Why I Love This Job

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No one can prepare you for motherhood…even if they’ve tried. Sure, you can hear birthing stories (which you won’t understand until you’re actually having the contractions where you feel like you might die) or advice about getting sleep before the baby comes (there is no amount of sleep you could ever get to prepare you for all the sleep you won’t be getting as a new mom!). You can read everything on the Internet but that’s also just going to prepare you into a paranoid freak! At the same time, no one can prepare you for the love you will have. It’s the most incredible feeling in the world. You will never feel anything like it until you are a parent. No once can prepare you for this journey you’re about to embark upon, but you know what, that’s why I love this job!

The first time I held my daughter I was overwhelmed with how much I loved her. It was like a tidal wave that flooded my heart and completely filled me up. Sure, it was tough in the beginning, but isn’t any new job? The insecurity of taking on a new role, how will you perform, what if you make a mistake and the overall uncertainty of not knowing what you’re doing. It’s the fear of the unknown…

And it’s the unknown that always get us…what’s next? what do I do now? is this right? should I be doing it this way? what if I’m supposed to do it that way? HOW WILL I KNOW?! You don’t get paid, you definitely don’t get raises, you don’t get reviewed (this is usually unsolicited and when I assume when most kids become teenagers) but best of you, this is one job no one can ever take away from you. You are a parent, congratulations ๐Ÿ™‚

Recently, we took some family photos to celebrate my daughter turning one. I couldn’t be happier with how they turned out. Krista (from Krista Lynne Photography) did an AMAZING job…check out her page here! So this is why I love this job…I love being able to have sweet moments like this captured, but that’s only a small part of it. I love everything about this job, the good, the bad and sometimes, even the ugly. I love when someone asks her “where’s mommy” and she points to me…I love it when she screams ‘MA!’ even though I sometimes want to scream myself…I love when she runs towards me and falls right into my lap…I love her laugh, seeing her interact with her dad, her smile, the way she imitates everything, the way we play together as a family, her hilarious faces, how excited she gets to be chased, seeing already how smart she is….this list could go on forever so I’ll stop here.

But most of all, I love her. I everything about her. And although I have exhausting days at times, my best days are spent with her. They are cherished moments that I am fortunate to have because God blessed me into becoming a mom…and that is why I love this job :).

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Why You Need Your Girlfriends…

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Good girlfriends are hard to come by. Why? Because in all honesty, girls can be bitches. I mean let’s face it, at some point (or multiple!) in your life you’ve been one. Did a girlfriend steal your boyfriend in high school? I bet you were a bitch then (and she was kind of a bitch too). Or talk about you behind your back? Oh, I bet bitchy came out then (and that was pretty bitchy of her too). Maybe you have a bitchy boss who’s intimidated by you or that bitchy woman you always get on the phone at the doctors office (I’m a first time mom, OKAY?!). Was someone mean/hurtful to your child? Your bitch level probably hit the fan when that one happened.

But, it’s not just women either. There are some mitches out there too (for those unfamiliar with Kevin Hart, that would be a man-bitch, or ‘mitch’). Because we are innately flawed as humans, we have developed these behaviors/attitudes/ways of living that we justify for our actions. We feel we have the right for our ‘bitchy/mitchy’-ness. But do we?

I had some shitty girlfriends in my lifetime. A few talked behind my back when I thought they were my friends, a few went after guys I was dating and some even ended up dating them (!) and a few just wrote me off based on changing circumstances. I wasn’t a perfect friend either. I gossiped about some of my friends and said hurtful things to them too (I just felt more on the receiving end of the backstabbing then the giving). There were friendships that naturally fizzled, others that went down in flames and a very few to this day that have remained as my closest and strongest.

It’s natural for friendships to change, especially when everything else in our lives do. Now that I’m a mom, I’ve found an amazing group of girlfriends I feel so blessed to be a part of. They all went to high school together and had what I wished I did…a group of girlfriends that stayed friends and true to each other. I feel like I have been friends with them my entire life and have to say now that we are all moms, I rely on them more than ever!

The best part about aging and friendships is how you mature. You realize what’s important in life. You don’t have time for drama. Your gossiping is restricted to celebrities and reality TV shows. You complain about your husbands and sometimes your kids but never one another. You support, love and respect each others decisions. You never judge. You never fault. And sometimes when its needed, you always forgive.

The older I get, the more I realize how much I need my girlfriends. I need to vent about how marriage is hard work or ask questions about something regarding my daughter. And sometimes…just sometimes I just need to let loose! I need to go out and enjoy drinks and lots of laughs with just the girls. And when Channing Tatum happens to be involved, that’s an extra perk!

As women, whether we are close friends, co-workers or strangers on the street, I hope we find more ways to be accepting of one another, our own personal struggles and successes and really embrace the power of womanhood instead of tearing each other down. Whether you have one or one hundred girlfriends, cherish your friendships…they’re an extension of you. I’m so happy to have the girlfriends that I do! ๐Ÿ™‚

What Really Matters

Emma GraceMy daughter just recently turned one so of course I wanted to have a big first birthday party for my little princess (that was the theme!). I drove my husband crazy with all the time (and money!) I spent on decorations, planning and cleaning to make ready for this momentous occasion. I know she will never actually remember it, but I was excited about hosting such a special event at our new home.

It was the first time practically everyone would see the house so with my Type A personality, I spent zero hours sleeping and every waking moment getting the place in tip top shape! Needless to say, there would realistically be no way mentally or financially that we would have the entire house furnished and decorated, I did my best. A part of me was worried about what people would think and that’s new for me because usually I don’t really care (ha!). I think because this home is so much a reflection of me and my taste since I did most of the decorating (okay, let’s be honest, I did it all and LOVED every second!), I wanted people to really love and appreciate it the same way that I do. I realize our style isn’t for everyone (think Farmhouse/Chip & Joanna Gaines style) but I love it, I really really do. And I spent a lot of time making it a place I could love. Online orders, in-store orders, “Renee, why is there another package at our door” my husband would shout and I’d pretend not to hear him, returns, returns and more returns! I also made a lot of things too, centerpieces, re-upholstered dining room chairs (thanks for the help, mom!) and my personal favorite, painting and distressing with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (check out my before and after bench here).

Yes, it was great…at first. My husband and I would argue about how I ‘get to do all the fun decorating stuff’ and he ‘just gets to do the shit I don’t want to do’. On some level, I saw where he was coming from. But as much as it was really fun, at times it was really daunting. I spent a lot of time trying to save money by making many of the items in our home. I had five weeks to get as much as I could done. Renovations with a child aren’t easy so that meant either going on my lunch break during work to shop and doing projects in the evening when she went to bed. But I’m happy to say it was worth it because we have enough of the house done to where I feel comfortable (minus our bedroom, we have no furniture so it’s kind of a mess).

But that’s not even the point. None of that stuff really matters. It’s all materialistic. What matters is family. We are blessed. We have a beautiful home and we are healthy. These are the moments that matter…

It’s easy to get caught up in the mundane tasks of everyday life. We are too busy and there’s never enough time. The other day I took my daughter to Partridge Creek to play in the water fountains. There was a moment when she walked towards me smiling and laughing. I scooped her up and hugged her tight. It was perfect. That’s what really matters…moments like those. Not house chores, not decorating, not party planning…

I’m happy to say her party was a success and I feel like all my planning paid off. But the best part of her birthday for me was the day my husband and I took her to the zoo as a family. That was our birthday with her. And those are the moments to me that matter the most. Find some time this weekend to enjoy what really matters ๐Ÿ™‚

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The Overuse of ‘I Love You’

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It’s wonderful to hear the phrase ‘I love you’. Whether it’s from your child/children, your spouse, a family member or friend. It’s almost magical the way it makes you feel. You are special, you are appreciated…you are loved. It’s even more special when you hear it for the first time from someone you also love. It’s a wonderful feeling to give and receive.

I feel like there comes a point in your relationship, whether it be dating or marriage, where overuse of the phrase ‘I love you’ starts to happen. It becomes as casual as ‘hi’ and ‘goodbye’. We say it every time we see the person and on every phone call. We say it so often that it becomes habitual. We say it quick and even mumbled, we use it as an apology, we say it when we’re angry, we say it when we’re needy or need something, we say it because it was said to us first and sometimes we say it when we don’t feel it. The importance of the phrase becomes diminished, less important and all too common. It loses its magic, its importance and its meaning.

Yesterday my husband and I got into an argument. We both went up to bed together but didn’t talk. I said goodnight to which he followed with ‘goodnight, I love you.’ I waited to say it back. I was angry. We didn’t resolve the conflict and I felt like he said it just to say it. I felt like he didn’t mean it. I know he did and he does, but in the moment, it felt fake. I mumbled it back in my unhappy voice and went to bed.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s wonderful to use this phrase. It’s important to tell those that we love how we feel because you never know what could happen to you or them. The feelings of unconditional love that you share with your family are foundational. They are the pillars which you build your lives upon and around. They are the words that give you hope, strength and the ability to fight through difficult times. But there are also words that when said, do the complete opposite. The phrase is used as a weapon. We use to get what we want. We use it to make our partner feel bad. We say it just because. We say it just to hear it back. We spit it out like word vomit and we selfishly take it in without gratitude.

I’m grateful my husband says I love you, even when I feel he’s saying it just to say. He never fails me there. I remember the first time he said it to me standing in our old kitchen hugging. I couldn’t stop smiling. I still get butterflies when I think about it.

Love is a beautiful thing. If you love someone, tell them…tell them often and always, just mean it. Really, truly mean it. Don’t say it to get out of an argument or to get something that you want. Don’t use it as a test or a punishment. Life is short, love the ones you’re with. One of my favorite sayings is a Swedish proverb, “Love me when I least deserve it, for that is when I really need it.” I’m lucky I have a husband who does this and through it all, I know we will always love one another.

What is This World Coming To?

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I don’t watch the news. I don’t really read it either. As a journalism major, it doesn’t even pain me to say this. I can’t stand the news. I really can’t. I’m tired of all the violence, depressing stories and celebrity crap no one really cares about (actually a lot of people do because it’s so overwhelming covered).

Sure, maybe some people will say I’m naive (or maybe even stupid) or how can I stay up-to-date on current events but here’s my reply: one, sticks and stones (hopefully you can finish the rest) and two, I stay current on what I need to. Ebola? Yes. I watched and I read. Measles? You bet.

But there are some things I draw the line with. Do I want to hear about some lunatic that killed his entire family and now wants to plead insanity? NO! Do I want to hear about another that put her child in the microwave? NO! Or one who killed two of her kids and put them in the freezer? NO! It sickens me. It really, really does. When it comes to children I can’t handle it, I really can’t. What is this world coming to? What is wrong with people?

I am not here to judge, that is not my job, but it pains me what people do. Why can’t they get the help they need before they commit these terrible crimes? Are their symptoms going completely unnoticed? Do they just snap one day? What is it? The questions rack my brain as I hear about these stories. I recently watched a video that went viral regarding two parents abusing their children (if you haven’t seen it, click here, but be warned it’s brutal). The sister of the mom actually filmed it. I cried. I hugged my baby extra tight that day. Why? These children are innocent. Why? (side note: the parents in that video aren’t being charged yet for child abuse because there isn’t enough evidence…what?!)

I wish I had answers, I wish someone did. But what I do know is this is the reason I don’t watch the news and don’t read about it either. I can’t stomach it. And when I do find myself caught on something (I intently followed the Laci Peterson story in college), I can’t stop. I keep reading, searching and wanting to know the latest updates. As a mom now, I can’t do it. I can’t follow these stories. It’s too heartbreaking.

I pray for justice, I really do, but I also pray for these people. No child deserves this…ever. But there has to be something seriously wrong with these people. I can’t fathom anyone mentally stable doing these types of horrific crimes. There has to be an internal struggle they are dealing with.

I still have hope for the world. I hope that people stop killing and find a way to deal with their issues in a healthy manner. In the end, good will triumph over evil…we just have to continue to hope and pray. So the next time you’re tired of, fed up, frustrated and angry with your kids, try to focus on how much you love them. Children are a blessing to be loved for, protected and cherished no matter what…let us continue to hope that even in the toughest times, parents always remember that.