Some Things I’ve Been Thinking About

Hey y’all! Craig and I have been busy baby makin’ and I just passed my big audit for work (another excellent progress report!) so needless to say I’ve been a bit preoccupied. In other news we got a new car… YAY! Here’s a pic of my beautiful new baby. We really enjoy her and have named her Bindi (yes, that’s Steve Irwin’s daughter’s name). Since she’s an Outback we figured we needed something Australian and Bindi is Aborigine for little girl. Cute.

Also, our first baby, Jethro, has commandeered the guest room bed. He loves to sleep with his head on a pillow (or arm rest, etc.) and evidently the couch is too far away from us at night. This is a new thing he’s doing but he’s simply precious. We love that little dude and can’t imagine our lives without him. I mean, look how precious he is! I can’t get mad at that fluffy guy for wanting a little comfort.

Next up, we bought a new vacuum. My other vacuum finally bit the dust and after quite a lot of research and not wanting to spend a fortune we settled on the Shark Navigator. So far, so good. It really performs well. Jethro likes it (as referenced by the picture below). I mean, just look at that happy face!
In other news, I’ve really been struggling with not commenting on or posting about every little political and/or cultural war happening right now. I’ve definitely posted on facebook a few times too many for some of my friends but it’s hard to keep my mouth shut when I feel so passionate. There are two sides to every story and I feel like some of my “friends” keep speaking from their limited point of view where they cannot possibly understand the whole picture.

Besides that, most of these “friends” call themselves “Christian” and as a Christian I find it hard to stomach their intolerance. From what I have read of the Jesus I follow, He would have been the first to sit down with the “sinner” over dinner and really get to know them and pour LOVE into them. Yet, these very people who claim to be His disciples are those who are the loudest in judgment and hate. It breaks my heart.

So, I will continue to post things I think help open up the debate and help to cross barriers and I will continue to do my best to LOVE my neighbor (John 13:35). That’s all I can really do, eh?

Also, I’ve been thinking a lot about going back to work once this future baby is born. I know that children of working mothers are more successful and I know that as a working mother I will be a better role model for success outside the home, yada yada, but I can’t help but fear the coming day when I drop my child off at day-care and head off to work. My friend, Emily, recently had this discussion with me. She always thought that she’d have no problem going back to work but now that her baby is here in her arms she’s finding it incredibly difficult.

I guess I’ll have to cross that bridge when I get to it. I know that financially we just really cannot afford to have me stay at home. I also know that the benefits I receive through my state employee position are unlike anything I could acquire on my own. I’m praying that something flexible will arise when the time comes and I will feel greater strength in leaving my child with others. Too soon to tell but I will continue to pray about it anyway.

So, to end this random smattering of thoughts on this hump day I leave you with another picture of my boy Jethro when he was outside playing in his pool. I mean, what parent doesn’t shove pictures of their baby in your face every other second? Just wait until we have a human baby… HA! It’s almost the weekend y’all! Chin up!

  

  

A Working Mom (Outside The Home)

So, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the whole work-life balance and the idea that working outside the home can actually be a good thing for me and my future offspring. I read an article recently about children from households where the mother worked outside the home (no matter the total hours) and the impact that has on their future.

Women whose moms worked outside the home are more likely to have jobs themselves, are more likely to hold supervisory responsibility at those jobs, and earn higher wages than women whose mothers stayed home full time, according to research by Kathleen McGinn and colleagues.

This is encouraging news! I believe that showing children that women can be successful outside the home helps them believe that they, too, can be successful outside the home. Not to say that being a SAHM is a bad thing, just that women who work outside the home shouldn’t feel like they are doing their children a disservice.

“In a new study of 50,000 adults in 25 countries, daughters of working mothers completed more years of education, were more likely to be employed and in supervisory roles and earned higher incomes. Having a working mother didn’t influence the careers of sons, which researchers said was unsurprising because men were generally expected to work — but sons of working mothers did spend more time on child care and housework.” (NY Times)

This new study is part of a shift away from focusing on whether working mothers put their children at a disadvantage and toward a richer understanding of the relationship between work and family. I especially like the note about how sons of working mothers took on greater responsibilities around the home. This demonstrates that so much of how we are as adults is shaped by our experiences as children. Children who grow up with a father who takes a more active role in the child-rearing and housework influence their children by modeling more egalitarian behavior.

“There’s a lot of parental guilt about having both parents working outside the home,” McGinn says. “But what this research says to us is that not only are you helping your family economically—and helping yourself professionally and emotionally if you have a job you love—but you’re also helping your kids. So I think for both mothers and for fathers, working both inside and outside the home gives your kids a signal that contributions at home and at work are equally valuable, for both men and women. In short, it’s good for your kids.”

My mother both worked full-time when I was little and was a SAHM for a season when my sisters were born. She went back to work full-time when my sisters were in Elementary School. My step-father never took an active role around the house (unless you include repairs and outside work) and I vividly remember my mother being solely responsible for many of the domestic chores.

Craig is the main cook in our house and he’s very good about taking out the trash and doing home maintenance. I tend to be the one who does the dishes, and laundry, and indoor cleaning. I feel like we split our duties rather evenly. So, I’d love to know about you! Did you have a mom who worked outside the home? Did you have a father who took a more active role in the housework? How are your duties now as an adult? Please share! 🙂

The Happy Housewife?

So, remember when I was talking about trying to get pregnant this year? Yeah, so, one of the things that I struggle with is the desire to be a SAHM. I feel like the best person to spend day-in and day-out with my future child is myself. I have half a graduate degree dedicated to early-childhood education and I feel like no one else could do a better job than myself.

BUT… Could I really hack it as a stay at home mom? Would I be a “happy housewife” if given the opportunity? I can barely keep up after myself, let alone my husband and dog, add another human to the mix and I’m just not sure. I’ve mentioned before that my husband is a former chef and he does most (read: all) the cooking. I’ve tried to take a more active role but I just suck at it and it’s not fun for me but I know that once this baby comes I’m going to have to step up.

I even tried Blue Apron (total fail… that’s a post for another time) and it kinda helped out but mostly just reminded me of how bad I suck at cooking. I’m not creative in the kitchen and I have no idea about flavor profiles and, well, any of the “rules”… I once used red wine instead of white wine in a dish because that’s what we had on hand and didn’t know that was not going to work.

I definitely didn’t get the training my husband did. My mother is really good at frozen vegetables and plain chicken. We ate a lot of meatloaf and mashed potatoes growing up. In her defense my step-father had a terribly picky palate. I also didn’t get any cooking skills from my biological father’s side of the family. I mean, let’s be honest, my grandmother makes Jell-O salads with her dinners and considers them a legitimate side dish. Lettuce on the plate cafeteria style and all. It was what you did in the 50s and besides, my grandpa loves it.

A recent study shows that working moms have healthier, more successful kids (Psychology Today). I believe this is because many people over-parent and do more harm than good. Working outside the home will keep my brain engaged in higher-level thinking and will keep me from getting over-invested in my child’s well-being. I know that I tend to be a smother-er with my affection (ask Craig) and I would hate to over-do it with my child.

So, I’ve started looking into high-quality day-care facilities in the area and really preparing myself for the reality of being a mom who works outside the home. My working mom friends talk endlessly about the “juggle” you maintain when there aren’t enough hours in the day. Thankfully I have a great job with a lot of flexibility. I am grateful for the ability to get away as needed and I think that will help. Overall I’m excited about the future. Having a full-time job will keep us in a position financially to travel often and to expose our child to the great wonders of the world and that’s a good thing.

 

So, what about you? What are your thoughts on the subject? Any SAHM’s out there? WAHM‘s? Full-time workers? How do you maintain a balance? Help me out here… I want your advice!

P.S. Here’s an interesting take (Being a Stay-at-Home Mom is not a Job). I tend to agree with this article. I mean, as a full-time worker outside the home I will still have to find time to cook and clean and maintain the home but I’ll also be gone for the majority of the day. Thoughts?

Monday Catch Up

Wassup!?! Long time, I know. A lot has been happening and I’ve been so hesitant about sharing my personal life on this blog. I’ve written about it before (herehere, and here). In addition to both my father and step-father passing away last fall, my great aunt passed away a few days ago and another great aunt of mine isn’t doing well.

On top of the family stress, my husband is working on his Certified Financial Planner license which requires him to be in class on Friday and Saturday for four weeks with only two weeks off in-between modules. He started the program in January and will be finished in November. This, plus tax season, meant that we’ve been feeling stretched thin.

Really though, I think the main thing holding me back has been my fear of allowing myself to get personal and ultimately the fear of rejection. So, here I am… trying once again to move past the fear.

As I mentioned in my New Year – New Goals post one of the goals was for more healthy living. Y’all know that I’m pretty healthy overall. I make good choices when it comes to my food intake and my exercise but I definitely could do better.

So, here is where I am today… contemplating what I want from my life, what I want from my blog, what I want for the future… where am I headed and do I even want to go there?

How about a goals update?

  1. Focus on Christ – Better but not what it could be. Busy is not an excuse. I really need to get back into the habit of daily reading. I’m working on this. Gotta make time for what’s most important.
  2. Nurture Relationships – I’ve been making this a priority. Craig and I have so little free time right now and I feel silly booking out weeks in advance but I’m making it happen! Gotta make time for my relationships.
  3. Healthy Living – I’ve been off and on with Pure Barre. It’s great but I don’t feel like I get the instruction I need and I find I’m injuring myself. My joints just need extra careful maneuvering and I don’t feel like I’m getting the instruction/ attention I need/ deserve. I’m going to start running on the treadmill again after work and working out at home as often as possible. At least it’s free (Pure Barre is ridiculously expensive). I’m taking prenatals (yay) and not drinking soda (ugh) so at least I’m keeping up with the other stuff.
  4. Better my Budget – Craig and I have really been reigning in the spending. I feel like now that we’ve accomplished the major renovations on the house we can just squirrel away the money until the little one comes.
  5. Personal Development – Well, I definitely did not re-enroll in graduate school (darn that GRE) but I contemplated it once again. I know I really don’t have time but I don’t have time to waste either. I really am thinking about just taking the dang GRE as soon as possible and applying with whatever score I have just to get the ball rolling. I’m so close to my master’s that it just makes sense to try and squeeze it in. I’m still spending way too much time on Facebook and I haven’t picked Fluenz back up but I am trying to do more reading and less surfing the internet. Progress? Hopefully.

Are you up to date? Almost. Next month I get my IUD removed. It’s for real happening. We’re really going to try and get pregnant. As of next month there’s no turning back. I’m both excited and petrified. I have grown so accustomed to doing life my own way that I’m super scared of what it will mean to be responsible for another human being. I can’t even. I’m so close to throwing in the towel and staying childless… but then I see those Publix commercials and my emotional side takes over and I feel super strong about procreating asap.

I’m sure I’m not alone in my fears and excitement and conflicted nature. I’m hoping to share with you more. I’m hoping to move past my fear and to be honest with you. Maybe someone out there has the same concerns? Maybe this little bit of sharing will help someone? Who knows? I do know that I’ll be back in a few days with some more thoughts so stick around! 🙂

New Year – New Goals

Hello everyone and I hope that you’ve had a wonderful extended holiday. Craig and I were able to spend some time with our family and were able to start on yet another construction project so I’d say it was a pretty good holiday in my book. I’m back today with a post on, what else, new year goal setting.

January is typically a time of year in which we take a moment to reflect on the past year, the good and the bad, and make new goals for the coming year. I’ve decided to set 5 goals for the year 2015. I feel that by keeping these goals broad I’m better able to make them a reality. I know myself and I know that I routinely fail. Instead of focusing on the challenges negatively I’m going to use them to my advantage. So, here goes:

  1. Focus on Christ – First, and foremost, I plan on really renewing my relationship with Christ. Through daily reading, my small group, and church attendance I hope to make some new habits that have a life long effect. Starting this month I have been daily reading in an app called She Reads Truth. This app makes it super easy to stay in the word on a daily basis and it has a wonderful graphic at the end of each reading to share through social media as a way to hold yourself better accountable and to share God’s goodness and grace. I really enjoy the format and I pray to make this become habit. In addition to She Reads Truth, I’m leading my small group (aka Life Group) in the Beth Moore study of Esther. This is a study I have done before years ago and I’m looking forward to doing again with my group. I pray that God uses me for these women and their hope in Him. Also, I’m still involved in the Disciple study that goes through May this year so I’ve got a lot of ways to really make my relationship with Christ more intentional.
  2. Nurture Relationships – I feel like this goal really goes along well with my number one goal this year. In 2015 I really want to work more on strengthening my relationships with my husband, my family, and even more so, my friends. It is so easy to get caught up in daily life that I let my relationships fall by the wayside. Like I mentioned with my first goal, being more intentional means that I’m really making time for what is important. Last year, the deaths of both of my fathers really brought home the importance of relationships. I’m going to work harder on strengthening my relationship with my husband by daily making time for his needs. Whether it is as simple as being more diligent with my cleaning or making more time for physical affection, I plan on making him a priority. I want to be sure that we are setting ourselves up for success with a long and healthy marriage. In addition, Craig and I have talked at length about focusing on our friendships this year and making time to clear our schedule for our friends. We can get so busy at times that we’ve gone a whole month and haven’t spent time with anyone but ourselves. Well, this year we want to change. I want to make sure to take more time for my mom this year and I want to visit my grandparents more. Hopefully this goal will make a lasting change in our lives.
  3. Healthy Living – This past December I started taking classes at my local Pure Barre and I’ve really enjoyed the workout it gives me. I’m enjoying the classes and their varied but yet consistent nature. In addition to remaining in a workout routine for 2015 I am going to continue my healthy living by really working on my diet. I’ve decided this year that I will no longer be drinking soda (specifically dark soda). I know that if I eliminate Coca Cola Classic completely from my diet I will need something to wean me off it’s deliciousness so if I find myself somewhere (like a drive through) where I feel the need to order a soda I will order a Sprite. If y’all know me it’s how much I love a good Coke. The real thing … no diet! I drink them rarely because we don’t keep soda in the house. We know how bad sodas are for you so we treat them as special occasion drinks. With that being said, this year I plan on eliminating them entirely. Craig and I are going to try and get pregnant this year so my health is even more important now. We already do a pretty good job with our health but I plan on stepping it up with diet and exercise and regularly taking my prenatal vitamins.
  4. Better my Budget – Okay, so this is a tough one. This year I’m really going to work on my saving and spending habits. I like to think that Craig and I are pretty good at this already (at least he is) but I know that with a baby coming we really need to step up our game. I’m one of those people who really HATE to budget. Not that I can’t live with a budget, just that I hate tracking and dealing with all the math! It’s easy for me because Craig and I took a look at expenses and we have put me on a cash diet to keep my spending in check but I still find times that I’m swiping my Amex or not really knowing what I’ve spent my money on that past month. This year I want to be more conscious of the whole process and to be more active in pursuing better spending habits. We want to make sure we’re setting ourselves up financially in the best possible way, especially with a future child in the picture. Seeing as my husband is an accountant this goal is a very real one for us.
  5. Personal Development – Finally, I really want to work on myself both professionally and personally. I don’t have time to re-enroll in graduate school this year but that doesn’t mean I can’t make time to pick up Fluenz again. I want to keep my brain sharp and focus on that passion I have for life-long learning. I hope to make more time this year to really keep my mind active and engaged and less focused on trivial pursuits. I find myself spending an inordinate amount of time on Facebook that could be better used by completing a Spanish lesson or even just reading a good book! Also, I want to make more time for this blog. I find that writing is a good outlet for me and I like to share my life with y’all. It’s not a matter of finding time but of making time. This year I want to really make more time for the things that make me a better person and this is a good place to start.

So, what about y’all. What are your goals for this year? Do you have any do-overs from last year that you’d like another shot at? Are you setting just one big goal or many small goals? I’d love to know what’s in store for you for 2015!

MissCaron