Bump and Business

Being a mom, a wife and a business woman

I want to write

I just saw this book on Amazon. Actually, I saw a shared post on Facebook that directed me to an article on “The New York Times” website and that linked to a book on Amazon. So, I saw this book on Amazon. And I really shouldn’t be on Amazon that much. I mean, there are SO MANY shops out there worthy of being supported. Like the really tiny ones where someone’s dream once came true when they started out and they had this plan to really make it with their little business just off of main street in the small town where they live. But it turns out, off of main street in a small town is just a bit too off-of to make a living of.

I want to write.

Writing the last paragraph just made me smile and I haven’t smiled a lot recently, most specifically not at work. I do smile at home, becuase having a 17-month-old in the house requires you to smile. That’s not because anyone is forcing you to smile, you just can’t help it because they do such funny stuff that just makes you smile. You’re required to. Hormones or whatever make you. You can’t do anything against it.

So back to the small business… what was I saying? Oh, so I really want to support them. I do. But then you go in, and it smells all funny, and sometimes that funny smell brings up nice memories of your childhood when most shops were small and all smelled funny, but sometimes it’s just a sad smell. The smell of something forgotten, not meant to be.

Is my writing not meant to be or am I just an idiot for not doing it? Does my writing stink like a small store that’s not meant to be?

You go in, and you find something that is somewhat what you’ve been looking for, yet not entirely. Say, you wanted to buy a rucksack and you find a duffle-bag. It suits the purpose, but it’s not what you really wanted. Or you find a rucksack, but it’s in a really odd color. I end up debating with myself if I should buy it regardlessly. To support the small man. To make the little store last a little longer.

And sometimes I do, because I can’t stand putting the item back  into its place and look into the storekeeper’s sad eyes as I wander out saying something like: “Thank you very much, maybe next time.”
If I was the keeper of a small store, I’d hate “next time”. You know there’s not going to be a next time. Because it smells funny in your shop and you only sell rucksacks in really strange colors and Amazon offers all the wide range of stuff people may want and you might as well just not unlock the door the next morning to wait through another day of “Next time”s and not hear the sound of the register ring once, only the bell of the door anouncing another visitor who will leave without buying anything.

Alright, so I should buy my books in the store in the town just two miles over.

But paper doesn’t synch with my Kindle. Why do I even have a Kindle? Because I was given one. And it would be silly not to use it now that it’s already there, wouldn’t it? What else should I do? Already, precious materials have been used to produce it. Laborers have been exploited to assemble it. CO2 has been spread to transport it from production site to storage site to my home. I could buy a book in actual paper instead, but that would mean I also add to diminishing the woods of this wonderful planet, even though I have an alternative option already at hand.
So I go for the Kindle version of the book and that brings me to Amazon.
Other providers also synch with Kindle, you say? Ok, cool. I don’t have time and capacity on my hands to research that, but if someone would like to provide me with that intel, please do. I don’t have a strong inner need to further Jeff Bezos’ wealth, I’d much rather spend my money elsewhere.

Which brings me back to where I started: I found this book, and from tomorrow it will be on my Kindle, of a mother of two basically ranting about her life. Spelling it out like this, I wonder why I want to read this book.

I’m a mother of one and have plenty to rant about.

Which is what brings me back to the pupose of this post. I want to write, yet I can’t seem to get down to it. There are always more pressing things taking up my time. Like household chores. And sleep. Not too much of that, but also work. As in “sit in the office, do stuff someone else wants me to do”. And other such daily routines. I do want to write, I always have.

I read a LinkedIn Insider post by Ryan Holmes this morning, about how we neglect the wishes we had when we were 10, to do something “sensible” with our lives. But more and more people are stuck in jobs that look really great on your resume and also pay the bills really well, but are never satisfied.

I am one of them.

There, I said it.

The job I’m currently at is the fifth in roughly 9 years. I didn’t want to be a job-hopper when I first started out, but I also never wanted to stay in a job that didn’t fulfull me. Because I work in marketing and the going is very rough in marketing if your mind and heart’s not in it.

Friends and family, people I graduated university with, look at me and wonder why I’m constantly changing jobs. Well, I wish I didn’t. And I envy all of you if you’re as satisfied as you say you are. Good for you. Truly. But I’m not. Never have been.

Maybe the thing that I should be doing is right here, at my fingertips, literally.


This whole “being a mom”-thing

As my daughter is now a little over six months old, I’ve been a mom for a little over six months. Before you become a mom (or a parent for that matter), you get told a lot of things about how it’s going to be. And as will all advice and opinions, some of it you find to be true and some just plain wrong. Today, I would like to share some of the things I had been told that are complete bullshit (to me).

  1. You know how when someone else’s kid pukes all over itself or shits their diapers etc. and everybody tells you you won’t mind if it’s you own? This is just not true. Not at all.
    Granted, I’m way less grossed out by my daughter’s poop than by anybody else’s feces, but that doesn’t mean her sh** don’t stink. But I have to deal with it and willingly do so. Same with the puke. It drives me mad if she spits up most of what I just fed her and it reeks, too. But again: I have to and willingly deal with it because that’s the job and even worse than wiping milk puke off of her face and clothes (as well as mine) would be to have it stay there.
    One of the mom’s I met even said she had to throw up once when she opened her son’s diapers.
    So no, your baby’s feces don’t smell like roses to your but you deal with it nonetheless.
  2. They say that your child’s smile makes up for EVERYTHING.
    Now, I can only half argue with this, because it does. But that doesn’t stop you from thinking: “Yeah, you little shit-brick, not you’re all smiles and happy faces, but you just made me have the worst night of my life. No wait: the worst THREE nights of my life in a row and I really, really despise you for robbing me of my sleep, and my rosy skin and my waistline for that matter, and now smiling at me like nothing ever happened. But oh, fuck it, come here, let me cuddle you, you cute little fuzz-head.”
  3. Also, you’re led to believe that it won’t bother you if your own child makes a lot of noise. Again, I do not find this to be true. However, the reason may be different. With other people’s children (on the train, in a cafe, wherever), I would be annoyed because the noise kept me from listening to music, having a conversation, taking a nap etc.
    When my own daughter makes noise, it is in fact different, because it’s asking me to do something. She cries because she needs to be fed or she whines because she’s bored and wants to be entertained. Or she babbles in the early morning in her bed and I’d much rather sleep a bit more, but she’s wide awake and ready to start the day. But she also laughs hysterically when I do belly-farts on her little tummy, and she screeches with delight when I turn on her music box.
    So your own child’s noises will disturb you, but it’s because they tell you something and it’s calling you to do something. That you child is hungry or lonely or awake or having fun. It’s their way of communicating before they have words.
  4. You won’t have time for anything.
    On this one, I’m again ambivalent, because having a baby in the house is very time-consuming and absorbs a lot of your energy. Plus, I’m probably not the best person to comment on this because my baby-girl is super-chill most of the time. She will let me run the household as long as she gets to hang with me, I get to play music (as in: play an instrument, not listening to music on the radio), chat on the phone while she’s on her play-mat right next to me. I even watched all five seasons of “House of Cards” within three weeks whenever she was taking a nap. I do the weeds with her in her stroller outside with me or on a blanket on the ground, I cook with her in her high chair watching my every move, I eat my lunch while she sits on my lap. I even planned and organized my own wedding after she was born.
    So I personally can’t agree that you don’t have time for anything, but then again I’m really fortunate.

Saturday thoughts

This morning, I went into town to do some last grocery shopping before the shops close and since calling it “this morning” is a bit of a stretch (it was past noon), I was running late for some of the stores.

Where I used to live until a few months ago, no shop would close before 7 PM, so there was no rush on a Saturday, but things are different out in the countryside. First: you have to drive to the store because it’s three kilometers away. However, second: you get a parking spot right away. A nice one. With lots of space to get in and out of the car, even with a baby. Third: shops close, and if you’re not careful you may find yourself in front go the butcher’s at 1:06 PM, which is 6 minutes too late for fresh meat.

Or is it?

Because as I was looking through the windows into the sales room, the counter fridges were still packed with fresh, raw meat, and it made me wonder. Will all this meat stay in place until Monday and still be sold? I certainly hope so because that would mean a LOT of waste if it was all to be thrown out. But also: I remember times where you would walk into a bakery or a butcher shop and they would be out of a lot of things because it was already 5 PM on a weekday or noon on a Saturday. So you had to make an effort and actually get out of the house in the morning if you wanted something in particular that they might run out of.
There was no shortage of anything in that counter fridge, in fact it looked like the store was just about to open, not close, because there was such an abundance of, well, dead animal parts.

Recently, I have had that feeling that we have too much of everything. This is probably a funny thing to say, but I crave shortages. Your favorite cake sold out, the wine you wanted unavailable. But also with regards to being able to afford all these things. Do you remember those days as a child or teenager when you had set your mind on getting something and you had to save your weekly or monthly allowance and waited for Easter, Christmas and your birthday to get some extra cash?
Whenever you wanted to purchase something else, something small, you knew it set you back some bucks on achieving the sum you needed for your big purchase. And when you finally got to it, it really was something special. You were proud to finally own that CD-player or skateboard or afford the concert ticket. Because whatever it was you fancied, you actually had to suffer a bit to get it. It made it much more valuable, way past it’s ticketed price.
Nowadays, most people I know say: “I think my TV is a bit too small. I’m going to buy a new one next weekend.” or “It’s been ages since I went on vacation. I’m taking a few days off to head to the sea.” or “Man, I’ve been wearing this winter coat for three years. I’m getting a new one this season.” And off they go and purchase it.

I’m not saying I’m any different, and I’m pretty sure my perception is from pretty lofty heights. Maybe it’s even snobby of me to say this. A solution to my “problem” could be to donate to good causes and financially support the less fortunate to such an extent that there is not so much money left over for me to spend.
Now I think I’m really an ass because a voice in my head just said: “But that’s MY money, I earned it.” Well, that’s something I can mull over for the rest of the day while it’s pouring rain outside.

Shortages are not a bad thing per se. They make you more appreciative. I think, I can let this stand.

And on my butcher-problem: I went to the supermarket down the road. Of course they were still open and had an abundance of anything I could have wanted and got my meat there.

I’m a fraud

Today in our baby play group, the topic of when us moms are planning to return to work came up and what kind of work we will or would like to be doing. I said that rather than working a regular office job, I’d want to be a writer and musician, but as that doesn’t pay the bills very well, I’ll stick with the corporate job. One of the other moms related and told me, she is just shy of finishing her first book, which she’s been working on for four years. She further inquired what kind of writing I did, which left me struggling for an answer, because fact is: I don’t write.
I’m a fucking fraud!

Yes, I have written a short story or two in the past year and there have been times when I produced a fair amount of poetry and song lyrics, but I can’t even get around to writing this blog for crying out loud! What right to I have to call myself a writer?
I like the idea of writing and I enjoy the process of it if and when time and mood permit.

But does that make me a writer? Where’s that point where you get to say you ARE something?

For certain things in life, that’s pretty obvious. Some of them I encountered very recently. You’re not someone’s wife until you’ve said “Yes”. You’re not someone’s mother until you have given birth to that someone. You’re not a shoplifter until you’ve stolen something. NOT THAT I DID THAT! The first two examples were from my life, this was just… never mind.

Anyway. In other scenarios, it’s not so clear. Are you a runner just because you go for a run every so often? Are you a great cook just because you have never poisoned someone and your family doesn’t complain? Are you a musician just because you manage to play three chords on the guitar? Are you a creep just because you sometimes watch your neighbor sunbathing through the hedge? (Well, that you really are if you do that.)

I would like to say: “Drop the ‘just because’s. Do not limit your perception of yourself by high standards! If you feel you are a seamstress because you sow something every once in a while, call yourself that. If you think of yourself as a gardener because all your potted plants are in really good shape, do that.”
I would say that to other people and mean it. But to myself? To myself I say: “Don’t fool yourself. You’re no fucking musician just because you play in a band. You only play five concerts a year! That doesn’t count.” Or, as I realized today: “Don’t call yourself a writer unless you produce at least one short story a month. Or rather two a month. And where is that book you fantasize about writing? And you want to be a writer? That’s cute.”

I wish I could be as lenient and encouraging to myself as I can be to others, and I’m pretty sure most of the people out there are the same when it comes to their own talents and activities.

Let’s take this thought into the weekend and let’s be what we want to be. I’m gonna be a writer, my next-door neighbor may choose be a sculptor and the guy down the road a really tidy person. Imagine a world where everyone is exactly what they want to be. Scary or awesome?

Back at it

As you can tell from the title of this blog, I started it when I was pregnant and still working. As there are no post from that time, you can also tell that I never got around to writing it.
Six months into being a mom and not working (parental leave, yay!), I came across the blog posts I wrote about 5 years back in my old blog, The Lion’s Den. I don’t want to brag, but I laughed a lot and really enjoyed my own writing and the memories associated with it.

Back then, it was a lot about dating and random guys I met and awkward, frustrating moments that you encounter as a single girl in your late twenties. I was doing yoga a lot and trying to improve my life, move to a better city and get ahead in my career and so on and so forth. And that was fun to read.

Now I’m a married mother of a six-month-old girl living in a suburb. When I’m not on parental leave, I hold a management position in a mid-sized international firm, my yoga practice is all but inexistent and my largest concerns are my daughter’s diapers, the weeds in our yard and what’s for dinner.
But also, I still have my career on my mind. And all the wonderful hobbies that I pursue. And the ever-present question: Am I doing everything so that – when I look back at my life 50 years from now – I won’t feel like I had my priorities wrong?

So I’m hoping this will be entertaining for the readership. I know that I will be entertained by writing, because that’s one thing I truly love. Playing with words, making stories come to life, telling the world how I see it.

As for now, I have a 6-month-old waking up next to me and looking at me with huge eyes,  waiting for me to pick her up and play with her.
Coming, sweetheart!

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