So That’s What My Parents Meant About Responsibility

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Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I remember having an argument with my father when I was sixteen years old.  I can’t recall what started the argument (probably me complaining about the unfairness and difficulty of my privileged, middle-class, teenage life), but I distinctly remember my father becoming annoyed by something I said. 

In response to whatever naïve, idiotic comment I had just made, my father told me that I had no idea what it was like to be an adult, trying to support a family.  I sat at the dinner table, rolling my eyes at him, as he stood by the sink, frowning at me.  He said, “You don’t realize how easy you have it. Someday you will have bills to pay, taxes to worry about, and a family to support. You think you have it hard now, but you have no idea what life is really like.”

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From Around the Web 2.26.14

Image courtesy of photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Parenting news and articles from around the web.

* New guidelines for brushing baby’s teeth with fluoride toothpaste. [New York Times]

* Are you sure that you want to eat shoe polish mixed with soap? Crazy pregnancy cravings. [Express]

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I Can’t Believe I’m Still Using This!

Image courtesy of Paynong / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Image courtesy of Paynong / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

In a recent post, I discussed a newborn baby’s simple requirements and how I bought and received a lot of items before my daughter was born that I didn’t need. I might not have needed these things, but they sure made my life easier. This is important for a working parent with young children.  I like easy, I like helpful, I like convenient, and I love a good deal.

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The Nursery: Better Late Than Never

My husband and I have been working to restore our Victorian home for over two years now. The house was abandoned for a long time and completely exposed to the elements so, as can be expected, the wood on the exterior began rotting and the interior plaster walls started caving in.

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My house before we restored the rotting wood exterior.

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From Around the Web 2.17.14

Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Parenting news and articles from around the web.

* One child learns a hard lesson that sometimes we just shouldn’t imitate scenes from beloved movies.  [The Daily Caller]

* This teen is awesome! Fourteen year old brings joy to his sick mother and the entire hospital. [Today]

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My High Maintenance Home Front: January/February Edition

Last month I decided to start periodically posting general life updates and chronicling my high maintenance home front in pictures, tweets, and blurbs.

Over the past six weeks, I have been consumed with my lawyer day-job. Last week, I finished multiple briefs on some serious cases. It was a big relief to complete the work, but it immediately started piling up again. I just received notice that two more huge filings are now due.

On the home front, my husband and I are currently installing hardwood floors on our third floor each night after the baby goes to sleep. We don’t have a single room on the first two floors completely finished yet, so why not start work on the third floor renovations? This could be why my life is in a constant state of chaos.

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From Around the Web 2.10.14

Image courtesy of Pong / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Pong / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Parenting news and articles from around the web.

* Prepare your kids for the scary world out there. Talking to your children about inappropriate touching and protecting themselves from sexual abuse. [Babble]

* It’s about time.  Finally, guidelines have been developed for preventing strokes in women.  Birth control and pregnancy are factors influencing a woman’s chances of having a stroke. [American Heart Association]

* Just another reason to keep the lines of communication open with your teens. Adults may have better romantic relationships if they had good relationships with their parents during their teen years. [Psych Central]

* New autism findings.  Research shows that autism-related behavior and attention problems may be present as early as six months of age. [USNews]

* West Virginia moves forward to protect pregnant workers so they no longer have to choose between their jobs and the health of their pregnancies. [National Women’s Law Center]

* It’s tough out there for older Millennials. They are living with their parents, underemployed, and potentially going to have less wealth than the previous generation. [Bloomberg]

* You go girl! Spotlight on Jolene Ivey, a Maryland delegate who manages a hectic career and five kids. [Washinton Post]

* Properly installed child safety seats save lives, but still aren’t being used as they should be. [The New York Times]

Dreaming of the Law…Not Really

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Image courtesy of Kittisak / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

My best dream ever was…

To become a lawyer. You must think I’m crazy.  Let me explain.

I decided in sixth grade that my life goal was to be a lawyer.  I happened to be a nerdy child, fascinated with United States history, the Bill of Rights, and the development of my nation’s rights and laws. I thought the founding of the nation was really awesome and since the Founders were lawyers, I decided that I wanted to be one, too. It seemed like lawyers had been instrumental in bringing about change so I decided to become one of these people who wielded such a noble power.  I wanted to be a girl who changed the world! I had big ideals for a twelve year old kid.

As I grew older, I worked hard and I kept my focus on my dream of becoming a lawyer. I walked away from other opportunities that came along.  In high school, although I was a Chemistry whiz, I opted not to pursue a career in the sciences because I had a one track mind and that track led straight to a career in the legal profession.  In college, I walked away from an opportunity to pursue a career in academia because I just had to be a lawyer.

I created this idea in my mind that the law was a stately profession where lawyers fought for justice and the betterment of our society.  I was a naive, idealistic, silly girl. Within the first few weeks at law school, I realized that my dream was not reality. It seemed like most people were there in pursuit of money and power. Sadly, once I reached my dream, it didn’t make me happy. I learned a tough lesson from this life experience. Sometimes when you achieve what you always dreamed of, the reality is not what you imagined or expected.  Achieving this dream ended up being the biggest disappointment of my life.

This seems kind of depressing, but this story has a happy ending.

Fortunately, after several years, I found a position in the legal field where I could help others and fight for “justice.” This is as close as I’m going to get to those childhood ideals I had, so this is a good thing.

And then the greatest thing of all happened.

Although I wasn’t planning on it, I became a parent. Parenting provides meaning, challenges, and happiness to my life that I never could get from any type of career or profession. Being a parent is my highest achievement.  It dwarfs anything my career as a lawyer has to offer. Now I can try to make the world a better place by raising empathetic, humble, hardworking, productive, and loving children that will go out into the world and do their best to make it a better place.

So my best dream ever was to become a lawyer; however, my best reality ever was becoming a mama.  Even though my life didn’t necessarily end up the way I expected, I got lucky and my reality became better than my dreams.

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**This is a link-up post for “Finish the Sentence Friday” and the sentence is “My best dream ever was…” This link-up is hosted by Can I Get Another Bottle of Whine, Janine’s Confessions of a Mommyaholic, Mommy, for Real, and Finding Ninee. #FTSF

Finish the Sentence Friday

Valentine’s Day Stinks!

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Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I can’t stand Valentine’s Day.  The media treats Valentine’s Day as the one day each year that my husband must spend money on me, put on a big show for me, and act like someone he’s not to prove how much he loves me.  We have been married thirteen years. He is not romantic and I don’t expect him to be. I just want him to be loving, respectful, and helpful.

On Valentine’s Day, I am expected to transform into a sexy-underwear wearing, coy, vixen to please my man. Give me a break.  I don’t have time for that nonsense.

As far back as I can remember, I never bought into this Valentine’s Day garbage. Don’t get me wrong, I was flattered and appreciative if someone gave me flowers or took me out to dinner, but it was never necessary. Some big, phony, romantic to-do where my date and I are just trying too hard is just annoying to me.  Over-the-top romance might work for some people, but not me. I now realize that buying into the expectations that everyone else puts on me about what my relationship should be with my husband will only make me feel disappointed with him, me, and my life. Disappointment leads to anger and I really don’t want to be angry.

My husband could care less about Valentine’s Day.  Like any other day, he just wants me to be happy and not complaining or nagging.  He will go along with whatever I want on Valentine’s Day to ensure there’s no nagging.

Here is what I have found that makes Valentine’s Day tolerable and lets me get through it without disappointment and anger:

Lower your expectations or get rid of them altogether.  This is the key to an enjoyable Valentine’s Day.  I think that lowering your expectations regarding something like Valentine’s Day plans is acceptable. During my first Valentine’s Day after I got married, people asked me what special things my husband and I were going to do for our first Valentine’s Day. Since we were both broke law students, I didn’t expect anything. Since I expected nothing, I was happily surprised when I arrived home and my husband was making a surf and turf dinner. It was lovely. In my experience when I expect some perfect scenario in my mind, I always end up disappointed. So I’ve learned to lower my expectations. My advice is to get rid of your expectations and be open to whatever happens on Valentine’s Day!

View it like any other day.  If you treat Valentine’s Day like any other day, then you are managing your expectations. I don’t think there should be expectations on either person to act differently just because it happens to be Valentine’s Day. This doesn’t make sense to me. You and your partner should always be loving and respectful to one another. You should be treating each other like every day is Valentine’s Day. If your partner is only treating you like you are special on Valentine’s Day, then you have bigger problems than what kind of jewelry you expect to receive on Valentine’s Day.  

Work together.  Instead of placing all of the pressure on your partner to come up with some type of perfect romantic scenario for Valentine’s Day, work with your partner to devise something fun for you both. Working together so you both can have a wonderful time certainly helps bring you closer. Working together also manages expectations. By working together, you will be taking the pressure off of each other.  Considering that Valentine’s Day is supposed to be about love, have fun planning something special together!

Don’t compare your relationship to others.  This is the worst thing that you can do to your relationship.  It just creates unreasonable expectations.  Remember that the relationships that you are comparing your own relationship to are not perfect either. Your relationship is not like anyone else’s relationship and it’s special in its own way, so stop comparing! If one of your colleagues gets a great bouquet of flowers on Valentine’s Day, don’t feel sad about your situation, don’t feel jealous of her, and don’t feel angry about your relationship. If you are unhappy about something, do something about it.  Your partner isn’t a mind reader.  Tell your partner what you want.  If you would like to get flowers once in a while, let your partner know.  If you want something different in your relationship, then change what you’re doing and talk to your partner about changes you want to happen. Then, move on and enjoy your day!

Focus on your family. Since Valentine’s Day is supposed to be about love, why not share your love with the entire family. If you have kids, get them involved. Do a fun family craft activity or plan a family dinner with a valentine theme. Get everyone involved, have some family fun, and show each other some love!