Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Am I selfish?

Sometimes I often wonder if I am a selfish mom. Selfish for working, for taking on business trips. Am I selfish for willingly leaving my boys at home with their Dad for a few days? Am I selfish for wanting to better my career, for nothing other than my personal pride and work ethic?

All too often I hear, that someone's child is so much better off because their mom was able to stay at home with them. That the only reason that they turned out okay was because their mom was around all the time. While, I have no doubt that's true, and that is what works for their family, it makes me wonder if my work has made me selfish.

Let me elaborate a bit more.

I work at home, averaging about 30 hours or more a week. I work in IT Sales and Management, specializing in solutions. I'm working hard to make the transition into a full time position with my company. I also don't work because of a need for two incomes. Furthermore, I have maintained the stance that I won't sacrifice my career, or job rather, simply because my husband is in the military. I was very lucky to have this job and have strived very hard to prove myself.

I often wonder, or rather feel that I am highly selfish for not turning down work trips to remain the sole caretaker of my children, or the stability in our house. I know that our home life is much different than other families because of my husband's job in the military. Not only is it much different from the "norm" but it is also much different from other military families.

Sometimes I question whether or not I am paying someone to raise my kid, or that I am a part time mom. That I am really causing more harm than good, or that I am trying to do too much, only to cause a lot of damage on the way. I hate that by working, I feel guilty and feel like I'm being too selfish. That in someway, I am ruining my children. I know deep down I'm not, but when I hear comment about how great someone's kids are because their mom stayed at home, I wonder if I am just plowing the way for my children to be not-so-great.

There are some days, that seem to flow so seamlessly and feel so content. Then there are others, the rough ones. The ones were work is busy and stressful, there are a hundred house chores that need to be done, dinner to be made, and the boys are on a biting, screaming streak. Those are the days I question everything so much more. I question on if I would have more time if I didn't work, if the boys wouldn't have a speech delay if I were around narrating my day more. Maybe if I didn't work, we wouldn't eat so much take out and L wouldn't bite H as much as he does. Maybe if I didn't work, we would have more friends with families, the boys would have friends their own age. We would have time for coffee and doughnut play dates, park and more zoo trips. I question it far more than I should on those days.

I've spoken with other working mom friends, well co-workers.They get it to an extent. I think part of the issue lies within my inner critic, and the mom guilt. While there are a hundred ways to skin a cat, I feel like there are two main ways to raise children and that I'm kind of falling in this grey area. Not quite a full time in-office working mom, but not a start at home mom either. The grey area is what makes it tough, what makes me feel like I'm walking in an uncharted territory.

I hate that I feel selfish over working, because working helps with my feelings of self worth. It's good to be selfish in life, good to want to better yourself. I work because ultimately, I enjoy it. I can only hope that I'm teaching the boys that it's okay to be selfish, without losing sight of what is best for your family. I hope that I can teach them there are more matters to life than work, but that there is more than family. It's okay to put your family first, but you shouldn't lose sight of your own goals and aspirations. You don't want to look back one day and think 'What if...' that being said its important to not put work first all the time, and it's not quite always the best timing to put your goals first either. It's a fine, fine line to walk. One that I'm leery of almost all the time, to walk this line that divides maintaining your identity without pushing your family away, and becoming so engulfed in your family you lose focus and you lose who you are.

"It's not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself, and to make your happiness a priority. It's necessary." -Mandy Hale

Monday, January 26, 2015

Why I hate the 'Military Wife' Stigma

Many of you may not be aware that I grew up in the military lifestyle, a "navy brat" as many called it, a term my mother couldn't stand. "You're not brats!" she would say, and while we weren't golden all the time, I agree.

My issue with the "military wife" stigma is something that I'm coming to notice more and more as I become more of an outsider in this 'community' if you will. Many wives claim that their 'job' is a Navy wife, a Marine wife, an Army, Coast Guard, Airforce wife. That's not my job. My job is in the IT field, a job I have worked at for the past four and a half years. I go to work every day, well Monday-Friday, I'm also a mother and a wife every day. But being a mother and a wife is not something I would consider a 'job', and here is why:
  • A job by definition is:
A noun
1.  a piece of work, especially a specific task done as part of the routine of one's occupation or for an agreed price:
She gave him the job of mowing the lawn.
2.  a post of employment; full-time or part-time position:
She was seeking a job as an editor.
  • To me, being a mother or a wife is more than a job. It is a lifestyle change, it is a choice one made to care for one or more people for quite literally the rest of your life. To put your needs last in some occasions, and to know when to put your needs first. Is being a mother a responsibility? Yes, absolutely. But it's more than that.
  • A job, is a place of employment, a place of an employment that you chose to work at and that you can chose to leave at any given time. Being a mother, or a wife, is not a position that you can just wake up one day and decide to leave. You can't walk into your child's room and say "Mom quits today, make your own bottles, change your own diapers and occupy yourself" (well I suppose you could, but I wouldn't suggest it.)
  • My husband is the one in the military, not myself, it's his job. Not mine. I really don't feel like I do anything different than what any other wife, who loves her husband, would do. Sure it sucks when he goes away for a bit, but I like to think that is what makes our relationship work so well. It's based on more than just the day-to-day, more than physical attraction. Any normal wife would support her husbands endavors, and make sacrafices for the family. So, no, I don't think being a military wife in the broadest sense is some sort of super job.
  • To kind of contradict what I stated above, there are aspects that make it difficult. Like when the washer breaks after he's only left 12 hours ago. Or when the kids are screaming and you just want a break, but your husband isn't due to be home for another 2 months and your families are 10+ hours away. Those are trials and tribulations, and they make us who we are. They can be hard, they can be joyous, they can be heartbreaking and they can be overwhelming but I'm a firm believer in that's how we grow.
I just can't hope on board with making it my life, making it my job. Is the military a big part of our life? Yes. Do they have more control on your family life than you're average career? Yes. But it's not our life, it's not my life. My life is a compilation of things, my children, my husband, my dog, my home, my family, my job, my friends, doing things I love and enjoy doing. You get the picture. I don't wake up and live and breathe the military. I don't deploy to a war zone, I don't see steel grey walls everyday for extended amounts of time. I don't work 16 hours a day when I'm deployed.

I'm lucky to have a husband who wants to pursue this career, who wants to not only protect his family but his country. I'm lucky to have a husband who provides for his family. The most important thing though is that is his choice, his doing. I feel like the "military wife" stigma takes a lot away from that, and that makes me really sad.

Friday, January 9, 2015

A late Update

I feel like because I haven't blogged in so long, that an update is called for.

The boys are now 26 months, two years old. They have been receiving speech therapy once a week since October and have made huge leaps and bounds! Hayden went from only saying a handful of words at 23 months (handful, as in less than 10) to saying 10-30 words spontaneously and is now using phrases like ‘thank you’, ‘I want’ (when prompted),  ‘bye bye’, and Hayden is now mimicking myself and his Dad. Liam, has skyrocketed. He has gone from less than 20 words, to now saying 2 words phrases. They adore their therapist and I have to say I do too. She is hands down amazing and has helped us in more ways than we could of thought.

We also have found a Nanny, not really an accurate word but kind of the only word for her, and the boys also love her. I’m so grateful for her, because day-care prices were outrageously high for two kids. Not to mention, I’m glad that I don’t have to worry if they are sick, I don’t have to take sick days, I’m not exposing them to germs other than the normal park germs. I don’t have to wake them up in the morning to take them to a place other than home and they get to nap at home. The list goes on, and on, and on.

I weaned off of Zoloft back in July of 2014, and while it was a bit difficult at first, I’m SO much better. At first it was kind of difficult, because there were things that I had buried deep down that started bubbling to the surface. Things I guess you could say I ignored, that I had to face again. But it was refreshing. I started using Essential Oils to help with my moods and thyroid, and they have been so wonderful.

The Mr is now on sea duty, and is getting ready to start deploying. Part of me is sad, because of the time he will miss with the boys, the other part of me is looking forward to all that I will accomplish while he is gone. The time I will have to grow as a person and refocus my energy, the fun things I can do to update the house while he is gone.

Other than the normal ins and outs, I’ve been working on rebuilding some family relationships sand working on how I want others to go. I’m still working and hoping that I will be granted a ‘full time’ position soon. I currently work about 30 hours a week and up, but I’m really hoping to go full time due to the benefits of PTO and sick days. I’m in the process of re-starting school to finally finish up my degree now and just figure out what career I really want to be in.

I’m really hoping that now that my time management has gotten SO much better, I’ll be able to blog more regularly, about in things going on in my life, and maybe help others in similar spots in life. Twin mom life, military wife life (although I really hate that term, but that’s a different post for a different day), working mom and working at home life and just life in general. In the mean time, I have a whole lot of laundry to catch up on and bedtime is drawing near.


Hayden Climbing at the Park

Liam Climbing at the Park
Snuggles after naptime.

My Mommy Confession

I haven’t blogged much lately, I haven’t had much energy to nor much that I felt was worth saying. But, I have a nasty, little confession that I think is about time to get off my chest.

I left every single mom group I was in.

I know what you’re thinking. Mom Groups? They have those? Yep. They do, and I quit every one of them.

When I first found out I was pregnant I joined up on the Bump and joined a month board. It was nice to have a group of women who were going through virtually the same thing I was going through, some veterans and some first time moms like me. I was on the Multiples board off and on, but never really felt too attached to it. Eventually one of the moms made a FB group and I focused on that versus the Bump.

These girls were amazing, it was wonderful having a group of girls to go to when problems arose, when I need recommendations for carseat brands or bottles. When I wanted to know how many crib sheets to get. They were a great sounding board after a rough NICU day. You get the picture.

Eventually, somewhere down the line, a spin off group was created of girls that felt the closest and I was in that group. These were the girls I loved, and I mean loved. We talked about it all, post baby bellies, husbands, sex, wine nights, date nights, babysitters, nannies, work. Then something happened. Suddenly, someone didn’t like that people were too ‘real’ or too ‘mean’. Now, it’s the internet, so tone of voice can be hard to read. But never in my life was I referred to as a ‘mean’ girl. Ever.

Enter, a crazy catty downward slow spiral.

At first, it was only 3 or 4 girls, who left the group – unbeknown to all, creating their own side group that was about everything happy, and pretty and fun. And eventually (I’m sparing tedious details yall), it diminished into two totally different groups. Two total separate groups that both I'm sure felt stabbed in the back.

Recap: 1 group of moms, with a side group of 50 of those moms, demolished into 1 main mom group and 2 side groups. I know it’s a lot. And its totally wackadoodle. But lets carry on, shall we?

Anyhow, so lets get back to it. So this small side group of a side group had a few girls, we’ll say less than 20. And we all thought we were close. But, the key word is thought. After about 4 months, it became bluntly obvious that it pretty much was a ‘support’ group for two people, and unless you had something end-of-the-world, it felt blown over. Birthdays were forgotten, people were left out. So. After a ton of freaking dumb drama, and feeling like I was slapped in the face, I left.

And it felt ahmazing. I felt free, I felt so free. And better yet, I still do. I keep in touch with a few of the girls I felt close to. I still chat on a daily basis with a few, and I don’t compare myself to others. That was the most single surprising thing that I found after leaving, was that deep down, I was constantly matching myself up against others that I thought were friends. I didn’t wait until they were 3 years old to rear face, I didn’t breastfeed let alone exclusively breastfeed, I didn’t want another pregnancy, I didn’t want sex all of the time. And the list goes on.. and on. And on.

It’s so funny, how fast you thought people were friends that you realize that you aren’t really friends. People who you confided in, you realize probably were really just chatting behind your back or baiting you for information. Blah, blah blah.

And another thing happened. It is SO much easier to focus on work, focus on the boys, focus on the Mr. You get the point. I didn’t realize that I was concerned, on some level, what was going on with the other girls in the group. I just hadn’t realized that it had some how become a priority, but its certainly a priority that I don’t miss. At all.

It’s one of those things that I don’t think are for everyone, one of those things that I feel like can cause more harm than good, especially if you are a giving person. I’ve given far more than I should of ever given, to girls who I thought were friends, who come to find out just manipulated me as well as others.

I’ve not been happier, really and truly. I feel so much more confident in my role as a mom, as a wife, and as a working mom. I have the urge to work out in the mornings, for me. The urge to do my makeup because it’s something I have found that I am interested in, not because I’m trying to match up to another mom. I’m really just at a good spot now, a much better spot than I have been the past few years.

So.. that’s my dirty confession.