Stay-at-home-not-a-mom-yet

Ever since I was very young I have enjoyed staying busy, working, studying, keeping active and doing anything except being still. I never would have imagined myself as a stay-at-home Mom. Staying home sounded awful…Cooking? Cleaning? Chores? No thank you! That is until I started working at a childcare center in college.

I learned a lot while working at this daycare…through hands-on experience. My very first day I was thrown into a room with 26 school-aged children and was basically told to keep them safe and entertained until their parents picked them up. I swear I even heard the door lock behind me. I had recently decided to go to school for education, but had no idea what I was getting myself into. On that first day a little girl, named Michalya, jumped onto a table and started screaming and dancing while the rest of the kids followed suit on the floor. I was more concerned for my safety than any of theirs.

Before long, I learned to put on my “I mean business face” and use my teacher voice to control an entire gym full of little rascals.  More importantly, I learned to communicate with the parents. Dealing with parents is scary, but I learned that if I built relationships with them and got to know their families, they became much less scary. In fact, many of them became friends.

While getting to know so many different types of families I realized how difficult being a parent and raising children really is. I saw mothers cry as they dropped off their infants every single morning before going to work. There were parents who drove to the school on their lunch break to spend a half-hour with their babies. There were Dads who surprised their little ones by picking them up early. Of course, there were also parents who seemed to prefer their children stay at the school as much and as long as possible. I witnessed one Mother sitting in her car waiting for us to lock the daycare doors before deciding to pick up her children, and this was on her day off.

While observing all of these families, their relationships and lifestyles I learned what kind of Mother I would one day want to be. I knew I wanted to be a stay-at-home Mom.

Husband knows that I want to stay home, raise kids, master every Pinterest project, grow a garden, be homeroom=Mom, soccer-Mom, make-all-the-costumes-for-the-school-play-Mom, learn to sew, learn to cook (maybe), and enjoy watching my kids grow up, learn and be there for every milestone. Husband is beyond cool with this plan.

So, two days before moving from NYC to Tennessee, I discovered I was pregnant. I had just quit my job, was moving into a big empty house in the woods and was in the process of applying for teaching jobs. Then came all the questions….Should I tell potential bosses in interview that I’m pregnant? Am I going to quit mid-year when the baby arrives? Is it worth it to set up a classroom all summer in a new school, build a curriculum, bond with 25 new students and then leave half-way through the year? Is it worth putting myself through all this stress while being pregnant?

I know I am fortunate enough to even have these options, but it has been the toughest decision I still haven’t really made. I always assumed I’d work up until I delivered a baby, but who knew I’d be in the middle of so many changes? Right now, I am working part-time, writing, building a new website and learning to put a house together, so I sound super busy, but the truth is that I suck at not working.

While working for the last 13 years, I dreamed of the day I could quit… I’d finally get to do all the things for which there’s never enough time. I imagined myself waking at 6am, working out, cleaning, writing, cooking, crafting, volunteering, reading and that is just before lunch! In reality, without schedules and time frames I can barely manage to force myself to get out of my pajamas at all. Turns out that I am much more productive when I am super busy. This girl needs structure.

Now that vacations are over, local schools have started and I’m still stuck in this weird in between phase. I feel guilty and wrong all the time. What am I doing? I should be working 12 hours a day in a classroom is all I can think. I’ve been drowning in guilt, and covered in shame. What was the point of even getting my Master’s? Is this really what I want?  Yesterday, I had a little meltdown and decided the only way to get out of my funk was to buy something.

I don’t know why shopping is the answer to meltdown’s, but I KNOW I’m not the only one. I drove to Home Goods and found the store full of women and babies.  Every single person in the store had to have been a stay-at-home Mom, and every single child was a terror. There was a little girl running down the aisle knocking everything off the shelves, a toddler throwing a temper tantrum in the middle of the floor, a baby wailing and little people running around like maniacs. Moms were screaming “shut up!” “If you walk away from me one more time..” and “I cannot wait until nap time!”

OMG, this did not help. Now, I was thinking…What the hell have I gotten myself into? I don’t want this! I don’t want to scream at my kids as I drag them through Home Goods during my meltdown! I left quickly (after checking out of course) and sat in my car for a minute, scrolling through Pandora stations (because the right song is also known to quickly reduce a meltdown) and I remembered the one thing I needed to do. Vent.

One of my best friends, who is currently pregnant, not working and planning to be a stay-at-home Mom ended up being my saving grace. The fact that I finally released all the fears and worries I’d been holding back and had someone listen to each of them was exactly what I needed. However, she also reminded me that my decisions affect my family, and my family only. If I am happy, Husband is happy and life is good then I shouldn’t give a damn about what anyone else thinks. Then, I realized the real problem. I have been more worried about what other’s think of me than what I think of me.

She also reminded me that I should feel thankful for this time and opportunity. Soon, I will be a full-time Mom and will be full-time busy. I should be taking advantage of every moment right now, which I plan to do. And, now I plan on enjoying it. This is just one more change and one more challenge I will learn to master. I somehow forget that change and I do not mix. It’s not until after a meltdown, a shopping trip and a coming to Jesus that I remember this little fact.

I’m not so young anymore, but I still enjoying keeping busy. As I get a little (and I’d like emphasize little) older I am learning to let go little by little to slow down every once in a while and just enjoy life. Maybe one day I’ll learn to just roll with punches… hahaha yeah right.

Cheers!

Positively Pregnant and Panicked

It’s been far too long since I have talked about anxiety and panic attacks. This is mostly because when I have panicked over the last couple of months it always centered around being pregnant. Since, the pregnancy was a secret for 10 weeks, I couldn’t exactly write about how I felt.

Overall, I am thrilled with how I’ve mentally handled everything. With moving, quitting my job, getting pregnant, attempting to fix up an entire house and traveling all summer I am surprised I haven’t had to up dosage and invest in a straight jacket. I am mostly happy, comfortable and positive about the future…mostly.

On any regular day I have to work to keep the negative and obsessive thoughts at bay and pregnancy has been no different. At any moment over the last 3 months I may have thought one or more of the below…

-I am not really pregnant.

-I am having a miscarriage.

-Something is wrong with this baby.

-We are going to screw up this kid.

-I am going to die in childbirth.

-I am going to get fat and stay fat forever.

-I broke the baby.

-I am having a heart attack (always).

-I am growing to fast.

-I am not being healthy enough.

-I should be teaching.

-I am doing everything wrong.

-I’m lazy, useless and should have a job.

-Everything is changing and I don’t feel the same. (Thanks Keane)

I know this all sounds so depressing and morbid, but that’s what high anxiety and panic attacks does to a person. It’s a little monster invading your every thought and forcing you to dwell on what might/could/will happen. My biggest fear after we decided to have a baby was that I will not be able to handle it. My panic attacks and anxiety have been mostly under control for a while, but what if the hormones and changes bring it all back? What if I go crazy? What if I can’t handle it??

28 years of experience has taught me that my anxiety is at its worse when I have to face big changes in my life. What could be bigger than moving, settling down and starting a family…especially for us? I stressed more about possibly having anxiety during pregnancy than the actual pregnancy itself.

Now, the great news is that even though these negative thoughts are sneaking in and trying to keep me from enjoying this exciting time in my life, I have been able to stay stable and stop them. All my practicing, retail therapy, medicine, praying and yoga are worth it because I feel stronger than ever. I am able to think rationally and remind myself that these scenarios are so unlikely. THEN, I am actually able to stop dwelling, or at least recognize I am about to go down the rabbit hole and seek rational thoughts from Husband.

I am also allowing/forcing myself to relax. Anxiety is common in pregnancy for everyone so I am making time to distress as often as I can. I have been taking baths, reading, doing yoga, writing and spending quality time with friends. It’s not easy for me to relax (I love to work and be busy), but I can tell it’s helping. I so often forget how necessary it is to unwind.

AND, the truly unbelievable thing is that I have not had any medicine in 3 weeks! Not because I wanted to stop taking it, but because I forgot to refill my prescription while traveling and have yet to do so. Miraculously, I still feel fine. I am so amazed at myself. (I do plan on refilling the prescription ASAP, but still…this is unbelievable.)

My advice to anyone who lives with panic attacks and wants to have children is to get control of them first. Do whatever you need to do to get healthier and stronger, be responsible and prepare yourself for the major changes. Change is hard, and we (panic-attack-havers) need lots of preparation before tackling any new challenges.

Here’s to 28 more weeks of a mostly calm and happy pregnancy!

Cheers!

Ten Weeks….or so…

10 weeks bump

Okay, okay I suck at writing while traveling. In my defense our hotel in Chicago didn’t even have wi-fi so blogging was completely out of my hands. Once again, I’m back with way too much too share. I wrote this post a week ago, but am just now able to post it.

preggo!

I don’t want to write about every single week of pregnancy, but I’m happy to share some milestones along the way. 10 weeks seems like our first real milestone. We heard the heartbeat, the doctor says everything is a perfect as can be and the world now knows we are expecting our first bambino.

10 weeks

 Since I am was ten weeks, I might as well share my Top Ten Things I’ve Discovered During the First Ten Weeks.

  1. I am soooo tired. Everyone says that the first trimester makes you exhausted all the time, but I honestly thought I’d be okay. I am used to running on fumes and often manage very well with little to no sleep. But, this…this is a different kind of tired. I have had to take naps! I never nap. Even as a small child I used to lie on my red and blue mat at daycare counting the blocks until my teacher finally announced that nap time was over. Now, it takes all of my energy just to type this sentence. While taking my “10 week photo” at the top, Husband kept saying “Your eyes look too tired”.
  2. Speaking of not having energy. I am not drinking coffee. I am rarely drinking coffee. All of my pregnancy books say I can have 200mg a day, which is basically a cup, half a cup if I’m at Starbucks. I try to abstain completely, but it has been hard, like really hard.
  3. I consider myself incredibly lucky because I have not thrown up. However, there has been lots of nausea. Most foods have lost their appeal. The only thing I crave is cheese and beef (neither of which I can eat).  If I go even two hours without eating something small I feel HORRIBLE. Eating often is the only way to ward off nausea.
  4. Husband is even more wonderful than I thought. He will get me crackers and ginger ale the second I feel sick. He makes ramen noodles at midnight when it’s the only thing I want. He encourages me to take it easy and never makes me feel guilty for accidentally falling asleep while “working”. He once went grocery shopping at 10pm so we could make homemade chili at 11pm in July. When I asked him why he was being so nice, he simply said, “Well, you’re pregnant aren’t you?”
  5. Husband is SO annoying. Apparently, being pregnant makes Husband snore, smack, hum, tap, fidget and do a myriad of other annoying habits. (I’ve also heard that pregnancy makes women more irritable, but I’ve yet to see any signs of that.)
  6. I cry A LOT. I am already a sensitive person who cries at anything sentimental, but now it’s a bit ridiculous. During “the red wedding” episode of Game of Thrones I cried for so long and so hard that Husband became concerned. One night Husband asked me to climb a ladder while painting, and I cried….because he wanted me to climb a ladder. Anything and everything seems to bring tears to my eyes.
  7. Pregnancy is the greatest excuse to not do anything I don’t want to do. “Sorry I can’t….I’m too tired, too nauseous, too emotional, too hot, too (insert pregnancy symptom here). It’s awesome.
  8. People are extra nice to you once they find out you’re pregnant. I am loving every minute of it.
  9. Pregnancy is also the best reason to be healthy. Working out and eating healthy is probably more important now than ever. It’s also harder than ever. With all the nausea and exhaustion the last thing I want to do is eat a salad and go for a run, but I’m doing my best. I want to do this right.
  10. My dreams are crazier than normal. I have always had crazy surreal and ridiculous dreams, but lately they are so outlandish that Amanda Bynes would be freaked out.

Overall, pregnancy has been fun, so far. I am loving the changes, the planning and the special attention. Less than 29 weeks until Hilarie Jr. arrives!

Cheers!

We are having a baby!!!

zimbickijr.

FINALLY, I get to tell everyone my super big secret that I never really kept. I suck at keeping any secrets so you can imagine how hard it has been for me to keep this a secret. We have told way more people than originally planned, but whatever, we’re just so excited! This is a huge reason why my blogs have been so sporadic lately. Every day, as I sit at my laptop, I just stare at the screen thinking “OMG, I’m pregnant!” and that’s it. Leaving this little detail out has made it very challenging to write about my daily life.

I am officially 10 weeks and a couple of days pregnant. Everything has gone really well, we have heard it’s heartbeat, seen its little hands and feet wiggle and we are so very excited.

I’ve been thinking of ways to “announce” the pregnancy for months now, and never came up with a super creative idea. We decided to take some photos at our recent Hilton Head vacation, and these are my favorites of the 5 thousand photos we took…

Husband's expression of "what the hell?" here is priceless
Husband’s expression of “what the hell?” here is priceless
I like this one because it looks so similar to our wedding invites
I like this one because it looks so similar to our wedding invites

due date

And of course, Zoey had to sneak into a couple
And of course, Zoey had to sneak into a couple
Awww, Husband is pregnant!
Awww, Husband is pregnant!

When I first found out I was pregnant we decided to tell our parent’s first. We had a big family dinner with my in-laws and I stood up to take a group picture of everyone. I set my camera on “record” and said “on the count of 3, say Hilarie is pregnant!” The idea was to record everyone’s reactions instead of snapping a photo, but I recently got a new phone and that video is now gone…woops.

We Facetime’d with my family in Texas and sent photos to my closest friends.

Sent to my sister, our babies will be just 11 months apart!
Sent to my sister, our babies will be just 11 months apart!
Sent to some friends to announce the baby.
Sent to some friends to announce the baby.

Belle is probably our biggest concern at the moment. This dog is so incredibly spoiled. She can’t even handle me holding someone else’s child for a minute. Here’s hoping she likes our kid more than she likes everyone else’s.

belle big sister

You have probably realized now that the baby is due February 17th, approximately, which also happens to be mine and Husband’s 9-year dating anniversary! I know it’s unlikely that the baby will be born on its actual due date, but the timing couldn’t be more perfect.

I could not be any happier right now, life is really good.

Cheers!