Wednesday, July 23, 2014

owning it: what if i suck at this?

When you're a little girl growing up, I think you always have an inkling in your head of the kind of mom you want to be. Most often, it's modeled after the tenderness and care from your own mother. As I begin to nest and prepare for this baby, I find myself yearning for nostalgia. It makes me sad that kids don't play outdoors as much or that parents who don't want to deal with whining or tantrums shove an iPad in their faces. I know my son or daughter is going to grow up so differently from the way I did merely because it's a different world. There are different challenges.

But, I think there is a universal thought that plagues every parent-to-be, regardless of who you are, where you live, the job you have...what if I completely and utterly suck at this?

This parenting thing? It's not easy. The weight of realizing that you are bringing home this totally impressionable blank slate is daunting. It makes me wonder how my own parents did it and how I ended up quasi-normal {or so I think}.

It's scary to think that the words you are saying, the choices you are making, the decisions you choose - they will all affect this tiny person. They will mold and shape who they are, their experiences in life, and their overall being. How could that *not* be intimidating?

So, for the sake of "owning it", here are some of the reasons why this is on my mind:

+ I have a wide berth of patience. Sometimes it's exponential and things really don't bother me, but other times, I feel like I have a hair of sanity separating me from losing it.

+ I don't think a lot of kids get enough discipline. It feels like {especially in the teaching world}, kids are allowed to get away with far too much when it comes to people they should be revering. I want my child/ren to respect us as their parents, but not fear us. I don't believe in full on spanking a child but I also won't be afraid to give them a decent swat on the behind if they are acting out.

+ I worry so much that my own body image issues will be projected and show up in my child's personality. I'm trying to be more mindful about loving myself and how it's more important to be healthy {not skinny} - but I'm not perfect. I think about how I felt in the earlier years about myself and I would never want that for anyone. The day my child thinks that they are fat will break my heart.

+ People get weirded out when I talk about how in our family, our child will come second. I fully believe that a happy child is the result of a happy family. If your child is the forefront and center of your whole universe, where does that leave your husband? Our marriage is the foundation of our family and if that begins to crack, then everything is in jeopardy. I hope that we can hold true to that and maintain the relationship that we have right now, today. I know it won't stay the same forever but I want it to evolve and grow instead of left untended.

+ I don't think it's right to tell your kids that they can be anything they want to be and that they are special. Kids are special in their own ways but as a whole, there are millions of people in this world. I think it's more realistic to tell kids to do what they want to do when they grow up as long as it means they will have a good life and be able to provide for themselves and eventually a family. That doesn't include getting a philosophy degree and couch surfing while looking for a job.

+ I worry about losing myself in the "mom" title. Before mom, I'm Britt. The girl who loves reality tv, Lime-a-rita's, smoking the occasional cigarette, and going out, dancing her face off, and then pounding a cheesy bread from Domino's. I don't want that girl to disappear.

+ Most of all, I just don't want my kid to hate me or think I am a total loser. I know both of those things will happen and someday I'll the most uncool person on the planet to them. I said some heinous things to my parents growing up and even though I've apologized, it sometimes doesn't feel like enough. I want to be strong enough to see those moments for what they are.

Link-up with Elise and share what you're owning up to.

Friday, July 18, 2014


Like actual ones, not life ones.

So, we all dream. Did you know that we dream every single night, whether you remember it or not? I often think about that and what dreams I might have that I don't remember. It's also pretty cool to think about what is it exactly that sets apart one dream from another that makes you an active participant? I don't know enough about dreams to answer that, but it's still really interesting. Dreams are our minds way of working shit out. They might make 0% sense when you're having them even though it could easily represent an exact struggle you're dealing with. That's why you feel so off your rocker when you aren't sleeping well. I always find it cool how you never remember a dream beginning. You just kind of come online right in the middle of one and are like, cool let's do this.

In middle and high school, I would write down my dreams in a journal. I would actually wake up, turn on my light, and document everything that happened so I wouldn't forget come morning. It's really cool and fun because when I go back and read them, I remember the dream so well. Right now though, without the trigger, I couldn't tell you about any of them.

Recurring dreams are also something that's common with me. When I was a little kid, I had this same dream that I was in my bedroom and DJ Tanner was my sister. I loved Full House, okay? Anyway, a huge hole opened up on my bedroom floor that would take you an alternate dimension. In this dimension, everyone had an alternate self that was a robot. I never really got further than that but the dream always scared me so I assume they were not nice robots. I had this dream constantly.

As I've gotten older, I remember dreams less. I might have snippets here and there that I remember when I wake up but by morning, it's a loss. Something later in the day might jog a fuzzy memory of it, but otherwise, nada. I got pretty comfortable of having dreamless nights of sleep.

Pregnancy has thrown a huge wrench in that. I dream all the time now and it's so weird. I've had non-nonsensical dreams, morbid and sad dreams that make me bawl my eyes out, and dreams that feel like memories but I know aren't. The difference is that it's always so vivid.Which leads me to the point of this post...recurring pregnancy dreams. Has anyone experienced those?

Disclosure: you're about to hear about my dream. I know some people are very bored by other people's dreams, but I find them fascinating and will always listen to them. So, exit stage left if dreams aren't your cup of tea.

I've had a recurring dream since getting pregnant about being separated from a group. Sometimes it's people I know, sometimes it's dream strangers who I know there but don't exist in real life. It takes place in Boston. I'll be walking down side streets, ambling along trying to find my way. I never have my wallet, my phone, or any means of contacting anyone. I know no one. Eventually, I reach a side street that I recognize and walk down. This street turns dark and snowy and takes me to an icy, thin, walkway that has nothing under it but empty darkness, aka death. Actually, I shouldn't say that. I don't know if falling means death here, but I assume it does because I know in the dream I don't want to fall. At the end of the icy pathway are mountains. It kind of looks like this only a lot more ominous and scary and instead of water underneath, just imagine darkness.

I have to cross this path to the mountains. Except there are boulders and other things that try to knock me off and make it so I can't cross. In every dream I've had about this so far, I make it through the mountains. On the other side is my friend Casey's house, who takes me in and helps me get home. End of dream.

Except last night, the dream changed. I was out at night in Boston and it was cold. I was with my friends and we were all sitting on these large steps waiting for a cab. I put my jacket over me as a blanket and fell asleep because I was so drunk. When I came to, my friends were all gone and had left me. I wasn't drunk anymore and it was still dark. My purse and belongings had been stolen except for my jacket, so I had no way to get in touch with anyone. Everything was closed. I found myself wandering the familiar side streets until I got to the street I know. I even said in the dream, "Oh X Street, why is that so familiar?" {I can't remember the name of the street to save my life and it's bothering me in case it's significant}.

I came to the same icy passage to the mountains. I tried to cross as I usually do and make it to the safety I knew was on the other side. I remember just wanting to go home. The boulders that tried to block me this time were larger and higher in number. I couldn't get close. I would end up the middle of the ice bridge, at the skinniest and most treacherous part. At one point, I fell. Terrified, my legs dangled over the sides but all I could grasp at was snow. I couldn't pull myself back up. I remember telling myself to push up like in gymnastics and get back up that way. It worked. I still couldn't pass. Every time I would try, I couldn't get past the boulders and debris coming at me. Finally, I fell again. My shoe caught on something, a string maybe, and I just sort of was left to helplessly dangle there above the darkness. Before I fell completely, our alarm went off.

So dream experts, what does this all mean? I've been thinking about it all morning. I don't usually read a lot into these things but I'm curious to see if it represents anything significant.

Also feel free to tell me about your creepy/weird dreams. I love them.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

week 16.

Oh look, bump pics and everything! So offish.

So, week 16, here we are. Baby R is the size of an avocado, which is weird because I just ate a ton of guacamole over the weekend. Life is still pretty sweet, I honestly can't complain.

My acne though? ON POINT. Let me tell you, there is nothing like surging hormones to make you break out into a pizza face fit for a thirteen year old. Why did no one tell me that getting knocked up was like re-living your awkward years all over again? I'm about 10 seconds away from passing Carl a note that says, "Do you like me? Check yes or no".

So far, my weight is good. I finally got on the scale after avoiding it for weeks and saw that I'm up a total of 6 lbs from my pre-pregnancy weight. Not horrible. It's weird to be actively gaining you're supposed to actually be doing this. I've spent my whole life losing and gaining but this is the first time I've gained on purpose.

I've been eating pretty well. I'm trying my best to eat more veggies and sometimes I even crave them. Oreos have been my downfall though. I looooove me some oreos. Double stuff or nothing, yo. Which leads me to this: I've been having a love affair with a certain drink that I recently had to cut ties with. It's delicious and makes my heart sing but alas we had to go our separate ways.

our last rendezvous *cries*
It all started when Carl and I happened to be driving by Dunks. They were advertising an Oreo Coolatta which sounded effing divine. So, the next morning when Carl headed out for iced coffee, I asked him to snag me one. The errands he ran took him closer to MaryLou's than he brought me home The Oreo Cookie Monster aka the iced love of my life.

I took a sip and just about died. I don't even think I can explain how good it was. He brought me a medium, which took me two days to drink. I am not kidding. They were a heavenly two days but man, is it rich. I had one more after that {the small one pictured above} until Carl ruined it all and told me that a small, no whip, skim Oreo Cookie Monster was....drumroll...579 calories. Um, EFF THAT. At that point, I lose interest and become unsnarled from the spell this thing had me under. But damn, I will miss them.

As summer is in full swing, I miss alcohol. A lot. I take sips of things here and there but it doesn't really itch the scratch I have. Mainly a margarita with a corona shoved in it. I miss wine a lot too but definitely my beloved Lime-a-rita's.

Not feeling any movement yet; I've heard multiple people describe it as "butterfly kisses" which, I'm sorry but wtf is that supposed to feel like? If anything, I have butterfly cramps. I am pretty excited to start feeling stuff though, although I might still be a few weeks out from that.

I'm also forever in debt to my friend Aviva who let me go through her donation clothes bin this weekend. She gave me tons of cute stuff including some super cute maxi's I'm going to live in all summer long - love you!

Some exciting stuff that happened this week: nursery stuff! I am full blown nesting mode, which is impossible because we don't know the gender yet. All you peeps who didn't find out the gender, I am in awe of you, seriously. That takes dedication and level of patience I don't have in me, at least not yet.

Carl was mowing the lawn on Sunday and I had every intention of getting into the nursery and starting to tape around the walls and prep for painting. Once I got in there and started looking around, it was a different story. I called Carl up and showed him how banged up the trim was, how taking the eye & hook lock off the door and frame left huge holes and splintered wood, how there was a big dent in the wall that needed to spackled among tons of other little pinholes. I got frustrated because everything I wanted to do came to a grinding halt. So, I did the only thing I could do - I called my mom and whined.

Thankfully, my mom gets it. She knows what it's like to want to get things set-up and ready. My nesting kicked off on Saturday when the crib mattress arrived, especially because the crib isn't far behind. It was then I realized that my idea of having the room painted before all of this stuff showed up just wasn't happening. So, my parents drove up from the Cape, paint gear and spackle in tow, and we tackled the room.

After checking things out, my Dad spackled all the tiny holes in the walls. I have no idea what the previous owners were doing, but it was like someone just used it as a dartboard. We all headed out to Lowe's where we picked up supplies to fix the door, a new door handle, new trim paint to freshen it up, and ceiling paint. All the paints offered were low or no VOC, which was great because it meant I could help. We got the ceiling painted with a fresh coat of white and it makes a huge difference.

This is the official "before" photo. Don't read anything into the wall color - that pink was there when we moved in and it's being changed next weekend.

Those eaves are the hardest part about this whole room but we plan on painting them the wall color in order to make the room look larger. The bed is going to stay in there as we have to have a dual nursery/guest room. We only have 3 bedrooms and one is currently being used as Carl's office. Someday when we have money to do some renovations, that will change, but for now, sharing is caring. Eventually, our son or daughter will graduate to that "big kid" bed, so it all works out. Plus if we have two, they'll be sharing anyway.

So, that's what's happening. Our gender appointment is on the 28th, which is now just about two weeks away. Which feels like an eternity. We took the day off and my parents are coming so that should be super exciting. Still thinking boy but I just had a dream last night it was a girl.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

on monogamy.

Carl recently sent me an article on something that wasn't new to me. I've read about it a few times before and kind of always brushed it off but now that I'm married, it strikes a chord with me.

People are saying that marriage and monogamy is "on it's way out". Whatever that means.  One factor being considered is how marriage equality is so prevalent in society today, which according to others, means that the relationships are seemingly more pair-bonded but non-exclusive. I can see why someone would say that as a person who has multiple gay friends, but it's also a bit silly because there are just as many monogamous LGBT couples as there are heterosexual monogamous couples. It all boils down to what you're into and also your age - you experiment a lot in your 20's. Supposedly we're entering a new dawn of sexual freedom and polyamory so people don't want to tied down and it's widely considered "unnatural" to be with one person your whole life.

I mean, I agree with that to some extent. There are some people who don't want to get married and who don't want to settle down with one person for the rest of their lives. There is nothing wrong with that; it's all about personal preference. I always knew someday I would be married and wanted the whole 2.5 kids, dog, and white picket fence in my yard {speaking of, I never understood the '2.5' kids things, where does that half a kid come from?}, but that's me. Others grow up knowing that they need to have more freedom than that.

I take issue with this supposed decline on monogamy and the idea of marriage because while I think some of the topics mention above certainly play a part, it's not the whole story.

The idea of marriage and monogamy has been glamorized and romanticized by things like Pinterest, TV shows {I mean, Say Yes to the Dress, 4 Weddings, A Wedding Story, Bridezillas...need I go on?}, Style Me Pretty, and the industry itself. People used to get married in the backyards with maybe 30 people there and now if you spend less than $60,000 on one, you're in the minority. I had an amazing, gorgeous wedding that I loved, but the only reason I had it was because others wanted it for me and were willing to do it. If Carl and I had been bankrolling it, we would have gotten married at City Hall and called it a day.

Because it's so hyped up in the media and then you add social media on top of it where you're seeing all your friend's wedding's and milestones, it's obviously easy to see where the itch comes from. People get it when they aren't even in relationships. I'm totally guilty of having a Pinterest wedding board before Carl and I even thought about getting engaged. That being said, it emphasizes and puts the focus on the wrong thing - are you getting married to the right person? Do you even want to be married? Do you understand what it means to be married?

I had a conversation with my friend a week or two ago who has been to a bunch of weddings this summer. She made a really great point - people just want weddings, not relationships. They want the big to-do, they want the attention. I mean, why else would any of those girls featured on Bridezillas actually get men to marry them? It's all about the presentation.

The even more disheartening part of all of it is how many couples get divorced within 3-5 years post-wedding. I've heard from more people than not, "So many of my friends are getting divorced this year." My same friend who I talked weddings with mentioned she attended one where a girl who had gotten married just two weeks prior was pulling friends aside at the event to let them know she was getting divorced. Or in that case, an annulment. Two weeks! What could possibly change in two weeks aside from finding out about infidelity that would change things that quickly?

Divorce is too easy of an option these days. There used to be a real stigma attached to getting divorced but now, you can be divorced 6 times and no one bats an eyelash. I think monogamy and marriage is on the decline because people are not willing to understand nor put in the work required to make a marriage work. No one can prepare you for the changes it brings. I went through it. I sat and thought about how final it felt and like this big event that had been building up my whole life was just...over. Kaput. Done. Now what?

I really had to sit and work through my feelings. I blogged about it and Carl called it my "quarter-life crisis". It wasn't easy and it's only going to get harder from here. But I love my husband. I want a future with him. I said vows in front of everyone I know that I would stick by his side and work it out - I meant it. I think a lot of people don't take it seriously or fully understand the weight of that commitment. We live in a world surrounded by short attention spans and instant gratification. It's applicable here, because when people don't get what they want immediately, they move on instead of taking the time to work for it. They leave, they call they quits...they take the easy road out.

I'll compare it to a situation right now at Carl's work. Carl's company is moving offices. They are staying in the same city, same relative location, it's just a few blocks further down. It will require taking a shuttle from the train station unless you really like walking two miles, but overall, it's adding about an extra 15 minutes each way to and from the office. When he told me this, I thought, okay, awesome. It could be worse. His commute could be extended by an hour. He could have to drive through Boston, eating up more gas, wear and tear on his car, and general anger in sitting in that traffic every single day. I've done it - it's infuriating. So the move didn't seem like a big deal to him and most of his other coworkers around his age and older.

The coworkers who are my age? The annoyingly named "millennial's"?  PISSED. They think it's unfair and a massive injustice. Even though the economy sucks and there are people struggling every day to find jobs, they've threatened to quit over this. Some of them have. I mean, is it annoying to have 30 minutes added to your commute every day? Sure. Is it a hardship that's a dealbreaker for your job? Absolutely not, but yet they are willing to walk away. This has nothing to do with monogamy, but it's just to illustrate how the attitude can trickle down into the important parts of life, like a marriage, and make it seem like the best option is to just quit and walk out. If you're willing to walk away over 30 minutes, then what else are you willing to walk away from?

I read an interesting quote which seemed applicable to all of this. We've all heard the phrase, "The grass is always greener on the other side," referring to the nature of wanting something that you don't have. The quote I saw was modification of this stating, "The grass is greener on the side of the fence you water." It's an interesting spin on it and the message it sends - you can make the parts of your life improve with some attention and effort.

What do you guys think? Is monogamy on it's way out?

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