Housewife won’t be a four letter word

Three years ago I made a huge transition in my life. I went from working every day in corporate America to becoming a housewife. I was still fairly young, 27, and I wasn’t married. I was a fauxswife. I’ve posted before about how the transition was difficult and coping with the new job title got to me. As I prepare to add stay at home mom to my resume the insecurities of being a housewife and SAHM are beginning to bubble up again. The weird thing is when I tell people that I’m staying home with our daughter they are really supportive. I think in the culture we’ve built ourselves it’s become a very common theme that work comes before family. SAHM were a thing of the past and they are making a come back including dads now.

A couple months ago I was watching the TV show Roseanne. I don’t know why I love that show so much but we all have that one show, amIright? There was an episode where Roseanne was telling her daughter that she had to go to college because she wanted her daughter to have a better life than she has. Roseanne works blue collar jobs, has three kids, and a husband who heavily relied on her. I agree that you should go to college and figure out what you want to do with your life, but should we really push the idea that having a family, house, and a suburban life isn’t the life you want? We push our kids to have more. More than we had. More than we have. Just more.

I grew up very fortunate. We weren’t wealthy by any means but I was fortunate because I had my mom at home growing up. I had parents that were there every second to teach me right from wrong. Take us on road trips that we still talk about today. Let us bring our books out to our favorite reading tree even if that meant they got dirty. Obviously, not every day was sunshine and rainbows. Who’s family life is that? I am aware that my kids won’t have sunshine and rainbows every day but I also don’t want them to feel that I am stuck in this situation and I regret every part of it. Sometimes when I say I’m a housewife I can feel the person thinking, “Another spoiled Exeter housewife.” or “What went wrong? Didn’t you have goals in life?”

What if I told you that one of my goals was to be a housewife and mom and went to college because that’s what I was suppose to do? College was honestly some of the best years of my life. I found loves of my soul and had experiences that I would never exchange. But I have to ask myself if I didn’t feel such societal pressure to go to college, would I have done it? I hate saying that I have a degree in psychology that I don’t use, but it is true. I am paying back student loans for something that I don’t practice…well I diagnose people all the time but I can’t legally do anything. I didn’t go through college and jobs to find a mate and settle down, believe me. But there was always a larger part of me that wanted to be a wife and mom. Period.

So why is that a bad thing? The term housewife was created in a time where it was attached to an oppression. A housewife wasn’t a partner in a marriage, they were an employee of the man. A housewife wasn’t openly appreciated for running a house and family, it was their expected job. A housewife wasn’t a person, they were an image to be upheld. Nowadays a housewife is so much more. At least in our house that title is. Tim and I 100% make all the decisions for our family together. Financial, where to live, how to raise our kids, etc. It’s all done together. We appreciate what the other does for our family. Tim tells me all the time he is thankful for the work I do for our family. I tell Tim I am thankful for the work he does to help keep our family going.

In our house the title of housewife won’t be a four letter word. It will be an option. We will encourage our daughter and any other children we have to explore the world outside our house. If they want to go to college, great. If they want to travel the world and write about what they see, awesome. If they want to get married and start a family for themselves, go for it. Our nowadays have turned kinda hippie in that we feel that everyone is special and gets a trophy for breathing. However, it’s also teaching us that we don’t have to give into what others think of us and what we should or shouldn’t be doing with our lives. I mean why do others care so damn much anyway? At the end of the day if you and your family are happy and healthy with their situation, isn’t that what matters? If you are happy and healthy with your situation, isn’t that what life comes down to? No, housewife won’t be a four letter word but it will mean something pretty great.

Here's Looking At You

10 things I’m afraid of

Over the last few weeks I’ve shared things that I do and do not want to do with my kid(s). The thought process of what kind of parent you are going to be is exhausting and non stop. The evolution is ever progressing. When you find out you’re pregnant you want to be a good pregnant mom. Eat all the right things, get the exercise, go to the doctor, etc. If anything of these things goes awry or you’re just too damn tired and sick to do them the feeling of failure can be overwhelming. After you get past that phase you move onto the, “She’s going to be here really soon. What is the parent of a newborn suppose to do?” and then toddler and then parents of two and then and then and then. This is my life now and I have accepted that.

What I haven’t accepted are the things that I’m afraid of being a parent. I haven’t really thought about my own fears too much. I have so many others things going on I haven’t had the brain capacity or time to really think them through. Sure I’ve thought about the mistakes I don’t want to make but those are more of building a good human. What do I do when I don’t feel like I’m enough of a human to be a parent?

Here are 10 things I am afraid of becoming a parent of an actual human.

1.) Fear: Mom guilt

Why I’m afraid: Mom guilt is something that I’m sure all moms go through. I feel it now whenever I think, “I don’t want to be pregnant anymore” or “She’s taking my body from me”. Things that are perfectly fine to think or feel but the guilt after is awful. I sometimes let it take over and she’s not even here yet. I’m afraid that it will only be magnified when she’s in front of me.

2.) Fear: It won’t be just the two of us anymore…ever

Why I’m afraid: For the last six years Tim has been by my side. We’ve gone through a lot together. He has been my everything for that entire time. We’re the gross couple who knew after a month together that we were meant to be together forever. We literally can spend days together just us and not annoy each other or need to get away from the other. Am I really ready to let that go? I know the addition we are getting is going to be our everything and we’ll wonder, “What did we do before her?” in a good way. But sometimes when we’re laying on the couch making each other laugh I wonder if it will ever be this again? I then feel like the most selfish mom on the earth for even daring to think that.

3.) Fear: I will do everything right and still have an a-hole kid

Why I’m afraid: I’ve worked with numerous types of kids and met numerous types of parents. There were always the, “Yeah, I get it” after meeting parents but I did meet my fair share of, “Where did your child come from?” I don’t want to be that parent. We could do everything right in raising her, but she still is a thinking and acting human. That’s terrifying.

4.) Fear: Some day I won’t want to mom

Why I’m afraid: I’m not sure when nouns became verbs but this one is true. There are days now that I wake up and think, “I can’t pregnant today. I am so tired”. I know that the tired I have now is child’s play for what is ahead. What do I do on the days where I wake up and think, “I can’t mom today. I am so tired.”?  And then the mom guilt comes in and a vicious cycle comes into play. I’ve wanted to be a mom for so long it scares me to think that some days I won’t want to be one, just for a day.

5.) Fear: I’ll focus too much on what I’m doing well as a mom

Why I’m afraid: There are many types of moms being labeled in our society. The hot mess mom. The Pinterest mom. The know it all mom. The overachiever mom. So on and so on. While I’m not a big fan of labeling any effort to raise a child, I don’t want to be the mom who thinks she is nailing this whole mom thing. The mom who talks about how my eight month old is already beginning to pull herself up and another mom says, “You’re genius child just ate a Dorito from the garbage.” I won’t be perfect, but I don’t want to always think I am and over look what I need to work on.

6.) Fear: I won’t be able to nurse

Why I’m afraid: We went to the breastfeeding class and got all the literature about how great breastfeeding is for you and your baby. What we didn’t learn or read about was that sometimes it just doesn’t happen or work out. My body just doesn’t jive with it. Eva might not be able to latch. We could try for a couple weeks and Eva decides it’s not her thing. A million other reasons could come up. Again, if I can’t I know it’s not my fault. It doesn’t make me a bad mom. When you hear professionals tell you over and over how amazing this thing is for your child and how it should be one of the most natural acts a mother can do, what else are you suppose to feel if you can’t do it? Moms constantly worry they aren’t doing enough for their child. What if I jump off the dock feeling that way?

7.) Fear: If Tim and I will be good parents

Why I’m afraid: Okay, this one is kinda a gimme for all parents and I know I’ve listed it before on other posts but honest to lawd, it is one of my biggest fears. It will forever be one of my biggest fears. It’s with little things like when I still respond with, “That’s what she said” to big things like, “Are we financially responsible enough for children?” Kids seem to like us, but once again that doesn’t mean we going to be these amazing parents.

8.) Fear: All the articles/blogs I read are going to happen to me

Why I’m afraid: I’ve been reading parenting articles and blogs for months now. I’ve noticed a trend that a lot of them are about the hardships of parenting. The internets have become a place where parents feel like they finally have a voice to ask, “This is terrible! Is it terrible for you?!” which you can totally understand. Who wants to feel alone with a struggle as a parent? After reading one after another you begin to get paranoid that all these things will happen to you and your child and there’s no light in any tunnel.

9.) Fear: Postpartum depression

Why I’m afraid: I think it’s pretty obvious why this is a fear of mine. You read so much and are told so much in baby classes that PPD is real and something you need to pay attention to. Again, the idea that I’ve wanted a baby for so long to only go into a torturous cycle of feeling hopeless and at worst not wanting my child anymore is devastating. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, there is help available, but I honestly am not sure it’s something I could get through.

10.) Fear: I just can’t do this

Why I’m afraid: It all comes down to questions about the impending future, “Am I going to be a good mom?” “Are Tim and I going to be good parents together?” “Am I going to loose myself to being Eva’s mom?” “Right now we want 3-4 kids. After Eva is that all going to change?” “Can I be a parent?” Questions, questions, questions race through your mind with every onesie you fold. Watching a room in your house that was empty for months or years slowly fill with baby furniture and baby chachkies. You are mentally and physically prepping for one of the biggest changes of your life. How could you not question whether you can do this or not?

Fears. They can overtake your mind. I’m trying to focus on the wonderful things ahead of me. Looking at Eva for hours marveling that she’s here and she’s ours. Seeing family and friends become aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins. Little kid hugs. Butterfly kisses. Giggles that give you life. Playing dress up. Beach days. The list goes on and on. I’m so lucky that I have one of the most amazing support systems a person could possibly have. Family and friends jumping at chances to help and love us through whatever comes up. Fears are just those, fears. A feeling that comes in and goes. In about three weeks I’ll be welcoming my beautiful daughter to the world. At the end of the day, I can’t be afraid of that. I can only be excited to met her.

You don’t owe me anything

I’m getting into the home stretch here. On Tuesday I will be 36 weeks pregnant. As in, get prepared because that baby can pop out at any time weeks pregnant. The closer I get to birthin’ my baby the more I find myself observing parents and their children. Not in a bad judgy “You are a bad parent how can you?!” way. More like, “Holy crap that’s going to be me a little over a month. May I watch you in your natural behaviors?” Sorry to any parents I’ve freaked out in the last few weeks. I’m not creepy, I’m pregnant.

For the most part I smile at the parent and carry on my way. It’s mostly mothers who see me looking at them or their kid then see my huge belly and give a kind smile my way. It’s as though we have a psychic conversation of, “Good luck!” “Thanks, you’re kid is very cute”. Sometimes I do see parents who I don’t think are being their best version of themselves at that moment. Yelling, screaming sometimes, at their kid that they are a brat and need to calm down. Or the parents who are letting their kids literally run at full speed around the grocery store yelling and chasing each other and just turn their head to the bell peppers.

The one thing that I’ve observed over time though is a phrase that makes my skin crawl. “I gave birth to you. You owe me.” or  “I gave you life. You owe me.” Sometimes this is said in jest to older children. Sometimes I’ve heard it said to younger children in not such a jesting way. No matter the age of the child, I. Hate. That. Phrase. I hate the idea that you are telling your child that they owe you anything. That child didn’t decide themselves to be born. That child didn’t choose to be adopted. That child didn’t decide to come into this chaotic world. We chose it for them. Every parent chose this life for them.

Some parents try for years to have kids. Some parents wake up one morning to a delightful surprise. Some parents wake up to a devastating surprise. At the end of the day though, if you chose to have your child, that was 100% on you. You chose to have them and raise them. You chose to create that life. You chose to not get an abortion. You chose not to place that child for adoption. You chose to raise a human. You. Not them.

Please, let me be clear. I fully know and get that parents sacrifice everything for their kids. Their bodies, their sanity, their finances, their freedoms, and sometimes just themselves overall. I was texting with a friend the other day and said I had the terrifying realization that I am going to be someone’s mom forever. Like, forever. Her response, “Forever. It’s overwhelming.” We do everything for our little ankle bitters. We stay up countless nights, clean up poopy diapers, become well versed in basic triage, become children psychologists, become a taxi service, and do a thankless job. It’s so easy to see why we think our kids owe us something. The truth is, they don’t.

I’ve heard this said to kids for years and years. I think it’s not so much a parent truly thinking that the child owes them for everything in their life and they should give their parents whatever they want for that. It’s more of a recognition of appreciation that comes into play. Again though, that’s on us as parents. I actually heard a mom ask her daughter for the earrings she was wearing. When the daughter said no the mother actually said, “But I gave birth to you. You owe me.” What a horrible way to make that child feel guilty and make a jab at them in the same breath. You pretty much just told another human that anything they have belongs to you because you chose to have them and raise them. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I think that you earn the title of parent. I’ve taken care of too many kids and seen too many college kids or adults that have parents who didn’t deserve the title. Kids who were abused mentally, emotionally, or physically. College kids crying in my room (I was an RA for three years) because their parents just yelled at them on the phone about getting a C on a test. Adults overworking at everything to prove to their parents that they are worth something. Of course these are worse case scenarios. The best of the best parents can easily think, “How can you treat me this way? I raised you. You owe me.” Think it don’t speak it. And really is the reasoning, “You could have it so much worse. I could have been an awful parent.” really a reason at all?

The huge downside to speaking it, is that your child will one day grow into an adult. I’m already dreading that day and she’s negative one month old. I can’t. Sadly, my little Monkey will be an adult someday. I want her to look at me and Tim and think, “They gave up so much for me. They’ve loved me unconditionally. They did everything they could for me. I owe them so much.” because, in my opinion, that kind of owing is so much more rewarding than a forced owing. My parents did so much for me and my sister. I wish I could buy them a beautiful house and take care of them forever for what they did for me. Right now I’m giving them a granddaughter and hoping that’s good for a while. They’ve never said I owe them anything, but some days I realize that I do owe them so much. I hope that some day Tim and I will be that for Eva.

12 Mistakes I don’t want to make

Last week I made a post about the lessons that I want to teach our baby girl. I think it only follows that when you think of the things you want to teach your little one you also think of the things that you don’t want to teach them or let them see. You don’t want to make mistakes in front of your child. We all (for the most part) grow up thinking that our parents are invincible. They are our doctors and nurses. They are monster fighters. They are our comforts. They are our everything. No matter how wonderful and amazing they are, parents make mistakes. They make mistakes from day one. Babies don’t come home from the hospital with a handbook and instructions in English and Spanish. I asked.

We as parents will try everything in order to hide these mistakes or shake them off like it doesn’t kill our soul that we may have done something wrong when it comes to kids. There are some mistakes that you can control and then there are others that you can’t control because you’re a human damnit. You make mistakes. I know I will make some of the mistakes I list, but I’m in the happy 33 week pregnancy bubble. I’ll let you know how I’m doing in another 10 weeks. Here are a few mistakes that I hope I don’t make with my kids. I say kids because Tim and I already know we want more than one child, let us dream.

Here we go:

1.) Calling my kids brats when they are acting out. Okay, so my only real parenting experience has come from raising two somewhat special cats. I know cats are not human children but I still try to parent in a way. When they are whining for food before feeding times or playing with things they shouldn’t my first reaction is, “Stop it! You’re being a brat.” I don’t want to do that with my kids. I hated being called a brat because I didn’t think I really was a brat. I agreed that I was being ridiculous or out of control but I didn’t think I was a brat. Brats are kids who have amazing upbringings and still whine and yell about the things they don’t have and want. They don’t care about others and what these people had done for them. I don’t want my kids to feel that way.

2.) Making them feel like their emotions are insignificant. Sometimes when kids act out or have a huge melt down a knee jerk reaction is, “Stop crying. It’s not that big a deal.” when in their reality, in their world at that moment, it’s a huge deal. Kids are kids. They don’t know what huge deals are yet because they haven’t been around long enough. I don’t want to dismiss those huge deals because I want them to recognize when they are melting down and how to fix it. If you’re feeling this way, let’s try this to calm it down. Don’t get me wrong, in bed I’ll look at Tim and say, “Eva today flipped out because she wanted blueberries in her cereal. I put the blueberries in the cereal” and have a good giggle at it.

3.) Bringing our grown up problems to our kids. I feel like we’re trying to make kids grow up too fast in many ways. They need to achieve more. They need to prove themselves more. So on. I don’t want to add to those pressures. They will probably hear, “I’m sorry, love. That’s not in the budget this month” because they should understand what that is. I don’t want to tell them that we can’t do A B or C because daddy and I did D E and F wrong. They deserve that invincible image as kiddos. Our problems are our responsibilities, not theirs.

4.) Letting them think that I think having a clean house is more important than they are. From what I’ve been told and watching my bonus nieces grow, kids grow up in less than a blink of an eye. I like having a clean house. I like having non broken things. But I am telling you right now, I will LOVE having my children. If there is vacuuming that needs to be done but they ask me to play one more round of Candy Land, I will play that one more round. I will do it because someday they will not ask me for another round. They’ll ask for a longer curfew. I will do it because vacuuming can wait another 45 minutes. I could have another 45 minutes with them that day.

5.) Being overprotective of our kids. I am an independent gal. My sister is an independent gal traveling the world. My parents obviously cared for us and loved us very much but in no way did they suffocate us or become the dreaded helicopter parents. By the time I was 13 I knew how to do my laundry, make a lunch, was teaching dance classes, and walked around town by myself. I worked and lived at summer camp for whole summers starting at 15. While I’m sure they weren’t huge fans of letting me go for whole summers, I went to college without issue. It wasn’t that big an adjustment honestly. I want my kids to feel that and be proud.

6.) Not letting Tim be the father he wants to and is meant to be. We were at Goodwill last weekend and Tim saw a coffee table he liked. He showed it to me and without even thinking I snapped, “No. I don’t want glass top around her” and walked away. I know that he wasn’t upset about it and understood. I don’t ever want him to feel like I make all the decisions for our kids because I feel like he’ll make the wrong ones. Tim is an amazing husband. He’ll be an amazing father. I don’t want to take that from him, ever.

7.) Trying to be the perfect mom. I am a perfectionist. Everything I try I try to do it perfect from the gate. If I can’t, I give up on it easily. Being a mom means being imperfect at some point. That notion alone terrifies me. At the same time though, my kids need to see my imperfections to know that their imperfections are who they are. I need to work on myself and be who I truly am. I need them to know who they are is amazing. I need to show them that through example.

8.) Not doing enough. On the flip side of being perfect I am also so so so so scared that I won’t do enough as their mom. I won’t be enough. I feel it now. I have been told over and over that I am doing everything humanly possible to get my gestational diabetes under control. There’s nothing more I can do, but I want to yell, “There has to be more! She deserves more!” I feel like there is something I’m not doing and everyone is missing it. I have a feeling that feeling won’t go away any time soon.

9.) Oversharing the struggles of parenting on social media. As I’ve admitted in the past, I overshare. It’s not my favorite trait of mine, but I be who I be. What I don’t want to be is a parent who complains about how awful their kids were that day, everyday. I don’t believe that’s what social media is for anyway, but the idea that my kids could look back and see it kills me. Every parent hits a saturation point, it’s being a parent. My kids don’t need to see that saturation point for being kids.

10.) Letting my own self-image issues carry onto them. This is for daughters and sons. I’ve had self-image issues for as long as I can remember. For the first six months of my pregnancy I was devastated to think people thought I was just super fat. In high school and college I let it control me at times. It wasn’t until I was in my mid-twenties that I learned how to be a healthful person, eat healthfully, and accept that my body is fine the way it is. I don’t want my kids to be in their mid-twenties when they figure it out.

11.) Not finding the middle ground between, “Rub some dirt on it” and overreacting to situations. Being raised tough is great. You get complimented on it for the rest of your life. Being tough has downsides though. You put off going to the doctor’s for way too long. You put up walls because you don’t want to seem weak. You hide how you are really doing. Overreacting isn’t great either. Being that stressed out all the time gives you ulcers. People not wanting to deal with you. I want my kids to be in a nice middle ground. Take care of themselves but not expect the rest of the world to do it for them.

12.) Listening to other parents solely and ignore my own voice. Just being pregnant I’ve gotten tons of advice about what the best way to do things for my kid is and she isn’t even here yet. I’m super excited to have strangers say something to me in the grocery store. At the end of the day, people can say whatever they want. That’s their freedom. It’s when I cling to all these pieces of advice that I am doing a disservice to myself, Tim, and our kids. We need to be confident in the decisions we make as parents and not falter every time someone says something. Our kids need to see that part of our parenting or they’ll roll their eyes every time we say something. I’m very wise children, you should listen to me and dad, obviously.

What are some mistakes you’ve made with your kids that you wish you could have avoided? What are some mistakes you hope to avoid?

15 Things I want to teach my daughter

I say that I want to teach my daughter these things because letsbehonest, when you are about to have a baby your head is filled with ideas of how you will raise your kids. Heck, even if you are a non-parent and have no plans to be a parent I’m sure you’ve had the thought, “If I had a kid…”. We can’t help it. We see kids everywhere these days. At the store, at the doctor’s, at the movies, at restaurants, at wine tastings (was that just that one time?), and everywhere else we go. The time of kids being seen and not heard are over. Personally, I’m fine with it within reason. If I were to say that I’m not annoyed when a kid is running around the restaurant yelling at the top of their lungs and knocking into the waiters, well I’d be lying. Honestly though I wonder how the parents can sit there say nothing and keep eating.

Obviously I can make these judgments now because as I’ve been reminded through most of my adulthood, I’m not a parent yet. Even now a lot of people wouldn’t say that Tim and I are parents because she isn’t here in our arms yet. I know Tim and I are parents already. Especially the last month. I’ve literally done everything in my power to make sure she is in a safe environment and comes into this world safely. Tim has been as supportive as humanly possible and checks in on us constantly through the day. It’s true though, she’s not here yet so we can’t turn the next chapter in parenting quite yet. I can’t help but think of these things that I want to teach her in life. I want to teach her lots of things but these points have been sticking in my craw lately.

15 Things I want to teach my daughter: *These are from the point of view of me talking to her*

1. You control how you react to situations. Your mom is controlling of things. The one thing I’ve learned though is that you can’t control everything. You can’t control people and you can’t control the way life comes at you. The one thing you can control is how you react. Cry, be upset, be angry, whatever, but the next day pick yourself up and figure out what you need to do. You do control how you act through life.

2. Wear what you want, but wear it for you. Okay, this is has two meanings. When you’re a kid wear the orange polka dot top and the turquoise stripped pants with a tutu and rain boots if that’s what you want to wear. As you get older wear what you want but wear it because it’s what you like to wear. Don’t waste your time, self-respect, or outfits on what you think that boy (or girl) thinks. You don’t owe anyone your time and energy based on their expectations of you. Jobs and circumstantial situations are different, but for day to day wear what you want.

3. Life is so much more than screens. You are going to grow up in a world that is ruled by computer screens, phone screens, TV screens, and so many other electronics. Life is so so so much more. Don’t roll your eyes when we say we’re going to walk downtown. Open your eyes to the beautiful scenery we live in. Don’t be upset that we’re going to the library instead of watching the same episode of Dora for the thousandth time. Be excited to hold a book in your little hands.

4. You earn the respect of people. Again, you can’t control how other people treat you. You can control how you treat people though. I’m sorry if and when you run across people who feel that you should automatically respect them and treat you poorly. Don’t sink to their level. Rise above and show them and yourself that you can rise above and be the bigger person. Take it from me, people will change their attitude quite a bit with a kind smile and a, “How are you doing today?”

5. Don’t judge people so harshly that you’ve established an opinion based on that judgement. It’s difficult to not judge people. It’s what you do with said judgement that is the difference. You don’t know people’s life stories. You don’t know their yesterday stories. You’ll meet so many different people in your life, to judge them and therefore your relationship with them in the first few moments is robbing you and them. Some of the best people are abrasive at first. Give them time, be patient.

6. Your beauty is so much more than what you see in the mirror. You will probably be told that you are beautiful from someone just looking at you. I’m here to tell you that you are beautiful because of the person you are. I think my family and friends are the most beautiful when they smile, laugh, comfort others, show a vulnerability. I think your father is the most beautiful when he shows his love for you and me. Beauty is more than a selfie.

7. Never confine or doubt what your achievements can and will be. Work hard and focus. You can achieve things you never thought you would because you put the effort behind it. Do it with everything you do. Your career, your relationships, your friends, your heart, your schooling, and your passions. Achievement is more than a net worth of money. They are a net worth of life.

8. Take responsibility for your actions. I apologize because you will hear me say this to the point of insanity. I say it so much because I feel that it’s a lost art in our society. Everyone looks for someone or something else to blame. No. YOU, you alone are responsible for the decisions made in your life. You make those decisions, you have to deal with the consequences. I’ll try to help you along the way, but at the end of the day it’s you.

9. Family isn’t always blood. I grew up with lots of family that aren’t blood related. Your grandparents built me and your aunt and fabulous family from college friends. They helped shape us into the people we are today. Your dad and I did the same. You have a lot of blood related family but you also have a lot of bonus family around you. We are lucky that we got to pick them to be part of our tribe. Don’t vote them off easily, they’ll be there for everything.

10. You do you. It will take you a while to get there. I spent so much of my teenage years and part of my college years worrying about how I acted around others. Then one day it just clicked. I needed to be who I be. I needed to do me. I decided what I valued. I decided who I wanted in my life. I decided my life. And I have to tell you, I like the honest version of myself far more than the version I was faking. It’s okay to be weird. It’s okay to be a jock. It’s okay to be the drama kid. Whoever you are, that’s perfect.

11. It’s okay to have emotions. Growing up people will tell you to calm down. Don’t cry. Don’t get angry. It’s all ridiculous. If that’s what’s going on in your body then let it out. Please don’t go crazy and punch things like the Hulk or become overly dramatic, but talk about it. Saying, “I’m so angry right now” will make you feel so much better than keeping it inside and letting it eat away. Talk to us. Talk to friends. Talk to whomever to make you feel better. Don’t shame yourself into a corner.

12. Have as much fun in life as possible. Whatever makes you laugh a ton, smile till your cheeks hurt, and makes your soul full at the end of the day, do it. There will be plenty of times in life where you won’t have fun. Let the fun outweigh those times.

13. You came into this world so loved by so many people. Dad and I were the first to love you. When your grandparents, aunts and uncles, friends, and other family found out about you they loved you instantly. We are the ones who will be here for you for the rest of your life. That started before you came into this world. Don’t forget that.

14. Dad and I aren’t here to ruin your life. It will feel like that some days. Sorry, that’s life, kiddo. We are here to love you fiercely. Part of that love is showing you that life has boundaries, there are rules out there, and help make you the best possible you. You won’t really appreciate it until your much much older, but you will some day. I promise.

15. You will make mistakes. And you will make a lot of them. That’s what part of life is. That’s what growing up is. That’s what being a human is. We’ll be here for those mistakes to help pick you up. Accept those mistakes and make a better life out of them. Mistakes can turn into wonderful things.

What are some things you would want to tell your kids or future kids?

Failures

Failure. It’s an interesting concept. Failure itself has such a broad definition spectrum. We can fail at our latest Pinterest craft involving egg cartons, fairy eyelashes, and the saliva of a badger in heat to a huge deal at work. The word failure can instill the fear into someone’s soul or it can make us giggle. For example, when I was in high school and told I failed a biology exam I cried because well, that sucks. When I tried a smokey eye with a cat eye liner for the first time all I could do was laugh at myself in the mirror because I failed at it so miserably. What else can you do?

These last weeks I’ve really come to take the word failure to a new peak for myself. I posted the week before (it’s been a really crazy couple of weeks, sorry for missing last week!) that I had been diagnosed with gestational diabetes. After I admitted it on here I felt comfortable making statuses about it on my Facebook profile. Once I had to told the public what I was going through I got a lot of responses. Some were, “Oh, don’t worry about it. As soon as you deliver it’s gone!” “It’s not that big of a deal.” Some were, “Let go and let God. You can’t control it, so let go of whatever course it’s going to take.” “Still enjoy the pregnancy. This won’t take over the joy you are creating.” And my favorite, “Don’t stress about it.” Now, I completely understand that everyone was trying to offer a slight bit of comfort and let me know that it wasn’t the end of the world. It was a short term problem that could be managed and just a hiccup in everything going on.

I must admit, letting go of this problem has been beyond difficult. I can’t really not stress about it or stop thinking about it because this is taking over my life. I was told on February 19th I had gestational diabetes (GD). At that point we wanted to see if diet and exercise would control it. By the 26th I was on insulin. I prick my fingers four times a day. Have had to start eating on a schedule. Wake up early enough to test my fasting sugar. Take insulin at night. Walk after every meal. Count carbohydrates like I was counting precious gems. Call my diabetic healthcare center almost daily and go to regular doctor’s appointments. There is no way I could stop thinking/stressing about the GD because the GD was taking over my life. I’ve felt like a shut in for the last few weeks because I’m terrified to go out to eat.

I’m terrified of these things because we have learned I am insanely insulin resistant. No matter what I do I can’t lower my blood sugars. My nurses and doctors are dumbfounded and feel awful because all they can say is, “I’m so sorry, hunny. I can’t think of anything to tell you to do differently. You’re eating perfectly, you’re walking, you’re calling us. We’ll keep bumping up the insulin and hope that works.” It has not. It has failed. My body has failed me. I feel like I have failed my daughter already. I’ve tried to get to the point of thinking that this is something completely out of my control and is a placental issue. We can’t even blame genetics at this point. My hormones are so high that insulin just isn’t breaking through.

I wake up every day preparing to fail. Somehow and someway I feel like I’m failing. Whether it’s my own intentional fault or not. The feeling that your baby is in more harm in what is supposed to be the most perfect environment of their life is one of the most overwhelming feelings of my life. The mommy guilt I’ve already placed on myself because I don’t want to be pregnant anymore is one of the worse feelings I’ve had. I want her here in my arms, I want to be in my 40th week because I feel like my body is failing to give her what she needs. Not because I am insanely uncomfortable from having a nine month old fetus in me.  As with this my other failures have piled up. Our kitchen is in shambles every day because I now eat all my meals and snacks in our house. The turn around on dishes is crazy and I’m exhausted at night to do dishes. Our house isn’t clean because I have to eat at certain times, go to the doctor’s at least twice a week if not more, call my health care center, continuously grocery shop so I have the correct foods at my finger tips, and I’m now eight months pregnant.

Believe me. I haven’t failed to see that I have so much to be thankful for through all this. I have an amazingly loving husband who lets me cry on him almost every day through this and desperately tries to make me feel better. Parents who call me almost daily to make sure I’m okay. Great insurance that helps take some of the financial aspect of this off of us. And from what modern medicine can see so far, a very healthy if not slightly chubby baby growing in my tummy. All these plus a dozen other thankfuls in my life are reminders that it could be worse. My failures right now shouldn’t outweigh the triumphs in my life. Your failures shouldn’t outweigh your triumphs in life.

Failure. A term that can bring us laughter and can bring us to our knees. Something that can be self inflicted or inflicted upon us. In our society today we are taught to focus on our failures because by god we will pull ourselves up by our boot straps and forge ahead. We learn from failures. We are taught not to focus too much on what we’ve done right because being boastful doesn’t get you anywhere. So why are we so wary to find the middle ground and give ourselves a break once and a while? I don’t think we should all get participation trophies but we should at least acknowledge that we show up. I’m showing up. According to all my doctors there is literally nothing more I can personally do. Not one single activity or food will make the problem go away. Why can’t I accept this fact? Why do I strive to find failure in my efforts instead of striving to giving myself a break and well needed, “You’ve done what you can.” I’m hoping to get to a point where I treat myself gently (a term from my diabetic nurse) because I can’t keep focusing on what I feel are my failures. I need to acknowledge that I’ve showed up. I’ve tried. Sometimes the failures are simply out of my control.

Through the storm

The last couple of weeks in the Gagnon household have been pretty stressful ones. Around 28 weeks of a pregnancy they check you for gestational diabetes. You get to drink this glucose drink that tastes like 7 of those barrel juices we used to drink as kids and then they draw your blood and check your blood sugar level. It’s done with all pregnant women because gestational diabetes can literally happen to any woman who is pregnant. It has to do with hormones your body is producing to create a healthy environment for the baby. My doctor said that they have women come in who are marathon runners and have an impeccable diet and still get gestational diabetes.

For me getting gestational diabetes was my worse fear behind having a miscarriage. Diabetes is something that is very prevalent in my family’s history. Very prevalent. I was obsessed with how much weight I was gaining, how my tests were coming back, and the possibility that I could have gestational diabetes. My doctor was actually becoming concerned because I was becoming so obsessive about talking about it in my appointments. She wondered what my biggest concern was and all I could say was, “I don’t want gestational diabetes”. She would then again explain to me how it’s not something I could control in my world that I was desperately trying to control. It was all hormonal and that’s it. I had to accept that it was a possibility. 15-20% of pregnant women get it and that’s 1 in 10 women. Huge numbers when you consider how many women in America get preggo in a year.

I had the test and then got the phone call, “Amy, your tests were high. We’d like you to come back in and take a three hour glucose test.” I got to go to the hospital and have my blood drawn four times in three hours and sit in waiting room chairs. It was not a fun morning. I was terrified that my worse fear was coming true. The next day I got the call, “Amy, your tests were too high. Really high. We are referring you to the Diabetic Healthcare Center. You have gestational diabetes.” The tears were pouring down my face. It wasn’t my fault but it sure felt like my fault. Every medical person I spoke to over the next day tried to remind me that it wasn’t my fault. They were talking in one ear and it was going out the other.

I went to the healthcare center and got educated on what to eat and when to exercise. That night I checked my blood sugar when I was suppose to, ate the correct amount of carbs, walked after dinner, the whole shebang. Anything so I wouldn’t have to go on insulin. The next couple of days went by and I checked in with a nurse. My morning numbers were high and my afternoon numbers were fine. Between that and my three hour glucose test they were recommending that I go on insulin. I had to go in yesterday and learn how to do insulin treatments. The educator said something that finally clicked, “Think of it more as a hormone treatment for the rest of your pregnancy.” It made sense. I would do anything to keep my baby safe. Doing a hormonal thing was nothing compared to her coming into the world happy and healthy.

I then met with the endocrinologist and was told that there is a possibility that I have diabetes and not just gestational diabetes. My world literally crashed around me. I couldn’t hear what the doctor was saying anymore, just my heart beating in my head. I didn’t understand. I was told for months that I was totally healthy. I didn’t know the questions to ask other than, “Is she going to be okay?” which I got a kind smile and, “Yes. She will be a healthy little girl that we’re expecting you to have because you took care of her.” All I could comprehend was that something that wasn’t my fault was entirely my fault. I should have exercised more. I should have eaten better. I should have had my blood tested for diabetes whether I had insurance or not. I should have taken care of myself whether I was pregnant or not. Something I was running from my whole life came up and just smacked me into the Milky Way without even saying, “Sorry, buddy.” Rude.

This morning I had blood drawn again to confirm or deny if I have diabetes. So I know this post is pre-mature. “Kicky Housewife, you’re sharing something that you don’t even know about yet. Calm down!” I know that. This is my life right now. This is me. While I’ve been reassured that if I do have diabetes it is totally manageable these days. If I take care of it and do what I’m suppose to do I can live as long as anyone else. For me I think about my family. My husband has to deal with this now too. My daughter has to wonder why mommy has to prick herself all the time and why she can’t eat the birthday cake she made. I hate the idea that a large chunk of our income will go specifically to me and my needs every year because of choices I made.

In reality this means one thing. Me and my family with have to live a healthful life. We have to eat the right things. My daughter will learn that being healthy is eating more than eating a Pop-Tart for breakfast or not eating when she thinks she weighs too much. Hopefully she will live a life of health and not have to go through what her mom is right now and maybe for the rest of her life. Me and Tim are trying to be positive whatever the outcome is. This week has been one hell of a storm that I’m trying to work my way through. Hopefully when the skies part and I can see clearly ahead of me I’ll feel better about everything, whatever that “everything” may be. I can’t fall a part and get lost in the storm because I have a little one on board that is relying on me. She comes first. I just wish she was here right now to physically remind me that life is so much more than a bump in the road.

What I hear

I think it’s human nature. We see another human in pain or in a stressful situation and we try to use our own experience knowledge and give them advice, try to put stresses at ease, and try to make them feel better about the situation. It’s a nice human condition. We want to comfort the people around us because we love them, we want to connect to them, and we want to feel like we’ve all gone through it. The down side to this human condition is that there is someone on the other side of the comfort or advice. The person on the other side may not need the advice or comfort. They may just need to vent frustrations, be upset, or say what’s going on.

I’ve said it before. We’ve become a society that overshares. There’s even websites now that explain how to not overshare in job interviews and ruin your chances. At the tips of our fingers are mediums ready and raring to go. All we have to do is move the finger tips and type. I am so guilty of this. If you’re Facebook friends with me you know what I mean. I’ve thought lately that all I post about now is my pregnancy because that’s my world. I worry that I post about it too much. I worry that people are sick of reading about it. I worry when people turn to their human condition and try to ease fears, calm stresses, and make me feel less alone.

Here are a few things that people have said and what I hear from it.

-What is said: “Pppfftttt. Of course you’ll be a good mom. Please.”

-What I hear: That my fear of being a mom to a human for the first time is ridiculous. I have no idea what I’m doing. I’ve taken care of a ton of kids in my lifetime, that doesn’t mean I’ll automatically be this amazing mom from the beginning.

-What is said: “Oh! You can’t do that” (In reference to how I want to give birth or raise my child).

-What I hear: To hear this before my baby is even born makes me think that I’m already a bad mom. For nine months I get to constantly worry about growing a person in my food storage area. When I hear that I should/shouldn’t do something for whatever reason it makes the fears of being a good mom grow faster than my Monkey. Plus, how do you know? Every kid is different and every parent is different. You need to let me do things in my own time and make my own mistakes. It’s okay to make mistakes, even in parenting.

-What is said: “Relax! Kids are the epitome of loss of control. Everything will work out.”

-What I hear:  Kids are mayhem and I won’t have my own life to control anymore. Sure you’ll love them, but children take your life from you. I keep binders. I have multiple calendars. I show up five minutes early. I write lists to calm myself. These are the things I do now because that’s who I am. I know I can’t control everything. She’s already teaching me that she’s the boss now. I will adjust, I will adapt, I will get there. Telling me the horrors before I get there doesn’t help much.

-What is said: “Pish posh! You are making a life. You are as beautiful as ever. Don’t be self conscious!”

-What I hear: I need to leave all my self image issues at the door and leave them there for nine months. Now, believe me. Whenever a friend of mine is pregnant I always think they are beautiful and a warrior for doing what they are doing. But. I have a big tummy. I waddle from room to room. I make absurd noises when I move on the couch. I get food on my shirts because I can’t bend forward enough to get food into my mouth. There are some days I just don’t feel beautiful and that’s okay. I am making a life. I am growing our family. I am creating this amazing new chapter in my life. Even the best life experiences can have some downsides. I need to be able to go through those downsides.

-What is said: “Don’t be defensive. I’m just trying to help.”

-What I hear: Don’t be defensive. I’m just trying to help. I am so lucky. I have family and friends coming out of the woodwork supporting me and trying to calm me when I want to curl into a ball and have a good pregnancy cry, I mean I have sausage toes what else am I suppose to do? Not cry? I know people are trying to help, trying to be there, trying to make me realize that everything will be fine. I appreciate that love so much. It’s when you hear these things day in and day out as one person that it gets overwhelming. I am only one person and I am so emotional right now it makes middle school dances look bush league.

The point of this post? To show that sometimes it is totally understandable and helpful to look at someone or write to someone and say, “I’m sorry. That totally sucks.” I was given that advice years ago and it’s some of the best advice I’ve gotten. For the most part, people are intelligent people. They know the things you are saying. They are aware of the situation they are in. They are human. They need to voice frustrations, they need to acknowledge fears, and they need to process whatever it is that is happening. We all want to help and be there for our friends and family. Sometimes that is a very simple, “I’m sorry. That totally sucks” because anything more that you say may be very different from what they hear.

 

 

Choices choices

Growing up I heard a lot, “Well, that’s the decision you made. You have to deal with the consequences of those decisions.” I hated hearing it. Almost as much as, “Life’s not fair.” Thankfully, I’ve been able to turn that back on my offenders (love you mom and dad!). As an almost 30 year old adult I’ve done what a lot of other people do as they get older. I appreciate what my parents were instilling in me. It’s been my observation that this appreciation doesn’t really kick in until at least your mid-twenties. I find that most people are not the sharpest tools in the shed until 25 or so. Until then, you get a lot of leeway.

We are our choices. We each have to take responsibility for those choices. The longer I am pregnant I’ve noticed that my patience for people dwindles more and more. I’ve never been that patient of a person when it comes to doing things in life. If I know a big event is coming I want it to come faster. If I have a to do list I’m working on I want to be done each task as quickly as possible. Running errands drives me up a wall because traffic isn’t fast enough, lines aren’t short enough, and my legs don’t move as quickly as I would like. I have a ton of patience when it comes to kids which I’m hoping pays it’s dividends. I have a good amount of patience with people. I know everyone moves at their own pace and that we all have a past that affects us today.

For me that older I get, the more pregnant I get, and the more life I live I find myself running short on patience. When talking with friends or family about a frustration I am having with someone I say, “That was their choice! I want to shake them and say, ‘You made that choice! You chose to do these actions. Take the consequences that go with that!'” I’ve developed my own philosophy that at the end of the day, we’re all adults. Especially for my age group and up. We’ve had decades on this Earth. We’ve had family, friends, loves lost, loves gained, successes, and failures. You’re whole life is a trial and error. What you do with that error defines who you are. It defines who you are because it’s how you deal with the choice you made.

I am by no means a saint. I have trouble following my own philosophy. When something goes wrong in my life I desperately search for the person I can blame for my lot in life. Sometimes there is someone to blame. However, I can’t choose to blame that person and expect all my troubles to disappear into oblivion. It took me forever to understand fully that you can’t control what other people do but you can control how you react to that person and situation. Something I wish I had understood when I was a teen and in my early twenties. It would have saved a lot of tears and a lot of hurtful conversations that weren’t needed.

As a housewife I think I’ve had to grasp this philosophy more so than when I was working in corporate America. A housewife without kids is a very individualistic job. It’s all on me and most of the time I am by myself. If I didn’t accomplish something that day I have to figure out what choice I made that day that was or wasn’t the best choice. Sometimes a lot of bad little choices lead me to making a big choice of doing something good. It’s the self motivated choices that are the most difficult. I am sure this will carry over once I become a parent. Especially for the first few years of my daughter’s life. It will 100% be on me and Tim to show her what this life thing is about. What is right, what is wrong, and how to navigate through the grey areas. That’s our responsibility though because it was a choice that we made to have our daughter.

Of course not all choices we make are so dire. What you have for dinner tonight. Whether to watch Parks & Rec or The Office on Netflix tonight. To wear the crimson long sleeved shirt or the sea glass blue long sleeved shirt today. These choices are made on a daily basis but won’t impact your life. Until you realize that you’ve decided to have a large big mac meal for the fourth night in a row. That you should be reading or going to the gym instead of watching hours of Netflix again. That the crimson shirt is actually a little too see through and you are giving a presentation that day. All our choices added up together make bigger choices for us. They lead to decisions that we have to make about our life. It’s easy to read blogs and articles about how to improve our life but putting those choices into motion are a little more difficult.

Choices choices. We get them from a very young age. Picking out the perfect sticker for getting a shot. What toy to play with for the next 30 seconds. Milk, juice, water, what’s your poison for the chicken nuggets and tater tots on your plate? The older we get the more we understand how these choices intertwine into the other parts of our lives. Maybe not the milk, juice or water thing but you get the jist. Should we become panicked over every little choice we make? Of course not. We make hundreds of choices each day. Going over each one with a fine toothed comb is maddening. As long as you understand that in the big picture you are the choices you make and take responsibility for them, then I think you’ll be just fine.

A moment in time

This morning I woke up exhausted. According to all the baby apps/websites/blogs/flogs/drogs/etc. around this time in my pregnancy is when your sleep really starts to suffer. It’s just not comfortable anymore. I was thinking about doing another post about more things I’ve learned about pregnancy so far. I then realized that a lot of the bullet points that I would make would sound more like complaining and not how wonderful it is that I am making a human. Something that is truly amazing and wonderful. I am so lucky that I can get pregnant and that so far it’s been a fairly easy pregnancy without a lot of bumps. I wrote a post a few weeks ago about how it seems as though moms are using the internet to vent frustrations of being a mom more than the positive side of motherhood. I didn’t want to fall into this myself and just vent about the frustrations of pregnancy.

How do I do this though? I’m sorry but being pregnant isn’t a picnic. It isn’t even a pretzel on the street most days. Everyday I become more exhausted and unable to do the things I used to be able to do. Tim says almost everyday, “You doing ok? You gonna make it?” and my parents this past weekend opted for take out than a home cooked meal at our house because they saw how wiped and uncomfortable I was. So how do you put a positive spin on something that makes you feel like your spinning out of control? I thought, “If I had a friend tell me they were pregnant or trying to get pregnant, what positives could I tell them so I don’t scare them?” I then remembered the first time we saw her heart beating. The first time we heard her heart beating. The first time we saw her face. The first time I felt her kick in my tummy. I started remembering these moments in time. The moments that made it all worth it.

Nothing worth having comes easy. Ain’t that the truth? We work our patooties off to get those moments. We work for the moments in time. We work for a fleeting moment of complete and utter gratification, success, and joy. I’ve had a few through my life.

1.) I started dancing when I was three. By the time I was eight I knew I wasn’t built like other dancers. Through the years I felt as though I wasn’t as good of a dancer because I didn’t look like the others. I threw myself into dance discipline though because if I couldn’t look like them I was going to keep up with them. Then my dance director told me that during one of our competitions another teacher from another studio pointed me out and said how wonderful my technique was and how I was a beautiful dancer. I will forever remember that moment.

2.) Counting the tassels on my cap when I looked up to hear the words, “Congratulations class of 2008!” at my college graduation. The hardest and some of the most wonderful four years of my life.

3.) Deciding when to start house hunting was a very talked about and planned decision for us. We saved money and I got to work. I found a great Realtor and a very helpful and responsive loan officer. In all honesty finding the house happened a lot faster than we thought and we were lucky. It was the second house we looked at. The moment we were handed the keys to our house though, that moment of complete relief, excitement, and achievement was one of the best moments in our relationship.

4.) Before Tim I didn’t have the healthiest relationships. I put myself and my happiness behind the guy’s. I totally changed who I was for them and I lost who I was for the relationship. I learned a lot about myself from them and learned a lot about what I wanted from relationships. I found Tim and about a year after we started dating he said to me one night, “I love you so much. I want to be with you forever.” That moment meant so much to me because for the first time I actually believed it. I believed that I was worth loving forever. That moment was life changing.

And then there are moments that we’ve been told about or witnessed through other people that we may look forward to.

1.) Around May 10th I get to have the pleasure of labor. The screaming. The crying. Crushing Tim’s hand bones. While that all sounds delightful, what I’m looking forward to is the moment that they lay my baby girl on my chest. The moment that is indescribable because that’s how overwhelming it will be. The moment I become a mom.

2.) We want to have more than one child. Like most couples we have a set number in our heads but of course after a couple kids we might look at each other and say, “Yup. I’m tapped out. This is good.” or we may have two more than we first thought. At that point in time I get to rediscover myself. I get to learn a life outside of being a stay at home mom. I get to experience a moment where I finally realize what my life is outside of my kids after years of dedication and being forever known as someone’s mom.

3.) My daughter’s first day of school. There are days where I feel like it’s already all going to fast. That she’s already grown too much and I’m loosing her. I know the first day of school will be filled with sad and happy tears. I get to have a moment of being proud of my little monkey. Purely proud. Nothing more, nothing less.

4.) Quite a few decades from now I will get the moments back with my husband. When we can retire. When we decide where to live. How often we see the grandkids. Sleeping in late because we earned it damnit. Being with each other without a kid tearing through the room covered in paint even though they weren’t painting. The moment we get to be Amy and Tim again.

Moments in time. Fleeting passes of time that remind us of why we work so hard. These funny little bits of our lives that make us feel alive and remind us why we love ourselves, family, and friends so much. Thinking back on your life do you remember the moments in time? Thinking ahead to the future can you think of moments in time you’re looking forward to? They can be big or small because for me I’m really looking forward to the stuff I said but I’m also really looking forward to the Girl Scout cookies coming our way.