Category Archives: Life Lessons

A Woman’s Place

Chances are as soon as you read that title you finished the saying. You see them all over Pinterest and etsy these days.

A woman’s place is…
… in the House and Senate.
… in the resistance.
… in the kitchen.

Well, excuse my language, but I’ve decided I like the more universal saying that a woman’s place? Is wherever the fuck she wants it to be.

Whether real or imagined, I am so sick of women thinking there is some sort of competition for “most womanly” or “most feminist.” I’m sick of women feeling marginalized for choosing “just” to be a stay at home mom. I’m sick of women feeling judged for pursuing a career – and loving it.

I have the privilege of being a part of a Lean-In Circle where I get the opportunity to have lunch with some amazingly smart, accomplished, and motivated women in my community. We get to talk about equality in the workplace, taking a seat at the table, etc. One month, the topic was success.

It’s easy to become overwhelmed with impostor syndrome when you’re sitting at a table with so many impressive women… I’m sure many of them make more money than me… Some probably drive fancier cars… Have bigger houses… Take more vacations… Others have more impressive titles.

The other thing that happens with you’re sitting at a table with so many impressive women, is that you are surrounded by uplifting, empowering, motivating women who are all on the same page with what success means.

And that is that it means something different to each and every one of us. And that’s ok. And that definition can (and will) change. And that’s ok too. We all have a place.

I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by people that support me where I’m at. And everywhere I’ve been along the way. Wherever my “place” happened to be at that time. My definition of success has changed a number of times over the years, and so my “place” has changed as well.

I’ve been sitting on this draft for months. Last week the world celebrated International Women’s Day and I’ll be damned if a YouTube ad from Google didn’t get me all inspired to dust this off and finish it. My goal is to make a conscious effort to support women where they stand. Whether they’re happy where they are and they’d consider themselves a success, or a work in progress as they work toward their goals.

I have two little ladies that will one day grow up to be women. Right now, one of them wants to be an engineer and design bows for archery and hunting. The other wants to be a mom. No matter where their paths in life take them, I want them to know that their place is wherever they want it to be.

Pro Tip on Feeding Babies

I’ve been texting with some mom-friends this week about the challenges of breastfeeding and pumping and the guilt and resentment and “OH MY GOSH WHY AM I NOT MAKING MORE MILK I AM SO SICK OF THIS” of it all. After 3 kiddos, I’ve been there done that.

Ironically enough, world breastfeeding week just wrapped up a few days ago and that post I just linked above I wrote almost a year ago to this day. It’s hard to believe at this time just a year ago I was still nursing Lincoln. It seems like such a distant memory at this point. But I digress…

The subject of that group text always hits me like a ton of bricks because for every 1 mom that’s out there that thinks nursing their baby is a breeze and amazing and a beautiful journey, etc, etc, etc, there’s at least one mom that struggles with it and feels like she has to be silent about it. And it seems like there’s never anyone out there saying “it’s ok! I get you! you aren’t alone! You don’t have to love it!”

And that sucks, right!? Because the internal struggle of breastmilk vs. formula is real. And hard.

For the mothers that are struggling with milk production, or you think there’s something wrong with you because you just don’t love, or even like, nursing or pumping, or feeling guilty for making the move to 100% formula, you are certainly not alone. I’ve shared many of those same feelings.

I would like to share this pro tip:

10 out of 10 doctors agree: feeding your baby is 100% necessary. Recommended, even!

How they get fed is up to you. And only you.

 

When no one is watching…

Miss Rylee,

There are moments as a parent that will stop you in your tracks. Last weekend was one of those moments for me.

Ten, twenty, even thirty years from now you may not remember that day, but I will.

Your dad, sister, you and I piled in the car and headed over to Bend for Cousin Connor’s super hero birthday party. It was a great day.20130927-093615.jpg

Part of the party was a “super hero training course” where you had various obstacles to complete around their backyard. While all the kids were running around having a good time a “super villain” came out and dropped “bombs” on you guys. They were balloons and you had to run around and pop them as fast as possible to “save the city”. Everyone was having lots of fun running around making the “bombs” blow up.

There was a boy there. He was bigger than you. He was louder than you. He knew more of the other kids than you did.

You both went for the same balloon. You beat him to it. You popped it. You giggled in delight. He was mad. He threw himself on the ground and started crying, frustrated that you beat him to the balloon and that he didn’t get to pop it. You noticed him, but seemed to move on to grab the next bomb that was being dropped. You were having so much fun.

That’s when something extraordinary happened.

Instead of grabbing the next balloon, one of the last ones, and popping it, you rushed to grab it and you immediately ran over to that boy, who was still lying on the ground, and handed it to him.

When your dad was telling me this story, it was at this point that my heart stopped. I may have got a tiny bit teary eyed.

The truest test of one’s character is how they act when they think no one is watching.

Well, your dad saw this whole thing take place. You had no idea he was watching your every move, you were just doing what you thought was the right thing to do. As soon as it happened he called you over to him. He hugged you as tight as he could, kissed you on the top of your head and told you how proud of you we are.

You smiled at him and said thanks. Then ran back to the obstacle course to keep playing.

From the time you took it upon yourself to thank soldiers sitting in a restaurant for their service, now to this, I am continually amazed by your kind heart and your thoughtful, gentle nature.

You really are a super hero.

I am so proud of the little lady you are becoming.

I love you,

Mama

 

I hope I never forget.

The other night at dinner Reese was being her usual goofy self trying to get us to laugh. She was also practicing saying “more”. And her other usual cute antics. Andy looked at Rylee and told her that watching Reese is reminding him of how she was when she was that age. Wide-eyed she wanted to know more. Andy went on telling her about all the things he remembered about her when she was around a year old.

That all got me thinking. There is so much about when Rylee was a baby that I don’t remember. As Reese grows, that becomes so much more evident. In my 5 short years of parenting, if I’ve learned anything at all, it’s that it goes by so fast.

Of course I’m still not one of those “enjoy every moment” moms, because I’m realistic. And I hope I never catch myself saying that. {if I do say it, and you catch me, you have my permission to throat punch me}

But there are moments I wish I could just freeze time. Not forever, but just for a few extra moments so I can close my eyes tight in order to etch them into my brain and remember them forever.

I hope I never forget how she tugs on her ears when she’s tired.

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I hope I never forget how her hair falls over her forehead, despite me trying to brush it out of her eyes. Or how the wispies stick out and rest over the top of her ears.

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I hope I never forget how big her eyes are and how long her lashes are.

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I hope I never forget how she sweetly pats my  back when I lift her out of her crib after nap.

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I hope I never forget how her face looks with that binkie plugged in.

I hope I never forget how she climbs up in that chair, that used to be Andy’s grandmothers, and will just sit calmly against the wall.

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Follow Your Instincts and/or Learn From Your Mistakes

Kindergarten Parent Information Night:
Thursday May 16, 6 – 7 PM
Childcare will be provided

As soon as I read that on the flyer we picked up at the Kinder Round-up pre-registration day I played out the night in my head…

Pick up the girls about 5:30 PM from daycare. There won’t be enough time to go home before that so we’ll head straight to the elementary school, but we’ll end up being there 20-25 minutes early. That means Reese will miss her typical car nap she squeezes in between 5:40 & 6:15 every night. And since we’ll be at this meeting during Reese’s dinner time at 6:30, I guess I can feed her her babyfood in the back of the Jeep while we’re waiting in the parking lot. Then we’ll rush home and get her ready for bed. I know the “provided child care” will be for the incoming kinders only and not for my busy-body almost 10 month old.

Maybe we should just get a babysitter.” I say.

No, I’m sure it will be fine.” Andy says.

So there we are…sitting {actually standing} at this parent info night.

The pre-meeting rush went exactly as I had anticipated. Reese didn’t fall asleep on the 5 minute drive from the girls’ day care to the elementary school. We got there 25 minutes early. I fed Reese her dinner while she was still strapped into her car seat. Only flinging baby food throughout the back of the Jeep twice. Andy called to say he’d been stuck in traffic and to just go in without him as he may be a few minutes late.

I sign in. Take Rylee to the gym and after some unexpected tears from her, she’s off to play. As I’m coming back into the meeting area with Reese, Andy is walking in. The meeting is about to start.

Reese starts humming happily through her binkie. It’s cute. Some parents look over and smile. She’s the only baby there.

I pull out some puffs and start feeding them to her one-by-one, trying to keep her occupied, but quiet.

The meeting has started. They’ve introduced the teachers and are starting to go over the “kindergarten readiness” list.

Wait…what did they say their names were? I missed that.

Reese decides she over her puffs and is crawling all over me. I walk further back. Shushing her as I walk. But the further back I walk, I can no longer hear what the teachers are saying.

I peek into the gym.

Rylee is with a bunch of other incoming kinders, a few she knows from pre school. They’re coloring, playing duck-duck-goose and just generally having a good time.

I bounce-walk back to where Andy is. Reese starts humming again.

It’s no longer cute. It’s just distracting.

Between walking back & forth and trying to keep Reese quiet, I can’t hear anything they’re saying.

I finally concede. I walk over to Andy. Grab my stuff, tell him I’m taking Reese home, and try to sneak out the side while Reese continues to loudly hum along.

As I drive home, by blood pressure rises. I’m missing this meeting.

I look back and Reese is passed out.

We should’ve got a baby sitter…

Next time, we’re getting a baby sitter.

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