rain. balance. art.

March 17, 2011 |  Category:   art + design life nyc outings parenting

God, I was cold yesterday. Didn’t think I would be since the forecast said it would be around 55 degrees. I didn’t know that it was so rainy outside, so the girls were under prepared for the wet weather. I went with Claudine on her class field trip to MoMA and as we were walking the 10 or so blocks to the train station, her little feet got wet inside her non-waterproof boots. I kept thinking about how uncomfortable and cold she must be wearing wet tights all day inside her boots. When we did finally get home, her feet were cold and wrinkled.

Taking 14 preschoolers to MoMA is a good idea in theory, but the museum was super crowded. Still, there were good moments when I walked hand in hand with Claudine and looked at some paintings and some of the Picasso guitar collages that were on exhibit. It’s like she was really looking at them, pointing out shapes and things that were going on in the paintings and sculptures and trying to make sense of what she was seeing in the art. It was really cool. She even imitated some of the shapes of the sculptures, not with her hands, but with her mouth, stretching her lips like the oblong, surf board-shaped sculpture made of stone. What a funny kid. Her interpretation of things always surprise me.

As I was with her today, I was reminded that this is why we choose the life that we live, so that we can have the flexibility to do things like go on field trips with our kids. But I have to say, this whole life/work balance thing feels strained these days. As the girls have gotten older, Mark and I have just gotten busier and we’re working more than ever before. Scheduling play dates, escorting them to after school activities and signing them up for sports seem impossible to coordinate with our current schedules. While we are busy, I’m around them a lot since I work from home, but I would be lying if I said that I was totally present when I’m with them. It’s more likely that I’m thinking about deadlines or design challenges or emails that I need to write.

They say that these years, our years, are the prime money earning years. Maybe that’s true, but I also find it a scary thought. I do feel like we’ve finally reached a certain comfort level where we’re not really struggling so much anymore, but if these are in fact our power earning years, I’m feeling the pressure to work and earn more. It’s so hard to say no, but it also means that you risk tipping that balance.

It occurred to me while reading something the other day that we’re making early impressions on our kids as role models for the working parent. I hadn’t really thought about it like that before. Whether you’re a working parent or a stay-at-home parent, this might shape the way our kids might view parenthood later on. Suddenly, I feel a bit more responsible to balance out our work/life situation. I would never want the girls to think that we didn’t have time for them because we’re so busy, but I already know that they think I’m busy “a lot”. I asked Claudine yesterday what she thought my job was. Both the girls are well aware of what Mark does, but my job is a lot more ambiguous. She said that I sit at my computer all day and move things around. Sounds about right.

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  • Renita March 17, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    Too funny … hang in there, it could be worse

  • Caddy March 17, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    I love little C’s facial expressions in these photos. What a cutie!

  • unha March 17, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    yeah, when J + A imitate us working, it’s the cycle of
    (1) i’m going to the office
    (2) i have an important calls right now.
    (3) i’m writing emails.
    (4) i’m meeting mickey. (our designer)

    kids are funny….

  • Rika March 17, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    Came across your blog a few months ago and I love everything about it! Saw Claudine on Access Hollywood yesterday!

  • Jenna March 17, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    What? What?? C was on Access Hollywood??

  • Rika March 17, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    It’s Extra, not Access Hollywood. Sorry for the mix up!

  • Laura March 17, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    I think you have great balance. It’s called working and parenting, and it’s also called “love what you do” and you do…to both the jobs and the kids!

  • Lara March 18, 2011 at 2:59 am

    Oh, that picture of Claudine just kills me! And her description of your job…that’s priceless.

  • Miriam March 19, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    Hey – I have been following your blog for a while, but this is the first time I am responding.
    I don’t how how aware your kids are of your blog, but the fact that you are recording their words, their looks, parts of their lives gives a very strong message of involvement and love. So even if you aren’t giving them the amount of time a stay-at-home parent would, you are giving them a sense of the beauty and importance of their lives to yours.

  • Annika March 20, 2011 at 6:43 am

    I can relate to how you feel in regards to spending time with your girls. When I grew up my parents both worked full time and often came home tired and “too exhausted right now” to play or be interactive. My strongest emotional link was my grandmother which held on until I was an adult.
    I am terrified of being unable to bond with my (future) children while at the same time wanting to have a fulfilling work life.

    Love your blog by the way! Just found you recently but am glad I did!

  • Carla March 23, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    I understand the point of being in the comfort level where you don’t struggle that much anymore. In our case, we were sort of confused with that condition and started misbehaving to each other. I guess that wouldn’t have happened that way if we had kids and had to be (or look) responsible for them. 🙂

    Love your blog and photography.

  • Iman April 12, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    Hi there! I lurk all the time and never post but this made me come out to say something. Just this morning my son said “daddy can’t play with us tonight because he’s never home”. Daddy is a truck driver and it made me feel badly but I can’t really think of another way to make our life work. I’ll be looking over here to see how you figure it out. In the meantime, I’m playing powerball religiously 🙂