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! 🙂

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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

Jethro

Look at that baby!
Look at that baby!

So, I briefly introduced you to our new puppy, Jethro, and I wanted to talk more about him and our experience of becoming parents. Let me tell you, that pup has us wrapped around his little paw. He was so tiny once. Now he’s super grown. Like, in just a few short months he’s now practically the size of an adult. Crazy!

Sitting pretty
Sitting pretty

Jethro has brought such joy to our lives. We estimate that he has added about $150 a month to our expenses but we feel he is worth it! Jethro is an apricot standard poodle and he has the best personality. We decided to go with a purebred poodle because I have severe allergies and knowing I am allergic to dogs we decided if we were going to risk this we should make the risk as minimal as possible. So far, my allergies haven’t been worse than usual. When I’m playing with him and he’s been rolling around outside I will have a sneezing fit but mostly I do just fine.

He’s so laid back. We have plenty of “chewies” (rawhide) and stuff for him to keep occupied while we’re out of the house. He roams around the house while we’re gone and thankfully has no interest in getting into anything he shouldn’t. He loves to mouth on his stuffed animals and thankfully he isn’t interested in tearing them apart. He loves to tug and chase but isn’t really into playing fetch.

Speaking of tugging… we didn’t know that poodles are notorious for teeth that are super weak when they’re developing. Now that they’re fully in place they’re nice and strong but when he was a baby we played tug a lot (his favorite game) and unfortunately we damaged his two incisors next to his canines. They had to be pulled (poor fella) so sometimes he has a hard time picking things up but mostly they haven’t impacted him much. We’ll know better for next time to be gentle when they’re little.

My favorite thing about Jethro is his loving nature. He wants to be where we are and he loves nothing more than cuddling on the couch. We don’t let him in bed because we know we’d never get a good night’s sleep but he’s such a good cuddler that it makes it hard to keep saying no. The couch time is fine though. He’s such a sweet boy. We’re just so pleased with him.

Craig and I never figured ourselves for poodle people. Craig has owned a Rottweiler and a Bernese mountain dog and had always wanted a Mastiff… but here we are and we couldn’t be happier. If you are considering a puppy but are worried about your allergies, skip the “designer” dogs (laboradoodle, schnoodle, etc.) and go right to the source.

People have given us flack for not rescuing a dog and we know that going with a breeder is controversial but we also know that with my allergies I couldn’t handle a mutt. We had thought (and still continue to think) about rescuing an older dog but seeing as I didn’t grow up with animals we thought it would be best to start with a puppy I could help with and grow with and I’m glad we made that choice.

So, there’s our little update about our new addition. As you can tell, we’re quite enamored with our pup. Do any of y’all have a standard poodle or know someone who does? Do you have a different type of dog? I’d love to hear your story and please also share a picture!

#IRL

“Is this real life?” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txqiwrbYGrs

Well. I figure I should catch you up on my life and unexplained absence. This year has been full of ups and downs and will go down as both one of the greatest and also the worst year of my life. I don’t even know where to begin.

First, we finished our kitchen renovation just before the new year and have spent this year rearranging and beautifying the space. We are really loving the makeover and spend a lot of time in that space.

Also, we adopted the most precious pup, Jethro, in April. He was born January 31 and he’s an apricot standard poodle. He has the best personality. He loves us fiercely. He’s definitely daddy’s boy. He’s a protector and a love bug. He will bark loudly when he wants to warn us of “danger” but then will spend all afternoon spooning on the couch. We couldn’t ask for a better addition to our family.

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We built a shed for our backyard in the heat (and rain) of the summer. From scratch. I’m not kidding. Craig and I set the foundation, framed the walls, etc. It was a true labor of love. One day I hope to have a post on the process.

We went to Michigan to visit some good friends and went wine tasting around several wineries around Traverse City. Our favorite was Brys Estate. We highly recommend their Pinot Noir and my favorite was the Cab Franc. Then, in September, for Craig’s birthday, we went out to hike around the Olympic Peninsula. We did the Hoh River Trail and I lost 5 toenails from having terrible boots (didn’t know they were bad until about 10 miles in).

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Finally, we had some tragedy hit our family. My biological father passed away suddenly at the beginning of September. In the span of dinner with friends he had stopped breathing, entered the hospital, and then passed away. The doctors tell us it was a pulmonary embolism. It was very sudden and although he was not in good health none of us expected him to be gone so soon. It is especially hard on his parents, my loving grandparents, who in their early 80s have lost a child.

In addition, my step-father (and the man who raised me with my mother since I was 5 years of age) passed away suddenly on Halloween night. Again, a sudden and tragic and unexpected loss. Norman was in the backyard with friends when he just collapsed and was alive no longer. We did not have a chance to say goodbye. My sisters and I are finding the adjustment to life without him rather difficult. My mother is having the most difficult time of all, as one can imagine.

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Life is both wonderful and terrible right now. Every day I feel conflicting emotions. It still doesn’t seem real and yet it is. How can this be real life? How are we to manage it all? This holiday season is both a blessing and a yet reminder of our loss. I pray everyday for my mommy and for my sisters that we are somehow able to continue moving forward while keeping his memory alive. It is very hard.

So, that’s where I am right now. That’s what’s been happening with me and mine. I have more to say. More stories to share. But for now, I will wish you seasons greetings of love and happiness and great blessing upon your life. Hold your loved ones close tonight. I pray that you remember to cherish every moment you are given on this earth.

I’m hoping to really dive back into posting here on this blog. I like the journal aspect and since Craig and I are looking to try and get pregnant in 2015 I feel like this will be a good way to document the journey. I’d love for y’all to continue to follow along. Thanks for your support.

XO – Caron