It's the first question anyone asks when initially meeting someone - "What do you do for a living?" (unless you live in St. Louis, then for some reason I still can't figure out, they want to know where you went to high school). Rightly or wrongly, it defines us from the start and it's happened to me more than a few times during these seven weeks. Tell them, "I'm the editor of three sports magazines," you get an "Oh, wow, that must be fun." Tell them, "I stay home with the kids," and generally you are presented with, "Well, that's nice you can do that," with a slightly condescending tone and look on the person's face. Maybe I read too much into it, and maybe society still is better accepting of women staying home than men, but it's hard to shake the inferiority complex that comes without having a job.
Part of the recent pity party comes from a lot of college talk lately. It was just St. Patrick's Day (and March Madness starts tomorrow), which conjures up memories of standing in line at a bar on Marquette's campus at 6 a.m. to drink green beer on a cold morning 15 years ago. Is there anything better than college for tens of thousands of dollars a year? Seriously, the fat guy in the Larry Bird jersey and plaid green flannel shirt that day thought he'd become some big-time writer. Maybe he'd be in the creative department of a high-profile firm. I guarantee you, he never considered that he'd spend every morning futilely attempting to dress a 2-year-old who for some reason has the mobility of a drunk baby giraffe when we try to put on a pair of her jeans and socks.
But I need to start looking at this as time spent with Paige I'll never back get. It's been seven weeks, already one more week than Allison had with Lucy after she was born before returning to work, and we've been to the zoo, the children's museum (multiple times), we've played hours (days at this point?) of Little People Princesses, gone for runs with the baby stroller, spent mornings at the park and get to drop off/pick up Lucy from the bus stop everyday. Our family is lucky that Allison and I are 15 years removed from college. We can navigate these rocky waters with one full-time job, a little bit of freelance on my part and some short-term unemployment payments. Is it ideal? No. Am I going to continue to complain when I have to carry Paige parallel to the ground under my arm as we quickly exit the library? Absolutely. Am I spending more time in the craft beer aisle at the grocery store these days? Without question. Will I miss all this when it's gone? No doubt.
So, nothing really funny today. I could have done a whole blog about Paige yelling her Billy Madison line (no, she hasn't seen the movie but I just said the clean version of the line a couple months ago and it has stuck) of "You have to think. You've got a dog. You have a responsibility," while we were parked in the car as I took a phone call for a potential job interview yesterday but I'm sure it will happen again. For now, we will do our best to enjoy our time together although it's much easier to say that at this moment ... she's been napping for the last 90 minutes.