Tuesday, December 20, 2011

All Day I Bang My Head Against a Wall, DUH!

"How can you stay at home with kids all day, I could NEVER do that!"

This question is asked of me quite often.  It's a perfectly fine question, when asked in the right tone.  I think a lot of women secretly want to ask "why" I choose to stay at home instead of "how".  Like, why in the world would anyone want to spend time with children for hours on end.  And really, I think, I hope, most women ask me this question in a "logistically, how do you take care of children day in and day out" and not as snidely as I hear it in my head.

Let me be very clear here, 99% of the time I am not offended by this question, but that 1% of the time I am down right pissed.  It's pretty hard to truly offend me, but when you start to call in my parenting, all bets are off.  And as a parent I choose to be around my spawn.  The little beings that I created.  The people that I CHOSE to have.

But I TOTALLY get why women want to work.  I DON'T get women who work BECAUSE they don't want to be around their kids.  I mean, why did you have them in the first place?  You don't want to be around them, but you are totally fine with other people being around them?  That confuses me.  But I do understand that some women get a lot out of a job, out of a paycheck, out of accomplishments in the working world.  I get that, I really do.  But I have had women confess that they don't want to be around their kids.  Ey yi yi.  That is so freaking weird to me.  These women also tend to complain about the times they are with their kids, the hour before work, the couple hours after work, and then the LOOOONG weekends with them.  Guess what, your break is your drive to/from work.  Those few minutes you chat with co-workers about whatever, your break, you eat lunch somedays right, there's your break, coffee runs, walking to the bathroom alone, going to the bathroom alone, all breaks.  Why is it so hard to be around your kid(s) then?!

And I know women that in no way shape or form want to be a mom.  Kudos to you for knowing that and not forcing yourself to have kids to fit in, or do what's expected of you.   There are women in my life that are AH MAY ZING with my children and want none of their own.  Fantastic!  I understand how it would be fun to play with kids and then go back to your life.  Your life is fun, it's your life and you want to live it how you choose, yippee.

But whether you are a woman who wants kids, doesn't want kids, works or doesn't work, please don't judge me on my decision to stay at home.  That's where I have a problem with the beginning question.  The eye roll, or the confused look on their face, pisses me off every time.

Again, to be clear, a lot of people have said this to me in an honest, open way of congratulating me on being able to do it.  Or are in awe that I am able to do it.  But to be honest you with, I never know how to respond, so I usually go with, "I dunno, I just do it."  But to answer this question fully, right now, I am able to stay at home with them because I think they are pretty rad.  C, G, and H are so much fun, so cute, and very entertaining.  Do I have rough moments and days?  Yes. But don't you have rough moments and days at your job?  I truly enjoy the time spent with the children, I really, really do.  Does this make me a weirdo?  Maybe.  Do I care?  No.  I don't have to think twice about how or why I stay at home because I just do.  I stay at home and I love it.

The other problem I have is that I would never think to ask someone, "Gosh, how do you sit at a desk all day and crunch numbers?"  or "Gosh, how do you work all day with co-workers who are pains in the ass, a boss that doesn't appreciate you, deadlines that are ridiculous to meet, clients that are bratty, long hours with no recognition and little pay?"  Might be a bit rude, right?  Well, just because I don't have a "job" doesn't mean I'm not working.  It doesn't mean you can look down on my choice of employment.  We all hopefully choose careers that fulfill us in some way.  Mine works for me.  Yours works for you.  I mean really, when was the last time you overheard someone asking someone else how in the world they can do what they do?  SAHMs are sometimes looked at as strange beings in our society. Wasn't the feminist movement all about women choosing their own path in life?

Is it weird for me to not get a paycheck?  Yes. Is it hard to not get praise for the job I am doing?  Yes. Is it hard to not get out of the house as easily as I want? Yes.

Do I care?  Nope!

And if you think I'm a weirdo for being able to stay at home, well I think you are weirdo for having kids and not wanting to be around them. Nannie nannie boo boo, stick your head in...well you know!

And to the women who work because you need to financially (or for whatever reason) but really want to stay home, I am truly sorry.  I had to do that for a year and it SUCKED.  Hopefully soon you'll join me in banging your head against the wall!

I feel lucky to be doing what I am doing, that's all I have to say about that!

"And where was I before the day, that I first saw your lovely face?  Now I see it everyday, and I know, that I am the luckiest." ~ Ben Folds

Monday, December 12, 2011

Blessings and the Rat King

"Some are born with more and some born with less, so don't take for granted the life we've been blessed."  ~Ben Harper

The best way to sum up this past weekend is AWESOME!  I had such an enjoyable, pleasant, filled with happiness and joy, weekend.  

On Saturday we had a blessing for Gabriel and Harper.  I won't get in to how we arrived at a baby blessing (the Catholics didn't want us), but I'll say it was perfect for our family.  Pastor Jonge was the one that did the blessing and it was beautiful.  To summarize, it was a blessing on Marc and me to raise our children in a Godly manner and teach them the importance of God and Jesus Christ.  We can do that!  It was also a commitment from our family and friends to assist us in this mission and to also teach the ways of the Lord.  My favorite part about this all is that it was not one religion, so whatever the children may choose later in life is ok.  They are not bound to one set of rules.  My deep down personal belief is that we should all be good people and try our best to live in a way in which God would be proud of us.  To me, it does not matter what you are "labeled" just that you believe in something.  So this fit perfectly with what we wanted. 

My second favorite part of the day was being surrounded by the people that love us the most, support us the most, and have been with us since day one.  (Literally Alicia has been there since day one since she was there the night I met Marc!)

My parents, Marc's parents, my brother Michael and his family, my brother Scott and his wife Gretchen, and our sister-in-law Becky and her kids were all there.  Unfortunately some family couldn't make it, but we, of course, still love you and missed you!  In addition to this fine group was Gabriel and Harper's Godparents.  I am going to highlight each because we carefully chose them to be Godparents and I think they deserve the recognition.  To be fair, I am going to go over them in order of how long I've known them.

Alicia, my dear, sweet Alicia.  Mrs. Vanderspiegel is Harper's Godmom.  I met this fine lady way back in the Spring of 1999 when we were pledges of Zeta Tau Alpha.  We hit it off pretty quickly but really solidified our friendship when we were suitemates first semester senior year.  And after college, when we were both single and ready to mingle (HA!), we really got tight.  We've been through a lot together and I really look up to her for so many reasons.  When we were pregnant with our third child the discussion of Godparents came up and Alicia immediately came to mind.  I wanted to show her, in a very big way, how much she means to me.  I also knew that she would take the job very seriously and love TBD with all her might.  It was a no brainer and we just knew she had to be Godmom.  I am super thankful she said yes.  Alicia may live 5 hours away, but she has made it to birthday parties, blessings, baptisms, get togethers, any and everything she's been invited to.  This means so much to me.  That she is willing to put in the time to visit my family.  I love her to pieces and love that she is a part of my family.  She's so tight in fact that when she visits I know she will be fine talking to Marc's family and my family.  I don't have to check in and make sure she's comfortable.  She fits right in.

Lor and Steve, Marc's sister and her husband, are Gabriel's Godparents.  Pretty sure they will need to call on God a lot to help with this boy! HAHA!  They are the first family members I met after Marc and I started dating.  They came up for a UVa football game, which was HUGE because Steve is a die hard Tech fan.  BUT Steve is also a die hard Steelers fan so my parents fell in love on the spot.  They loved Lor and Steve so much they completely ignored Marc.  Oops!  (For the record they love Marc.)  After the game we all hung out and it just worked.  We all got along and from that day we have gotten along.  Lor is the easiest person in the world to be around.  You can talk to her about anything and trust that she won't judge you, at least to your face, and won't hold anything against you.  Lor is also a riot, so much fun!!  She and Marc were buddies growing up so they have a special bond.  I feel pretty lucky that I get to be apart of it. Steve is super tall (Harper was the size of his hands when she was born) and looks intimidating, but he's a big old softy.  He has been really good to my family and I am so appreciative of it.  It's amazing we picked them for Godparents for our second child and that baby ended up being a boy.  They are the perfect boy Godparents.  They are actually a perfect Aunt/Uncle duo.  I trust them 100% with our kids and any parent knows how important that it is.  I heart the Dooleys big time!

Mike, Marc's brother, is Harper's Godfather.  In the early days of Marc and my's relationship we used to visit Mike and Becky a lot.  Again, we could just hang out with them, and their kids, and not have to worry about how we were acting.  We all got along and had a lot of fun.  We still do of course, but we have three kids, they have their own business and our lives don't always intersect as much as we like.  But when we are together it's still a great time.  Mike is actually the one that helped us get his pastor to do the baby blessing.  If there is anyone in this world that lives and breathes his faith, it is Mike.  He doesn't just punch his ticket to church on Sunday and go about his life.  He lives in a way that is Godly, faith based, and honorable.  He wakes every morning to read the bible, works with his wife to make their union a strong bond, and goes above and beyond in working with the community.  He gives to others before he takes for himself, a trait that is hard to find these days.  He was another easy choice when it came to who should be our third child's Godfather.  We knew, without a doubt, he would be there for our child and for us, now and in the future.  Any assistance we may need Mike is always willing to help.  I have so much respect for Mike and the life he and his wife lead.  We are honored and humbled to have him be Harper's Godfather.

After the blessing we hung out, as a family, and enjoyed each other's company.  These type of gatherings always make my heart fill with joy and tears come to my eyes.  To hear laughter, running and playing, loud voices telling old stories, sharing moments with loved ones.  Life isn't much better, to me, than those moments.  The fact that my family (to include Alicia) and Marc's family so seamlessly fit together makes it an awesome time.  After the blessing Alicia, Scott and Gretchen came back to Deerfield to stay over.  Always a good time with this group.  We probably stayed up way too late, but it was fun and so hard for Marc and me to walk away and go to bed.  I love that we all have similar values and stances on things, but if we do disagree no debates or arguments break out, just conversation.  It also helps that they love my kids and my kids love them.  They don't mind the playing, they don't mind the shenanigans, they go with the flow.  It's nice.

Fantastic Saturday had by all!  Thanks to everyone that made the day so special.

On Sunday my parents took Carter and I to The Nutcracker.  My parents have made The Nutcracker a part of their yearly Christmas tradition.  They've seen it in different places and put on by different ballets.  They've gone alone, they've gone with family and friends, they've had big groups and small groups.  This year it was the four of us.  I.ALMOST.CRIED.THE.WHOLE.TIME!!!!  Carter was so excited to be there and loved it.  She had her popcorn and soda (she NEVER gets soda but I knew this was a special treat), and she sat their proudly with it.  She watched each dancer very intently and seriously.  Throughout the show she would move from each of us to sit on our laps or stand and watch.  Well, as she moved from each of us she would prance like a ballerina, sometimes adding a spin, and when she'd jump in to our laps she would sort of leap like the dances.  She showed a new level of cuteness to me!!!  I watched her more than I watched The Nutcracker because she was so cute.  It was an awesome experience and I'm so thankful that my parents let me be a part of it.  They easily could have taken Carter by themselves, but they graciously let me tag along.  To date, it's one of my favorite days ever.

(All morning Carter has been fighting the Rat King!  I'm hoping we will defeat him soon so he doesn't return!)

It also made me feel good that Marc hung back with Gabers and Harpie.  It's hard to get quality time with kids when you have so many, so while Harper was napping Marc and Gabe ate dinner together.  That makes me want to cry too, I'm a sap!  My two boys chilling.  Love it.

So my weekend was fantastic and we are truly blessed.  I had to stop Marc at one point and just hug him, hold him tight, and thank him for this beautiful life. We got a good thing going and I thank God for all he has provided us.

Cheers to the Kozuchs and Patrouchs! Cheers to this beautiful life, this beautiful time of year, and the happiness that fills my heart!