Housewife, homemaker, SAHM, domestic engineer???

21 Oct

Cleanliness is next to Godliness, right?  So I should be getting big time points for all this cleaning I’ve been doing, right?

Getting festive helps motivate me

I have never been been the most organized person in the world.  Every time I run into my fifth grade teacher, she says, “I remember when I had to clean out your desk for you and it was such a pigsty!”

And when Sean and I shared a house with another couple for a while after we got married, I may have been scolded by a roommate once or twice about how long I waited to take out the trash.

This has never been something I have been proud of, but when I looked at the clothes waiting to be folded, piled on our dresser, it was always easiest to run away to do something else, somewhere else… quickly!

Justina is very 'helpful' with the laundry

But now I am staying at home with the baby, not going to school, not working, and I have run out of excuses. I have discovered that my problem is not that I am not capable of being organized, but that if I’m going to be organized, then I want everything to be organized and that gets overwhelming fast.  I have been struggling to learn how to be a good housewife (see post title) and mother and be satisfied with my work.

To be honest, the saying above kind of annoys me, because really, shouldn’t I be able to do both?  But it also is a little alarming.  It’s so cliche to say, but Justina is growing so fast my life is flashing before my eyes.

For now, I’m trying to keep the public areas of the house tidy on a regular/permanent basis, and working my way through the rest of the house organizing and purging as I can.  We took two carloads of stuff to my parents house for a garage sale a couple of weeks ago, and it felt so good!  I also keep reminding myself that my first duty is to be a mother to my daughter and stressing out about housework just isn’t worth it!

No, but seriously… I’m blogging!

11 Oct

I always have about eight posts in my head at a time which causes me problems sometimes.  I also had to send my computer away to have it fixed, so that’s my excuse for not posting in over a month.

I think Mondays might become “lists of virtues on my mind this week” days.  I’m still working on the title, any suggestions?  Another problem with this theme is that there are only seven true virtues of the Catholic church.
Via Wikipedia:
In the Catholic catechism, the seven virtues refer to the combination of two lists of virtues, the 4 cardinal virtues of prudencejusticerestraint or temperance, and courage or fortitude, (from ancient greek philosophy) and the 3 theological virtues of faithhope, and love or charity (from the letters of Paul of Tarsus); these were adopted by the Church Fathers as the seven virtues. 

So, I’m going to go with a much looser definition of virtues which may end up translating to something more like, “character traits that I admire.”  Thoughts?

Some virtues (character traits? emotions?  states of mind?) I’ve been thinking about recently:
Happiness
Charity
Chastity
Patriotism
Forgiveness
Nerdiness
and…Motherhood.

I was reading this article about Catholic motherhood and it gave me a little twist to my perspective on parenting.  Since before Justina was born, I have thought about how I wanted to raise her.  I knew I wanted to use cloth diapers, have her baptized in the Catholic Church, for her to have a close relationship with her grandparents, etc.  But I don’t think I ever really directly thought about what kind of mother I wanted to be.

I often consider mothering to be “my highest calling.”  What better work could I do than raise my children to love God? But I am not only a mother.  I am a lot of things.  Recently I have been struggling a lot with deciding whether or not I want to go back to school to get my PhD next year.  I love art history, but I’m not sure that the person I am when dealing with school stress is the kind of mother I want to be.  I am also not sure that I want to be a career woman, which would thus render the PhD a waste of time.  I am trying to think of it more as a discernment process to take the stress out of the decision but it isn’t working as well as I would like.

I made it to daily Mass one day a while ago.  Unfortunately, I’m not sure if I’m ready to make it a regular part of Justina’s and my day.  Justina was perfectly happy through the entire Mass, but she wanted to talk and play, and then she got the hiccups!  At Sunday Mass, all that would have been fine, but the only other kid there was a newborn-ish baby that stayed in the cry room, so Justina’s little grunts and occasional squeals echoed through the whole church.  I was so self conscious, and wasn’t really able to focus on any of the service.  I’m kind of bummed about it.  I could really use 45 minutes of peace in my day and I would love to have that time with God.   So new goal: 15 minutes of dedicated. silent prayer.

P.S.  Kaylene is having a cloth diaper giveaway over at Letters from Momma! Go visit!

Also, photos are by Rhiannon Trask over at Lollipop Photography.  She was really wonderful!

Is confidence a virtue?

8 Sep

I have had a severe lack of self confidence for as along as I can remember,and it has always caused me problems, and these problems have only gotten worse since I became a mother.  I, of course, do what I think is best for my daughter, but I constantly suspect other people are judging my decisions, and finding me wanting.  This is especially the case because I do weird thing like cloth diapering, babywearing, baby-led weaning (Justina’s first food was a whole slice of avocado, not mashed or pureed), and occasionally Co-sleeping.

Most recently I think it has become a serious stumbling block for me in building friendships.  I am constantly second guessing people I meet, wondering if they really are pleased to meet me, or really do want to hang out again sometime soon.  While Sean was gone and I was dealing with my surgery and everything else, I was so blessed to have so many people offer to help in anyway they could and, even though I was desperate for help and most of all, company, I found myself incapable of accepting that help for fear of… something. I didn’t want to be a burden to anyone, especially people I had just met.  I was afraid of accepting help from someone who only offered because they felt they should, and I was mostly afraid of seeming like I needed help.

My friend Samantha said recently, “The world would be so much better if everyone just took responsibility for their own happiness.”  I have been trying seriously to take this to heart.  If someone offers me help, and I genuinely need it, then I am going to try to accept it (not making any promises yet).  I am going to accept new friendships without asking multiple times, “Are you sure this is OK?” Or saying, “You really don’t have to do this/that if you don’t want to…” (these things usually make me more uncomfortable anyway because then I think I often come across as socially awkward.)  This could also make Sean happier, if I just tell him what I want when he asks, instead of trying to guess what he wants then being disappointed when neither of us gets what we really wanted.  Maybe the virtue I’m really looking for is courage, courage to take responsibility for my own happiness.

P.S. I still haven’t made it to ONE daily mass yet. Justina has finally gotten on a regular sleep cycle (she’s been asleep now for almost  two and a half hours!!!!!) that does not fit well with the daily mass schedule here, but I might try to adjust her schedule in a week or so to make it more possible. It is still a major goal of mine.

The world of blogging (and waiting not so patiently)…

1 Sep

Pretty girl checking out the hibiscus!

So my friend Kaylene I have referred to a couple of times now has built a super awesome blog in a very short period of time, with linkups, reviews, giveaways, etc. I am so impressed and so proud of all the work she has done! This all has led me to consider what exactly it is I am doing with this blog. I started this blog before I knew I was pregnant (before I was pregnant?) as a personal means of pushing myself farther as a Catholic woman, and I think that is still the path I want to take. I do want to try to force myself to write more though, so I’m thinking about trying to get a little more traffic flow by means of commenting more elsewhere, and maybe doing some of the link ups (like Kaylene’s Spinnin’ Saturday!) and maybe some other things. Kaylene also just sent me a link to this blog from which I learned there are a lot of Catholic mom bloggers out there (if I had thought about that, I would have known that, but I hadn’t thought about it), so I want to get in to that more.

Snoozin

So, on to the real business. Today is Sean’s and my four year anniversary! I am totally disappointed that Sean is not here to celebrate with me. He is on his way home and was supposed to be home tomorrow morning, but got stuck somewhere (I’m probably not at liberty to disclose where but here’s a video of him talking about why they’re doing what their doing. They recently went VIRAL). He has been gone for two months now, and I am clinging to my last bit of strength.

Skyping with Daddy!

Yesterday was the first time I ever had to put Justina in her crib screaming and walk out of the room for a few minutes. I didn’t think that was something I would ever do, but I really needed a minute to collect myself. It didn’t last very long though. Justina is teething and very unhappy about it. All she wants is to cuddle and I couldn’t leave her for very long knowing she was in pain and wanting me to comfort her. Thus, today I am praying for strength and patience (again), and for my husband to come home safely and soon! Also, my new goal is to go to Mass at least one weekday a week, working my way up to every day!

Thank God…

10 Aug

Thank God my latest lump was benign!

I wish there were someone to give me a gold star for breastfeeding through breast surgery but sadly, there’s not.  I do have the satisfaction of knowing I have done what I think is best for my beautiful baby girl and that is more than enough.

For anyone who may come across this looking for information about having a lumpectomy while breastfeeding, I found the most helpful information here but most of it deals with beginning to breastfeed after surgery rather than having surgery while breastfeeding.  If you have any questions about the process or post-op complications that may arise including milk fistulas and milk leakage, feel free to email me.

All of the trials of the past year have been difficult for me.  I have often wondered, “How or why is this happening to me?”  I have also thought many times, “Thank God I am the one with the health problems and not the baby!”  and “Thank God my health problems are relatively minor, if numerous!”  I am so lucky that neither of my lumps, though both suspicious, were cancerous.

Strangely enough, because of all of these problems, I have been even more aware of how blessed I am.   People have come out of the woodwork to be here for me.  The Young Married Couples group at church offered to bring me dinner once a week while Sean is gone.  My family has done everything for me.  My OB/GYN gave me his personal phone number and told me to call him if I needed anything and gave me a big pep talk about trusting Christ to get me through the rough times and teach me something in the process.  With Sean being gone I have spent a lot of time at my parents’ house which has allowed me to visit a friend (and her daughter who is Justina’s age)  who is clearly God-sent more often.  God has placed so many people in my life to help me feel his love and help me trust that he will take care of my family and me through whatever might happen.

Tonight, I am praying for my parents who are both unemployed, that they may find first a similar faith that God will provide for them, and second that they may find meaningful work that will support them.

Moping and Mothering…

25 Jul

Maybe I’ll try this again?  I’m a stay at home mom now so maybe I’ll have more time, or is that wishful thinking?

I feel like I should play catch up a bit, but if I tried to go back and cover everything we would all be here for weeks!  To make a long story short, my sweet Justina Colette was born March 2, 2011.  She weighed 6 lbs. 13 oz. and was 19.5 inches long.  She is now almost 5 months old, weighs probably around 14.5 lbs. and is 26.5 ish inches long.  She amazes in me in every way and is my greatest blessing. Then I graduated with my MA in Classical Archaeology from the University of Missouri, Sean is currently deployed with the Air National Guard band (read more about that here, I am so proud of him!) and here we are!

While my pregnancy got much easier after my last post, (the lump was benign!) I can’t say things have gone as smoothly as I would have liked.  Justina is perfect in every way and keeps me going every day.  Unfortunately I have had a series of health problems that are really starting to overwhelm me. First there was the lumpectomy mentioned before which turned out to be a fibroadenoma.  Right after Justina was born I had a uterine infection that made me feel as if I had a really bad flu and put me in the emergency room a couple of times.  Then I began having what I later discovered were gall bladder attacks which led to having it removed in mid-May.  Then I found another lump in my breast and after seeing the doctor and having my first mammogram at 24, I am going to have it removed in a few days.  The doctors never said anything very solid, but still scared me, and while I’m trying not to be melodramatic, I’m frankly terrified of what might be.  I had never had surgery or been to the ER until last October, and now I feel like a “pro” at navigating hospitals and getting doctors to explain things to me in words I can understand.  One of the worst parts right now  is that Sean can’t be here with me to calm my fears.  I miss him so much (cue the moping).

But as always now, it all comes back to Justina. I think if I didn’t have her I probably wouldn’t be getting out of bed much these days, but she keeps me going and keeps me in awe of God’s work.  Every day I feel blessed to watch her grow and learn; I could gush about her all day!  She has brought me so many virtues that spring from the great work of love that is being her mother.  I am working on trusting God to take care of us.  If I am sick, then he will provide me the strength to care for her.  Dear God, watch over and protect our family.

There and Back again…

5 Nov

So, obviously I fail at blogging.  I wish I had been keeping a better record of the past few months of this baby growing, but maybe that’s why I couldn’t blog about it.  The past few months have not been fun, and I wanted pregnancy to be this glowing, joyful time for Sean and I to enjoy as we prepare for the birth of our child.  I wanted to write about how thrilling it was to hear the baby’s heartbeat for the first time, and how my heart leaped with joy when I felt the baby’s first kicks.

I couldn’t write about how miserable I was, and how I cried at many meal times because I was so hungry, but no food on earth sounded palatable, and anything I managed to force down came up again almost immediately. I love food, and I hated that eating was a chore.  But finally, after about four months, things got better and I could eat again.

Then I found a lump in my breast, and although I was sure that it was due to pregnancy changes, I quickly found out that it was more than just that.  After seeing my OB, I was sent to the Breast Clinic at the University Cancer Center, for an ultrasound and consult with the doctors there, where they told me it was a solid tumor that needed to be removed soon, since it had appeared so quickly and would presumably continue to grow.  They told me there was a 75% chance it was benign, but that there were some “weird” characteristics about it that made them suspicious.  I have a very strong family background of breast cancer, including my mom and three of her sisters, so I think that concerned them even further.

After a week of worrying, I had the surgery, which went very smoothly.  They decided not to use general anesthesia, but to use a local anesthetic and something else to put me to sleep.  I was awake again before they had even wheeled me out of the operating room.  I was a little goofy for a few minutes, but I felt alert and back to normal very quickly.  The staff were really wonderful, and I was glad to have had such a good experience at the hospital where I will be giving birth.  That day, the doctor told me he would be “shocked” if the mass were not benign, and sure enough, a few days later, my wonderful OB (who wasn’t even responsible for relaying this info to me) called to make sure I knew that everything had come back clean.

Baby Girl's Profile

So, now, I hope the worst is over, and I can begin to enjoy this pregnancy!  I’m starting to show now, and in the midst of all of the above mentioned, we had our first, and only ultrasound where we saw our little girl for the first time.  Her squirms and kicks become stronger every day, and I can tell she has her parents’ silly spirit already, kicking so hard, then stopping the second Sean puts his hand on my belly.  At the ultrasound, she flipped around and waved, and made it very difficult for the ultrasound tech to determine that she was a she, then to gather all of the measurements needed.  I’ve been trying to go to more concerts with Sean at the university, knowing our little girl can hear the music, and she kicks the most during the few marches we’ve heard, taking after her daddy already.  We can’t wait to meet her face to face!

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