Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Starting a New Chapter

I have taken a job. A full time, important, grown-up job. I am feeling mostly at peace with the decision, but there are concerns too. It all started when I was having some pain in my side and back. I asked my friend, who is studying massage, to come over and take a look because the chiropractor was closed and I felt like the pain was getting worse. She looked me over and tried a few things, but the most profound thing she told me was that I wasn't breathing well. My breath was shallow and my chest and shoulders were behaving like I was being pressed under a rock or something else heavy. The following day, my husband and I were talking about the enormous financial pressure our family has been living under and I realized that I was suffocating under the weight and it clicked! The weight and pressure of our financial situation was causing a physical reaction in my body. I wasn't breathing like I should be breathing because of the pressure. My husband confided that he was worried about me and about the pace I was going and concerned about how much longer I could sustain without breaking.

I spent a lot of time thinking that night before falling asleep and woke to the phone ringing. My sister calling to chat. I told her about my night of revelation and my wondering if I was being a good mom. Being that I was so tired all the time, I was snappy with the kids and unable to focus on completing tasks around the house or make healthy meals. I would find myself lying on the floor in tears because I was too tired to do anything else. I brought up the possibility of seeing what full time jobs were available and my sister suggested we do some math and figure out what base salary I'd need to make going back to work and paying for childcare and everything worthwhile. Once we had a number in mind, I decided that I'd do some more soul searching and take a look at what jobs might be available.

About 15 minutes later, my sister called back and told me that her company was hiring for a position that she thought I'd qualify for, but the catch was, I needed to apply that day as it was the last day the job posting would be up. I decided to apply and see what happened.

I was contacted for a couple of interviews and HR called to ask me my salary requirements and then they offered me the job...at $5,000 more a year than I'd asked for!!!!! I accepted and start my new job on Monday.

The last few weeks have a been a blur of arranging childcare, getting work clothes, getting new glasses, and preparing for a new routine. I think I'm ready!

The kids have been attending a local pre-school program and both seem to like it, although my son is much more clingy since having started so I knew he is feeling some effects. My girlfriend is going to pick them up from school and keep them until I finish work. Everything seems to have fallen into place and that brings me a lot of peace about the decision, like its the right time for this to be happening.

I am still concerned about my son. He has been going 2 days the last two weeks and will go 3 this week and 4 next week before jumping into all 5 days. If he is clingy and feeling insecure at 2 days, what is 5 going to do to him? I also fear that my husband doesn't fully appreciate what this is going to do to his quality of life. I started working part-time when my daughter was born, so my husband has no sense of what life is like with two full-time working parents. I don't think he has a concept of how much I do at home during the day. He only sees what I am not able to get done - the vacuuming of the floor or mopping the kitchen. He doesn't see the constant cleaning of the kitchen or the constant clutter pick up or the never-ending piles of laundry. I think he thinks that I will continue to be able to handle all that I handle around the house now (because he doesn't think its much) and work a full-time job. I feel like since I will be bringing in the same amount of money he is and working the same hours he is and handling the kids the same amount he is, he should handling an equal amount of housework.

He complains about his lack of free time daily. He doesn't have time to work on house projects (which he didn't work on when he had time, but suddenly now, its an issue). He doesn't have time to eat dinner when he gets home from work, but because its the kids bedtime. He never gets to just relax and watch football or the news. I don't know what he thought parenting and being an adult was going to be like. All I know is that I don't have time to watch TV, work on special projects or even eat sitting down, so I'm not sure what the complaint is really.

Today, I have several errands to run while the kids are at school and my friend is going to run through pick up with me and come over this afternoon to go over the code to get into the house, how to work the remotes and the like. Tomorrow my son won't go to school, so I'll take him to the library as it will be our last day together. Thursday, I'm taking the car for an oil change and Friday is Halloween and there are activities at their school as well as things we will do as a family. Saturday I'm taking my daughter to a princess party and Sunday, my sister and I doing each others nails and we are having a cookout at my dad's. That's it. That will mark the end of my SAHM career (if you can call 4 jobs plus parenting "stay at home mom"). I dreamed of being a mom my whole life, of staying home and giving my kids the best start possible. I waited so long and I blinked and its over. I mean, the full-time mommy thing, not the whole parenting thing. But, the truth is, starting Monday, other people will be with my kids more of their waking hours than I and that's hard for me. it should be me...

Saturday, September 13, 2014

They are Sleeping

I'm sitting in the downstairs guest room of my house. A room that has, over the last few months, turned into my sleeping space. I am awake at 5am, because for me, 5am is sleeping in! I have gotten up before 2:30am the last 3 days for work and now my body won't let me sleep until 7 when the kids normally wake. I have been working on getting items ready for the consignment sale until I ran out of hangers and I need to go shave my legs, but I had a sudden impulse to do a blog post! At least once a day I long for the times when I could put my feelings on my blog and detail my daily life and all the ups and downs, funny and sad things happening on any given day. I want to get back to having blogging time, but I don't have any idea if/when that will happen.

I work almost every moment that I am awake and I am awake A LOT! I bake cupcakes in the early mornings for a local cupcake shop, then I race home to do the stay-at-home mom thing - running the kids to school and activities, cleaning, laundry, make beds, scrub toilets, wipe runny noses, pack lunches, empty the dishwasher, make the menus, cook the meals, grocery shop, balance the checkbook and pay the bills, fill the cars with gas and so on and on and on... When my husband gets home from work, we tuck the kids in bed and if all goes according to plan, have about 20-30 minutes to talk and spend time together before I pass out in an attempt to get 4-6 hours of sleep before doing it all over again tomorrow.

The weekends that used to be relaxed have filled up to include a cleaning job, cooking meals and batches of granola for sale and working my network marketing business. I actually love all my jobs! I get paid to bake cupcakes for goodness sake!! The lady I clean for is super nice and funny and I love chatting with her while I clean her little apartment. Baking and cooking is one of my joys, so I love making warm, crispy batches of granola, comforting soups and fun pasta dishes for my cooking clients. I think that several of the supplements that my network marketing company sells are amazing and I love that everything is all natural, non-GMO and organically grown! The problem is, that even combined, all these jobs aren't enough to pay all the bills! Everything keeps costing more and the money doesn't increase at the same rate.

While I know that God provides and we have always been taken care of, never paid a mortgage payment late or been seriously hungry, I spend a lot of time and energy worrying about our finances. I have to keep on top of everything on a daily basis to make sure we don't bounce anything (and often we bounce anyway). I feel like I am suffocating under the weight of our finances and I don't know what to do to release the pressure. My husband has made it clear that his solution is that I find a full time job, using my masters degree, and start making 6 figures straight out of the gate. Problem with this plan is that it isn't realistic! I have been looking for jobs, and there really isn't anything that starts out making bank!! I'd have to get my foot in the door somewhere, making $15.00 an hour and pay some dues before moving up and making more money. The issue is, that we can't afford full time day care for both kids, while I pay these dues. Once our son is old enough for school and our daughter is in school, I will be able to accept a job making a smaller starting salary and the money I make will actually help our financial situation instead of adding to the problems. I'd need to start out making $32,000 a year just to pay for day care and a few work associated bills (more gas for my car, more doctor bills, etc.) and I'd need to start out making more than that if it were to help AT ALL to pull us out of this current strain!

If a great job came up, something that was the same hours my daughter was in school and paid enough that I could afford to send my son to that school for those same hours, I'd jump on it so fast!! But, if that job is out there, its not listed in the paper or in the online searches I've been checking! While I know that my husband would hate it if he knew that I felt like I could not talk to him about all this, he has effectively made me feel like this is my problem to solve - because I'm the one not bringing in half the money needed to support us. I feel like I am giving all I can give. I handle 95% of the kids, 100% of the house, 100% of the bills, errands, and so on, plus I'm bringing in about 30% of our money! I want him to go out and find a 6 figure job! I want him to work a part time job! I want him to feel the deep exhaustion that comes with being sleep deprived for the last 5 years!!!!

He also seems to feel like all the world's problems will be solved as soon as our son weans from nursing. We made this mistake with our daughter and it took over a year to get her sleep issues sorted out and I refuse to make that same mistake again. I am not sure how he can have forgotten all the hours spent trying to get her to sleep without the aid of nursing, all the night waking and staying in her bed issues. She weaned at 2 and now at 4, has just recently, in the last 6 months or so, started going to bed and staying there all night!!! Add to that, our son is my last baby and I really don't want to rush him out of babyhood! If there was a good reason to wean, I'd do it! If all the world's problems would really be solved, I'd do it! But since I know that its all bullshit, I refuse and its causing issues between my husband and I.

I love my husband and I know he loves me, but I feel resentment toward him, because I don't feel like he takes some of my burden or helps me to relax into him. He doesn't make me feel secure, like he will take care of me. Lord knows I don't make taking care of me easy, I am very much into control and I wouldn't be able to handle letting him manage the money for instance. But, I control all the balls in the air all the time and I wish that I was able to let it all go, put the balls in his hands and trust that he has my back. I don't feel like he has my back. I feel like we are in competition somehow and I don't know what to do about it.

In the last few months, I have started relying on him more. My work schedules have required him to be in charge of the kids while I am away and he has stepped up nicely! I started sleeping in the guest room for two reasons, first: I wasn't sleeping well, because our son still wakes some at night and I was waking every time he moved or tossed or turned. Plus, he wants to stay latched on all night and I can't sleep through that. The other reason was that I was waking him with my alarm at 2-3am when I got up for work and he wouldn't go back to sleep/let me leave. So, I've been getting better/more sleep as of late, but it isn't enough and isn't making up for the deep deffest. I need deep, long sleep every night for about a year to get caught up!!

It does feel more like we are working as a team here lately. He's got the kids when I don't and he isn't complaining about it. We have a long way to go if we want to be truly equals in this marriage/raising kids/life thing, but we are working on it. I think that he may be getting an idea of how hard it is to be home with the kids. He hasn't complained about the house in a while, so maybe spending every morning with the kids, trying to get them ready for the day and make breakfast is helping him see that also cleaning the kitchen and making the bed is some days too hard to manage!

The kids are totally amazing. Our daughter has started Pre-School and is handling it like a boss!! She only goes 3 days a week and is upset that she isn't going every day!! She will be starting kindergarten next fall and I am having a hard time getting my head around all that nonsense!! Our son is obsessed with Thomas the Train and can pretty much name all the trains on sight! He is potty trained (trained at 2 years, 1 month) and while he still sleeps in a diaper at night and has the occasional miss, he is doing great! He and I have more time together during the mornings when his sister is at school and I love that!! The two of them are super close and play together really well most of the time. She comforts him when he is sad or mad at me for being a mean mommy. He follows where she leads, even to the top of the slide or climbing up the monkey bars! I love that I am able to watch their every development, kiss every hurt and join in every game.

This life of financial hardship is one I chose and while it is hard to breathe under the weight of it sometimes, I wouldn't trade it for another. I get to spend the majority of their waking hours with my kids and I get to mold them and teach them and be their guide. That really is worth all this money stuff, because they will be in school before I can blink and I'll get that good paying job and all these financial worries will be a thing of the past - along with my babies being babies...

Thursday, June 27, 2013


Everyone has several titles that are assigned to them in life. I am wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, niece, cousin and granddaughter. I have realized that it is difficult to explain that Grandma is also Mommy to Uncle Smug-Bro to my very inquisitive Smug-Baby! I am also realizing that titles aren't as cut and dry as I once believed them to be.

I used to get somewhat offended when my sister would use the term "Aunt" when referring to a close family friend. That was MY title and it was special just for me!!! So I stopped using the "Aunt" at all with my nephew, because if it wasn't going to be special and anyone could be "Aunt So-in-so" then I would just be me. I was OK with that, but it still hurt that the title was given out willy-nilly.

Last weekend, we had a family wedding in town and all my family was here and we had a big cookout and pool party at my sister's place. I was surrounded with my aunts and uncles and cousins when it hit me. My cousin's have children now and they are also cousins. Try explaining that to several 2-5 year olds!!

My cousins, sister and myself came to the conclusion, that, in the eyes of the children, adults would be aunts and uncles and the kids were cousins. It didn't matter if the title didn't match the technical definition because it was something the little kids could understand.

That is when I started thinking maybe I had been wrong to feel slighted in regards to my "title" Family is family and it doesn't really matter the title that one has, because "family" is the only title that matters. My family is very close and my cousins are like brothers and sisters and my aunts and uncles are like parents!

When it comes to small children, they need simple explanations for life and calling someone "Aunt" tells the child, without having to explain it, that this person is special and is a adult to be listened to and is someone who loves them very much.

It would be very cumbersome to try to keep track of who was my great-aunt and I certainly don't call her "Great Aunt G"!! I don't call my cousin's child "Second Cousin P" for goodness sake! Family is family and an aunt is a loved adult and a cousin is a loved child. That is all it needs to be!!

As I have gotten older, I realized that the closeness of my family is not something that everyone has. I got some odd looks when putting in for time off to go to my cousin's funerals. These people were not some distant related person, these were children I grew up with and knew well and felt close to. Their passing was not a small blip on my radar, but a life altering change! Not everyone has that kind of closeness with their "extended family" and I can't help but feel for those people because they are missing out!

This weekend we stayed up talking until after 2am, my cousins and myself. We have done that many times, but this time was the first for me since I've had children. I normally go to bed when the kids do, because I know I'll be up with them in the night. But this time, I threw caution to the wind and had a margarita and some laughs! I noticed how much has changed, we all have children now and the talk was more family focused than when I was a kid. But, I also noticed how little things had changed too. My comedic cousin is still just as funny and I am still the goody-goody who doesn't break the rules and thinks everything through.

My daughter is so close with Smug-Niece that she has started to refer to her as "sister" I had been correcting her until I realized that it too didn't matter! She feels the love of a sister for this person and has decided that this is the title deserved. Who am I to say different?!?

Monday, June 17, 2013

Hello Monday

Today is the day! It is Monday and it is the start of getting my shit together! I am going to do everything on my "to do" list today! I am going to take my vitamins and drink my water and exercise! I am going to get all the laundry washed, folded AND put away! I am going to end the day with the house in order and the kitchen cleaned! I will not forget anything major!!

The weekend was very nice. My cousin got married to a really lovely girl. They got married in her hometown, so we all made the trip to the wedding. I think that overall I am very glad that we all went, Smug-Baby and Little-Smug both had a lot of fun and it was a really beautiful wedding. However, the traveling is never easy with the children and I think Smug-Baby was sick.

It was really strange. I thought she was getting pinkeye on Thursday so I treated it aggressively all day Thursday and Friday and she seemed 100% by Friday afternoon. Then, suddenly Sunday morning, her eyes were all goopy again and she felt warm! She was incredibly fussy and melting down over everything. She slept most of the drive home and slept over 13 hours last night! She has woken up seemingly fine and has been eating and playing like she is totally normal so I hope that whatever it was has passed. I am going to keep her home today and doing mellow things until she is fever free for 24 hours just in case.

Little-Smug has been a true joy! So excited about playing in the dirt at the wedding and proudly showing his dirt covered fingers to all passersby. Everyone commented how sweet he was and on his wonderful curls! Today, he is full of adventure, climbing up on everything he can and trying to follow Smug-Baby and do everything she can do.

I have already had the first of my 3 waters, taken vitamins and had a healthy breakfast of chocolate oatmeal (oatmeal with a scoop of protein powder in it) and I have gotten all the trip stuff unpacked and put away. I have made the bed and cleaned up the breakfast dishes. I still need to wash diapers, make up wipes and do several loads of laundry. I would like to get the bathroom cleaned and the kitchen floor swept and workout! Wish me luck! Happy Monday!

Monday, June 10, 2013


My mom used to make lists. Like, a LOT of lists. Lists for the year, the month, the week, the day, schoolwork, meals, groceries, errands - you name it! If it was part of life, it had a list. I hated these constant lists when I was growing up. I vowed that I would never make a list beyond one for grocery's (and frankly, even that was pushing it) and I would not be ruled by lists so help me God!!!

Little by little I started allowing lists into my life and before I knew what was happening I was making lists of New Year's Resolutions and a list of the exercises I wanted to do at the gym. It was list that grocery list was a gateway drug into a world of constant list making.

Now, I am finding that I am floundering without a list to go by. So I surrender to the disease that I come by naturally and I have decided to embrace my list making gene!

I have made lists of the stuff around the house that I would like to get done, stuff that needs to get done soon, upkeep items, daily tasks, Smug-Baby's activities, and personal stuff (exercising and drinking water) to keep me on track.

I think that what I failed to understand when my mother was making all her dreaded lists, was that once you have so many balls in the air (house, kids, bills, etc.) the brain simply can't keep up with all of them. So, it has become a necessary evil.

I always find that I can accomplish a whole lot more when I have a list than I can when I am winging it. I have fallen off the list wagon in recent weeks and I am drowning in a sea of things that need to be done that I can't find the time to do. I was talking about all this with a friend and she was commenting about the same thing and I mentioned that sometimes I tell myself I am just going to clean the kitchen for the 3 minutes it takes my lunch to heat in the microwave and I am shocked that I am actually able to get it all cleaned up in that amount of time and I wonder why I put it off all day!

The lists that I have been working on, make it totally doable to get most of the things done that I want to get done and still have time for the park and play dates and rolling around on the floor with the kids.

I have typed up most of the reoccurring lists and on the advice of a friend, will put them into clear sleeves so I can use a dry erase marker to check off things as they are complete and then wipe the sheet clean to have it ready for tomorrow! I am excited to get back into my routines and stop wallowing in this self pity that I have been allowing myself to be consumed with lately. Its time to get back to being the true, list making me!!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

1 Year Old

My dearest Little-Smug,

Today you are turning 1 year old. I can't believe how this last year has flown and yet, I can't believe it has only been a year since you made our lives complete. There was a time when your daddy and I considered only having 1 child and now how silly that seems. You have brought us so much love and happiness and we can't imagine not having you.

Your sister loved you from the first moment she learned that you were going to be coming to live with us. She hurts you sometimes because she is loving on you so much! She wants to play, but plays too rough and you want to play and can't keep up. If she is climbing on it, you want to be climbing on it too!

You took your first wobbly steps at 8 months and by 9 months were fully walking everywhere. By 10 months you were able to stand up on your own without pulling up on something. You now only crawl if you fall over while Smug-Baby or daddy is chasing you and don't feel like you have the time to get yourself standing again before getting caught!
You have 7 teeth at the moment, but number 8 is just on the verge of poking through. You cut the first 6 all within a month and then had a nice long break. The most recent tooth just popped up about a week ago. You have been a champ with the whole teething process thus far. You wear your amber necklace so you don't deal with a lot of drooling, but you are more fussy (which means, you are fussy at all, since you hardly ever cry), you have green poo, your nose runs a little and you rub your little face a bit.

You like to try to eat everything we are eating and love green Kefer smoothies, avocado, potatoes and almond milk. You hate baby food! We have been getting WIC to help us out some while mama looks for a job and they provided us with about 10,000 jars of baby food and you can't stand it! I can't blame you!! I tried to put it into smoothies, pancakes and anything else I could think of, but you were right, its horrible!!

You love to share! You love to squish some food around in your mouth and then lovingly stuff it into mine! You love to hand me the phone or the remote or other toy. You clap, you laugh and you love playing games.

You love pat-a-cake. You love chasing your sister and being chased in return. You love climbing back to where the electronics are and pulling the wi-fi plugs. You love turning on the cable box and love even more turning it off while we are all watching something!

You hate having your diaper changed and don't like getting dressed. You love water and taking a bath.

We have adjusted nicely to having you as part of our family and you make waking up each day a beautiful thing. You wake up, your eyes open and turn to find me. Our eyes meet and you grin at me with so much love I fear it will expand my heart to the bursting point. Then you sit up and search the bed for Smug-Baby and Daddy. You climb on top of them and with open-mouth kisses and babbles of happiness, you wake them up.

 Happy first birthday to my son, my light, my love and the sweetest boy I have ever laid eyes on. My hope for today is that you feel all the love from my heart, bask in the love from your daddy and glow in the love from your sister. I hope that you can feel all the birthday wishes and love from your grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends and everyone else!


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Feeling Excited

Here I sit, in what is quickly becoming "my spot" at Starbucks, working on some applications, dealing with some emails and working on my newest project. I am feeling really excited at the prospect of helping a friend and it is getting all my business admin. juices flowing and I am feeling happy to have something besides laundry to focus on. I love the idea of helping a business succeed, especially when I feel so strongly about the service they provide!

I am talking about Shining Star Family Center in Roanoke, VA. They offer a wide variety of classes for children and adults, ranging from baby ballet and adult yoga to homeschooling academics and bible study. Most of the classes are $5 to join and are taught by fabulous instructors who are dedicated to helping provide quality instruction at a fair price.

I love that my daughter can be introduced to ballet and tap and jazz and maybe tumbling and gymnastics in the future all at a price that I can afford. She isn't a focused student, all into technique at this point, she is 3 after all; however I do want her exposed to all that these classes offer. She isn't just learning about tapping, she is learning to listen, follow the instructor and follow the rules as well as learning about music and rhythm and the movement of her body. She is learning that being physical in life is important and fun.

They are going to offer a more structured class this summer for her age group that will focus on learning colors, numbers, letters, and basic writing. This is like what she would be learning in pre-school, except that she is in a comfortable environment with instructors and assistants that she already knows. This class will teach through play and I will be able to be as involved as Smug-Baby needs me to be until she is ready to be on her own without me.

I have been giving a lot of thought to her upcoming education. Starting with kindergarten and working back, I'm trying to figure out what I need to do to make sure she is ready, both emotionally as well as academically when she starts full time school in 2015.

I was home-schooled and there are a lot of aspects of that style of education that appeal to me, but there are also things about my youth that I would like to change for my children, so I spend a lot of time thinking about what is best for them, what we can make happen for them and so on. This parenting stuff isn't for the weak I tell ya!!!