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Sunday, July 22nd, 2012
Well, we’re all moved in up here in Massachusetts, and it’s safe to say it’s been… quite the adjustment for Caroline.
We’re pretty much unpacked, which helps some. I made sure that her room was completely set up the first day I moved, before my parents even brought her to the new place, to give her some sense of stability.
I got the rest of the house set up as quickly as I could for the nanny, who started with two 12-hour days immediately after we moved in. Sigh… I think that was a mistake on my part. The house was in a state of chaos, the days were long, and they had only met each other once before. I should have done half days at work or something rather than my usual 11-hour Monday and Tuesday. By Tuesday afternoon, Caroline was a mess, and I had to hand off my 6:00 patient to one of the other doctors so that I could come home early. After two days at home with me, she was better, but it’s still just… a lot to handle. She’s insecure, going through a lot of transitions, and no nanny in the world, no matter how awesome, is going to take the place of her mom right now.
At least having the nanny start immediately after a move has set the bar pretty low for my housekeeping (or lack thereof) for the rest of the summer. (Silver lining?)
All in all… I’m happy to be here, and to be starting out on our new life, but… I am tired, you guys. I just started a new job, Caroline is so clingy and freaked out by the move that the only time I really have had to unpack is after she’s in bed, so it’s been slow going and I haven’t sat down in about a week. My feet are so swollen that I only have a couple of pairs of shoes I can wear, and she doesn’t sleep much at night so she’s either thrashing around in my bed with me, or running screaming down the hall to my room because she wakes up and doesn’t know where she is.
My bedroom, of course, is the only part of the house that’s a wreck at this point. I’ll get to it when I get to it. My room, and my feet, and in general my sanity, are the least of my worries right now.
I repeat. I am tired. I have no help– my parents are in Ireland, Tyler is gone, and I can’t possibly ask the nanny to do more than I already do.
Once we’re completely set up, and she’s adjusted, it will be fine. It will be pretty much perfect. I have an amazing job and a paycheck and awesome coworkers and a great new place to live. We’ve just got to get through this transition period… and I need to sit down, and sleep for more than 45 minutes at a stretch. Which I will do. Sometime. Soon.
Any advice on helping a child adjust to a new home, state, childcare situation, diet, father who’s moved away, and/or all of the above, would be much appreciated.
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Saturday, July 14th, 2012
Tomorrow is Moving Day. Goodbye Connecticut, hello Massachusetts. Caroline and I are outta here.
First of all, I need to just get it off my chest that moving out of state with a three year old is most definitely not a one-person job. I can confirm it. I’m so deliriously tired that I probably will not even remember writing this post after tonight. It’s been kind of a perfect storm of craziness around here these days. I started my new job in private practice two weeks ago, I’ve been painting the new place and packing to move, Tyler hasn’t been around and won’t be again, Caroline is leaving her old preschool and I’m having a new nanny start, and I had to radically change Caroline’s diet. She is kind of a mess, I’ll be honest with you. She doesn’t do well with transitions. And we’re dealing with a lot of them, all at once.
“Kind of a mess” in preschooler terms translates to constantly throwing tantrums, screaming NO regardless of what I’m saying, clinging to me with a death grip, and unpacking everything I try to pack. Thank goodness for my parents. They live an hour away, but they are there when I need them. I literally could not have done this alone.
But now everything is packed, and the movers are coming tomorrow, and we are leaving this place for good. This living room is soon to be empty again. Even though Caroline’s lived her whole life here so far, I have to say I won’t miss it.
I’m ready for my fresh start.
I absolutely love my new job. It couldn’t be a better fit for me, honestly. Everyone there is so nice, the practice runs so smoothly, and I feel like I am doing good work for good people. I’m only working three days a week, so I have a lot more time to spend with Caroline than I did during residency. I got my first paycheck, so money is no longer a constant stress. Our new house is bigger and brighter than our tiny dark apartment, and has a yard for Caroline to play in.
It was not easy for me to finish dental school in the middle of a divorce and with an unexpected baby and to go through a residency as a single mother. But I did it, and I’m proud of it, and I feel like all of my hard work is finally paying off… for me, and for my daughter.
I’m pretty sure that once things settle down, there won’t be a whole lot more we could ask for. So hold on, Caroline. I haven’t quite got things put together yet… but we’re headed for a better life.
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Apartment, Caroline, milestones, Money, Moving, Nannies, Preschool, Single Parenting, Tyler, Visitation, Work | Categories:
Caroline, Single Parenting, Unexpectedly Expecting, Work/Life Balance
Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012
Well, after all kinds of back and forth and craziness regarding my future employment, I can finally say that I’ve settled on something and gotten a job.
An awesome job. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s about as good as this whole “job” thing gets. (I wouldn’t know. I’m 28 and have been in school for-literally-effing-ever, so I have never had a real one before.)
I’m going to be an associate at a private practice in Massachusetts, about 45 minutes from where Caroline and I live now. It’s a busy and successful practice with two other super-nice young doctors who also have kids, the office is beautiful, and my hours are perfect: Monday and Tuesday 8-7, and Friday 8-5. I’ll have to find a sitter I trust to pick her up on my long days, but this will leave me four full days of the week to spend with Caroline. And this poor child has been in daycare from 7:15am to 5:30pm nearly every day of her life since I went back to dental school and then residency, two and a half years ago. I am so excited to actually make a comfortable living and still be able to spend more time with my daughter… particularly since her father is moving eight hours away, and I’m sure she’s going to be somewhat… out of sorts.
Basically, it’s my dream come true, I think. I have worked so hard for this.
So all of that is a huge relief and very exciting. I’ll be finishing my residency at the end of June and starting at this practice in early July, assuming I can get a Massachusetts license by then, because as it turns out, it is the most giant pain in the butt ever to acquire a Massachusetts dental license. I need to pass a physical and take a legal exam and get a passport photo taken and donate a kidney and give up my firstborn child and wait, I’m not even sure what we’re talking about anymore, but all of that seems reasonable, no? Thanks a lot, Massachusetts. We might never be friends.
Caroline and I also found the most adorable house for rent ever, located in a fancy-pantsy town nearby, so we are waiting to hear back about whether or not we are cool enough to live there. I suspect we might not be, seeing as how I have been known in the past to forget to pay my bills until whatever I’m not paying for gets shut off (well played, cable company) and I am a scandalously single young mom. But, we will see.
So, things are looking pretty good for me and Caroline these days. As my friend says, “Great kid, great job, great future– only one piece is missing now, Jules…” She means men, of course, and although I have pretty phenomenally terrible luck in that category, I’m sure that someday, all of that will work itself out, too.
And if it doesn’t? That’s okay. Because I’ve got my dream job… and I’ve got my baby.
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Apartment, Breakups, Caroline, Dating, Dentistry, Friends, milestones, Moving, Private practice, Residency, Single Parenting | Categories:
Caroline, Residency, Single Parenting, Unexpectedly Expecting, Work/Life Balance
Thursday, April 19th, 2012
I made my decision about what to do with my life. Finally. After this, I will quit talking about it. Promise.
I told myself the other night that once Caroline was in bed, I was going to sit down on my couch and figure out what I was doing once and for all. I’ve been going around in circles for months and nothing is going to change, I’m not going to have any sudden epiphanies… I needed to just sit down and reason it out and decide.
So I did.
I’m not joining the Army. I’m not moving to DC with Tyler, where he’s accepted a postdoctoral position. I’m not staying here in my apartment, either. I’m going to look around New England for jobs, try to stay within a reasonable distance of my family and friends so that I don’t lose my support system, and I’m going to move wherever I find a job that I am happy with. And because my program director was kind enough to offer, I’m going to stay in my residency until the end of the summer to take the pressure off of immediately finding a new job (and apartment, and preschool).
It is somewhat disappointing to let the Army thing go, but more of a relief, really. I don’t want a legal battle with Tyler, which he threatens on and off, I don’t want to be incredibly far away from my family and friends, I don’t want to risk being sent away from my daughter to serve in a war that my hippie self will undoubtedly not believe in… I don’t want to be away from her at all, really. I guess the truth is that as the reality of the situation approaches, and sets in, that career choice is not worth the sacrifice to me. I will still be a dentist no matter what I do. And if the idea of nine weeks away from her for training makes me want to cry, then I can’t even imagine up to a year or more of deployment…
Whenever I am faced with a decision in my life, I think I am often drawn to do the crazy thing. The thing that most people are afraid to do, or wouldn’t choose. I take a lot of pride in it, for some perverse reason. I’m afraid that this is one of those things that I would do simply for the reason that it is different, and that I would regret it (and its effect on my daughter), and I’d still have years stretching out ahead of me with an unbreakable commitment to the military…
I made list after list and thought about pros and cons and all kinds of logical things. And it helped me make the decision, I’ll admit. But what I couldn’t get out of my head was this:
I had picked Caroline up from Tyler’s place on Sunday afternoon after she had spent the weekend there. I was giving her a bath that night, and from out of nowhere she looked at me and said, “At night time at Daddy’s house, when it starts getting dark, I sit on the rug and I think about Mama.”
I can’t risk leaving her. I just can’t. Not for my career. Not for anything. She would be traumatized and I would be miserable.
Maybe I’m finally growing up. (Just kidding. That’ll never happen.)
I do need a change, though, so I’m going to move somewhere else in New England. Honestly, if Tyler were moving permanently to DC, I would probably pick up and move there too, just so she could have as full of a relationship with her father as possible. But even he admits that he is most likely going to bounce from postdoc to postdoc for years on end, so I am going to put off relocating with him until he’s settled down, and then I’ll see where I’m at in my life and reevaluate the situation.
It feels good to have a plan, and one that I am happy with. I came within mere inches of doing the crazy thing, but I am turning my back on it and walking away. It sounds a little anticlimactic from the outside, maybe… but I think it’s the perfect solution, and I couldn’t be more at peace with the whole thing.
I get to have my new start, and I don’t have to leave my baby. I don’t know why it took me so long to get here, but I’m glad that I did, in the end.
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Apartment, Caroline, Custody, Dentistry, Divorce, Military, Moving, Residency, Single Parenting, Tyler, Visitation | Categories:
Caroline, Must Read, Residency, Single Parenting, Unexpectedly Expecting, Work/Life Balance
Tuesday, February 7th, 2012
Ever since the HSD debacle, I haven’t felt very enthusiastic about or interested in dating at all, which I think anyone would agree is understandable. Still, when a friend told me recently that she had the “perfect” guy for me, I figured, hey, why not give it a shot? He was a bit younger than me and didn’t have kids, and if I’m going to date I would prefer to date another single parent for all kinds of reasons. But as long as I don’t get Caroline involved again, which you can bet your last pair of mom-jeans I will not, what do I have to lose but time?
Oh, and also my last shred of dignity? There’s always that to be lost. Well, there was. It’s gone, now.
It started out fine. Pretty great, in fact. He asked me to go to this place where there was not only a bar but also all these kid-type games like mini golf and skeeball and a climbing wall, et cetera. We had a great time and had tons to talk about. It went so well that when he invited me back to his place to hang out with his friends, I accepted. (Because, again, why not?) I followed his car back to his place, and that’s where I realized I had made some kind of… miscalculation.
I walked in the door and met his two roommates, who were very nice, just like he was. But the place reeked of smoke, and not the cigarette kind. There were giant speakers scattered around the floor, recycling bins overflowing with beer cans, a hookah sitting on a scarred kitchen table, beer pong “house rules” tacked to the wall, and above the fireplace was a giant whiteboard with a single word scrawled across it in dry-erase black marker: DIARRHEA.
(Well… at least it was spelled correctly?)
One of his roommates rolled by me (yes, in the house) on a Razor scooter towards the bathroom. I went to sit down in one of the chairs at the hookah table and my date grabbed my shoulder. ”Oh, not that one,” he said. “It’s only got three legs.”
“So, how long have you guys lived here?” I asked, brightly, and a little too loudly, in a desperate attempt to drown out the chorus of I’mtoooldforthisI’mtoooldforthisI’mtoooldforthis that was screaming through my brain. ”About six months,” my date said cheerfully. ”No, wait, longer than that…”
I’m not trying to be a snob, here, but really, how could I ever imagine bringing my child to a place like that if we started seriously dating? And what would he think of my place, which is usually nearly spotless and has organic kids’ snacks in the pantry and the lyrics to “You Are My Sunshine” hanging next to silver-framed smiling photos of me and my daughter on the wall?
Really, the last straw was the awkward moment where he playfully whacked me with a couch pillow and blood started gushing from my nose. ”Oh my God, I’m so sorry,” he gasped. “Captain Take-It-Too-Far over here. Are you okay??” ”I’m fine,” I insisted, peering at him as I tilted my head back and applied pressure to staunch the flow. “I’ll send you the bill for my transfusion.” (Awe. Some. This sh*t only happens to me. On dates.)
And yet he was such a cool and funny guy and throughout the few dates we had, we never ran out of things to say to each other. In the end I broke it off because I just couldn’t see it going anywhere– he seemed far too uncomfortable with the fact that I had a child, and I couldn’t get past the fact that we were in such different places in our lives. He seemed a little hurt at first, but quickly agreed that he wasn’t ready to date someone who was already a mom.
I’m in such a strange place in life, you guys. Being a mom defines me to such a degree that I would really prefer to date men who also have children, because they understand me and my priorities in a way that people who don’t have children never could. But I’m also young enough that I still really like to have fun… so 35-year-olds who have kids and go to bed by 10pm on weekends (like HSD) aren’t a good fit for me, either. I used to have a different life, back in college, like the guy in this post… and I loved it at the time, and sometimes I miss it, but I don’t want to go back and I don’t want to date someone who is still there, either. As I told him when I broke things off, I think that for younger guys who don’t have kids, my life might be a nice place to visit, but they probably wouldn’t want to live there.
So, it turns out that I’m extending my break from dating– indefinitely. Whatever happens will happen, but my life is apparently incapable of being non-crazy even when I’m not looking for anything… so who knows what unbelievable situation I’ll end up in next. (Stay tuned for the next episode of “Hey, At Least You’re Not Julia”.)
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