Thursday, February 23, 2017

Losing Yourself, Finding Yourself & Redefining Motherhood

The Grammy's were a hot minute ago, I know. I've been ruminating on this post for a while and I finally decided it was time to sit down and write it. 

I missed some of the Grammy's. But, what I did NOT miss was Adele winning awards for Song of The Year, Artist of The Year and finally Album of The Year. Like, WHOA. Those are some big honors. She is very talented; and super cool, from what I have seen and heard about her. As she excitedly spoke her thank yous, she said something that really caught my attention. Here it follows in quotes:

"As you can see it took an army to make me strong and willing again enough to do it. But thank you all from the bottom of my heart. Five years ago, when I was last here, I also was pregnant, and I didn’t know. And I was awarded that shortly after — I found out shortly after, which was the biggest blessing of my life. And in my pregnancy and through becoming a mother I lost a lot of myself. And I’ve struggled, and I still do struggle being a mom. It’s really hard. But tonight winning this kind of feels full-circle, and like a bit of me has come back to myself."

Adele, Grammy award winning artist & extremely talented singer, said how hard it was to get back out there and make music again. Because she lost herself in motherhood. But, you and I can easily see how her purpose is to make music and how her talent would seem to be wasted, for lack of a better term. And, we can agree how CRAZY it would have been for her to not get back out there and make more beautiful music, right?

I know it's easy to lose yourself in the role of being a mom. You had things you did before the baby came along. And some of those things aren't even a blip on our radar after the baby arrives and motherhood hits us full force. I took time off from fitness stuff when I got married and then we got pregnant right away, so it ended up being a 5 year gap before I was ready to get back into the gym and take on clients and teach and do MY thing. I worked outside the home a bit during those 5 years, and I HATED office jobs. I am not a 8-5, sit at a desk kind of gal. I thrive in the less structured world of fitness, and I have a LOT of crazy to burn off while teaching multiple classes a week.

Some women have full careers inside an office. I am NOT knocking them. They are actually who I am talking about. You went to college, you made a career path choice, and sometimes becoming mom means staying at home with your kids. Sometimes it means giving up that corner office or that promotion. Sometimes it means working and being mommy full time. 

Putting on your mom hat makes it hard to wear your "Jodie" hat. (And, I assume you get that your hat would have your own name on it!) I liked to paint and play the bass guitar, once upon a time. And, no, not at the same time, in case you snarkily wondered. We sold that guitar in a garage sale when I was pregnant with Cade and I regret it. I would love to learn to play acoustic guitar now. And, I may very well do that eventually. 

It's important to take a step back and remember that you are someone's mom, yes, but you are also an individual with talents and a purpose. For now, that purpose may be to raise wonderful human beings (preferably ones that groom themselves well and listen to music WITH headphones when they're in public). Your purpose can evolve as time passes. You may find yourself returning to the studio and recording the album of the year again. 

Your family needs you. They need you to take care of yourself. Do things that bring you joy. Make time for you. A mommy friend of mine told me this:

"About a year after I had the baby and I was on the right medications, the fog lifted. And I remember thinking 'it's okay to take care of myself'. Taking care of myself mentally and physically makes me a better mom. I think it was on a birthday weekend, just my husband and I, when he looked at me and said 'I miss this'. That's when I knew deep down I had to make the time for us and me."

So, you may lose yourself in motherhood. That's OK. You will find yourself again. You may come out a bit different. Hey, my body changed with two pregnancies, and I bet yours did too. You may find your priorities have changed a little. You may find that you have MORE compassion, less judgement and more love. But, overall, redefine what motherhood means and make it your own. Stay home with your babies. Work a full time job outside the home. Work from home and take your kids to the daycare anyway. Start your own business and be your own boss. Make motherhood work for you. And, remember, you're "Mom" but you're also a totally kick butt woman who can do just about anything she wants in addition to being someone's mom.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Let Me (re)Introduce Myself

I wrote almost a month ago about how I wanted to write more. I have several reasons and I plan to delve into them, but I felt like the stepping stone should be to update a bit about where I am in life these days.

I started this blog in August of 2009, mostly because we were expecting our first baby and I wanted to document it. I did not really write much until after Gage was born. Then I wrote almost weekly and of course his first year of monthly letters are there in the 2010 files if you want to cry remembering when YOUR babies were babies. I read just a few posts and cried and promptly decided I want another baby.

So, here I am almost 8 years later, and I am committing to more posts. A lot has changed in 8 years. Cue the "last week on The Life of Jodie" announcer.

Curtis and I have a garage door repair business. I teach group fitness. Our boys are 7 and 5. We have a cat named Alfred and Harold the Bassett Hound, and my favorite son: Mister Belvedere the English Bulldog. Yes, I said my favorite son. I say that in front of my kids too. They know I'm joking. (or am I?)

I enjoy cooking (but not cleaning) and reading hilarious things on the internet. I would love to be considered one of the hilarious things people read on the internet. I would also love to make a difference now and then. Mother Theresa said "If you want to change the world, go home and love your family." Well, sometimes they're not so lovable.... I'm kidding! I know I am called to love and make an impact on my family, and I do that work every day. But, I have recently had a clear calling to use my pain for God's purpose. He can use my mess for a message. That is the long reason I have finally gotten back on here to write.

If you look back through my older posts, you can read here and there about my struggles with post partum depression and having been a victim of sexual abuse. Motherhood is hard when you're perfectly healthy. When you have a history of depression, the changes during pregnancy can bring those same issues up and even magnify them. When you have past hurts, being a parent can be a struggle as you look at your children and KNOW you could never hurt them or allow anyone to hurt them. There will certainly be some heavier, meatier posts about unpacking traumas and hurts and all sorts of other issues. There will also be some silly, light-hearted and extremely sarcastic posts.

I don't consider this a "mommy blog". I am a mom, yes, but I have a lot of other hats I wear. I don't consider this a "lifestyle blog". I won't be writing about DIY anything. Unless it's DIY ear plugs to drown out the noises of your children asking for dinner. I like to share recipes. I like to share fitness stuff. But, this won't be a fitness blog either. Maybe it will just fall into  the "un-categorized" list. Labels are for soup cans anyway.

So, I have kids and a husband and some pets. I have issues. Let's talk about our issues together!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Lady Gaga, Body Shaming, & Modesty

If you happen to live under a rock and you missed the Super Bowl LI Half Time Show, then you can watch the highlights here and come back to finish the rest of this post.

Everyone on the same page? Ok, so I promised more writing and this seems like a perfect topic for today's post. There has been some ridiculous commentary on Lady Gaga's body, specifically her stomach during the half time performance. She is in amazing shape. As a fitness professional, the amount of endurance she exhibited during that show was impressive to say the least. Dancing, singing, being "on" and never stumbling, missing a note and THANKFULLY no wardrobe malfunctions. Amazing job. Not that she will ever read this, but LG, you rocked that halftime performance!

People like to sit behind their keyboards and say ugly things on the internet. That should NOT be news to anyone reading this. It's very easy to be a bully with the protection of the world wide web between us. Lots of people have made comments about Lady Gaga's stomach that gently overlapped her sparkly shorts. Like, I wish people with six pack abs would all post a picture of themselves wearing a pair of tight waist banded pants and show that skin isn't always taught, no matter how impressive your abs are. I have some loose skin (and a little extra pudge) over a VERY strong core. Could I have a flatter tummy? Of course. But I like pizza and cupcakes.

It's ridiculous to read all the vitriol spewed over how a woman looks. It's rampant. It's everywhere. Body shaming is a common word because of it. The majority of the people saying rude things about Lady Gaga probably wouldn't look nearly as amazing as she did in her show outfits. I know I could not rock the leotard bottom or sparkly shorts she had on right now. I hope she is not sitting at home trying to remind herself that she is beautiful and talented after reading that. Even if she didn't look amazing in her outfits, it would not matter. She is talented, she put on an amazing performance, she was completely non-divisive & she should be applauded for that. (I hear she lives for it. HA!)

In the same thread of body shaming, I was treated like a bad Christian for applauding her performance. And, what I said was "she did a great job. what a great showman" essentially. I made no moral statement. I made no comment on her pantsless-ness. I made no comment on her midriff baring top. Because, it's a costume on a performer. She doesn't even perform under her real name.  It's a persona, a character she puts on and entertains with. We applaud gymnasts in leotards, olympic swimmers in speedos, and volleyball players in bikinis. Their talent and performance is more important than what they're wearing and it's a part of what they put on for their "show".

I personally don't think there was anything wrong with what she wore. There was nothing wrong with her physical appearance at all. Would I wear something like that on TV? Lord, help me, no. But do I wear a two piece swimsuit? Eh, the jury is still out on that one for this summer, but I WOULD if I wanted to. Do I wear pants in public? Yes. Do I hate pants? Yes. Do I prefer leggings? Yes. You get my point. I don't think she was immodest or inappropriate. I don't think she should be shamed for a roll of skin along her waist line.

 I don't think we should be so quick to judge others based on our own personal feelings. And, if someone is being immoral or unbiblical? Still not my business. I have a few close people I have given permission to admonish me when I step out of line as a believer. I have people I weigh my concerns against. You should have those people in your life too, if you're a Christian.

I tend to dress on the modest side. That's how I was raised. I grew up in the Baptist church. "Below the knee, above reproach" was a half-joke about the length of shorts and dresses for us girls. I've had my husband ask me to dress LESS modestly, because I cover up. Am I wearing sequin booty shorts in public? No. Would I wear them at home alone with my husband? You bet. I hold myself to a Biblical standard of modesty, and I think that can vary from person to person, based on your personal relationship with Christ. Also, let's face it, some bustier ladies can't help how their chest looks in a shirt that is perfectly modest.

So, let's quit judging and be supportive. And leave Lady Gaga alone. She looks amazing.

Monday, January 30, 2017

A Trip Down Memory Lane

I turned 32 last month and I woke up that Saturday morning wishing deeply to have this calm, collected peace. (pipe dreams, right?) I also wished that I would finally commit to writing every day because I want to improve my skills. And, that takes practice. Even with writing. So, that means you get to read the terrible blog posts that will be the gateway to my national best seller. You're welcome.
So, some of these posts might be rambling, but I am working on writing a LOT this year. Buckle up.

I am sitting here doing computer work at my desk because my laptop battery won't keep a charge and must stay plugged in to work. It's essentially a desktop PC now. Yes, I could order a battery from Amazon, but I would rather whine about it and do nothing instead. Also, I would rather spend that $35 on coffee and leggings.

Anyway, I pulled a VERY old journal (that's grown up talk for my diary, y'all) from my desk that is literally from my first week of marriage. Cue the awkward. The main thing I read aside from all the gross, I-am-SOOOOOO-happy-blah-blah-blah-cuteness is the feeling of disappointment I expressed as well. No, it was not disappointment in my sex life. I had been dreaming of my fairy tale for 23 years, and when it came true, reality set in. You're like Cinderella AFTER midnight. Your fairy tale day ends and life is back to normal and all of a sudden you have a new title and a new set of real expectations from another person. I cried a lot the first year of marriage. Not because Curtis was a terrible husband, but because life was different and I was adjusting.

The build up of a very special day is a large part of the excitement. Now, we had a small wedding and invited family only. There were a whole lot of factors in that decision and I promise I will post about that in another full post. So, it was not months of planning and anticipation. But, like I said, YEARS of dreaming about marrying my prince charming. Oh, and adorable newlyweds: your prince or princess will definitely have their ogre moments. So, practice grace and maybe learn how to make their favorite cocktail or dessert. Sugar and alcohol can smooth out some rough edges on a bad day. Grace helps a whole lot too!

So, what's this post really about? I got married, it was great, It was also sad and weird and everyone now knows you've had sex, even if you did not wait until marriage anyway. So weird. But, the memory lane trips are good reminders of how much we loved each other then, and how much our love has grown and matured since. My 24 year old love for my husband is vastly different than my 32 year old love for him. We have conquered the world in the past 8 years. Life has beaten us up and given us trouble and God has given us love and grace to cover the multitude of sins against each other and two beautiful, healthy (slightly smelly) boys and a business that pays the bills and allows us freedom to spend a lot of time as a family.

We bring a lot of hurts and baggage and weird habits into a marriage. And sometimes it meshes well and sometimes it doesn't at first. But, we can remind ourselves of the things we love about our spouse and be SO THANKFUL WE ARE NOT 24 YEARS OLD ANYMORE. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Thanksgiving Break-ing My Grasp on Sanity

It's day 2 of Thanksgiving break and I have already sold one of my children. Bet you can't guess which one. Just wait til Thursday when we post our Turkey Day family pic and you'll see which one is missing.

I'm super thankful for a lot of things, but mostly it's that our city recently went "wet" and there are now TWO liquor stores very close to my house and they have good prices on their Tequila. And that Curtis doesn't ever tell me it's too early to be pouring wine if I ask if it's too early.

Can I just say, I totally wish I was into $25 lipstick and stuff. And, Curtis would love it if I wore lipstick, but I am more of a coffee and leggings kinda girl when it comes to throwing down cash for goods. I've had a ton of people talking about make up on Facebook, and I love to watch their videos of them applying it. (I also am addicted to watching those sped up recipe videos, even if it's stuff I would never make.) I am just NOT a make up artist. The only reason I try new stuff is because of my monthly Ipsy glam bag. And it only took me like 20 years of applying make up to figure out how to use liquid eye liner. Don't ask if I can do the swoopy/cat eye thing.

The boys have only nearly broken each other's arm once so far, which is a total win in my book. And, I only yelled loud enough for the neighbors to hear about 5 times.

I am just praying we make it to Friday.

Monday, July 11, 2016

My Heart Hurts

Like much of Dallas, I am heart broken for the police officers who lives were lost last week at the peaceful protest in downtown Dallas. A protest by people who were protesting because THEIR hearts hurt for the black men's lives lost the previous week.

Here I am. Just a 30-something middle class white lady. I know I will never be profiled at the airport or at a traffic stop. It doesn't mean that my heart doesn't hurt when it happens to other people.

My heart hurts every time I see another civilian killed by law enforcement. It hurts when I think of the officers killed in retaliation. It hurts when I think of how my 6 year old has wanted to be a police officer since he could declare a future occupation and now that scares me. It hurts when I admit that I was a little scared thinking about heading downtown to teach Tuesday. My heart hurts for the friend I saw on Facebook posting about how she will have to prep her black son for when he's 16, driving and eventually gets pulled over by a cop.

I feel like I haven't put much into words about the deaths of black men by police officers, because what can I say that doesn't sound like a clueless 30-something white girl? What do I know of racism? What do I know of being treated differently? No, I cannot empathize with the black community, but my heart hurts for you.

I am not married to a civil servant. Sure, my husband can get hurt at work, but the worst he's had has been a broken leg. I never have to worry about him being shot on the job. I cannot empathize with the families of the police officers killed, but my heart hurts for them.

I just ache for the hatred to stop. I want so badly for everyone to love and be loved. And, I realize we live in a fallen world. That won't ever really happen. But, at least we can hope for changes and pray for peace.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

In light of recent hot topics: What about our boys?

We have two boys. They're little still. They have a wonderful man as their role model and father. There has been a lot of discussion about women and young girls being unsafe in public restrooms because of the transgender bathroom topic. I am NOT here to discuss that topic. What has been on my mind is the idea that we are treating all men as if they're uncontrolled, wild animals waiting to attack a female. That bothers me. Hear me out.

A little background: I was a victim of sexual abuse in my early childhood. I grew up being somewhat overly concerned about my safety around men. Ones that I knew and ones that I didn't. Because I learned that even someone who is suppose to love you can hurt you. Rightfully so, I was apprehensive walking to my car in the dark, being alone with someone who could easily overpower me, or having an attacker waiting in my backseat. But, even if I had not experienced it for myself, I would still have been told to BEWARE OF STRANGE MEN. I keep my keys handy, I look around and make sure I am aware of my surroundings. I think about what I have in my hands that could be a weapon, or look for an easy escape route if I feel unsafe. I've been taught to not get too comfortable in the world when I am all alone. 

I've attended meetings about self defense for women. I've heard police officers speak about safety and how to avoid being a target for an attacker. Heck, my own husband tells me to watch out and be aware of my surroundings every time I head out the door to Kroger.  

All the (albeit ridiculous) discussion of men pretending to be women to take advantage of the new bathroom laws and rape women in the bathrooms has got me thinking. I know a TON of great men who would never ever hurt anyone like that. In fact, it's safe to say there are exponentially more men on the planet who would never attack/rape/kidnap/roofie a woman than those who would. So, I asked my husband:

"Does it offend you in any way that all men are looked at like potential threats to women?" I clarified with an anecdote. "Does it bother you that if you were walking behind a woman in the Kroger parking lot that she has probably been told to consider you a threat to her safety and be suspicious of you?" And, he said no. He said he would, in fact, go out of his way to be non-threatening. Make noise, jingle his keys, so that she knows he is there and isn't trying to be sneaky. And I just kind of looked at him. It had not occurred to me before that a kind, normal dude like him would have to worry about scaring a woman in a parking lot. Simply because he is a man. 

As a mom of boys, it saddens me to think that they will grow up being treated as a potential threat to the safety of women around them, simply because they're male. It's our job to make sure to raise men who would always be kind and loving and never hurt anyone. Male or female. 

I am not trying to start a gender discussion so much as take a hard look at the impact a fallen world has on our day to day actions and reactions to something as simple as my husband walking in a a parking lot or my son taking a girl on a date (in like 25 years when I allow that). It hurts my heart that as women we have to constantly be on our guard for attackers, and that the men we love have to constantly be on their guard to not look like an attacker. 

Trust me, sexual assault is more real than anyone would like to imagine. Rainn.org states that every 107 seconds another American is assaulted. And that's ONE country in our world. That works out to be about 293,000 victims of sexual assault every year. Those are just the ones that are reported!!!! Also, that's not just women. Men are victims of sexual assault and even LESS likely to report it. In fact, 68% of assaults go unreported to the police. 

It's not a gender issue. It's a heart issue. There are horrible, evil people in the world. We all have to be on guard. I hate that innocence is stolen, women walk around scared, and good, normal,  men walk around hoping no one thinks they're a rapist while they're getting milk at the grocery store or pumping gas late at night. So, yes, I am concerned for my gender's safety. Also, what about our boys?