the babyswing conundrum

This is the corner of our bedroom.

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Most of the readers of this blog are swimming in the same season of life as we are (aka, not done having kids yet), so please tell me what you do with the baby swing. Jackson is a year old now (yes, I will do a one year post, I will…. I just haven’t wrapped my head around it all yet), and we’re kind of in that lull between kids. I don’t love having the baby swing sitting there. We haven’t used it in months already and it has become a clothes holder, but our house isn’t necessarily storage friendly, and the darn swing is so big and awkward it would take up a LOT of storage space, I just don’t know what to do with it. Do I live with it there until there are no more infants in this house??

So, tell me, what did you do with it? Please tell me someone else still has a baby swing in their bedroom.

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#whyistayed

Domestic abuse is in the news right now, because a football player knocked out his woman in an elevator and it was caught on tape, and he’s now being punished by the NFL. One of the morning news shows was discussing the topic with a woman who has suffered from abuse and had started the hashtag #whyistayed, defending the idea that leaving an abusive partner is not easy.

She’s right. It isn’t easy.

Don’t panic, this isn’t a cry for help in a currently abusive relationship. My husband, Jesse, is amazing, and we have domestic happiness.

But, I have been a stayer before. I don’t think about it very often anymore, but the interview this morning brought up emotions from the past. Why did I stay? For 4 years? When he and I met, my self esteem was at a low. And pretty much instantly, he “loved” me. Nothing is nicer than being loved, especially when you don’t love yourself. Of course, that all quickly changed. Unfortunately, I was already hooked. Our relationship was so labile – we were either so, SO happy, or so, SO dark, and my mood was driven completely by his. It became normal for me to cry every day. I was owned by him – I had to change my phone number so old friends couldn’t contact me, he scaveneged my phone records because he didn’t trust me, he would wake up before me to check my phone to see if anyone had called or texted me. When he was at work, I had to answer my phone every time he called, which was 3-10 times per day, or I had to answer 1,000 questions later. I couldn’t take my phone to work with me, I had to leave it at home with him. And that was just the phone stuff.

I was cut off from my family and friends, even though my parents lived 15 miles away, I couldn’t visit them by myself. My friends became his wives’ friends and the girl I sat by in nursing school. (I’m still not sure how I ever managed to finish nursing school). If I answered his phone call while at school, and he could hear male voices, he believed I was cheating on him. There were 8 guys in my class, but somehow it seemed like he was always hearing them in the background. I had to bring my own lunch, couldn’t eat at the student union, because I might come into contact with guys.

I owned no lacy underwear, because if I wore them, he was convinced I was wearing them for someone elses benefit. I owned no v-neck tops. I wore t-shirts under my scrubs at work, even in the summer, because he was accusing me of showing my breasts if I didn’t (to whom, the old people who lived there??).  If I went for a run, I had to show him what I wore when I was running. He picked out many of my clothes when we went out.

These things that I am telling you, they are just the surface things I remember in 2 seconds. And these are an example the emotional abuse things. He hit me, too. But honestly, the emotional abuse was worse. Too bad you can’t see emotional abuse. People who love you don’t abuse you in any way. And, if you ask someone who has been in this type of relationship, I venture to say they’d agree, getting hit didn’t hurt like being told you were worthless and controlled in every aspect of your life.

So,why did I stay? I saw no other way. When I would mention breaking up or try leaving, he would remove battery cables from the car so it woundn’t start. He would take my phone. He would promise he would change. I was physically and emotionally trapped. It took me a month of actively planning in my head before I could even try to leave, and it eventually involved calling my mom to come and get me while he was at work.

I don’t like thinking about or talking about that life. But, it is important for me to put it out there, so if you, the reader, are a stayer, know that you are not stupid, you are not weak. You are afraid. Your choices feel limited. And you probably see no way out.

But when you do leave, you’ll see the world in full color again. Things will get better. You can and will move on. Please, if this is you, please, don’t stay. You are worth so much more.

WM vs SAHM

Bella over at Scrambled Eggs just posted about her opportunity to stay at home and weighing in on going back to work. She commented that she is not in love with being a stay at home mom and missed going to work, and her guilt about those feelings. Bella, I raise my hands and whisper, “amen.”

Not that I’m a SAHM. But for the last couple weeks and the next couple weeks I have the opportunity to be at home with Jackson more than I am used to, until my position in the clinic starts in October. I love him more than anything, and he chooses me over any one most of the time, but I’m not really his cup of tea all day long. We’ve had some, for a lack of a more politically correct term, daycare drama for the last 3 weeks, causing us to switch day care providers fairly suddenly. (This switch also contributed to more at home time with my baby). Anyway, the new DC provider texted me Friday, which was Jackson’s first day with her, and said, “He’s so perfect, I’m so glad he’s here, he just plays so good.” Huh? You mean he’s not following you from room to room, pulling down your yoga pants, begging to be held, attended to, and adored?? At home, I’m the source of fun, comfort, and food. I am the Alpha and Omega. BUT at daycare he is entertained by older kids, learns from them, and works really hard to keep up with them. He’s too busy to be needy.

these are some of our stay at home shenanigans from the last 2 weeks:

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If I was a full-time SAHM I think I would figure out a routine that involves a variety of things and seek out outside-of-the-home opportunities for socialization. That is the only way I would survive.

But I always knew I would be a WM. I grew up with one, and it was okay. There were times I was insanely jealous that Blythe’s mom could come and get her at the drop of a hat if she was sick, while I schlepped on the vinyl couch in the principles office with a puke bucket until my mom (or dad) could figure out a plan for coming to get me. But our family got through it with 3 kids, and we all pretty much are no worse for the wear (hehe, I think anyway).

I am an insanely competitive person (mostly with myself). I thrive on social contact and pleasing others. Sometimes this serves me well, sometimes this is my greatest fault in life. I know I am capable of juggling a family and career – not to say that SAHMs aren’t. We can’t financially swing me being at home, especially when these grad school loans come due… but I’ve said, even if we won the lottery tomorrow, I’d at least need to work part-time. My career is a part of me – I am a nurse, always. Even as a mom, I am a mom-nurse.  A wife-nurse. A runner-nurse. A friend-nurse. It’s me, part of my being and soul. Sometimes I don’t even realize “nurse” speak is coming out of my mouth until someone points it out to me. Yikes.

The point of this being, Bella, I think about dressing up for work, too. It makes me feel needed and kinda awesome to have a career that I like and that likes me back. And, every woman who is a mother picks. Some pick because they have to, some because they can, some because they’ve never thought about doing it any other way. I love my friends that stay home, or even homeschool their kids, just as much as I love and support my friends that do the daycare drop-off song and dance 5 days per week. They are all awesome. And they are all doing what they need to and what they feel is best for their family and kids.

I will cherish the next three weeks at home with JackMack. I will take extra pictures and baby-momma  selfies. And then, October 1st I will put on a kick-ass dress that I have already picked out (kinda like the first day of school) and go to work. It is my calling and my sacrifice, and I picked it. I pick working mom.

~

And WTH, Jackson turns 1 this week? Excuse me while I go to the corner and cry a little more.

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