Change happens for us all every day. We do not always realize how much change hits us on a day-to-day basis, often because of how we handle the change. At some level we all have a bit of dislike to change. Some individuals are more flexible than others, some are more set in their ways or routines, and yet others relish the freedom and excitement of having things constantly changing in life.
Whatever level of tolerance we have for change, we often do not have a choice of if it happens to us. Whether that means changes at work, at home, with our family, there is change that happens by choice and change that we would rather not come close to with a ten foot pole. These past few weeks for me have been emotional to one extent (thank you hormones) and a little nerve-racking on another level. I know I am not the first woman to have a baby, and I know (because everyone tells you) that my life is about to change in numerous ways. Some of those changes will be amazing, and some will knock me on my ass.
I have to say that what has been hardest (besides my body no longer being mine, the endless peeing, and little to no sleep because of the endless peeing) has been being a professional woman with a team. When you read about others that go on maternity leave, they talk about the baby side of it, but what they do not really talk often about is what it is like for the working mom. I have been working since I was 9 years old. I had a paper route, and babysat kids in the neighborhood. This means that I have been working non-stop for the last 28 years. The most time I have taken off (other than a period when I was laid off), is the two weeks I took for my wedding/honeymoon. I have never not worked for a longer period than that.
Now, judge me all you want, as I think some mothers might — when I say it is going to be hard for me to be away from work. There are some pretty involved and intense projects happening in the coming months and, while I have the most amazing team, it does not make it easy for me to be away from it all. I have poured my heart into the work and my team, and having a child does not necessarily change my dedication to my work. Sure, some of my priorities will change when I meet Mini Conk, but I also want to raise a son that not only understands the importance of hard work, but also sees that I have an identity that is different from just being a mom.
Folks rarely talk about how hard it is for a working mom, instead I see more judgement that my place as a mom is at home with my son. Why should I have to choose, and why should I be judged for how I want to live my life? As more and more women have leadership positions at companies, not only do the rights for women having children need to change, so does the behavior for how we treat women that work and want to do both.
Yes babies are on the mind. I am growing fast and my belly will not stop itching which leads me to believe that this little boy is growing fast inside me. Of course as things become a major focus in your life you begin to see certain ideas everywhere. Such as the recent pop-up (for me) of pregnancy videos of women trying to induce labor. I have been told so many things in recent weeks. Making eggplant parmesan, using castor oil, sex, and dancing — like this mom-to-be that dances to Thriller:
I can promise you that I will not be creating a YouTube video that can be shared millions of times of my belly (in the hospital or at home) while I try to bring this ‘lil man into the world. I have no skills on the dance floor, and while I might try yoga moves, sex, or a massage — making my YouTube debut is not one of them. Also, you can spend quite a bit of time just searching “videos” of pregnant moms sharing their dance to induce videos. You will see songs, bellies, and dance moves of all shapes and sizes.
I can be ornery. I like to do things a certain way, and I have a hard time apologizing. I am not sure how that happened in life, and how I became so stubborn. I actually think it is an artifact of growing up so fast. My mom became sick when I was 12. The next four years were filled with her. Taking care of her, cleaning our house, paying bills, using food stamps to buy groceries, finding my own way to/from school and other events, the list goes on. It was all up to my sister and me to figure out how to take care of my mom and figure out how to navigate our own lives. In my own way, I grew up so fast, and had to figure out things on my own, that I almost designed my own life very early on. Maybe they are/were coping mechanisms, but those critical years (when I should have been out playing and getting into trouble) I was just trying to keep shit together.
A recent Seth Godin blog titled: “Notes, not received” made me think about how maybe my childhood hardened me into not being the best at giving praise or approval. I rarely got it myself, so how would I learn to give it out to others? The third and last parts are what specifically stood out to me:
An expected apology rarely makes things better. But an expected apology that never arrives can make things worse.
An expected thank you note rarely satisfies. But an expected thank you that never arrives can make things worse.
On the other hand, the unexpected praise or apology, the one that comes out of the blue, can change everything.
It’s easier than ever to reach out and speak up. Sad, then, how rarely we do it when it’s not expected.
I still have so much to learn. I could definitely be better at work, at home, and with friends/family at unexpected apologies AND praise. We probably all can. We all probably have urges and then decide to not act on them. This is my reminder to try harder, let go more, and say what is on my mind. Hopefully it is a good reminder for you too.
My biggest fear about ever putting my home for rent on airbnb is displayed in the below video. Snooping. It is a hilarious take on a parody concept of “airbnb Express.” Rent my home for two hours and snoop into my stuff. Look through my mail, books, closets. It is too funny. We are all curious people. We learn about others through their possessions, their habits, and the way they put their home together. You can learn a lot about someone by spending a few hours in their home.
Take our house for example. We have often been asked where all our furniture and items are hidden? The answer, no where. We do not have many nic nacs. For most everything in our home there is a purpose, or is art, or has some sort of sentimental value. We are minimalists, and find comfort in a clear and uncluttered space. For me to be creative, the house has to be clean and everything in its place. Call me particular (and yes I am) but a clean house and a clear mind actually allows me to be more creative. Essentially I have taken away the extra distractions. Does that always mean creativity wins? No. It just helps the process along.
I have often wondered about the spaces I have seen on airbnb. Some you can clearly tell are rental properties and the purpose of the listing is income. It looks like a rental. The furnishings are tasteful, but meant to have the wear and tear of the continuous overflow of differing guests. Then there are the house trade, or those away for weeks at a time that rent out their home. Maybe I am incredibly private, or have been burned too many times in life, but it would be hard for me to have strangers in my personal home while I am not there.
How many of you feel the same way about renting out a room or your home while there or a way?
I lived in the same house until eighth or ninth grade. At that time my father had moved out, my parents were freshly divorced and our house was foreclosed on. I do not have many nostalgic memories of that home. It was falling apart at the seams. Sinking and rotting floors, very old carpeting, ancient appliances to name a few. I cannot imagine the family that purchased it and what they had to do to “flip” it. Regardless of all that it was the home that I knew.
It was the neighborhood where I learned to ride a bike, where I had a paper route, sold Girl Scout cookies, and candy + nuts for my school. It is where we would explore the creek, the woods, and sneak off to buy candy at the Village Pantry. I also grew up with a few families and babysat their children.
When we had to move out, my mom went into a nursing home, I lived with my grandma, and my sister with a family friend. From there I left for a boarding school in St. Louis for the last three years of high school, then off to four years of college in Illinois. After that I ventured to Boston for about 4 years before Chris and I made our home in Portland. So as you can see I did not move around a lot, and yet my home is so important to me.
Having a home that was falling apart, living in odd family situations, and then in a dorm for 7 years has made me crave and cherish my home. I want things to work and function, have a purpose, and be a place and comfort for Chris and me, as well as those that experience our home.
Often when we travel or are away for a weekend or longer I find I want my bed and to be home. I love to explore and have adventures, but somehow I still find I long to be at the home we have created together.
Created on an iPhone, please excuse any formatting or typos…