Reprising My Role as SAHM

On Friday afternoon I turned in my keys and said goodbye to my role as "Adoption Worker". I ended my year peeking into the world of child welfare as intern extraordinaire and felt okay about closing that door.

My first year of grad school is over and it's more sweet than bitter. This wife/student/mama business is tough work, but I am grateful for the year of learning, friendship making, and relationship strengthening. Feeling this much closer to my personal career goals is pretty empowering.

But here we are. My first Monday as a stay-at-home-mama May to September. I've been in this role before, but it all feels a little different now. The 12-month-old baby I dreaded taking to day care is now a spirited almost 2-year-old with a lot of energy and even more mobility. 

I'm terrified! I legit feel like I do not know how to do this anymore. Our first day has us thrown back into a bit of a time warp, where we are still in our jammies and the house is a hot mess. I am determined to not let me summer fill up with days like today! 

We are hoping to start Jack in preschool this fall and that means structure in his life is going to take on a whole new meaning. So this SAHM life of mine will be dedicated to getting him ready, while having LOTS of fun along the way. 

Zoo trips, museums, playgrounds, oh-my! We are going to do it all! Maybe I'll even make a mom friend (or two!) along the way... I want to fill up these days and months with smiles, laughter, and a lot of memories. 

Keep an eye out for fun toddler activities that Jack and I will be trying out. Wish me luck as I brush off the cobwebs and embrace this full-time mama role once again! 
With a little boy as cute as this, it really can't be that hard... right?


Kayla, According to John

Okay, I saw Becky post about this and I knew I had to ask John to participate. Me from my husband's perspective? I couldn't resist the chance to see myself through his eyes - and I am not surprised that almost every fact he wrote had me laughing. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did :) 

Facts of Kayla according to John:

10 Facts about Kayla. A day.

1. The minute I wake up in the morning she takes over the entire bed, and not a single f**k will be given until Jack is up for the day.

2. She insists I give her a kiss and tell her I love her before I leave for work, no matter how asleep she is, and she is furious if I forget. (she also kisses me and tells me she loves me, every morning, no matter how asleep she is)

3. She never drinks her coffee hot, she waits at least 10-15 minutes before she will touch it... She likes her coffee lukewarm. Gross.

4. She claims to wear something Pink everyday... and technically this is true. But only because she has a pink tattoo!!

5. She has a 1 hour commute to school, which would absolutely kill me. She doesn't mind the drive though, apparently she had lots of road trips to her brother's hockey tournaments as a kid. She says I'm a wuss when I complain about my commute.

6. I have never seen Kayla in class - but I can almost guarantee she is the girl in class that all the professors love, and everyone sitting in the back (me, in undergrad) just absolutely cannot stand. You know the type.

7. Kayla and I talk everyday on our lunch breaks.

8. A family member told us at a wedding last weekend that she had never seen two people who thought the other was so funny. Making Kayla laugh is one of my favorite things to do, and she makes me laugh everyday.

9. Kayla will watch Oregon Vs. Louisville in the Sweet 16 if I will watch Lindsey Vs. Catherine on the Bachelor.

10. We watch Family Feud with Steve Harvey almost every night... and we are not ashamed of this. One day we will win fast money.


The Kind of Parent I Want to Be

I'm in a human development class this semester. I've taken several of these types of classes before. As a psychology major in undergrad, learning the theories of Piaget and Erikson was interesting. Sometimes (often) I would apply these theories to my own life, but it all still felt so abstract.

Now, I am looking at it all through a parent lens. I question myself often. Question myself as a mother. Applying theories and techniques to the reality of my life as a parent sometimes has me leaving class with tight ball of anxiety at the pitt of my stomach. Am I doing the right things by my child? Am I nurturing him and disciplining him in a way that will help him to reach his full physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development potential?

So I thought it was time - time to sit down, think, and record the kind of parent I want to be. I feel like I often fail myself and fail Jack by not being the parent I want to be. I'm tired or busy... there are one million excuses to "let things slide", but does my child get to pay the consequences? I know I cannot be perfect, but I refuse to sop actively bettering myself for my family. 

The kind of parent I want to be is patient. I believe in structure. Bed times, bath times, nap times, etc. I believe that when Jack knows how his day is going to go, anxiety and room for uncertainty can be lessened. This is something that will always benefit him. No matter what happens in school or anywhere else, home is consistency and comfort. At the same time, I want to be fluid and patient among this structure. Things happen, frustration happens, tantrums happen - I want to be patient and allow my child to grow and learn. 

The kind of parent I want to be is understanding. I don't want to have unrealistic expectations of what Jack should be able to know or do. I don't want to set my child up to fail because I am not properly informed of what he can and cannot know, understand, or do. 

The kind of parent I want to be is present. This is hard. I have my own things going on and checking out is so easy - but my life and world outside of home is not Jack's (or John's) problem. My child deserves my presence. Getting frustrated or annoyed because there is not one second of quiet is unfair. I want babies, children, teens, etc. to know that their mom is there, present, listening, seeking to understand, and accepting them. 

The kind of parent I want to be is calm. Yelling - It's so easy. It's an instant release of frustration. But I am a model. I cannot get mad at Jack (at any point in his life) for behaving in ways that I, myself, do as well. When Jack yells "no" in my face I can't really get upset if I am guilty of doing the same to him. I have to teach him respect through my actions. Showing Jack, John, myself, and others respect is the only way my child will learn the true meaning of respect. 

Maybe this list is too short. Maybe striving to be a patient, understanding, present, and calm parent isn't enough. But if I can check those things off in every word, action, and gesture toward my son my hope is that he will know and feel my unwavering, constant, and unconditional love. 

Being a parent just keeps getting harder, yet more rewarding every day. 


Ch- Ch- Changes!

You may have noticed "Life After..." got a little makeover. I was in want of something simple and soft so I eliminated the busy menu bar and went with quiet peaceful colors. Here's hoping that this change helps this space to inspire me again! Happy Sunday friends :)


That One Time...

Remember that one time I took a one month blogging break on accident? 

I say accident because I didn't mean to take a break, it just happened. Things got busy with school and with Jack - I didn't feel like going down to the basement and writing. When Jack went to the bed playing Candy Crush or hanging out with my husband seemed more appealing. 

The truth? I have a list of posts that I want to write, a list of things on my mind that I'm ready to share. 

The problem? I need to redefine what this space means to me. It started as a way to feel connected to the world while I muddled through stay-at-home-motherhood with a new baby in a new town with no friends... Now, it's still a place I treasure, but not one that I have time for in the way I used to. 

The solution? A new look and a new philosophy. It's simple really - this place is about marriage, motherhood, and my perspective on it all. I hope you will continue to follow along. It may not be 5 days a week (or even 3) but it will be real and honest and me.

Keep an eye out for our new look... coming soon!