Category Archives: Mommy Mania

The Pinterest Panic

Ambitioussoul

See, we’ve all been there.

Heavy breathing. Sweaty brow. Erratic eye movements. It may sound like a spicy novel, but no… it’s the Pinterest panic. You know what I’m talking about… you jump on Pinterest to peruse the latest pinning activity, and you instantaneously come across pins that you want to implement in your life—IMMEDIATELY! Recipes. Crafts. Workout routines. Fashion statements. Home improvements… the list goes on, and on and on…

I can’t even begin to tell you the bodily reaction I have when all of these things seem to flurry in front of me. The more I scroll, the more I want to do. And of course I feel like the longer I sit at work, the more time I’m wasting. How many hungry caterpillar cupcakes could I bake in 8 hours? Or how many crunches could I do instead of sitting through a 2-hour meeting? AHHHH it’s just madness.

At first I thought this panic was brought on by me being a full-time working mom, trying to somehow make it up to Maryn by crafting, baking, building… But then I started comparing notes with stay-at-home moms, and the same panic washes over them. Of course they don’t have time to channel the Pinterest madness either—they’re busy chasing around naked tushies and washing magic marker off the walls (or is that Sharpie?!) Even people who are kidless (shout out to my sister,) the insanity you can drive yourself to is enough to make you throw your laptop across the room.

My obsession came to the ultimate tipping point when I was on the verge of creating an Excel spreadsheet to track which pins I had completed and whether or not the recipe, craft, project, __________ (fill in your Pinterest desires here,) was a prideful success, a mediocre victory or an epic fail to never be repeated. Can you say INSANITY?

I came to this conclusion: no matter how much free time you have, children or no children, career or no career, no one would EVER have the time to victor over even HALF of their Pinterest dreams. And to make them look like they do in the pins?! That would take a whole separate lifetime.

So with all of this said, I get the panic. I get the anxiety. It’s normal. But it’s NOT normal to hold yourself to such a ridiculously high standard that ONLY exists in photographs (that are mostly taken in a professional studio might I add!) And no one expects us to be the Rembrandts of frosting cupcakes, so why do we expect that?!

Don’t delete your Pinterest account. Enjoy it. Take one recipe, one home improvement project at a time—and you’ll be just fine. And if you really need a boost, just google “Pinterest Fail…” it’s enough to make you smile.

– Ambitioussoul

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Spoiler Alert: We are a 1-child Family

Only children

Maryn Rose

I’m pretty sure my husband and I started laying out plans for kids about a month after we started dating. It was one of those, “Yup, we’re definitely it for each other” situations, so why not talk about our offspring honestly and openly? We went over the usual topics: how many (2 of course,) names we like (this was not an easy feat) and our ideals on discipline, character and, well, creating the most well-rounded, most well-taken care of human being of all time. Yea, as you can see, we followed suit with most parents and set our expectations pretty high—not just for our future child, but for ourselves.

3 kids?! Wait, what?!
As our relationship evolved, we continued to talk about it; through our engagement, our honeymoon, our marriage, our vacations… you get the drift. So I guess the look on my husband’s face when I told him I wanted three kids shouldn’t have been such a surprise. Absolute bewilderment cascaded over his face as if he had just experienced a sasquatch sighting. I just couldn’t shake it. I loved having more than just one sibling. With two sisters, it was like we were all a perfect mix of character traits, borrowing from each other’s DNA and also originating from crazy double helixes that were all our own. I thought to myself, “Just wait until we have our first one. He’ll change his mind.”

1 kid?! Wait, what?!
I always thought I was one of those women who was born to be a mother, that once I had a baby of my own my sole purpose in life would be suddenly defined. It didn’t exactly go that way, and now that Maryn is 2 1/2, we’ve made up our minds that she will be… eek, it still seems scary to declare her… an only child. For the longest time my husband and I would look at each other, reading each other’s minds but not wanting to verbalize our thoughts. After all, that would make them real, right?

For the longest time I felt like I was failing myself and my family by thinking this way. After all, THIS WAS NOT THE PLAN! But over the course of the last month or so, I’ve really been able to find peace with it. Whenever someone would have a pregnancy reveal on Facebook, my mind would start swirling. “Their daughter is 2, and they’re having another baby already? Should we be doing that? How do we know if we should be doing that? Yes, we should. Maryn needs a sibling. No we shouldn’t. We’re not ready, or are we? No, we’re not. Or maybe we are…” I’m sure reading that stream of consciousness made you exhausted, as it would me, pretty much every day. So with my husband’s help I’ve decided to rest my mind. His reassuring and agreeable nods as I talk through my thoughts have been just what I’ve needed to experience the calming effects that can only be felt after a life-altering decision has finally been made.

Nothing is ever black and white—this is all about gray matter
The caveat to all of this is, yes, we may change our minds. Some day down the road, we may wake up, look at each other and decide to plunge into the deep depths of newborn parenting status once again. But until that happens, we’re standing our ground. My husband and I also have a strong passion for adoption. My mom was adopted, and to know she was given a life she would have otherwise been deprived of (not to mention it gave me the most amazing grandparents ever,) creates such hope in my heart. I think our openness for that possibility is a huge contributing factor to the peace we feel about all of this. And we are so thankful for that.

Am I sad I won’t have the chance to have a reveal party with pink or blue cake filling or pink or blue balloons flying out of a box? Yes. Am I sad I won’t have another little life kicking around in my belly? Of course. But I’m so happy and hopeful for all the other amazing moments and experiences life will reveal to me in the days and years ahead with our Maryn Rose.

– Ambitioussoul

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SAHM Avenue intersects at Working Professional Boulevard

How do you women do it?!

How do you women do it?!

A Familiar Intersection
Unbeknownst to my husband, thoughts of becoming a stay-at-home mom, also popularly known in the blogging world as a ‘SAHM,’ (thank you to the world of over-used acronyms,) had been swirling around in this perpetually revved up brain of mine. Full time? Part time? I wasn’t sure. But it was something that I just
couldn’t shake.

I think much of this was due to the guilt I feel each morning when I drop Maryn off. Does she cry? No. Does she whine? Double no. Does she seem phased at all when I leave? I don’t even think I need to answer that… So why is it that I feel this natural pull to be home with her all of a sudden? Well, maybe it’s just that– the fact that she is perfectly fine with not being enveloped in my presence and love all day every day.

When I expressed my thoughts to my husband, I could sense the shock he was feeling even before I finished my sentence. After all, I was the definition of a career woman—always wanting to excel, progress and be defined in some sense by who I am when I’m in my office and sitting in front of my computer screen. I knew he wasn’t super sold on the idea, so I just let it breathe for a little bit.

He Speaks in Mysterious Ways
A few days later during my ritualistic Facebook perusing, I came across an article where a woman explained why she regretted leaving her career to be home with her kids. In her interview, she graciously pointed out that although she loved the time she was able to spend with her children, the eventual reentry into her career several years later was not only super challenging but quite dreadful. After losing her ability to cultivate professional relationships and networking opportunities that were at one time bountiful to say the least, she found herself dizzying over the thought of having to start from scratch. In her words, her world had “narrowed” before her very eyes.

Call it divine intervention, call it terrific coincidence, call it whatever you will. But I believe and KNOW seeing this article was no accident. Amidst the sea of inconsequential news feed shenanigans, that one post jumped out at me and urged me to click on it like nothing ever has before (except for maybe an oh-so innocuous J. Crew summer sale e-blast).

Gridlocked is no way to be
After marinating myself in the article and all it stood for, a sudden peace came over me. Yes, it’s difficult to tackle the inevitable sick days when there isn’t any sick time to be had, or the lazy days when all you want to do is immortalize the day by staying in your PJs and eating breakfast for dinner, but it made me think about all the things I’d say goodbye to. I like that I have an office where it’s just me and my music, writing the day away for clients. I like that I can run errands during lunchtime, without my daughter trying to snatch grapes from the produce bin. I like that my email signature defines me by company and title, mentioning nothing about my life as a mom and everything that comes with it. It’s almost like another identity… yet miraculously, it’s still me. 

Now, for you SAHMs out there, I give you more credit than you could ever imagine. The patience, grace and love you display each and every day is astounding, and I commend you deeply for it. You turned down SAHM Avenue and never even looked back in your rear view mirror, and that’s pretty incredible. But for me, the next left at Working Professional Boulevard, that’s my turn.

-Ambitioussoul

Oh, and here’s the article I reference in this post!

Routine Rumble

Cleaning Calendars are cool!

Cleaning Calendars are cool!

I have a confession to make: I’m a routine fiend. Yes, all those years I’ve labeled myself as being “spontaneous” were a total lie. And I think deep down i knew that. But I never realized how much I depend on being enveloped in my usual day-to-day schedule. And when I’m not, it’s not a pretty sight.

I sort of knew all of this once I had Maryn, but I think I just suppressed it. I thought for sure after having her I’d want to be a stay-at-home mom, soaking up being by her side at every whim. I would daydream about getting her on the bus each and every morning and welcoming her home each afternoon with a different homemade snack and craft project to tackle, all while of course having my cleaning, shopping and cooking done by 5 p.m. I WANTED to want to stay home, but I quickly found out it just wasn’t me. By week 4 I was ready for re-entry. I wanted my desk, I wanted my computer, I wanted my co-workers.

For some of you, I know you’re wondering what kind of delusional world I’m living in, why anyone would want to be confined by any sort of regiment. What about the feeling of liberation? It’s kind of an oxy moron, but having a routine MAKES me feel liberated… uhh…

This all became blatantly obvious when Maryn got sick a few weeks ago. My husband and I had to juggle our work schedules, take turns bringing her to the doctor (she was there three times in one week,) finding babysitting arrangements when we really, really couldn’t miss work and staying up with her all night when her fever would get unbearable (for all of us!)

Everything was totally thrown off, sending me into a complete tailspin. I felt like I’d never gain control again. I kept thinking, “This is NOT what I planned to do today. I should be… doing the laundry, running, working, etc. etc.” I know it sounds like I’m being ridiculously overdramatic, but it’s exactly how I felt.

This is probably what’s led me to have a cleaning calendar (thank you, Pinterest!) I’m not sure if I was excited to see a plethora of cleaning calendars posted because I wanted to steal someone’s format or because I was relieved to see I wasn’t the ONLY crazy person out there that needed one.  But it keeps me on track. 2-3 tasks a night, and I’m golden. And yes, for some of you this is a total eye roller. For those of you who are as equally excited as I was, I’ve posted the one I use in case you’d like to use it as a guide.

Let me be clear: I’m not one of those people who eats the same thing depending on the day of the week (i.e. Monday is chicken night, Tuesday is pasta night, ya da ya da ya da.) And no, I’m not making that up to make myself feel better– I know people who do that. But in order to keep myself half sane, I do have to plan my post-work strategy accordingly. And being someone who revels in a neat, clean and clutter-free house, a cleaning calendar is a must.

For all of you out there who think I’m insane, good for you! I wish I could just roll with it. But for those of you who have been nodding your heads all the way through this post, you’re not alone. Fellow routiners, let’s keep on routining!

-Ambitioussoul

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Pleading the 5th

Image

How can I not want two of these?!

I always imagined I’d have two children. Actually, that’s a lie. For several months before my daughter was born, I thought for sure I wanted three. Being one of three girls, I wanted my kids to have exactly what I had.

Sure there were times in my life where I wish I didn’t have any siblings. Those mornings rushing around before the bus came looking for my essential hair products and the new navy sweater with the tags still on it. Those nights where I had to stay home and babysit them as they ran around and screamed like two banshees on the Discovery Channel while all my other friends were at the movies. Yea, I could have done without those. But then I think about the relationship we have now, and I could never live without that. My sisters are my best friends. They are two people I always know I can trust– and that says a lot, considering I can only count the trustworthy people in my life on one hand, a recent and scarring revelation for me come to think of it.

But I digress (what else is new…) Now that Maryn has been here for 14 months, it’s finally settling in that she’s a permanent (and welcomed) fixture in our lives. I think for several months I was in denial, thinking this whole mommy thing was just temporary. Oh no, she’s here to stay. It’s taken me quite awhile to get used to the idea, being depressed for several weeks after coming home from the hospital. I just could not get over the fact that it would never be just my husband and I again– there would always be three of us. AHHHH! How was I supposed to process all of that?! But here I am many months later, and I love being a mom. The real question: do I love it enough to be a mom of two? I’m not so sure…

…so when people ask me “When are you going to start trying for #2?,” I get this nasty pit in my stomach and my throat starts to close up. How do I tell someone I’m just not sure that I want another baby, that I may be part of the one and done club? Especially when many people surrounding me who have children the same age or even younger than Maryn are pregnant again?!!! Instead of stuttering and feeling the potential burning of tears in my eyes, I shut down. That’s right. For at least 10-20 seconds (which seems like a lifetime in “waiting for a response” land,) I don’t say a word. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!

I don’t know why I stress about letting the askers down. I mean, let’s face it, they’re not going through the physical, mental and emotional turmoil of it all. And it’s my decision, right? Maybe it’s about letting myself down. Maybe it’s about not following “the plan” I had always latched onto in my own mind.

Instead of really facing the question head on and dealing with it, I’ve decided I have an answer: I will not start thinking about having another baby until we are completely debt free. Hopefully in the listener’s mind, this will seem to be a sensible answer, skirting around all the other ancillary issues surrounding this question that sends me into death-grip mode. And I can’t say it’s all for deflection sake. Thinking about having another baby freaks me out enough on principle. Then once I start thinking about the financial implications, my skin gets blotchy, my heart starts racing, and my eyelids start to flutter, all from the sheer panic I’m enduring.

I understand the love you have and the bond you share with a child is priceless. And I wouldn’t change anything in my life for a second when it comes to Maryn and how much she’s impacted my life. But as Dave would say, it’s just not in the budget…

-Ambitioussoul

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