Somebody bugged me a couple of months ago when Sadie was a few weeks old (ahem.. you know who you are) about blogging more.. and specifically asked for a blog post about life balance, parenthood, marriage, etc..
I didn't respond, of course, because I was busy nursing this tiny human who wouldn't gain weight nor sleep by herself and even the thought of blogging boggled my mind. But now that I'm back at work and Sadie is not only gaining weight but also sleeping through the night, I can take a moment to think about my life.
Women often get asked the question, "How can you have it all?" Aka.. a family, job/career, and good/happy marriage. It's a little sexist that women get this question, but men don't.. but whatever. Here are my thoughts on the subject, and how I try to balance some of the biggest priorities in my life.
I picked a career in Dietetics years ago when I looked at BYU's list of majors in alphabetical order my freshman year in college. I was in the Nutrition GE course that semester and I thought to myself--"hey I can do that!" And I switched my major yet another time that year.. and the rest is history as they say. As I got further into my education, I discovered the opportunities to work full-time and part-time in the field, which was my major concern. As a girl growing up, I had no idea what I wanted to be or do (although I used to think I wanted to be an architect or interior designer), but whatever it was, I wanted to do it part-time so I could be home with my kids part-time. I had never wanted to be a stay-at-home mom full-time ever.. I'm not naturally a motherly type. Anyways, although I like my job and career, it isn't a huge passion. You might take a look at my resume and think differently (I have a Master's degree and two specialty certifications), but it's all been a means to an end.. a career that could be part-time. My job and career and not my life.. just a way for me to feel normal and get outside of my home. I don't take my work home with me.. ever. I guess I did study at home for my two exams, but that was it. I don't worry about work. I just show up and do my best. That's how I keep my work life balanced. No secret tricks there..
Like I said, I always wanted to work part-time and stay home part-time. I'm not like a kids person, and I need my adult time to feel normal. But, I always wanted a family, and we wanted four kids.. then three.. now just two. And we're done. It was quite the adjustment for me after Carter was born. I had never taken care of a newborn before, and the demands of motherhood were exhausting. I didn't enjoy going back to work at 10 weeks, but I didn't hate it. After 13 weeks home with Carter and Sadie this year, I wanted to stay home.. for the first time ever in my life. I bawled like a baby the night before I went back to work. Since she's our last baby, I wanted to be home and be with her to witness all of her "firsts" firsthand. But, me not working full-time isn't an option for us right now. So, I bucked up and drove myself to work with tears in my eyes Monday morning. I vowed to myself to relish every moment of Sadie's baby life, even the nights of no sleep, so I can always remember this time. Carter's first year was kind of a blur. When I get home each afternoon, I devote time to each of my children, whether it's games with Carter, or snuggles with Sadie.. My alone time is at night after the two kids have gone to bed. I don't need many breaks from my kids when I only have 4.5 hours of them awake in the evening and I work during the day. I try to make quick to prepare meals, freezer meals, or InstantPot meals to decrease the amount of time cooking. And, I pray nightly for my children and for me to be a good mom. I'm not saying I'm a saint by any means.. I have my nights and moments where I just wish for quiet or time alone.. But if I only have 4 hours at night.. I can pull myself together for my kids during those hours. Again, no secret tricks.
Here's where it gets complicated because each relationship is different. Graham and I have an interesting relationship. Neither of us are super romantic and we're pretty jokey with each other, so what works for us probably wouldn't work for others. In fact, I had to go to the doctor's a few weeks ago when I was really sick, and Graham and I were bantering with each other back and forth in front of the doctor. The doctor didn't understand us or our relationship and told us to go home, have sex, and to orgasm (no seriously--she said that). Yeah, she definitely didn't get us at all. One of the biggest strengths in our marriage is the fact that we not only love each other, but we really like each other too. We enjoy each other's company a lot, and we often have conversations about social events, parenting, work, etc.. We also are both grateful for each other's help and often express our gratitude. I am extremely lucky to have a man who helps clean the house, does dishes, and gets up in the middle of the night with the children. He thinks he's lucky because I cook good things....? Hmm, you'd have to ask him the rest. We both consider each other lucky to have found the other person.
Even though marriage has been hard and definitely work at times, it's been the most worthwhile thing to maintain. We are in it for the long haul, even though we've both had our "moments". A bump in the road doesn't have to halt us completely. Sometimes we both get super frustrated at each other. Graham left our house keys in the rental car in San Diego. I got super paranoid and crazy during pregnancy (you don't even know). Even though we both have major flaws and have both made big mistakes, we love each other all of the time and express that love and appreciation. An imperfect diamond is still a diamond, right? But, if you keep telling the other person every way that they've disappointed you, the other person eventually may just give up. Of course, communication is still key in relationships, but constantly voicing your displeasure doesn't make anyone happy, not even yourself. We also love each other more than our children. Graham's dad told them as kids, "I love you, but I love your mom more." It's important of us as parents to prioritize our relationship to provide a stable foundation for our kids.
One thing we both do, coincidentally, is to keep a running list of happy memories and good times in our mind. That way, if your spouse frustrates and angers, you have happy moments to keep you going. The cheesy thing is, Graham introduced me to this song and told me it made him think of us and our life together. Mind you, Graham composes music and could basically write a movie soundtrack. Ok, maybe that's an exaggeration, but Graham is very musical and talented. He has written a songs for me, Carter, and Sadie based on his feelings for us, and the songs are all very different. He played this song for me, and I thought about how Graham kisses me on the forehead when I'm tired or not feeling well, mine and Carter's last mommy-son date before Sadie was born, crying with Sadie in my arms before going to work, and our bittersweet moments together (when Graham and I separated and he left to get on the ferry to live with his parents for 8 months, and I told him "I will love you forever").. And now, it's the soundtrack to our lives, and this song, as well as Graham's personalized songs, will always remind me to love my spouse and to cherish our time together,
Anyways, no secrets to having it all here.. This is just how I keep myself together while being pulled in a million directions.
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