Family, Husband, Moving, Pregnancy

Permission to rest? Granted.

I’m not good at giving myself a break.

When attacking a task or project, I’ve always preferred to tackle the entire thing, beginning-to-end, in one go.  Even if it’s a fun painting project, having to wait for layers of paint to dry frustrates me to no end!

Tackling a project before I was pregnant did not include taking breaks, unless it was for a quick meal or snack, or using the restroom, or getting some water, something fast before I would get back to work.

And now that I’m almost ready to pop, what is everyone reminding me to do?

“Take it easy, make sure you’re not doing too much since you’re super pregnant!”

“Don’t forget to take a break!”

“Rest a lot, both you and the baby need it!”

I’ve read a lot of mommy-blogs about “Things pregnant mommies want to hear.”  Apparently, “Rest up” is something all of those other mamas want someone to tell them.

Not me.

“Rest” is the one thing people keep telling me that keeps really ticking me off.

I want to yell back “You think I have time to sit before this baby comes?!  I need to unpack, get baby’s room ready, clean baby’s clothes, keep up with everyday house maintenance, take care of my dog, grocery shop, cook, and do laundry.  Oh, and I just freaking moved across the country to where I know almost no one, so I can’t phone a friend to come over to help in exchange for coffee and food.  So how about you fly over here and help clean and unpack if my resting is so important to you!?”

Of course, I don’t yell that, because I know everyone means well and wants what is best for me and the baby, and to yell all of that back would be rather unkind and unloving of me!

I have been trying to be good.  In between tasks, I make sure to take a break and sit for a little while, something Netflix and Game of Thrones books has made a little less annoying. But every time I’m resting, even when I can tell I need to take a break from unpacking, organizing, and cleaning, I find myself feeling guilty.

Can you believe it?  Guilty.  Like I’m doing something wrong.  Like I should be able to handle accomplishing ten tasks in a row, all of which require a lot of bending, picking up, moving, and being on my feet, despite carrying around an almost-full-term baby in my belly.  Even resting with my Hubby in the evenings after dinner, watching one of our favorite shows, I feel like I’m doing something wrong for not still cleaning, even if I’ve had a productive day and I’m having a good time relaxing with the love of my life!

My only explanation is that it’s nesting instinct gone into overdrive.  I was starting to think that the “Nesting Instinct” was just a rumor, but it is very real!  And for me, I’m pretty sure that instinct is being pushed along by the desire to not have anything left to do once the baby is here except heal, nurse, and give snuggles.  So until all of my nesting tasks are done, I feel guilty about leaving an important, pre-baby task undone!  How could I dare to bring that child here without every little thing in its proper place?!  (Yes, that’s the unreasonable pregnancy hormones talking.)

Hubby has been really diligent about helping me, and really trying to help me relax.  And I think he figured out the secret: on his days off, we get a TON of housework, unpacking, and projects done around the house, with me being project manager and him being muscle; me doing smaller, mostly-sitting tasks and him doing the lift-and-moving tasks.  And it’s been helping!  Our house is more open, cleaner, and more organized than it has been since we moved in, and it’s largely thanks to him telling me “Here’s what we’re getting done, and you’re going to do it while sitting.

But two straight weeks of “nesting, nesting, NESTING” finally pooped me out.

So after a weekend of tackling projects around the house, I was tired.  So tired that even after a full 9 hours of sleep (making a human bean makes you extra sleepy), I woke up tired.

So yesterday, after yet another OB appointment was finished and Hubby was safely off to work, do you know what I did?

I gave myself permission to have a day off.  It took some debating with myself, but I was pooped.  I had no motivation to get anything around the house done.

So I rested.  And it was good.

I made easy meals.  I cleaned up after them.  I took care of my puppy and played with her, let her in and out of the house so she could run around outside.  I did do one load of laundry, but only because we were completely out of socks.  (Oops.)  I unpacked nothing, all afternoon.

The rest of my day was made up of Netflix, a couch, crocheting, some research about baby things around the internet, and this blog.

And it was good.

I finally think my Hubby and family are right: mommies-to-be need to rest.  My not-vacuuming didn’t result in the house falling apart.  Everyone had the clothes they needed, even though the laundry wasn’t all sorted out in perfect piles.  And the few organizing tasks that are half-done aren’t any worse off for being ignored for one day; they’re still there, and I can tackle them later today.  Or maybe tackle part of it today, and part of it tomorrow, since I now know that little elves won’t come along in the middle of the night and un-do all of my half-done projects while I sleep.

So this mama-to-be learned her lesson: Resting is good, and even necessary sometimes.  Every day doesn’t have to be a full-on couch potato day, but I’m now okay with taking an hour or two to myself to recharge and relax, especially as I get really close to the due date.  (I have a feeling an hour or two may grow longer as the date gets closer!)

I’m giving myself permission to take breaks.  And it will be good.

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Family, Marriage

Our “Normal” Year – Happy Anniversary!

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366 days.  That’s how long I’ve now been married to the love of my life.  It’s odd to think that it’s been a year now, because it doesn’t feel like a year has passed since our wedding day, despite all of the ups, downs, and changes we have gone through together since we said our vows.

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One year ago.

The one thing people have been telling me a lot this month is “Wow, you two have gone through so much in your first year together!”  To which my response is “Really?  I hadn’t thought about it much.  Life just happens!”  Which is true.  I’m one of those people who tends to get stuck on handling life in the moment I’m in, not a big-picture person.  So imagine my surprise when I finally listed all of the major changes that have happened in our first year of marriage:

  • Get married (obviously)
  • Move several states away from friends and family
  • Hubby started his career (Yay!)
  • Travel so much for work that we didn’t really “settle in” and unpack our first apartment until we (really, just our stuff!) had lived there for three months
  • Get our first puppy
  • Expect our first baby (still healthy and on the way…one month to go!)
  • Move across the country… again!
  • Buy our first home
  • Instantly deal with homeowner things, like buying appliances and DIY upkeep (Hello, subflooring underneath my kitchen tile.  I was hoping to never meet you.)

Even writing that list, I have to take a step back from our lives to realize just how much that really is.  It just seems like everything that any couple would go through in a year of marriage… right?

Well, with how big of a deal friends and family make of these events happening so close together, I started to think, “Maybe this isn’t ‘normal’ for most people.” So I took a look at the big events for our friends who have been married for a year or two so far.  To my surprise, most of our friends’ first years have only a few similarities to our first year!  Across the board, all of us got married, everyone moved (whether just moving to a new place together or to a new state), everyone started a new job…

And that’s about it.  Three things we all have in common from what now seems like our mega list of first-year events.  Of course, there are a few exceptions, such as a few friends expecting their first baby too, or getting a pet… but those are exceptions.  We’re the only ones to really hit all of these big things in one fell swoop.

So then I had to ask myself, “Why does this seem so normal to me?  Why am I so surprised when people react with shock when they realize how busy our year has been?”

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And the only answer I can come up with is this:

I have a fantastic marriage.

I picked a really good man: hardworking, loving, a provider, and a caretaker.  A man who shares my faith and love for God.  A man who just happens to have a fantastic sense of humor, which is definitely needed for getting through the stressful stuff. (He takes great pride in that he can make me laugh even when I’m super angry or really sad.)  Luckily, he decided to pick me to be his woman.  (I’m going to claim a good mix of faith and being cute, funny, and able to cook drew him in, though you’d have to ask him to get the list.)

My really good man and I knew before we got married that we would be a team, one united force in taking on life together, making sure that our vision and goal for our family is a common goal between us.  It’s something that we still bring up on a regular basis.  We make sure we are on the same page about the decisions we have to make in our life, even if it takes a few hours of loquacious arguing logical debate.

No matter what comes up, we both have the attitude of “This is the new normal.”  We allow ourselves a little while to wallow in the “life sucks right now!” mood, but quickly help each other move on to adjusting to our “new normal.” (And we both work really, really hard to keep each other’s spirits up when something unexpected and unwanted happens, big or small!)

And somehow, through dealing with all of our “new normals” this year, our marriage is just as good, if not better, than when it started.  I truly believe it’s because we knew what we wanted our marriage to look like before it began.
Because every day we take the time to make sure we are still sharing the same goal for our marriage and family, even as it changes to fit our “new normal.”
Because every day, each of us finds some way to show each other – in some way, big or small – that we love and appreciate who the other one is, that we are happy the other one picked us to share life with, and that we will do whatever we can to make the other one happy.
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Here’s to our first crazy, busy, “normal” year!  And may there be many, many more “normal” years together.

Family

What I’ve Learned about Moving

Moving is one of those things that is always guaranteed to be, well… interesting.

INTERESTINGToday’s interesting part is sitting in the laundromat with my laptop while my clothes are drying, because we haven’t yet purchased a washer and dryer for our new home.  (Though we will be soon! My preggo belly can’t handle lugging all these bags of laundry from one side of town to the other much longer.)

Our move did go smoothly, or at least as smoothly as a move could probably go.  Bottom line, this housewife is happy to be in a house that is ours and we can set up any way we want!

Here are just a few things I’ve learned during this move.

1.  I despise being apart from my husband for long lengths of time. 

It sucks.  Really, really sucks.  So when you have to wait for mortgage paperwork to go through, then the company messes up and sets you back a few weeks, and you’re apart even longer than originally planned for, it TOTALLY sucks.

2.  It’s okay to have your extended family come and help. 

Especially when moving by yourself and your husband is already waiting for you states and states away.  My grandparents, my mom, and then my mom-in-law came and helped me get ready for the move.  Mom-in-law even let me stay with her for a week when I was waiting for our house and paperwork to be ready for us!  (Seriously, dealing with mortgage companies sucks.)

3. Moving companies are both great and a headache. 

I am one of those people who, if I have to pack up a room, will spend several hours on one box because I have to find just the right things to pack together.  I have no ability to just put a bunch of things from the same shelf/area/table in a room in the same box, and if I do manage to do it, it is only after a long span of thinking (out loud.. sorry, hubby) about the pros and cons of packing these things together.  And oh, look, I haven’t used this little gadget in AGES!  When was the last time I saw it?  Ooh, I have a picture of that day somewhere over there…   I think you get the idea.

Of course, packers/movers don’t always use as much common sense as you’d think they would.  I mean, who packs a giant coffee maker into a not-too-big box, so the coffee maker is taking up most of the box, but DOESN’T WRITE “COFFEE MAKER ON THE OUTSIDE OF THE BOX?  Seriously, who does that to their fellow human beings?!!

4. I hate unpacking. 

I’ve been trying to understand why I have absolutely no motivation to unpack any of the boxes around my lovely little new house.  If I dig back into my college psych classes, I could probably deduce that my reluctance to unpack is due to my reluctance to accept that we have fully moved way far away from anywhere we’ve lived before.  Or maybe I’m just too obsessed with making sure every little item has it’s perfect, final home the first time it comes out of the box so I don’t have to find another home for it before the next move we make.

Whichever it is, thank the Lord that my patient husband finally said “We’ve been here long enough, we’re unpacking, don’t argue just put stuff away!”  And it actually worked out pretty well!  Within a half hour we had found that darn coffee pot, and managed to unpack most of the rest of our kitchen.  Sure, some pans, bowls, and storage containers still need to find a final resting place in the pantry, but at least they are out, I can use them, and I can put them away in the space of a day.

5. It’s hard to move. 

Not physically, though it is pretty dang tiring!  I mean a move this big is really emotionally draining.  To give you an idea of where I’m coming from, as far as I can remember I’ve lived in the land of the south, the land of “Do all y’all want some more sweet tea?” and “Well bless your heart!”  (That is not a compliment, people.)

Now I live so far north that yes, I can take a five minute drive and see Canada across the river.  Oh, and apparently get some Canadian radio stations in clearer than the American ones.

One great thing has been cooler weather while I’m at the beached whale stage of pregnancy, though according to the locals “It’s so hot and humid, how do you stand it being pregnant?”  (I sweetly explain I’m from the south, so for me “hot” = “over 95 degrees and if we’re lucky it will get down to 90 degrees overnight” and “humid” means “100% humidity on a sunny, cloud-free day.”)

But I digress.  It’s hard to move.  It’s hard to be more than a day’s drive from family and friends, and to be in a completely different area of the country where the culture, retail stores, and even people’s mannerisms are all just different enough to make you remember every day that this isn’t home.

Yet.

I keep reminding myself that this will feel like home soon.  As far as our house goes, it already feels like home.  I think that’s mostly because my husband and puppy are there, but it definitely helps that our house is cute (if needing a few updates), and we have pretty friendly neighbors.  And the rest is slowly starting to feel more like home, as I get used to going to the same church every week, the same grocery store, and getting into a daily routine so I don’t wake up thinking “what am I going to do today?” every single morning.

So far, the most important thing I keep reminding myself is…

6. It’s okay to be a little sad. 

You thought you might get through this post without a Disney pic, didn't you?
You thought you might get through this post without a Disney pic, didn’t you?

About a week after we moved, we decided that we needed a break from unpacking, cleaning, and finding out what had broken during the move.  So we decided to go see the new Pixar movie, Inside Out.  Of course, we went in not knowing that the entire premise of the movie revolves around a family moving across the country, from Minnesota to California.

Apparently my husband realized what the movie was about and thought “Uh-oh, this might not be the best movie for us yet.”

It’s Pixar, so of course there’s the chance you’re gonna cry.  And yes, I cried, but I’m blaming the pregnancy hormones since I cried more than once.  (Before I was pregnant I didn’t cry during movies, except for UP.  UP is my teary weakness.)UP 6But this time I cried for a different reason.  I was sitting in the theater, looking at what this family was going through, and thinking “I get it.  This is hard, and it sucks, and even though we know it can get better, right now it is all awful.  I get it.”

And what I loved about the movie was that it had a wonderful message:

Your feelings are important, and it is okay to feel a little sad.

It doesn’t mean everything is awful, that life won’t get back to normal, or that this new place will always feel big and scary.  It means you miss something that was special, even if you’re looking forward to finding a new place that will become special to you, and probably sooner than you think.

So now that I’m finally starting to see my house come together into a home, with familiar books, dishes, and that lovely coffee maker, not to mention and handsome husband and cute puppy around, it’s not as sad.

The last thing on my list is:

7. Moving can be a fun adventure. 

Some days it’s just the adventure of “wait, pull a u-turn, that was our road!”  Other days it is the adventure of having a stove delivered, but not installed, and having to completely re-think dinner (hello, pizza night.)  Sometimes it is just the lovely adventure of “Let’s enjoy our backyard, watch the dog play and sit and enjoy each other’s company.”

Since I have a hubby who is pretty good at seeing the sunny side of life, it has seemed like an adventure more often than not.  And of course, the puppy sees nothing but SQUIRRELS TO CHASE IN MY BACKYARD!!! adventure and fun all around her.  Between the two of them, and now prepping to get a nursery ready for our October arrival, I think I’ll make it through this move feeling like it’s a fun adventure.