Wednesday, July 13, 2016

This is Real Life

Today has been utter and total chaos. I can't seem to do anything right. My son has argued with me about almost every thing. He keeps babbling on about something and getting very angry with me, but I can't for the life of me understand what he is staying. It makes me feel horrible that I don't get it. There have been numerous tantrums. He won't eat lunch. Then, of course, he screams for his daddy over and over because mommy is being mean. That's just my oldest. My daughter woke up numerous times last night which of course makes me sleep deprived with less patients than normal to deal with the craziness. She hates the car and screamed to and from swim lessons, which makes my son hold his ears and whine about the noise. Not to mention my husband is away on business, so I am alone to deal with it all.

Nothing anyone told me could have prepared me for the work that goes into having two children. There are times that I look down and realize that I have not showered or changed my close in three days including my underwear. My scalp hurts from having my hair up too long, I smell like spit-up masked with Serenity essential oil, and my feet kill from constantly holding weight ie. my kids. I have the luxury of staying home, but sometimes it is not much of a luxury.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

To Work Or Not To Work?

At a play date this week with a new mom's group, the other moms and I went through the typical intro of name and kid's name before letting our children run off and play while we sat around and talked. As we got deeper into conversation, I found out a couple of moms were going to go back to work in a few months. One mom even went as far to say that she really missed work and could not wait to go back. It was the first time I had heard that. Most of the moms that I know cried for weeks when going back and wished they had more time. I myself just made the choice to not return to teaching. But this moms comment resonated with me. Since being at home for almost five months, I have thought the same thing a handful of times. I have debated the pros and cons of going back to work even after resigning my position.

The decision to resign my teaching position was not easy. I went back and forth for months. I loved the idea when my children were being wonderful loving angels and dreaded it when everything was chaos. I wondered if I would be able to handle it. Would I love staying home and being around for every moment or would the stress of being home not allow me to enjoy those wonderful moments? With my first, work provided a space to interact with adults. It helped me recharge my batteries so that when I would pick up my son, I was excited to get home and be around him. I wondered and still wonder if I will miss having a career? At the end of the year party for my school, my principal said that I was giving up teaching for the best reason and that I would never look back regret the time I spent at home with my kids. I knew she was right, but I still had my doubts that it was for me.

 The first few months when I was still on maternity leave, I struggled to make staying at home work. I did not have any friends that had children and was not a part of any mom's groups. I didn't know what to do with my time. Some days I didn't even change out of my pajamas. I watched Hallmark movies on the T.V while breastfeeding and was found in the same position when my husband got home as when he left in the morning. I knew that I would be miserable if I did not get it together and find my people. I knew there had to be moms out there. I started to search out places to go and things to do. Red Tricycle helped me find things to do. I slowly started to fill my days. It took awhile. I am not just signing up for a mom's group that I have been wanting to sign up with since my first child. Luckily they have on going sign ups. I was moved by how inclusive the groups are and how much I really enjoy the adult time.

I started with one thing to do outside of the house with the kids once a day. This left time for naps and errands. Having time with other moms to discuss life and the realities of staying home has saved me. So I didn't feel like I was doing chores all day, I utilized companies like Hello Fresh , Instacart, and Amazon Prime Pantry for my shopping and cooking needs. I still have moments where I think going back to work would actually be easier, but I am glad I made the decision that I did.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Is it Dumb?

All right ladies, tell me is this sounds familiar. You cook dinner and place the dishes in the sink thinking that your husband will start doing them after eating, but instead he grabs a beer from the fridge and goes to watch whatever sports game is on T.V. (Since we live in the bay area, there happens to be a lot of amazing teams that my husband HAS to watch.) He says he will do them tomorrow because he has had such a long day at work, like your day at home with the kids wasn't long, and he just needs time to relax. That leaves you with a choice, either you do them or leave them dirty in the sink. Of course, you get stuck doing them because you can't stand a dirty kitchen, or maybe you need your sink to give your baby a bath, something your husband still hasn't ever done.

Or here's another walk in front of your husband with the laundry basket full dirty clothes and then walk back in front of him with the same basket full of clean clothes that you just took out of the dryer on your way to fold them. You know he saw you. He must have seen you, I mean you walked right in front of him. He just continues to sit on the couch relaxing while your fold the clothes and put them away. You think to yourself, "Am I his mother?" And wishing that she would have taught her son how to do laundry instead of expecting it to be done and miraculously find clean clothes in drawers.

I was at baseball practice talking to one of the other moms. To give my husband credit where credit is due, he was my son's coach. I know he will continue to be there for our children when they need coaches or scout leaders. He is all in! Back to my conversation, the mom was telling me about the previous weekend when my husband and her husband had taken the kids to play in the park after practice. I guess I need to also explain that this particular Saturday was also our daughters Christening. She was saying that she had gone over to my husband and was like, "umm, don't you have a baptism to get ready for?" Now, I had not gone to practice because I was running around getting everything set up for the baptism. I had dropped off all the food with my sister-in-law and gone up to get the cake that I had ordered from a local mom. Helping me out with the Baptism was not really on my husband's mind I guess because he goes, "My wife does all the planning. I just have to get ready." Never mind that our son also needs to get ready, which would include a shower or bath seeing as he was out in the hot sun playing baseball. I had honestly thought that he would rush home to help get our son ready so there would be no rushing around. Obviously that did not happen and we were the last family to arrive. How embarrassing? This story was just another to add to the books, so it did not floor me the way her next comment did. She said something about her husband being the same way and told a story, and then she said, "My son will be lucky because he will find some dumb bitch like me to do everything for him." My mouth dropped open. I honestly didn't know what to say.

Then I started to think, "Shit, am I a dumb bitch?" I mean I graduated college with a 3.8 in my major. I went on the get my teaching credential and have worked really hard to be a great teacher. So, I know I am not dumb, but I do sometimes allow my husband to be my third child instead of making him step up. I have known him for 12 years, so I knew what I was getting into, but is that just the excuse I give when he is not pulling his weight around the house? Was it dumb of me to think that things would be split evenly? Did I really think that chores would be tackled together as a team? Was it dumb to think that the cleanliness of our house would be of equal importance to the both of us and that procrastination was left behind in college? Was it dumb to think that my husband would be more proactive with the second child because he knows what to do now? With this list of questions running through my head, I realized that maybe I was dumb for having certain expectations.

What do you think ladies? Does this sound familiar and what do you do about it?

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Family CFO

Finances were never spoken about in my family. I never new what my parents monthly budget was or how much they put away into savings each month. I knew that my mom balanced the family checkbooks, but I never knew why. I actually think my mom still keeps a checkbook despite smart phones and online banking. When we would go shopping, there would be the occasional, "Don't tell your dad how much I spent" or "I really shouldn't, but you look so cute in that". I usually got whatever I wanted within reason. I never asked for anything designer and didn't really care until college when I joined a sorority and started to notice how the other girls dressed. I started to work when I was 15, but never put any money away. Looking back, I wish I would have put it all into savings or invested it with my parent's financial adviser. It would have been the perfect time to start saving as I didn't have any real expenses. I worked in college too, but that all went towards clothes, parties, and trips. My parents have even had to bail me out a few times when I didn't keep track of what was in my accounts. By the time that I reached 27 and had my first child, I had very little to my name, which made me feel like I was not pulling my weight. Not to mention, it is so easy to spend money on your kids! 

Doing a 180, my husband grew up saving and investing. He went to college for finance and is now a CPA specializing in high wealth individuals. He literally looks at money all day. He also really enjoys investing. He relaxes while looking at stocks and subscribes to a stock magazine that you can find him reading weekend mornings. Coming into our marriage, he was and still is more financially aware.

During our engagement counseling, finances were said to be the main topic couples fight over. It has been the main topic that my husband and I have sparred over (spar is my husbands preferred word as we don't battle). He wants me to be the family CFO. My response has been... "umm.. honey, I have never managed money in my life! How am I supposed to be able to do that? And Where do I even start?"  There are months where I look back and realize that oops I might have spent too much. Then there are months where I really rocked it. I would have to say that I am more proud of myself and satisfied after the months where I rocked it. So now I am ready to take charge. I have decided to read the book Smart Mom, Rich Mom by Kimberly Palmer. My goal is to learn to manage my family's budget, to not shy away from discussing money with my husband and children, and to secure long term wealth and financial health for my family. I no longer want to sit back as my husband manages our accounts and picks investments. I am ready to get involved. Join me on my journey as I explore what it means to be a family CFO.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Full Hands

My husband and I decided to go for a hike this morning. He had our son in the hiking backpack and our dog on a leash while I had our daughter facing forward in the front carrier. Right away I knew that we might be pressing our luck when I started to get a headache. All of the carrying and breastfeeding has made the muscles of my upper back and neck extremely tight so now when I put on the pack I started to get a headache. My chiropractor digs in and tries to loosen it up, but I can't really get away from holding and feeding my daughter so I muddle through it. On a side note, I am going to try DeepBlue essential oil by doTERRA to help with the pain. Back to our hike...So I have a headache, and it is very hot and sunny which just adds to it. We make it up and back down with no real hiccups besides the headache, but apparently I look pissed off because my husband says to my son, "Mommy is miserable, I think..." Maybe I looked unhappy, I don't really know, but as we are leaving these ladies are speed walking past us and one says, "Wow you have your hands full!" Then, the other woman says, "It gets better, I swear!" I responded with a nod and a yeah, I know it does, I am just tired from the nights, like I have to explain myself. These are normal and relatively frequent comments made to me. Just to clarify, I do not always look unhappy. I am a very happy and satisfied wife and mom. I assume then that the women who make these comments to me are looking back at their life and remembering how hard it could be to have two small children. The comments are not what I found irritating, but the fact that they were said to me individually and not to my husband. I later asked my husband if he has ever been told anything other then how awesome he is as a dad and of course he hasn't. Why do I have my hands full and my husband doesn't? Why do I need to be told that it gets easier and my husband doesn't. By the end of the hike, my husband had our almost three year old on his shoulders and the dog pulling at her leash. I only had a slightly sleepy 4 month old strapped to me.  Did I really look so rundown that I needed inspiration?

 I have been noticing things like this a lot lately. Moms do not get treated the same way dads get treated. We are expected to have our hands full with the kids and sometimes our husband and get told it gets better instead of "Wow, you are such a great mom getting your kids out of the house and showing them nature and instilling a love of the outdoors in them. Amazing jobs! Kudos to you!" The dialogue needs to change. Mothers need to band together and encourage each other. I challenge you to tell a mom what an amazing job she is doing. This will help her more than 100 "don't worry it gets better"s.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Belly Book- November

Black Sweater with Ankle Boots

This A Pea in the Pod sweater has become a staple in my pregnancy wardrobe. It is simple, but has a dressy flair with the sheer back. I have worn it numerous times, most recently with black Paige pregnancy jeans to Thanksgiving. The jeans I am wearing here are my beloved Gap maternity jeans. I love Gap's demi-panel. I learned from my 1st pregnancy that I can't stand full panels. They make my belly itch. I found these jeans in the third trimester of my 1st pregnancy and have never stopped wearing them.  

These boots are from Banana Republic. I recently was complemented on them by a woman who thought they might be Christian Louboutin. She was surprised to find that they were indeed Banana Republic. During my first pregnancy I shied away from heals fearing that I would fall from loss of balance. This time around, I cherish the times that I can dress up. They are comfy enough for me to still be wearing into my third trimester. Of course I haven't tried to wear them for a full day of working with my beloved 1st graders, but I will be wearing them a lot this season to date nights and holiday events.