Raising Vada: The End of Infancy

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We are just 10 days shy of Vada’s 11 months birthday. I remember last year around this time thinking THIS COULD BE THE MONTH! Obviously I was new-mom-delusional, but still, October was full of excitement and the buzz of new baby in our household. This year is pretty darn exciting too! I’ve already finished sewing Vada’s first Halloween costume, and if I can convince her to leave the head-piece (no she’s not a Native American!) on for 5 minutes, I will get a photo of the cutest thing on planet earth. It seriously turned out way better than I could have imagined. As for Mr.Gaunt and I, he likes to get his moneys worth out of costumes, so he will be the Stay Puff Marshmallow man again this year. I went simple and sweet and am going to be the Morton Salt Girl.

We also have plans to attend at LEAST two farms to do the whole “How Tall This Fall” pumpkin hay-ride bonanza. We love Stoney Ridge (whose website is sorely lacking in showing you the cool-ness of this place), and possibly Foster’s Corn Maze, and maybe Bellewood Acres too for some apple picking. We plan to take Vada trick-or-Treating (I’m hoping some houses have non-candy treats, yes I’m THAT mom, no she can’t eat any candy) a little bit either downtown, or just in our neighborhood early, and then pass out candy in the evening at our own house. I think she will LOVE all the kids in costumes! We have some super fun Halloween decoration plans too that will either go up this weekend or next, depending on how long I can hold out. EEEK!

I haven’t blogged in a while. Did you notice the blog name change! It was a big step for me, but I wanted the blog to reflect more what I’m blogging about, and not so much my weight. Cha Cha Changes! So onto a few topics that I’ve been storing in my head for a time when I paid someone else to watch my kid so I could blog….ehem…right now.

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WOMEN EMPOWERMENT AND THOSE LOSER STAY AT HOME MOMS ALL OVER INSTAGRAM:

I went last night with my friend Haley to see the new documentary The Empowerment Project which you should totes go see, and cry, and feel super empowered to go out and do something amazing with your life. UNLESS that something is being a SAHM (Stay at home mom), because then you are only doing something kind-of-empowered-but-you-gave-up-all-the-dreams-that-would-have-made-you-actually-inspiring type a thing. I kid, kind of. The documentary features tons of awesome women of all ages and races, and all types of careers. They even interview (the producer’s mother in law) a STAHM, but I STILL cant help but get the underlying message of “SAHM’s are the OTHER thing you can choose to do, if you aren’t going to do a cool job” they ask questions like “did you feel like you had to give up a career” “what will you do with yourself now that your children are raised and you have no work experience?” It all tied back to a slightly “I’m sad for you” tone. I wish they would have talked to that SAHM and asked her:

“How did you instill morals in your children?”

“What training and life experiences got you to the position of being a PEOPLE CREATOR?”

“What dreams and goals came to fruition for your child because of your help?”

“How many hours/days/months did it take you to teach your boys to be good honest people”

“What mothers are your inspiration?”

“Show us these awesome people who YOU created. What good are they doing in the world?”

Because seriously folks. Every time you meet an awesome, loving, intelligent, talented, respectful person in this world, I can almost guarantee there was a good parent (or parental figure) who was there building them from scratch. Children are not born with the skills to be a good person, someone must teach them. And ITS A DAMN HARD JOB! It’s not a cushy job, it’s not a job that gets credit or praise or PAY! So lets all stop acting like being a SAHM is a job you have when you give up the opportunity to have a REAL COOL JOB, and just talk about it like it’s a hard-ass career, and thank god someone out there wants to do it. (note: this goes for all parents, working or otherwise)

I would say I straddle the line of working outside the home, and working in the home. I NEVER thought I wanted to be a SAHM, just like I never thought I wanted to be an astronaut, it just didn’t sound like my cup of tea. It sounded too restricting, not independent and creative enough for me. Then I had a baby, and it really struck me hard that I didn’t want someone else to be spending the majority of her waking hours with her. I wanted her to know me, so see me interacting with people in the world, to learn her behaviors from me, not someone else. I wanted the opportunity to sculpt her life, and fill her sweet baby brain and heart with all the things I know. BUT I also wanted to work, and to keep filling and inspiring my own brain and heart. So I do both, kind of. I work from home, I drag Vada to work (I own a restaurant with my mom) with me. We run errands together, and she spends many an hour sitting at the counter with the regulars. It’s hard though. I can not get nearly enough done with her, so I have two days a week where I have someone watch her so I can really focus on a task, like taxes, or blogging, or ordering things, or helping in the restaurant. I’m thankful for this time, as she is exposed to more kids, a different home, new toys and adventures. I want to teach her everything I know, but I don’t know everything she needs to learn, and for that I am so thankful for all the people in our community who inspire her as well.

One thing that I hadn’t prepared myself for was the guilt and the judgment of motherhood. I have my own personal guilt (as do almost all SAHMs) that I might not be doing an equal amount of work as my husband (he would disagree). It’s challenging for me to ask him to solo parent after he gets off work, so I can go do something on my own. It’s challenging for me to ask him to wash the dishes (is this in my contract?) it’s challenging for both of us to not throw each other under the “who worked more today” bus. It just is. We are new at this, our roles are different, and we are still adjusting. We both have eternal respect and support for each other, but the fact is we have been together for 8 years, and only one of those years did we have our current rolls. It takes time.

Judgement from outsiders is a whole ‘nother story. It comes from friends, from family members, from strangers. It’s people’s opinions or perceptions of your life that they get from online, or quick encounters. People love to judge, it’s just in our nature. People develop a fantasy about what they think your life is like, and what you do all day, and they compare it their own lives, and then they judge. I share a lot online, on my Facebook, blog, and Instagram. I share the good things, the sweet things, the messy things. I share the projects I am proud of, I share my family photos, I share our adventures. I share because I believe my life is WORTH SHARING! I believe the things I do are awesome, and that my family is awesome, and that my struggles are valid, and that I am an inspiration to other mothers and other women. I do(should) not care if you think that I am not working HARD enough. I do(should) not care if you think I am doing the right things with my time and money. I do(should) not care if you think my food photo is stupid, or my lunch date is frivolous, or my workout picture is bragging, because it’s not. These are pieces of me, they are what get me up in the morning, and what keep life worth living, and sharing them, and building a community of people who love and support the things I do with my life MAKES ME FEEL GOOD.

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PARTY OF FOUR?:

I am knee-deep in apple craft projects for Vada’s first birthday (November 12th- Apple Of My Eye). I am having so much fun planning this party. It’s feeding my soul so much! It’s so important to feed your soul, to fuel the passion-fire, to really bring yourself joy. That’s what party planning does for me. Some people love politics, some people love cooking or traveling, I love party planning. So I’m going all out, and it’s really rocking my world. I heard recently that your job doesn’t have to be your passion, but that you must have passion in your life. That really spoke to me. I want my job to encompass parts of my passions, and it does sometimes, but I also need to accept that it wont be my main passion. Do I want to turn my passion into a job? I’m not sure right now. I feel like I already have a lot on my plate, and that it would be silly to add more. I know that I adjusted (NOT GAVE UP) my priorities this year to have a baby. She’s awesome, but she does not allow me to do whatever the hell I want. Right now I am raising a person full-time, and when she is bigger, and doesn’t need constant attention, then I can re adjust my priorities again, and maybe make money from my passion. Planning parties for other people takes a lot of time, and you need to be reliable. I am NOT RELIABLE right now. I am only reliable for Vada, and she needs that reliability 24/7 right now, so everyone else has to take a back seat to her. That’s the truth, and when you are running a business you have to be able to be really reliable to your client, and because I can’t be, I wont be.

This brings us to baby #2. I’ve finally after 11 months, decided that there will be a baby #2, and we will probably try for one sooner rather than later. Let me be very clear that I hate pregnancy, and I am completely terrified of having two babies, and our house is way too small, and we are pretty poor most of them time, and I realize that having another baby will SUCK A BUNCH for at least the first couple years. That being said, I do not want Vada to be an only child, and I want to get this baby-stage over and done with, as opposed to dragging it out. I want to work more one day. I want to follow my dreams, and live for myself, and have some freedom, one day. I do not want to be a mother of small children for 10+ years, I just don’t. I want them to grow up and be more independent, and I want to move into the next phase of our lives. Therefore I’m going to jump off a cliff and just be a little crazy for a few years, and then we can start a new chapter. (not currently pregnant, not currently trying to get pregnant, ill let yah know when that happens….maybe)

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EASY BABY:

I get that a lot, the “she’s such an easy baby” and maybe it’s true? I guess. When shes pulling toilet paper out of a toilet that wasn’t flushed, and falling off the cat hammock, and dumping glasses of wine on her head, she doesn’t FEEL THAT EASY, but whatever. She’s not a hard baby per say. She didn’t have colic, she slept through the night in her own crib by 4 months, she’s rarely sick, she has no allergies, she eats everything, she has no stranger-danger, and she’s friendly as hell. She’s social, and funny and mostly happy. So yeah, she’s pretty great. I’ve heard from a lot of people who say she seems older than babies her age. I don’t know that many babies her age, so it’s hard for me to compare, but yeah, she’s pretty smart. Someone once said that Vada was an old soul. I can see that, she seems wise, and fiercely connected to people. She just loves people, she is so different from me in that way, it takes me a lot longer to warm up. You know those people that when you are around them, even if you just met them, they make you feel so good, so happy, so welcomed, she’s THAT person. It’s really inspiring. I watched a crabby older woman come into the restaurant and order some food to-go. She did not smile or joke or chat when she ordered, she did not come off as happy or friendly. Her face looked old, and tired and annoyed. Vada happened to be sitting at the counter eating some snacks, and she caught the women’s eye. While the woman waited for her food I watched her interact with Vada, and literally LIGHT UP. She chatted with Vada, and shared some of her snack when Vada offered it to her. It was like her and Vada were in their own little world, where they were best friends having lunch together. When the woman’s food was ready I handed it to her, and she said “Thank you for letting me hang out with her, she’s amazing.” I felt my heart swell! This baby, who can not talk words, is so in love with interacting with people, so full of joy, that she can make a complete strangers day brighter in just 5 minutes. How did I grow this perfect little person? That is not something I instilled in her, that is something that grew inside her from the start, and I am not a religious person, but I PRAY THAT SPARK LASTS HER A LIFETIME. If she can bring so much joy to people, see so much good in them, inspire them to feel good about themselves and the world around them. She is a gift. She is easy.

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Well, Ive rambled enough about my life for today. I have to actually shower and clean my kitchen before the family comes home. The weather is beyond lovely today, and a walk is in order.

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One thought on “Raising Vada: The End of Infancy

  1. I love you Morgan! I love that you are going to have another baby because, duh, Vada is amazing and oh so cute so why not make more, right? I found this post so refreshing and just what I needed right now as I have chosen to turn down many opportunities lately to take on more work, tasks, social events, etc. Thank you for always being such an inspiration to me!

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