Misconceptions of ‘the real world’

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I remember dreaming of growing up when I was younger.  I think this is really really common but I wasn’t looking forward to the things most people look forward to, like turing 16 and being able to drive, turning 18 and being an adult, or turning 21 and being able to drink.  I was thinking about becoming an adult so I could make all my own rules or having my own home so I could have everything just as I wanted it.  

No I was looking forward to getting older because I thought that the pressure cooker teenagers live in would finally be released.  I thought that those insecurities I had would be left behind when I left high school and that with each bit of success I had after my high school graduation, I would feel less and less need to belong, to fit in, to conform.

I thought that once I was married I would be less concerned about my people skills.  That meeting new people would become less important.  I thought that once I had a baby, the faint lines that decorated my hips would somehow be unimportant.  I somehow thought that I would be amazed enough at my body’s ability to give life to something so perfect, that it would almost erase every insecurity, stretch mark, and extra pound from my sight.

No one bothers to tell you that this is not really how it works.  Sure, it’s different but not as much as we are lead to believe ‘the real world is’.

I might not be in high school any more but I have discovered a ‘real job’ can be a lot like high school.  I am left worried about fitting in, dressing the wrong way, saying the wrong things, and not knowing the right people.  It is amazing how much these things can impact your career.

I have a gorgeous daughter but it almost complicates the way I feel.  It isn’t okay to feel less than great because she sees that and realistically I feel pressure to be both a great mom and a ‘perfect’ career woman.  

The pressure is different and it might not be as significant but the stakes are higher.  I say something stupid or don’t fit the right image I may not get that next promotion.  

The reality is that someone will always dislike something I choose to do.  Someone will be rolling their eyes and someone will judge how I look.  

There is no ‘right way’.

So here is what I have concluded:

  1. I have a tendency to ‘overshare’.  I probably make some people uncomfortable.  Often time I find myself apologizing for giving too much information.  I have questioned myself on this point multiple times, and have often tried to keep it in check.  But this is how I form genuine and meaningful relationships.  It’s likely that I alienate more people than I befriend but what kind of a friendship is it if I have to check myself.
  2. I am actually fairly decent at those social interactions when I don’t think about them. And where I am failing … does it matter?  Everyone fails at these things sometimes.  
  3. Many things in life are about making choices.  I can choose to okay with my ‘shortcomings’ and when it is a little harder day, I can cope.  

I am sure not everyone feels the same.  Some of you have probably seamlessly shed those insecurities and reconciled the potentially lost opportunities in your lives.  That is great, but I think you might be in the minority.

The picture at the start of this post is me the morning of my wedding day.  It is not the most flattering photo of me but it shoes true happiness and excitement.  It is genuine emotion without concern of what others think or how it may impact my future or relationships.

That’s the mom I want my little girl to know, the model that she follows.

Hell of a week

To provide a quick update – for the 4th or 5th week in a row (yes I have lost count) we are killing gross little bugs. This lice crap is like a terrible little nasty experience that never ever ends. So today I found this little comb called Robi. I have to admit I wasn’t so optimistic but I was desperate so I bought it. It is annoying and makes this high pitched buzzing sound and if you aren’t really careful you might feel a little tingle but it zaps the lice dead. In addition to the live lice it claims to kill the eggs too. After using the comb I also used the rx we got washed everything that could be washed and sprayed and or vacuumed everything that couldn’t be thrown in the dryer. Here is hoping this is the end of it.

Becoming Supermom

This week has been crazy.  To start my family had our first encounter with head lice.  Eww … if you cringed, you are right to do so.  It’s gross, it sticks around and trying to get rid of it is time consuming and very dependent on being through.  Not always an easy feat when your toddler with little to no desire to sit still.  I have been wracking my brain and cannot figure out where this little nasty bug managed to break into my home – she isn’t in daycare with other kids and her trips to the playground, library, and the children’s museum did not include the wearing of clothing or close contact with other kids.  

Sunday into Monday was spent treating our daughter and taking precautions such as bagging items, washing items, and treating myself and my husbands head even though we did not find lice on ourselves…

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Intentional living goal 2/when Pinterest goes wrong

For intentional living goal number 2 I am focusing on relationships.  Much like my professional goal of building relationships, this goal is focused on nurturing a pretty key relationship in my life.

The goal is simple – do one thing everyday this week to let my husband know I appreciate him.  Concept is simple, execution might be hard.  When something isn’t going right in my day I can’t see anything that is good.  I am not a glass half full or half empty kind of girl, that glass is always full it’s just a matter of what it’s full of.

So here is my effort for today:

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Have be you seen this above image floating around Pinterest?  Yeah, I hadn’t either.  Before I go further let me stop and tell you this is where Pinterest can go so wrong and that my husband has in fact given permission to share this story.

I don’t know the back story on this cake but MAYBE something like this would be funny coming from a really close girlfriend (Jess, don’t go getting any ideas) but I woke up one morning to my husband’s own rendition of such a cake:

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Sweet thought but I think you’d agree a little odd?  I mean just because it’s on Pinterest doesn’t mean it’s a great idea.  

But, hey, I got cake.

And what’s more this was my husband’s way of communicating that he cared.  This could have gone dramatically wrong if his timing had been off and I was just having a bad day at work, then again … cake.  He accompanied the cake with a note about how much he appreciates the things I do for our family and so on.

And then yesterday morning I not only got a surprise visit from my little family, they also took me on a Starbucks date while I was at work.

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Knowing for for me the worst part of starting classes is not seeing my baby as often, he started the semester with an extra dose of my little girl and took care of my lack of sleep with fancy coffee.

I am just not good at that thoughtful stuff and I am so fortunate that I not only married someone who is but also that he is understanding of my shortcoming.

So this week I am making an effort to take a page out of his book and be more vocal of my appreciation.

Intentional living goal #1

Today marked a new balancing act in our house.  On top of the full time job and the family, I continue to further my education.  Not everyone is on board with that choice and not everyone likes it.  

That’s okay.

It certainly changes the way we manage our household and requires a little bit of forethought and planning.  This isn’t new to my family, we have been juggling busy schedules for a long time, but this time it feels a little different.  

It doesn’t help that I started off with a lack of sleep and just a generally crappy week.  I just keep thinking about how to best set myself up for success and I keep coming back to this: ‘GET ENOUGH SLEEP’.  For me enough is about 7 hours.  That is my magic feel good number.  

Let’s be realistic for a minute, any time something is going on that you just don’t feel like you have enough time for the first thing that goes out the window is sleep.  It is really counterproductive.  Especially in situations that require brain power, patients, focus, or memory.  You end up spending more time working on something that, under better conditions, would have taken half the time.  

If you’re like me, you might feel sick and even snap at people … which reduces your productivity further.  And then you use caffeine to counter the tired … and things get that much worse.  What to do when there just aren’t enough hours in the day?

I wrote about this concept of intentional living and setting small goals. 

Here is my first of many intentional living goals: slow down, enjoy things that are important to me, and get the sleep, rest, and relaxation I need to be revitalized so I can function.

This means that maybe my floor doesn’t get swept as often, maybe things are a little cluttered – maybe my house looks more lived in – so if you visit and find a less than orderly home, well I am actually not sure what to tell you other than my priority just isn’t the neatest home on the block.  

If you see me pulling though the drive through one time too many in a month with my toddler in tow, know I already weighed the benefits and cons … maybe today I just needed something fast and easy that she wouldn’t fight me on so I could spend what time I get back loving her and playing with her.

If my clean laundry happens to be sitting in laundry baskets instead of neatly folded stacks in tidy, clean drawers – you need to stop snooping around my house and get out of my bedroom.

My intentional living goal for this week is to keep my priorities in sight

  1. My family’s health and well-being
  2. My sanity
  3. My education
  4. My career 
  5. My identity

For now everything else is just filler.  This sounds simple but when we live in a society that doesn’t appreciate the concept of live and let live it becomes easy to feel guilt because you are not following societal norms, expectations, or the beautiful stories painted for one to follow.

Here is to a guilt free, sanity saving, priority driven, week of intentional living.

10 Types Of Moms That Suck

This list is great – especially the always happy, chipper mom.
I have totally been guilty if number 9. We still try to avoid no in our house … If we don’t use it she won’t learn it to use it against us.
Before you tell me I misunderstood the spirit of the ‘we don’t say no in our house mom’, let me assure you I get it. Our daughter gets told ‘no’ a ton just not in the form of a two letter word 😊.

Thought Catalog

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I’m not sure if you knew, but I’m pretty much the best, most perfectest mom ever in the history of ever. I don’t need to tell you that’s sarcasm, right internet? Maybe? Eh. Is this satire now? I feel like I used to know what that was but I think I lost it somewhere along the way during my Wild Adventures in Blogging. People seem to have created this new, vague definition. Anyway, back to my perfection.

1. Language Police Mom

Firstly, that sounds like an awesome name for some sort of knockoff Barbie doll; you know the kind made of the same plastic they use for those KoolAid bottle-things that your cheap Aunt used to buy for you years after you’d stopped playing with dolls? Complete with police uniform, perfectly curled hair and a baby under each arm.  

Secondly, I appreciate…

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My Basic Family

On Sunday morning we brought our daughter over to my mom and dad’s house.  It had been a long night and rough morning so we got breakfast on the go.  Our choice of breakfast needed to include coffee and of course the best place to get a cup of coffee is none other than Starbucks.  My husband walked into my mom and dad’s carrying our daughter and I walked in behind him with a Starbucks (including a milk for our daughter) and a danish for each of us.  My youngest brother shook his head and said ‘you’re so basic’.

Being an adult with a full time job and child, I am a little out of touch with the latest slang, but was instantly offended.  Until I thought it through.  I am a woman in my mid to late 20s, I have a corporate job, I am married, with one child, we live in a ‘nicer’ suburb, we own two cars – one of which is a newer model crossover, until this past weekend we also had a dog and live in a home with a quite little backyard.  And I realized for a person my age living in America today – it probably doesn’t get much more basic than that.

If you are wondering what ‘basic‘ means in this context – urban dictionary defines it as obscenely obvious behavior.  (The link will bring you to the full urban dictionary definition)

So, my brother was right … 

Actually, he was only right on first appearance.  There is much more to us than meets the eye.  While working a full time corporate job, I am also starting classes tomorrow evening to work towards finishing my degree.  I have done some awesome traveling including 3 trips to Tanzania, I have finished 2 marathons, I hold a Gold Award – which is the highest award given in girl scouting, in high school I headed up an effort to fund and build bucket telescopes for elementary school students in my school district, with the exception of a few short months, I have spent nearly my entire working life with the same company, I have a paralegal degree, I have done some awesome volunteering with The Tubman Center, and frankly I am kind of awesome.

So on the surface we couldn’t be more basic.  But there is so much more than what meets the eye.

Intentional Living

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I had a moment of clarity and honesty yesterday that has been a long time coming.  I really haven’t been myself lately.  If you know me, maybe you noticed I have been different since my grandfather passed away in April of 2013.  

I have always felt like I had a special relationship with him, he was always one of my favorite people in the world.  I have been fortunate enough that my young family has afforded me the privilege of having met and known most of my great grandparents.  Loosing my grandfather was the first loss of a relative that was not a distant one and was made that much harder by the unique bond I had with him.

My mom and I lived with my grandparents when I was born and my grandpa used to bounce me on his knee.  As I got older he used to tease me about the silliest things – like singing the words ‘happy birthday to me’ on my birthday and calling my ‘mom car’ a half a car.  He was sick for the last few years of his life and it was a hard thing for me to watch and when he passed my world really had changed.

Since then I have been just not myself, and each thing just has piled on top of itself.  Until yesterday when we had to put our sweet Lucy down.

I don’t know if the difference has been obvious to my friends and family, primarily because I have been in denial but secondarily because I have always been a strong independent person.  I have always been good at keeping it together and working through things.  I have always been ‘okay’.  At least outwardly.

Here’s the thing, since my grandpa died I have had a hard time identifying meaning and accepting what I once considered the beauty of the seasons of life.  

My denial was deep and maybe its own coping mechanism.  I have been operating under the theory for most of my life that it is just my nature to have excessive fears/worries/prospective but as long as I still got up and out of bed every morning I was coping.  And it was okay.

I decided that being down and feeling a little on the hopeless side was just part of life that I had to deal with and I convinced myself that everyone would have those thoughts/feelings if they spent any amount of time actually thinking about it.

Turns out I think I am wrong.  It isn’t okay to think nothing really matters because the out come is always the same in the end.  Turns out I have been doing more surviving than living and it turns out I am not okay.  

But there are a few things I was right about.

I was right that it is okay to feel the way I feel.  It really isn’t about the feelings or thoughts I am having but what those mean.  I believe it means that I am not living a life that is personally meaningful.  That isn’t to say motherhood isn’t fulfilling but rather there are too many things in my life (usually competing with being a mother) that don’t provide intrinsic value.  They are things that provide a means to an end as opposed to fulfilling some deeper desire.  Don’t get me wrong, there is value in things that are a means to an end but there is also a threshold and I have somehow surpassed that.

I was also right that I was coping.  Unfortunately I think I lost sight that coping as a state of mind should be short term while adjusting to a new norm.  It should not be the new norm in and of itself.  

So now what?  I often hear ‘knowledge is power’ but is it really if you aren’t taking any action?  

I think most of this boils down to living with intention … or not living with intention as it would seem to be in my case.  

Growing up I had always thought that life was sort of preplanned.  Like it was a book and if I could just turn ahead a few pages I would know all sorts of things – like who I would marry, how many children I would have, and what career I was meant to have.  Contrary to my personality, I let this dictate my life and somehow paralyze my decision making ability.  Honestly, I am a little in awe that I managed to make the decision to marry my husband.  

So to shift my focus from ‘is this the decision I should be making, is this was I am supposed to be doing’ to ‘given the information I have, is this what I want and is this good for my family’, I am working on living with intention.  First thing is first – I am working on an intentional living binder.  Cheesy as it is, this will have something of a ‘vision board’ to remind me of the goals I have, a way to keep things organized, and a plan to attain those goals.  

I will be setting intentions for my day or week … depending on the size of the intention and I have already set an intentional goal for work for the next 12 months.  I will likely be sharing these intentions as I set them largely to increase my accountability.

I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions largely because they tend to be forced, not well thought out, and rarely of strong personal meaning but today is the start of a new resolution.  Living with intent – here I come.