Friday, September 8, 2017

The Curated Closet, Part 4


  •  Write down your style goals.
    • I want people to notice me, not my clothes
    • I want to be the best-dressed person in the room in an understated way
    • I want my clothes to FIT really well
    • I want my clothes to be classic first, sexy second, and comfortable third
    • I DO NOT WANT TO THINK when I get dressed each morning 
    • Eventually, when I have money, I want to wear more pieces that are expensive, like pants, long dresses, and jackets. 
  • Create an inspiration board
    • https://www.pinterest.com/giovannahopkins88/personal-style/
  • Catalog the patterns in what you're drawn to.
    • Overall vibe
      • Modern Victorian professor
      • Librarian, but NOT cute
      • Collegic, but NOT preppy
      • Victorian, but NOT Steampunk
      • Modern, but NOT minimalist
      • Sexy, but NOT vulgar 
      • Black, but NOT chic and trendy
    • Individual items
      • Trench coat
      • Dark jeans
      • silk scarves 
      • flannel
      • sweaters
      • Leather boots
      • mid-length skirts
      • tights and high socks
      • T-shirts and tank tops
    • colors
      • black, brown, navy 
      • jewel tones
      • dark, deep, rich colors
      • muted florals 
    • silhouettes
      • fitted tops and pants
      • fitted tops and loose skirts
      • clothes that FIT
      • Nothing that hugs the tummy
      • small collars, not too many frills
      • mid-rise pants
      • 3/4 sleeves
    • materials
      • leather
      • wool
      • silk
      • cotton
      • lace
      • tweed
    • styling
      • minimal 
      • infrequent, large but modest jewelry (only natural stones)
      • as little work as possible (no rolling things, only tucking shirts into high waisted skirts)
      • simple long hair



Thursday, September 7, 2017

The Curated Closet, Part 3


  • What was your favorite outfit that you wore during the last two weeks, and why? How did that outfit make you feel?
    • I felt like I could move, dance, run, play, and look good in this outfit. I felt like a sexy badass, but it was so casual. I sat on the concrete, ate ice cream with my kid, and went out to dinner all in the same outfit. 
  • What was your least favorite outfit and why? How did it make you feel?
    • I felt frumpy in this outfit. Like the pieces did not go together well. The shoes made me feel self-conscious. It was not flattering. I love the individual pieces so will have to rework this outfit. 
  • On a scale of 1-10, how happy were you overall with your outfits during these past two weeks? 
    • A 5-7.
  • List your five most-worn colors during the last two weeks. How well do you feel these represent your individual preference for colors?
    • Navy, teal
      black, brown, red
      black white, eggplant
      navy, black
      black, grey, pink, brown
      black, grey
      black
      black, navy, brown
      black
      black, green, brown
      navy, floral (blue/pink/white), brown
      green, white, black, red
      black, white, blue, red
    • So that makes the top 5 black, navy, brown, red, grey, and blue.
    • Uhhh anything that is not a neutral, I do not understand and I am not drawn to. I really like red as an accent color. I think it's sexy and powerful. I like purple and pink as occasional guests but don't like how soft they make me feel. Bright colors make me feel weak.
    • My husband associates me with the color green, because I had this teal dress years ago that I used to wear all the time. I want to incorporate more moss and teal. 
  • Do you tend to follow a specific formula for putting together your outfits? Do you have a uniform?
    • Grab a top, grab a bottom. Find shoes that don't look hideous. Make sure I'm not walking far if I wear the shoes that are too small. 
    • Uniform: Tank top, leggings, skirt. Sometimes jeans and a T-shirt. Cardigans. Boots.
  • How much variety do you need? Do you enjoy wearing a wide range of different colors, silhouettes, and details, or do you like having a signature look that you repeat with only minor variations?
    • Colors don't matter. Actually, if I could wear all black and grey, I would. 
    • I like the fitted top loose bottom combo, or the fitted all over.  
  • What is your stance on repeating outfits? Are you okay with wearing the same head to toe look twice in two weeks? How about individual pieces?
    • I famously never wore the same outfit twice during college. I was obsessed with having a unique combination every time, even if I only changed the accessories and shoes. Now I still have this impulse... I was self-conscious about the fact that I wore the same flannel shirt twice in a two week period, even though I wore it to two places where I would not have run into the same people, and with two different outfits. It's FUN to find new combinations and I feel almost compulsively driven to do so.
  • How do you usually style your outfits? Do you often tuck in your tops or roll up your sleeves? What type of accessories do you wear most often?
    • I never tuck in tops unless it's a high-waisted skirt. I try not to roll sleeves, or anything fussy like that.
    • I rarely wear accessories, and when I do, it's always nature-inspired pieces (amber, fossils, rocks, pottery)
  • Overall, how comfortable were your outfits? What qualities distinguish the most comfortable from the least comfortable in your wardrobe, in terms of fit, material, or details? 
    • When I didn't wear a real bra, I was comfortable
    • I was not comfortable in the items that were too big
    • I was most comfortable in cotton and cashmere
    • I was not comfortable in the flats that were too small or unsupportive 
    • I was most comfortable in leather boots or my Teva sandals 
  • Describe your current style in three adjectives.
    • Sexy, classic, cozy
    • If I had a bunch of money: modern victorian professor 
  • Do you want people to notice your clothes?
    • Yes. But I want them to notice ME first. 
  • Do you prefer being overdressed or under dressed?
    • Over.
  • Looking at the pictures of your outfits, how well fitting are your clothes?
    • Not very. Most are too big or too small. 
  • Subconsciously or not, our clothes send a message about who we are, our values, and personality. What message does your current look send? What would you like it to send?
    • It says "she's trying" or maybe "she looks presentable and awfully normal, like she's not insane"
    • I would like it to say "These clothes are BENDING TO HER WILL and have become ONE with her, just like every goal she sets out to achieve in her life." I want to be the best dressed person in the room, and to not look anything like a Barbie doll at the same time. 
  • Imagine you had total confidence (and unlimited funds to overhaul your wardrobe). Would you keep wearing the same type of outfits as you are now? If not, what would you change?
    • No way. I would wear more pants, as I could afford better fitting ones. Cheap pants are hard to fit right.
    • I would wear more floor-length dresses, which are more expensive.
    • I would wear more jackets and blazers instead of only cardigans, which are also more expensive and harder to fit when bought cheap.
    • I would dress much more like an Ivy League professor from the early 20th century (more button-up shirts, more wool sweaters, more suits and vests) 
  • How easy is it for you to choose an outfit in the morning?
    • Not easy at all. I agonize over it every day. So many individual pieces that I like, but none of them go together just right. 
  • What percentage of your closet did you wear the past two weeks?
    • 25%. WHICH IS SHOCKING because I just got rid of so many clothes. 
  • How many different seasons do you dress for?
    • Four.
  • What type of occasions do you dress for?
    • Work casual, hanging out with friends, dancing and exercising, going out to dinner or to the theater, renaissance festivals and other places that I wear fun costumes. 
  • How well equipped is your wardrobe for each of these occasions?
    • I feel like everything I own is suited for work, but everything else is either too fancy or too casual for going out to dinner or hanging out with friends. Let's be honest, I'm way more equipped for an impromptu Jedi costume than I am for an impromptu date with my husband. 
  • What is your typical shopping strategy? Do you prefer spending your budget on fewer, more expensive clothes or do you tend to spend it across lots of cheaper items?
    • I don't have enough money to buy fewer, more expensive items. So right now I buy tons of cheap things. 
  • What is your typical decision-making process when it comes to buying clothes? Do you often buy things on a whim, or do you tend to make sure you have compared all your options first?
    • I tend to have a master list of items I actually need. Then I go thrifting for MONTHS to find those items. Impulse buys happen when I find things in thrift stores that are high quality but low in price. I never buy new without extensive research and comparing prices... and even then, only if they are on sale or I have a discount code. 

Monday, September 4, 2017

The Curated Closet, Part 2

DAY EIGHT: 


Went to work. Picked up Luca from school and hung out with him on the playground for a few minutes. It was 60 degrees when I left for work at 75 when I picked him up, so I layered. These are the only pair of jeans that I own, after Konmari method. I've lost weight so they are falling off of me. I have this same basic tank in a few colors; it's a part of my "uniform". This is the other color of my new flannel shirt. So warm. So comfy. Wore a bralette.

Braided my hair because I was inspired by Game of Thrones.

In this outfit, I feel coordinated and comfy. The pants are too big though. Maybe if I wash and dry them, they will shrink up a bit.

Wore the black ankle boots because I cannot find my blue Converse sneakers ANYWHERE.








DAY NINE:


Went to work. Had like five meetings. Went home and left again to go pick up Ash's car at the mechanic.

I wore that cashmere cardigan again... it's becoming one of my favorite pieces.

This low-to-high skirt was bought at the height of the trend, and I LOVE it and wear it often. In my head, it looks more flattering on me than it does in real life. If you wear anything but a really thin top with it, it makes your hips look huge.

I started out with a dark red tank top, but because I wasn't wearing a real bra, I had to wear black to make my chest less...er... noticeable.








These shoes are from a friend. I have worn them literally to pieces. The soles are coming off. I love the "red as a neutral" thing. They are some kind of material that does NOT breathe, so I try not to wear them in the summer. The elastic on the back is KILLING my feet by the end of the day. Yet I keep wearing them because they go with everything and look so classy. I am searching for a suitable replacement.

This necklace is something I bought on UNC Chapel Hill campus when I was 18. There was a booth selling fair trade goods made somewhere in Africa. I bought two that day; the other was an amazing jade piece that shattered years ago. This is one of the few necklaces I actually wear. 

I had braids in that morning because I showered and my hair was wet. These waves are a result of those braids. 

I feel sexy and mostly comfortable in this outfit. The skirt is a little too short to wear in the office. Needs leggings. 





DAY TEN:


My favorite dress. A cotton Anthropologie dress, from back when Anthropologie actually sold cute stuff. But I bought it at a thrift store for a job interview.



My favorite deep purple tights. They have a hole in the thigh, like all of my tights, so I can't wear them for much longer.



These are really nice, expensive $110 suede shoes that I bought myself 3 years ago (as a present for myself because I got my very first office job). They are weird because they are not flats, but they are not really wedges either. They're really comfy and I waterproof them every fall to help them last longer. The toes are finally starting to wear out, which is sad.

Went to work. Had dance rehearsal afterward. Had to run to the store to buy leggings to dance in, because I forgot to bring them with me.




I feel comfortable and pretty in this dress. Like I look like I got dressed on purpose but I didn't have to do any work. Gosh my hair is a mess.


DAY ELEVEN:

Found my makeup!! It was in the back of my husband's car all these months that it was lost.
Bought this dress yesterday at a thrift store. Went to work and recorded audio and video all day, so I wore makeup, this nice dress, and a real bra.



The flats are a half size too small, but they are the only pair of regular black ballet flats that I own. I paid $12 for them. I can't wait to have the money to replace them. I'd like one pair of black flats and one pair of red flats.

The open back is tricky because a bra doesn't really work. Going to experiment going braless. I love that it gives a sneak peak of my nerdy tattoo.



I feel pretty, comfy, and professional in this dress. It was definitely a good purchase, and I got it second-hand so it was cheap.

I changed into pajamas when I got home. A tank top that I bleached myself after placing leaves on it, and a pair of soft short shorts.





DAY TWELVE:

Went to get my oil changed. Worked from home after that.

Went to an outdoor play in the evening... but Luca and I dressed up as pirates for that.

Black mini skirt with leggings. My old uniform. I stopped wearing it because I gained weight.

Both are synthetic material so... warm. I feel super cute in leggings and a mini in general, as long as it's a good day for my tummy. But it MOVES. I'm always pulling the skirt down, or straightening it. the zipper in the back is off-center in the photo.

The floral cardigan is another Goodwill find.

The shoes are Crocs that look like mary janes. I wear them on days where it has been raining heavily, because it would ruin any other pair of shoes that I own. I also slip them on a lot to run outside really quick. they are not comfortable to wear for long periods.

I feel cute, covered, and feminine in this outfit. And a little bit uncomfortable.







DAY THIRTEEN:

Went to the Apple Festival with my family. Black jeans, grey tank top, black boots. It was chilly when we got there so I had on my flannel shirt (same one from earlier in the week).

I felt like a casual, sassy badass in this outfit. The jeans are a bit big on me now that I've lost weight.

I wish I could just wear black every day.



DAY FOURTEEN:

Danced at Jubilee with Tom and Amanda. Wore black, stretchy workout pants and a black long sleeved T-shirt so I could dance. Wore leather, knee-high boots as an attempt to make my sporty outfit less sporty. This outfit made me feel like I was getting away with wearing my PJs in public. 

Sunday, August 27, 2017

The Curated Closet, Part 1

My closet needs an overhaul.

I'm a professional woman, and a married mother of one. Some days I look like a grandma and others I look like a stripper. Some days I think I'm into the retro thing and others I'm much more modern. My wardrobe has a split personality, sometimes far too safe and stuffy and sometimes far too experimental.

So far I've done a lot of work already. I KonMaried it and got rid of everything that didn't make me happy. Then I got rid of things that made me happy but that I LITERALLY never wore (usually because the colors were so vastly different from anything else I owned that I had nothing to pair them with). I also got rid of MOST things that were not made of natural materials, as I hated how I felt in them.

I often feel like my 17-year-old self and my 50-year-old self are battling it out in my closet. There's not much of 29-year-old me in there right now. But who is that anyways? What screams ME and why? What makes me feel fantastic? What actually makes sense for my life? Why do I still have clothes in my closet that I picked out when I was 19?

My sister is reading The Curated Closet and blogging about it, and I've decided to join her while she's doing the exercises.

The first exercise is to document every outfit you wear for two weeks, and what you did while wearing that outfit.

Below is week one.

DAY ONE:

Monday. It's the Solar Eclipse, so I'm wearing my March For Science shirt. We go to the children's museum and it is full of people in similar shirts (mostly NASA shirts). These black shorts get worn a lot. Primarily because they are the only shorts that I own. They are short, but they don't show my butt. They fit well. I feel comfy, nerdy, and friendly in this outfit. Those are the Tevas that I wear almost every day. They go with everything and they NEVER hurt, no matter how far I walk. I can't say that about any other pair of shoes I've owned.



DAY TWO:






Dropped Luca off at Aunt Alyssa's house. Went to work. Walked across town to rehearsal (changed into exercise clothes once there) and then came home and got a massage from my husband.

Black jeans that fit me well. They are soft but have enough firmness to them to hold their shape (I recently got rid of a very thin pair of jeans). My butt looks good in them.

The shirt is a basic T shirt with a twist: a sexy open back covered with lace (that I never know what to do with bra-wise).

The sweater is a fantastic classic cashmere cardigan that I just found at Goodwill for $4.

The boots are basic black feminine boots that I searched for FOREVER And then finally found in a vintage shop. They're Steven Maddens, but from back when Steve Madden didn't make crap. They are dirty because I wore them to a rainy Renaissance Faire. Haven't had time to clean them.

I felt comfortable in this outfit, though sitting at work while wearing jeans was not comfortable. The thin t-shirt requires a real bra. The black pants and boots make me feel like a sexy badass. Overall I'm disappointed with how boring it looks in photos. I don't FEEL boring in it, but it's clear there's no real flair here (you can't see the back of the T shirt most of the time, which is the best detail).

Hair down cuz I'm lazy. No makeup because I can't find any.

DAY THREE:






This outfit is made up of a Patagonia stretchy top and an eyelet pencil skirt. I feel sexy in this outfit. I wore it to work and then out to dinner with my husband (purposefully chose something that would be appropriate for both places).

The skirt is so tight that I can't run or walk very far in it, but there are no T-Rexes downtown so that's ok. I like this skirt so much that when I ripped it straight up one seam, I got out my sewing machine to repair it.

That necklace is a bit more sparkly than I usually like, but I wanted to class it up a bit for the date. Good thing too, because my husband showed up in a silk tie.

The flats were a hand-me-down from a friend and the ankle straps are a bit too big on me. But they don't rub blisters on my feet and that can't be said for any other pair of flats I own, so yay. I love the pointed toe and the metallic snake skin print. This is as close as I will ever get to a sexy shoe, because I refuse to wear heels.

I slept in braids and put a tiny bit of wax in my hair to keep it tame. I did not put on makeup because I've lost my entire makeup bag. I wore a real bra and it was uncomfortable.

These sunglasses are the least ugly and most affordable ones I could find at Zenni. I like them alright. They are prescription.


DAY FOUR: 






This outfit is a great example of a bunch of individual pieces that I love that just don't work well together, for some reason.

This is my favorite skirt. Wearing it is like wearing nothing. You can do that twirly thingy. It's really light weight and this lovely soft olive color.

This is my favorite top (same one I wore yesterday) only today I wore it with a bralette to be more comfortable. It's a mid weight artificial stretchy fabric of some kind.

This is one of my favorite necklaces (all of my favorites are very nature-inspired). It's unfinished amber.  It's really short, though, which means i have a hard time wearing it with anything that is not a crewneck... and almost nothing I own is crewneck.

The brown sweater is a little too short in the arms. It's missing a button so I can't button it up, which is when it looks really cute because it's a cropped sweater.

I put half my hair up just to try something different than what I did yesterday. I find it boring and unflattering. Again no makeup because I have none.

I'm really digging my glasses right now.

I feel frumpy in this outfit, which is so weird because again, the individual pieces are a favorite.

I went to work, ran an errand on the way home, and then changed into PJs as soon as I got back.




These shoes, man... they are Keens. So they are VERY comfortable and practical. I like the two-tone leather. They are much nicer than the other foam Teva sandals that I wear most days in the summer. They are a bit too sporty for me, but I tried on DOZENS of sandals before finally finding a pair that don't rub blisters on my feet. These are probably literally the only sandals in the world I can wear somewhere like work. But due to their butch-ness, I find them hard to style with the rest of my wardrobe.

DAY FIVE:



Went to "Meet The Teacher" in the morning, then to lunch with some friends. Got dirt on it when I dragged the recycling bins down to the curb. Changed into PJs when I got home to work until 9pm.

These are Calvin Klein pants that I got at Goodwill. They are way too short so I can only wear them with knee-high boots. They used to fit REALLY well in the butt area but my weight keeps going up and down, so now they are a bit too big on me in the crotch. I think they need to be washed and pressed.

The top is from a friend. I like how romantic it is. I feel pretty when I wear it, and I don't have to wear a "real" bra and it doesn't hug my tummy, so I feel extremely comfortable in it.


These beautiful shoes were my LAST CHANCE at wearing heels. They are very expensive Danskos that I went through a lot of trouble to get, because they are a discontinued style. Ended up buying them on Ebay. They were supposed to be an investment that would last 5 years, since they are really nice shoes... but they hurt. They hurt bad, just like any pair of heels. I'm going to try to sell them.












DAY SIX:

Saturday. At home. Did some yoga in my underwear, took a shower, and put on this comfy dress while hanging out with Luca. Ash LOVES this dress on me (something about the contrast of the lace-like flowers). He loves this color on me too, and I never understood why until seeing this picture. It actually looks pretty poetic, and I imagined in my head that it washed me out.


One day I would like to own the grown-up version of this dress. I got this one at Goodwill. I feel "cute" in it but not really grown up. It's also a little short, which is why I changed into something else before leaving the house that evening to go see an outdoor theater production.





Same black shorts again. Brand new flannel shirt that just came in the mail today. I thought the red was a little bright, but that it would be fun fall/Christmas piece. It was hot when we got to the show, and cold by the time we left, so I brought the flannel as a cover up. I feel comfortable, and a little sexy in this outfit. Like maybe someone would want to cuddle with me. Ash really liked the flannel on me.


DAY SEVEN:

Sunday. Working from home all day and hanging out with my family. In the morning we went for a walk on the greenway and then went grocery shopping. These are exercise shorts, which are amazing and look great on my butt. The top is a stretchy athletic tank top in a color I do not normally wear, given to me by a friend. This sweat jacket is an Ann Taylor thrift store find. I wear it ALL the time. The red sneakers I got for $5. They are formed to the shape of someone else's foot, but they are still pretty comfy and great for exercise. I wore a sports bra. I forgot I had it on because it's comfy. I'm wearing a headband because I was too lazy to put my hair all the way up in a way it would stay up. I usually do braids when I exercise.

This outfit makes me feel how these pictures look: like an afterthought at the end of the day.









Thursday, July 6, 2017

Yearning For Another; Being Happy As Things Are


Well, it happened. My son is about to turn 6 years old, and I finally got enough space from the nightmare of postpartum depression that I want to have another child. Part of it is the biological clock ticking. I just turned 29 this week. I always planned on stopping having children at 30, but as I approach it I'm coming to realize that I'm still not quite ready, and probably won't be for another 5-6 years. Following my predictable pattern of torturing-myself-about-things-I-want-that-I-can't-have-right-now, I have been having a hard time with this. Ash is going back to school this fall. His current plan is to complete his bachelor's at UNCA and then apply for graduate school (Doctor of Physical Therapy).

This will take 5 years total if everything goes according to plan. After that he will get a job and I will be released as the sole breadwinner. Until then, I am the sole breadwinner. We cannot afford to pay for childcare on my salary alone. At all. Unless we cut EVERYTHING including leaving the house ever, which I don't think is a healthy, sustainable option. So that means I have to wait. I have to wait at least 5 whole years to have another baby. I have to wait until I'm pushing 35. I have to wait until my husband can work full time. I have to wait until there's a 10 year age gap between my kids.

Anything worth having in life is worth waiting for and worth working for. But that doesn't change how much it hurts. So, I decided to share with you my inner dialogue; I'm hoping it can help those of you who are in a similar place:

I want to have a baby. More than anything else.

Ok, so have one! 

Well... it's more complicated than that. 

Why? If you want it literally more than anything else, it should be easy to sacrifice anything to get it. 

Ok. I guess I want some things more than I want a baby. Or rather, I need some things more than I want a baby. 

I need to be mentally healthy and free from anxiety and depression. I need a healthy marriage. I need that much more than I need another child... and especially if I do have another one. 

Can you have those two things AND have a baby right now?

I'm not sure. 

Ok, let's think through it. 

Oh, um... ok. Well, I have a full-time job and I can't leave it. 

You can go on maternity leave. 

OK. Well, I live in the United States, so it's going to be unpaid leave beyond 6 weeks. So I'd need to find childcare full time after that. 

Alright. How much does childcare cost in your area? 

*Looks it up* Holy burrito! That ain't gonna work. 

Ok. What about family or friends who could do it for less? 

*Puzzles, asks, schemes* Nope. 

What if you worked from home for a couple of months after the baby was born?

That's possible, but I work in support so I need to be able to answer the phones. I can't imagine nursing and caring for a baby while home alone AND working full-time hours, including phone calls where the baby would be miraculously quiet. 

Ok. What about an in-home care situation? Isn't that much cheaper? 

*Asks locals* Wow! Yes, much cheaper. Like half the price. 

Ok. Can that price fit into your budget?

*Calculates*. Uh, yes but just barely. I mean... not realistically. Only if we have zero unexpected expenses and have no car trouble and stopped saving for retirement. Bummer. 

Can Ash take a break from school to stay home with the baby? 

*Talks to Ash at length* No. He is really eager to finish his degree as soon as possible since he's already in his 30's. We can't go much longer as a one-income family and he needs to get done and get a job, pronto. 

And he made another good point, which is that part of what caused the PPD last time was having the bread winner responsibility AND being the sleep-deprived mommy. That wouldn't go away if he was a stay-at-home parent. I would be up all night with the baby and then back at work each morning. The stress of that would make preserving mental health really difficult. 

When I think about finding outside care for a 6-week-old baby, I feel immense heartbreak. That does not sound like what I want at all. I don't think I can do that. 

Bummer. 

Ok, so I wait until Ash is done with school. ... so Luca will be 10 years old when he finally gets a sibling? They will be practically part of different generations. Will they have anything in common? Will they even know each other? 

You can't know the answers to those questions. It will be different from what you grew up with, in good and bad ways that you cannot possibly know until you're living it. 

*Talks with Ash* Ash is an only child and he says he would rather have a sibling ten years younger than him than have no sibling at all. Ok. That's a convincing argument. Alright! So, what to do for the next 5 years? Well... I can make sure Luca and his cousin Redford (and his new cousin Moishe inherited through marriage) all know and love each other and grow up being close. 

That sounds great! 

Yes, it does. And I can use all my time and energy for things I could not do if I had a baby. I can help others I know who have babies. I can be creative and start all those sewing projects I want to do. 

Yeah! Take a quilting class! Compose music! Go see live theater! 

YEAH! Also, I've been gaining weight lately so I'd like to get back on track with diet and exercise. 

Man, that's so important. It's important now for your quality of life, and it's especially important if you're going to have a baby or two as a woman 35+. 

Ah yes. Because of the increased risk, and the lack of possibility for another home birth in this area, I'd like to be as healthy as humanly possible if I get pregnant again. 

OK. Get to work. 

OK! I'm going to use the next 5 years to become the best possible me, so I can be a healthy, happy, financially responsible parent to my children. 

THAT'S THE SPIRIT! 

Oh no. 

...what? 

What if five years comes and something has happened? What if I have health problems and the window for baby-having has closed? What if Ash changes his mind and doesn't want to have a baby? What if he has trouble finding a job that pays well? What if I hate being a stay at home mom? What if I hate being a working mom again? What if I... 

Stop. You're "What ifing". It's good to be prepared for the future, but the future is literally full of INFINITE possibilities. You can't possibly prepare for all of them, so stop trying. 

But what if these next couple of years are my last chance to get what I really want more than anything else? What if I blow this opportunity trying to have my cake and eat it too? Am I being stupid by waiting and possibly missing my chance?

You don't know that it's your last chance. What if your house burns down and you get cancer and WWIII breaks out? You. Can't. Control. Everything. Life throws things at you and you just DEAL with them, because you have no other choice. You've already decided that having a baby now is NOT what you want more than anything, because what you really want more than anything is to not get PPD again. Waiting 5 years is actually your best chance at creating the circumstances in which having a baby would be different than it was last time. Less hellish. More enjoyable. 

Right. My goal isn't just to be a mother again... it's to be a good mother. I wouldn't want to do it again if it was like last time. I want to be a GREAT mother who loves her children and enjoys having a baby. And to give myself the best chance at that, I need to wait. 

Right. 

Right. 

...but.... 

*Facepalm* what now?

If I accidentally got pregnant right now, we could deal with it. We could make it work. We would have to make it work, and so we would. 

True. You would spend the next 5 years doing your best to survive new parenthood while also working full time. You would love your child but have to leave them 5 days per week. Things would be so tight financially that you would be unprepared for emergencies. Your kids would love each other and you would love them. You would not have a spare dime to spend on physical therapy, couples therapy, or a babysitter so you would have to cross your fingers that you wouldn't need help. 

Yeah. That really does not sound super great. I could do it if I had to, but it seems really stupid to choose it on purpose. It's one thing to have stress thrust upon you, it's quite another to do something so stressful on purpose. 

It wouldn't be the most responsible choice. 

Yes. It would be like last time... I had a baby because I wanted one, and I was not ready in so many ways. To be a great mother, I need to make the choices that are best for my existing children and future children. That would include not trying to have a baby right now. It would be a bit selfish to get pregnant right now only because I want it, without any thought to what kind of quality of life we would all have. I think it's much more responsible to prioritize my mental health first and having a baby second. 

I think so. 

I think so too. 

Ok. So, the next 5 years... get in great shape. Build healthy eating habits. Be creative and use my excess energy. And if five years come and the stars don't align... I've got my husband and my son and my creative pursuits. Not the same as having two beautiful children, but still a wonderful and amazing life full of things to be extremely grateful for. 

Nice. Add that to your list of things to accomplish in the next 5 years. Be grateful for what you have. Let your gratitude live alongside your desires for the future. Let it be stronger than anything else.

Yeah. I know that when I'm experiencing gratitude for what I have, life is really really good. Even when I don't have what I want. Even sometimes when I don't have what I need! So no matter what happens, I need to make that a priority. 

Being grateful for what I have is not denying that I want something else. It's just choosing to be happy while I want something else. 

I think that would be wise.

I think so too. I kind of feel like I'm going all in on a poker game. I either win it all or I leave empty handed. If everything is good to go in five years I get exactly what I want... and if not, the window has closed so I can't even have a consolation-prize version of what I want. 

But it's not really like that... by waiting, you're making it possible to have what you TRULY want. And if you don't get it, you also get to walk away from the poker table with an arm full of chips. You win either way. 

That's true. I certainly wouldn't call my life now "walking away empty handed". My life is full and wonderful. 

That's how gratitude works. Even when you don't get what you want, you feel full. 

Wow. That's really nice. 

And nobody can ever take that from you. 






Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Everything is back on track... except my stupid brain.

Last year was a rift in the time stream. We jumped into alternate realities for a little while. I feel like a whole year disappeared... like I was 17 again and I went away to summer camp and I just got back. A little disorientation, a lot of pain, and a lot of growth for everyone. Somehow, Trump became a major presidential nominee in the process, so I'm sorry for the disturbance of space time that might have caused this. Ash and I are back on track, having bought a beautiful home together. Luca starts at an amazing new school soon. We got a cat.

Despite all of these wonderful things, I've been giving myself a really hard time lately. Mostly about financial stuff. We're doing ok. We're breaking even and we've got a small nest egg for emergencies. But I want to be able to give my kid everything. I want to be able to pay for him to go to college in cash, like my parents did for me. I want to be able to retire and live above the poverty line. I want to triple my charitable giving. But all of the pressure that I put on myself is diminishing my quality of life right now. And there is so much to enjoy and be thankful for. I know I will look back on this time one day and wish I had slowed down and enjoyed it, instedly of constantly asking what I can do to make it better.

I am an overachiever, whose achievements are truncated by the very anxiety that propels me forward. I'm hitting the gas pedal and the breaks at the same time, and I'm almost out of gas, and I'm yelling at the poor car to go faster.

I've stopped exercising and I've stopped making sure I prioritize sleep. Those two things alone are enough, but I also started drinking coffee (which has always made me feel terrible). I know exactly what I need to do. Now, I just have to love myself enough to do it.

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