Monday, October 1, 2012

Break, or Lack Thereof. And Some Really Good Friends.

In the understatement of the year I confess I've been out of sorts recently. Z is traveling a bit for work this fall and I start to get pretty jealous when that happens. Listen, I made the choice to stay at home with the boys. Z has totally supported me, he'd also support me if I said that I wanted to go back to work full time tomorrow. It's extraordinary to have someone who really wants you to be happy as a spouse. But even though I made the choice to be a SAHM I think of Z getting to stay in hotels, meeting up with friends in the cities he travels to and I'm eaten up with envy. Turns out he is going to NYC for a conference this weekend. He gets to stay in a swanky hotel in Soho and a former bandmate arranged for him to play a show at a bar in Brooklyn on Friday night. 

It's hard to live so far from family. We are fortunate enough to get to visit our people a lot and both sets of our parents come up here several times a year, but the day to day getting to do stuff together as a couple is pretty difficult without family to help. We are operating on one salary and getting a sitter for the night combined with whatever we would plan to do gets expensive very fast. Our anniversary was almost a month ago and we still haven't gone out to dinner to celebrate. 

On top of the logistics stuff is the fact that I've made some pretty specific choices about how I want to parent. I wouldn't say I suscribe to one particular method of child rearing, Z and I pick and choose what works for our family. The only nights I've spend away from T are the ones I was in the hospital having C. And I've not yet been away from C overnight. It is important to me to nurse C until he is at least 18 months (T's age when weaned due to my milk drying up because I was pregnant again), and hopefully until he is 2. So overnight trips are pretty hard right now. At the same time I really need a fucking 24 hour break from parenting. I know I'm being a whiney brat and I know I have it pretty damn good, but I've haven't had a full day off since T was born more than three years ago. I get that is what parenthood is, I do. I get that this is what I signed up for. But holy fucking shit, if I am going to be any good to the boys in the long run I need a short break. 

I have a friend who had to travel for work when her son was still a baby. I admired the hell out of her, because it was clearly very difficult. She exclusively nursed and would arrange the whole trip around pumping, sometimes standing in the handicap stall of disgusting public restrooms when she could find nowhere else to go. She fought with TSA agents over how they would test her milk as she went through airport security. The stress of her job combined with the stress of being away from her son and still producing milk for him was epic. And yet, she confided to me that at the end of the day when she got to put on the big fluffy hotel robe and watch the TV in bed and then SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT that it was pretty damn spectacular. Honestly, I don't think it made the trips worth it to her, but it was a decent consolation prize for traveling. 

Z works during his trips, I don't mean to sell them as vacations. But he also gets to play pretty hard on some of them. I want to play, too. I want a night in a Soho hotel with him, I want to see him perform in a shitty bar in Brooklyn and get rip roaring drunk and drown my hangover in a bacon egg and cheese on a bagel the next morning from Bergen Bagels. So a few weeks ago we asked our moms if it was possible for either of them to come up for the weekend. And it wasn't. Because they both have lives and they aren't at our beck and call. Hell, they do a tremendous amount for us. We continue to be horribly spoiled by both of them. 

Then last week our closest friends here volunteered to watch the boys overnight so I could join Z for the show. Their offer made me cry. It made me feel like we do have family here in Syracuse. But it also made me think about the logistics of the trip and I couldn't wrap my head around making the nursing thing right for C. And then C got really sick, it presented like strep, white patches on the throat and all, but he tested negative. It's the third time he's had a virus in his throat since spring. He had a high fever, vomiting, and a rash. He also stopped eating solids because his throat hurt so much, all he wanted was the boob. You know what you do when your almost 13 month old wants to nurse like a newborn when he's really sick? You roll with it. And you realize that you can't leave him overnight a week later even though you really really want to. But at the end of the day it is amazing to realize we have friends who have turned into family here in Syracuse to rely on in the future. That's a pretty huge gift. 

Maybe we can get a night alone when we travel to see family in December. We'll already be down there by my birthday. Or Z will be back in NYC for work at the beginning of May, maybe we wait until then so the hotel is paid for by somebody else (one of the big draws of this weekend). In the meantime Z is pretty great about giving me breaks on the weekend. I'm just a little freaked out by how short my fuse has gotten. Figuring out how to do right by the boys and by myself still seems pretty damn impossible. But one thing I do know is that a sick kid trumps all. 

Hey, if you're in Brooklyn this Friday go support my guy! Z is playing at Brooklyn Rod and Gun in Williamsburg. He's supposed to go on at 9:30, so you know, he should be playing by 11pm.

C in an awesome alpaca sweater from Bolivia. I think all four Cordano cousins have worn it. 

I can't keep clothes on this kid, no matter that it is October in Syracuse.

Laundry baskets make the best toys. You know, hanging out with these boys isn't all bad...


  1. Karen, I wish we were closer! I would totally swap kids with you so we could each go out with our husbands! Plus, I am often widowed by Dave's job as well, so I get exactly what you are saying. :)

    1. I wish that, too! Glad it resonated with you, that's why I write it!

  2. You're not whining AT ALL, my dear. I remember being at the stage you're at (my boys are 5 and 6 now) and being so, so desperate about needing any kind of break, but failing to rationalize that against my own choices about being present for my kids. It's HARD - there's simply no other word for it. And I too have a husband who travels, which is not his favorite thing in the world, but I sure do envy him the uninterrupted sleep when he does. Deep breaths, time under a quilt, and some sort of little treat for yourself if you can - take it where you can get it. :)

    1. Thanks, Gayle. And yes, the fridge is stocked with Lindor chocolate truffles...It's tricky to write about this particular subject without sounding like a woe-is-me self identified martyr. I made some specific choices, and those choices have repercussions. I appreciate your comment because 5 and 6 don't feel impossibly far away. I think there is a 50% chance I'll get there without having a major breakdown...