Motherhood and Society

My cousin posted this article on Facebook yesterday, the title wasn’t very catchy or descriptive, so I didn’t read it. Then another friend posted it on the same day. My rule on Facebook is that if multiple people post the same link, it’s probably good enough to read lol.

So I read it, and I loved it. I’m not religious, and I don’t plan on having children “young”, but I thought it was a very powerful and interesting article.

It reminded me of my view on young marriage, and how society today views marriage as something you do after you’ve “lived” a full adventurous life.

I had never thought of applying that same idea to having children. I plan on waiting till I am in my late 20’s to have children because I want to finish college, establish my career, be financially stable and enjoy a care-free and child-free life. I guess in this particular area, I do follow society norms.

And then I remembered back to my early 20′s and the prevailing culture that said – get your college degree before you have babies, travel a little before you have babies, your body is going to completely change after you have babies, have fun and live it up before you have babies, get yourself financially secure before you have babies.  Be a responsible adult and wait wait wait to have those children…

We live in a selfish culture where having children is a huge inconvenience.  I mean – how am I supposed to fit in aerobics, spa days, girls shopping trips and “me time” when I have children that need me 24/7?

Many people would say that getting married young causes you to miss out on life as well. And in some ways it does. Once you are married it’s not all about you and your wants and needs, it’s about the “us”. And in a “selfish culture”, that might be something people try to avoid, because it is an “inconvenience” to their independence.

I’ve never viewed marriage that way, but I have viewed motherhood that way. Not that I don’t want to be a parent, but because I see it as a HUGE lifestyle change that will make me give up the life I have now. And I don’t think I’m ready for that yet.

But maybe if I thought about motherhood in a different way, not focusing on what I am going to lose, but what I am going to gain, I would feel differently. I would challenge the norm that society has placed on women.

Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling. It is not something to do if you can squeeze the time in. It is what God gave you time for.

 

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My Photography Hobby

As I shared in a previous post, I am a hobby photographer.

I have a HUGE collection of photography ideas on my Pinterest and I am always reading blogs about how to improve my work. I am stronger in the creative side of photography (composition, posing, etc.), but I am still trying to perfect my technical side (camera settings, lighting, etc.) so that the photo I have in my head matches the one that I take.

I don’t consider myself a professional and there is A LOT that I still need to learn, but I love doing shoots for my friends and family.

I’ve recently gotten a lot of business! Every time I post one of my shoots on my FB page, another one of my friends asks me to do a shoot. I started out having to convince my BFF from back home to pose for me, and now I have multiple requests a month! I am so flattered and excited for all of the practicing I get to do.

I decided to share some of my highlights, since I don’t ever really talk about my own hobbies on this blog lol

My first photo shoot with my best friend from back home and her husband, they were so silly and difficult to pose lol

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IMG_0351 copy2My second photo shoot at Del Mar Beach on Camp Pendleton, CA

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IMG_1378edit2My friend Katie asked me to take newborn photos and I LOVED it! Newborn photography might be my favorite, even though babies are not good at posing haha

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IMG_1714edit2And lastly, the maternity shoot I did yesterday for another friend.

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IMG_2047edit3 IMG_2082copy IMG_2163editI currently have a homecoming lined up next month and a couples shoot in 2 weeks with my friend who promised that her husband would wear his military uniform (yay!). And today I got a FB message from one of my friend’s friend who saw the pictures on FB and wants a shoot too, my first non-friend/family client!

Throwback Thursday: Our Love Story {Part 1}

I’ve seen a few weekly “Our Story/My Story” posts on other blogs and I really like the idea of posting a part of my life every week so my readers can get to know me and my story.

Since most of my blog is related to my life as a military wife, I decide I would post my journey of falling in love with my husband and beginning my life with him as a military spouse.

So this is my first addition of Throwback Thursday: Our Love Story!

To first set the stage – It was Friday May 16, 2008 and I was 19 years old.

I had just finished my first year of college at San Diego State. I had taken my last final the day before and moved out of the dorms that morning. It only took one trip in my ’98 Camry to move all of my belongings out of my dorm room and into my new apartment.

While most people were moving home for summer vacation, I had decided to stay in San Diego, 550 miles away from my family and hometown. I had a part-time job at a gym as a receptionist and was working weekends for a catering company, serving food at weddings.

My friend Vanessa, who I had gotten close with over the last 9 months living down the hall from each other in our dorm, had agreed to be my roommate for the summer. In August our other friend from the dorms, Kelley, would be our 3rd roommate when she moved back to San Diego for the next school year. Our 4th roommate was a yet-to-be-detmined random person off Craigslist that we needed to make the rent lol. 4 girls, 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms: a receipt for disaster lol

So on May 16h Vanessa and I moved our all our belongings from the dorms, to our new apartment. We had no furniture (other than a robin egg blue couch that Vanessa bought off a random Asian couple when she was Craigslist shopping for a bed), no kitchen supplies and an empty fridge.

So we decided to go out to eat and hit up our favorite 18 and up bar/dance club: The Temecula Stampede. First, to get food since we had nothing to eat; secondly, to celebrate being done with finals; and thirdly, to get my mind off my recent break up with Joe.

Joe and I….(to be continued)

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Me and Vanessa: Freshman year

Who Comes First?

I talked a little last week about wives following their dreams and accomplishing their own goals, while at the same time supporting their husband in this military lifestyle.

I recently saw a related debate on Facebook and I’ve found that people tend to fall on two different sides of this issue.

1) First are the ones who put their careers and goals first, not moving with their husband’s in order to finish school or stay at a job that pays well.

“So many women put their lives on hold for their husbands. I understand that it’s apart of the military lifestyle. “You can always get a job” or “Marriage is a lifetime” comments. Exactly.. Marriage is a lifetime! I LOVE my husband, especially for the fact that he did not want me to sacrifice even more when I’ve already sacrificed so much. I love that it was his idea for me to stay in our hometown and go to school and work towards my degree. I also love being able to work for our money and not depend on him completely. My husband LOVES the fact that I’m not a “dependasarus”. I love being independent and helping towards our income.
It is so important to establish yourself instead of giving up everything, that won’t get you very far.”

2) The ones who put their husband’s career first, but still make the effort to work towards accomplishing their own dreams.

“I’m one of those people who doesn’t get it. I don’t feel like I’ve missed out on anything by living with my husband. I get the whole not wanting to give up on your dreams but it’s not hard to do both at all. If you think you can only have one or the other that’s completely wrong. I feel like when you’re married you should be living together not in two states. Marriage is a lifetime, and school and a job will always be available.”

I firmly believe in #2. I have lived with my husband since we got married, and I have still accomplished my dreams by graduating with my bachelors and masters degrees. Even if I get an amazing job after I graduate, I would still quit to move with my husband in January when we PCS. Because he is my husband, my life partner. There will always be another job and another school, but there is only one man that I want to spend the rest of my life with, and I’m not willing to spend any more time apart from him than I have to because you can’t get that time back.

Which do you agree with?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Up (and Down) – Body Image

This weeks photo challenge was UP

So today while I was lying by the pool enjoying the 80* San Diego weather, I took this photo.

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Then I flipped my camera around and took a “down” photo. This is the photo that I want to talk about.

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For as long as I can remember I have wanted to lose weight. It has been on my mind since High School and continues today. I have never been significantly overweight or obese, but I have also never been “skinny”.

I have never felt comfortable being in a bikini, exposing my flaws the the world and comparing my body to the Victoria Secret models who advertise what my body “should” look like in a bikini.

I recently deleted all of the “fitspiration” facebook and Instagram pages I followed, because I found myself getting depressed by looking at them, rather than inspired. They would post the fruit they ate for lunch and I would feel like a fat cow for eating a bagel. Or they would post photos of the “ideal” body type, and I would find myself looking down at my own perfectly beautiful body and hating it for not looking like what it “ideally” should.

The only page I still follow is This is Not a Diet – it’s your life, because she has such a wonderful way of inspiring people to love their body and strive for being the healthiest version of themselves, not someone else’s version.

She posted a link to an article last week and I was incredibly moved by it. In fact, it was what prompted me to delete all the fitness pages I was following because I realized how negatively it was effecting my self esteem.

“At what point did we find it applaudable to look at pictures of other people and say “instead of looking like me, I want to look like her.” Why don’t we balk at the suggestion in the magazines to cut out those pictures and paste them to our refrigerators? Pictures to remind us that instead of feeding ourselves, we should be punishing ourselves. Instead of eating what we want when we’re hungry, we should instead be perpetuating a cycle of shame, guilt and jealousy. You are not enough as you are, is the message. Or rather, you are too much as you are. Don’t eat again. Have a glass of water. Take a diet pill. Maybe have some carrot sticks. Work out instead. You don’t want to be stuck in that body of yours forever, do you? Who will love you? Certainly not yourself, that’s for sure….

….So the next time you stand in front of a mirror and sneer at your less than flat abs or get angry with yourself for having enjoyed a dessert, ask yourself why. Why is perfection so important? What does it matter and who does it matter to?

I am a size 12 and I am healthy. I do not look like a Victoria Secret model, and I probably never will. My body is not perfect, but I am satisfied with it and my husband loves it. That is all that should matter.

Not Mutually Exclusive

Last night I went with some friends to a motivational speaking event for military spouses that was sponsored by Camp Pendleton.

There were a few speakers who are well known in the military spouse community, one of whom was Mollie Gross. She is a Marine spouse and comedian who wrote the book Confessions of a Military Spouse

I expected a comedy routine from her, which she delivered with flair. My favorite joke was “watch out for Tricare, because they don’t ‘try’ and they don’t ‘care'” lol

But she also had a very inspirational and motivating aspect to her speech that I really related to.

She talked about following your dreams and working to make them come true, in spite of the obstacles the military throws in to the mix.

I see a lot of wives who feel like they can’t have both, their own goals and dreams, while supporting their husband’s career. That the military always comes first so they might as well just stay home and have babies. And I do believe that is true (the first part at least lol). My husband’s career does come first, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have a career too. That I can’t have my own goals and ambitions for my life outside of being a military wife.

My goal has always been to go to college and find a career that I am passionate about. I am now about to graduate with my masters degree at 24 years old and begin the career I have been dreaming of for the last 6 years. And during that entire time I have supported my husband through his military career, 2 deployments, multiple work ups and training and a duty station change.

I am a military wife, a graduate student and a social worker. They are not mutually exclusive.

During Molly’s talk last night she told her story of accomplishing her goals while supporting her husband’s.  She had always wanted to be a comedian, so during her husbands first deployment she started taking classes about how to be a stand up comic and began going to open mike nights and practicing. She is now a well known comedian and author who travels the country, voicing speeches and comedy shows at military bases.

Then she talked about her grandmother, who is her inspiration. She was an Air Force wife for 20+ years, through WWII and Korea. Her grandmother’s goal was to have a big family…so she had 7 children and followed her husband around the world supporting him on the home front and raising their family.

I loved that she included her grandmother and her goal of being a mother and a wife.

Because not everyone wants to go to college. Not everyone wants to work a 9-5 job.

Some women want to be wives and mothers. Some women want to be hairdressers. Some women want to be doctors.

I am not here to say that because I have a college degree I am “better” than wives who choose to stay at home and raise children.

I am saying that I hope that all military spouses know that they can accomplish their goals, no matter what they are. 

And on an somewhat unrelated note, here was my view from last night’s event.

I live in PARADISE!

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Del Mar Beach, Camp Pendleton CA

Wife to Wife Wednesday

This weeks prompt from Wives of Faith is:

How has your life changed as a military wife?

My life has changed a lot of ways since becoming a military wife. The one that is most on my mind recently, as I am about to graduate, is my career.

The military has effected my career in both a positive and negative way.

To first acknowledge the positives: being a military spouse lead me to pursue a career in social work.

I was getting my bachelors in Psychology when I met my husband, and I had no idea what I wanted to do after graduation. I knew I wanted to go to graduate school (because with a bachelors in psychology you pretty much have to), but I didn’t have a passion for any career specifically.

I went to a LINKS class after we got married (which is pretty much a class for new military spouses that explains the basics of military life) and everyone was so sweet and helpful! I ended up volunteering as a LINKS instructor and also with Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society and as a Family Readiness Volunteer.

I loved the experience and I was inspired to become a military social worker.

And here I am, a month away from graduating applying like crazy to organizations like MCCS, Armed Services YMCA, USO, etc. so I can combine my experience with the military and my education as a social worker.

Now to the negatives: as most wives have probably experienced, being married to someone in the military means your career sometimes has to take a back seat.

I love being a social worker, but it requires state specific licensure, which is difficult to get when you move from state to state and each state has it’s own licensing requirements.

There is also the added difficulty in establishing a career when you move every few years.

But overall I think the positives outweigh the negatives. Yes, the moving may make it a little more difficult for me to establish a career, but it’s part of life when your husband is in the military. I love my career: I love helping people and giving back to the military community that has had such a positive impact on my life.

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My husband and I have been together for 5 years and he has been in the military for that entire time. So you would think that I would be used to the military messing up our plans.

We made it safely through our engagement and wedding without any major inconveniences thrown in the by Marine Corps, although in all fairness it was only 9 months lol.

It wasn’t until after we got married that I got to experience the whole “you can’t plan anything” aspect of military life.

We had our vow renewal planned for the year after our wedding, but Jeremy was told he was deploying so we pushed it back a year. Then, after we had told all our vendors to move the date…they changed their mind and said he wasn’t deploying, so we moved the date back up. And then they decide he was deploying so we had to push it back again. Thankfully they stuck with those orders and he did actually deploy and make it back in time for our vow renewal.

He did not however, make it back in time for my college graduation. He missed it by 5 days. 5 days!

Jeremy got back from his most recent deployment in December, which meant he was actually going to be home for my graduate school graduation. Except not. Today he came home and told me he is being sent to training for 6 weeks, leaving 2 weeks before my graduation.

You would think I would be used to it, that I could just go with the flow.

For the most part I can, I expect him to be gone a lot, to deploy and to miss important events.

But I am not sure if I will ever get used to the unknown, out of the blue, here one day gone the next, aspect of military life.

But one thing I have learned over the last 5 years of schoolings, deployments and trainings, is to always look at the positives.

I am graduating with my MASTERS degree! My parents and brother are coming down to see me graduate and support me. After 6 years of college I am finally going to be done!

We’re PCS’ing!

Well, looks like we are leaving California finally!

My husband accepted the recruiting orders and leaves for school in October. That means 2014 will find us living in new city and state!

There is no “guarantee” when it comes to the military, and that is very true with recruiting orders. You can request a “district” to get stationed at, but they decide where to put you within that district.

The one we want includes Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Ideally we would get stationed in Wisconsin, since that is where Jeremy’s family lives. Jeremy has some connections and has been told that there is a very very good chance that we will get Wisconsin…but again, there are no guarantees.

The suspense is already killing me! lol. We don’t find out his duty station until 1/2 through school, so not till November or December…sucks!

The other sucky thing is that taking these orders means that Jeremy had to extend his contract, his new EAS date is now 2017. That sounds so far away right now lol.

At that point he will have served 10 years of active duty…which means he might decide to go for the full 20 and make it a career.

But that is a long way off and a choice we can make when it arrives.

For now, I am just glad Jeremy made a decision and we can start planning for our future!

I am so excited to leave San Diego. I love it here (who wouldn’t?!) but I’m ready for a change.

Bring it 2014!

Wife 2 Wife Wednesday

Wives of Faith didn’t post their question till Thursday, and now I’m not posting my answer till Friday. Oh well, better late than never 🙂

What’s one of the best books you’ve ever read? Why did you love it?

I don’t really have a “favorite book”. But what I can tell you is the types of books I like to read.

I LOVE to read. Since about the age of 12 I would spent most of my free time in my room reading novel after novel.

By the time I moved to college I had hundreds of books, mostly historical romance novels (the ones with the cheesy covers on them of half naked women and shirtless men lol).

I like to read what I call “fluff”. It’s not intellectual and it’s not well written. But it’s certainly entertaining.

Now I am an adult and I still read my “fluff” novels.

Twilight Series, Sookie Stackhouse Series, 50 Shades of Grey, Immortal Insurgents, Anita Blake Vampire Hunter, Dark Hunter Series, etc.

I love historial novels, paranormal novels and contemporary novels.

I like my “fluff” because it doesn’t make me think. It’s easy, it’s fun and it’s a quick read.

I spend enough time reading text books and thinking when I’m at school and work, so when it comes time for relaxing and “me” time…I chose romance and magic and adventure 🙂

The fact that I get to picture this lovely man as the main character is probably another reason I love my "fluff". How many sexy shirtless men are in Don Quixote? lol

The fact that I get to picture this lovely man as the main character is probably another reason I love my “fluff”. How many sexy shirtless men are in Don Quixote? lol