WMW: But I'm the better parent! [yes, i made it up]

*steps on soapbox and clears throat*

So for today's WMW, we had the option to make up a prompt or follow one of the two that was suggested. And, since I couldn't think of anything remotely clever to blog about either topic, I picked one that's been bugging me for a little bit: the elitist parents.

More of my friends are becoming parents [or thinking about becoming parents]. This has made some of them turn into the "let me show you how a REAL parent operates" people, and it annoys the every-living snot out of me. Just because you do things differently from me does NOT make you a better parent [and, for the record, i am NOT talking about anyone who might read this blog or those whose blog i read - all of you are amazing parents].

I don't get why parenting has to be a competition. Can anyone answer that one for me? Is it because you want your kid to get into Harvard so you can shove it in other people's noses? Or because you want to claim the title of "Best Parent Ever" [even though such a title doesn't exist]? Parenting should be about focusing on your child[ren] and creating the best environment for your family, not trying to out-duel someone on how many veggies your kid ate or how many states he/she can name at the age of 3.

Even before JJ was born, I always told myself that I wanted to be involved in his school life. I wanted to be homeroom mom, a part of the PTA, one of the moms that provides snacks after soccer games...and I still want to do that. But growing up, I remember seeing the BS that my own mom put up with, and a ball of dread fell into my stomach. And parents wonder where their kids get their "Mean Girls" attitudes from... But I will NOT be that parent. I won't let another mom shove me around, but I won't carry this elitist crown with me, either. For crying out loud, my husband's in the military - no telling how long we'll be at a duty station anyway.

So, in short, my final thoughts are this: there IS no such thing as the perfect parent. You can be a great parent, but striving to be a perfect parent raising a perfect kid just doesn't exist. And clearly, our kids watch our every move, because most of them pick up this elitist attitude from their parents [at least, the peeps i grew up with did]. So let's all act like we're adults and focus on raising our kids and providing them with a positive environment, not how many "My kid is the greatest, which means I'm the greatest!" stickers are on the back of your car.

*steps off soapbox*


Two years? Really?

Sunday was my two-year wedding anniversary. Man. Two years. How did two years fly by so fast?!  

When J and I got married, I was terrified about married life - but I knew that I loved him, and that was all that mattered. We've had our ups and downs, but I can honestly say I love him more today than I did the day we got married. I wasn't sure it was possible to love him any more than I did when we got married, but it's absolutely possible.Our anniversary celebration didn't go as planned, unfortunately. I was supposed to be in Colorado this past weekend, but I went a week early because J is now deployed. It was a very sudden development, I'm still adjusting to it, and it forced me to take my anniversary trip a week earlier than anticipated. I did, however, have an absolute blast while I was in CO with him [and it was the first time I'd seen him in nearly 4.5 months - the longest we'd ever been apart], and we decided to postpone our anniversary/birthday celebrations to after he returns. 

Anyway. The whole point of this post is to thank my husband for being an amazing man. He had one nothing but loved, honored and cherished me since the day we got married, and he continues to grow as an Airman, a dad and a husband. While our marriage hasn't been perfect, I take pride in knowing that we worked through our issues and never gave up on one another. I look forward to many more years of marriage and happiness - because I can honestly say I can't imagine my life without him. He's my better half, the love of my life and the one man I want to be with forever...I never thought I would find that [especially with him, the boy I used to hate], but I'm forever grateful and happy that I've found love and eternal happiness with him. So - thanks babe. I love you more than I'll ever be able to put into words.


More updates to the list!

I wanted to devote an entry to the concert since it was so stinking awesome - but I do have some other updates to the list:

1. I added to no. 65: see 15 movies in theaters. I saw Battle: Los Angeles with the husband and three of his AF friends on the 11th. I had no intention whatsoever of seeing that movie in theaters, but I wasn't about to be the party pooper. I tell everyone it was Independence Day times 100 - that movie was freaking intense. I was so scared of some alien jumping out of the screen that I didn't really let the movie set in until after it was done. I actually liked it...I'd definitely watch it again [but maybe not before deployment].

2. I also made a new power of attorney [no. 4], and we're currently preparing a will. It's about time.

3. I altered the Christmas fund one [no. 31] to vacation fund. We're going to Hawaii next year and each have a goal to save $1000 for this trip. That's a more realistic goal for me than using a Christmas fund.

4. I'm about to add to no. 60: read 25 books. I'm more than halfway through the last Harry Potter book and will probably start reading "Water for Elephants" or some classic [like "Jane Eyre"] soon.

That's it for now. I'm considering starting up the Project 365 when I turn 25...if I can find the charger for my camera, I will. If not, I'll have to start in April or May in order to complete the project before next year. Hm.

No. 67 done!

Overall, March has been a rough month. My grandfather's very sick, J's deployed...it's just been a rough month. However, the bright spot in this whole mess [besides my trip to visit J, our anniversary and our birthdays] was the completion of no. 67: attend three concerts.

My best friend and I saw Lady Gaga in OKC back in July - and fell in love. I'll admit...I was a fan, but not a huge fan. I just went really to say "Hey, I saw Lady Gaga!" But after her show, I was a full-out fan. She's amazing live, she puts on a rockin' show, and I had a blast. So the very next day, bestie and I dropped $200 [each] to see her in Dallas on March 14.

Now, I typically don't buy tickets that far in advance unless I know the show is going to sell out. Those tickets had gone on sale days before, so I was afraid our seats would suck. Um, no - they didn't suck.

Needless to say, I'm glad we got the tickets - and I'm glad we went to the show. The last time I saw her, I only knew the songs on the radio. This time, I knew almost every single word - I was so proud. I'm pretty sure the people around me thought I was weird because I knew all the words, but whatev - isn't that a reason why you go to concerts? Even though this was the same tour we saw the first time, she added some new songs, and it was better than the first time we went. I'm tellin' you, she has got the most freaking amazing voice ever. I plan on seeing her live again the next time she goes on tour, no matter how far I have to travel.

Gaga! She's amazing!
Headed to the Monster Ball!
She even performed "Born This Way" - ah!

One thing I learned during this trip though - I'm definitely getting older. I was so tired the next day...we both had to work the next day, bestie had to work a 12-hour shift, and I had to drive back to Stillwater...so we will absolutely be renting a hotel if we go to a show there again. But I'm keeping my fingers crossed that sometime next year, she'll go back on tour. Her new album drops May 23rd, and I fully intend on making that CD the second one I buy that goes towards this list.


WMW: Words of advice for new mamas

My first big kid job came around when I was four months pregnant [we had literally just found out we were having a boy when I started working at my former job]. Maternity leave was the last thing on my mind - I needed to work, we needed the money, and I never considered maternity leave until a month or two after I started working. I - in my naive mommy-to-be state of mind - thought it'd be easy to go back to work after maternity leave.

Boy was I wrong.

It's true when they say you don't know unconditional love until you have kids. From the moment JJ entered the world, I was a completely changed woman. Going back to work after seven weeks of maternity leave was the hardest thing I ever did...it took me months to get adjusted to being a working [mostly single] mom. Now that I can look back on it, here's my advice for those new moms or moms-to-be worried about going back to work:

1. Don't be. If you have a great babysitter/daycare/stay-at-home grandparent or spouse, your baby will be fine. He/she won't remember that you weren't there at all times of the day. I know it'll be hard, but if your baby's in good hands, everything will be golden.

2. Start adjusting before you go back to work. About a week before I went back, I started figuring out our routine and had the hang of it before I went back. Made the adjustment a little easier.

3. Find a balance. At my old job, I was a recruiter - so I was on the road all the time. I'm one of those people who pushes the negative things [such as separation] out of my mind to keep going, so I tried not to think about how many days I spent away from my child during his first year. But by the time he was about 9 months old, I couldn't do it anymore and had to find a new job that kept me near him. Best decision I ever made in terms of my professional career as a mommy.

4. Don't be so hard on yourself. The first year went by in a blur, but I remember lots of nights crying because I felt guilty about working, because I missed my son, because I felt like I wasn't doing enough at my job...I was a hot mess [hormones didn't help, either]. Now that I'm in a less stressful job situation, I realize that I was being too hard on myself. You don't need to be perfect at everything to get the job done - you just need to remember that you can do it. Take it easy, take it slow, and everything will work out.

5. Time management is your friend. I was horrible at time management at first - all I wanted to do was cuddle with little man, then sleep. But, there are other things that need to be done - cleaning, cooking etc. Starting to get that routine down early will help make raising your little one easier. Now that JJ is 2 and needs dinner every night [and not baby food], our routine has changed - for him, at least. I was doing all the same things I do now when he was a baby, but he was usually asleep or in his jumper while I was doing it. Now, I just incorporate him into it, and nothing's changed for me. I need structure in my life to stay sane, so having the same structure for quite some time now has been nice.

6. Take help if you need it. My sister lived with me the first six months of JJ's life [and on/off for three more until she found her first big kid job and moved], and it was SO great to have that help. Other friends offered to make dinner, babysit, give me some time to myself...especially being a mostly single mother, that help was so great to have. If you need help, take it - it'll make your life so much easier. Don't feel guilty about it, either - just because we're moms doesn't mean we don't need some quiet time.

7. Speaking of quiet time, make time for yourself. Set aside an hour a night [or at least 30 minutes] to read, write in a journal, knit, watch a favorite TV program...something to create a special time for yourself. I never realized how important it is to have this time to yourself until after I had JJ...you take it for granted before kids. I did, at least.

8. Make yourself feel pretty. As your body adjusts to not being pregnant anymore, I know it can be hard to look at yourself in the mirror every day. But, I forced myself to do it and found one thing about myself every day that I liked. Start working out again, get your hair done, buy some new clothes that will fit your shape as it adjusts - don't give up on yourself because you don't feel pretty. You are.

That's all I got for now, but I think I've rambled on enough. Bottom line is, being a working mom isn't easy - but you can do it. :)


Updating the 101 in 1001

The whole point of this blog was to keep track of my 101 in 1001. As my life has evolved, I've turned this more into a general blog with updates on my 101 scattered here and there.

Well, I'm here to admit that I've put off my 101 in 1001. I mean, I've done stuff on the list, but it's been forever since I updated it. And, since J and my dad aren't anywhere near Oklahoma, I had to make some tweaks. I'm reserving the right to do that since we're all separated due to military obligations. :)

So, today, I promise to refocus on the list. I have a little more than a year to get it knocked as much of it out as I can, and I'm determined to power through what I can. A majority of the list I can still complete...there are some that are hopeless causes at this point, but most of it can still be completed. Just gotta buckle down and do it!

Some of the upcoming tasks include:

- my last concert...bestie and I are going to see Lady Gaga in less than two weeks!
- going out for a night on the town...I'm currently planning my birthday party in Bricktown; I'm totally excited!
- family pictures...JJ and I are taking pictures in Stillwater with a photographer friend of ours. It's about time!
- starting the scrapbooks...I have so many pictures and supplies that it's time to get going on it.

I'm trying to decide how I'll finish the 5000-question survey without bombarding my blog with it. I'll figure something out. Slowly, but surely, I'll make my way through this list! Let's get it!

WMW: My Thoughts on Social Media

I know that Wednesday is almost over, but this is the first time [outside of work] I've really sat down and had time to focus on it. Work has been crazy busy with enrollment - only a few more days to go!

So, as I end my day [almost - I still have dishes to do, unfortunately], I'll focus on the prompt at hand: social media. I am amazed every single day at how far social media has come...and how fast it has advanced. I'll be 25 at the end of the month, and I NEVER thought that social media would be where it is now. For awhile, I couldn't imagine anything past MySpace and e-mail!

I think social media has a good side and a bad side. The good side is that it's SO much easier to keep in touch with family and friends. A lot of my extended family are on FB, and updating them on my life is as easy as uploading a picture of me and JJ, or updating my status. It's much easier to reconnect with people I've known for years but have lost touch with, too. My 10-year high school reunion is in three years, and I'm not sure there will be many surprises since a ton of my graduating class peeps are on FB.

In a way, social media has made my life easier, too. If I need to know something, I can probably hop online and find it by digging through Twitter or FB. A lot of breaking news, I can get from following news organizations on Twitter. Letting people know what's going on or that I need help with something is as easy as sending a Tweet - especially since my sister and I follow each other on Twitter and are FB friends. I can't tell you how many times I've found people who are willing to take me places when my car's died or have come over to help me with something. I don't even need to call or text people to get help.

Which leads to the bad sides of social media. I feel like we as a people have lost touch with one another. I can't remember the last time I got a physical card or physical letter. I really only talk to my family or husband on the phone - it's so easy to send a text that I usually just text. I don't text as often now that I have JJ, but I still text a lot. It's so easy to communicate with people without seeing them or really putting in a lot of effort that I feel like we're not personal with one another anymore.

It's easy to be someone you're not when you use social media, too. I'm always very wary when it comes to meeting people online and through social media sites because you never know if that person is a real person or not. I'm a frequent user of The Nest, and while I trust the girls on my local, anniversary and military boards, I'm not sure if others on the site are legit people or an alter ego they hide behind. It's hard to really trust people when you only know them through social media and not in real life.

The ugly side of social media can be seen in the stories of cyber bullying, of kidnapping due to someone meeting someone else online and meeting up in real life...I am so worried about what kind of social world JJ will grow up in. Will cyber bullying be a regular part of life instead of bullying in person? How will social media play a role in his developmental years? I mean, it's not like FB has been around forever - it was founded in '04, and when I joined in '05, it was only for college kids. In just seven years, that site has taken off to be something that many probably never thought would happen. I can't imagine how much more social media will advance over the next seven years.

While I do enjoy using social media and use it every single day, I can't imagine how engaging in this would've changed my high school years. Texting was still very new when I graduated high school, and FB was just starting to take off when I graduated college [and I'd never even heard of Twitter at that point]. It's easy to get wrapped up in it and expose yourself more than you realize, which is something I'm trying to keep tabs on. Even though social media has a hold on our lives, it's still important to keep as much private as you can [a lesson i've learned even more so now that my husband is in the military]. It will be very interesting to see how social media evolves as technology continues to advance at a very fast rate.