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The one and only time we have all looked good simultaneously. Photo by Heidi Hoffman Photography.

 

by Aimee Genter-Gilmore, PQ Monthly

 

A couple of weeks ago, I got a job as a part-time barista. Up until then, I had basically let Oscar set the schedule. But now, I have a manager who sets MY schedule. More or less. But we had all gotten accustomed to me just always being available… to run errands, keep the house in order, and make sure every one of Oscar’s needs are met.

I would be lying if I said it wasn’t nice.

Being a stay-at-home mom shifts your perspective on what’s important. And since Oscar set the schedule, the important things in my life became naptimes, diaper changes, play time, making (and feeding) food, and so on. (I was also taking care of most of the dishes, laundry, housework, etc… easier done when you don’t have to answer to anyone but a 1-year-old baby boy.) I was able to take care of most of my freelance work during naptimes, or late at night. Oscar became a regular fixture at PQ’s staff meetings, even.

Well, the economy is tough on everyone. And even though I continue to keep a handful of freelance clients (and we save a LOT of money on daycare), I was still finding that I needed to make about 20% more to make sure the “operating budget” was in the black.  I am, unfortunately, one of the dastardly (and lazy) 47%, who has about 4 different jobs but still can’t seem to make ends meet. We found that a part-time nights-and-weekends job would cover the gap, so *poof* now I’m a barista (on top of being a stay-at-home mom, writer, graphic designer, delivery driver, and housekeeper).

The transition has been rough on my family. We’re, what some would consider to be, a little codependent. And Oscar seems to like it best when all three of us are together. Proof of that being that he only does the big “steps” (crawling, walking, talking) when we’re all in the same room. My poor, poor wife has become a barista widow, as our life has become a *quick smooch* “here’s the baby” “will you be awake when I get home?” kind of a life.

On top of it all, Oscar is no longer a baby. He’s gone “full toddler”…with a vengeance. While I am not a “baby person,” it’s still hard to realize that he’s never going to be that little pink screaming, pooping alien (he is now a whining, pooping, baby T-Rex). He doesn’t let us hold and snuggle him as much (baby T-Rexes rarely stay in the same place for long, after all) and now it really is about teaching, and learning, and moving onward and upward to the next developmental step.

It’s hard, but probably far too common.

But onward and upward we go! Oscar is walking, and “talking” and has begun joining in on our family dance parties. He’s happy and eating awesome food (that I make for him like a damn hippie) and we’re all getting healthier and wiser. My new barista job is just what the doctor ordered: I’m getting dressed every day, I’m having conversations with adults, and I’m covering that final 20% gap.

I don’t know how long this will last, but for now, I really can’t complain.

 

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