, imagine how hard all that stuff in the past would have been WITHOUT all my privileges! Without my safety net of my supportive family, assuring I would never be hungry or homeless. Without my whiteness, my education, my able body.
Basically, I am more comfortable, healthy, and happy than I have ever been. My job is the "easiest" I've ever had, and it pays BY FAR the best. So count your freaking blessings (and dollars) if you have one of these precious jewels of a job.
Anyways. Back to cute little boys.
Next month, Luca goes to SCHOOL!! This fall Ash is starting Massage School and Luca will need childcare 3 days per week (oh yeah, that's another far-off dream I can now afford). He will be going to a wonderful Montessori school run by some ladies we have gotten to know very well this past year. Ash's mom is generously helping with tuition (Like I said, we ain't even middle class yet. Working on it!).
Ash and Luca have been spending a lot of time together. They are best buddies. Ash is an excellent father; there is truly nothing I would alter about the way he handles Luca's ups and downs. I mean, that's one of the big reasons I had a kid so stupidly young. I knew I could do it with Ash by my side. Ash has really taken charge with the parenting thing. It used to be me that did all the research etc about parenting, and now he has completely taken it over... going to workshops, giving people advice on Reddit, checking out books from the library... he IS super dad. And we are becoming better and better "Gentle Parents" all the time thanks to his leadership. We are getting good at only setting limits that are necessary, and not setting them based on our own fears or limitations. We are getting good at seeing the world from his eyes, and understanding his feelings regarding seemingly everyday things that prompt big reactions. Compassion is a crop you must tend to dutifully... but the rewards are many.
For example... choosing your battles. Luca was a terrible sleeper, and after a while of trying everything found in every book, we finally gave up and just let him do whatever, while still modeling good sleep habits ourself (we went to bed whenever we were tired, with or without him). He did weird stuff. He asked to go to the park at 7:30pm and we said yes. He fell asleep for naps at 4:00 and slept until 8pm, and we never woke him up to prevent that. He stayed up until 9 every night and woke up at the crack of dawn. And we just watched him sleep whenever he wanted to, scratching our heads. And then... magic. He starting asking to go to bed whenever he was sleepy. He started crawling into bed whenever he needed to throughout the day, and either just resting or even falling asleep by himself. He started sleeping through the night, in his own bed, with no hassles. He started crying less at bedtime and being happy when he woke up.
I know for some kids, that would absolutely not work. But I'm glad we just took the path of least resistance and let things take their course with him... because it looked like, in the end, all he needed was a little less energy around bedtime and a little more autonomy. Once all the negative associations with enforced sleep times went away, he starting treating sleepiness how we WANT him to: as his body's way to tell him something important... something he should honor.
This is how we have always handled food. He eats whatever he wants, whenever he wants, just like we do. Our job is to provide an environment of healthy choices that makes it safe for him to have that freedom. "Freedom within Reasonable Limits" has become our motto.
This week, we even felt brave enough to push the family bed APART for the first time!
We will be moving to Asheville this fall, if we can find an affordable place. It just makes sense, with me working there and Ash going to school there. So, basically all our dreams are coming true!
(Except for when we went on vacation and I ended up in the emergency room with severe dehydration... seriously, it happened RIGHT before losing my health insurance when I turned 26. It was SO LUCKY! But now we can afford to fix the AC in the car, so that won't happen again!)
Our House: A Summary - [image: snowstorm 2014] [image: snowstorm 2014] [image: snowstorm 2014] *Supplies total:*$3,769 *Labor total:* $3,497 =$7,226 *Supplies breakdown: * Lum...
2 months ago