Girl Mom

When I told my sister I was pregnant what feels like 1,000 years ago (because time moves at the rate of a snail on top of a turtle in quicksand when you’re pregnant), she immediately said it was a girl. Why? Because she feels like I’m a girl Mom.

That’s not her saying that I couldn’t raise a boy. In fact, I don’t really know what she was saying she I’m not sure she actually knows what she was saying either because she never really elaborated she said “you just are.”

Not vague at all.

But, the more I think about it and consider it, she’s totally right and maybe not for the reasons she even considered or thought about.

I’m a girl Mom because I’m continually encouraging my daughter to stick up for herself. I remind her in even the most overt ways that she’s capable. She’s bright. She’s strong. I purposely choose adjectives to try and empower her and I try to set an example that one day she might want to emulate in her own life.

I want her to be a good human. I remind her that being a good human costs her nothing, even at age two.

I originally bought her somewhat gender neutral toys and purposely filled her toy room with things that were interesting, not gender specific. Do I care if she’s playing with a Barbie or a baby doll? Absolutely not. I hope if she wants to have kids in the future, she does and I hope she’s a great mom to them. I want her to have options. I want her to know that she’s as much as she wants to be – whether that’s a stay at home mom, an astronaut or the PTA president. I don’t care. I just want her to be her and not as a result of me confining her to any one specific box.

I will teach her to respect herself and her body. I will teach her that others need to do the same. I will teach her that she needs to respect others as well. That no means no and that door swings both ways. That she is not the sum of her circumstances. That she is responsible for her actions, good or bad.

I’m a girl Mom because I realize now that I am absolutely supposed to be. That everything I emulate and stand for comes from my desire for my two girls to live a bright life of possibility. Her dad is a girl dad because he understands that and not even just understands it, but champions it.

My girls will be raised to understand their rights, stick up for themselves, and most of all, be good humans. I hope they stick up for the voiceless and leave a little sparkle wherever they go – in whatever form they want.

Good call sis, you were right.

Can we stop caping for Matt Lauer now?

I get it. The world is completely baffled that poor, innocent Matt Lauer did something terrible to someone. It’s highly likely that he did though and that information is coming to light. It’s also highly likely that he did it to more than one person. If you think differently, you might want to check out this article The Atlantic posted – https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2017/11/matt-lauer-and-the-today-shows-living-funeral/547001/

People are coming forward, yet here we are shaming them for doing so. Yet then you question WHY they waited so long. I mean do people hear themselves when they talk? For some of these victims, they’ve held onto this every day of their life only to come forward for justice and have people essentially rip them to shreds over it. People are more upset about Lauer being accused than they are concerned for the person that was the actual victim in this situation. Yet, we’re sitting here stumped as to why that individual wouldn’t want to talk to us about their situation. You know, because that reaction of sadness for Lauer is so accommodating to the people that are finally speaking out against him.

Stassi Schroeder recently posted (and then quickly deleted a podcast) where she more or less claimed that nobody could make her do something she didn’t want to, in turn indicating that girls in these situations probably aren’t forced and if they are, they’re of weak willpower. It’s none of those things. She claimed that it was taken out of context, but I find myself wondering in what context that would even be appropriate or okay and might “make sense.” Still searching, let me know if you find one.

This isn’t becoming more common. This has been happening for years. To assume it is more common now is likely an error. What is becoming more common is people holding others accountable for their actions. Ask yourself why it is okay for a guy to brush your thigh on the way to the copier at work? Did you brush it off and let it go? Okay, that’s fine. Could he not have found another way to get to the copier? Could he not have waited? Why is that okay? It’s not okay at all.

People in power being held responsible for their actions – this shouldn’t be such a shocker.

It also shouldn’t be a shocker that people don’t speak out about it. Simply google “Why don’t victims come forward?” and you’ll find a wealth of information and understanding. Sure, there will be people out there crying wolf occasionally, but what fame does saying “I was sexually assaulted” actually garner? People are ripping these victims to shreds. How amazing it must be to see your name in the lights while people simultaneously tear you down. I call BS.

We need to  be standing with these victims. News stations have been aware of the Lauer investigation for months. He wasn’t fired on a whim. This was a long time coming him. The fact their fired him and didn’t suspend him says something, doesn’t it? It’s probably substantiated, that’s what it says.

If something like this has never happened to you, congratulations. If it has happened to someone you know that you’re actually close with, you probably have feelings about it. If you don’t know anyone who has ever been sexually assaulted, I want to live where you live. This happens more than we know and just because you’re not privy to someone’s story doesn’t mean it is a false narrative. It just means maybe they didn’t want to tell you about it and that’s their right. It is also their right to speak out against it when it happens. Quit trying to take that away.

Unplug 

I’m at a conference this week in St. Louis (will end up sharing more about this later, I’m sure). Conferences force me to do things I don’t like – namely network and interact with people I don’t know. I’m fairly good at faking the fact that I am actually not really that extroverted contrary to popular belief, but there are times where I get so insanely drained from talking to people and being engaged that I just want to unplug on my phone and veg. We’ve all been there. It’s normal. 

Today I realized something though and I’m not particularly proud of it. I was walking barely behind some people. I don’t know them, but we all work for the same company and we’re together at this conference. I was carrying snacks (common theme in my life). I stayed a few steps back hoping they wouldn’t notice me. When they kind of turned around toward me, I felt a little insecure, like they were going to engage me in a short little conversation about nothing as we walked back to our respective meetings. I found myself wishing I had a hand free to pick up my cell phone and try to bury myself in an email to look busy. 

Wow. That’s pretty terrible, right? I’m not proud of it. 

I didn’t do that and they didn’t engage me in anything and if they would have, I would have responded and been engaged and whatever dread I was feeling about it would’ve quickly disappeared because time and again I am proven wrong in all these social situations and they end up being fantastic and I enjoy them so much. 

It got me thinking though. A week ago one of my employees gave a presentation on how we’re glued to our phones and devices because we have FOMO (fear of missing out). That’s not why I’m glued to my phone though. I decompress with it. I’m frequently tired. Life is frequently stressful and I frequently just want to sit down and think about nothing. 

But at what cost? I’m so busy trying to be disengaged and regroup that now it’s becoming a priority when I get home and I am missing things. The important things. 

I used to think those phone baskets people would stick their phones in during dinner were dumb. Now I think I need one. Or I just need to turn it off. When I leave a floor on my house WHY the heck do I need to bring my phone down with me? I don’t. That’s so ridiculous. 

When I did luLaRoe, I got used to having to be on it all the time and I loathed it. I realize now the habit hasn’t gone away and here I am, doing the same exact thing. 

It’s a lesson. I need to make a conscious effort to be better and do better. Put the phone down. People used to leave their houses without phones. Now they drive back home just to get it. It’s like a security blanket that I’m attached too and I need to grow a little and devote more attention to what I am actually doing and the people I am actually around. Being fully engaged is so much more attractive. 

We could all use a little bit of time to unplug, regroup and see what we’re missing. I think everyone would be surprised at the quality of the engagements we’d have if we gave it a shot. 

HG: A dark side effect of being pregnant

I was very hesitant to have another baby because I had such a difficult time with Elle (for a lot of reasons). Even from the beginning, I had uncontrollable morning sickness. It lasted all day long. Medication took the edge off but only limited the number of times I would get sick. Nothing actually took it away. I was pretty miserable and it lasted the entire time I was pregnant.

At first glance you might think “then why did you do this again?” and that’s a fair question, but it doesn’t color my entire experience. I look at my daughter and I am glad she’s here and if I had to repeat it to get her, I absolutely would. You definitely have to mentally work yourself up to it though.

Hyperemesis is not a very well known condition and it’s not something that affects a lot of people. It doesn’t get a lot of attention unless you’re Kate Middleton and a lot of doctors just think it is run of the mill nausea. When it requires IVs and medical intervention to avoid dehydration, it’s not really run of the mill anymore. Some people experience some relief when they get further down the road. I definitely felt a little bit of relief, but I was still sick up until the day I actually had Elle and that was with medication.

One of the biggest issues is what it does to you mentally. You literally feel like there is no end in sight. You start to question whether or not you’re going to be able to make it. It freaks you out. Eating something is a complete curse and it makes you leery of any food whatsoever. It hurts your brain. I can’t count how many times I would just sit in the bathroom and cry, upset that I still felt a certain type of way and wishing that I would get some relief. I lost weight. I had to try and gain that back. My diet wasn’t great. I can’t say I really look back on it with a lot of fondness.

1-2% of women experience that. Many experience it much, much worse than I actually experienced it. It’s unanimous that it’s painful, difficult to explain and hard to navigate. This go around I have three different nausea medications and have required IV fluids to keep me afloat. I’ve lost about 10 pounds (which is around 12% of my body weight) and I am working on gaining that back. I come home every day and immediately head to bed, thankful that I had enough energy to make it through the day. I feel guilty because I am not helpful in the way I’d like to be, I don’t have so much energy to play with my daughter as much, but I know that it’s just a small season of life and we will all get through it. I am remaining more positive about it now because I understand it so much better and I was better able to advocate for myself as a result. It’s been better, but yet it’s been oddly more difficult for different reasons. It’s just a season. It’s just a season. It’s just a season. Everything will be worth it in the end.

We’re having a baby!

We’ve now officially announced to the world that we’re having a baby, which is both exciting and terrifying. I am generally not someone that likes to talk about being pregnant or draw attention to myself about it because I am awkward about it (I don’t know why, I just am), but since so many of my family members and loved ones live across the country, we had to do an announcement.

We actually found out several weeks ago, like almost two months and for the most part we’ve been keeping it to ourselves. It’s actually a pretty funny story.

I woke up in the middle of the night and I don’t know why, but for some reason I just felt like I needed to take a pregnancy test. It was like 2am and I took one and thought I saw a line, but also thought I was really tired and was just seeing things. I woke up again to start my day around 6:30. Ryan was getting ready. I took another test then and thought I saw a line, so then I took a digital and it officially confirmed. Ryan was getting ready for his second job interview at a firm he really wanted to work for, and later that day we were traveling back home to NE for the weekend.

I caught him before he left and jokingly (or maybe not so jokingly) told him he better land that job and then handed him the digital test. He went off to his job interview, came home and we headed to the airport.

Later that day, while we’re waiting for our flight, we’re talking about everything and he gets a phone call that he got the job! Literally best Thursday of my life. 🙂 I thought the plane was going to crash because how can you have such good luck all in the same day.

We didn’t tell anyone that weekend and I waited several weeks before I even mentioned it to anyone. I would’ve continued to wait to mention it but I’m starting to get leery about what I wear for fear people might start asking, so I decided to just nip it in the bud.

We’re especially considering ourselves lucky because we do have a history of loss (I will go into this in a different post). It’s a little bit bittersweet, knowing that we basically got pregnant with this baby right around the time we should’ve actually been having another one, but I know we’re both still thankful for the opportunity and glad that we can go through this together. We don’t foresee further expansion of our family for many reasons (I will delve into later), so we’re savoring every moment of this!

Public shaming your significant other – maybe not the best look

Everyone’s spouse irritates them at some point in their lives (some definitely more than others). In the current day and age that we live in, it seems like people can’t seem to step away from the computer when it comes to airing both the positives and the negatives, but really, should we be publicly shaming the person that we’re dating or married to? I’d argue that those things are best kept private.

There’s nobody in this world that’s going to forgive your spouse/SO for their transgressions against you faster than you are. Posting something in the moment creates an opportunity for other people to come together and voice their opinions on a situation that really doesn’t involve them at all. In general, it either results in dog piling the person that you married and may or may not be in the wrong (it really depends on the situation) or it results in a lot of people telling you that you shouldn’t be feeling the way you’re feeling. Neither of those are solutions. Neither of those are helpful.

Not only did it not solve anything, now it’s out there for the world to see. This is the face that you’re putting forward. I am not saying avoid being real. Be real. Post whatever you want on your timeline, but consider your audience. How many people do you have on your Facebook that are going to see this? How many of those people do you talk to regularly? How many of those people get their news about YOUR life from your timeline? Now ask yourself what you want to them to think about your spouse? Do you want them to think that person is a bad person? People make rash judgments. I’d venture to guess that you might not always put out there the good things that person does, so if you taint their reputation with the negative, nobody is going to remember the positive. It’s the same reason scandals make headlines over those feel good stories. They get clicks. They get views.

Even if someone doesn’t comment on your post, that doesn’t mean they didn’t read it. It doesn’t mean they didn’t screenshot it and it sure doesn’t mean they didn’t send it to 15 of their closest friends to discuss it. How do you feel now knowing that it is potentially immortalized somewhere and that someone somewhere is possibly talking about your family and maybe not with the highest regard? It’s not great. It’s just not a great look.

In my marriage, I have friends that I vent to. I am not immune to getting irritated. In fact, I am probably more irritable than most people. I don’t go venting to the world, though. I respect my husband enough to keep what is truly between us, between us. It’s none of their business. I find my close friends who not only know me well, but know my husband well and are friends with both of us and I ask their advice, or I tell them that I just need to vent for a second. These are the same people that I tell all the good things to as well. They don’t get a one-sided depiction and these people provide a level-headed response if I need it and they sulk with me when I am just looking for company. At the end of the day though, they forgive, knowing that the brief snippet they just saw is not the main storyline of my life.

I do not vent to my husband’s sisters about my  husband. I don’t vent to my own mother or my family member about my husband. There are people out there that are CHOOSING to love my husband and I want them to love him. I don’t want them to ever think that he is less than he is and I don’t want them to ever get some idea in their heads that one day he was having an off day and that’s what the color of his personality is. It’s not. That’s not fair to him at all.

Protect the people you love – and that includes their image. It doesn’t mean post sunshine and rainbows when that’s not truly what your life is like, it just means don’t do the opposite either if that’s also truly not what your life is like. You don’t want that bad day to leave a  bad taste in everyone else’s mouth and I’d venture to guess that once it all boils down, you’re not going to want people to dog on your husband forever. What feels good now might now be the recipe for the best future.

We all need someone to lean on, so definitely lean. We also all have different levels of tolerance for how open we are with our lives in a public setting. I would never publicly blast my husband about anything because it doesn’t solve my problem. Going and talking to him about the issue is what is ultimately going to solve our problem – in private. Where (I personally feel) it is more appropriate to hash things out.

We don’t keep things to ourselves anymore. I understand wanting to share your joys with your family members. I live 1500 miles away from all the people I love most in the world. Facebook keeps us together and we’re able to talk to each other and stay in the know about things that are going on in our lives. It’s a blessing and it’s a curse, but considerations absolutely need to be made about when and how people use it. The last thing you want is to slander your own reputation by being “that wife” or slander your husband’s in the heat of the moment.

Untitled.

I am not a sentimental person, but sometimes there are things that even get the best of me. When I run into these situations where I find myself getting emotional about something, it is so foreign to me I almost don’t know what to do about it.

For example, Thursday morning I was laying in my bed minding my own business drinking a coffee and enjoying an hour of peace before I headed to a doctor’s appointment and up pops a picture from 2013 of a status I made about my grandma Leslie sending me a new “sick blanket.” Cue me bawling my eyeballs out because I was relaxing  under that exact blanket.

It seems like the reminders this week continue to come because just this past Sunday, Tula Baby Carriers released the first and only official Harry Potter Tula, called “Spellbound.” Seeing it and knowing my love for wearing my daughter around, I immediately needed to have it, but I also knew I would be up for stiff competition and sure enough, I was not able to score. One popped up on the BST page for an absurd amount of money and I cursed, sat on it, cried a little about it (stupid, I know, but you never know what is going to trigger you) and then finally bought it, terrified that I would never get the chance to get my hands on it again.

My grandma died only a few months into me being pregnant with Elle and it was probably the hardest loss I’ve ever had because it was so unexpected. She was expected to leave and beat the cancer she had and she didn’t. The night before she died, I tried going down to Wichita to be with her, and she told me on the phone not to come and that it would all be okay. I know she didn’t want me there because I was pregnant and she was scared the stress would be too much for me.

When I went through all the difficulties in my pregnancy with Elle and there was a period where I honestly was not sure I was going to live, I wished she was there more than anything in the entire world. It is one of the saddest things to me that she never got to meet Elle and she will never meet any of my other children. That’s not something I pictured or was prepared for and it’s not something I will ever be able to get over.

It may seem silly, but Harry Potter is one of the biggest reminders I have of her. Since I was 7 years old, she’d buy me all the books, encourage me to read them and escape, take me to openings and call me to talk about how quickly I read them. It was OUR thing. We had it together and it was the biggest blessing.

Fast forward to now and it seems like this week  has been full of sentiment. In my head, having this new baby carrier completes a circle for me, like wrapping my kid in a warm hug from my grandma – something she will never be able to do. It’s bizarre and it’s just a thing and I feel a decent chunk of ridiculous for feeling the way I do about it, but I guess sometimes you just aren’t always the one in control of how you feel or what makes you feel anything.

“I am not worried, Harry,” said Dumbledore, his voice a little stronger despite the freezing water. “I am with you.”