The Best Decisions

For right now, the best thing I’ve been doing is not putting pressure on myself to write here.  I expect that it will come back again, but right now I have to let myself off the hook a little in terms of needing to write.  With that said, I am also allowing myself the freedom to get all inspired and want to write here and there, and Amy’s post today did it for me.

The Five Best Decisions I’ve Made in my Adult Life

1. Leaving my PhD Program

Sometimes we are on a path and we let that become our identity.  I was 19 when I decided to major in Sociology and I knew that that path would lead to grad school and a PhD.  It was a huge lesson in learning to trust myself and trust that I could change my mind.  I remember the day I decided to leave the program.  I was walking to class, feeling miserable, thinking about how I used to adore sociology.  I spend most of my undergraduate career talking the ears off of anyone who would listen about all the amazing things I was learning about (criminalization of drugs!  gender inequality and power in marriages! marxism and the bourgeoisie!).  Grad school took all that joy away.  On that walk, I was playing with the idea of leaving in my head and when I did a weight lifted.  The simple idea of a life outside of academia was the happiest thought I had thought in weeks, so I went towards that.

I still got my MA, so that's something.

2. Moving to a new town, with no friends but my Grandparents, and living on my own.

I still can’t believe that I did this sometimes.  Have I ever mentioned that I picked my grad school based off of the relationship I was in?  I picked my college based off of (in part) to its proximity to my boyfriend.  I was developing a pattern of making huge decisions for the wrong reasons.  This decision was my own.  I went to the store and picked out my new bed alone.  I signed the apartment lease alone. I could decide to drive to LA Friday after work and not run it by anyone.  I could stay out late Thursday night and no one cared.  I learned about myself.  I learned about boundaries.  I learned how to connect the wireless internet, kill spiders, and hang wall art straight.  Most importantly I learned that I could do a hell of a lot more than I thought I could.  This was the period of my life that I gained ALL THE CONFIDENCE and I walked around feeling like I could handle pretty much anything life threw at me.

3. Forgiving my Mom.

Having a parent battle any addiction is hard.  (duh?)  It took my mom years, and one serious relapse, to get her life back. At the time she was going through everything, it was really crucial for me to put distance between us.  I could not be responsible for her sobriety, and that was incredibly difficult.  In a lot of ways I lost my mom during those years.  When she had been sober for a couple of years, I had a really hard time trusting the permanence of her sobriety.  I was also really angry.  I would recoil when she tried to hold my hand.

Miles changed everything.  Since the moment he arrived, I got it.  I understood my mom better.  I know she loves me as much as I love Miles.  Love heals a lot of wounds people.  My mom is the best Grandma.  I call her almost every day, because I genuinely want to.  Miles was a like the off-button for all of my anger and resentment… all I feel now is forgiveness and the desire for her to live closer to me.

4. Keeping the Baby.

Mike and I had been dating for a whole of 1.5 months when I found out I was pregnant.  An abortion could have been a real option for us.  We’d be crazy to have a baby after such a short time, right?

We chose Miles instead.  Of course this decision is the biggest decision I have ever made, but it’s also one of the best.  I am a better person because I am his Mamma.  My priorities have been adjusted to include a large amount of building obstacle courses for Miles to climb over.  He is so full of joy and mischief.  Life is better with him by about a million points.

 

5. Marrying my Baby’s Daddy.

Life is hard sometimes.  Sometimes we both get stressed out and we clench our jaws until we can just get through that day.  Most of the time, though, he’s a treat.  He’s my best friend.  I look forward to Miles falling asleep at night because it means I get to hang out with Mike.  I have full faith in him and us.  I want to have more babies with him and to spend my vacations sipping wine with him.  He’s hilarious and a good dancer and he adores me.  We chose each other and haven’t looked back since.

 

What about you guys?  What are the best decisions you’ve ever made?

Lessons in Love: Traditions

Is it too soon to talk holidays?  No, good.  Because that’s what we’re doing today.

Thanksgiving will be here before you know it, followed closely by Christmas.  My question is how you and your Man-Friend navigate the holiday traditions.  Do you swap whose family you spend Thanksgiving or Christmas with?  Do you put a limit on gift cost?

This year for Thanksgiving we have no idea how old Miles will be.  He’ll be here, but he could be just getting home from the hospital or in his 3rd week at home.  So we’re planning on sticking close and making no plans.  We will go with the flow.

Christmas has always been a huge deal to me.  I was THAT single girl with the tub of Christmas decorations.  I really want to keep Christmas morning for our little family, and then deal with everyone else secondarily.  This year we will be waking up Christmas morning at our house and then some time that day or the next driving down to San Diego to be with Mr. A’s family for a week.

I also want to know what kind of Holiday Traditions you guys have in your homes.  For example, I will be making Apple Dutch Babies Christmas morning and everyone gets new PJs Christmas eve.  The Christmas tree goes up the day after Christmas while singing Christmas songs and sipping hot cider.  We will be going to our towns Christmas tree lighting ceremony (because Santa will be there and Miles will totally want to meet him right?).

What works for you and your house?  How do you navigate all the family expectations?  AND what traditions make you really excited for the holidays to come?

 

Lessons in Love: The Chores

Did you know that I studied Marriage and Cohabitation in grad school?  Specifically, I studied gender roles and power structures within married and cohabiting couples.  (I know, my poor husband.)  Mr. A and I had such a whirlwind romance that I could have ended up with basically any type of household labor division…. I knew that he kept his room pretty clean and that he was willing to do grocery shopping, but the rest was a big question mark until we moved in together.  Some couples are totally solid doing the traditional gender roles for their household: she cooks and cleans, he mows the lawn and fixes the car.  A ton of couples seek to be egalitarian and equal in their division of household labor, but women still end up “owning” the household chores (Meaning, sure he helps with things around the house but only if she asks.)  There is even a book called The Second Shift about how sometimes both the husband and wife are working full time and at the end of the day the wife comes home to do an entire “second” shift of cooking, cleaning, child-wrangling.  Interesting, no?

The biggest thing I learned when studying power and labor is that the important thing is not how things are split in a household but how fair the people in the relationship view it.

Here are some of the things that work for us:

  1. Ownership.  Somethings are all his, somethings are all mine, the rest is ours.  Mr. A does all the laundry. Doing the laundry is SO his thing that I don’t think about it ever.  I have no idea if we’re running low on laundry detergent.  From start to finish (meaning he folds and puts away our clothes too) he owns the laundry.  I clean the bathroom and do the grocery shopping.  Everything else is jointly owned between us.  When something needs to get done, whomever sees the need will do it.  Mr. A is the first man I have ever lived with where we really share the household.
  2. Chore Time. We wake up Saturday mornings and clean the apartment.  We may grumble the entire time, but we do it.  Then we can spend the rest of the weekend in various forms of lazy and napping without any guild.  It’s lovely.
  3. Chore Aversion.  There are somethings I hate to do that Mr. A  doesn’t mind and vice versa.  (I hate laundry with a firy passion.)  I think we both are SO grateful to not have to do the things we hate, we do the rest of our chores more willingly.  :)
  4. Partnership.  I think it’s important to remember that some days or weeks we all need a little more help.  Being in a partnership means that sometimes I will do more and sometimes Mr. A will do more.  We try really hard to not keep a score sheet, because that leads to resentment.  We love each other.  We help each other out when we see the other person needs it.  We’re both working towards the same things.
  5. Dinner.  We have a simple rule in our house: If you cook, you don’t clean up after dinner.  The end.
What are some of the ways you navigate chores in your house?

Coffee, Girl Talk, Lessons in Love.

Two weeks ago I started a new Tuesday series about things I’ve learned so far being married, and I’ve loved it.  I have loved the comments and discussions that have happened because of it.  I am going to keep it up, but I am going to change it up a bit.  You see, I am well aware that not everyone is married and I am pretty sure that regardless of your marital status all of us girls have a ton of great experiences and lessons that we can share together.  So, as of tomorrow I am dropping the “marriage” and adding “relationship”.  Some weeks we’ll talk about general relationship stuff, some weeks we can talk about living with a boyfriend, or balancing a baby and a husband… we can talk about it all.

My vision is that I will be able to get some of you amazing readers to guest post on an occasion too.  We can all meet here on Tuesdays, share some life, drink some coffee, have some girl talk.  What do you think?  Are you in?

See you tomorrow!