A couple weeks ago, I put this post out there. You all are amazing and gave me some great questions! You all showed up so much in fact that I am splitting this into two posts. Crazy!
I split them up into categories, and I will do half today and half tomorrow. The names next to the questions are who asked the question in case you were curious.
I hope you enjoy learning a little bit more about moi.
(Leslie and Janelle) What is your favorite thing about being a mom? The whole thing is pretty miraculous. It really shows you unimaginable things that you can do emotionally and physically. I would say my favorite thing though is just watching George become his own person. Even at such a young age the wonderment of taking things in and his personality blossoming is just a joy to be a part of. It’s also pretty awesome to see his face light up when you pick him up at the end of the day.
(Annette) What has been the most difficult part of being a mom? The most difficult part right now is knowing I can’t shield him and protect him from all harm. You want to put this bubble around them and keep everything innocent and good inside that bubble. Unfortunately, that just isn’t possible. It is a hard responsibility to swallow to try to keep danger and badness away but also accepting that you can’t do that all the time. I would say the mom guilt is also really hard. From going back to work to ending our breastfeeding journey, it can be crippling at times when you see messages that this is wrong for kids, even though it is far from the truth. It can be very hard to be ok with what you have to offer and knowing it is the best for your kid even if it isn’t the same for everyone else.
(Janelle) What has been your favorite age of George’s so far? This is so hard to say. Every month has been SO different it is hard to compare them. I will say if I had to choose that this past month has been really fun watching him eat more foods and become more stable with exploring.
(Amanda) What has been your favorite photo shoot with George? I would say the 6 month tie shots are my favorite to date. Not only were they some of the best photos of George, but I was also really proud of my process during this shoot. This is one of the shoots that I did without an assistant family member, and it was one of my shortest time wise too. It was really affirming and confidence boosting that I could do this “set up” efficiently on my own if need be. George was also really cooperative, which is not always the case. I think it one of the only sessions that I haven’t had to bribe him with a pacy at one point. It was also really cool to compare how much he had grown to when I took pictures of him in the tie when he was a newborn. And seriously what can be better than these results?
(Robin) Is sleep deprivation really as bad as people make it out to be with a newborn? I may be in my own little world when I say this, but I honestly don’t think so. I have always been a person who needs lots of sleep, and I sleep pretty hard when I do. I think our bodies do an amazing thing though when you have a baby. You adjust. Before people get all up in my grill for saying this and mark me as delusional, let me also say that George is not a good sleeper so its not like I am still getting 8-9 hours of sleep. There were a couple months he refused to nap and would only be held to sleep. Most nights he still wakes up a couple times, and more often than not he is up every 2 hours. However, there have been very few days where I didn’t think I would make it through the day due to sleep deprivation. Your body just makes it work. You learn to make the most of the two hour spurts, and know that this too will pass. I have also been fortunate to have an awesome partner to share this parenting adventure, so we can take turns if we feel the tank dipping too low. I won’t lie that you get less sleep, but like I said I think you eventually just adjust to it. And when you don’t there is coffee and Dr. Pepper.
(Ellen) Favorite childhood experience you had that you hope to pass down to George? Since my parents are divorced, I am going to share one from both family experiences. My dad used to take me out for ice cream on the first day of school every year. We did this until I graduated high school. I still will eat ice cream on the first day of school out of tradition. I am going to definitely take that afternoon off to be there to take George out to Baskin Robbins every year. It was a great time for me to just be me with my dad. (My brother went on the second day of school for his Dad date.) I think it also helped with the excitement of school and to process what was ahead. My mom did so many things to make the day to day special when we came to her house, it can be hard to narrow down it down. However something that I want to definitely do with my kids that she did with us is cook with them. I really can’t recall a meal that she did not have my brother and I doing something to help out. Whether it was opening cans of pears or cutting up the cheese for the macaroni, we were always in the kitchen with her. (At least that is how I am remembering it, Mom may say that we protested at times…) Anyway, some of my favorite times with my mom were the normalness of this because there were times in our childhood that weren’t so normal. So having these special moments of helping cook dinner is definitely something I want to continue. I learned a lot about cooking from her, and it was a great bonding experience for us.
(Rosie) How is George doing with baby-led weaning? Every day is a new day. Sometimes he reacts really well to the BLW approach. Other days he will only take purees. But when we do purees, we really do try to have him feed himself with the spoon so he is still learning basic mechanics of eating. The one consistency about feeding him whole food is that if it is slippery and he can’t get a good grasp on it, he gets angry and stops trying. So we have to be patient and just let him pitch a fit until he realizes we aren’t going to feed him. I think Tom has more issues with this approach than George does. He is afraid he will choke on everything.
(Rosie) What foods has he had a hard time eating? He still needs pretty soft food because he hasn’t had teeth up to this point. Broccoli, cantaloupe, and apples have been the hardest for him to eat. Food that he can’t hold well has also been an issue. He hasn’t quite figured out when he smashes it in his fist how to open his fist up to get what is in there. He usually ends up with a fistful of eggs or pasta.
(Chavel) More kiddies in the future? We would like to have one more. Tom is pretty set that two is our max. I go back and forth on a third. Honestly though, we want to wait awhile to see how handling just George goes. We both came from a family of two kids, so we feel comfortable with that number.
Talk About Tom
(Robin) How has married life affected conflict resolution methods and efficacy with Tom? I honestly don’t think our conflict resolution changed just because we are married. I will say that we have evolved over time. Our circumstances have changed, which makes us change. I don’t think the institution of marriage did that. But since he is my life partner, we have had to find new ways to communicate over time to make sure we are hearing each other and working together. I think as human beings this is always a work in progress because we all bring our own insecurities and issues to the table. I have a post drafted about some of my imperfections and how I deal with it towards our relationship. I think with marriage though it does reinforce a commitment so you kind of have to figure it out as a team as you go.
(Chavel) How did you and Tom meet? Tom and I met in 2007 while working at an amusement park in Kansas City. It turns out we were going to the same college, but we had never run into each other there. However, as we have divulged stories of our time before we were us, we were definitely in a lot of the same places at the same time or we had just missed each other type of things. Anyway, if you want to read more about how we met you can go here.
(Melissa) How is Tom adjusting to the new job? Tom loves his new job! He just started week two, so obviously it is still very fresh. He had quite the week last week to basically baptize him into the field. It sounds like things are going really well for him so far, and he is definitely pulling his weight. You can just tell in the way that he describs his day or the texts he sends that he is where he is meant to be. I think it is hard for him to be gone so much when George and I are home though. Fortunately though they are on a shift rotation, so they are only a particular shift for a month. Eventually, I think we will all adjust to this new normal that Tom doesn’t work a normal 8-5 M-F job.
(Katie) For you and Tom, how was the transition from Army life to “normal” life? These past 6 months have been hard, but I really don’t think it had anything to do with the transition out of the Army. While we lived that life and went through some things as an Army family, we knew it was never going to be permanent. So to be honest, it was like we were always biding time to be civilians again. We had been “adults” in the civilian world for several years before he joined, so it wasn’t that big of a shock. I think it can be tricky for people who have been in a long time or when the Army is all they have ever known, which wasn’t the case for us. The transition was more of a relief that we didn’t have deployments or the schedule anymore, but just to be traded with the responsibility of being a law enforcement family. So we just moved from one danger to another really, so I don’t think we are in a “normal” life yet. We were ready to be out, but more because we wanted to start our new jobs that both of us enjoyed. Tom is much happier being out, which I think is just about having some freedom like being able to control his own workout schedule. On a lighter note, I will say that I do miss the free prescriptions with the health care.
(Kevin) NASPA, ACPA, or Neither? NASPA and ACPA are both national organizations for my career field. I have been a member of both in the past, and to be honest at this point in my career I am not really get invested in either. The conferences I had been to before seemed like they were geared more towards higher ups, so it was hard for me as a new professional to feel involved. I haven’t had the ability to be a part of either for a while now either due to circumstances in TN. Now that I am in the advising world, they may stay on the back burner for now.
(Ellen) What is your favorite SA theory that you actually use on a regular basis? I will be honest and say that I am not theoretically minded. I think they have their place and provide a good foundation, but I don’t use theories every day, or even every month. I think that some of the fundamentals of student theory live out sub-consciously and I use them as stepping stones throughout what I do. But I don’t intentionally say, “We need to do this because of Chickering.” One of my favorite theories though is Astin’s Theory on Student Involvement. The premise is looking at how involvement factors into student development. I believe that involvement in the classroom but also co-curricular is vital to the success of the student. Generally, students become more invested the more involved they are. This is something I talk about with every student who sits in my office since my goal is to keep students connected.
(Ellen) What is your 10/15/20 year career goal? The old me would definitely have a plan in place of exactly where I want to be, but over the years, my interests and skill levels have changed with each passing year. At one point I wanted to be a Director of Housing, then it was Learning Communities Coordinator, maybe some dabbling in training, then Academic Advisor/Coach…My goals have also evolved due to what is going on personally. Now that I have a family, I have no desire to go back into a position that may require a lot of evening or weekend duties. Reslife has always been a passion of mine, and I love love love the work that is done in this arena. However, I don’t think the expectations create the best balance. At least for me. So with that, I had to change some of my goals. I have no clue what may change in the future. Who knows things may change enough that I find myself back in ResLife, which would be great if I could do some learning community development or academic initiatives. I have also considered Guidance Counseling at the High School level, but that would require me to go back to school for a few classes and a 300 hour internship which now that George is here is not something I want to do. (Nor do I have the time currently to do that internship to become certified.) So I honestly cannot say what I will be doing even in 5 years. I hope to still be working with students closely on their academic success. I really love academic coaching and college access so I imagine I would still be doing things in this arena. I do know that I do not want to be in a position where I don’t see students every day, so I do not forsee that I will ever be a Dean of Students or high up on the Director scale. But only time will tell. When I graduated from grad school 5 years ago, I thought I would never see the day where I would leave Residence Life. So who knows. I also think there are things that are out of my control that factor into this decision. I have to wait for positions to open, and who is to say they will open when I am ready. That is what got me in trouble in TN, so I may have a track I want to be on but the reality is there are not opportunities for me to move forward. I do miss the opportunities that Residence Life had, so I think in the back of my head I want to be back there, but there are some expectations that would have to change before I would do that. I miss things like this.
(Annette) What has been the most rewarding thing about your current job? My job right now is pretty awesome. I work with a lot of at-risk students, whether that is financially or academically, or anything in between. What I enjoy most is helping a student get to the next step to help them be successful and stay on course. Just seeing the obstacles that some of these students get out of because we are taking the time to give encouragement or show them all of their options is pretty awesome. It is pretty stellar to give out some endowments and scholarships too. I know those things changed my academic career so it makes me misty to see that happen to the students I am working with as well. It’s like giving them a second chance at the future they have always imagined.
(Janelle) Do you LOVE being back in Missouri? I love being back home! I wanted to be at Mizzou since I was little so living in Columbia is fulfilling part of that dream even though I am not part of that university system. It is also really nice to be close to family. It was really evident when my grandma passed away. I have been able to get home quickly for things, when for almost the past decade, it was more of a feat to come home. I am glad we don’t have to do that production anymore. Plus I see lots of Royals games in my future! I am also excited that I will have the opportunity to go back to my Alma Mater in the fall for various things.
(Katie) How did the pups handle the move? Well I just wrote about them earlier this week and how they are going crazy. They were really good in the move initially. I think they like this house a lot better with the carpets and windows they can actually see out of. They also travel really well, so we didn’t see any issues initially.
(Elizabeth) What is something you love about your life right at this minute? Ooooh. This is a hard one. We are house hunting, so we are still in somewhat of a transition. However I think this is the first time Tom and I haven’t been counting down until the next big thing or feeling like we are in transition constantly. It is very different to know that we will never move out of this area, which after moving so much over the past 12 years, it’s a little odd! It’s nice to actually feel settled. We are finally in a place where we are able to live out our passions and really focus on what is important to us. I also love the possibility of summer. This is just an exciting time of year that I love. Also all the fresh and light food that is popping up, what is not to love about that life?
So that was round one of getting to know more than you probably wanted.
If you do have more questions, it is still not too late to ask. I will just tack them on to the next post! I am hoping to get it out tomorrow, but no promises.
Thank you to all who submitted! This has been fun!