Monday, August 22, 2011

Split Decisions

I'm taking a break from the homemaking posts.  Though I continue to clean and organize, it was beginning to get a little dull for me to talk about.  The reality is I'm not superwoman, it's slow going, but I've formed new habits already.  So that about sums it up.

What I do want to talk about is how as a homemaker I'm having a moment of uncertainty in my own identity.  It feels almost like a split personality.  On one hand, I love to cook and bake and entertain, keep a neat and tidy house.  But the other part of me likes dark smudged eyes, high heels with leather jackets and to sit at a bar and have my husband act as if he doesn't know me and "pick me up."  (hey, if you've never tried it, it can be an amazingly good time!)

With the surprise of finding out we were pregnant it felt as if my well laid plans were suddenly gone in a pouf of smoke, while the idea that I needed to be Super Homemaker came to the forefront.  I feel a bit like Alice trying to find my feet because while we're thrilled at the idea of finally having a child, we both have admitted it felt like suddenly things were changing without our consent.

My nightmare is ending up looking a hot mess driving a mini van (it's a strict rule in our home that we will never own one of those contraptions), my world revolving around play dates and soccer games.  We spend a lot of time discussing balance, not being overly focused on our children, keeping our marriage near the top of the list.  But there are grey areas.  Does the sparkly mini skirt I had hoped to rock at New Years this year have to be struck from the list forever?  (clearly after giving birth it's out for this year.)  Do we have to suddenly succumb to cozy furniture and put away all the breakables?  What about enjoying a glass or two of wine with dinner while breastfeeding? (I've been told it's fine to have one, that very little makes it's way into your milk, for the record.)

I want to be an amazing mom.  But more importantly a great wife.  And even higher than that, I need to feel like I'm being me, a woman.  I've heard people say it's selfish and fine, that may be your opinion.  I'm okay with being called selfish... we all need to accept that a bit.  It doesn't mean I'll be any less wonderful as a mother, but it does mean I won't always put my children first (from a Christian standpoint, you're not even supposed to).

So, that's what has been on my mind as of late.  Balancing practicality and family responsibility with being myself and not feeling trapped.  I gave up on the idea of Paris for now, but could we compromise and head to the South of France?  Decisions, decisions. 


  1. I don't think thinking like that is selfish at all. You are looking for balance in all areas of your life, and I think that's great. A lot of women put their children first at the peril of their marriages or own identities, and usually that doesn't work out so well for them in the end.

    Some little things - like the mini skirt on NYE - might have to be postponed, but that doesn't mean cancelled!

    I think with your mindset and ideas about marriage, parenting, and staying true to yourself, you are headed in the right direction :)

  2. Oh the struggle of becoming a mom... I hear ya, girl. I really do. My daughter is almost 2 and I'm not sure I've done a great job at "not loosing myself." So if you get that figured out, you'll have to fill me in.

  3. I think you'll be okay. Like Crystal said, you have a good mindset for staying true to yourself while giving your family what they need.

    I think it's a plate balancing act and frankly, sometimes you have to let one fall. I do think that parents who still do things they enjoy (like wearing that mini skirt)(Or in my case, having that blue hair) AND focus on their marriage give their children a better foundation for life than someone whose sole focus is their child. I've seen those relationships and it doesn't end well.

    My boys are 11 and 8. It's hard sometimes but you get through it. Talking about stuff often helps the most and you and G seem to have that down already :)

  4. I don't have a child, but I am a homemaker and feel my identity gets twisted between washing dishes and wanting to play with makeup and wanting to wow a conference room with my analytical skills.

    Not that you should COPY these lifestyles, but can you find inspiration in the glamour mommies of business and celebrity fame? While you certainly don't intend to mimic their lifestyles (or value system, ick), I think you will find that these women - particuarly business women - relish their roles as wife, mother, and person with their own identity.

    Besides, black smudged eyes and leather jackets are a great counterpoint to the traditional mother role and make you just that much more mysterious - very French chic, if you ask me.

  5. On the wine while breastfeeding... I'm not saying don't do it, but there are test strips you can buy to check your breastmilk. I know from experience that differnt wines/beers/whatever can affect your milk differently. Try testing the first few times, then you can adjust your alcohol intake accordingly.

  6. Speaking of letting yourself go after motherhood, I can honestly say (at least in my case) that it all stems from tiredness. Once you get to a certain stage of exhaustion, you take the easy way out and you lose all of your common sense. Or maybe that's just me.

    Anyway, to the point of my comment - the dreaded minivan. I hated minivans, even before I had children. I hoped to God that I NEVER became one of those soccer moms with all that crap in the car, driving the children here and there... I fit all of my baby stuff in my blazer. It worked great for two babies. Even worked for three babies, as long as we stayed with two forward facing seats for the older ones and a rear facing for the baby. Sure, you had to squeeze the door shut and lock it to make sure it all didn't pop open at freeway speeds, but it was the best I was going to do. Then, that baby grew up and wanted a forward facing seat, too, and we were stuck. My husband was so happy, he had been the one pushing a minivan over and over, since I first got pregnant, and now it was obvious we had to get something else. Quickly. I was drug to the dealership and extremely angry about it. So angry, in fact, that I couldn't even enjoy the fact that we had to go out to dinner just the two of us while waiting for our paperwork to go through. I refused to test drive the car and wouldn't speak to my husband while we were there. When it came to signing the paperwork, I was fuming while signing, smoke coming out of my head and didn't even give my husband a second glance, let alone pay attention to what I was signing. I'm going to assume it was just car-type paperwork and not my life savings. I cried when the guy handed me the van keys and took off in my blazer. I DID NOT WANT THAT STUPID THING, and I didn't want to be seen driving that stupid thing. My husband ran off to get his car from the front, leaving me to drive the van home. I stomped into the driver's seat, slammed the damn door, and gunned it out of the parking lot. I made it halfway home, and...


    fell in love with the stupid thing! It is so great! I LOVE MY STUPID MINIVAN! AND I'M NO WHERE NEAR A SOCCER MOM!! BUT I LOVE IT!! I love it so much, that as soon as my children move out of my house (14 years to go if the Good Lord's willing and the creek don't rise), I will STILL own a minivan! This is what I love about it. Great storage space, tons of storage. Lots of elbow room. Love the elbow room. My minivan has the feeling of being "big", without being an unruly big vehicle. But the biggest thing that makes my heart pitter pat, is that I can walk (not standing up, of course, but still relatively comfortably) from one end of the car to the other without getting out of the car. That's the big one for me. I was always a nervous wreck taking the children out by myself, because someone got left in the shopping cart or stroller while I was putting the other one in the car. This thing is situated so that I can throw everyone in their carseats from one side of the vehicle, climb in myself, lock the door, and then take my time situating everyone and sitting myself down in the driver's seat. It has been a lifesaver every time it rains. And on road trips, I'm able to head to the back of the car easily without climbing over any seats or knocking my husband on the head with my foot (sometimes it's totally by accident!), then coming right back to my seat.

    My name is Heather, and I'm a minivan convert. I love my car!