Sunday, March 1, 2015

Work-life balance and the end goal

I know I’m not the only millenial that grew up hearing, “You can be anything you want to be when you grow up.” And everyone said it: parents, teachers, television. The first day of my high school psychology class, the teacher asked us what we wanted to be. In the entire class, there was one person who said, “I just want to be a mom.”

Living in Iowa City, one of the first questions I get from most people is “are you a student?” When I say, “no I work,” the next question is, “what do you do?” And I find that I don’t want to answer. It bugs me to be defined by my job.

Recent conversation between me and the Vice President:
VP: Where do you want to be in 5 years?
Me: I want to write fiction and raise kids.
VP: So you want to be at home, working on fiction?
Me: Yes.

Owen called my response risky. In reality I just can’t think on the spot, so the only thing that can come out of my mouth is pure, unedited honesty. She was nice, but it felt like I was supposed to give a different answer, something about climbing the ladder.

I have the luxury of working my tail off at work, then coming home and ignoring my email and phone until the next work day. Owen, on the other hand, has homework to do. He doesn’t even get work-life separation, let alone work-life balance.

Don’t let his being in a Ph.D. fool you—Owen’s aspirations and mine are actually very similar. Right now, he doesn’t always get to spend the time he wants to on “life” away from work. But Owen isn’t in his Ph.D. program to work toward a career goal. He’s in it to work toward a family goal.

For us, work-life balance is about why we’re working, not just how much we’re working. I “just” want to be a mom. Owen “just” wants to be a dad. We are working toward finding careers that will allow us to spend as much time with each other as possible and to be emotionally available to our kids and those around us.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Love Grows

We did want to get pregnant. It was planned. But for some reason, the moment I saw those two pink lines, I felt like I was strapped into a roller coaster that I didn't want to be on, and it was rolling forward.

Now, D-Day is less than five weeks away, and I have Grown. And our house has shrunk, as baby things overflow the room I thought we had.

And Owen is starting to wonder if he will still get love and attention after the baby is born. Between his Ph.D. program, my job, and keeping our house from becoming a complete mess, we don't get enough time together as it is, and now he'll have to compete for my time with a baby?  He doesn't stand a chance. And MaryMilo (our giant tortie monster-cat) still thinks that the crib is for her—she's in for a surprise.

The YouTube series "Convos with My 2 Year Old" takes real conversations between daddy and child and reenacts them with an adult man as the child. For one, the videos are hilarious. They also highlight an interesting relationship dynamic between daddies and children: the children are interlopers. They're demanding strangers who come in and steal your wives.

But we've discovered something about love from our relationship together: Love Grows.

We thought we'd lose friends in becoming a couple, instead we've gained each others' friends, and family. And our friends are getting married and adding more friends. I'm not saying it's always easy. Adding new people to existing relationships creates all sorts of roll confusion, jealousy, and sometimes divisiveness. But none of those things come from love.

I think the most common contender to love in growing families is idolization. New parents have so many things to idolize: the baby, future dreams, old habits, ideas of what it is to be a mom or a dad, to name a few.

Now Owen and I have the opportunity to let the love we have for each other grow to include love for our baby. We don't expect to completely avoid the pitfalls of idolization, but we know what to look out for.

We're Back!

Hello! It has been a very long time. I almost forgot how to get to the editor. (and let's be honest, the new header needs work!) But I'm so excited for this year's theme, and Valentine's Day, that I couldn't wait. Beautification will just have to come later.

After nearly more than a year hiatus, I am excited to get back to My Modern Marriage. Blogging helped me through those hard first two years of marriage, and now... things are changing again as we enter parenthood. We are expecting the arrival of our baby girl March 17.

Goals for phase 3 of My Modern Marriage:
1. Do not turn My Modern Marriage into a Mommy Blog. Keep the focus on marriage and the crazy stretch mark our marriage is gaining.
2. Do include some cute baby stuff.
3. Do post every two weeks.

Preview of things on my mind to blog about:
1. Love Grows
2. The poisonous dish rack
3. Career envy

But, who knows, once baby is born the poisonous dish rack may not seem as interesting. ;-)