Wednesday, December 12, 2007

My entire life has become a pile of to-do lists.

So, we're working on getting Schuyler to go back to sleeping in her crib now that I'm going to be going back to work in a few weeks (that is SO not a fun thought). This way, I can get more and better sleep and not have to lay in a strange position half the night while she kicks me closer and closer to the edge of the bed. This way, I will be better-rested and will therefore be able to take better care of her and function at my sometimes-tedious desk job. The first couple of nights were kind of rough - she'd take close to two hours to get to a point where I could put her in her crib, and then she'd wake up screaming less than an hour later and after trying for an hour to get her to go back to sleep, she wouldn't, so I'd give in and bring her to bed after all. But last night, night three, was a different story. Sure, it still took a little over an hour to get her to be quiet and sleepy and willing to lay in the crib, but once I put her down, she didn't cry. She was content to stay there and didn't make a peep until about 2:00 when she was hungry. She woke up one other time before Brendan and then again at 6:30. As I said in my last post, getting up early is always a great idea when possible because I can finally get things done, and as I said above, my entire life is one big to-do list now, so I definitely took advantage of my first night of real, refreshing sleep and stayed up when she went back down at 7:00. I've managed to do laundry, pack half of her and my stuff for our holiday in PA, do the dishes, and call Bank of America to complain about their crappy service and get them to refund a ridiculous late fee that never should have been added to my account. (If my payment is due Nov. 21st, and I pay by phone and they tell me that the payment will be drafted Nov. 9th, why should I pay the late fee if they don't get around to drafting it until DECEMBER THIRD??? If you are in the market for a new bank this holiday season, DO NOT go with Bank of America. They are THE WORST bank I have EVER had to deal with. One branch even refused to let me close my account with them, but that is another story for another day.)

Anyways, back to the to-do lists. I sat down on Sunday night, thought of everything that needs to be done before we leave Saturday (four days in the Poconos and then a glorious two weeks at home! Hooray!!!), and split it up into five task lists, one for every day of this week (yes, I know, I am crazy, obsessive compulsive, and just plain sick). As of this morning, I still had at least one item left from each day, but thanks to the 6:30 wake-up call, I'm finally making ground. At this rate, I may have half of Thursday done by the time Brendan gets home. I could be amazing.

Speaking of amazing, here's something that is: My husband's mother has been engaged for almost a month now, and I just found out this morning. Better yet: I'm pretty sure Brendan still has no idea. I'm practically counting down until noon when I can call him and share the news. I feel like such a cad that we completely missed such a momentous event. I mean, on one hand, I could get upset that no one called to tell us. However, I choose to be honest adn say, "Wow. We are terrible children, and we need to call her more often because we are all missing out on the big things in each other's lives, and that's just terrible. We need to stop being such self-absorbed Americans and pay attention to someone besides ourselves." It's a shame that people ahve become so disconnected these days. The whole facebook, email, myspace, cell phone, iphone, texting, IM movement was supposed to connect people. It was supposed to bring us all together and make it more convenient to keep in touch. Instead, it has made us replace real conversations with a brief series of acronyms sent over AOL or Sprint and it's rare that we really take the time to connect with people. Like our friend Tom has said on several occassions, Americans need to instate the European concept of long dinners. And no, obese America, it's not because long dinners mean seven courses of fattening pre-packaged food. European dinners aren't really about the mass quantities of food. They're about the three hours of conversation that occur when people actually sit down at a table together, look one another in the eye and share their lives with one another. We actually have a dinner like that tomorrow night, and I am SO looking forward to it. There's not much better than sitting around a table with some of your closest friends and sharing a good meal and even better conversation. In today's to-do list-driven societ, we are losing our bond of humantiy. Reconnect. Make plans to share a meal and a long conversation with someone you love this weekend. Trust me: It'll be worth it.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

As a matter of fact, I am still alive.

Holy cats. I didn't realize how long it had been since I've written. Of course, by now I have probably lost most of, if not my entire, reading audience, but hopefully with some wit and wiles I can lure a few of you back. With any luck though, I'll run you all off by moving back to PA sometime in the next year, when you'll all see me in person and have no desire to listen to further ramblings online when I put you through enough of them in person.

So, apparently having a baby is hard work and keeps you incredibly busy. Who knew? I have to say I was not prepared for this. I used to read those blogs and books by mothers of infants and toddlers, and I would scoff at their claims of it being a "good day" if they got a shower by the time their husband came home. "What are these women doing all day?" I would ask. "There is no way it's impossible to get a shower before 5:00 pm. They've got to be making excuses or something." Ha. My first day home alone with Schuyler, I figured out what they do: They nurse. Then they change a diaper, only to have the baby immediately drop a second deuce (If I had a nickel for every time this has happened to me, I could open a slot machine in Vegas). They nurse again. The baby finally falls asleep, and they foolishly opt to load the dishwasher before getting in the shower. As they are reaching for their robe, the baby starts to scream again. They nurse some more. They change another (two) diaper(s) and entertain the baby for an hour or so. They nurse once more, change some more diapers, and the next thing they know their husband is walking in the door. Most days, my goal is to get out of the shower by 3:00. Usually, I'm successful.

With every day that passes this motherhood thing gets easier and more enjoyable. Today, Schuyler decided to get up at 5:30. We lay there in the dark, both of us wide-eyed, as I tried desperately to get her to nurse quietly and go back to sleep so that her father could get another half hour of shut-eye before his alarm went off. After about ten minutes of fighting with her, during which she became very loud and chatty, I gave up and moved with her to the living room so B could get his last 20 minutes of sleep in peace. Because we got up before the sun this morning, I was able to pack Brendan's lunch, eat breakfast with him, and make coffee (and even enjoy a cup myself!) all before 7:00am. When Skye went back to sleep at about 7:00, I got to watch part of the Today show and do half of my Pilates video before she wanted to eat again. This is the first day since she was born that I have been able to even attempt to work out (not counting a few walks in the park or around the neighborhood). I even got a shower and did dishes and laundry before getting online this morning. It's amazing. Herein lies the secret: If we get out of bed when Skye first wakes up at the butt-crack of dawn, I can nurse her for a while, and then she spends the majority of the rest of the morning asleep, leaving me available for chores, a workout, and (most importantly) personal hygiene. Amazing. And to think it only took me 38 days to figure it out. At this rate, I may be able to update this blog a few times a week. Imagine how glorious that could be!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

If you can't say something nice...

We've all heard that phrase, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." Sometimes I find that the hardest person to have nice things to say about is myself. Now, I understand that I am growing a second human being in my body, but as the numbers on the doctor's scale creep ever-nearer that dreaded 200, I kind of start to hate myself. Okay, so hate may be a strong word, but I am definitely repulsed by myself. Ugh. The cankles. The double chin. The stretch marks. I try to console myself with the fact that the vast majority of this excess is water-retention and baby, but it just doesn't seem to help. I miss running. I miss the elyptical machine. I even miss my sometimes-boring-but-more-often-than-not-incredibly-painful Pilates video. Brendan and I have gotten sucked into "The Biggest Loser" on Tuesday nights, which is really just masochism on my part. I sit there, obese and unable to do anything about it until this kid leaves my body and watch other people diet and exercise. While watching the numbers on their scales decrease, all I can think of is the ever-increasing number on my own.

"Is she really that shallow?" you ask. "Is she seriously complaining about being 'fat' when she's pregnant? Is that really her biggest concern?"

In short, yes. At the same time, the answer is a resounding "no."

Let me explain first the "yes" portion: You see, I don't like how I feel these days. I don't like weighing so much that my pinky toes literally feel like they are going to fall off by the end of a long day of hauling me around. I don't like not being able to paint my toenails, put on lotion, or tie my shoes (or even wear real shoes, for that matter - it's been nothing but flip flops for me for about three weeks now). I'm tired of the serious struggle I go through several times a night getting into and out of bed. I'm sick of having to walk slower than an arthritic old man to avoid getting a bright red face and gasping for breath. I just don't enjoy the general discomfort and limited mobility that come with packing 200 pounds onto a five-foot frame.

Now for the resounding "no": Deep down, I know that I am more than what I weigh. I taught a lesson this past weekend to the junior high girls at our church about being a daughter of the King and how He has called each of us exactly as we are to a specific purpose. We talked about how being God's Princess is an incredible blessing that comes with some serious responsibilities. We aren't to live like the world does. We aren't to care about being pretty and skinny and best-dressed and most-popular. We are to be concerned with living in a more Christlike way with every day that passes. We are to be more concerned with making sure we consume enough spiritual food rather than concerning ourselves with counting the calories of every item of physical food we consume. We have to conduct ourselves in such a way that people recognize that we are different and they want to know what makes us act like that and how they can get some. No more gossiping. No more lying. No more cheating, stealing, or constant dating to try to feel popular or fulfilled. God doesn't care about what we look like or if we have the coolest clothes or sit at the popular lunch table. He loves us from the inside out.

Now for the flip side: Our bodies are the living temple of Christ, and it is our responsibility to take care of them. I look at my flabby arms, swollen legs and beach-ball belly and wonder, can I seriously say that I am taking care of this body? Again, I understand that I am pregnant and a weight gain of roughly 40 pounds is to be expected, but I just keep thinking about the fact that I was about 30 pounds overweight when we got pregnant with this baby and wondering how on earth I am going to lose that 30 along with the nearly 40 I have put on so far (and however much more I may gain in the next month before this kid comes). That's at least 70 pounds, friends. That is no small feat, especially when I've been sedentary for so long (like, the past 6-9 months). The bright spot in this is that I have already adopted some pretty decent eating habits during this pregnancy: I eat at least one serving of fruit, vegetables, and granola every single day. I've cut back a lot on excess sugar and sodium and have switched to leaner meats (ground turkey instead of beef, for example). Of course, I am not a saint. I'm pregnant. I have cravings. In the beginning I am sure I ate entirely too much pizza, and now that I'm nearing the end, chocolate calls to me from all the ends of the earth. Thankfully, I have learned when to say, "Okay," to those callings and when to say, "You can stuff it, Mr. Chocolate-Pants." I find some comfort in the fact that I still have a strong desire to be mobile and to work out. I just hope that after all the exhaustion of labor and delivery and the sleepless nights that will come with this baby that this desire remains strong enough to drag me to the gym five days a week instead of making me a big, fat slug on the couch all day every day. I read stories about women who don't even have the time or energy to shower daily once they bring their kids home from the hospital, and I pray that doesn't happen to me. I can't let myself go at this age. I can't stop taking care of myself this early in the game. I want to have other kids - lots of them - and I'm not going to be able to do that safely if I don't take care of this body. I don't want to wake up when I'm 35 and have the sudden realization that I may or may not live to see my kids graduate from high school or get married (yeah, I know, you're not supposed to be thinking about the whole 'college, marriage, etc.' thing when the baby isn't even born yet, but I find it nearly inevitable).

Perhaps this is the hormones talking (again/as usual), and I am being overly dramatic. All I know is that I can't find many nice things to say about myself these days, and every day I find it harder and harder to not say anything at all. I am a daughter of the King, and He doesn't want me to tear myself down and hate myself over something as silly as a number on a scale. It hurts Him when I hurt myself by saying ugly things to and about me. It is flat-out sin to refuse to believe Him when He tells me I am beautiful and useful and cherished, regardless. I'm tired of believing a lie. I'm tired of feeling disgusted and disgusting. I'm tired of my own defeatist attitude, and it's about time I do something about it. There is a light at the end of this tunnel. Someday (sooner than it seems), this baby will be out in the world, and I will be able and motivated to fulfill my responsibility to take care of myself so that I can care for her. There is nothing I can do for now about the excess weight that I put on before I got pregnant or the normal and necessary weight I have gained during this process, but soon enough I will be able to start taking it off, and I will. In the meantime, there's no point in letting Satan win. He will no longer drag me down and trick me into believing a lie. I am a beautiful, cherished, useful daughter of the King, and as long as my desires line up with His (i.e. being a good mom and taking care of the body and resources He has blessed me with) He won't let me fail.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Warning: This is so cute, you just might vomit.

Everytime I see this, I just want to squeal with glee and fall out of my chair.

It's a darn shame that kittens have to grow up to be cats.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Some fun pics for the peeps back home

I am amazing! I figured out how to upload pictures all by my lonesome! Look at me go!

So, I pretty much hate the pictures I have seen of myself since I've been growing exponentially. In short, I look and feel like a manatee. However, most of you don't get to see me as often as we'd all like, so I thought I owed it to you to get out there and take some staged pics to tide you over until we meet again (just two weeks for many of you - wahoo!). Please note that most of them have my head cut off because my new double chin and chubby cheeks aren't exactly my favorite accessories.

Yesteryear-style Buddha belly.

Hello in there!

Vogue-ing away from the camera to avoid a profile shot.

That grass was sharp - the sacrifices I make for you guys ...

This is the only one where I sort-of like my face.

Brendan liked this one a lot.

This one too.

Okay, so I think that's about it. Nothing new going on here except that I realized today that we are officially into single-digit weeks until this kid arrives! Yikes! Oh, that and we went on our birth center tour (which was really fun and cool) and watched a birth video (which was absolutely disgusting and kind of scary) this week at our midwives' appointment, so that was interesting. Let me just say this: it is no coincidence that Season 7 of Gilmore Girls comes out the day after my due date - I will have earned it!!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Word to my sister (who is also someone's mother)

My sister Hanna had her daughter at 6:25 this morning. She's apparently a beautiful little girl named Aniya who weighs 7 pounds 2 ounces and has lots of curly, black hair. From what I have heard, she is fabulous and wonderful, and I was really glad I got a phone call at 7:20 this morning telling me that she had made her way into the world. Of course, I was getting ready for work and missed the call, but imagine my shock when I called back 20 minutes later and Hanna herself answered the phone. That's right. She gave birth, and an hour later she was nursing with one hand and chatting on the phone with the other. What a woman. She makes me proud. I hope I can be so pleasant and dextrous after my labor and delivery experience. I have a feeling I will either be passed out or incredibly cranky.

So, my hat's off to you, Hanna. You pre-labored for something like two solid weeks, supported your brother at his football game in spite of painful, sporadic contractions, powered through something like 12 hours of actual labor, and still managed to be an absolute delight to those of us who called to wish you well. While I probably won't be taking your advice on the epidural (it's just too creepy and gross for me to handle), I hope that I have half the strength it took you to do what you did and keep such a sweet disposition. I hope you got that nap you were hoping for this morning and that life adjusts smoothly for you and Kelvin and little Aniya. Much love and mad props to you, Sis!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Excuse me, but could I trouble you for a time machine or some minor forgery?

So, I have some good news and some bad news. I just popped in to Dashboard Confessional's myspace page to listen to some good music. Bad news: the song I really wanted to hear has been taken down. Herein lies the good news: it was taken down because there is a new album coming out on October 2nd, and they are using their available slots for new music. As many of you may know, one element of my birth plan is to play the entire DC collection throughout the labor and delivery process as they are, in fact, my most favoritist band ever and are also incredibly soothing to listen to. This is fabulous news for me, as it means I will have an extra 40 mintues to an hour of music to cylce through, hopefully delaying the inevitable of my darling husband getting sick and tired of hearing Chris Carrabba sing what Brendan deems "boring" songs about things that he couldn't possibly care less about.

This brings us to more good (great, even glorious!) news and bad (worse, even awful!) news.

Good news: Because they have a new album coming out, Dashboard is hitting the road.(FINALLY!!! I have been scouring the internet for upcoming tours for many, many months, to no avail. Imagine my joyous shock to stumble upon tour dates on the one day I wasn't actually looking for them. I guess it's true - a watched pot never boils.)

Great, even glorious news: My beloved Mr. Carabba is coming to Norfolk, to the Norva, the very same venue where we went last September to see Julian Casablancas and the rest of the Strokes. This is a great venue. It has a very small, close-knit, intimate feel. It doesn't hold that many people, so the concerts just feel better, more like they are just for you and your posse. Plus, the smaller the venue, the better the chance of actually seeing the stage.

Now for the bad, even, dare I say, awful news: This concert just so happens to be taking place on September 29th at 8:00 pm.

"Who cares?" you say. "What is so bad about that particular day and/or time?"

Well, I will tell you. First of all, I am supposed to be having a baby shower that day. The Norva is four hours away. There is no way I can make it in time. Now, this is just the bad news. For you see, the invitations are not completely finished, and a date and time have not officially 100% been set in stone. Theoretically, I could move the shower up or back a couple of weeks or make it Friday night or Sunday afternoon instead. This is a surmountable obstacle. Here is the worse, even awful, news: Considering my doctors' favorite hobby of banning things (no canoeing, no lifting of anything over 25 pounds, etc.), I have the distinct feeling that they are not going to think that this counts as a safe activity for a woman who will be 33 weeks and 5 days pregnant at that time.

"But Chris Carrabba is so pretty," I will say. "I have been looking forward to this for so very long, and this is not jumping-and-thrashing-around-type music. This is much more like close-your-eyes-and-feel-the-music-type music."

"I don't care," the doctor will say. "You could trip on the curb walking into the building or someone might spill their beer straight into your water bottle and then you would be endangering the baby." (Seriously, I sometimes think that some of the reasons they give me for not doing things are equally as ridiculous as this.)

This is seriously something I have been wanting to do for over a year now, so I am attempting to formulate a plan to make this happen. Dashboard is a fairly secretive, sporadic band. You never know if/when they are going on tour, but it doesn't happen all that often, and when they do, they don't usually come within 300 miles of Lynchburg. This is only the second time since 2003 that I have heard of them coming within a few hours of here. I have already started compiling a list of reasons for my doctor as to why this should not be an unsafe activity: There is a balcony with tables that we can sit at, which eliminates the danger of incredibly swollen ankles, exhaustion and/or getting bumped by overzealous fans in the standing room crowd. Also, if memory serves me correctly, no one got wasted or violent at the Strokes concert (I think they cut you off after a certain number of drinks to avoid such things), and there is no smoking allowed in the building (it would be foolishness to allow such things - this place is the size of a small chapel - we would all die of asphyxiation if there were even a handful of smokers). So, you see, I could just as easily enjoy the great music from a raised (some might even say protected) environment, in a comfortable chair, with bottled water and no smoke. As far as the noise goes, I've already checked online, and BabyCenter says it's okay to go to a few concerts during your pregnancy - you don't want to go to one every night if you'd like your kid to be born with a functioning auitory system, but a few here and there don't seem to hurt. My only concern is that I will be four hours away from my delivery hospital if anything should happen (though this is not a huge concern for me as I won't even be finished with my 8th month at that time and first babies tend to come late).

Which brings us to the begging portion of today's post: Do any of you have a time machine I can borrow if the shower proves to be immovable? How about a doctor's excuse to persuade my OB nurse that she should not tut and shake her head at me for going on this outing? Perhaps you could just talk some sense into me? Any and all advice is quite welcome as this is beginning to feel like a genuine crisis situation...

Friday, August 17, 2007

High School could be the Mini-Me of the Rest of Society...

Do you know that Superchic[k] song, "High School?" It's a great one. And so true. Especially in my life, apparently. I ask you, why do I attract the people who cannot handle adulthood and all that it implies? Only God could tell you. I seriously think it might just be part of His everlasting plan to teach me patience. Every time I think I've made some great strides in that area, someone or something else comes along and makes me realize that I am being entirely too self-congratulatory, treating my mole hill like Mt. Everest. I recently lost another friend. That makes two this year. This is not a good track record. My favorite part is that both of these friendships were abandoned because I dared to stand up for myself instead of letting these people walk all over me. Apparently, I need to ask forgiveness for being a woman who appreciates her individuality and finds joy in the spirit and personality that God bestowed upon her. I need to make excuses for wanting to be treated like a human being that is capable of thought instead of like a project that must be constantly edited to fit the (often unrealistic) expectations of another person. The only image I wish to conform to is that of Christ. Not of the La Leche League, not of a psychology major, not even of the many upright and blameless women I know. For our righteousness is as filthy rags to Him. What benefit is there in my becoming like another fallible human being? What good does it do me to become like someone else when God created me to be like Him? No good at all. I embrace my individuality. It is a gift from God, and I would be wasting that gift if I tried to shove it away in a corner because some people wish it was less independant, less creative, less like me and more like them.

I apologize, friends, if I am being cryptic. Suffice it to say, I may not sound like it in print, but in truth, I am a very meek person. I do not do confidence well. I tend to think that showing any sign of firmness or backbone is "mean." I often sugarcoat the truth because I am afraid of hurting people's feelings. As a result, I find myself being taken advantage of a lot of the time. I have a personality that seems to say to people, "Please, walk on the grass." Now, I don't know if it is a self-preservation instinct or what, but ever since I found out I am going to be a mom, I have started to become a little braver. This could be an instinct God has given us to keep our children from bullying us into spoiling them. It could just be the hormones. Either way, this has been a year of finally standing up for myself. Unfortunately, the two people I have chosen to finally stand up to are people who apparently cannot handle having friends who aren't malleable as clay, ready to be molded into whatever they want them to be. All I asked for was my individuality. All I wanted was for them to stop bossing me around, trying to make all of my decisions for me. I promise, the way in which I told them this was not mean or condescending or rude. It was telling the truth in love: that God made me who I am for a reason, and I need them to respect that about me. I need them to let me decide how to raise my kid. I need them to let me have other friendships in addition to theirs and a life outside of them. That is all, no more, no less.

"Please, just let me be myself and stop trying to make me you," I said. To which they responded, "You are totally outrageous and ungrateful. Goodbye forever." Now, on the one hand, I mourn the loss of these relationships because I honestly had some really great times with both of these people. I enjoyed their company, and I hate the awkward tension that now permeates the air when we have to occupy the same room. On the other hand, I sigh in relief because for the first time in 23 years I am finally starting to realize that I am free. I am not subject to the people I choose to hang out with. I am only subject to the Lord Jesus Christ and the United States government. That is all. I am free to formula-feed. I am free to do lunch with whomever I choose. I am free to make my own decisions about potty training, pacifier usage and what brand of sippy cup I want to buy (and wash) for my kid.

"That is so obvious," you might say. "Everyone knows that you are entitled to these opinions and many more." Au contraire, friends. Not everyone is aware of this. Some people think that I must make all the same choices as them. Some people are willing to throw away a lifelong friendship just because I tell them that I want to make up my own mind. This is a sad and greivous occassion, but also an opportunity for growth, not just for me but for the apparently-former friend as well. I am praying that God will continue to grow me through this experience, that He will continue to mold me into a person who is loving and kind but who no longer feels the need to sugarcoat the truth to make everyone on the planet happy. I am praying that He will continue to teach me patience, flexibility and confidence, and that He will fill me with wisdom and not let me be guilt-tripped any longer by believing a lie. It is not my responsibility to fix someone else's problems, especially ones that I didn't cause. It is not my fault that some people didn't make any friends after high school and I did. I cannot make everyone happy. And that is okay. Jesus told us that He didn't come to bring peace, but a sword. I think that statement is pretty clear: people's happiness was not priority numero uno for Christ. He understood that Truth is far more important than emotions. Now, this does not give us license to be rude or condescending. It does not constitute permission to spitefully point out people's faults or condemn others. What it does mean is that we don't have to stress ourselves out beyond all reason, tiptoeing around trying to never offend anyone. Jesus was possibly one of the most politically incorrect people of His time. He was also the most compassionate and accepting person of all time. I will do well to follow His lead, showing affection for the outcast, practicing true humility and speaking boldly in truth and in love. This is who He created me to be, and it is disobedience to conform to anything else.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Why I love being pregnant...

  1. You get to eat ... a lot.
  2. People don't dare tell you that you look bad.
  3. Naps are strongly encouraged.
  4. People buy you/the baby lots of things for no real reason other than that everyone loves a baby.
  5. Your husband becomes much more willing to give foot massages.
  6. You finally have an excuse to buy new clothes.
  7. You become hormonal and overly-emotional, which makes you completely irrational, meaning that no one wants to be around you anymore, and even if they do you manage to convince yourself that they don't and that everyone you know is upset with you for some unknown or completely ridiculous perceived slight.

Okay, so maybe that last one isn't an actual perk of pregnancy, but it is something I've been dealing with a lot the last few days. I would now like to formally apologize to everyone I have ever met. Brendan assures me over and over again that you don't all hate me and that I really haven't done anything to make you wish I would go away forever, but I can't seem to shake the feeling that this is exactly the case. (Many of you know what being pregnant is like, so maybe you can understand the hormonal paranoia, guilt and irrationality that I am currently experiencing. If so, I would really appreciate any pointers on how you got through stupid emotional garbage like this as it is no fun at all and is impeding my abilities to think clearly, sleep and work.) If I have said or done something to upset you or anyone you know, please tell me because I am driving myself (and Brendan) crazy trying to figure out how to "make things right" with every single person on the planet. Thankfully, the tiny little rational piece of my brain that is left (and apparently growing smaller by the day), is aware that I am probably just being ridiculous, but it's still hard to ignore the larger, more unstable portion of my cerebrum. For some reason I had thought that the whole "incredibly moody hormone phase" was supposed to be over by this point in the process, but apparently I am wrong. Does anyone out there have any advice on how to beat this raging influx of hormones and become a more cheerful preggo person? I'm just not sure how much more apparently unwarranted crying I (or Brendan or my coworkers, for that matter) can take.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Biblical motherhood: What the heck is that, anyway?

In browsing the internet this morning, I came across a note that one of my Facebook friends had posted on her wall. It was all about how she has been reading The Feminine Mystique and trying to see how its concepts fit into her biblical worldview. Being an avid reader, a quasi-feminist and a Christian myself, I could relate to her dilemma. Many of the comments left on her post were in opposition to her views that women should not feel morally obligated to be stay-at-home moms. Many of these people were pointing out that men are obligated by things such as traditional wedding vows to "provide for their families" which apparently is synonymous with "no woman shall be permitted to bring in more income than her husband." I thought some of you (my non-existant, captive audience) might like to see the comments I left for her, as they represent views that I also feel very strongly about. Erin has got me thinking, and I have decided to buy myself a copy of The Feminine Mystique as well. It may or may not support a biblical worldview, but that is something that I can only truly discern by reading it for myself. There is no rule that says you can't be a Christian and a thinker at the same time. In fact, I like to think that God would rather we actually use the brains He gave us instead of letting them atrophy by jumping on the bandwagon of book burners and blind haters that so many who claim His name tend to do. Anyway, without further ado, my thoughts on biblical motherhood, whatever the heck that may mean in today's society:

Erin, I just want to thank you for being bold enough to post these ideas on a public forum within a community that so often will disagree with what you have to say on these issues. It is refreshing to see someone who shares many of my questions about gender roles and Christianity when I have grown so used to women/girls at LU simply buying into the "men lead, women blindly follow" and "how dare you get a job and not breastfeed" mentality without a second thought. These are questions/issues that I have been seriously grappling with for the past few months as I am due to have my own child in the fall. Thankfully, Brendan agrees with many of my views and is very much okay with me continuing to work outside the home once the baby is born. Then again, this is the same man who has jokingly boasted that I will be his "sugar mama" so he can be a stay-at-home dad because the profession I have chosen to enter could easily bring in six figures a year while he intends to be a youth pastor.

I understand that I have been seriously blessed to have a husband who is so open-minded and, dare I say, progressive, in his ideas about gender roles and biblical submission. However, just because I have support within my home doesn't mean that I am not faced with opposition from without every day. Good friends of mine cannot fathom why I would "abandon" my children to daycare, allowing someone else to "raise" them while I "selfishly and ambitiously" seek to utilize the $50,000+ degree that I have worked my butt off for. For starters, I honestly don't expect the daycare center to raise my kids. That job is for Brendan and I, and it is a job we can still do while both working full-time. Just because I don't spend every waking moment with my child doesn't mean that I will never be able to teach him/her morals, manners and basic guidelines for life.

In fact, in my experience working with youth, many of the kids I have seen who have the most issues are the ones whose mothers hover and refuse to let go. I don't want to be the woman who has no choice but to homeschool her children because they have separation anxiety that makes day school impossible. I would rather have children who understand why it is necessary for them to be independent of me (after all, I won't be around to hold their hands forever). I don't think that utilizing daycare for a few hours a day early in my child's life will nullify any attempts I ever make to raise a morally upright human being that is capable of thinking for him or herself and making good choices. Sadly, many of my Christian brothers and sisters disagree with me, but I can't let them stop me from making my own decisions and choosing to do what I honestly feel is best for my child. Social norms and biblical principles are not synonymous, regardless of what the breastfeeding nazis like to say.

In fact, considering our current financial situation, I would consider myself an unfit mother if I quit my job to stay home with the baby. Love does not put food on the table, and with the added expenses that will naturally come with this child, neither will one income. My husband and I BOTH have a moral, biblical and social obligation to provide for the basic needs of our child, regardless of what "traditional" wedding vows say (and by the way - we didn't actually use the traditional vows, so what do they mean for our relationship?). As a result, I must work to contribute to the provision of food, shelter and clothing for my kid, and I see nothing wrong with that.

But I have rambled on too long. Just know that you aren't alone and that someone else is struggling with these issues in a very real way. I don't think there's a definitive answer to any of our questions in sight just now, but hopefully more and more people will begin to consider this an issue worth studying and debating instead of just blindly following current social norms and judging and mislabeling those of us who dare to think differently.

So those were my thoughts on the issue. If anyone is actually reading this, then by all means, feel free to tell me what you think on the subject. Though I should warn you, I am not looking for an attitude-filled, ad-hominem-based debate or blatant attacks on Christianity in general and probably won't respond to such comments.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

This one's for you, Mom

Hello friends. Having decided that xanga is no longer the coolest of blogging hangouts, I have thought long and hard (i.e. it popped into my head on the 10-minute drive in to work this morning) and decided to abandon my xanga account and move over here with all of you cool people. Please bear with me, as I am not cool, and honestly doubt that anyone will ever read this. Except maybe my mom. If I told my mom I was writing things on the internet, she would be all over that like ugly on a Vera Bradley bag. (Admittedly, I would love to own one of those overpriced, so-ugly-they're-fabulous, diaper-bag-looking purses.) My mom seems to think that I am going to write the Great American Novel. If anyone has any tips on how to do this, please share because I have a feeling that no matter how many times I tell her that fiction is not really my thing, she still can't shake this notion that I am going to be the next Kurt Vonnegut or Mark Twain - albeit less cranky and not male. Ah well. Such is the nature of being a parent. You can never let go of those hopes and dreams you've harbored for your kid since she was six, even when said kid has gone on to become moderately successful in another career. These are the things I have to look forward to one day, now that motherhood is rapidly approaching on the horizon of my future: ceaseless worrying about whether or not the kid has packed a rain coat, constant concern bordering on irrationality, and keeping a deathgrip on the plans I have to live vicariously through my children, even when it has become blatantly obvious to everyone around me that there is no chance in Hades that my kid is going to become the next Chris Carrabba or Andy Warhol. Eh - what can you do? As aforementioned, I think it all comes with the territory. The minute that kid emerges into the delivery room, you lose all sense of rationality and immediately start formulating a plan for how the kid is going to get into Harvard and change the world. But my kid isn't coming for another few months, so I've got some time to think about these things. After all, I wouldn't want to settle for Harvard if Yale or Columbia has better art and music programs ...