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“Mom” is not my only name… | working after baby

Oct 9, 2016 by

“Mom” is not my only name… | working after baby

I’m supremely happy to be pregnant. I can embrace this whole pregnancy thing. I am growing a freaking human! I’m amazing! What did you accomplish today? Probably not GROWING A HUMAN BEING! My students reminded me this week that I currently have two brains! I’m fascinating.

Also, strangers carry stuff for me, I have an eternal excuse to sit on the couch and eat ice cream, and I don’t feel at all guilty having the grocery store bag boys take my grocery bags to the car. I can’t complain. I haven’t had many extreme symptoms, I’ve felt pretty darn good! I’ve been lucky. Most days I can sit here and really believe that I could successfully and happily produce 7 or 8 kids….and that’s all well and good when I think it. It is not ok when you think it…

because it is not 1950. I am not a “little housewife”, in fact, I’m a terrible housewife. I’m not keen on the idea that someone imagines me being barefoot in the kitchen. (Unless you’re my husband, and in that case….well…your mom reads my blog).  It is not my job to produce offspring and fold laundry. If you know someone whose job it is to fold laundry, and they have affordable prices, please send them my way.

I'm not a little fact I'm a terrible housewife. #workingmom Click To Tweet

I thought we, as a society, had become more progressive than this. So I find myself surprised when my co-workers assume that after the baby I’m becoming a stay-at-home mom.

Now, before the internet starts hating me, I know a bunch of awesome SAHMs and I admire them because they are freaking awesome. I am not that awesome. I’m in awe of the selflessness being a SAHM takes, and I’m a little ashamed that I don’t know if I have that in me. I’m actually pretty intimidated by tiny humans, I don’t know how I would entertain both the baby and myself all day, and I am afraid of looming housework. Staying home with my kids has never been a dream of mine. (I recognize the gigantic can of worms I’m opening, I know the arguments on both sides of this issue… and that’s your thing. Not mine. I’m not about to argue how awesome it is to be the one to teach your kid things, not miss milestones, etc. I recognize the awesomeness of that).

Regardless, I have never insinuated that I planned to stay home and yet I have co-workers and even superiors at work who keep mentioning my role as mother, and how I am not coming back to work after the baby’s birth. I feel judged because I’m pregnant, it almost borders on harassment. This is especially true because it keeps getting shared publicly. It makes me angry. Isn’t this my decision? Stop making assumptions about my family.

I am not just a mil-spouse. I am not just a wife. I am not just a pregnant woman. I don’t intend to be just a mother, although that is a title I am really looking forward to having… I worked really hard to get where I am today. I worked toward a 4.0 in my master’s program, and feel proud every time I think about it. I’m certified to teach English in multiple states, and I’m a really excellent teacher–if I do say so myself. I became professionally certified in Colorado, so that I could become better at my job. I attend workshops and professional development to further my craft, and I have 50+ students who depend on me not only to get them through the 7th grade but to lead them toward paths that make them cool adults. I am passionate about teaching, I’m inspired to help other teachers become better teachers, and I think it’s genuinely my calling to help motivate teenagers toward embracing their education and becoming better people.

Being a good mom doesn’t mean I have to give up my career or have a homemade dinner on the table every night. I think valuing myself and my education is a pretty damn good example for my daughter. I think allowing her to see that I can juggle professionalism with a home life is important too. I want her to grow up watching her parents chase dreams and adventures. I want her to remember as she struggles with becoming adult that it is important to value herself, not put herself last, and not make sacrifices that jeopardize her happiness. I want her to see that sometimes its hard to do the things that we want to do, and to observe those moments when all that hard work matters. I want her to see that her parents have ambitions that are not based on her, and that even though she may be the center of our world, the world does not revolve around her.

The idea that someone I work with simply assumes that I want to walk away from so many things that are important to me is silly. They haven’t even asked. And it makes me mad.

The truth is, it is my intention to take a maternity leave to be with my wee one, and then go back to work. I am responsible for those little faces in my classroom, I am responsible for contributing financially to my family, and I am responsible for creating my own happiness. The truth is, that its nobody’s business but my own. The truth is, I have no idea how I’m going to feel going back to work when our little girl is here, my friends with kids have told me it’s brutal. I’m sure it will be. Maybe I will eventually decide that it’s better for us if I stay home for a while, I cannot predict that. I do know that I can’t wait to hold her in my arms and tell her how much we love her and how long we’ve been praying for her. We’ve just started looking into childcare and it’s terrifying. I don’t know how you make the decision to leave your child with a virtual stranger, but we will do what is best for our family. The truth is, that’s my decision to make when the time comes, I don’t have to decide now and you certainly do not have the right to decide for me. I take offense to people telling me what to do.

I think I get that from my grandmother.

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What are you waiting for?

Sep 2, 2016 by

What are you waiting for?

Being pregnant has been, far and away, the most life changing event in my life. Working through the days, weeks and months without my husband’s help has led to a ton of self-sufficiency I did not know I had. Some days I feel like a super hero, others more like a wimp. But mostly, I feel like I have been plunged into an alternate reality where sleep doesn’t happen, cake is perfect breakfast food and I’ve forgotten how to relate well to others. This is especially true when it comes to interactions with strangers. I feel like I should be handing out pamphlets to strangers explaining why it is not ok to spontaneously rub my tummy or why they maybe should keep their terrifying war/birthing story to themselves. (I’d rather go in blind, thank you very much).

Everyone. EVERYONE. Everyone wants to know how I’m feeling. I can’t decide if they want to hear “I’m great, thank you”, or if they really want to know that I have a giant gas bubble in my abdomen that will not move and I’m afraid will erupt at an inopportune moment. Any. Minute. Now.  Obviously, my friends and family are genuinely concerned. It’s those other people who are the problem. Some people, I think, are truly interested in hearing all the gory details about my current size (whale) and symptoms (exhaustion) so that they can offer all their unsolicited advice.

So, they press for information. “Craving anything?” –Nope.  “How are your ankles? Your feet? Swollen yet?” –Nope.  “You’re having a girl? Is your face breaking out? You know they steal your beauty!” –Nope. People in grocery store check-out lines are always the worst. I don’t know what it is about the grocery store. It’s always there I get the most ridiculous remarks: “Just wait till you see how bad your stretch marks are!” “Enjoy her now, just wait till she’s up all night crying!” But nowhere is safe. I get unsolicited advice in line at the coffee shop, when I’m walking my dogs, and at the post office too. Last week, at the post office a woman congratulated me on having the nerve to be single and having a baby (my wedding band no longer fits on my swollen fingers), but then chastised me over driving a pick-up truck because “Where did I plan to put the car seat?” She left me, smiling to herself and said, “Just wait for the terrible twos! You’ll wish you had a partner then.”  Ugh.

It’s funny because when I googled “unsolicited pregnancy advice” there are hundreds of pages featuring women complaining about this same thing. How do we not understand this then? All the new mothers out there were recently pregnant mommies-to-be, logic insists that they should then understand the complexities of being pregnant and the rules surrounding speaking to pregnant people! Right? Am I missing something?

My pregnancy is a happy one. We tried for a long while to get to this point. We dealt with our fair share of heartbreak before happy news and two pink lines. So, when someone tells me to “just wait: it gets worse”, I kinda want to sucker punch them in the throat. It’s almost like people are surprised that I’m not miserable, or they’re slightly disappointed I’m not uncomfortable. Don’t get me wrong: there are definitely bad days, it’s not all sunshine and roses. But, its still pretty damn amazing.

Click To Tweet


“Just wait” they say. You know what it is I am waiting for?

That moment when my poor, sweet husband has to see his 7 month pregnant wife for the first time in real life, and not make a horrible face!

The first time my husband can put his hand on my tummy and feel his daughter kick. (She’s got good rhythm and a particular affinity for James Taylor.)

I’ll “just wait” until my husband is here to rub those inevitable swollen feet for me, while we re watch Disney movies to ensure we are up to date on all things kid related. (I still haven’t seen that frog one.)

I’ll wait until I can have that first glass of red wine after nine months of sobriety. Did I say glass? I meant bottle.

I’m perfectly happy to “just wait” for that moment when we suddenly realize we’re officially a family of three… or the first time she smiles at her daddy. I’m so excited to see the amazing father my husband will become.

The rest of all that nonsense? That’s just part of the journey and some things are totally worth waiting for.




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Hello Again!

Jul 31, 2016 by

Hello Again!

As I’m sure you can see, the summer got away from me and I took some time off from the blog. Mostly because I traveled A LOT! (More on that to come!)  I wanted to appreciate each moment and not be caught behind my computer screen. I was able to spend some time with my grandparents, distract myself from hubby’s deployment and deal with some life changing things going on in our world.

So, this particular post has to be one of the most emotional and wonderful blogs I have EVER written…. because it’s about time we share our happy news with you.   This blog and its followers has become more than just a community of army wives and teachers, it has become an extension of my life. Your love, support, questions, worries, and shared frustrations have lifted my spirits so many times. You’ve supported me during some of the crazy heartbreak along this pathway to motherhood, and so–it is with overwhelming joy and tears streaming down my face that I get to tell you WE ARE GOING TO BE PARENTS!

Love the Everyday: Pregnancy Announcement with pets

I want to close by saying thank you to all of you who have supported us (and me for so so soooo long). We love you guys and are so grateful to share this experience with you. I plan to recap the first trimester in a future blog post, to be able to share with you the ups and downs of pregnancy and all the emotions that go with pregnancy after miscarriage. But at the same time, I hope to remain sensitive to those of you who are still trying, and still waiting on motherhood. My prayers and thoughts are constantly with you, and I hope to be able to celebrate your joy in the very near future.




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Predeployment Lists

May 4, 2016 by

Predeployment Lists

As we prepare for hubby’s next trip, there are a million crappy things we have to do before he leaves.  When I say crappy what I mean is really, incredibly, freaking awful. I’ve talked about the angst leading up to deployment before, and how much this sucks. I’d like to tell you that it gets better with every trip, but the truth is, even knowing what to expect doesn’t make the process any easier.

Its uncomfortable thinking about all the what-ifs of things that may happen on deployment and the conversations are more than a little awkward. The bottom line however is that he’s a soldier and it’s his job. #armylife #marriage Click To Tweet

So as we update Power of Attorney and talk about writing our very first wills, we stumble through the ideas of mortality, and how delicate our life together really is. We talk about burial and cremation and the ever-after that we may not spend together. We discuss how lucky we are and how blessed our paths have been. I’m certain that he’ll be fine, and we’ll be fine and his next trip really isn’t all that dangerous, but there is always that lingering worry.  So we make the tedious phone calls to suspend insurance on the truck and enact auto-pay on bills I may forget. We call someone to come and mow the lawn and we reduce our cable bill because I won’t watch that much…and we check days off the calendar faster than we’d like. And I worry.  As the months before he leaves get shorter and shorter– the anxiety about him actually leaving starts to set in. But of course I usually put on my “I’ve totally got this” face and soldier on, because he feels better about it when I’m being brave. Sometimes though, that’s easier said than done.

Especially today, when my handsome soldier husband grabbed his ASUs, freshly embroidered with his new rank to take to work so that he could have an updated “hero photo” taken.  My heart hurts just to think about the necessity of such a photo.  If you’re unfamiliar with the term “hero photo” just imagine the photos that I’m sure you’ve seen before, the ones with the bright-eyed, youthful soldier in his dress uniform staring out from the giant frame…propped on an easel before a flag-draped casket.  Yup. Those photos. The ones that simply make a soul ache.

So instead of dwelling, I make lists. List of things to do before he leaves, lists of paperwork to gather, lists of things I will do to keep busy while he’s gone, lists of home improvement projects I can do without his help, lists of things I need him to accomplish as he packs… Lists and lists and lists, because lists give me piece of mind and purpose. Lists I can control, I can check things off, I can make progress.

I’ve already told him I’ll refuse to use that damn Hero Photo should anything happen to him anyway… I think one of him flipping the camera the bird would be much more appropriate.

Pray for us. <3

You can also check out these resources here if you are looking for a checklist of items you MUST do before deployment.

USAA offers a nice printable for you and your spouse

The National Military Family Association has also compiled a list of resources

Lastly, Pinterest never lets me down. Check out these ideas for creating a deployment binder!

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Marriage & Anxiety: Strength in your spouse OR strain on your marriage?

Apr 29, 2016 by

Marriage & Anxiety: Strength in your spouse OR strain on your marriage?

It’s no secret around here that I have suffered from generalized anxiety disorder for years. There have been moments in this life that anxiety has completely shut me down, times when no amount of prayers or tears could drag me out of it. I’ve seen counselors, I’ve taken drugs, I’ve  learned all kinds of deep breathing exercises… There’s a moment I remember from my adolescent years where my high school boyfriend (bless his heart) tossed me into a cold shower for lack of any other way to figure out how to calm my anxiety.  **note, this is not the ideal method**

Anxiety makes me feel less like the person I want to be. #mentalhealth #anxietyisathing Click To Tweet

The truth is, anxiety inhibits my interactions with others, it lowers my ability to be social and it keeps me from functioning in the ways that I would like to. One of the only things that has made a significant difference in my anxiety levels in years is my marriage to my husband.  Marriage has been a rock solid foundation which has given me stability, faith in tomorrow, and a general calmness that I have never experienced before.

There are three major ways that my marriage has supported me in my quest to conquer my anxiety and although there are countless other times I have relied on my husband to support me through this, these things below are at the forefront of how a healthy marriage can help anxiety sufferers. 

  1. My marriage has built my hope and confidence.

I spent a ton of time in my early twenties feeling like I wasn’t good enough. To say I was in a rut would be an understatement!  I was in a long-term relationship that was going nowhere and felt like it must be because I was lacking some fundamental element that would encourage him to want to marry me. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me, and why I was unlovable. My anxiety grew by leaps and bounds in this chapter of my life. Most of my thoughts swirled around the lack of hope I had for my future and my low confidence in myself. My self-esteem was lacking and I felt like there was nothing I could do to get out of this slump.

Since those moments when my husband and I promised to be true to each other through good times and in bad, in sickness and in health I have discovered that my most basic fears have been lifted.  When we stood at the altar of course, the last thing on our minds was the absolute guarantee that we were making to each other. I don’t think either one of us took into account the kind of “crazy” that comes with anxiety that cannot be explained with basic logic. I’m certain we weren’t calculating what that actually means “in sickness and in health”. I don’t think we thought about the ramifications that come with making that vow. My anxiety is definitely one of the larger issues and challenges we have faced as a couple and although it’s not what one thinks of when they think of a typical illness, it is a disease none the less. The beautiful thing is, no matter how big the challenge is, we signed up to tackle it together when we made those vows.

Dan’s approach to my anxiety has really been quite simple. He chooses to love me regardless, faces my anxiety like his next mission and knows that God put me into his hands for a reason. He is selfless about it, and amazing. He focuses on reminding me that we are on the same team, we are in this together, and boosts my confidence daily. Simply knowing that I do not have to handle any of life’s struggles alone, especially my anxiety has helped to alleviate the frequency of my panic attacks.

Since we’ve been married, my husband has told me I’m beautiful 239578 times. He holds my hand when I feel insecure, he reinforces our vows, he promises to never let me go…how can I fear the future when I have that?

  1. My marriage has helped to put my problems into perspective.

If something minor is causing my anxiety, we are able to talk through the details in a real and logical way to prove to my inner anxious self that everything is going to be OK.

Earth to Molly: the world is NOT spinning out of control!

Knowing that communication isn’t always easy, especially if I am suffering with some unrealistic anxiety or unmet expectations, I realize that sometimes talking through a panic attack isn’t a reasonable option. However, when my anxiety cannot be attributed to any identifiable triggers, it is important that someone helps to bring me back to reality. My husband can do that.

I feel like by working on our communication and talking through the little things I am able to get a better handle on what is truly important, what is really at the root of my emotions, and what things can trigger my anxiety. When an anxiety attack will hit me is extremely difficult to predict:  sometimes it can be brought on by truly life altering stressful situations (ie: hubby’s next deployment) other times a wave will come when I’m standing in the produce section on a lazy Sunday at the grocery store.

Because we are deeply invested in this marriage and have a true desire to understand each other we make an effort to communicate our feelings and thoughts regularly. That being said we aren’t always good at it, but his ability to try really helps me get a handle on the big picture. Dan’s ability to compartmentalize things, rationalize and ease my fears truly is what I rely on daily to understand how the world works around me. When he can crack a joke about what’s really happening, or change my perspective on a matter of minor importance it helps me to get a handle on what is really going on. Putting things into perspective in a way that I can understand and hold on to has been really helpful in crushing those anxious feelings.Exploring the benefits of a healthy marriage on anxiety symptoms.

  1. My marriage has helped to identify and minimize my anxiety triggers.

We spend a lot of time together. He knows me better than I know myself sometimes and he can see things in me that I cannot. By connecting our lives in marriage we have tethered ourselves for the long haul. Because of this, we are able to spend quality time investigating the ins and outs of my anxiety.

Together we have discovered some of the best ways to minimize my impending panic.  We now know that I am more likely to feel anxious when I don’t have a plan and a back-up plan. Dan is able to help me make lists and organize our day into a manageable order. In these ways we stop some of the anxiety in its tracks. I know that the weeks leading up to big changes are often the hardest. He’s pointed out that when I don’t get 8 hours of sleep I’m more likely to be triggered by something random, and when I’m hungry I’m just more prone to irrationality than other times.

We’ve also written down a list of the things that help me get through anxious situations (Drink very cold water. Turn off the radio. Pray. Count something. Make a list of what needs to be done next. Sit on the floor. Breathe. Hold something in my hands. Etc.) and he will tactfully remind me of them if I’ve forgotten.

The bottom line, of course, is that anxiety isn’t fun for anybody involved. It takes an infinite amount of patience and a whole bunch of trial and error. There are absolutely days when I want to wring his neck and moments when he totally shuts down and cannot help me. There are times when I want to scream at him (and I do) because he tries to logic-out my problems. There are days when he calls me “crazy” and I call him “mean” (toss a few curse words in here and there and sometimes it becomes a full-fledged battle). There are times when the tears outnumber the condolences. There are certainly times when anxiety gets the best of me and I am not the best version of myself. Sometimes my anxiety takes a pretty big toll on our marriage, and I know that my husband struggles to understand where I’m coming from and why I’m melting down. Anxiety is actually pretty tough on our marriage sometimes.

In collaboration with my friend Kristin, we’ve teamed up today to talk about how a healthy marriage can help anxiety and, on the flip side, how anxiety can put a negative strain a marriage.

To read the other half of this collaboration, head on over to Kristin’s blog, The Peculiar Treasure, to read about how anxiety can negatively impact a marriage.

**Kristin blogs regularly on The Peculiar Treasure but you can also locate her on Facebook and Twitter.

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