I'm on vacation from work this week. The freedom feels so familiar and comforting. I've been a full time working mom for a little over two months now and it seems to be getting harder rather than easier. I anticipated this phenomenon, knowing that there would be a recognizable honeymoon phase. The first couple of months happened to be our busy season so there was little time to think, which was a huge blessing. I spent a lot of time catching up with all the co-workers I had missed so much and the rest of the time getting re-acclimated to the working world. My son was sick for the first three weeks I was back thanks to all of those super fun kid germs at daycare. He had the flu first, which both Jon and I caught and then he suffered from a cold for a couple of weeks which he passed along to me, but spared Jon the excitement. They say that sharing is caring. It was a rough first month.
I love my job. Taking care of people is something that is woven into the fabric of my being. This is probably why I love to feed people so much. Giving keeps me going and makes me feel like myself.
Working outside of the house has some distinct advantages. No one follows me to the bathroom when I have to go. I can get through an entire conversation with another adult without a toddler trying to pull my pants down or yelling for me to push him around in a tiny wooden tray. My lunch hour has an incredible amount of possibilities and I can come and go as I please within that hour. Money is nice. Not depleting our savings is pretty great as is the ability to buy things we want, but in this moment, those all feel a little dim in the light of that almost two year old with whom I'm so smitten.
We went to the zoo yesterday and shared a blueberry muffin and a croissant at a favorite cafe in San Francisco. When we had our fill of giraffes and gorillas, we went to visit a friend in our old neighborhood. Oliver played with toys and balloons and I caught up with a dear friend. It was a perfect day. I cried at the end of it when I hugged him in the kitchen as he laughed hysterically at my fake sneezes. I miss him. There's no way around it. I know a lot of women do this and they get through it, even enjoy it. I'm hoping that I'll get there soon.
Everyone needs a great banana bread recipe in their repertoire. This one is a little unconventional but pays off in the end. You can store the loaf in an airtight container at room temperature for a couple days but I like to put mine in the fridge because I'm a weirdo and I like cold cake. You'll lose the crispy crunch on top of the cake when you store it, so try to eat as much as you can on the day it's baked.
banana almond bread
makes one loaf
adapted from this recipe
- 1 3/4 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 1 cup packed brown sugar, divided
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup greek yogurt
- 3 ripe bananas, divided
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/3 cup sliced almonds
- turbinado sugar (also known as raw or coarse sugar)
- Grease a 9x5x4 loaf pan with butter or non-stick spray and pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees with a rack in the middle.
- Combine the flour, baking soda, salt and spices in a large bowl.
- In a medium bowl, using a hand held mixer, beat the eggs and 3/4 cup of the brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add 1 banana, the yogurt and a 1/4 cup of brown sugar and beat until well combined, with just a few lumps remaining. Add the oil and blend to combine.
- Coarsely mash the remaining two bananas with a fork and fold into the wet ingredients.
- Dump the wet ingredients into the dry ones and toss in the almonds. Mix with a wooden spoon until just combined, being careful not to over mix the batter.
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and sprinkle the top with sugar. Bake in the center of the oven until a toothpick stuck in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.