Tuesday, November 30, 2010

It's Big, Andy, Real Big

When Ace and I got married, we were both OK with either having or not having kids, especially since we're both pretty career-oriented. Some people may think this is wishy-washy, but I prefer to think that we're both flexible in the path that our life (together) takes. I would rather have it that way than to have one of us feel very strongly one way and the other feel completely different, and it's worked out well for the last 10 years.

So, after we finally got settled in our careers and home, we decided to go for it and along came The Mayor. After we had him, we thought "Yep, one is enough. *Yawn*". However, once he hit 1 year old, we began to come out of our first-year catatonia and feel like we might be able to not totally screw up handle another one. Ace is/was an only child, which has been a good experience for him. On the other hand, I have an older brother, which was good for me, but mainly because he's pretty cool and we get along well. In general, I don't think there's a right or wrong as far as how many children to have. I think the most important thing is how you raise those 1, 2, or 6 children. That being said, here are the things twisting around in my pea-brain that are making this decision really hard:
  1. Time With Baby Dos: I was super lucky to be able to stay at home with The Mayor for his first 18 months. Part of this time I was working from home and the other part I was unemployed and looking for a job. It was probably the most awesome (and hardest) 18 months of my life. Now that I'm employed full time and The Mayor is in daycare, I don't know how to accomplish this with baby #2, as we really can't afford to live on one income for very long. And I really want to be home with Baby "Dos" for at least 1 year before he/she goes to daycare. 
  2. It's Really For The Mayor: I, personally, don't care if we have another child. Not to say that I wouldn't love him/her just as much as The Mayor, but I feel pretty fulfilled with having just him. My main reason for thinking about Dos is so that The Mayor has a sibling to grow up with, to be his playmate, to have someone to connect with as family once Ace and I are gone.  But....is this enough reason to have another? 
  3. Solo vs. Team Sports: I've read recently that, in general, only children grow up to be happier adults. They typically cite the undivided attention of their parents, the lack of sibling rivalry, the increased financial stability of the family (without another mouth to feed), etc. I would love to give Jack my undivided attention and focus on him. But... is this enough reason to NOT have another?
  4. Dolla' Bill Y'all: Luckily, I don't worry too much about our finances, as Ace and I both have good jobs and could easily afford another munchkin. But, it would also require a bigger house, double the daycare expenses....basically another cool ~$250k over the lifetime of baby. Ouch. 
  5. Mommy Broke Her Hip Again: So, Ace and I are not getting any younger. I was 35 when we had The Mayor, and Ace doesn't want to have another after he's 40. This gives us very little time to make a decision and get 'er done (I'm so sorry). We don't want kiddos in the  house when we're already retired and wanting to invest in shuffleboard lessons. And it gets harder to be a parent to little ones when you're older. My 25 year old mommy friends have much more energy and better joints than I. And that will only get worse the longer we wait. Ouchier.
There are a hundred more thoughts that torture me daily about this issue, but these are the main points. I really wanna slap envy people who are certain about what they want as far as children go, whether they know they want one or five. All in all, I know that we will all be happy either way. Who would've guessed how hard it would be to know what's best for your family?  Not me. Nope. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

What I Am Thankful For...If I Must.

I know, I know. This time of year, every.single.person in the universe is forced to think about what is important to them and their lives. I've recently been trying to make a major effort to be grateful on a daily basis for the things in my life that are super fantastic. But here, in one easy-to-tote list, is the big stuff in my life that I'm thankful for and couldn't live without (in no certain order):
  1. Family. My parents and brother used to come first, but now I also have my own little fam.  Overall, they all rock pretty hard.
  2. Mayor McPoopypants. OK, so I mentioned him vaguely above, but he's worth mentioning a quadrillion times over. He's the most amazing thing that's ever happened to me. He gives my life purpose and meaning that I never had before. His smile, his eyes, his soft little hands, his sweet buddha belly...all of it do I love fiercely. 
  3. Ace. Again, vague mention above, but he's pretty super special, too. We have our tough times, but he's a good person and tries to do the best for our sweet little family. 
  4. Friends. A few I've known for a really long time and they know me like no one else does. A few are newer, but are just as important and provide me with support and laughter and they listen to my crap like they really care.
  5. A J-O-B. OK, so I hate my current job. But...it provides income that helps us to do the things we want and have the things we need. So many others are doing without because of not having one of these.
  6. A Home. Yeah, we're trying to get rid of it, but it's still a warm, cozy, comfortable place that belongs to us and makes us feel good to be there. 
  7. Security. As with most people, life has thrown me and us for many loops, so I treasure the times when things are calm and normal and safe.  
  8. Health. Yes, I need to start working out again and eating better. But I don't have cancer or some other terminal illness or disability. And that's big in my book. 
So those are the big 'uns. Here are some smaller, yet still important items that I think about almost daily:
  • A dog who cleans up the floor after The Mayor is done eating
  • Whirled peas
  • 3 donut shops within 2 miles of my house
  • Microbrewed beer and chicken wings
  • Cozy pajamas and fuzzy socks in the winter
  • Happy hour
  • That The Mayor doesn't like Barney
  • Coffee
  • Nonjudgemental people
  • Being a child of the 80s
Hopefully I can add to this list through this week. I think it's important to recognize the things that you're grateful for, not just on Thanksgiving, but every day. It really does make life much sweeter when you keep these things in mind.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Bumps and Bruises and Burns...Oh My!!

So, I'm pretty sure if you saw me without clothes on, you would (first, laugh hysterically, but that's beside the point of this post) think that either 1) I've recently been in a serious car accident, 2) I lost a fight with a grizzly, or 3) I enjoy throwing myself down flights of stairs. "Au contraire", I would say. Watch me for a day. Approximately every 12.3 seconds, I am either falling down, bumping my leg/toe/elbow/eyeball on something pointy and hurty, or running flat into objects that are clearly visible to everyone but me.  Bruises, cuts, scrapes, and burns abound on my poor body.  It's really quite amazing I've never broken a bone or had stitches or otherwise been hospitalized for anything serious. I'm pretty sure this is Mother Nature's way of ensuring that I have no good stories to tell and cannot get sympathy for my thousandy-or-so daily injuries.

OK, that's partially a lie.  When I was ~9, I fell head-first over the handlebars of my bike, going downhill, on a patch of gravel, and landed mouth-first on the road.  I ended up in the ER with a ginormous, blimpity lip that did not allow me to close my mouth for around a week (only partially an issue, see I, Mouthbreather).

BUT, I did not get stitches and the only thing close to sympathy I received (other than from my family, who doesn't really count when you're a kid) was the kids at school running from me and calling me a monster.

Yep, that's as awesome as it gets at that age.

Luckily, Ace is much more graceful than I and doesn't constantly look like he fell off a cliff onto a pile of ______ (insert your choice of painful, sharp, burny objects here) .  And, thus far, it appears as though Smelly is taking after Daddy.  For a little dude of 2 years, he's had very few injuries, especially for a boy, and somehow manages to perch precariously, climb very high, and fall on his head without busting it open like an egg.

Is this not enough to deal with, you may ask?? In addition to the harm self-inflicted every day, my clumsiness also causes me to constantly have food, drink, or some strange bodily fluid (gross...not that) stain on my clothing.  Even when I don't eat mustard, a mustard stain will magically appear on my right boob. Ace was incredibly proud of himself for thinking to put Shout wipes in my stocking for Xmas one year. While I'd like to think it was to help me in looking a little less gross while in public, I'm pretty sure he did it for himself, just so people wouldn't look at him and wonder what he's doing with the chick who just crawled out of the trashcan at McD's.

Now. Excuse me while I go and try to lick off the mystery food spot that just magically appeared on my new arm bruise. Ow.

Friday, November 5, 2010

I, Mouthbreather

One of my biggest issues in life has always been my need for people to like me. I'm pretty sure it stems from moving around so much as a child, since my Dad was in the military.  Each time we moved, I had to start from scratch making friends and being accepted by my peers at school.  At almost any age, this is tough.  As a young girl who didn't have nice clothes, who "bloomed" pretty early, and at one point had an Annie afro, this was even harder. Although, admittedly, I never cared if everyone liked me.  Just the cool kids.
So, I thought just for fun and to show myself how silly it all is, these are some of the things about me that, in many peoples' eyes, are definitely not cool:
  1. Most of my clothes and "lingerie" are from discount stores. I'd rather save my $ for other things.
  2. I grocery shop at Wal Mart. It's cheap.
  3. I'm a "breeder". Smelly rocks, big time. 
  4. I like music such as James Taylor, smooth jazz, and Sade.
  5. I still love to say "peeps". 
  6. I don't like yoga. And, yes, I've tried it 100 times.
  7. I love Oprah book club books.
  8. I've seen every episode of Scrubs at least 3 times. 
  9. I have no artistic ability to speak of, other than painting my toenails OK.
  10. I don't always understand New Yorker or other political cartoons. 
These days I guess I consider myself to be a social chameleon.  I can adapt to almost any group of people, any type of friend, any social environment, etc.  I don't care if it's a hillbilly hoedown or a black tie event.  I've always thought this was a good skill, and still do.  But...somewhere along the way, I lost who I really am by trying to adapt to what everyone else thought I should be.

Now, finally, at 37, I'm trying to get "me" back.  It's a daily struggle.  I still find myself constantly worrying about doing or not doing things or looking a certain way that the "Fonzies" of the world will like me for.  For example, yesterday I was driving to work, singing "Goin' to Carolina" by James Taylor.  A happy, fun song that makes me feel good.  But at a certain point I thought "I can't post this as my Facebook status.  People will think it's so dorky" (or something like that).  I can't help it.  These thoughts just happen, as ridiculous as they are. So, what did I do? One of the first things I did when I came to work was post as my FB status "Sarah Campbell Mahalik is goin' to Carolina in my mind.".  And guess what? It felt good to just say what was on my mind, without regards for what other people think.  And guess what (part 2)? Many of the people that I love and respect responded positively to that post!  How awesome is that? And guess what (part 3)? I don't give a rat's pooper if anyone thought it was dorky. Yay me! Sarah:1, Fonzies:0. 

So then later yesterday, I encountered another situation that made me think.  I was sitting in the office of a coworker who intimidates me a little.  Why? Because she's beautiful, stylish, skinny, and very put together.
Here's her:

 She's also very nice, smart, and not at all intimidating personality-wise.  So, there I sit.  Super aware of how beautiful and awesome she is and how I am not any of those things. I, literally, could hear myself breathing through my mouth (I have a deviated septum that makes nose-breathing difficult), felt my thighs looking like tree trunks in my thrift store pants that are too short, and realize my (turning gray, frizzy) hair had gone flat in my face.
And me:

And all I could think of was "I'm such a mouthbreather".  Sarah:1, Fonzies:1.

So, every day may not come out in my favor.  Some days, the Fonzies will stomp me like so much pathetic nerd-dust.  But that's OK.  My goal is to get the Sarah score a little higher each day, until the Fonzies have "bageled" for a long time and I feel like the super-awesome me that I really am.

    Wednesday, November 3, 2010

    What The Fudge?

    So, I thought a lot yesterday about this new thing, my blog.  I sent it to one person, a good friend who I know would never judge me.  Let's just call her "Placey".  It was a big step for me to share some of the stuff I wrote yesterday because its very difficult for me to be completely honest (and I don't mean I'm typically a liar) with people face-to-face about who I am.  Placey gave me good feedback.  But it still left me wondering what I'm doing here.  What do I want to get from this?  Is it just for me to vent some of my thoughts and feelings in writing?  Is it to share some of these things with other people? Is it meant to be informative for others on things like motherhood, being a working mom, my career experiences, etc.?
    I think I struggle with these questions because a big part of me doesn't believe that anyone will really care about or be interested in what I have to write, and that's sad.  Just shows how much work I have to do on myself.  So, for now I'll continue just to ramble like this until a more clear picture appears of what I'm supposed to be doing.

    Tuesday, November 2, 2010

    This Much I Know

    So, I created this blog over a year ago, fully intending to post on it.  I just couldn't quite decide what to write about.  Should it be funny? Informative? Personal? Am I writing more for others or for myself? I still haven't totally decided these things yet.  What keeps running through my head is the old adage "write what you know". That got me thinking today while I was driving for a while, and then a stream of consciousness began that was very inspiring.  I'm afraid I won't be able to remember all of it, but this was a start.

    I know the most intense love in the world.  I know abuse at the hands of men.  I know depression and loneliness and heart stopping sadness.  I know what it's like to have been an outsider most of my life.  I know the unconditional love of a parent.  I know extreme physical pain that ends in something wonderful.  I know that marriage is now the 2nd hardest thing I've ever done.  I know that I can do absolutely anything in the world that I set my mind to.  I know that friends can be the most awesome gift or the most toxic relationship.  I know that animals should never suffer because of humans.  I know that I don't do enough to help others in need. I know that my heart aches immensely for children raised in homes without love, and for the adults they become.  I know that I'm grateful to have a husband who loves me through thick and thin, even though I'm so difficult sometimes. I know that I haven't deserved so much of what's been given to me. I also know that I did not cause those things.  I know that dogs have more beautiful souls than many humans.  I know that politics is disgusting and I want no part of it.  I know that always wanting more is so unhealthy, yet I always do.  I know how to take care of my body, yet I don't do it.  I know that having a child changed the #1 goal in my life, forever.  I know that I need to have a more positive outlook on life.  I know that people disappoint me constantly, and that's my fault for having high expectations.  I know that I am not very good at accepting responsibility for things that happen.  I know that I have done awful, immoral things that I will never, ever tell anyone.  I know that moving around so much as a child directly caused many of my adult issues.  I know that people think I'm confident, even though I'm shrinking on the inside from my insecurities.  I know that the oceans move me, and I should've become a marine biologist.  I know that writing is a wonderful way to express ourselves. And I know that I worry way too much about what people think about me, which made this very difficult to post.

    While I realize this is not necessarily what was meant by "write what you know", its what came to mind and I thought it important enough to write down.

    Whew.  I was going to continue in another direction for a while, but I think that's enough.  More later.