Thoughts on Grandparents

Grandparents are special to us in ways that parents can never be… my grandparents always made sure that I had pancakes each morning we were together (if that’s what I wanted). They made sure that I had lots of fun and they didn’t worry too much about discipline. After all, they got to return me after a while and it wasn’t their job to worry about the consequences. This was the best part about being a grandchild, the unconditional love and acceptance no matter what.

Well, last week my beloved grandfather passed away. My grandfather, Martin, and grandmother, Dorothy, had been married for almost 65 years. My poor grandpa had such terrible health issues his last few years here on earth and I know he’s happy to be rid of his aging and decrepit body. I know that it’s hard for my grandma to imagine her life without her other half. Thankfully the doctor says her health is great but I know that this stress is a lot for her.

Today I pray for my grandma, my aunt, my uncle, and all who are dealing with the death of my grandpa. Life is difficult and beautiful at once. We mourn the loss of one and the future of another. Martin was a hardworking man who loved his bride so very much. Their example of Christian fidelity has served as an inspiration for me all my life. My grandmother is a strong woman with a good church family and I know she will make it through this but it doesn’t make it any easier to say goodbye.

Love you so much, grandpa.

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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 Heart

NeedToBreathe is one of my favorite bands right now. Just about every song speaks to me in some way. I love the style of the music and the lyrics have so much depth. If there’s ever a time when I’m needing a “pick-me-up” I will put on one of their songs.

Today I’m sharing with you their song, The Heart. The band NeedToBreathe are from South Carolina and their banjo and mandolin playing just make me tap my foot along with the music and I love it. The song Brother just moves me like no other. I can play it over and over. And Multiplied makes me just drop to my knees. So. Good. Plus, their entire new album is just fantastic. Check out Rivers In The Wasteland. You won’t be disappointed.

by NeedToBreathe

“Got’sta make hay when the sun is shinin’
Can’t waste time when it comes time to dance”

RAPA scrapple

Welcome to another episode of “Things I Like.”

I know, I know, it’s been forever since I’ve done one. This time I’m featuring scrapple. More specifically I’m featuring RAPA brand scrapple.

I know this sounds crazy but I literally crave the stuff. I know not many of y’all have heard of scrapple and there are probably not many of y’all that even really like sausage but this stuff is seriously delicious.

My mother’s family is from the Philadelphia area, Ambler specifically, so scrapple is a part of our tradition. Scrapple is pretty much like any other breakfast sausage in that it’s made from the left-overs. Sliced and fried so it’s crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, scrapple brings back such wonderful childhood memories. The pork gives it a unique flavor profile and not everyone is a fan but if you try it I do not think you’ll be disappointed.

Here’s my little disclaimer… I can only recommend RAPA brand scrapple. Habbersett and others are just not the same. Call me a purist but I want the good stuff. Every once in a blue moon you can find scrapple down here (usually in Publix) but it’s never RAPA brand. Therefore, it’s a treat we request from our family to bring when they’re headed south. Either that, or you must place your order online.

So, have you ever tried scrapple? What are your thoughts on breakfast sausage, in general? Next time you’re in the mid-Atlantic region and a restaurant has it on their menu I would encourage you to try some scrapple… and if you feel so inclined… send me some!

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?