Cliches during childbirth that are…meh

Grey’s Anatomy is one of my favorite TV shows, but the way that they depict childbirth is abhorrible. Literally, every character on the show who gets pregnant has a horrible pregnancy, birth, or birth. Meredith has an emergency C-section in the dark during a storm. April loses her baby due to a tragic birth defect. April also has an emergency C-section AT HOME. Callie delivers her baby at 24 weeks after a nearly-fatal car accident.

Every American movie featuring labor and delivery is full of screaming women, pleading for an epidural, doctors and nurses scrambling along, a room of chanting people telling the laborer when and when not to push. The woman is all “YOU DID THIS TO ME!!!!!” at the father. The father is either losing his bananas or napping in the corner.

Just….give me a break.

Every woman has a different birth story to tell. I’ve told two of mine and will have another one to tell in December. I’m planning on having #3 at home since we just moved into a house. A lot of people view this as SUPER risky and dangerous. I’m all…I am NOT driving an hour in the snow while in labor. Then, I’d have to haul my shaking, bleeding, post-labor self outside in the freezing cold and pack up the newborn in the car. Just…I’m good. I’ll pass. We’ve got hospitals close by if anything goes wrong. And I’m probably more likely to die in a car accident than I am having a baby at home. It’s not like things actually happen very quickly in hospitals anyway. Like, have you ever been to the hospital? The chain of communication there is so broken and slow. Chances are, things will go just fine. I’ve had one baby whose delivery went smoothly and quickly but had an infection in utero, so he had to go to the NICU after I had him at the birthing center. Things were fine.

As a woman who has ventured past the point of the 1-10 pain scale, can I please shed some light on these friggin cliches that we see in movies and hear from everyone who wants to have an opinion?

  1. Your water breaking means that the baby is going to come shooting out your vag ANY MINUTE!!!

Yeahhhhh….nawwww. First of all, only a small percentage of labors even start with water breaking. Mine did with Haven before labor started, but didn’t with Ty. Although, after your water breaks, it means that things should get going pretty soon (meaning within the next 24 hours…not 24 seconds).

2. Faster labors are SOOOO MUCH EASIER THAN LONG ONES!!

I was in labor with Haven for ten hours and five hours with Ty. While pushing with Ty was wayyy faster (like 9 minutes instead of almost 2 hours), it was NOT easier. Ty’s was so intense. After the midwife broke my water, I was only in labor for like…3 1/2 hours. But it was like pooling together all of the pain from a 10 hour and cramming it into a 3 1/2 hour window. I dozed off between contractions with Haven. I cried between contractions with Ty. Haven’s was much more calm, gradual, and bearable. I didn’t have any expectations. I hadn’t had any babies previously. I just went with the flow. Intense? Ohhh yeah. Exhausting? Of course! Miserable? No.

My mom has had all 6 of her babies in less than 4 hours. My mother-in-law had the same. I’ve had a friend who had her first baby in less than two. They are NOT “easier”.

3. Labor starting means that we need to GET TO THE HOSPITAL LIKE RIGHT NOW!!

Okay…for some women, this is the case. But those cases are rare. “Early labor” is the longest stage of labor. It’s usually what women are referring to when they say “I was in labor for 38 hours!!!!” They were not laying there screaming in agony, pushing for 38 hours. They were probably uncomfortable and having contractions for that long though. By this logic, I was “in labor” for a week before both of my kids came….three weeks. But especially in the United States, nobody is going to have you “be in actual labor” for 38 hours.

4. Your husband will inevitably recede from being an adult into behaving like a toddler who has just lost his mother in the grocery store.

Damon kept his cool. He held my hand while I labored in the tub with Haven. He checked on Haven while I was in labor with Ty. He held me while I labored on the bed with Ty. After I pushed our babies out, he told me what a good job I did and hugged me. Seriously, husbands can keep you grounded.

5. Labor is the WORST PAIN EVER!!!! 

Getting dry socket when I had my wisdom teeth removed was overall more painful than labor. And it lasted for a week. I got food poisoning while I was pregnant with Ty due to not friggin cooking scallops long enough (those still give me the jitters…). The biggest difference with labor is that you’re not puking or crapping your body weight for nothing. It’s one of the few pains in the world that has a happy ending. In the end, you get to hold your baby. You get to meet a new love. Yeah, birth is intense. I can’t convey how intense it was for me because your brain muddles it over time. But, it is just pain. It’s just the intensity. It is doable. And it doesn’t last forever. It doesn’t even last that long.

6. You will be begging for an epidural and screaming for pain relief.

I couldn’t have gotten an epidural even if I had wanted one, which it honestly didn’t even cross my mind with either kid. Will you want the pain to end? Duh. But something happens when you’re in labor that you really only get to feel while in labor; your inner animal comes out. Millions of years of mammalian evolution kick in. I drew into myself and shut the world out. I vocalized a lot, but during transition (USUALLY the most painful part), I was nearly silent. With Haven, I breathed with my mom. With Ty, I laid back in the tub and surrendered. It’s different for everyone, but fighting the pain away doesn’t help. You embrace it and roll with it.

7. Not having an epidural means that you will literally feel your vagina shredding open at the seams!!

I guess maybe if your provider has to dive in and extract a huge baby like the jaws of life from a car accident at the last minute if you get to the hospital right as you’re pushing and the baby gets stuck. Or if your baby comes out in a funky position, like with their elbow up. But that isn’t the case for most women. And I didn’t feel myself tear. And not having an epidural means that you’re not going to keep pushing and pushing past the point of agony. It only hurt for about the last minute when Haven was crowning. Even then, I didn’t feel the tearing. By the time I felt it that strongly, she was out. With Ty, I felt pain for about four seconds while pushing. Pushing feels nice. You’re finally about to meet your baby. You’re almost done. Pushing feels productive. Most moms who I know who had an epidural, especially for their first baby, got at least a third-degree tear. You can’t feel what you’re doing. Try pooping with a numb butt while laying on your back with people screaming for you to push as hard as you can.

8. “Your labor will be horrible! TRUST ME!! I’VE BEEN THERE!!!”

I get that people usually mean well. They want to keep you from suffering as they did. Or something. Again, I’ve only shared my experience. But I’ve done it twice. AND I’ve never met a woman who had a planned birthing center birth or home birth who wanted to have their next baby at the hospital. Think about that. My mom, who had her previous four babies in the hospital without an epidural, was fed up enough with the experience that she had her last two in a birthing center. No regrets.

I’m excited to meet my little girl. I feel at peace with what her story will be, even if I don’t know what it is yet. And being pregnant with my third baby, while similar to the other two, is also a different experience. Primarily because of the two small people who dominate my life -_-

Excited to meet you, Remi ❤

 

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Cliches during childbirth that are…meh

Stuff that I didn’t miss out on by getting married at 18

I remember how people reacted when I told them that I was getting married at 18. We would get a divorce. We’d never be able to travel. We’d be broke for the rest of our lives. We needed to get more experience with dating other people. We’d get curious and perform sexual gymnastics with strangers. I’d heard countless horror stories of divorce and how it would DEFINITELY BE ME!!! Everyone questioned what the actual ef we thought we were doing.

Damon and I have been married for four years as of July 26th. Four years really isn’t a long time. Plenty of people have been married longer than I’ve been alive. But these four years have forced me to become a totally different person than the 18-year-old who married her high-school boyfriend. We didn’t get lucky. It’s been work.

Everyone told me what I’d be missing out on by getting married young. Well….here’s what I don’t regret “missing out” on.

  1. Not taking spontaneous, backpacking vacations to Peru on the fly

First of all, I wanna know who all of these Millennials are who can afford a plane ticket to Australia whenever they want. Secondly, we all know that airports now require you to display your marital status before getting on the plane. Somehow, getting married stands in the way of freely traveling from one place to another. You’ll NEVER be able to travel now!!!!!!! THROW YOUR RING AWAY BEFORE THE TSA SEES IT!!!! Newsflash: that’s garbage. Damon and I took a trip to Vegas, then Portland, a year after we got married. We’ve been through most states on the West side of the U.S. We’ve traveled plenty for the time being. We like staying at home most of the time and, our bank account reeeeeally likes it when we stay at home. We can travel one day when we’re older, empty-nesters, and have money to spend. And I really like traveling with my husband. It’s a free bodyguard, best friend, and sex buddy wherever I travel to.

Like really, most people who I know are not traveling excitedly with reckless abandon all over the globe. What does being married have to do with it?

2. Skipping the generation of “Tinder”

I try not to hate on Millennials, but the concept of “quality over quantity” is seemingly lost on this generation. Over the last five years, STD rates in Utah have skyrocketed. Again, it’s not like everyone who didn’t get married at 18 is out having these amazing, rip-roaring, orgasmatron sex lives. Especially with how many dudes are using porn as their “how-to” guide? Give me a break. Can I just say how lucky I feel to have dodged this age of “Tinder”?!?!! WHAT IS THE OBSESSION WITH BUTTHOLES?! Snapchatting dick pics. Asking for nudes. Scratching the vag wondering if that dude had herpes. Freaking out over missed periods. Sweaty acquaintances. Accidental pregnancy by a dude who I don’t ever want to see again.

“BUT THEN YOU’LL NEVER BE ABLE TO PERFECT THE ART OF THE SEX ON 80 DIFFERENT PEOPLE!!!! BECAUSE THAT’S TOTALLY HOW SEX WORKS!!!!!!”

Yeesh. It’s hard enough picking out what to watch on Netflix with one person. Watching Netflix with 80 people does not make you any more skilled in that one particular person’s taste in viewing entertainment. Can we please stop repeating this myth that you have to have sex with tons of people to be good at it? Practicing with a single person is how you get good with that person. Also, I cannot think of a single human being ever whom I have envied who has participated in this “carefree”, unattached lifestyle of random f*ckery of strangers and non-spousal partners. Not a single one.

“BUT THEN YOU GUYS WILL GET CURIOUS AND F*CK RANDOM PEOPLE BECAUSE YOU NEVER GOT A TASTE OF EVERYONE ELSE’S BODY BATTER!!!!”

Yeahhhhhhhhhhhh…except, other people are kinda gross. I can assure you that I am 100% happy and content to have only ever slept with one person; my husband who has also never slept with anyone else. If that makes me a loser, uh, okay? Imma go enjoy my significantly lower risk of cervical cancer over there then. Again, if you really want to persuade me to live that way, then pleeeease try to make it look somewhat appealing.

3. Dating the horny puppies that are called “college guys”

Impressing someone, talking to them, taking them out places, arranging stuff to do, rearranging your schedule around them, meeting parents, etc, etc, etc. Oh, never mind. I don’t like them as much as I thought. START OVER!!! REPEAT!!

I’m glad that I got that over with in high school before life got complicated. I can dedicate my college years to school, building my family, and not being harassed with intrusive questions about my relationship at family gatherings.

Having been married for four years, I look at pretty much all single dudes the same way; puppies. Horny puppies that have to be trained not to pee all over everything and lick their balls in front of guests. I’ve spent the last four years either “training” my husband out of his bad habits or learning not to care about them. And same goes for him. I have ZERO desire to repeat this experience with any other dude on Earth ever again.

4. Alllll life experience comes to a bloody halt when you get married

You know what’s cool about getting married before you’ve ever moved out of your parent’s house? You get to learn to be adults together. I didn’t have a buncha habits and attitudes already in place from living on my own for awhile. Damon and I got to learn how to manage a house without the whole “Well, I do it this way” getting in the way. We didn’t friggin know, so we made it up as we went along.

Getting married has made me have to grow up. It was freakin’ weird calling Damon my “husband” for the first few months. People’s reactions were priceless when I dropped the “H” word. Now, it doesn’t even phase me to talk about my “husband”.

When your attitude is “How can we make this work together?”, your marriage thrives. When your attitude is “How can I make this work for me?”, things suck.

I’m totally cool with all of my life experiences being with my husband. And jeeeez….being married doesn’t mean being joined at the hip. It’s not like when we were dating and couldn’t keep our hands off of each other. It’s not like we’re constantly texting. It’s not like I have to see him alllllllllllll the time. That’s called co-dependency. And it causes A LOOOOOOT of problems!

Right now, he goes to class while I try to hold down the fort at home. He does homework, yard work, and laundry. I do dishes, cook, and deal with logistics. We either join forces against the kids or take turns if the other person is going to lose their sh*t.

But hey! I haven’t slept with ten people or given shots to the orphans in India. So, what do I know about the “real world”?

 

Stuff that I didn’t miss out on by getting married at 18

Child-spacing for real adults

Child-spacing for REAL adults! Follow each step precisely to achieve optimal personhood and parenthood.

  1. 1. Get married at 26 or some other later responsible age that’s allowed you to sleep around, travel, and work enough to feel like you’ve contributed something to society. Any marriage before this age will end in divorce.
  2. Wait AT LEAST 2 years before even thinking about conceiving your first child. You and your spouse need to take advantage of unbridled, regular sex for at least this amount of time or divorce is imminent!!!! Responsibly take birth control every day to prove that you can handle routine.
  3. Consider the idea of maybe having a baby soon.
  4. Consult with your accountant to ensure that you are financially stable and can afford the burden of a child for the next 18 years.
  5. Set up account for your future child’s college fund. Make deposits regularly.
  6. Examine 401k to ensure a hefty retirement lies in store.
  7. Pass the “Parenting Clearance Exam” administered by your therapist to be notarized at the courthouse in the presence of your in-laws.
  8. If you and your spouse have argued or had any sort of dispute within the last 3 months, your marriage is clearly unstable and unsuitable for raising a child. Visit marriage counseling until receiving the “Certificate of Marital Excellence” before proceeding to the next step.
  9. Calculate carbon footprint for new baby. If the impact on the environment will be too much, consider tubal ligation for the sake of the planet. Any further desire to bear children indicates immaturity and a severe deficiency in character.
  10. Collect all accumulated paperwork indicating preparation for parenthood. Proceed to unprotected sex.
  11. Conceive child after charting ovulation meticulously for months. Each time a cycle is proven to be unsuccessful, shrug with a casual laugh and go do your yoga.
  12. Birth child exactly 40 weeks from the date of your last period. If the child is not here, induce.
  13. Wait at least three years before thinking of conceiving again.
  14. Visit pediatrician to evaluate your current child’s mental, physical, and emotional well-being.
  15. Ask therapist to administer “Parenting Clearance Exam II”. Notarize test at the courthouse in the presence of your in-laws and at least one Facebook acquaintance who has meticulously evaluated your child through Facebook posts and pictures.
  16. Marriage counselor must present “Certificate of Marital Excellence” once again before proceeding.
  17. Any gaps in sex between 6 weeks after your child was born and the present are indicators that you clearly cannot handle any more changes in your marriage. Consider having a tubal ligation or your partner having a vasectomy to avoid imminent divorce.
  18. Consult with accountant to ensure that your retirement is still secure.
  19. Open account for Child #2’s college fund. Make deposits regularly.
  20. CONTINUE EXERCISE REGIMEN. If having your current child has kept you from your exercise regimen, then you are clearly not capable of handling another child. Consider tubal ligation or vasectomy.
  21. Calculate carbon footprint for entire family. If the impact on the environment will be too much, consider tubal ligation for the sake of the planet. Any further desire to bear further children indicates immaturity and a SEVERE deficiency in character
  22. Collect all accumulated paperwork and proceed to unprotected sex.
  23. Conceive child after charting ovulation meticulously for months. Each time a cycle is proven to be unsuccessful, shrug with a casual laugh and go do your yoga.
  24. Birth child exactly 40 weeks from the date of your last period. If the child is not here, induce.
  25. Wait at least three years before thinking of conceiving again.
  26. If you have two children of different genders, promptly schedule tubal ligation or vasectomy. If you have two children of the same gender, recalculate carbon footprint and consult with at least ten, single, childless men under the age of 35 to determine whether a third child should be considered.
  27. Promptly schedule tubal ligation and bask in your selfless character that has single-handedly solved pollution, overpopulation, poverty, and crime. Enjoy perfectly-balanced family and healthy retirement.
Child-spacing for real adults

12 reasons why I reeeeally don’t miss my smartphone

While talking to a friend of mine yesterday, she asked if I still had my flip phone and brought up that she thinks that I ought to get my smartphone back so that I can take pictures of my kids whenever I want to.

This friend is quite dear to me, so the response that I gave was “I still have it. Being present and not on my smartphone helps me to remember it better. Damon still has his should we want to take pictures.”

I know that she meant well. But it got me thinking. It’s been a year since I got rid of my smartphone. I still used it as an iPod while at work, but it went through the wash in March, so that option was off the table as well.

Seriously, I don’t miss my smartphone. Here’s why:

  1. People drive hours to see people so that they can all sit on their smartphones together- I hate this so much. It wasn’t until I got rid of my phone that I realized how often people are on theirs. People will drive hours to see family, only to sit on their phones the entire time. Like…why bother getting together if you’re all just going to be on Facebook? Groups of friends just Snapchat other people. Then they scoff at the grandparents who organized the event and spent hours making food for everyone. Any time there is a lull in the conversation, people pull out their phones. It screws up the natural flow of conversation. In-person people are simply too boring to compete with the entirety of human knowledge, stupid opinions, and HILARIOUS Youtube videos…apparently. I hate when I’m with my in-laws and we’re having a great conversation when suddenly, one of Damon’s siblings will utter “OH! I HAVE TO SHOW YOU THIS VIDEO!” The whole family bunches up around a tiny screen, and the whole world has to stop for the 6:19 long video….until somebody goes “OH HAHAHA! GO TO THE NEXT ONE!” Everyone sits (or stands if in the kitchen) in mesmerized silence over the newest Facebook video. I usually just sit there like, “Can we not f*cking do this? I drove over an hour and a half to sit here and watch you watch Youtube videos? Give me a break…”
  2. “Hold on, kids. Mommy isn’t done fighting with Brooke from Detroit over why cloth diapering is stupid!” I hate social media. It used to be that you’d get into dumb arguments over politics or differing lifestyle choices at family gatherings once a year. Now, it’s a nonstop 24/7 war. You can fight with Cindy from Nebraska over why she’s being stupid for not vaccinating her womb squirrels while taking a dump. OHHH WHAT A DAY TO BE ALIVE!!!! You can check out people who you really don’t care that much about’s wedding photos while eating your cereal. How personal. How caring. Judge people’s life choices 24/7!!! Wow!! No, I don’t miss social media. I don’t miss Facebook. I don’t miss seeing the “momtrepreneurs” and their lame attempts to get me to join their new seaweed wrap “business”. Nope nope nope.
  3. Humans evolved to shut off and go the eff to sleep. The end of the day was meant for winding down, finding a safe place to sleep, reconnecting with family, and sleeping. It was not made for browsing Buzzfeed at 3 AM, jerking off to someone’s daughter being violated on-screen, arguing with strangers, etc. etc. Just go to sleep. Refresh! Recuperate! Quit blinding yourself with light 24/7! I sleep much better now that I’m not harassed by notifications, news, blah blah blah blah blah blah, alllllll the time!!
  4. You don’t constantly need to be entertained. Adults complain about kids being on their phones too much, then FREAK OUT when their kids didn’t take their phone with them to the park. Adults talk about the days when they all played outside, then submerge themselves in their phones. You will be okay without Wifi. You will not die if you don’t watch funny videos. You will not die if you’re not constantly being pacified and entertained like a baby. Not having a smartphone taught me patience and the joy of standing in line at the grocery store. Not craving this barrage of funny, funny, funny, oooh! update! funny, funny, ANGRY STATUS, POLITICAL RANT, funny, funny alllllll the time is pretty great. It is okay to just wait and line and talk to people. It is okay to just think while you wait. It’s okay to not have to be constantly distracted from this boring thing called “life”.
  5. Sure…you can read on your phone…after you respond to this text real quick! At risk of sounding pretentious; I like books. I like reading a paperback or hardback copies of a good book. I don’t like reading on my phone. It gives me a headache, and people irritate me with messages or emails or the 823472893057234 other distractions available. The only exception is listening to audiobooks. That’s the ONLY thing that I miss about my smartphone.
  6. Do you actually know how to get anywhere without your phone? I noticed that after I got rid of my phone, I actually had to start learning how to navigate. When people would tell me an address, I used to brush it aside thinking “I’ll just look it up on my phone later…” Now, I actually know where that place is just based on the address. I can navigate places better than before…usually. If not, then I call Damon and have him tell me how to get somewhere. It doesn’t happen very often.
  7. Being able to Google anything at any moment is pretty cool, but…it turns you into a lazy thinker. Being able to look up facts or alternative facts all of the time is a luxury. A lot of people have become so reliant upon Google to just tell them that they can’t think things through for themselves. It’s not like Google knows everything. It’s a search engine. You can pull up whatever you want to hear. If you want to hear one side of an argument, Google will provide you with over ten million arguments for it. Same with the counter argument. Google will not do the thinking for you. And most people don’t know what Google Scholar is. Hint: It’s pretty neat. I use it for all of my research paper. But again, it does not draw conclusions for you.
  8. But what about pictures? Don’t you want to be able to take pictures? Somehow, humans seemed perfectly content with keeping their loved ones locked away in their memories until the last 20 years of mankind’s existence. They were there for it. They remembered it. They wrote stuff down. How often do photos tell the whole story? How often do photos give context? Taking a picture is a lazy memory. We hiked a trail this past weekend. I snapped a few pictures of the kids playing in the water for funsies then put the phone back in the backpack. Being here helps me remember. Being present and remembering all of this feels much better than having some staged photo and interrupting the moment. I don’t want to interrupt the memory because I was too busy trying to get a good angle. I’ll pass….And since everyone else has their phones 24/7, it’s not like I’m really missing any pictures.
  9. I intentionally made it difficult and inconvenient to waste time. If I want to send a text, I have to decide whether I want to individually punch out 160 characters. I can’t just casually hit up a bunch of semi-friends all at the same time. I have to prioritize because I don’t always feel like typing out a text. My phone quits buzzing at around the time that people go to sleep. It’s 100x easier to mess around on your phone than it is a big computer. My actions have to be more deliberate. I can’t just tap on a few things with my thumb and suddenly be reading a random list on how to comb my eyebrows properly. I stick my laptop in a drawer for most of the week. I pull it out when I want to write. I use Damon’s computer when I need to do homework. I shut it off and go back to living my life when I’m done. I don’t live on my phone.
  10. “WHERE’SMYPHONE?! OH SH*T! WHERE’S MY PHONE?!!” Most people nearly burst their capillaries when their phone is missing. Their $900 piece of property is MIA. Their banking information, photos, friends, entire LIVES are on these phones!!! It’s like misplacing your electronic child. I misplace my phone all of the time because I’m not on it all of the time. It’s tiny, black, and cost me $10 at Walmart. If I lose it, I really don’t care. I just have replaceable texts and maybe 25 contacts on there. Literally, nothing else can even fit on that phone. It holds 300 texts. Nobody is going to steal my phone. They’d more likely be all “Who the ef still has these things?” I can watch it clatter to the floor, break into 3 pieces, and not even flinch. It takes ten seconds to reassemble. Try doing that with your iPhone 7. 6? 8? I don’t even know what number Apple has reached anymore.
  11. The whole world doesn’t know my business anymore. Occasionally, I’ll run into someone who I haven’t seen in awhile. The first thing that comes out of their mouth is “Hey! I haven’t seen you on Facebook in forever. Did you get rid of it?” Yes…Thank you for taking the time and effort to see how I’m doing. I’m not bitter about it. You recognize who cares about you when you get rid of your online cheat sheet. I post to my blog because I enjoy writing. People who know and care about me either follow my blog, have my phone number, or see me every day/weekend. They’re not shocked to find out that we moved, I’m pregnant with #3, and my kids magically grew older without the whole of my Facebook friends “liking” every photo. I like keeping my privacy more than I ever liked the likes.
  12. I’m living my life. Not being stressed out over what stupid people are saying, not busily Pinning sh*t that I’ll never make, not reading depressing news stories, and not updating statuses made me a calm, happy person. I have time to read and not be distracted. I finish books now, something that never happened when I had a smartphone. I play with my kids now. I read to them without them competing with the world online. I cook. I garden. I spend time with my husband. I don’t waste my time thinking about some fabulous argument to anti-vaxxers. Okay, I still totally think up arguments against those idiots. I don’t live on my phone. I don’t live online. I don’t watch Youtube all day. I remember. I go places. I live. I don’t need my smartphone to live. You don’t need a smartphone to live.

Yes yes yes, of course. You have excellent self-control. Your smartphone does nothing but enrich your existence. You’re definitely not on it all day. You’re better than me. Congratulations! You’re the exception. Go post about it. Quick! The internet is waiting!

12 reasons why I reeeeally don’t miss my smartphone

Dear Single Friends

Single friends,

I get it. Especially in Utah, there’s this list of “goals” that people are aiming for; marriage, children, house, blah, blah, etc. Not that this is a bad thing, but especially in Utah culture, we sometimes forget that there’s more to life than getting hitched and having babies.

Anytime I go to an event involving people from high school, they look at me differently. I’m no longer just a peer. It’s like having your boss walk into the room, or your church leader, or someone of “higher ranking”. People ask me about how I’m doing; meaning…how am I handling two kids, school, and life? The answer to this is always the same; mildly drowning, but I’m fine. I feel like I’m hijacking the conversation if I go further. It sounds like someone trying to one-up everyone else. And I hate “mom-jacking”..aka “Oh, you don’t know tired till you’ve had kids!!!!!” or “Boy, you think your life is meaningful now…wait till you have kids!!!!”

Do I say stuff like this to my husband when we’re b*tching about entitled people? Sure. Do I say them to my friends or other people whom I care about? No. I’m not that much of a dick.

Look, tell me about you. I’m serious. I ask you how things are doing, and you say “Just school,” or “Just living the single life”. I know that it might seem like much to you, but I think that it’s awesome. You’re building yourself. You’re educating yourself. You’re figuring out the world. Don’t minimize your accomplishments just because my two womb-squirrels are hanging off of me.

Let me be clear: I do not think you inferior to myself in any way just because you don’t have womb-squirrels. 

Chances are that you’re farther ahead in school than me. You’re on a pathway to a career. And even if you’re not doing either of those, it doesn’t matter! You have choices right now. You can take chances. You can do whatever you can handle!

Can I just tell you what a relief it is to talk to people who don’t have kids?? When I first had Haven, I pretty much only talked to other parents. It was like the equivalent of working at a bank and only ever reading anything about loans, banking, or mortgages. It gets really boring hearing people talk about their babies who are just like other babies. My babies are just like other babies. Sure, they have their own stories or whatever…but babies are pretty much all the same. Besides, we can talk about babies one day when you have babies should you choose to do so. I love hearing about your childless life!!! Really. I do. Even if it’s stuff that is seemingly boring to you. Tell me about your church service mission. I wanna hear about your trips and travels. Tell me about your major and why you picked it. Tell me about your job, boyfriend, girlfriend…both?! Tell me about your friggin life!!

And the sympathy. Ohhhhh the sympathy….

“Well, school is kinda tough because of the dumb kids,” says me.

“Oh wow. I’m struggling with school, but I can’t imagine doing it with two kids!”

Yes. But I’m also just doing school with two kids. I get enough in student grants and loans to not have to work a “real job”. Yes, that also means that I’ll be drowning in debt upon graduation. You have to work. You have to go to a job and deal with a boss. You have to fit that around homework, dating, family life, activities, work, and balancing a boyfriend/girlfriend…..both? Yes, you can take bathroom breaks uninterrupted by children, but I can do my job in my underwear. I’ve worked full-time and gone to school full-time, taking my GPA as a result. You’re doing both. Or maybe just one because you got a scholarship as a result of taking school seriously. You’re living with your parents because you want to save money. You’re crashing on a friend’s couch because living is expensive. You’re taking unpaid internships for experience in that job you’ll love later.

You’re taking chances.

You’re doing great.

I want to hear about it.

Don’t minimize your accomplishments in front of me. It’s not a contest, and I’m not winning. I got married and had babies right out of high school. One day, you’ll have that too, should you decide to do so. The difference is that you’ll be older, more experienced with life, probably have more money, have your education behind you, and not be drowning in student loans.

Tell me about your adventure. I’m tired of hearing myself share mine.

Love,

Marian

 

Dear Single Friends

Please stay this way

We’re moving on Monday. I’m supposed to be doing homework while Damon drops the kids off at my parent’s.

But I can’t stop crying.

Damon and I have spent the last three days nearly working nonstop, going to bed later than usual. We arrived home from working on our new house to Ty screaming…after Damon accidentally made a loud noise, startling him in my sister’s arms.

I took Ty upstairs and found that he had an awful diaper rash, hence the screaming. After smearing Desitin all over his red rear, I snuggled with him in bed. I thought that he was falling asleep, but soon found him smashing his chubby open mouth over my nose and mouth, giggling as I tried pushing him off. I had Damon come and get him so that I could do homework.

My living room floor is a disaster; covered in smashed crackers, popcorn, and Barbies. My bathroom is a mess with Barbies and baby clothes scattered on the floor. Every room in my house is baby-fied.

But I’m sobbing now. Because my baby is almost 14 months old. My first baby will be three in August. What the hell? Where did the time go?

Most days, I’m grateful for what I have. But today, I’m sobbing because I never want this circus to end. I never want to wake up without my feathery-haired blonde baby next to me. I never want his fat giggle to fade. I never want him to get skinny and grow tall. I want him to stay this way forever. I want my baby forever.

Even though his diapers are terrible smelling. Even though he doesn’t ever listen and throws fits every day. Even though he stands up in his high chair, covered in half-eaten oranges and oatmeal. Even when he’s screaming and doesn’t want to go to sleep. Even though he feels like a sack of potatoes when I carry him around. Even though he plays in the nasty toilet.

I never want this to end, because I just want my baby. I want those slobbery kisses every morning and night. I want someone to cuddle me and smell milky. I want him to stay this way forever, marching around the house with his gut puffed out. I want those chubby feet and thighs. I want it all forever and ever.

They spend the first few years of their life making you fall in love with them hardcore, then they get big and leave. Mother Nature, you cruel beeotch you! This phase is so hard, especially when there’s two of them, and they need stuff 24/7. But I never want it to end. Because once it’s gone, it’s gone forever.

I know that I’ll meet a new little baby in December, but that doesn’t put a damper on this heartache that is watching your baby grow. Ty will never be this little again. I’ll blink, and he’ll be talking. I’ll blink, and he’ll be playing sports. I’ll blink, and he’ll have kids of his own.

Can I just hold my eyes open forever and never blink? Can I never sleep? Can I watch you sleep forever, Ty? I wake up at 3 AM and stare at you. I stare at you for longer than you’ll understand. I open the bathroom door in the morning to see you standing there, hair tousled and fuzzy. I pick you up; you’re heavy and warm. One day, I’ll set you down and never get to pick you up again.

Stay this way forever, Ty.

Love,

Mom

Please stay this way

Three kids in three years…wtf

There are two things that I want people to know about my life:

  1. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone else.
  2. I. Love. It.

My third kid is due in December. Haven turns 3 in August. Ty just turned 1. And all three were planned. 

“Why would you do that to yourself?!?!!” you wring your hands up in disbelief.

When I told my grandma, who had three kids in three years, her response was “What are you doing?”

Living life.

Look, I graduated from high school four years ago. Damon and I got married July 26, 2013. It seems that waiting for “the right time” was never a strength for me. We were all “We’re gonna be responsible and wait!”

Then Haven came along.

“Well…haha. We’ll at least wait two years!”

Then Ty arrived when she was 19 months old.

“Oh my hell. Are we ever going to have kids again?”

And #3 is due in December. Why? Because I married a man who makes me want to defy that snarky sophomore girl who had dreams of becoming a CEO at 24. When I see Damon looking all sharp in his church clothes, I seriously just want to stay home, bake turnovers, and have 20 kids. Feminists everywhere are ripping their bras off in anger at my giving in to “the patriarchy”. I do want to work after I get my degree. I love working…

I still have two years till I get my bachelor’s degree. Two more years of living on student loans. Two more years of juggling school with babies.

There’s a huge difference between telling people that you’re expecting your first kid versus expecting your third kid. Everyone is ELATED when you announce the first. Sympathy and offers everywhere. Excitement. And allllllllllllll the advice. ALLLLLL. THE. ADVICE. After all, what do you know?

When you announce your third, which is more of a passing comment like “Oh, we’ve decided to try running this summer,” you’re met with silence. People simply don’t know what to say to you. Or they say the most encouraging thing that they can think of;

“Wow. You guys are getting it out of the way quick, huh?”

“That’s actually a smart idea. You’ll still be young when your kids move out.” (Thank you!)

Damon and I both come from big families. So our families kinda get it. Although, they’d probably, and did, recommend waiting on having more…OH WELL!

Kids are hard. I’m not doing this a third time because I think that it’s easy or fun. I’m typing with Ty nursing away, sprawled over my stomach. He was screaming for a good half hour straight before I finally threw him on the boob. Damon and I haven’t been able to function today because it’s finals week and our kids have been waking up at freakin’ weird times because of it. Seriously. Finals week is hell week. Last semester, Haven had vomiting and diarrhea for the entire week. Last night, Damon didn’t go to bed till 6. Ty woke up at 3 in the morning when I squirmed out of bed to go to the bathroom.

Oh yeah. I have no idea where baby #3 is going to go. I haven’t kicked either of my kids out of our bed yet. We’ll figure it out when we get there.

Most people who I know who have a kid in college have just one. Maybe a handful have two, but they’re either graduating in a semester or already graduated. I’m the only person who I know who is doing this.

Maybe call this a stupid philosophy for living, but the more good things that I can cram into my life, the less time I have for stupid crap. There’s no point in waiting to do more good things when you can do them right now.

And babies really only need 2 things:

  1. A boob to suck on.
  2. A diaper

Newborns are the easy stage. They sleep, make noises like baby goats, and eat. Aaaaand poop like 8 times a day. But still! It smells like popcorn, not the dumpster behind Cafe Rio. I’ve hardly bought any clothes for either of my kids because we get hand-me-downs and our moms can’t help themselves when they see a cute outfit at Target. ❤

Like I said, I know that this isn’t going to be easy. It’s already reeeeeally friggin hard. But having had two babies without pain medication and sitting by Ty’s side in the NICU for a week, plus everything else that I’ve been through in the last four years…hard things just don’t scare me anymore.

I’m excited to meet my new little person. You have two kids and think that you got the two opposites. But none of my six siblings are anything alike. Out of the 12 from Damon’s side and mine combined, we’re ALL incredibly different. I’m excited to see that new little face. I’m excited to see what makes them different.

Damon and I are tired all of the time. We’re not just jumping for joy throughout all of our challenges. We’re struggling to deal with two people who need us. We’re struggling to make them not need us all of the time. We’re both very human.

But I still wake up every morning thinking “Oh, thank God! It’s all still here!”

The principles of nature still apply. There will come a calm. For a few minutes, I can sit through the eye of the storm. Ty has fallen asleep on the boob. Haven is downstairs chatting with Damon while he cooks chicken for dinner. Things are okay right now.

Gratitude is the easiest things to give God. It also happens to be the ointment for every hardship that I’ve encountered. And even in you don’t believe in God, it seriously does wonders for your day when you can wake up and say,

“Wow. I’m one friggin lucky person.”

 

 

Three kids in three years…wtf