Saturday, May 02, 2015

I don't love motherhood (and that's okay)

I don't love being a mom. I adore my daughter, don't get me wrong, but this motherhood business sucks.

While watching a new child take in the world with wonder and excitement can be magical. You know what else is magical? Drinking the left side of a cocktail menu with your best girlfriends, a weekend hiking in the mountains, a long run with your best running friend, going to a movie. . . All the things I used to enjoy without any thought of rushing home to rescue my grumpy husband from a grumpy baby who desperately wants to latch herself onto my body from the second I walk in the door.

I've always been one to make the best of things. Perseverance with a positive attitude is my strong suit. I *enjoyed* Army Basic Combat Training, for goodness sakes. But I can't say I'm embracing motherhood. I'm dedicated to my family. I work a full-time job away from home so my husband can be the stay-at-home dad he said he wanted to be. I've breastfed our daughter the whole first year and am continuing to do so, because I know it's best. I've restricted my diet, kept dairy and sugar to a minimum, limited myself to one cup of coffee in the morning and one glass of wine at night. I've struggled with hard questions of whether to get this vaccination, that one, or none at all. I've read dozens of articles and several books about baby development, teething, walking, and fevers. I've spent hours trying to pick the right books and toys to raise a culturally sensitive, compassionate, and literate child. I've sucked snot from my daughter's noise through a goddamn straw. I'm not complaining. I'm bragging. No matter how much I'm not crazy about all the burdens of motherhood, I'm handling them like a boss.

It's hard not to be a little resentful when my husband sends a text saying that he's going to the bar to play trivia with a group of people I used to know. It's hard not to be jealous when he tells our daughter how much he loves her but he hasn't told me in weeks. But I'm not bitter. I'm not jealous. I know this is all temporary and I'm making an investment in the long term wellbeing of another human. Every parent has high hopes for their children. But I have high hopes for what I can do for my child. I want to show her how to be strong, to be determined, to persevere with a positive attitude. I want to inspire her to work hard. I want to model kindness, compassion, and honesty for her. I want her to know she is loved.

Love requires sacrifice. I'm committed to being the best mom I can be, even if it's not what makes me happy. I can be joyful and content with my choices. I will make the very best of what my life has become. That's what I do.

I'm hosting a party today to celebrate my daughter turning 1. It's at a brewery, because I have earned a beer. We survived one whole year as parents, and have a healthy, strong, spirited baby to show for it. You better believe when my child turns 21, I'm throwing one hell of a party, for me.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

December Reflections Day 1: DRINK

I've thought more about drinks this year than I have about anything else. What can I drink? What should I drink? How much water should I drink? How much booze can I drink before I become a "bad mom"? Will drinking this tea make me produce more milk for my baby to drink? How much coffee can I drink before I turn into a sweaty, nervous mess? If I drink a bottle of champagne, will it make me enjoy Nebraska football? (No, the answer is definitely "no" on that one.) If I drink this jalapeno (or raspberry, or rhubarb, or whatever whacky non-beer food item the local craft brewer decided should go in beer) flavored beer will my internet friends think I'm cool and interesting?

It makes sense though, I don't know if there's any one thing we do more often than drink. says "Americans consume 400 million cups of coffee per day, and throw away 25 billion styrofoam coffee cups every year." That's a lot of drinking.

In 2014, I spent what probably amounts to hours (and hundreds of dollars - ack!) in front of refrigerated shelves trying to determine whether this tea/juice/fermented beverage would be better than that tea/juice/fermented beverage. If the Elixir of Life is in a bottle, I would have found it by now.

I'm pretty sure this was the year when some health/fashion guru/reality TV star "discovered" that drinking enough water throughout the day can improve your health. NEWSFLASH!

Tell that to the millions of people around the world who don't have access to clean drinking water. This is probably the greatest global crisis today, and the single most distinguishing feature between developed and developing nations.

What we have in excess, millions of other people don't have at all.

I'm not sure what to do about that problem, or if there is much that I can do myself. Maybe by the end of 2015, I'll have better answers. For now, I'll give to the Samaritan's Purse Clean Water Project, so that more people can have a drink.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

A New Year to Thrive

New Years is inevitably a time to reflect on the past year and plan for the next year. A year in which we will be better, healthier, smarter, more creative, more kind, more devout, more generous, more this, better that; a harder working, more successful version of who we were over the last 365 days. The hope of a new year, a fresh start, is intoxicating.

By March though, most of us have resumed the same unproductive routines that we swore off and resolved to remedy in January. This has made most of us reluctant to make New Years Resolutions, at least publicly. I  too have shied from making "resolutions" and instead choose to set goals for the new year. Specific, measurable accomplishments to check off on a list. Calling them goals instead of resolutions hasn't made me any better at sticking to them though. 

2012 was a really great year for me though, regardless of how many of my goals I actually accomplished. It was a year of great new friendships, growth, learning, loving, and, most importantly, adventure. After living in Colorado for six  years, I finally feel like I have a group of real, solid friends that I can trust and depend on. Until now, those people have been few and far away. I've always had very high social needs, so it's really wonderful to be able make frequent plans with people I really care about. The best part of my whole day is the hour plus I spend at the gym before work. It's an intense workout, but it's also so fun, and so fulfilling because some of my favorite people are there.

Volunteering as a coach for Girls on the Run is one of the activities I'm most proud of this year, and most excited about for next year. I had the absolute pleasure of working with over 50 girls, ages 8-14, to train to run a 5K race. Not only did I get to share my love of running, but I got to play games, skip, ride imaginary dragons, and be generally silly twice a week some really amazing girls. It was great to find something to fill the void after my work with the AIR Foundation ended. There are few things I love more than helping someone accomplish their own goals. 

Jim and I got to take an amazing trip to Reykjavik, Iceland in October this year. We went for the Iceland Airwaves music festival. It was so much more than we ever expected. It was colder, windier, darker, the landscape more barren, the Blue Lagoon was more otherworldly, the people more European, the beers more tasty (and more expensive), and the music more lively. It was incredible. While I'm now craving a beach vacation with lots of warmth, sunlight, and all-included booze, Iceland is a place that will stick with me. 

It's hard for me not to be hopeful, optimistic, and downright thrilled about 2013. I have some really fantastic things in store. The biggest event on the horizon is the Boise Ironman 70.3 on June 8. It's going to be one of the toughest challenges I've ever attempted. I'm doing it with some of the strongest, most determined and amazing women I know, so I know it's going to be an incredible experience, regardless of my finishing time. I know June will be here sooner than any of us can believe, and I am psyched to start training.

One of the resolutions I'll have a hard time NOT keeping, with all the Ironman 70.3 training, is eating healthier in the new year. To aid in this effort, Jim and I are committing to eating vegan at least one day a week in 2013. I've been reading Thrive by Brendan Brazier, a professional triathlete, who advocates for a plant-based diet. It's pretty convincing to read about how much of a positive impact going vegan can have on an athlete's body, as well as the rest of the planet. I'm looking forward to seeing how effective this diet change will be on my own athletic performance. The vegan lifestyle is synonymous with my views about personal responsibility for making the world a better place, I think I just needed an excuse to make the leap.

I hope you'll follow me in 2013 as I attempt to keep a better record of the wonderful and exciting things I have going on. One of my goals for the new year is to limit my TV watching to just 3 hours/week. Let's see if that means I write more!

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Hurdle

If you know me, or even if you've just read this blog occasionally over the last couple years, you know a little bit about my struggle to get my dream job. After having all but completely given up on it, I'm making another run for it.

In April 2005, I took and passed the Foreign Service Office Test and was extended an invitation to the Oral Assessment the following spring. I completed and passed that, and was added to the list of eligible candidates. I counted myself blessed and rejoiced in the fact that within a few short months I would be doing exactly what I was created to do - a rare gift that I know not everyone experiences. God had other plans (and doesn't he always?).

I have always been healthy. I've never had headaches or asthma or severe allergies or sinus problems, broken bones remain unknown to me, I had the chicken pox for a week when I was 10 and that was the sickest I think I've ever been in my whole life. And it was also an awesome week because I watched every single episode of I Love Lucy that my mom could find on VHS.

After the Oral Assessment, candidates for the Foreign Service must complete a background check, medical  clearance and security clearance. Background check was no problem and I was awarded my State Department Security Clearance before my DOD clearance which had been initiated 6 months prior. The hiccup was in my medical clearance. Before I left for Fort Jackson the summer of 2006 to finish AIT for the Army, I completed the standard physical, including all required blood work. My white blood cell counts were off, but by the time the anomoly had been discovered, I was happily sweating my ass off in training with no opportunity to repeat the tests.

I moved to Colorado in September, expecting to live with my parents until January, when I was certain I would be shipping off to begin my work at an embassy or consulate overseas. I quickly repeated all the medical tests, and once again, my white blood cell counts were off. I was referred to a hematologist for a bone marrow biopsy. Uninsured (I was working at a restaurant), and frightened, I delayed the test until after Christmas.

By the time all the tests had come back normal, I had dropped so far down on the eligible candidate list that my chances of actually getting an assigment had shrunk to nil. The battery of medical exams with questionable results (all tests came back normal in the end) and the extended amount of time it took to obtain a medical clearance was enough to sink that ship. I was crushed. Ever since I've been too timid to pursue challeging work. I've let that fear keep me in positions where I can skate by without much effort. I gave up.

Now, after several years of jobs that are unchallenging, uninteresting, and lead absolutely no where that I want to be, it's time to resuscitate my dream. I have almost 8 years of military experience now, a husband who can live and work anywhere in the world, some real-world work experience, and motivation to start living the life I am meant to live.

I trust that God has a plan. I trusted that God was sovereign in the midst of my medical mishaps. I sincerely believe that God gives us talents, skills, desires and dreams to fulfill his plan for our lives, and to glorify him by using those gifts to the best of our ability. If my only hurdle is the fear of being disappointed again, then it's time to jump it and move on.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

House Hunting, Job Hunting, and the Pursuit of Happiness

A lot has changed since my last post. Jim and I decided not to make our big international move this year. When it came down to it, we really like living in Denver, and Saudi Arabia just doesn't hold the same appeal. So we've moved in the exact opposite direction and decided to buy a house here. After several months of searching, finding, and losing houses, we finally put one under contract! It was a long lesson in patience and faith. While this house may not be our dream house, I had to realize that it doesn't have to be our dream house in order for it to be a good place to live right now. We're very excited about getting the inspection wrapped up and getting settled into our first house.

Since the end of June, I've been essentially unemployed and looking for a new job. I finally pulled the plug at Dill and Dill and have not looked back once. There are several opportunities in the pipeline, one in particular I hope works out. There are certainly moments of self-doubt, and soul-searching as I try to determine what it is I actually want to do. I've considered going back to school for my PhD, but decided against it for now. I've flirted with government work and politics for years now, but am finally letting that dream go, for now. Not because I don't think I could be successful, but because I think I need to focus on developing a professional skill set, building a network, and generally learning and growing. I am searching for a vocation, a calling, right now.

Similarly, I've been able to work almost full-time with my Army Reserve unit this month. I really do love being in the Army. I have rarely worked in a environment where I feel so valued and respected. I work hard, I encourage those around me to work hard, I accomplish things, and make a significant contribution. It's encouraging, especially after working in an environment for three years where nothing I did was appreciated and there was absolutely no motivation to work hard. There was no challenge and no potential for challenge or opportunity for growth. It's refreshing to know that if I work hard I'll receive bigger and better assignments, I'll get promoted, I'll have more opportunities to keep proving myself and improving my own skills. I think it's a real possibility, down the road, to work in a full-time active duty position with the Army.

The future is bright and I'm excited about new opportunities.