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Thursday, June 26, 2014

What you think it must be like to have a baby vs. what it's actually like to have a baby

     "Aweee!! Let me hold your baby!" "How cuuuuute!" "Oh, I think he's crying, want him back??" I used to be one of those people. One of those single, selfish, clueless, well rested individuals that thought people with children were necessary to continue our population but I was always secretly glad I wasn't one of them. I was the person silently judging when a child started screaming in the grocery store.
     I remember thinking, tsk tsk.. Why can't that parent get control of their kid or just leave her home? I was the ignorant jerk that was shaking my head when your kid starting having a tantrum in the booth next to me at the restaurant because he didn't get to squeeze the ketchup bottle himself.
      I'm sorry. Really, I am. I had no idea how hard it was to travel anywhere with a baby/child/toddler/little person. I was unaware that if you spend time planning an outing your child the child may decide to take an unscheduled nap thwarting your attempts at being anywhere on time (ever again).
    I've heard women tell me "Oh, I used to be able to remember everything--then I had a kid and got "Mommy brain" I laughed with them quietly thinking, that will NEVER happen to me (is that even REAL?!). Guess what--it's real. Sometimes, I can't even remember the color red...I will rack my brain looking for the word but it just doesn't come. I don't know why, or how but the baby does steal parts of your brain.
   If someone I knew was having a baby I would say "Just let me know when you need a sitter! I'm happy to help out!" inwardly, I knew they'd probably never call me (at least I hoped they didn't).  I remember being pregnant and thinking that I would still have plenty of "me" time. Guess what? Nope. The spare time I do have I want to spend with my kid because I miss him while I'm gone all day.
   That's another thing--whether you stay home or go back to work full time  you will feel immense guilt. This guilt comes with being a Mom. I'm assuming it was passed down to me from my own Mother who I'm further convinced made up the word herself since she is capable of inflicting so much of it on to me. When I'm at work I miss the baby. When I'm home, I'm exhausted and feel bad for not always being 100% present as a Mother.  No matter what, I'm sure I'm always screwing something up.
   All the friendships you've been able to maintain thus far will be in question as you battle the first year of being parenthood. I promise you that if the same people stay your friends after the first year then you know they must really value you as a person because you really won't have time to tend to these people for a while so they'll have to be some really understanding,
self-sufficient, people.
       When you have not slept for more than 2 hours consecutively for weeks at a time and you're sore pretty much everywhere and your partner is taking a mid-day nap (because, he can), and you're about to lose your shit--whomever you pick up the phone to call at that moment is most likely your best friend. Make sure you thank them later when you're well rested (I don't know when this will be -maybe like, 18 years from now). The thing is when you think about having a kid and all you can see is visions of your family playing in the park and putting the baby to bed while you read them their favorite book or playing Candyland while your kid smiles at you just thankful to you for birthing them--think again!
    These things do eventually happen and I'm sure they are fantastic but the other 22 hours of the day and 360 days of the year it's a struggle. To be honest, being a parent has made me a better person. I wouldn't trade it for the World. I just wish that I had a better idea of what it entailed. Of course, that's part of being a parent---the revelations. But, I'll let you find that out for yourself.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Inspirational Things

Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grows you or makes you happy. -Robert Tew

       This quote inspired my post today. Lately I find myself lacking the inspiration to say the words that lay heavy on my heart. I wonder where my inspiration has gone to. I'd like to think that I am a person that speaks the words crippling my mind with anxiety or joy. However, part of being human is being many things to many people. Playing a role, if you will. During the week, I play corporate slave and then I run home to play Mom to my beautiful son. On the weekends, I try to to be the Mom I couldn't be during the week because I was too tired from being a slave to my job. In between all of that I find myself trying to be a decent partner, a caring friend, a daughter my Mom can be proud of.
          When do I have time for inspiration? Is it something that I need to pursue or will it find me? Do I need a muse? Why is it that there is so much time when you're young yet almost none is left when you actually have the resources and wisdom to spend it wisely?
           I used to think that something big would happen to me. I didn't know what it was going to be but I knew when it happened that it would forever alter my course, re-shaping my destiny. I realize now that it doesn't have to be a big thing. That, if you wait for the big thing to happen you may miss lots of little things that are important in their own way. Maybe it's the little things that you find inspiration from along the way. The flower you pass that captivates the artist deep within you forcing you to snap a picture of it even though you already know that you could never convey the beauty you see with any other human because they would interpret the same flower distinctively different. 
          Maybe it's when my son smiles his genuine, blessed toothless grin that radiates pure love that reminds me what it feels like for my heart to skip beats. Perhaps it's the way someone can touch your soul with words that speak to you in a language you'd forgotten you learned when you were young and less jaded, allowing your heart to bloom in to the ray of sunshine it longs to be.
         The reason this quote spoke to me on a day when I was scanning my brain on what to write here is I have always had a habit of staying somewhere for too long. Remaining with someone even though I'm sure that it's not meant to be. It's like staying wrapped up in a comfy blanket in your sweats not moving out of bed on an overcast, rainy day. You know you should get up but damn, it's pretty comfortable right where you are. I guess there comes a point when you have to wonder where your life would be if you never changed out of those clothes and left the house. Even though it was raining. Even though it was comfortable. How would you ever enjoy the sun on your face if you never left the house to feel it?
        Today, I encourage you to take risks. Change it up. Be brave. If you' lacking inspiration, look around you, it's waiting to be discovered.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Life is full of choices

I realized walking the dog the other night that childhood really is the best time of your life. No responsibilities. People take care of you. They feed you, they clothe you, they make sure you’re happy and healthy. 
I started working at 15 years old and now, almost two decades later I'm ready to retire. Nobody sat me down and told me to slow down and that once I took my first job I'd be stuck working for the rest of my life. I learned all about responsibility but was way too young to understand anything about money management.  Then, I went to college where there are stands of people just giving away free stuff and all you had to do is quickly fill out a credit card application. Well, I'm now 32 and I just made the last payment on that debt about 6 months ago--that was an EXPENSIVE "free" t-shirt. 
These are the lessons we learn as we grow up and we're responsible for our own crap. If you're lucky, you've managed to retain two of the twenty or so best friends you made growing up but good luck getting in touch with anyone when you need them because grown-ups have little to no time on their hands.
I look at my 9 month old and don't see worry or stress or tired frustration and most days he wakes up with an ear to ear smile on his little chubby face. I want to make sure he goes through his whole life waking up like that. I realized quickly that try as I might, there would come a time when I wouldn't be able to control his happiness. This is probably the toughest part of being a parent.  
The toughest part of being a person is realizing that only you can choose to wake up in the morning and be happy. It's a personal choice to greet people with a smile rather than a grimace. Being angry and bitter and remorseful will get you nowhere but more angry and eventually physically sick. The Universe deals the cards but you're the card player. You're the one with the ace in the hole.  Your feeling about the game is relative to the mood you've put yourself in. In life you choose to either be the vulture or have vultures feed on you. Or, you can choose to fly away. As long as you realize the choice is still yours to make.