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I’ve been having a really great time being back at work. I’m challenged, I’m happy, I’m busy doing things I enjoy doing. I look forward to going to work, I look forward to being at work, I like talking about work. I’m getting great opportunities in my day to day job and outside the normal grind and I’m very excited about the potential of the profile I’m building.

But it’s been getting harder last week and things will be getting busier this week. Currently our darling daughter is growing somewhere between two and four teeth and she’s having a rather hard time of it – meaning, she’s been waking up during the night and when she does wake up it’s hard to get her back to sleep.

Neither Joe nor I operates very well on little sleep. I was doing alright when I could nap during the day while the baby napped, but I don’t have that option anymore. Last night, around midnight, while I was rocking the baby girl and trying to coax her back to sleep I was fighting sleep as well. I could barely keep my eyes open and waking up this morning took longer than it usually does. It sound funny to say that these sleepless nights are hard on us because our daughter has been a good sleeper from birth. Well, from her third day – the first night in the hospital was horrible and the second night was a complete nightmare. Actually on her third day she slept way too long because she was so jaundiced, so let’s go with fourth day. She has been a great sleeper from her fourth day.

I’m finding a lot of things easier than I thought I would, but there are things that I didn’t even think about that have become more complicated. If I need to get to the doctor or the dentist, if Joe has to travel for work, if one thing in our routine doesn’t work, everything gets confusing.

It’s frustrating because everything is so smooth most of the time and I can’t yet figure out the best way to deal with the hiccups. I think we just have to take a step back and plan ahead.

I got the chance (finally) a few nights ago to attend one of Ottawa’s Girl Geek Dinners. It’s an event that I’ve been hearing about for a while, but that I had never been able to attend before. I was excited that my schedule was clear particularly because the topic was about life balance – they had a panel of women who have been very successful in their career paths who could tell us how they got where they are and how they approach their careers.

I am a person who loves working, and I love the work I’m doing right now. I also love my daughter, and I happen to think that my daughter deserves a happy, fulfilled mother who has work she loves doing.

I felt inspired by all of these women who have created full lives, had children and great careers in fields they fell into. Every woman on the panel had started out thinking in one direction and ended up happy in a different place.

These women had great things to say, a lot of which I want to remember:

“Being fascinated and interested in the work you’re doing is how you can work your way to the top.”

Being open to trying different things can lead to a great career path.”

Mentors can be a boost in your career path – seeing things you might not have thought of.”

Great management style – step out of the way and be there when people need help.”

Sometimes you can do something better by stepping outside your zone.”

Be honest, don’t pretend to know what you don’t.”

You don’t have to be liked if you’re confident you’re making the right decisions.”

This weekend one of my friends referred to me as extroverted. I was taken aback. She corrected herself, saying maybe the descriptor she was looking for was self-confident.

Huh?

I went home and told Joe about the conversation and he said “Yeah.” It all made sense to him.

I found this confusing because I have always considered myself shy. I have a hard time in groups of people, particularly when no one I know really well is around.  I have a hard time making conversation, even with people I really like. Especially with people I really want to like me.

Except online.

When I’m faceless online I find it much easier to be myself, the way I am when I’m around people I’ve known for a long time.

Except that maybe, just maybe, my online personality and my experience pushing myself out of my comfort zone over the past couple of years have pushed the online me into the real world.

Maybe, just maybe, this idea of being a person that I want my daughter to look up to has created a bit of a new me that got over being shy for the sake of being myself. Because my online self is who I am with the people I hold dear – the people who like me and care about me – it is a more confident me. And I like her. And since I’ve been blogging on been on Twitter everyone I meet in real life knows a lot more about her than they do about the shy girl who blended into the background in high school. Seriously, people used to walk into me in the hallways.

Is it possible that I became a whole new person without even realizing it? That I pushed myself out of my comfort zone without making myself that uncomfortable?

Is it possible that, as well as being therapeutic, my blog and my tweets have given me a real voice, not just a virtual one?

It would appear that I’ve done well for myself in this little space I’m carving out.

Your laughter is the sound of pure joy. I will never forget the first time I heard it and all I could think was that I had to make that happen again.

When you first started laughing, nothing ever worked twice. We would blow on your belly, but the next time that didn’t get a reaction. Tickle your sides, make funny noises and funnier faces.

Soon it started coming more easily, and now you have several ticklish spots. You arch your back and squirm around and laugh and laugh and laugh.

It is the most happy sound I have ever known. Your face lights up, your whole body laughs.

I hope it lasts your whole life, this joy, this unbridled happiness. I hope you can always be the light in the room.

It got colder. I’m still trying to figure out the fastest commute. I forgot to take a snack with me for mid-morning.I felt like I was getting sick again. Again.

I got home and found a husband holding a rather upset baby who was bleeding from her toe. I gave her a bath to try and stop the bleeding and calm her down, which worked – until she try to run away from the towel and slipped. Flat on her back, on the floor, screaming. She was fine and soon found something else to cry about.

And the day just wasn’t fun.

But all I could think, besides ‘this sucks,’ was: ‘It’s just one day.’

Tomorrow I have another chance.

She’ll wake up in a good mood, we’ll have a nice breakfast, I’ve got a list of interesting things to get done at work, I got some exercise that will make me feel better, the outlook is good.

It’s strange for me to feel this way. It’s new. It’s optimistic.

It’s a baby thing.

Every time there’s something hard, there’s something good. Every time she cries, there will be laughter. For every rough night, there’s her smiling face in the morning and all is beautiful again.

My main goal for 2011 is figuring out the easiest ways to get everything done.

Right now, I’m pretty sure that not everything is getting done – but we’re all getting sleep, we’re clean when we leave the house and we’ve eaten. I’ve been making a point of prepping a slow-cooker dinner on Sunday night for Monday so that we start the week off right. We’re all fairly happy and the house isn’t a horrible mess most of the time.

My other goals for 2011 include:

  • Hitting 175 lbs – and then to keep going

I haven’t hit 175 lbs yet, but I have been getting on the treadmill when I get home from work, which is awesome – and when I don’t I feel bad that I didn’t, which is also awesome.

  • Being able to make it all the way to my 10th floor office on the stairs

I have, so far, taken the stairs twice, just up to the sixth floor. Two of my coworkers are trying to do the same thing a couple of times a week, so I’m definitely optimistic about this one.

  • Consistently having a meal plan so that the whole family is eating healthy food

I have made up a meal plan both weeks so far, though last week we went off course for a couple of nights. The real problem, I discovered, was that we ran out of bread and milk before the end of last week and thus didn’t have back-ups for lunches. This weekend I went to Costco so we now have extra loaves of bread in the freezer, but it’s something we’ll have to stay on top of.

  • Continue to test my knitting skills in my project choices

The only knitting project I’ve been working on is a warm scarf for myself, but I have a few that I will start soon, hopefully.

  • Make my way through my ‘to read’ pile (my ever-expanding ‘to-read’ pile)

I am still making my way through The Book Thief at the moment, but I did re-arrange my bookshelf this weekend so that one shelf is all my ‘next to read’ books. My plan was to take our iPad on the bus with me and read ebooks, but I find it difficult since I’m often standing on the bus and my balance is not so great.

  • Build up my profile at work

Work is awesome. It did not take me long at all to remember why I missed it. My work people are great, they were excited to have me back, and they trust me to do what I do. I’m getting some new opportunities and it’s great for my resume and my confidence.

  • Keep blogging, keep tweeting, maintain my connections

Part of my job is monitoring Twitter, so I get the opportunity to keep up with my connections there, and I seem to still have time and topics for my blog, though I don’t know if that will always be the case. I am missing my weekly play date meet ups with the real live people I talk to online, but I know I’ll be seeing them around town.

  • Organize the second annual Road Hockey Showdown

Yeah, it’s going to be a little while before I start thinking about that.

  • Improve my French

Yeah, that.

  • The Shopping Embargo

I’ve been doing fairly well, I think. There have been slip-ups – mostly magazines I didn’t need to buy since I have books to read at home, but overall I’m happy. I think part of the problem was that the first week it was always sort of top of mind, but when I got busier I forgot about my commitment – luckily then I was back at work and no longer apt to go walk around the mall to occupy some time. The best moment was probably when I went to Costco and bought nothing completely
unnecessary. Costco has a habit of running away with my wallet. Yesterday I did go out at lunch and buy a new toque and mittens – because I lost my warm toque and my mitten are fraying. I think that was perfectly reasonable on a day that hit -29 degrees.

And something to add:

I really, really need to stop biting my nails. It looks bad, it hurts, and there’s no reason for it.

A Girl’s Life

January 18th, 2011 | Posted by Amy Boughner in Personal - (Comments Off on A Girl’s Life)

This morning I caught the tail end of an interview on Canada AM. This interview was with the author of a newly released book called How to Raise Your Boyfriend.

In my life I have watched a lot of bad chick flicks. I have read Seventeen and Cosmo, I have watched sitcoms and commercials and I have learned the lesson that men are helpless and stupid and it is our job as women to change them and make them better. And that we can be real bitches about it. They are lovable oafs, we are the big mean bosses.

I can’t begin to imagine how unhappy I would be in such a relationship.

I cannot begin to imagine how any woman could be happy in a relationship with someone she feels the need to ‘train.’

I love my husband. Together we make each others’ lives easier. We accept the fact that we each do things that get on the others’ nerves, but overall I don’t think we’d change much about the other, and change we do want, we work for together.

I’d like to think that other women think they deserve a relationship like this. I’d like to think that my daughter will know that she deserve someone who treats her well, who challenges her, who takes care of her when she needs it.

I would like to live in a world where all little girls know that they deserve to feel loved and protected. I would like to help teach little girls that there are right ways and wrong ways for a man to treat you, especially if he claims to love you.

I would hope that maybe, maybe popular culture would join in the fight to make women stronger.

At night, when I rock the baby girl back to sleep, I try to tell her that everything is okay. She’s warm, she’s loved, and we will take care of her.

Sometimes I just rock her, back and forth and back and forth, and look at her eyes, wondering what she’s thinking.

Sometimes I talk softly to her, and when I do I tell her about the love I feel, and I tell her that we will always be there for her when she needs us – always always.

I want to tattoo it on myself or engrave it on something – this reminder that she will always always be ours and we will always always be hers.

I look at her in her beautiful blue eyes, and I watch her drift off to sleep and I know that she will always be mine.

And she will always, always call me mommy.

So, Amy, the back to work routine seems to be going well?

Yep

That was a question

No it wasn’t

Alright, can you elaborate then?

We’re doing well. It’s been a total team effort. We’ve been giving it our all, really working as a team to get things done. We missed our training last week because of some upper body injuries…

Didn’t Baby Girl just have a bad cold?

I’d prefer not to say

Go on

As I was saying, we missed out on some training put it doesn’t seem to be holding us back. We’ve really been knocking it out of the park this week and I think we’ve got the momentum to get this done.

I understand you’ve run out of the good coffee

We did, and it was hard, I’m not going to lie, but I’m proud of the way our guys hung in there, you know – they didn’t let it shake their confidence.

You mean Joe?

Mostly, yes

You think you’re streak will continue into the next week?

This team has shown a lot of resiliency and we’re going to take this time to savour this victory and rest up so we can come back strong on Monday morning.

Thank you for your time.

One year ago, right about now, I was getting ready to push.

One year of changes and challenges and learning and growing.

One year old

And absolute, pure love.

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