Archive | September, 2013

Let’s Talk About Some Stuff I’ve Invested In

This would normally be my “Some Stuff I’ve Bought Lately”, but none of these are things I’ve actually bought. You’ll understand in a minute.

(These all – except the last, because it’s in the future – required funds, though. Let’s not be crazy.)

Okay, so I’ve accepted the fact that I’m firmly in a Plus Size category now. I fought it long and hard, INSISTING that my post-baby body would be a size 10 or 12, which was where I happily was. But the truth is – I’m now in a 14/16. That’s life. I’m moving on.

BUT! That doesn’t mean I’m all muu-muus and QuackerFactory wear. (Sorry if you’re a fan of the Factory.) I found Gwynnie Bee by chance – it was a suggested Facebook ad, believe it or not – and I LOVE THEM. I have found myself describing them as Netflix for clothes, but then I realized that no one uses Netflix for DVD rentals anymore.

But basically, it’s 2005-Netflix for clothes. Lemme splain.

You basically go shopping on their site. They have a large variety of plus sized clothes from really cool designers and their models – praise be! – are actually plus-sized too, so you can see how the clothes look on a real person. You pick the clothes you like, stock up a closet, and they send you three pieces to try and wear.

You wear them – as long and as many times as you’d like – and then toss them in the prepaid mail bags to return. They’ll take care of the cleaning and restocking. And if you like the item? Shoot them an email and they’ll give you an insanely discounted prices. (The two pieces I’ve had quoted were about 60% off of retail.)

The prices feel kind of steep initially (although you can use this link for a free trial month!), but it’s a limitless rotation every month. I know that – right now, especially – clothes that make me excited and feel good about myself are totally worth the price. And the good news is that Gwynnie Bee stocks clothes starting at a size 10, so even if I do get down to prebaby weight, I’m still in the right place. I HIGHLY recommend.

I have just given up on food. I’m tired. Period. But the idea of having to sort through endless Pinterest pages of recipes on a weekly basis to try and plan out our week of meals was KILLING MY SOUL. I whined on Twitter one day about how frustrated I was with this process – especially since I’m trying to stay on a low-carb/South Beach-y/Paleo-like diet. Someone suggested (Chelsea, I think?) that I try TheFresh20.

It’s not a huge expense, and it’s not a whole lot different than other online recipe services, but I thought I was willing to pay the small fee for my sanity. And it’s been AWESOME.

The last two weeks, my weekly grocery bill – using their supplied grocery list plus whatever else the house was needing – has been about $120. To feed four people. And we usually have enough left over for one of us to eat lunch the next day. The recipes use fresh produce, are easily modifiable, and there’s little to no waste in my shopping cart. I’M A FAN.

Every Friday, I get emailed with a link to the next week’s recipes and shopping list. I decide which recipes I’m going to make (I usually make four out of the five that they supply) and head to the store. Actually – the best part? Since I’ve started using this, I can hand Bryan the list and he can go. THIS IS A NEW THING.

Tonight we’re having baked chicken with roasted cauliflower & sauteed zucchini and squash. The leftover chicken is used later in the week for a chicken pot pie and the leftover cauliflower goes into a mash. EVERYTHING GETS USED. It’s just pure genius.

I’m a fan. And it’s saved my weekends.

Now for the most important topic:

CAN WE PLEASE TALK ABOUT MY HAIR?

Guys, for real. It’s getting dire up in here. My hair is crazy long (.. for me, anyway) and Vinnie is at the age where he delights in grabbing a big ole handful and just YANKING AWAY. Something’s gotta change. My hairdresser is at the ready, but I’m unsure of what to do. Thoughts?

Let’s browse the options on my Pinterest board, which is what I doooooo.

At first glance, I want to go THIS SHORT. Look at how pretty and soft but defined this looks! But I have thick, sort-of-wavy, sort-of-curly hair. It probably wouldn’t look like this.

I love the color here, and would ask for something similar (in red, obviously). And this more of what my hair would do if I didn’t straighten it. But the length isn’t short enough here. ARGH.

This is more the length.. sort of. I don’t like the creeping down the back of the neck thing that’s happening here. Also, if I go short, this is more of what my hair will do. But because it’s curly here, I have no idea what kind of cut to ask for.

I LOVE-LOVE-LOVE this cut and it even takes my bangs into account. But I can’t see the back. I CAN’T SEE THE BACK, Y’ALL.

And yet. As much as I want to go short, I love the play on colors here and the length may be more do-able while I have fat-face going on. I DON’T KNOW.

Now comes the part where you tell me – what should I doooooooo?

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Credit Where Credit is Due

“Wait, where’s Bryan?”

I went to an audition last night, and I haven’t seen .. well, most anybody since I had the baby three months ago. I kept getting questions about where Bryan was. “He’s home with the kids,” I’d say.

“Oh, babysitting,” they’d respond.

Now, to be fair, Bryan and I used to audition together. And also, it was not uncommon that we’d both be there with one or both boys. (They like sitting through theatre stuff.)

“Nope,” I’d say. “He’s such a fantastic father. You should see him, juggling the boys. He’s just an amazing dad.”

I mean that.

I work a difficult and unpredictable job. My hours often vary from 8-14 hours on any given day, usually with little notice. He’s always offered to take care of drop-off/pick-up, without any guilt trips. In fact, it’s usually one or two text messages (usually to tell me he’s getting Tiny and Connie, which is what Autocorrect believes our children are named), and it’s just done. He takes care of homework, snack, bottles, and everything. Sometimes, it’s dinner, bath, and bed before I even get home. And you know? The boys need to see that. They need to see what a good partnership really means.

When I was reading Lean In, it kept talking about how you have to ensure that you have a true partnership at home. The men should take care of some of the housework, the book coaches. They need to parent as well.

Is this really something worthy of publication? Like, this isn’t something all marriages already practice?

Now, don’t get me wrong. We still have our little eye-rolls at eachother. I leave the bathroom light on when I’m getting ready before dawn, and that bothers him. His idea of “cleaning the kitchen” is putting dishes into soak (until I can just no longer stand looking at them). He calls me a clothes hoarder; I do all of the laundry for all three of the boys. But these are SO SMALL in the grand scheme of things.

The boys see two people, madly in love. Who really enjoy each other’s company. They see a father who is actively involved in his kids, his house, and his job. They see a father who supports their mother in her career. (And they see a mother free to pursue a career!)

At the audition, someone asked me if I was happy. Bryan asks me this all the time, too.. sometimes in jest, but sometimes with sincerity.

In truth, I could not have found a better partner than I found at that Waffle House nine years ago.

And I’ll give credit where credit is due.

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SAHM or WOHM or WTF, let’s all just LOL

Ah, The Mommy Wars. They are alive and well, aren’t they? And while there are no direct casualties, I think we can all agree that the collateral damage is pretty substantial.

I’ve been reading a couple of chapters of Leaning In every time I jog on a treadmill, and I think Sheryl Sandberg does a good job of highlighting some of the prominent issues that women in the workplace face. (I figure it’s a good read for any woman, working or not.) As much good as I think she does in there, I have to think.. Isn’t some of this just common sense?

First and foremost: I think each woman is wired differently, and trying to lump any and all women together is almost certain doom. And while I’ll be the first to say that I’d have difficulty being a Stay at Home Mom, I don’t think that I’m entirely incapable of it. Much like a Stay at Home Mom could eventually find herself at ease in the workforce. No matter how different women may be, I think we’re all adaptive.

Before I had the baby, I was approached by a lady who was asking me about my due date, gender, blah blah blah. Then she asked me what I was going to do with the baby after he was born. I didn’t think I understood her question, so I asked her to clarify, and indeed, she was wondering about my child care plans. I told her that Vinnie would be attending the same (loving) daycare that Tony had been in since he was three months old.

She stared at me in shock. “I don’t think I could do that,” she said. “I just love my baby too much to leave him in daycare.”

I was so taken aback by the comment that I stared at her. But here’s what I was thinking:

“Oh, you do? Lucky kid. I only marginally like my kids.”
“We’ve got a labrador retriever, and they’re pretty smart. I guess we could teach her to dial 9-1-1 and have her keep the baby.”
“Funny thing: we like to pay our bills. And our mortgage company wouldn’t really understand if I said we couldn’t pay our mortgage anymore because I love my kid too much for daycare.”

Since I’ve been on the receiving end of this love before, I’m rarely shocked by the sentiment anymore. But I’m constantly disappointed that it’s still out there. Because honestly, even if we could survive off of one income – and stomach the sacrifices it would take to do that – I don’t think that I would stop working. I love having an identity outside of Mommy, and I don’t think that makes me less of a Mom. If anything, I’m able to really, seriously, have focused and undivided time with my kids.

Because these things tend to go both ways, I’ve tried to watch my judgement of SAHMs. There are days, days where the office is a tough environment, days where I don’t get to see my kids during their waking hours, and those days make me wish I was a SAHM. Jealousy breeds contempt, and I’d see posts in my Facebook feed of moms rejoicing that the kids were back in school, leaving them alone and unoccupied for hours at a time. I’d give anything to have that life, I’d think. They don’t even know how easy they have it.

But I know! I know it’s not easy! Dude, me being at home random days this summer with a newborn and a five year old had me PULLING MY HAIR OUT. It’s not easy! It’s downright difficult!

Moments like those make me think of how relative it all is. Look at like this: How many of you spent your 20s feeling like you were overweight and not good enough? The majority of us, right? And how often do you wistfully look back on those days and think Man, I didn’t spend NEARLY enough time naked? Cause I do. Often. Sarah-in-her-20s was a hottie who spent 10 years despising her body. YEAH, SPOILER ALERT, IT GETS WAY WORSE, SARAH-IN-HER-20S.

“Busy” is also relative, right? In my 20s, unmarried and childless, I thought I was Busy. All the time, busy. No one understood just how busy I truly was. Now I’m married with three kids and a more-than-full-time job PLUS a course load PLUS two (sometimes three) freelance gigs. I’m busier now in theory, but it still feels busy.

SAHM and WOHM are the same. They are both jobs that require copious hours, thankless days, and often very little immediate reward. A glass ceiling exists over both areas. We should be working together to break that glass.

I’m waving a white flag on the Mommy Wars, and sending over a dove carrying an olive branch. Because, man, I think the one thing we all can agree on is that we’re busy .. and we’re also tired.

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