Category Archives: Money

Fresh air.

I was born in the beginning of October, which means that I’m a Libra. Libras fall under the heading of “air sign.”

I don’t know much. But I know that.

*****

It’s 4:30 in the afternoon, and I’m lying in bed, fighting my carpal tunnel and/or arthritis in order to type. It hurts to grip a pencil and to open a bottle of medicine and to reach for my kids. But that’s what I’ve been dealing with the past few weeks.

The nannies have been on vacation because I expected to be in NYC by now and I didn’t want to rearrange their plans just because we’re not abroad. My brother’s been a big help just by looking after the boys for 30 minutes each day so that I can shower—but that’s all the help I’m getting. It’s just me, a 34-month old, and a 10-month old. I clean the five-bedroom house we live in, cook three square meals a day, and take care of the kids. It’s not easy, but it’s gratifying. I’m beyond proud to be able to say that I’ve gotten control of this domestic life within a couple of weeks.

School-wise, I’m at a stand-still. I decided months back that I would take a year off. I was supposed to take the kids back to NYC asap because Rob’s mom has stage four cancer and would like to see her grandsons before she dies. Only thing is, we’ve hit a lot of snags. Problems with paperwork and red tape. Drama that would make your head spin if I got into it.

I don’t know what the future has in store, if we’ll end up going or not. Right now though, my plans don’t include going home any time soon. I want to get my dual citizenship taken care of asap so that I can work at a call center and save money. Due to my grandma’s death, Rob’s car accident, Riley’s hospitalization, and other factors, finances are beyond tight right now; I’ve decided that I’m going to pay for my tuition from here on out.

Not Rob. Not my parents. Not Rob’s parents. Me. No loans or borrowing or credit cards. I’m going to pay for the rest of my nursing school education out of pocket. I’m going to pay for my own tuition, and all of the expenses that go with it.

Also: I’m going to pay for Riley to go to daycare, and for clothes for the kids, and for a life that’s closer to the one that I want. I’m frustrated at my circumstances and need to feel in control of something.

I need to feel like I’m getting a kick-ass nursing education, and that I’m good at what I do. I need to feel like I’m an amazing mother, and honestly, only now, after being a stay-at-home-mom do I feel that I can claim that title. I need to feel that I’m in a relationship that works. I need to regain faith in myself and the future; I keep on fumbling the former and I’m afraid I’ve permanently lost the latter.

I’m angry at Rob for being so goddamn hard to communicate with.

I’m anxious about my health because I haven’t fixed any of my problems, haven’t gotten my skin biopsy or cervical biopsy, and haven’t taken thyroid meds or consulted specialists or gotten answers.

I’m sad because of all the death that’s been surrounding me, and because of my parents’ shortcomings and how they affect me and my own family.

I’m tired of making lemons into lemonade. I think I’m just going to suck on some lemons and see where it takes me. I can’t deal with pretending to be happy all the time just for the sake of other peoples’ comfort.

I am learning to be brief and concise. I am learning to be ambiguous, and to not share as much of my life as I would have done before. I am learning to keep to myself, to let the internal workings do their thing, and to trust whatever is in me.

Point blank: I’m not in an easy place. It’s not a bad place, per se. It’s just terribly difficult. My plate is full of worry and anxiety and frustration. I want to get to the next stage, to a place where I already have my BSN and at least one finished manuscript that I’m damn proud of. I want to kill my board exam and pass the NCLEX with flying colors. I want to add on to my family and move back to NYC and feel… different. I want life to be easier and fun and happy.

Because this? This lack of money, lack of power, lack of control? This overthinking that I do? These expectations for myself and for others that I have? They’re too much. It’s all just too much for me right now. And the more I try to fix things and realize that I just muck up the gears, the more frustrated and angry I get.

I need a break from everything that is unnecessary. I need to strip away the stuff I don’t need and get to the bare essentials.

I’m working Maslow’s hierarchy, one level at a time.

I’m climbing it, trying to get to self-actualization.

And taking as many deep breaths as I can on the way up.

Another one bites the dust.

Another semester, that is.

I’ve been so ridiculously busy that I’ve let this blog become a dead zone, and now that I’ve gotten my bearings back, I’m reclaiming this space. I plan on recapping the past 3 months with backdated posts, but for now, let me just tell you what I’m up to.

The biggest news, by far, is that my dad’s coming to visit in two days. I have a lot of very extreme emotions concerning this fact, and it’s mostly centered on my dad’s womanizing ways. I know that when he’s here, he’s going to be chasing skirts. I know that he’s married to my mom, and even though she says she’s used to his ways/doesn’t care anymore, it depresses her that her husband steps out on their marriage. I also know that my mom handles all of their finances, so my dad most likely has a hidden cache of cash, and that he’ll be blowing most of it while in the P.I.

Here’s what I’ve come up with so far: I know that I can’t change my dad, try as I might to do so. I know that I have to accept him and love him for who he is, and not who I want him to be. I know that it’s pointless to get involved in whatever he does with other women. I also know that if he’s going to be spending all of his money on someone while he’s in the Philippines, I’d rather it be on me, my brother and my kids than some hoe. That said, I’ve decided to let him do whatever the hell he wants to do outside of our house so long as he’s discreet about it and he spoils the aforementioned family members while he’s here. 

A part of me feels really guilty that this is the only solution I’ve come up with. I feel like I’m selling out my mom, like I should be defending her honor or something. But that ship has sailed, and I’m tired of fighting battles/wars I know I can’t win. I’ve reached the conclusion that if she wants someone to fight for her honor, she should pick up an ax and start grinding; I’m tired of carrying all that weight on my own.

It’s been a really hard few months, and getting to the end of that leg of my journey has forced me to find strength and resolve. I’m feeling a lot more confident and relaxed these days than I’ve ever felt before. Yet, in a lot of ways, I’m reverting to old habits. For one thing, I’m smoking again. For another, I’m exercising hard-core again. Also: I’ve been dropping pounds like cah-razy, so that just two months after giving birth to Micah, I’m already hovering around my pre-pregnancy weight. Did I mention that I gained 50 lbs. during my pregnancy? That’s double the amount you’re supposed to put on in an average singleton pregnancy.

Fashion has also dropped onto my radar in  a big way. My body’s been doing a lot of fluctuating these past two years. So much so that 95% of my current closet consists of pieces that are either too big or too small for me. It’s weird to me, that fact. My cup size has gone from being DD to DDD to C to D to C again. My ass disappears then reappears and seems to have no plans of quitting this game of hide-and-seek. My stomach is pretty much flabby and full of stretch marks. I think of the latter just as I think of the ginormous bags under my eyes: they’re badges of honor that I wear proudly. Still. I need some toning up, and some bulking up (in the right places), and I definitely definitely definitely have to step up my style game.

The editing business is slowing picking up steam again. ‘m thinking about switching to a .com and calling it a day. This past year or so has been a lot of hit-and-miss, trial-and-error, up-and-down, and I’m hoping that by this time next year, I’ll be settled and making a good name for myself.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been studying, writing, and editing up a storm, but I now need to wear my glasses all the time. This is very very new to me, this dependency on eyewear. I still haven’t decided if I’m going to go strictly glasses on this one, or get contacts, or splurge on eye surgery when I get home. For now, I have three sets of empty frames and a date with an opthalmologist.

My glass is 1/3 empty.

It all started a few days ago, when I texted my ob-gyn to tell her that I was mulling over the idea of having Micah delivered at Makati Med instead of Asian Hospital. Those are the two hospitals with which she’s affiliated, and though Asian Hospital is the one I’m more familiar with (I’ve been seeing her there + Riley’s pediatrician is there), I’m open to changing up the game plan if Makati Med is just as nice and cheaper. [NOTE: The thing is? It’s not as nice, and though it is cheaper, it’s only slightly cheaper. (I think. I still have to speak with Asian Hospital’s cost counselor to make sure.)] 

So, yeah, like I was saying: A few days ago. I texted The Doc. I let her know my thoughts, and she was all, “Yeah, yeah, sure, sure, I’ll see you on Thursday.”

I figured, since I’m 9 months along and seeing her every week, I’d get my appointment over and done with, get a tour of the facilities, and maybe even take a gander at the paperwork I’ll have to sign when I give birth.

But, no.

None of that happened.

Instead, I spent a lot of money on gas. Then, Bro got lost on the way to the hospital. This prompted him to catch a major attitude with me even though I was in my usual bright and chipper mood and couldn’t give two flying ducks that I was probably not going to get half of my to-do list done. I looked at his road map, told him where to turn, and he deliberately went the opposite direction, which got us going in circles for almost an hour. Again, I didn’t really care and resorted to texting Rob because I figured Bro knew where he was going. It would’ve been A-Okay, only, the whole time, he was snipping at me and giving me lip and generally being an asshole.

So I snapped. I just couldn’t take it anymore. I mean, for real? I drop a lot of cash on gas and food and whatnot, and YOU’RE THE ONE who gets us lost and decides not to take my directions, and you have the balls to be mean to me? At this time? When we’re supposed to be building bonds because you’re slated to be the only one I trust while I’m giving birth? FOR REAL?

I cried and ruined my makeup. All the while, I gave an empassioned speech about how he’s supposed to be my advocate, and instead he’s been being craptastic to me, which is making me feel like it’s Me Against The World.

By the time I got to The Doc’s office, I was upset and itching for a reason to knock somebody out. The office was located in a circular rotunda, and I ended up walking around it several times before realizing, “Oh, wait! I’ve seen this same snotty little girl four times already!” The actual office was built like a railroad car, so that you had to go through a tiny hallway in order to get to the actual office, which made me go, “HUH?” I mean, really, you expect pregnant women to waddle through a hall that’s barely big enough to accomodate my not-even-two-year old?! It didn’t help, either, that one of the ladies behind the front desk was giving me the side eye. I filled out a form, then slipped out to look for the ladies’ room, which was the size of a shoebox. By the time I got back to the office, overwhelmed with a sea of emotion and catching my breath, a nicer lady from behind the desk asked to take my BP. I obliged her, but mentioned also that I hadn’t had time to relax, so she might want to wait. She didn’t understand English, so she took my BP. Then she proceded to ask me questions that I’d just answered on the chart.

I saw The Doc, and all we did was TALK. And I had to pay her to talk to me. Not about my health, even, but about money. Because that’s what happens here in the Philippines, where there are no clear divisions on duties and hospitals only have ONE cost counselor.

I got home, expecting Riley to greet me with his usual “MommyMommyMommyMommmy!!!”, but instead, he barely batted a lash. Turned out, he hadn’t had a nap. So I spent some time with him. Joy and I gave him a bath. Then I lay down next to him and let him sleep.

Now it’s barely 9 p.m., I’m sweaty and tired as all hell, and even though this is THE PERFECT time for me to relax and unwind and watch my kiddo sleep peacefully, instead I’m going to work on a school project. Because, let’s face it. This right here? It’s also the perfect time to get lost in schoolwork without feeling guilty that I’m not spending quality time with Riley.

I’m feeling worn out, on edge, and agitated. I’m worrying that Micah won’t love me because I’ll be too busy with a million other things to take care of him. I’m remembering how my own mom didn’t spend time with me as a baby/toddler because she was always too busy working, and how she and I didn’t develop a close relationship until my late teens/early twenties. I worry. A lot.

But those are the chances I’ve taken, and this is the lot I’ve drawn, and, really, what can I do now but make the most of my situation?

Tomorrow is a new day and another chance to get things right.

Some lessons learned.

Today I tried to finish everything on my plate and ended up breaking ground on every morsel – but without finishing anything. Now, it’s a quarter to midnight on a Sunday night, and that means I’m going to get four hours of sleep (or less).

Strangely, I feel good about this.

I’ve already done the hard parts: buying all of the necessary components, setting them up, and even starting off each project. It’s the completion that’s easy. I’m a hop, skip, and jump away from several finish lines and feeling like I’m making good headway. I’ve only got three days of classes to contend with, then a killer dry-run to do to the hospital on Thursday. (I’ve decided to change the venue of my labor and delivery.) I can rest on Friday.

Some bulletpoints, if you will:

  1. I had an argument with my ob-gyn yesterday that’s left me resigned to having my next biological child born in the States (even though I’d had my heart set on getting pregnant again in time for a May 2013 due date). Lesson learned: Always read ahead. You’re less likely to bindly follow suit if you’ve got some edu-ma-cation up in yo’ head.
  2. My nesting instinct has kicked in like crazy, and all I want to do is organize and clean everything in sight. I ended up emptying all of the drawers in the master bedroom and organizing the hell out of them. Even though there’s still a lot of residual clutter from the material upheaval of knick-knacks and whats-its galore, there is a calm in my soul from having fixed something tangible. Lesson learned: Tidiness is next to sanity.
  3. The two maids need some real breaking-in and teaching – especially since they’ve had a role reversal. (Tess will be Micah’s nanny and Jana will be the housemaid, instead of vice verse.) I’m a little worried about this arrangement for several reasons, but living here has taught me to work with what I’ve got. Lesson learned: Do the best  you can with the hand you’ve been dealt.
  4. Probably the main reason why I’m okay with not completing anything? Because I spent that time taking care of me and my family. I allowed myself an afternoon nap. I played with Riley on and off the whole freakin’ day. I touched base with Rob really often. All this, in spite of the fact that I could’ve been a speed demon, ripping through my to-do list without nary a twitch. Lesson learned: Do whatchu gotta do, but never forget why you’re doing them, playa. Family comes first.
  5. Speaking of Rob, he landed a job! It’s not exactly an ideal job, and we’re hoping he can land another one asap, but it’s something, and that’s all I need to know. He’s also looking into online degree programs and seeing a shrink to enhance himself. I’m sooooo unbelievably proud of him, and I can’t wait for him to unfold his wings and be the gorgeous, soaring butterfly I’ve always seen him as. Lesson learned: Commitment is a bitch, but it’s worth it if you’ve put your chips in the right corner. Stick to yo’ guns.
  6. Also: Thanks to my homie, Jess, I ended up writing a pitch to a New York magazine. I’m not exactly holding my breath that I’ll land the article, but the idea behind my pitch has given me a much-needed breath of fresh air; I’m working on it even if it doesn’t get picked up. After the article is finished, I’m gonna shop it around and hope that it gains some readership. Lesson learned: Be true to yourself, and you’ll get the help you need to shine. You’ve just gotta have faith.
  7. School isn’t gonna be done with any time soon. I have SIX quizzes tomorrow, which means that if I was’t pregnant, I’d be studying like a madwoman right now, cramming as much in my head as possible and hoping that it all stays put. Instead, I’ve read the notes and done some highlighting; when I wake up, I’ll make study sheets and the prerequisite acronyms and mnemonic devices. Then I’ll relax, show up on time, and do my best. Lesson learned: Stressing out doesn’t make you more likely to succeed. Trust yourself.

I’m sure I’ve got more to say, but I’m exhausted. The doc says Micah could be making his appearance any day now, and she’s given me some herbal supplements to ensure that’s the case. I’m hoping for the best, stretching and walking as much as I can, and being as anxious and excited as possible to be a mom of two!

Safety.

When I was pregnant with Riley, we had a baby shower. At that baby shower, one of my best friends said to Rob, “Okay, so you and Maria are having a baby. You really have to take care of her now.”

Rob’s response?

“No, I won’t take care of her. She won’t let me.”

My back had been turned and I’d unintentionally eavesdropped on the conversation, but the moment I heard his answer, my blood ran cold. I didn’t know what it was that made me so upset; I just knew that that little exchange had unearthed something very profound.

Fast-forward a year later. Rob was living in the Philippines with me and Riley. I brought up that conversation, and I told Rob how upset it had made me. Still, I had no idea why it made me upset. I had a vague notion that Rob’s answer wasn’t the right one, but I wasn’t certain why it wasn’t the right answer. Would I have wanted him to nod solemnly and pledge his life to taking care of me? No, not in the slightest. So what was it?

“Love,” Rob said to me. “The only reason I said that is because you’re independent. You take care of yourself. I know you don’t really need me, and that’s what I love about you.”

It sounded aiight. I mean, the words coming out of his mouth weren’t necessarily offensive.  But still, there was something amiss.

Rob and I did the cohabitation/co-parenting thing for almost a year, and things were going well. Then, right before he left to go back to New York, his mom came to visit. I get along great with his mom, so I loved having her around. She even gave Rob a credit card to use so that we could really enjoy our last days together.

Turns out, though, that his brother maxed out the credit card in order to pay for his estranged wife’s bills, so we couldn’t use it.

Then, Rob’s mom offered to give us a car. The idea was, we’d have something to drive around if we went back to New York (at that time, we didn’t know if we’d move back). The idea was also, Just in case Rob can’t find a job, we have something to use as collateral for a loan, et al.

But guess what? His brother gave his own car away to his estranged wife and took for himself the car that was supposed to be for us.

Then, when it was clear that me and the kids were going to stay in the Philippines and Rob was going to work in the States, Rob’s uncle secured for him a job.

And guess who took it?

Now, here’s the thing: At the time, it didn’t really bother me. I mean, it did, but Rob’s mom’s side is very c’est la vie about this kind of thing. They’re a tight-knit clan and won’t let material things get in the way of loving each other. For the most part, I respect that and think it’s pretty cool. But today? Today I was typing with Rob (my laptop’s ancient and doesn’t have a mic or camera), and maybe it’s because I was already in a pretty shitty mood, or because Rob’s not good with English and doesn’t know how to emote via text/writing, or because the deadline for Rob’s landing a job is only two weeks away and he hasn’t gotten any calls back. All I know is, when Rob mentioned how his brother keeps on dicking us over, I got really, really upset.

Make no mistake: We don’t have much. I make a teensy bit of money every month, and now that the regular school semester’s at an end in the States and I’m too stressed with pregnancy, et al., to launch a huge business plan for the editing business, we’re depending mostly on Rob’s parents to squeak on by. I’m feeling threatened and really wishing we had a credit card, or a car to use as collateral, or a good and steady job for Rob. But we don’t have any of those things because his brother took them all. I know that if push really came to shove, I’d do the damn thing myself: Work my ass off, make that money, pay the bills, et al. – ALL. BY. MY. DAMN. SELF.

I know I could do it, but if I did do it, why the fuck am I with Rob? What the fuck would I need him for, besides sperm donation? (Assuming of course that I want all of my biological kids to have the same dad.) Why am I with someone who doesn’t have the ability to meet my needs?

In my upset state, I told Rob that I felt unsafe. I explained that I feel like we don’t have a lot, and that the least he could do was make me feel like the little we do have will remain ours. I told him I need to feel protected and taken care of. I explained that when it came to this whole thing about his brother, I expected some kind of reaction from him besides a shrug of the shoulders and complacency.

“What do you want me to do?” he asked.

“PUNISH HIM!” I yelled.

And it’s true. I want Rob to punish his brother. I want him to be mean and awful to his brother. I want him to inflict pain on his brother because I feel like his brother’s been doing that to us. It’s a primal urge, and it’s probably useless, but I don’t care. I’ve long ago packed away the need to be with the alpha male. Now, all I need is to feel like my man’s got some kind of power, authority, and control over what’s going on with us and our family. I need to feel like he’s not some doormat who will let his asshole brother take what little we have – not without a fight, at least. I need to see that he’s willing to fight for me, for us, for our family. I want to see that fight. I feel like I’ve been fighting for the longest time, and that every second of every day is a fight and he’s standing at the sidelines while I’m bleeding on the canvass.

I don’t feel safe. I don’t feel like Rob can take care of me. And I wonder if it’s always been that way. I wonder if he’s ever really taken care of me, if that’s the ugly truth that had peeked out two years ago at my baby shower. Maybe I had caught a glimpse of it and subconsciously put my hands over my eyes.

I also wonder if there’s someone else out there who could make me feel more guarded, protected, secure, and sheltered than I feel right now…

The impossible.

It’s 9 p.m. on a Wednesday night. My two-week summer staycation is officially in full-swing. Riley has been knocked out for more than an hour; neither of us are sick. There is yummy food in the house, I’ve finished editing 4 out of my 5 big projects (only a handful of pages to go!), and I’ve managed more than a few good deeds for the day.

There’s a couple TV shows on my queue for me to catch up on, but really, after taking a long soak in the tub with some bath bombs and hunks of cucumber over my eyes, I’m all relaxed-out. Next on the agenda? Making fliers for my editing business! (I desperately need to drum up some more business before the school semester ends in the States!) Then, working on my fiction-writing.

This, right here? The ability to check everything off my to-do list without losing (too much) sleep? It’s exactly the opposite of what I thought motherhood would be like, and I keep on waiting for the other shoe to drop.

[NOTE: Just as I was typing that last sentence, Riley woke up, looked at me, drowsily picked up his bottle, and went back to sleep.]

A-writing and a-flier-making, I go!

Everything’s going my way.

It’s exam time yet again, and I’m so in over my head, people, I can’t begin to tell you how suffocated I’m feeling. My studying plans were interrupted by the sudden availability of a nanny for the kids; I had to drop everything and pick her up (along with her aunt and mom, since they wanted to  make sure we’re decent people and wouldn’t sell her into the sex trade or anything like that). And now? I’ve skipped out on two exams because I’m just not prepared to take them. I’m studying like crazy today and tonight, and hoping that the new nanny sticks around (although at this point, I’m uber paranoid that she’s not only unfocused in her duties, but that she’ll up and leave after her lack of focus allows something awful to happen to Riley).

For now, Rob’s still here so he can keep an eye on the new nanny (who also happens to be his second cousin). Because he’s here, I can relax a bit and get down to business. I’m hoping that after this week, I’ll be more relaxed and can focus on teaching her everything she needs to know about taking care of our little guy. Also, I’m hoping that she stops being so disturbingly quiet and starts to display some sort of personality other than “scared shitless of nothing in particular.”

Ha! Look who’s talking! A couple hours ago, I was beside myself with worry and anxiety over shit I really don’t have any power over. So what if the nanny leaves, and I’m one year behind? So what if my dad’s a royal jerk and my brother has a tendency to treat me like garbage? So what if people talk about me and don’t get the story right?

I know the story, and so do my loved ones (and you do, too, if you’ve been following along). I know who I am, and I know what I’m striving towards, and that’s all I really need right now. Because you know what? I’m kicking ass just by being me. I’ve set up an editing business that’s making me enough money so that I can take care of myself and my kid. [Rob, on the other hand, is kind of high-maintenance and requires his own budget LOL] That editing business is thriving and pushing me to new limits in my work as a writer and editor. I’m meeting so many wonderful people through the business and touching minds with some old friends, too. And also? While doing this, I’m taking care of myself and the baby that’s growing inside of me, and still managing to look sexy and turn heads. I’m writing up a storm of my own fiction and non-fiction, cooking dope-ass meals for the fam, taking Riley to see my grandmas and other extended family all the time, keeping the lines of communication going with my awesome friends and family abroad, and generally keeping everything in my domestic life in check.

Icing on the cake?

I just found out that my GPA is ranked in the top 10 at school. This, even though everyone cheats and I haven’t cheated a single time. This, even though I have a family to take care of. This, even though I run my own business.

Ya know what? I’m pretty damn convinced: I’ve got everything under control, and everything’s going to be okay.

Caught.

After a doctor’s visit that had me seeing red, I’m back at my not-so-good-place and wondering what the hell I’m doing in this damn country. For the past couple of nights, I’ve been weighing the option of staying here vs. the option of moving back to the States, and that’s throwing me for a major loop. My major problem right now is Lack of responsible childcare (in the Philippines) vs. Lack of money (in the States).

To start things, let me say: I’m not even comfortable letting family members take care of Riley, and I know for a fact that they have his best interests at heart. So letting complete strangers whose motives are unknown take care of my baby? It’s hard. (To say the very least.) There are just so many variables involved in selecting a childcare provider.

There’s the cultural barrier that I worry about, for example. I don’t want some religious zealot spouting off Jesus-talk to my kid while I’m gone. I mean, for one thing, I’m raising my kids to be atheist. For another, the Jesus-talk would probably not be in English, and I’m having a hard enough time as it is getting my kid to talk.

Then there’s the issue about competence. Do you know how to deal with a hyperactive toddler? Are you able to be loving, and yet also instill discipline? Can I, basically, trust you to be a de facto parent in my absence? And in so doing, will you follow the instructions that I’ve left to the T?

Are you physically able to meet the demands of this rigorous job? Will you be able to curb all habits I deem inappropriate, such as smoking, for only the hours you’re not here? Are you clean? Well-mannered? Trustworthy?

There aren’t daycares here, and even if there were daycares available, there is no way to find out which ones are reputable. There is no Better Business Bureau. There are no background-checks on employees. There are no websites or forums dedicated to monitoring, screening, or evaluating childcare practices – or any practices, for that matter – in the Philippines. There is, however, a lot of lying and corruption, and that doesn’t exactly put me at ease.

Without reliable childcare, I can’t go to school. And if I can’t earn my nursing degree, I might as well not be here. Or so my thinking automatically tells me.

When I consider the alternative of moving back to New York, however, I’m at a loss. Sure, I have friends and family there, but should I really expect them to make me and my family a priority? I mean, I know they do to a major extent; but I also know that it’s really up to me and Rob to make things work for us, and I wonder if going back to New York would only be a distraction. After all, going back to New York would mean working our asses off all the time just to squeak out a living. We wouldn’t be able to spend a lot of quality time with the kids, and in exchange for all our effort we probably still won’t be living the comfortable life that we want. So what’s the use of going back? Should I do it just to feel like I’m actively doing something?

There are other issues to consider, and they’re issues that are non-existent if I stay here.

Jobs are scarce in New York – especially for people who don’t yet have college degrees. How will Rob be able to support us? Will our kids always live under the weight of poverty? And while we’re in this great, big rat race, will I have to set aside my friends and family, aka the people I love the most, to make time and energy for making money and raising my kids?

Things look bleak. I’m finding it hard not to assume that we’re not going to find childcare before Rob leaves. Even so, I still don’t want to go back to New York. Now yet, anyway. I  have to find a way to make things work here in the Philippines. I need to figure out a way to make sure my kids are taken care of while I’m at school. At the same time, however, I need to think of what to do in the event that I’m unable to do so.

I’m trying to look at the bright side of things: Sure, my degree will be set back, and I won’t be in the lovely grind of learning. But at least I can concentrate on my pregnancy and raising Riley. At least I’ll know that my kids are being taken care of. I’ll know that I’m eating right and exercising correctly and keeping my stress levels down by managing the hell out of the budget and the household; at the same time, I have the time and freedom to shape and mold Riley into the man I want him to become. And in the meantime, I can look for childcare. Hopefully, we’ll find a nanny and I won’t be set back too much.

Right now, I’m focusing on the things that are within my control, like calling my ob-gyn to ease my mind about her anticipated performance as my health care provider.

I’m also putting in the time to find a nanny, and hoping that things go my way.

What else can I do?

Getting fiscally responsible.

There’s this thing about mine and Rob’s relationship that’s more than yin and yang. We balance each other out, sure. But sometimes, we’re so completely opposite of each other that we just spoil what the other one is doing. Case in point: Work. I’m a workhorse. I like getting down to business and getting shit done and getting it all done right. Rob? Not so much. He’d rather lounge around and have fun.

Now, don’t get me wrong: When it’s time to let my hair down, I can party it up with the best of them or lazy about the house doing nothing. And Rob? When push comes to shove, he’s able to pull it all together and do what he’s got to do. For the most part, though, we distract each other from our planned routines. I know that Rob doesn’t really want to be be an upright, responsible adult, so I’ll bend some of the rules that I’d otherwise keep set in stone; Rob knows that I see idleness as a waste of time, so he’ll scramble to get shit done, even when he’d rather be relaxing. I tend to let him influence the lion’s share of how this tug-of-war goes, but these days I’m thinking it’s okay to be a bit more of a hard-ass.

Basically, the situation is this: We have limited funds, but those limited funds are set to temporarily grow in the next two weeks.  Rob has only six weeks left in the Philippines and he wants us to live it up while he’s still here. And while the Maria of 5 years ago would’ve happily shrugged off tomorrow’s responsibilities in lieu of today’s memory-making, the Maria of present would rather play it safe. Call me crazy, but given the situation – having one kid and getting ready for another – I’d rather not spend the bulk of our money on flashy presents to each other and day trips.

I really don’t want to be a stick in the mud, but I’d rather that than not being able to pay for my medical fees, or, ya know, food.

I can’t help but wish that Rob saw things my way.

*sigh*

We’ll talk about this later. Right now, we’re both too cranky from recovering from the fiasco of yesterday.