Back to “Normal”

A little over two years  ago (November 8, 2011 to be exact), I ventured back out into the working world. After working from home for 12 years and seeing my kids through diapers, sleepless nights, first steps, Nickelodeon on the TV 24/7, more sicknesses than I can count, first days of school, etc., it was time. And I found a perfect job for me, not too far from my small town in West Virginia, which was very surprising… not a huge demand for editor types who are obsessed with commas around here!

So when I was offered a job as a legal proofreader, on third shift, I didn’t hesitate to accept it. I knew the third shift thing would take some getting used to, but I’ve always been a night owl, and it actually worked BETTER than a first shift position would have, because I didn’t have to worry about before/after care for my kids… or who would watch them during Christmas Break or when they got sick, etc. Nick and I would be able to tag-team parent with our opposite work schedules… I would still see my family in the evenings, I’d just sleep while they were at work/school and I’d work while they slept. Sounded pretty perfect, actually.

Well, it was far from perfect. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it was a nightmare. And even though there ARE some conveniences to working third shift, it was in no way worth it for me. The cons absolutely outweighed the pros. For almost two years, I was a walking zombie. Sleeping during the day is just not natural, and I was never able to sleep for more than 2-3 hours in one stretch. When I wasn’t at work, I had no time for anything other than TRYING to sleep (and failing most of the time). I was tired and grumpy and became a horrible mother, wife, friend, etc. When the weekend came, I spent more than half of it unconscious, trying to catch up on the sleep I missed out on all week. And my relationships suffered, all of them. Looking back, I feel like I really lost myself on third shift in many ways.

A few months ago, I was fortunate enough to switch my schedule to first shift. An EARLY first shift even… so I now get home from work at the same time my kids are getting home from school. And Nick goes to work later than I do, so he’s able to get the kids up and off to school every day. So we’re still doing the tag-team parenting thing, but now, I’m back in a normal rhythm… sleeping at night when it’s actually dark, next to my snoring husband; spending an evening with my family, not consumed with squeezing in an extra hour of sleep before I head to work for the night; enjoying and appreciating sunlight that comes through the window during the day, instead of cursing it.

I can’t even express what a difference this has made. And how grateful I am that that period in my life, my time as a third shifter, is a thing of the past. I have promised myself, and my family, that I will never put myself, or them, through that again. If it’s a choice between being unemployed and working nights, I will gladly clip coupons, turn off our cable, or sell an organ before I will go back there, to that dark place and that dark version of myself. If I had known two years ago what I was getting into, I wouldn’t have been so quick and excited to accept that position. I look at it now as a learning experience… a very painful one that I’m glad we all survived and thankfully don’t have to live with anymore.

 

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‘Tis the Season

Every year I look forward to this holiday season. And I have big plans, every year, to REALLY get “into” it and make it a special holiday season for my family… and for me. And every year I kind of fail in this department. I’m not a very festive person… probably because I’m a very lazy person. And although the dozens of Christmas Crafts that I pin on Pinterest look fabulous, I don’t actually follow through with many (any?) of them.

It’s funny how the holiday season changes for a person as you get older. Of course it’s magical, and the best thing ever, when you’re a kid and everything you ever dreamed of appears under the Christmas tree on December 25th. And then you get a little older and realize it’s really NOT magic, but still, lots of things you dream of still end up under the tree, anyway. And at some point GIVING replaces receiving, and then the magic happens when you find that perfect gift for someone (or several someones). Then maybe you become a parent and Christmas becomes ALL about creating the magic for your children… suddenly you don’t buy for other family members, or even for your spouse. Every spare cent and ounce of creative energy goes to making sure your kids have The Best Christmas Ever, because you feel like that’s all you can do. Christmas is nice at this point (mostly nice for your kids), but something seems missing. Christmas becomes very anti-climactic and more of a hassle (and a drain on your bank account) than anything.

So, that’s the stage I’ve reached. Nick and I have never really exchanged Christmas gifts. And we don’t usually buy for our parents or siblings or friends. And our kids don’t buy gifts for… anyone. They’re all about receiving. And that’s 100% our fault because that’s what their Christmas has been about for the last 13/10 years, at our direction.

This year, my big goal for the holiday season is to introduce my kids to the magic of giving AND receiving. We’re going to actually EXCHANGE gifts this year, with each other and hopefully with others we love. Of course, I also hope to address more of the spirit of Christmas and the meaning behind it and that it’s not ALL about gifts. And maybe I’ll actually work on some of those Christmas Crafts that I’ve been pinning on Pinterest, too.

Christmas CAN still be magical. I’m sure of it.

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Revival

re·viv·al  n.  A restoration to use, acceptance, activity, or vigor after a period of obscurity or quiescence.

I’ve been thinking for quite some time that I need to revive my little blog. I’m not exactly sure why I stopped blogging regularly… I suspect that my Facebook obsession might have something to do with it. When you post several times a day (okay, sometimes several times an hour!) about every minute detail of your life, for all the world to see, it seems kind of redundant to then write blog posts about the same things. Although, my wise father said to me once, years ago, when he noticed Facebook taking over that “Facebook is no replacement for your blog!” And, in many ways, he was right.

Lately I’ve been missing my blog and the act of blogging. So, even if some of my posts might seem “redundant,” I’ve decided I don’t care. I love Facebook, and have no plans to quit posting there, but there’s something more personal and more fulfilling about writing blog posts. Maybe it’s because there seems to be a lot of criticism lately on Facebook, about what one should post… how much information is too much information? Does anyone really care what you had for breakfast or that it’s snowing outside your window or that you’re tired or that you hate your dogs/children/husband/coworkers today? Honestly, the judgment and criticism wears me out sometimes. I hate that every time I post a new status, there’s a little voice inside my head saying, “should you really post that, Erin? What will THEY think??” I realize that my blog is just as public as my Facebook timeline (MORE public, actually), but still it feels “safer” here… my little corner of the Internet, my rules… love it or leave it. Easy enough, right? Plus, blogging was always therapeutic for me in the past. So, while I love to know that other people read and sometimes even like what I post, mostly I’m doing this for me. Because a girl can never have too much therapy!

I’ve been thinking that my New  Year’s resolution would be to revive my blog, and mean it, and keep up with it for a change. But, tonight, I was inspired and thought, “why wait for the new year??” So, here I am, wayyyy past my bedtime, blogging.

And it feels good. 🙂

 

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Taylor 2013

Saturday, July 6, 2013… Avery and I spent another magical evening with one of our favorite people in the world — Taylor Swift! And 57,000 other screaming fans, of course.

Of course it was the hottest day of the summer (so far). Of course we parked 5 miles away from Heinz Field and walked FOREVER in that heat. But it was worth it. The concert was fabulous. Avery was thrilled. And now I can proudly claim to be Mom of the Year!

I thought it would be fun to compare pics from our first Taylor concert, in 2011, to pics from this year.

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Clearly we had much better seats two years ago! But the experience was pretty much the same, no matter the view!

Avery and I had a great evening in Pittsburgh with Taylor and friends. And, this tired mom is really glad that Taylor only tours every 2 years!! 😉

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Today

1. Today is a good great day.

2. There’s a lot I could be sad, unhappy, and/or angry about, but I’m learning that it’s solely up to me to choose to be happy. Today, I’m choosing happiness.

3. The power to make that choice is pretty… well… AMAZING.

4. I’ve also chosen to stay in my pajamas all day… which also makes me happy.

5. I just heard my son’s laughter from the other room. And that pretty much makes my day good great PERFECT.

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Bloglovin

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Not really sure what I’m doing… think I’m trying to “claim” my blog, whatever exactly that means! Anyone else use Bloglovin’??

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Bout of Books: Day Two Update

First of all, I have to say that I’m sooo stinkin’ excited to actually be reading again!! I was in a wicked slump for weeks… and the Bout of Books Readathon has totally jumpstarted my reading this week! 🙂 It’s helping that work has been super slow, so I’ve had hours upon hours to spend reading at my desk all night.

After two days, I’ve finished two books (The Sweetest Dark by Shana Abe and One Week Girlfriend by Monica Murphy) and I’m almost halfway through a third (Second Chance Boyfriend by Monica Murphy). So… 2.5 books and 935 pages down. Lots to go!!!

I’ve one participated in one challenge so far, and I’m hoping to do more at some point. Also would love to catch a Twitter chat but I haven’t been around for those yet, unfortunately.

Posted in books, Bout of Books, Read-A-Thon | 1 Comment