Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Dear moms: shut up, no one is judging you.

Alright.  There have been a couple of things going around facebook for awhile that I think are stupid.  This is nothing new, but, I thought I'd take a minute to whine about them anyways.

The first one is a video from Similac that you can watch on this link.

In case you were too lazy to actually watch the video, it's about a bunch of groups of moms (and dads) all judging each other until they eventually came together for the good of the child.  A lot of people really loved this video.  That's fine.  Admittedly it has a good message in the end.  Here's the problem with it: they portray the real problem as being that moms judge each other.  The real problem is actually that moms think they are all judging each other.

Before I go into this, let me get this out of the way: it's also highly inaccurate.  Stay-at-home moms don't dress like that.  I have never worn a sweater around my shoulders.  Try throwing in an outfit they've worn for the third day in a row because they haven't seen anyone they know.  Also, I'm pretty sure that stay-at-home dads don't get together and have baby-wearing barbecues in the park all the time.  I'm pretty sure stay-at-home dads are too busy dreaming of the day when all their kids are in school so they can have the entire lego set to themselves.

Anyways, in my whopping five years as a parent, I've received my fair share of judgement.  But what I've seen a TON more of is people shoving "studies" (which are most often Buzzfeed lists) in your face "defending" their parenting methods, because they think everyone else is judging them.  News flash: nobody cares.  

It's an easy trap to fall into.  Do you know how many times I've felt the need to explain to people why I'm supplementing with formula instead of exclusively breastfeeding?  At least a dozen.  And do you know how many times anyone has responded by saying, "Oh good, I was about to think you were a terrible parent, but this changes everything!"?  Zero.  Because nobody actually thought I was a terrible parent because they saw me whip out a bottle instead of a breast.  And if I had a nickel for every time someone I know has taken offense to someone telling them "you have your hands full," I would have like, 30 cents.  No one is judging you.  

So instead of watching some heart-warming commercial that promotes stereotypes and then pretends to see past them, I think we should all just take a deep breath and say out loud, "No one is judging my parenting.  It's all in my head."  Seriously, try it. It's liberating.  

And here's the other thing I've seen going around:

Can we please stop pretending that we feel guilty about these things?  Or that we even should feel guilty about these?  I realize this chart is trying to poke fun at this, but I rolled my eyes more than anything.  Do you know what happens when you feed your kids pizza for dinner?  They eat their dinner without complaining.  Do you know what happens when you get an epidural?  You don't threaten to kill your husband. Also, hiding in the bathroom is a rite of passage, not something to be ashamed of.  I have bed head and pajama pants almost every day at pickup, and I couldn't care less if the other parents think I'm lazy, because they're probably just jealous that I get to take naps.

I don't feel bad about yelling at my kids.  I don't do it that often, and when I do, it's because of something like Violet locked herself and my keys in the car while I was unloading the groceries and when I told her to unlock the door she stuck her tongue out at me and told me I had to say the secret password.

And lastly, if my kid is emotionally scarred because I looked at my phone at the park instead of watching him go down the slide for the 18th time, then he clearly has other issues.

Friday, November 21, 2014

My relationship with exercise

Do you know what my spirit animal is?  It's actually Jennifer Lawrence.  Especially with this quote.

Jennifer Lawrence

I hate working out.

I am all for having a healthy lifestyle, and I will go on 10-mile hikes without batting an eyelash.  But when it comes to standing in front of a TV, listening to fit people lecture me on my technique....

I'd rather French kiss a hobo.

I just hate it.  There is nothing fun about it, and it's not something I really have time for right now.  And I know right now everyone is rolling their eyes at me and thinking "No one has time for working out.  You have to MAKE time for it." That's true.  And I REALLY admire the people who do, no joke. But I'm at a point right now where I have three kids at home and I have to MAKE time for things like keeping my house (somewhat) clean and spending time with Brandon and editing pictures that I've already been paid to take. Having a good marriage and a semi-sanitary living space just win out every time.  I could make time for working out if I really wanted to.  It is just very low on my list.

But for the past few months I've been really hard on myself about this.  Let me get one thing straight: I'm not fat.  Not even close.  Most people can't even tell I've gained weight.  I'm 5 months postpartum and have 7 lbs of baby weight still stuck to me. But I have been feeling really awful about myself.  Just look around.  I keep seeing things like this:
And this one is a personal favorite:
Clean-Eating + A Healthy/Balanced Mindset + Hardwork = Results!
Oh, sorry Gwyneth. I didn't realize how hard it is to stay fit when you're rich enough to hire a personal trainer and a nanny and a maid.  I tried doing abs once with Charlie sitting on my stomach, but it must be nothing compared to your daily struggles.

And I kind of wonder why women in general are so hard on themselves about this.  Why does it make me a lazy good-for-nothing if I don't make time to work out?  I would never go to Brandon and say, "You know, I really appreciate that you have 3 kids and a doctorate degree and a successful, full-time job, but would it kill you to work out?"  No.  Because that would make me the whiniest wife in the world.  And he doesn't do that to me, either.  I do it to myself, which is even more ironic, because I am the one who carried and birthed all three kids.

So I decided to stop worrying about it.  I'm still trying to find a good exercise routine and enjoy it and fit that into my life. But I am done feeling bad about how I look and thinking I'm useless if I don't find time to work out every day.  I want to get better at photography.  I want to start painting again.  I want to plan really fun things to do with my family. Those are all more important to me than being skinnier.

Oh, and here's one last meme I especially liked:
I should remember this. I"m quite the complainer
You know, the strangest thing happened.  I stopped criticizing myself and to my surprise, there was no sudden onslaught of people complaining about how I look naked.  Weird.

Thursday, November 06, 2014


I'm at this weird age where teenagers think I'm old and everyone else thinks I'm a baby.

It's true.  A couple of days ago I was talking to some people about the movie Frozen (because Violet loves it so much) and I said, "I thought it was cute, but I think it's weird that there are people my age who are really obsessed with it."  And then I realized that the people I was talking about are teenagers and I'm almost 10 years older than them.

But I'm also really awkward when socializing with adults.  If anyone mentions a year before 2006, I just stand there like this:
because that's the year I graduated high school.  And there's nothing better than having your friends realize that you were still in high school when they were, you know, doing things with their lives.

All that aside, I do feel very grown-up these days.  This year I went from having 2 kids and a husband in school and living in a 2-bedroom apartment to having 3 kids and a husband with an actual job and living in a 5-bedroom house.  It has been crazy, though, and some days...
it's definitely not what I expected.  To be fair, I did expect having 3 kids under 5 to be hard.  And it is.  They are... everywhere.  But they are also a lot of fun.  What I didn't expect was that having a house would be so expensive and so much work.  When Brandon first got his job offer, I was like:
Then lo and behold, we make a down payment, furnish our house, and buy a car, and it's all gone. 

But really, I can't complain.  Despite the hit our bank account took when we moved, the paychecks continue to come.  I'm still getting used to spending money but I am at least at the point where if I'm at a restaurant and they ask me if I want bacon with that, I don't have to think twice before saying yes.  And that. Feels. Awesome.  

So, back to my kids. One thing I learned from having 3 kids is that I should never, ever, under any circumstances, compare myself to my mom. I never used to think that 3 kids was a lot-- my mom had 6 of us! Twice as many!  And Brandon is one of 7.  Don't get me wrong-- I always knew that having kids was hard, I just didn't think having 3 would be all that different from having 2.  Guess what?
I am outnumbered, outgunned, and surprisingly often, outsmarted.  I have to choose between fulfilling very basic needs every day because there isn't enough of me to go around.  Do I feed Siena immediately and risk peeing my pants, or do I let her scream while I run to the bathroom first?  (Bathroom always wins.  Poor baby.)  Do I clean my house or spend time with Brandon? (Yep, this is why my house is always dirty.  Brandon is just too irresistible.) I face these dilemmas every day. But despite all of that, it is REALLY fun.  Siena is probably the sweetest baby I've ever met and she's a very good sport while I spend most of my time trying to capture her siblings and keep them from eating an entire bucket of Halloween candy in the closet and getting diarrhea.  (Only I am allowed to hide in closets and eat candy.  Duh.)

And dealing with my kids isn't nearly as frustrating as dealing with my post-pregnancy self.   When I had Violet, I hardly gained any weight and it all came off within 4 months without any exercise.  (It's okay to hate me.)  That whole experience gave me entirely unrealistic expectations which are not being met now that I'm recovering from my third pregnancy and I'm no longer 21.  I tried Jillian Michaels (yet another reason why I shouldn't think I can do something just because my mom does) and I actually gained weight after staring her 30-day shred.  Now when I do it, I get angry and start talking back to her on the DVD.  I hate when she tells me to decide that this is what I want.  Maybe this isn't what I want, Jillian.  Maybe I just want to lay on the couch and eat chips and queso.
Am I in over my head? Probably.  But it's okay, because I'm going to be done having kids before most people even start.  And that also. Feels. Great.  And for now, no matter how crazy it is, I'm having lots of fun.  Besides, I'm a grown up now.  I do what I want.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Don't ask

Would you ever go up to someone while they are running a marathon and ask if they've planned their next marathon yet? While they are in the thick of it, running and panting, just ask when they're going to do their next one.  And if they think they're going to do another one, why? Isn't three marathons enough?

That's how I feel when people ask me if I'm having another baby.  Although I've never run a marathon, I'm guessing it's similar to being pregnant/having a new baby.  It's exhausting, grueling, and your body hates you for it, but in the end it's rewarding and a very good experience that you will probably want to repeat.  Just not immediately.

But for some reason, people always ask about my family planning right after I've had a baby.  First of all, it's not your business. If you have questions, I'll refer you to this pie chart:
Secondly, this is not even a discussion that Brandon and I frequently have.  Our babies are not planned out years or even months in advance.  Our family planning basically consists of one step: I decide I would like to have a baby, and Brandon doesn't object.  That's it.

But I mostly don't like to talk about it with people I don't know too well because people don't really understand the desire to have big families.  I realize I am not exactly the poster child of good housekeeping.  I look stressed and frazzled sometimes, but hey, I enjoy it. And besides, I JUST HAD A BABY.  So if I told someone I might like to have 4 or 5 kids and they look at me like, "Seriously girl? You can barely handle three!" I might just punch them in the face.  Of course I can barely handle things-- that's what having a newborn does to you!  I'm not saying I want 4 or 5 kids delivered to my doorstep all at once tomorrow.  But eventually things settle down and you get to a point where you might consider doing it again.

So next time you see me at the grocery store about to lose it with all three kids, just don't ask.  Three is a good number for now.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

My babies

I'm going to blatantly copy what Bexar did and post pictures to try to figure out who Siena looks like.  Everyone says she looks like Charlie, but I think I see more of Violet in her.




Nope, nevermind.  She totally looks like Charlie.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Siena's blessing

This post is a little late, but I'm still using the excuse that I just had a baby, and you'd better believe I'll be using it for awhile. Siena June was blessed at our home a couple of weeks ago.  We were lucky enough to have the Harpers there for the blessing as well as many of my family and friends.  They had even basically renovated our house for us!  (a full house tour will be posted shortly, don't worry.) Here are some pictures!

I love getting people mid-sentence.

Aunt Bethany brought an awesome cake with a blueberry "S" for Siena.  And you can see my new backsplash in this picture!

My house is the new cool place to hang out.

I'm not sure who took this picture of the girls, but I love it!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Life with 3

It's been awhile since I've blogged so I'm guessing a lot of people are wondering how I'm doing.  I thought I'd write about that because, to be honest, that's a complicated question.  The transition to three has been fairly easy, and considering all we've been through in the past 2 months-- a baby, a thesis defense, a new job, our first home purchase, and a move-- I've handled it fairly well.  But man, things are CRAZY.  It's 9:30 PM, Brandon is in the Florida Keys doing "work" on the beach, and I'm writing this with Siena on my lap while Violet and Charlie play naked in the living room.  And this is pretty normal for us.

For the first couple weeks of Siena's life, Brandon was so busy with his thesis that he was basically non-existent.  I somehow managed to get everything done during the day, and even have a pretty good time while I was at it, but each night my body would remind me that it had just been through a major trauma and I would end up watching a movie in bed with an ice pack to the crotch.  For awhile I felt like I had to prove that I could stay on top of things.  Yes, I'll totally accept a job to design your wedding invitations when my baby is a week old.  We need the cash, right?  Cook dinner for my parents while Brandon is gone so I look like supermom even though I found Charlie fingerpainting the floor 30 minutes ago?  Yes. And definitely tackle home improvement projects on my own.  Every time I did something extra, it made me feel good about myself.  I've totally got this parenting thing down.

Except tonight Violet had a little mishap. There was some vegetable oil sitting out on the counter, which she knocked over and spilled on the floor.  Before I could wipe it up, she came running, slipped on the oil, hit her head on the tile floor, and got her hair and brand new dress soaked with vegetable oil.  She tried to get up but kept slipping, so just imagine a screaming, injured Violet slipping repeatedly on the kitchen floor.  It wasn't as funny as it sounds.  And I realized that that had nothing to do with my negligence as a parent or Violet's bad behavior.  It was just a perfectly normal thing that could happen to any kid that just so happened to my kid and resulted in a complete disaster.  And at that moment I decided that there must not be a single parent in the world that really has everything under control.  If you see a parent that always seems happy and on top of everything, they must be heavily medicated or completely faking it.

So, how am I doing with three? Well, naptimes are routinely missed and we don't get out of our pajamas until 5 PM some days.  Violet has an embarrassing number of My Little Pony episodes memorized and half of our house is still packed up in boxes even though we've been living here for 2 weeks.  I definitely don't have things under control.  But it's actually been pretty fun, because I've realized that sometimes sleeping in and going to the splash pad and helping Violet paint her dresser are more important than keeping a perfectly balanced schedule.  Or maybe it's not about what's important, it's just that I don't feel like being a responsible adult and no one is around to tell me otherwise.