I keep going back to her blog waiting for the “April Fools!” post where she in her normal sassy, spunky tone tells us how she really had us going. I re-read the words expecting to realize some other meaning. I heard recently a very profound thing: they call someone who lost a spouse a widow/widower, they call someone who has lost their parents an orphan, but there is no name for someone who has lost a child because it is the most terrible of things, there isn’t a name for it. If you could, gentile readers, send thoughts or prayers to the ‘Jennepper’ family.
It’s like clockwork. When there is a new episode of 16 and Pregnant or Teen Mom (or the upcoming Teen Mom 2) coming- facebook is all a buzz talking about the show. But my friends on facebook are definitely not 16. Frankly, most of them are older than 26. So what’s the appeal? Is it like a car accident you can’t look away from? Yes, obviously. But I think there’s more to it than that.
Teenagers don’t have the worries that adults do, like making rent or paying a mortgage. They don’t always even have jobs ::cough:: Ryan ::cough:: but if they do they’re probably not expected to be entirely self-supported. So getting pregnant as a teenager is a huge change: skip all the growing up that goes on in high school, college and your early 20’s. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.
If you’re like me you hope they succeed. I root for each of them, hoping they finish school, work things out with the guy and get their lives together.
But teenagers are inherently selfish. They are impatient and they live with their heads in the clouds. They are not unlike kid-free yuppy twenty and thirty somethings. These teens are brutally honest about how challenging it is to give up the things they once loved and totally changed themselves and their lives for their babies. The moms show the same starry-eyed love for their babies that we ‘grown up’ mommas do. But when it comes to how frustrating parenting is we’re tight lipped where they’re willing to talk about it.
Is this because we have outgrown the ability to be torn between love for our babies that’s so deep it feels like it’s splitting us open and the inevitable frustration that each stage of parenting brings? I don’t think so. I think most of us are just about as frustrated by lack of sleep, husbands who don’t understand what we’re going through, crawlers who get into everything and toddlers who can throw the mother of all tantrums.
I think we grown women watch because these teens feel what we feel but they’re willing to verbalize it.
16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom: one part “it make my life feel easier because this is a train wreck”, one part “I want to see them overcome adversity” and one large part “vicarious catharsis- they say how hard parenting is so I don’t have to.”
Here is my list of the top 10 things that made 2010 what it was. This is a great idea, it’s like a year in review but less text-heavy and more picture-friendly. Inspired by Sluiter Nation.
10. Trying to sell the house. We’re still not sure what’s happening there. We’ve been on the market since July, but we’re selling a town house and there are just short of a billion townhouses in our area on the market in our price range so even though ours is upgraded and pretty nice it’s like trying to win the lottery. (July-present)
9. Uncle Tom. First He tells us this spring that he’s selling everything he owns and moving to San Francisco. Then he starts dating a girl, Alba, who we love and she’s applying to MBA programs and he’s going to move again and follow her. Which includes a possible move back east. Number 9 goes to Uncle Tom ‘the nomad’. (August)
6. Acknowledging and getting help for my postpardum anxiety. Finally all those panic attacks, all those things I couldn’t let go of, the constant guilt and shame all made sense. And dissolved, quickly! (October)
4. The Carlsons move to NC. My Mom’s group has been a super important part of my life and we’ve had some moms over the years who have stopped coming for various reasons but Lindsey and her daughter Cady were ‘regulars’ and their absence has not gone without notice. Jack, even now, talks about his friend Cady and how she needs to come over and play. Agreed, little buddy. (August)
2. I’ll call this one ‘Being Healthy’. This year I did more for myself and my health than I ever have before. I decided to become a vegetarian (who still eats seafood). I’ve been very committed to my yoga. I’ve worked with a fabulous acupuncturist. Lets just lump all this in to one big category of being dedicated to my own health.
1. Henry! I was really anxious about having a VBAC, so I picked a midwife practice with a high rate of success for VBACs. When I went into labor the only thought in my mind was “Oh my god, I’m actually going to get to do this.” I did it! It was everything I needed it to be and so much more. I’m pretty sure Henry liked his birth experience too, especially the staying with and cuddling mommy uninterrupted. Henry has been such a joy to have in our family we’re all so very lucky to have him.
I found Buzz on the floor in the middle of our bedroom after the kids were asleep for the night. I had this overwhelming desire to go wake the boys up and give them a snuggle. It was so endearing to see Buzz, laying there, so loved that he was brought upstairs and included in the bedtime rituals. He was like this little plastic representation of love.
I hope I still feel this way some nights when I’m cleaning up the toys strewn all over the house.
Mommy, modeling new wellies. This is how everyone models their new shoes, right?
Christmas was great this year. We had lots of fun with family and enjoyed watching the boys tear up their gifts (and watched Jack read the packages and deliver gifts to the proper recipient… some of the time). First we celebrated on Christmas Eve at my in-laws house, then we had Christmas morning just us and the kiddos, and then my parents and brother showed up and we had Christmas Round 3!
We had some good food this year, like really, really, really good food!! I will now share the dishes with you. I don’t have the recipes right here, but if you see anything and think to yourself “I absolutely must know how to make that dish!” just shoot me an e-mail and I’ll get it for you.
We’re very busy here enjoying families and good food and a few gifts. I swear I’ll update at some point!
And he got them. Bear in mind Jack was 11 months before his teeth were first sighted.
I’ve put a lot of emotional stock into selling this house. I’ve made countless deals with myself “When we get a bigger house I’ll start making curtains, pillows… quilting.” “In a bigger house we can grow our own herbs, veggies… maybe even raise chickens.” (Yes, I just said ‘raise chickens’.) “We can have a greener, more efficient more energy neutral home.”
In all this deal-making I did with myself I didn’t have a name for these things I wanted and by putting it all in the basket of “when we have a bigger house” I didn’t have to even deal with any of these things now while we’re still in this house. I’m tricky, you see. Well, after a conversation with my savvy Sister-in-Law (who might be forever known in my blogverse as SavvySIL) she said “What you’re talking about is like homesteading. I know people who are doing a suburban homesteading thing. They’ve gotten really creative with how they used the space in their home.”
So I turn to Google. She kinda let me down. There is what one might call a ‘crap load’ of information about homesteading, and suburbia but not a lot of ideas and examples of people trying to create a simpler, more natural, more handmade life for themselves down the street from a Trader Joe’s, a tot lot and within 3 miles of a mall.
I have not gone crazy. I will still be shopping at Trader Joe’s (sometimes). My kids will still have ‘normal’ toys(we aren’t going to start making dolls out of corn husks). And I’m not going to start looking like a tragic hobo who doesn’t know how to operate her sewing machine.
Since we might not be selling the house right now I’m tired of rationalizing putting everything off till we do. And frankly with the economy the way it is doing some things myself whether it be canning or making curtains is also good for the old bank account.
I realized I could also find a way to get my sewing machine out of Jack’s closet and use it (like ever). In discussing this with my mother she tells me she has a micro mini sewing table that just might fit in our house but folds out big enough that when I’m working I have room to work. I’m not in the make-my-own-clothes phase, because I need to start slow here too, but I’ve been wanting new, light-blocking curtains for our bedroom and I’m pretty sure I can sew in a strait line.
Depending on how long we’re here we might look at making the home more energy efficient, new siding and a foam board wrap would make our house snug as a bug in a rug.
I don’t really know how far I want to take all of this, but I do know these things: 1. I long for a simpler life, a less consumer driven life. 2. The Husband and I both like to make things with our own hands (hence the DIY renovations). 3. We both want to live in a greener more carbon neutral way.
Mostly I still want to blog about my kids, my yoga and my food but you might find an occasional suburban homesteading post mixed in…