Friday, June 24, 2016

10 Down and 5-15 To Go



With just a half a pound to go by Sunday I should be down 10 lbs in 10 weeks. Course that cookie I just ate isn't going to help! Hoping to get rid of this last half a pound before we take off on vacation this weekend because then my goal will be to just hope I stay the same throughout the week rather than losing another pound! I imagine I won't be self conscious about my eating and even though a jog on the beach sounds nice I doubt I'll get in my minimum three workouts that I've been getting.

So how did it go these past 10-12 weeks? I started working on my eating habits the first of April so at the very end of my pregnancy. For five weeks I did pretty well with cutting out the sugar and junk which was my primary goal with my eating. Then my family came to town and I thought oh I'll get back on track after they leave. But that one week kind of turned into about four. Whoops. When I went back to work I've done better again for these past four weeks.

Working out for the past ten weeks has gone pretty well. I've worked out every week for 3-5 times a week. Those workouts each week have included a combination of workout videos or my couple mile trek on the road behind the house. We also started adding in an evening family walk after dinner some nights which I don't count as one of my workouts but I push the baby in the stroller while my husband and the girls ride their bikes so it's a nice little extra physical activity.

I will be home the whole month of July so my goal is to hit the working out part pretty hard then. For those four weeks I want to get in five workouts a week and more of the videos rather than the miles/jogging. The videos will be more beneficial in toning areas like my arms than getting in miles behind the house will. I'm also hoping to be more on point with my eating those four weeks too. My weight goal is five pounds for the month of July. Because with five more pounds I will be back to what I was four years ago after having the two girls before I gained 25 pounds from my thyroid/depression phase and baby #3. My big hopeful goal was to lose another ten pounds on top of that to get back to what I was before any babies! We'll see where I'm at at the end of July.

Once I hit August my primary goal is going to be to maintain first with our two week vacation to MO and PA to visit our families and second to just have consistency with 3-5 workouts a week and cutting back on the sugar and junk when I return to work. If I could maintain some consistency with workouts and better eating habits in the Fall then maybe I can eliminate those last ten pounds to reach my goal around the holidays. But in all honestly losing those last ten pounds when I return to work in the Fall is not going to be my priority.

Being able to balance doing a good job at work (not just showing up) and the two older kids and their activities and needs with the demands of an infant again that has Doctor appointments every single month for the first year of his life with the ten hours a day gone from home with work and a two hour roundtrip commute, keeping my sanity and staying in my happy place is my number #1 priority, and working out I know does help me with that.  The working out at that point will be more for the mental benefits than any weight loss benefits. Me happy and confident in all aspects of my life again is my ultimate goal not reaching a new number on the scale so we'll see where I get by the end of July and shift my focus some then. Wish me luck and motivation 🤗

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Some Nights I go to Sleep Terrified




It happened again. Another young life lost in a freak accident. We see it every day. We hear it every day.

It's in the call from family saying an eighteen year old was hit by a car.

It's in the news that a cousin lost her twenty year old to drinking and drugs.

It's in a coworker's announcement her nine year old niece's cancer returned.

It's national news that a family lost a toddler to a tragic accident with the wildlife of nature.

It's in the message sent warning parents a sex trafficker is in the area picking up kids.

It's in the social media pages asking for donations for a little girl hit by a truck while riding her scooter.

It's in the asking of prayers for a healthy young athlete that suddenly passed in his sleep.

It's in the church's announcement that one of their youth succumbed to a brain eating bacteria caught while on a church trip

Tragedy snatches our youth and children away in a blink. It's in the stranger we don t know lurking in the shadows near by, it's in the monster of disease and illness silently living in their body, it's in that one poor decision that is common for youth to make that costs them their life, it's in the stranger driving by at the wrong time in the wrong place.

I lie awake at night terrified. Will I be next? Will it be me one day whose world is shattered with the loss of a child? Can I even stop it. Even if I stripped my child of his or her independence to keep them under my watchful eye at all times is that any way for them to grow up? What of the dangers that could be lurking within their own body?

At night as the darkness closes in on us our greatest fears creep out of the shadows. They claw at us, consuming us in waves of anxiety at times. The dangers of letting our children live life is terrifying. As scary as it is we can't protect them from everything; if we want to allow them any chance of living life and gaining independence we can't be there every second of their life. As my dad once said you teach them what you can to be safe and make good decisions and you pray. We pray they make good choices, we pray they know how to avoid dangerous situations, and we pray luck is on their side and they're not the next tragedy because tragedy is out there lurking and we lay there at night terrified, praying we're not next, and we pray for comfort and peace for those that are. We hold our children tight, absorbing every moment we can, warding off the fear that the next tragedy is coming for us.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Why and How I make Vacationing a Priority



 
Vacationing is a big priority in my life. I couldn't imagine going a year without a vacation; I don't think I've even gone six months without at least a mini vacation. Vacation to me is leaving home; now sometimes for us that involves vacationing to see family. We've done a few staycations, but I feel I end up on repeat with housework so it's not the vacation I need.. Home at times is more work than work so we like to even escape the responsibilities of home as well when we take a vacation from work.

There are multiple reasons I think it s necessary to vacation at least once a year:

Without the yard work, laundry, cleaning, and other things on the to do list we get to completely focus on enjoying each other.

We explore and learn about new places together as a family

The cultural and geographical experiences are valuable learning experiences they can't find in a classroom or book.

We work hard at work and even harder at home so I believe we deserve to treat ourselves to a vacation.

Vacation is a mental refresher and leaves us in a more positive happier place to begin tackling the challenges of home and work when we return.

Some have wondered how I financially make vacationing a priority when we have now three kids, mortgages, car payments, and school loan debt on top of the usual other smaller household bills on two teacher salaries. Even though I save for our trips there is usually a meal or activity that gets put on the credit card. I save and budget everything else.

An older friend of mine once said when I first started my career to always pay yourself first. That's more a less what I do. When I calculate our annual budget and yes as teachers I do an annual budget to get us through the unpaid summer months, one of the first things I budget is what to save for the year's upcoming vacations I want to make a priority in our family life. I budget for two Missouri trips a year which is a $1000, then I budget for a one week vacation to somewhere new which I usually set at $1500-$2000, and then I usually budget for 1-2 decent 2-3 night weekend mini vacations at $500-$750 for the two. That's a total of $3000-$3750 a year I need to reach my vacation ambitions. What I do once I know what I need for the year I then divide that by the ten months we get paid so $300-375 a month goes into our vacation savings.  This money saved is usually primarily for accommodations and gas to get there. With our one weekly vacation I usually add in a couple extra hundred dollars for spending.

It may or may not seem like enough money to save or for a vacation budget depending on the person. Our vacation accommodations have changed over the years as my main goal has never been to stay in the nicest most expensive places but to just have somewhere to crash while we explore somewhere new. The important thing is getting away to spend quality time together without the demands of everyday life.

Do you make vacationing a priority? How do you fit it in your budget?




Thursday, June 16, 2016

You Passing Judgement, Let's Take a Walk

Too many people want to cast stones and point fingers these days. It doesn't take an alligator or a gorilla incident for harsh judgments to be thrown on our parenting. To those that either don't have children yet and think it's way easier based on their sideline view or those that think they have perfected parenthood therefore now supposedly have the right to condemn the rest of us for our mistakes take a little walk with me.

See that mom over there that you want to judge. Her child fell and you think she isn't paying enough attention to her children while they play. She's working day in and day out fund raising money to help with her father's cancer treatments and when she's not staying up late doing that  she's accompanying her mother to chemotherapy with her two kids in tow.  She doesn't need your judgment; she needs your empathy.

See that mom over there that you want to judge. Her children spend half their time with sitters and other family and you think she doesn't give her children the attention they need throughout the day. She was up half the night with a fussy toddler before dragging her exhausted body to work for eight hours and then coming home to work on a second job in hopes of finally gaining her family some financial freedom. She doesn't need your judgment; she needs your moral support.

See that mom over there that you want to judge. Her smart curious children got themselves into mischief and you think she is neglectful for the independence she gives her children. She's doing this by herself. She has a full time career and very little help from family. She doesn't need your judgment but she could use your helping hand.

Do you see that mom?  She's exhausted but she's doing her best. She's riddled with guilt at times because the world is more critical than ever before but she stomps it down to put on a face of confidence because that's what her kids need. She lives in fear of what could happen to her children but knows she can't be there with them every little second and her children have to gain independence to survive in this world.

Do you see her? She is everywhere. She is you, she is me. She is doing the best she can. She knows she's not perfect; she knows she's going to make mistakes. She knows her children will get hurt at times. She fears the world out there and the unknown. She just hopes that her mistakes aren't costly.  She prays every night that she will never know a mother's greatest fear of losing her child, and for every one that does she prays for healing and comfort for them too.

She will not judge; she will not condemn. Each journey is riddled with it's own struggles, with it's own mistakes, and the best thing we can do to help each other is offer love and support .



 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Daddy's Adventures in Being the Stay at Home Parent

We are wrapping up the three weeks of my husband being the stay at home parent while I went back to work to close out the school year. He was the one at home and I was the one at work and I'm pretty sure I'm the one, not him,  that got a vacation from this set up.

He was pretty much in charge on the home front with the house and the kids from the time I went to bed at 10 and until I got home around 4 every day. For the first time in months I got to sleep through the night even though I think the first night was the only night I didn't actually wake up and slept straight through. I left pumped milk for him and he took all the middle of the night feedings.
Unfortunately shortly after he'd fall back asleep usually around early morning it'd be time to wake up all three kids to get the oldest up to the bus stop for school so sleep deprivation in the early days of bringing home a baby is no joke he found.

One morning as I was on my way out the door he was complaining of all the milk the baby kept getting all over the front of him from drinking from the bottles. He even pointed out he was getting it everywhere when he felt dampness down by the baby's bare leg beneath his onesie. "Nope, " I said as I headed out the door. "That is shit you just put your hand in. Have a good day, honey!"

When he first started staying home I told him all the things he should do to get a real feel for being the mom at home, but then he went on to tell me if we were switching roles what all I needed to do to be him. I decided at that point maybe we shouldn't switch roles too much. Laughter aside though it did help me realize that even though I feel like I do a lot around the house he does too. However, he did do tons of laundry while home. I have love/hate feelings about his laundry methods. I love that when he decides to tackle laundry he washes pretty much everything in the laundry room and waiting to come to the laundry room. So yay that all the clothes are washed and folded. But he stops there and it's folded laundry covering the basement. No one puts it away and then before too long the kids have knocked all the nice stacks over. None of our closets or dressers are big enough to hold all our clothes if they're washed and who wants to put away that much laundry at once anyway! I organize them in individual piles in the laundry room and when everyone's sick of not having any clothes they'll come get their stack to put away.

He only ventured out twice with the kids while home with them. Once was to the grocery store. The grocery store with three kids! I wouldn't willingly tackle that. Which is why I sent him while I was at work! The girls talked him into one of those big car carts. I think it went okay until about the end when the four year old kept getting out and in the way and into things. Then the baby didn't just start crying but screaming. Then you know how it is. Your sanity is on the brink and you're in exit mode to leave the store as quick as possible with as minimal stare downs as possible.

Between end of the year school activities, doctor appointments, and ball games he was only slightly confused with managing the calendar. He was upset with himself for forgetting to meet our oldest at the bus stop because he forgot I said I had a doctor's appointment. As the one usually rushing home from work to meet the bus and sometimes missing it and already having a plan in place with my daughter and the neighbor if I'm not there it wasn't that big of deal. Nothing like the time he drove clear across the city and got home to only remember I had asked him to pick her up from the daycare near his work (guess that's why you don't change your daily routines). Sorry couldn't help but to share that memory.

A friend of mine said every dad should have a similar experience of staying home with their kids. I asked him what he thought of that and he said he was too old for this and they should have their kids by 23. Course this was about the third week in on limited sleep. This was probably about the same time he asked me whose idea was it to have kids again? He's the one that was pushing for three and even dropped hints about four. I think he's good with three now. At one point he texted me telling me the baby was mocking him. He sent me this picture of him telling me if the kid could talk he would be saying, "I own you. I'm never going to let you sleep again!"

                                                 
                                                   He does look pretty smug and mocking.

 As he was dealing with little sleep for probably the third or fourth night in a row and I was sitting in traffic I reminded him he could be sitting in city traffic on his way to work and his words were, "Sitting in traffic, drinking a coffee and listening to music or being sleep deprived, shit on, and cleaning up milk baths that he decides to give himself...hmmmm...that's a tough one!"

When I asked it I could pose a few questions for him to answer for the blog his grumpy reply was "no comment". I found the past three weeks a very enlightening experience, and I think we'll both find it valuable as we venture into the unknown waters of three kids and two busy working parents in the Fall. There won't be anyone at home to carry the weight on the home front like there's been for the past 4-5 months, and having him there at home definitely made working these past three weeks a lot easier for me and I liketo think while I was home and he was working it made it easier on him. Here's the thing though. Parenthood is hard. It doesn't matter if you're the mom, the dad, a working mom or dad, or a stay at home mom or dad. It's just hard period but it's the best kind of hard there is. I'm pretty sure comment or no comment he'd still agree with that.



                      I may not do Pinterest worthy things home with my kids but my husband does! Making chocolate strawberries with our daughter!





Sunday, June 12, 2016

I'm Glad to Be Here


Whether it's when you're a little girl playing house, getting ready to walk across that stage into the adult world, or when you say yes to that marriage proposal you imagine what your future will be like. You're excited and scared for it all at the same time.

Now here I am ages away from that little girl that played house, sixteen years away from that young girl that walked across the stage, and ten years away this month from that girl that said yes to that proposal, and I'm so glad to see I finally made it here right where I am.

As I've recently spent the past few summer days hanging out on my deck or swinging in our hammock with a baby while I  watched the girls and dog laugh and play in the backyard while my husband grilled our dinner or did something in the yard, I thanked God for everything that lead me to here.

I think back on all the forks in the road where I had to choose and with each choice I'm glad I didn't settle. Glad I didn't quit. Life will challenge us. It will make us doubt our choices; it will make us fear change; it will convince us we're not strong enough or good enough to do it. More times than not we are our own biggest obstacle, and I have definitely been mine.


For a short spell I considered not transferring to the university because I had a job at my cousin's daycare and quite frankly I didn't go away the first two years because I didn't want to leave home. I maybe threatened to move out at 18 but who was I kidding. I was scared to death to leave the security of my parents. Even after my first semester at the university I really didn't like it and wanted to go back home. It was my first major decision of adulthood to not quit, to not settle. Thank the Lord because not only did I get my degree, love my last two years of college,  but going away was such a valuable experience in the start of gaining my independence and it's where I met my husband.

When my husband and I were getting ready to move out here I actually broke up with him for a short bit because that fear I felt about going an hour and a half away from home for college was nothing compared to the griping fear of moving halfway across the country from my family, my friends, the only life I'd ever known. Even as I faced my family's disappointment and lack of support, I shoved aside that fear that I'd fail and doubt that we'd make a successful go of it out there on our own, and I once again chose not to quit on us or settle on what I was familiar with rather than embarking on the unknown I desired but feared at the same time. Thank God again because it was the start of everything that lead to here.

When the housing market crashed and we were in the negative on our first home in the city it was possibly the first adult challenge that I knew I wouldn't settle or quit on. I refused to accept we'd have to raise our kids in the city; however, I did fear we'd have to give the house back to the bank in order to get out  in turn ruining our credit for the next who knew how many years. Thank the Lord we didn't just settle and accept that there were no manageable options for us to get out of that house and move out into a small town community to raise our kids.


When I faced burnout with my career I'm not sure if there's been anything I wanted to quit as much as my career in teaching. It's all I'd wanted to do since I was a little girl, and I completed a Bachelors and Masters both in the field of teaching. I hated the feeling and I hated myself a bit for feeling the way I felt. I told myself to change something within the field first though before I decided altogether it wasn't for me anymore. So when my school had to issue staff cuts I volunteered to be cut. I'd already asked for a transfer but this would force me out and to find something  elsewhere. That route is a gamble as it can lead to something better or worse. Of course everyone seems to want to convince you you're going to end up somewhere worse; that the situation you're in is as good as it gets. But at this point the challenge of change isn't what scared me; staying in the same situation did. Two years later I'm thanking God that I took the gamble and it worked out in my favor.


Having our baby boy join us is without a doubt the thing that makes that vision of long ago complete. If I could have got to where I was going without him I don't know. I spent a good year if not more wondering that very question. I always wanted a big family but after facing the reality of raising two kids away from family, the reality of balancing a career with two, and the reality of the expense of raising a kid I seriously considered letting that dream go. The second baby was a hard transition. She was a cranky, colicky baby and due to other life situations at the same time as having her it was  the toughest time of my short adult life. I seriously doubted my mental capabilities to handle bringing another baby/child into our life. But we eventually decided to give it a go. What followed convinced me even more that maybe I needed to let that dream go. We had two miscarriages in five months. After that point we took a break for six months from trying again. Facing that third try scared me  because I had decided it would make the decision for me. If we lost a third baby we were finished trying and staying a family of four. As you know how the story goes we got baby Lincoln.. I can't remember what I wished for as a little girl. I know the typical wish is a boy and a girl,  but I always knew I wanted more than two kids so maybe I wished for two boys and a girl. But now I see what I got is perfect. I LOVE raising sisters. As a sister of three girls I love that my girls get to experience the bond of sisterhood. I see now too it's best that they were first because they're only 2.5 years apart whereas if Lincoln was in the middle they would have been 7 years apart so not as likely to have as close of a relationship so baby boy coming last was perfect. I do sometimes think about trying for a fourth in two years so he has a sibling close in age, and a brother would be great. But it's probably unlikely. He was the baby I almost gave up on but I didn't and I thank God for our little boy that makes our little world complete.

Being in the hard places in life in can be challenging, and I've often been anxious to get out of those places as fast as possible. But I later see why we have to go through those hard spots whether we put ourselves through them or they are brought to us by forces outside our control. There were times I wanted to quit or settle because it just seemed like it would be easier or I feared or doubted the outcome I desired. Now I thank God for the challenges and the path that lead me here to this place of happiness with my family, career, and life in general.   I am finally standing where I was headed all along and it's a pretty great place to be standing (even if it's not currently air conditioned).




                                                        The three that complete it all:







 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

To My Girls in Writing Their Story

I want great things for my girls' futures. Like most parents even though I know it's impossible I want their life to be as easy as possible. I want them to always be happy and to somehow magically miss having to suffer through those tough moments we all will encounter at different times in different ways, but that is not life. In more cases than not it's in the hard places we either put ourselves in or find ourselves in that we grow the most and that can make our life story the memorable story it was meant to be.  I can't write the story that will be their life; only they can so my dear daughters here's what I want you to remember as you write the story of your life:

Most importantly remember you are the lead character and writer of your own story. You may not control all the plot events that unfold but you do control your character in how you handle it and in the end you decide how those events contribute to your story.

Even when you hit the hard places of your life story fall in love with your story. It won't be a perfect story. It was never meant to be but it will be the overcoming of the struggles, the getting back up when you fall down, the pushing through when you feel like quitting that will make your story the grand story it can be.

There will be easy moments; there will be hard moments. But embrace what is your story and don't waste time envying others' story. Cheer others on through theirs; find inspiration in theirs but write your own story. You can and will be inspirational in your own way.

When the going gets tough; when you think there's no other way for the story to go don't quit on yourself; don't settle because you doubt or fear taking the story where you want it to go.

Go after the things you want. The things that will make your story great won't just come to you. The greatest things worth having require the most work.

Celebrate the great achievements and milestones hit but don't be surprised if it's in those simple moments of nothing grand that you realize you're living the story you've been waiting for because one day you will find yourself standing where you've been headed all along.

I know you'll write a great life story. Can't wait to watch it unfold.




Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Travel Bucket List

I've had this goal to travel since I was a little kid. My mom and sisters are big home body people (nothing wrong with that it's just not me) and my dad says he did all his traveling when he went into the military after high school so now unless it's Hawaii or Montana he's done traveling (unless it involves his grandkids and we do a little begging).

So I have this travel bucket list. Sometimes I get frustrated that I haven't covered more of it by now, but hopefully I have plenty of time and get to enjoy my retirement like my grandparents (who I must get my travel gene from) traveling not just the country but hopefully internationally by then too.

My travel bucket lists are broken down into states and cities, national parks and beaches, and places out of the country. I don't have the states listed as almost every state I have left to visit either has a city or National Park I wish to see. I think the only states I've visited not listed with a city or park here would be Kansas, Iowa, and Nebraska. States I would like to visit but don't have listed with a city or NP or beach are the Wisconsin Dells, Oregon, and Minnesota (city or NP there you would recommend me putting on my list?). For the National Parks and beaches I am hoping to hit them with our kids before they leave the nest. There are a few cities on the list I'd like to visit without my kids, but I would love my kids to have seen/visited the 48 inland states before they leave the nest. Even though my oldest tells us she wants us to take her to Hawaii, sorry, kid, that and the Alaskan Cruise is probably a mommy and daddy only trip!

Cities Visited (need to revisit some to hit missed tourist/historical sites)

Kansas City, MO
St. Louis,MO
Chicago, IL
Nashville, TN
Chattanooga, TN
Pittsburgh, PA
Philadelphia, PA
Washington DC
Buffalo, NY
Charleston, SC
San Francisco, CA
Los Angeles, CA
New York City, NY
Richmond, VA
Atlanta, GA
Indianapolis, IN
Cleveland, OH
Cincinnati, OH
Orlando, FL
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Tampa, FL



Cities to Visit
Savannah- June 2016?
Boston- June 2017?
San Diego
New Orleans
Denver
Salt Lake City
Phoenix
Tuscan
Reno/Lake Tahoe
Las Vegas
Sante Fe
Seattle
Maui
Houston
Miami (and Florida Keys)

Beaches

Dewey (Delaware)
Atlantic City (New Jersey)
Long Beach Island (New Jersey)
Myrtle Beach (SC)
Outer Banks (NC)
Virginia Beach (VA)
Ocean City (MD)
St. Augustine, Daytona (Florida)
Gulf Shores (Alabama)
Monterey (California)

Beaches to visit
Hilton Head (SC)- June 2016?
Cape May ( NJ)
Martha's Vineyard (MA)- June 2017?
Bar Harbor (ME)
Michigan (Isle Royale?)- July 2018
South Padre Island (TX)
Key West (Fl)
West Coast (suggestions)

National Parks/Areas

Great Smokey Mountains (TN)
Shenandoah (VA)
Assateague National Seashore (MD)
Allegheny National Forest (PA)
Yosemite (CA)
Great Sequoia (CA)
Redwoods (CA)
Badlands (SD)
Everglades (FL)


National Park/Areas to Visit

White Mountain National Forest (NH)- June 2017?
Acadia (ME)
Arches, Bryce Cannon, and Zion (Utah)
Grand Canyon (AZ)
Denali (Alaska)
Glacier (MT)
Yellowstone (WY)
Grand Teton (WY)
Isle Royale (MI)- July 2018?
Rocky Mountain (CO)
Mount Rainier (WA)
Cascades  (WA)

Out of the Country Visits

Riveria Maya, Mexico
Nassau, Bahamas

Out of the Country Wish List

Belize
Australia
Italy/Greece
Paris
London

Share with my exciting places I'm missing off my list so I can add it.





Saturday, June 4, 2016

Back to Work

I went back to work this week. Even though the 5:30 alarm sucked and some days the almost hour commute sucked too, I am glad I went back for the end of the year. I was dreading it more than I thought I would, but then once I got settled back into the routine I was really thankful in my decision to do it the way I did. This little test run let me get through that initial anxiety of going back to work after a baby so I can relax now and enjoy my summer without that dreaded first return day back to work hanging over my head. I think now that I went back I'll actually look forward to going back in August more than if I had stayed home straight through from maternity leave to summer.

It will still be an adjustment period for us as the Fall is the busiest, most stressful time of the school year. It will be the first time we're back to two full time working parents with three kids. I will not have a two month vacation coming up in less than a month as I do now as I'm sure that can shape your mental outlook at on things. My husband won't be at home taking care of the laundry, getting up with the baby during the night, and we'll be taking the baby to daycare then (even though with a third baby and an already great established relationship with his sitter that doesn't bother me much).

                                                           Dressed for my first day back

So even though it's not quite the working mom reality it will be in mid Aug, I am getting a practice run of being back out of the house for ten hours a day. Leaving your baby to work is still hard whether it's your first or third baby. I do still hate the idea that five days a week I'm gone for ten hours a day which only leaves me with about six hours with my baby. That's if he's up until 10. With my oldest this doesn't bother me anymore because she's in school for the majority of that and I'm home just in time to get her off the bus. With my now middle child she needs the engagement and learning she gets at daycare and then she usually wakes up from her nap just as I'm picking her up so again no guilt anymore with working. But leaving my babies that first year or two has always been the hardest for me even though I no longer doubt my choice to be a working mom, and I now know from experience with the other two he'll be in good hands and fine just like the girls were. And the good thing is unlike with my first when I coached volleyball the first two years of her life or with my second when I worked 4-5 extra hours a week at a PT college job the second and third year of her early life, there will be no second work commitment keeping me away from my baby any longer than the typical work day. We maybe finally had a baby we were ready to afford!

Even though I didn't have to get up with the baby I seemed to function pretty well on only about six hours of sleep a night. Guess I figured what was the point in reestablishing a bedtime routine for myself for just three weeks. Only six hours will give me good practice for those middle of the night wake ups in the Fall anyway.  I was also able to still fit in three (hopefully the fourth tomorrow) workouts this week and still drop another pound. I managed to established a pretty good nursing schedule this week, and I got a test run at the pumping situation at work to hopefully continue nursing for at least a couple more months when I go back to work in August.

My husband on the other hand experienced taking three kids to the grocery store by himself. Pretty sure it will be a long time before he lets me talk him into that again. He saw the amazement of how much laundry accumulates in this household. He had everything washed just a day or so ago and now again already there are about four loads at least lined back up in the laundry room. He got to experience the frustration of just falling asleep only to have to get right back up to attend the crying baby. After being stuck as the only one to deal with a crying baby all day and the constant demands of our four year old I think it was day 2 that he told me he was about ready to switch our roles back. It's definitely made it easier to go back these three weeks though with him at home. If I could have a second me, a stay at home husband and working husband (but who really can handle two husbands?), or afford a nanny that took care of my house and my kids when I go back in Aug it would probably make an amazing difference on making my life easier. But I'm not rich, I'm not marrying a second man, and there's already a mini me personality wise in this house so I'm pretty sure we couldn't all handle a second me including myself!

But only one week down at this point and two more to go!


 

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Empathy vs Judgement (My take on the Zoo Incident)

Social media has erupted over debates surrounding last week's tragic events at the Cincinnati Zoo. Some arguments sound as if they're about choosing the child's life over the gorilla's; some are even over whether the gorilla had to die to save the child and if there was another way in such a short amount of time; and the last argument is over whether to have empathy or judgment for the mother. I don't think many will argue that the incident was indeed tragic and no one really wanted to see the gorilla die. However, I like to think all people would choose a child's life over an animal's. But wow has social media once again blown up with whether we should condemn this mother or not.

It wasn't too long ago the same thing happened with Arizona mother, Cherish Peterson, when she left her two month old in the car at the grocery store. Once again we were divided on whether to feel empathy or judgment for her. Now they are separate cases in which one involves the curiosity and speed of a four year old and the other a baby who has no fault in the situation.

In both cases I have felt nothing but empathy. I obviously do not know either of the mothers personally. I know there are negligent parents out there (I work in public education), but I also know as a parent we are not perfect. The first thing I thought of with the zoo incident is how I could see that being one of my girls. My oldest because she's fearless and was climbing things from eighteen months. I've often shared stories we've all laughed at about her climbing out of her crib and pulling herself through an opening to flop onto the bed on the other side to escape her room or the time the public librarian was condemning me for her climbing to the top of the book display case while I fought with their self checkout with my crying baby at my feet. Maybe we've laughed at those incidents because they were harmless but how easily could it have been a different situation? I could see it being my middle child because she's my wonderer. She gets into her own little world and we'll often find her paces behind us or like today the one getting into things because she's four. Kids are curious; some kids like my oldest are more fearless and adventurous in exploring the world around them; kids are fast and can be into something in the blink of an eye; some kids are a bit more stubborn and will insist on doing or exploring the things they know they're not suppose to.

Even though there is no blame you can put on the child in Cherish's case I probably emphasized with her even more because I know what it's like to be absent minded, exhausted, feeling like you're at your wits end with keeping up with your children and everything else on your plate. How many times have we read about parents forgetting their child is in the back of the car and leaving them there while they go into work? Today's world piles more on us, overwhelming us more than ever before. Her son was two months old. My son is almost two months old. I will still get in the car, halfway down the road (happened just the other night when we went to dinner) and think "oh my God did we grab the baby?!?" We did but my brain is still trained to load and find two kids. Any parent with young kids know what a monumental task it can be to get out the door somewhere or load everyone back up after a trip like somewhere like the grocery store.  Even the other day when we loaded to leave town and my brain is going in so many different directions with list checking and the kid wanting that and this that he was the very last thing we loaded. With as packed as the car was and not being used to three kids in the backseat it would have been easy to miss him at first.

I can't judge these mothers. As a mother I imagine they are condemning themselves enough as it is. I know if it was me these two things would haunt me for the rest of my life without anyone else's judgment needed.  We make mistakes; we are not perfect as parents or human beings. Every time I hear one of those stories about a child left in the car I  pray that I/we don't make a mistake that would cost a child's life.  Now we should all pray that we never make a mistake enough for it to be the next viral news on social media.