Sunday, September 5, 2010


I turned thirty exactly two weeks after my son was born. People love referring to this milestone as "dirty thirty," and friends and family insisted that I do something spectacular to mark the occasion. Instead I sat around the house with my mom who was still in town helping me recover from my c-section. I changed diapers and breastfed. I didn't even take a shower that day or get a nap in. I had a sip of chocolate infused port - but just a sip, I'm still scared to over-indulge while I'm feeding such a tiny newborn person who's liver is about the size of my thumbnail, if that. But it was my favorite birthday yet. The very best one. And I truthfully wasn't upset in the least that I was leaving my twenties. First of all, I really don't see the point in getting all worked up (be it excited or depressed) over birthdays after the age of 10 (and hopefully to that point it's nothing but excited). Second, I have achieved everything that I want in life. The important stuff, ya know? I have a husband that I love. A healthy beautiful little boy. A house. A job - albeit not one I love, but I have an ok, well-paying job and a marketable skill set, or so they told me in law school. Ok, so the job thing could use a little work, but I am happy with what I have achieved at this point. There was nothing for me to be upset over. I still have this running monologue in my head reminding me of how lucky I am - on my birthday I was still thrilled to be able to change the diapers of my own baby and have been every day since, I wouldn't be surprised if this high lasts the rest of my life. So the day passed with little fanfare, objectively speaking. But subjectively, I had the time of my life. Every day I am with my son is the time of my life.

Back to the job thing, it's actually kind of eating at me. With all the time I have to peruse the internet these days I have actually gone looking for a less demanding one (My current job requires ~10 hour days, some weekends, it's one of those law firm gigs where you're a slave to the billable hour). Not very seriously, just browsing to see what's out there. And there are some options I think I would like and that would accord me more time with my family, but that would also mean a 50% pay cut. Part of me thinks "seize the day," grab the opportunity, any chance to trade up in terms of happiness in your job is a good trade as long as you aren't being paid less than you're paying to daycare (while this may not be true for everyone, it's true for me because for me I don't think any job would beat SAHM). But the other, more responsible part of me thinks I should stay the course, do what I can in my current position given the new pressures on my time and see what happens. Milk the current paycheck for a while until 'they' either start suggesting that I find something new or I reach the point where I can't handle it anymore. I have a pretty serious work ethic, I'm kind of stubborn in that regard, so I bet I'll stick it out until I get 'iced' out because I have to leave every evening at 5:30. And then I'll gladly find something else to do. Why does the more responsible choice also seem kind of passive aggressive? Maybe because the more responsible choice isn't the most responsible choice...which would be to get my ass on the partner track...which is not going to happen. It's not worth it.

Anyway, back to my birthday. Not only wasn't I disappointed at being thirty, I also wasn't sad that no one made a big deal about it. My mom gave me a check. I don't even think my dad called me... I got some facebook well-wishes. That's about it. DH and I don't really do presents, and when we do, it entails telling each other what we want and sometimes we even end up shopping for our own gift which is always something we would have gotten around that time anyway. In other words, we don't really do gifts. We get things we need and rename them 'birthday presents' because they happen to be needed around the time of our birthdays. This year I 'gave' DH a pair of running shoes for his birthday. Nevermind that we didn't get them until three months after his birthday and that we went shopping for them together. One year, when we moved into our new house and didn't have a TV, I gave him a TV. A 73-incher that DH still insists was a gift to myself because I am a total addict. Most years we don't get each other anything at all. We are very low-key about holidays in general. No xmas presents. No big anniversary bashes or valentine's day celebrations, I'd say we're 'too practical' but I know that's what people say when they know they're bordering on sad and unromantic. It's more that we don't like receiving gifts that we don't really need paid for with our own pooled funds enough to make it worth trying to think up gifts to get each other with the same funds and we would rather spend the money on things we both agree that we need. It is a little unromantic though. Luckily DH spent the seven years that we dated discovering that jewelry was an easy win in the gift department (and we did do gifts back then) so the fact that I don't get gifts from him anymore isn't such a bummer in that respect.

Upon the birth of our baby I decided that, for my birthday, instead of a tattoo I'd settle for something less invasive and painful but perhaps just as predictable. An initial necklace. One of those little letters standing for your baby's first name, usually diamond (or CZ) encrusted. I found the one I wanted in both real ($450) and fake ($38) and decided the fake would be perfectly adequate. I'm a parent now. I may have spent $450 on a purse six months ago but it's time to get real. I have a house to pay off and a person to raise. It's not about me anymore. So I told DH my idea and he literally jumped off the couch and ran to get a little gold pendant his grandmother had given him years ago which actually bore our baby's initials - probably because our baby's initials are also DH's initials. I put it on a tiny, almost invisible gold chain and I have to say, it's grown on me. I don't wear a lot of gold which could be a problem but I'm actually a fan of the idea of having something more unique and meaningful than a roberto coin charm (not that I would turn one down)...but then again, those little letters are adorable and would go well with my usual jewelry style. I told him I'd use the one he gave me for when I wear gold and get the silver one - actually it's rhodium (which frankly, I think is the most underestimated of all jewelry metals) for when I wear silver. But I never did order the silver one. I don't know if I'm being responsible or more sentimental than usual, or if I'm just realizing that being 'cheap' isn't always being cheap, sometimes it's more of a sort of buhddist contentment with less crap which actually I could use a lesson in. But the verdict is out on whether I'm going to hit that "place order" button.

So all in all the day passed without much 'to-do.' And I was actually relieved. This whole year has been about me. At least the last nine months. I'm the only one in my circle of friends and in my family that was pregnant at the time. I was carrying my parents' first grandchild. DH was an only child so same there - although his parents are gone his (very large) extended family made a huge deal over the situation to the point of embarrasment. One of my friends said my baby shower was by far the nicest she'd ever been to and that it was more like a wedding than a shower. And this friend is preppy, so that's saying a lot. It was like a wedding. It was ridiculous. There are people in my family who have sent three plus different sets of baby gifts - like one when they found out about the pregnancy, one for the shower, one when he arrived, one when they came to visit... I have never been particularly good at being the center of attention. I don't like it as much as some people do - I get insecure and embarrassed, like who the F am I to deserve this ridiculous show. So as you can imagine, after almost a year of this, I've had enough of it being about me. I'm sick of myself. And I really didn't want people spending more money or time on me. There was just no need. If for no other reason than because I have everything I need. Figuratively and literally.


  1. going back to work was reeeeeeally good for me, as a matter of fact, i'm hoping to start working more soon since i'm only working half-time now and soon i will be paying for full-time daycare. that being said, when you are making your decision remember that you will never get these years back, will working 50+ hours/week provide you with a satisfying amount of time with your family? it's ok if the answer is yes and it's ok if it's no too, everybody is different, we all lead different lifestyles and whatever we choose is what's right for us. i thought i wanted to be a sahm but i actually find going to work rewarding now, i never really did before. i still think i would have enough time with louise if i were working full-time, we shall see.

  2. My DH & I are sort of similar to you guys. We don't do big gifts to one another. We did buy a TV 2 years ago and that was the last BIG purchase. Last Christmas, we considered my pregnancy a gift. For this Christmas, it's all about the it should be. I hear you about taking the spotlight off of *me* for once and turn it somewhere else.

    I'm still going back & forth on the SAHM dilema. I can't really afford to quit but at the same time, I miss work. I miss the interaction. But I still miss my baby. Perhaps working from home could be an option...but I don't think it is.

    Hang in there.

  3. I hope everything is going on well.