Sunday, December 4, 2016

Living the Fairy Tale

As little girls we imagine our future adult married life as some version of the fairy tale we watch on Disney. There are days I'm on cloud nine and life does feel even better than the fairy tale.

Then the clock strikes midnight. Like every couple of hours. Sometimes it feels like every couple of minutes.

You look down and you're not in some beautiful wedding gown dancing the night away with that prince on your wedding. You're in sweat pants with a tiny hole in the butt you hope no one notices when you walk out to check the mail. Your shirt is covered in sweat because your "prince" thinks the house is too cold yet you're sweating your ass off in the sweltering heat of the house as you work  like Cinderella. There's some other crap on your shirt too. But  you're not sure if it's spit up, you missed your mouth earlier, or if possibly it literally is shit from the last diaper change???

The evil stepmother of the story. Come to find out it's you! At least the children may think you're the evil stepmother with the nagging of them to clean up after themselves, telling them to help out with this and that, and reminding them constantly to take care of their own damn stuff.

In the fairy tale we were suppose to be saved from our life of servitude around the house, but rather we realize we just signed our eternal sentence to household servitude for the rest of our life. More days than not our life resembles Cinderella's before the fairy tale wedding as we slave away over mess after mess.

Where is Prince Charming is this fairy tale life? Charming seems to have forgotten the meaning of charming. Because Prince Charming isn't so charming with the smelly bombs he so kindly leaves in the bathroom right before your longed for few minutes of a peaceful shower or the times he likes to trap your head under the blanket while he passes a little gas.

Sleeping together is literally maybe a good night's sleep with no kids in the bed kicking you in the back or putting their butt in your face or sleeping on fresh sheets that finally required emergency washing because a miniature offspring either peed the bed or threw up all over everyone in the middle of the night in which case you were both some warped version of the evil Stepmother and Cinderella all rolled into one.

Or let's be honest rather than kissing prince charming sometimes you catch yourself contemplating those memes that ask you how you would secretly kill your spouse. Not that you would but thinking it is just a way to have a safe place to put your anger.  The swooning is over; now he drives you so crazy you swear you see red. But then you know he's thinking the same thing and wonder what secret method he would use to take you out. So you think maybe if I tell him how I would do it, he'd tell me how he would do it. You know it'd be a fun date night conversation, right?

Until you finally get a night out alone and as you're drunker than you've ever been and feel like you're at death's door you think "Oh, my God, this is how he's going to do it! He drugged me!" He's taking me out before I can take him out!  So as you drunkenly accuse him of trying to "off" you, and turns out your date night was just a memorable disaster for the story books later. You realize maybe the fairy tale was really suppose to be a comedy.

Turns out the fairy tale isn't so glamorous most days. But you also know you wouldn't have ended up you without the influence of the other and when you're both on and on the same team and not trying to take each other out you really are better individually and as a team. Especially when you try to tackle those pesky villains---oh I mean children---- together.

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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Take #2

We're getting ready to do take #2 on this whole three kids with two full time working parents and no family support thing again. Quite frankly it was a complete absolute failure the first time, but we can't keep our reinforcements (aka grandma) forever. Me being the Miss Independent that I am figures it's time we figure this out for ourselves anyway.

We're just going to have to figure it out. Whereas I went into it the first time all naïve and bubbly positive the first time though, I'm going into it with a more realistic attitude this time, which my husband will probably classify as a bitchy attitude. I'd rather think of if more as a take charge mode. I'm a very much if something isn't working or failing take action and fix it which is exactly why the turn around in my mental state was so swift in October.  But the fact of the matter is I cannot nor will I do everything I was before. I made some comment over the summer how he was banned from going downstairs for "his time" until I was sitting on my butt for mine. He'll take this as me saying he doesn't do anything. That IS NOT what I am saying but as I told him back in October when everything finally just crashed in a heaping mess, I need him to do more.  I knew and still know I'm going to have to do more this year, but that also means everyone else too.

I don't rely on him for financial support so there is no sense in him relying on me to be the traditional housewife.  If I wasn't gone for work 50 hours a week and worked part time or something then we could talk about me being more like that, but I pull the same financial weight as he does. I'm up almost an hour before him and most nights I'm lucky if I have everything around the house finished, the kids (more so the baby) ready for bed, and am ready to sit down myself by 8:00 before I go to bed by 10-usually with the girls- while he stays up a good additional hour or so. He already gets that extra hour of sleep in the morning and extra hour after the whole house goes to bed. Yes, I fit in a half hour workout most days that is "me" time in that crammed 6 am to 8 pm but almost always with a baby underfoot and two little girls with me or fighting. What cracks me up is when he's been in positions that more resesemble my stressful overwhelmed days he's rather cranky-why us women get labeled as bitchy for being grouchy about being stressed and overwhelmed irritates the hell out of me.

He once told me a good leader delegates so as we know women run the house so it's on me to reevaluate how I'm going to delegate things this second try. He does the trash (once a week), the yard work (twice a month), house repairs (monthly around here probably) , dinner (usually nightly), drops kids off in morning (daily). My responsibilities are typically  house pick up (daily), dishes (usually nightly though he started doing this occasionally because of bath time), kids baths (couple nights a week maybe once a week he'll do this), laundry (3-4 times a week/he'll do a bunch if he's off work for a day but it's been defaulted to me if he's working), budget and managing of household finances  (biweekly), household business management which can include just keeping an updated calendar, activity registrations, vacation planning, correspondences in regards to insurances, doctor appointments (there's always something if not several things  weekly on the to do list/ I will sometimes delegate a few things to him but then I'm accused of nagging so most time take a "forget it and I'll just do it myself" attitude). This is on top of the fact of putting the baby to bed nightly and hounding Ave to do her homework which neither of us do very well anyway.

I need to balance his three daily/weekly responsibilities to my five to six out. I think the biggest thing I want to tackle is the laundry. I'm seriously considering making everyone responsible for their own. He can have his own basket in our room, I'll put mine with the baby's, and the girls have their hamper. We each do all of our own laundry from start to finish. I'll have to help the girls a bit with theirs, but putting it on them will also help encourage them to do not be so wasteful with throwing clean clothes in the dirty clothes! In the evenings it use to be fair for him to do dinner and me clean up, but that doesn't work anymore because I'd have to be doing dishes at the same time of baths and bedtime most nights or doing dishes after bedtime in which he would be downstairs resting after dinner like we were back in the 1960s or something. It's going to have to be a coin flip or rotation on who does the dishes and who does baths each night. And dishes cannot just be clearing the table. We have a dishwasher now so doing dishes isn't actually that big of a job anymore.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Childhood...Rewind..Pause...Fast Forward

They say time with your children goes by in a blink. As I rock the last baby I know this time around that serene quiet moment of a baby snuggled against your chest in which you're his whole world for a moment will be lost before too long in that kaleidoscope of flashing memories that seems to spin faster as time goes on, leaving us torn on our desire to hit the rewind button.

But as I also glance in the rearview mirror at the five year old that now happily chats to me about her day I'm struck by how much I don't yearn for her infancy because with each new age I  just seem to  love her more than the age before. Each age seems better than the last. Will I yearn for the rewind button back to this moment or will I just continue to long for the pause button to savor each age just a little bit longer even though the next will be just as good if not better.

Then I find myself awed by the almost eight year old that can keep with me for two miles and up the hills she use to whine about. I love that somewhere between being my daughter I also seeing the blossoming of the forever friendship we're building that will hopefully flourish in her adult years. I don't want to fast forward yet, but by now I know as much as I may want to rewind or hit pause, the view of watching them grow just gets better and better.

It is a bittersweet experience watching our babies grow and feeling the years slip by. We want to pause the best moments, rewind back to the precious memories of their youth that start to blur together, yet we can't wait for the years to come as they flourish into the wonderful adults they'll one day be.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thankful for People

We are hosting Thanksgiving at home for only the second time in our almost ten years of marriage, and it's looking like for the first time ever my kids may wake up Christmas morning at home. I won't say their own beds because I've been waiting years for that to happen so unless it's a Christmas miracle that will have to be another year. Shortly after that we'll head up to spend a few days with my husband's family, and the kids and I are flying out to spend a long weekend in January with my family so they'll still get lots of cousin and grandparent time in the months ahead so it's the best of both worlds kind of holiday season ahead.

It's also my last baby's first holiday season so I'm pretty excited about the weeks ahead. As this thankful month comes to close I am once again incredibly grateful for all the blessings I have in my life. Things aren't always perfect, and whether it's been financial struggles or health struggles which have both resulted in marriage struggles these last 9.5 years in the big picture of things they've been so minimal. As I hear of friends about to celebrate their first holidays without parents or even parents about to celebrate their first without their children, I know the people in our lives are the greatest blessing any and all of us have. Unfortunately, we can't and shouldn't take a day of that for granted.

My husband and I have been incredibly blessed with the people in our lives. First and foremost, our greatest blessings are our three children. They each bring something unique to our family dynamic and raising them is by far the greatest adventure of our lives. As any parent knows these years are passing by way too quickly, and we do our best to enjoy these moments of their childhood.

Another great blessing of ours is our families. Though we've spent all this time far from them both, they have been supportive of our choices, our goals, and they always seem to be waiting there in the wings to come to our aid when we need the help. We do our best despite the distance to make them a constant in our children's lives and be there for their big moments and milestones when we can.

The other people that are huge in our lives are of course our friends as we have surrounded ourselves over the years with an amazing support system. Some friends are like family, others are friends we've made through work, the other adults in our children's lives, and the neighborhoods we've lived, and some are friends we made before there was ever a Nate & Ang story and kept in touch with through the years. Some we see in person on a regular basis, some only a few times a year, and some we stay in touch with mostly through social media or phone calls, but they have all had moments of being an amazing support to us in our moment of need through the years.

I could go on and on about the abundance of our blessings with our home(s), jobs, financial security, hobbies, and our health (which is a very huge blessing right there with family), but people and our relationships with the people in our lives really is everything.

So this Thanksgiving I want to give thanks for the people and relationships in my life . God has blessed our life and I thank Him every day for that and the wonderful people He's surrounded us with in this life.


Friday, November 18, 2016

When I See Me in You

We are hitting the three month mark since I went back to work full time with three young children at home. If you follow any of my ups and downs it’s definitely been an up and down experience. Some think social media is the reason for women’s drive to want to do it all, have it all, be it all. However, I think for some of us that drive exists long before we’re aware of social media.

I attended my oldest daughter’s parent teacher conference this week. As a parent I couldn’t be more proud. The teacher gave her raving report of a strong work ethic, with perfection tendencies, a kind heart that is friendly to everyone but respectful of authority, and she's an “own her behavior and mistakes” kind of kid. The girl is seven but I have no doubt the child will succeed in life. But at the same time I watched her walk out onto the basketball court the weekend before to try a sport she’s been bugging me to try for a year now. Just like with the past two sports she’s tried and eventually found success with that first attempt out there she came off the court upset with herself and frustrated and with a  bit of what I considered a poor attitude because well, she’s not that great at it yet. She didn't meet her own expectations. She’s intimidated by older, better kids and self conscious of her own skills.

This girl is so many of us grown successful women at seven years old. That drive, that passion to succeed, to do it all, be it all is present way before we hit adulthood, motherhood, and are ever aware of the window into others’ lives on social media. As I’m giving her a “talk” on the way home in the car after this first attempt at basketball it’s like a smack of reality in the face that I could be talking to myself.

I don’t want to kill her drive or her passion, anymore than I want to kill my own. However, I know all too well as these last three months have shown me once again, that sometimes we can’t do it all, be it all. That realization is blow to our self confidence.  I told her she’s not going to walk out onto a field or court and just be great. She’s going to struggle. It’s going to be hard. And that’s OKAY I told her. She’ll still be great despite her struggles, despite the rough starts, despite the poor game performances sometimes. Just like I’ll still be great; just like you’ll still be great.

But we as women and unfortunately even as little girls we are more times than not our harshest critics. No one sets the bar higher for us than we do ourselves. I think that’s okay, but it’s also okay to realize we have our limits when we reach them. Reaching them don’t make us failures either, and this is something at seven years I feel a sense of desperation for her to know and understand now. Going out there to give our best or try something new, but falling short isn’t the end all be all. There’s so much more to our greatness than that failed moment. Just as I told my daughter  it’s just a moment and it doesn't change all the other great things that make her her. Or me me. Or you you.

So to the mothers or the seven year old girls that watch us I say this:

It is our passion for the things we love, the commitment and high expectations we hold for ourselves, the getting back up and trying again when we fall short of our own or even others' expectations that are the greatest parts of us. That greatness even on the worst days and moments is still there. Don't ever forget that.