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Archive for November, 2012

A friend of mine had a baby via IVF using donor sperm, as she and her spouse couldn’t get pregnant together. Happens all the time. 

They are moving to Atlanta and are required to go through a legal adoption process, as the  donor sperm (apparently) means the baby is only technically the mom’s, as it was her egg, and not her spouse’s sperm. This requires, among other things, social worker visits to their home to determine if it is a “fit” home (btw, that cost is $700), along with all other fees associated with legal adoption, which I last heard estimated at about $10,000. 

We should be outraged, right, because that is ridiculous. Married couples have babies using donor eggs and sperm all the time, and the parentage is never legally called into question. Unless, of course, it’s two married women (which in this case it is), and then, well. Adoption for you. Please leave your $10k and understanding of “separate but equal” at the door.

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The 1.5 Career Marriage

Right after I got engaged, a career mentor of mine casually mentioned: “Marriage can survive 1.5 careers, but not 2”

He wasn’t trying to be a dick. He wasn’t suggesting that getting married was going to kill my career. He was just saying “Marriage is hard, and it’s harder when both people are hyper focused on their career.”

I have found this be true. When Mike and I both had high intensity jobs, it was hard. We struggled. Picking up my stepdaughter from summer camp at 3:30pm was an everyday conversation of “Whose job is least important today? Who can take the hit and leave early?” Continually deciding who was going to be the person to do 80% at their job in order to take care of stuff at home isn’t fun, and led to a lot of extra stress, a lot of feeling like we were failing both at work AND at home. Letting everyone down, all the time.

That’s where the 1.5 careers comes in. It’s not about not having two people who don’t work full time, or that one person’s job is any less important (financially or lifestyle wise), but more about an understanding that one person will go “all in” on their career, provided the other person can step up on the home front. It’s about expectation setting, and flexibility. I can work late when I need to, I can take that meeting in Milwaukee next Tuesday, I can be 100% at work when I’m actually at work because I know my husband has the time and flexibility in his job to make sure I’m not dropping things on the back end. I couldn’t do the job I do now, and feel comfortable that I can continue to make the living I do if I wasn’t working as part of team.

It’s working for us right now, but you know, nothing lasts forever. We check in with each other a lot; “Are you still happy? Are you bored? Is this what you want to be doing?” The answers to those questions might change, and we’ll change to accommodate. I see so much conversation about the idea of  “having it all”, but those always seem to look at a woman in a vacuum, with not a lot of discussion about the way the family is structured around it. Can women (or anyone) have it all? Sure, why not. You can have anything you want. But you can’t have everything you want, not at least all at the same time. Life, as I understand it , is a lot of give and take. I want my marriage and my family. 1.5 careers is working for us as we move forward.

(Interestingly, when we were discussing this on twitter, one woman mentioned that her being a stay at home parent IS their “1” career, and her husband’s work was the  .5. This makes total sense to me – she has four young kids, and the raising of four very young children requires her husband to have an extremely flexible job. As they grow older, she anticipates a shift in the dynamic, where she slips to the .5 and and he can rededicate to work, making his job the “1”. I love this example because it just seems to smart, and so real.)

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An Observation

I think living in DC for 12 years skewed me a bit with regards to elections. Election season in DC always seemed to be an intellectual exercise, where people weigh the pros and cons of a particular party winning and losing based on how it will impact their job and THEN their sensibilities, because, let’s face it, if you work in DC? Your job in some way revolves around which party is in charge, and if it doesn’t, then you are the only one of your friends and neighbors who can say so, so you play the game with them anyway.

This comes along with the added element of the fact that if you live in DC proper, it doesn’t matter anyway. DC never goes for the Republican party. The announce the mayor of DC after the democratic primary, for crying out loud. And that whole ‘Taxation Without Representation  isn’t just a clever licence plate tagline – it’s true: Congress holds the budget for DC programs, and we have no representation in Congress (unless you count a delegate that has no voting power, which I do not.) Any thought process or passion revolving around Senate and House races is probably because you work for a Congressman or Senator. Not because their ideals and values matter to you deeply (which is not to say that they don’t, it’s just to say how much they matter to you doesn’t matter because you’re not voting based on that; you’re not voting for them at all.)

All I am saying is: politics, when you live in DC, is an intellectual process, with much of the passion stripped out of it based on our proximity to the process itself (I asked a friend of mine who he wanted to win the election and he answered me by doing electoral college math based on various scenarios) and our lack of overall representation anyway. 

So you can imagine my surprise when I landed myself in suburban Colorado, a mere 20 miles from the Focus on Family headquarters, deep in Red country but in the heart of a swing state. There is no regard to process here, it is all passion. It’s a different experience for me; in DC it seems that you are heavily impacted by the process of electing officials, whereas out here in the middle of the country, you are impacted by the actual officials that are elected. Instead of (hypothetically) sitting in DC watching laws and policies get enacted that I disagree with and wondering how the rest of the country could get it so wrong, now I actually am the rest of the country. 

This is not to say I couldn’t get all riled up about politics before, but that now I can get riled up and I can DO something about it, and then I can chose to feel elated or crushed based on the outcome. It’s a different game.

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Important Decisions

Moose is feeling undecided about how to vote tomorrow. I know, I know, how can you be undecided? It’s crazy right? But on the one hand, he’s got a candidate that will make him share his dog biscuits, and on the other, you have one that wants to cut off his balls.

Choices.

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Tidbits

It’s Friday. I’m zonked from October, you guys, for real, so today you get tidbits from me, and you will like them.

Mike just landed in New Jersey to go camp out with the military over there and … do military stuff, I guess, in support of hurricane recovery efforts. Here’s why the military is cool: the orders came down to his reserve office that they needed a Marine in New York and the needed a Marine in New Jersey, and Mike was originally scheduled for New York, but when he told them “Hey, my daughter is in New Jersey, can I go there?” and boom yes, yes he could. Thank you, USMC, for letting my husband surprise his daughter while she is still living sans power or other normal functional life things. That was cool.

(Here’s why the military is not cool, although it seems silly to bitch, because it’s not like you don’t understand the degree of pain in the assery you’re signing up for, but still, things that are less cool: they have nowhere to house him so he was told to bring a sleeping bag, he has no return ticket or idea when he’ll be back, and he found out he was leaving just after early voting had closed in CO and left before early voting opened, so there was a period there where we were fairly certain he would not get to vote. [I tweeted that out and then was told by my county that they’d send him an absentee ballot via email even though we’re past the deadline so HIGH FIVE Eileen in Douglas County – that was awesome])

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Unsolicited work tip: if you find yourself needing to work late into the evening and want to do so on your couch perhaps with a beverage in hand, but cannot really do that because of the shape of your couch not lending itself to end tables, may I suggest the following life hack?

Stemless wine glass, slipper. Boom.

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Unsolicited work travel tip: if you find yourself in a rapid succession of different hotel rooms in different cities, may I suggest the following:

Take a picture of your room number before going to hotel fitness center first thing in the morning. Seriously, you guys, you have no idea how embarrassing it is to try to unlock room 506 in your post workout sweaty shame when room 506 is where you were YESTERDAY not TODAY, TODAY you are in 1024 and now the person in 506 thinks you’re going to kill them AND you still have no idea where your room actually is.

Electronic breadcrumbs, my friends. Live it.

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