Friday, May 14, 2010

The Year Ahead

So 2010 is a big year for me.  Not only am I having my second child, but I turn 35 this year -- today actually.  I’m sort of freaked out by this milestone and at how fast time goes by.  I clearly remember my life a decade ago.  Which is curious, since I can’t always remember what I did in the past day/week anymore!  So I figure it’s time to take stock, look back with fondness on the past decade, and then move the hell on. 

A decade ago at 25, I started dating my husband, landed my dream job at an international NGO, traveled to five countries, and did a 300 mile bike ride from NC to DC in honor of my cousin who died of AIDs.  In the following decade I worked with some amazing people in Asia and the Middle East, traveled to more than a dozen countries, finished my Masters degree, got married, got my teaching license, moved to PA, moved back to VA and had a baby.

And now? In this my 35th year I, started a blog, walked 5 miles for the March of Dimes (yes, it was last month but I am counting it), will have my second little girl, celebrate 6 years of marriage to my dear husband, and celebrate Sophie’s second birthday (which will also mark two years as a stay at home mom.)

Hrm, when I put my life in writing like that, it makes me feel a bit like I am regressing. Some would say I am, but I just think there’s no comparing my life then and now -- Apples to oranges.  My life and priorities are completely different now.  It took me a long time to stop making comparisons after I had Sophie.  This is going to anger some women, but I was very reluctant to stay home, resentful even.  Not that I don’t love my daughter with all my heart, but it took me almost a year to become comfortable in my new role.  I’ve been working since I was 15 (maybe younger) and had been told my whole life that I could do it all.  I assumed I was less of a women if I didn’t/couldn’t.  But my husband and I agreed before Sophie was born that I would stay home with her for at least the first year.  And, if there is one thing motherhood has taught me it’s that my decisions now are based on what’s best for my family.  I still plan to go back to work in the next few years, but I know that this is what’s best for my family right now.

But what else does my 35th year have in store for me?  Well, I decided to make some birthday resolutions.  Every New Year’s day my husband writes out his New Year’s resolutions, and I’m not talking a single list of a few things.  His resolutions are broken into four categories and under each there are four to five goals/resolutions; and some are really big/difficult.  He’s been doing this as long as I’ve known him and I marvel at his dedication.  I tried to follow suit a few times, but I usually only had a few things written down and I always lost the note card by the end of the year.  Not my husband, he knows exactly where it is and without a whole big to do, he goes about ticking off resolutions throughout the year.   

So why the story about my husband?  Because I realize now that I am a big ole scaredy cat who is terrified of failure.  Deep down I felt that if I wrote a resolution down and didn’t achieve it then I was a failure and everyone would know.  Having a baby has really helped me… get over myself.  I am much more laid back now.  I mean I used to be REALLY uptight. Ask my old co-workers, ask my husband!  So I am on this momentous occasion (my birthday, duh) going to lay out in writing some things I resolve to do over the next year.  I probably won’t get to them all, but I’m gonna try.

  1. Publish something.  I have always been terrified of people reading my writing.  Not so much the work stuff, because grant proposals aren’t really what I love to write, but essays and articles.  So starting this blog is huge for me. However, I’d like to write something for a magazine by years end.  However, if I don’t, I will still count the blog as a win and focus on next year!

  1. Help total strangers.  Again, this was a big reason why I started this blog.  I’m an SJ (personality type), I take care of people, I can’t help myself -- that’s just how I roll. I hope to be able help women during an exciting, yet emotional and occasionally stressful time in their lives.  Then once they’re through it I hope they pay it forward to another new mom in the area. 

  1. Support local women/mom owned businesses.  I live in a great neighborhood and am surrounded by incredibly enterprising moms.  Being around them has been inspiring.  As much as I can, I want to support them in their business endeavors as well as other women in the area—be it through my blog or other avenues. 

  1. Try new things.  I am a creature of habit.  I’ve had the same hair style for most of my life with the exception of six years when I had it really short and my husband called me T-boz (TLC from the “Waterfalls” era).  I’ve gone to the same nail salon for a decade and have been wearing the same nail polish (I’m Not Really A Waitress) for just as long.  I also have an irrational fear of group exercise.  I’m terrified I am going to make an ass out of myself; which is why I keep saying I’m going to Stroller Strides, but haven’t quite made it yet.  Ridiculous, I know.  Especially considering the fact that I once slept in an abandoned warlord’s house in East Timor and a hotel room with no locks in Afghanistan! I told you my hang ups were bizarre.  I have already started working on this one though. Last week, on Mothers Day I tried a new nail place and a new color.  The place was great, but I hate the color and can’t wait to change it.  I tried though! Regarding exercise, I am scheduled to take…wait for it…a prenatal yoga AND a prenatal pilates class in the next few weeks.  It should make for an entertaining post.  I also plan to take my daughter places I never had the time to visit when I was working.  Despite living in this area for a while, I haven’t taken advantage of all that it has to offer.  I plan to experience these places together with my daughter(s). Oh and learn how to drive stick.  It’s absurd that I am 35 and I can’t drive my husband’s car (or move it out of the driveway for that matter).

  1. Support and raise money for organizations in Afghanistan and on the Thai/Burma border that run maternal clinics, schools and safe houses for women and girls.  I used to work in both of those countries and while my focus at the time was democracy and governance, the situation for women and girls in both places is dire.  Social Action for Women (SAW) is local group doing great work on the Thai-Burma border.  In Afghanistan you sadly have to be a little more careful who you fund locally. Greg Mortenson’s Central Asia Institute ( does great work but I’m looking into smaller, local orgs.  Should you get a chance, I recommend reading Nicholas Kristof’s editorial from Mother’s Day, “Celebrate: Save a Mother,”, as well as his book, Half The Sky.  Three Cups of Tea is another inspiring read and intro to the plight of women and girls in Afghanistan.  

So I have about five more resolutions, but they are personal and I figure I really have blathered on enough today.

Here are a few things I am working on that you probably care more about:  Pregnant Woman v. Food: The N/A Beer Edition, The Skinny on Prenatal Massage in the DC area, Awesome/Awful: What The Heck is Happening To My Body?!, and Prenatal Exercise options in the DC area.

Have a great weekend all!



  1. Good for you! I have always been terrible with resolutions, but these look like good ones.

    Your upcoming post about N/A beer will likely inspire controversy! I have consistently craved the taste of beer during this pregnancy and so have been on the look-out for good N/A versions for the last 8 months. I posted something about this on babycenter and got a lot of mixed reactions, including many negative comments about how even N/A beer has SOME alcohol in it. My husband is a medical doctor and I did my research so I feel confident that it is just fine for the baby, but the controversy still bothered me a bit. In any case, if you need suggestions for N/A beers to try I have a few favorites, but as a general rule I've found that the Germans tend to do it best.

  2. Wow, I appreciate your candidness and honesty re: your goals and struggles with past resolutions, but esp. the stay-at-home mom role. I went through the struggle on the opposite side. I always thought I would stay at home, but financially, esp. inside the beltway, I need to work. Thankfully, I've honed my skills in a profession (massage) that has a lot of flexibility and pays me well for part-time work. 15-20 hours a week has been just about right and then I haven't totally lost my identity from my work role. Do I still feel conflicted about missing my son's bed time a couple days a week, well yes. That your heart living outside your body and no longer solely in your work. :)
    -Ginger Mickelson

  3. Happy Birthday!

    I have no doubt that you will achieve every goal you put forth. And if you don't, it just means that something has changed and that goal may not be a priority anymore.

    If having a child taught me anything it is that life changes fast and what we consider important changes with it.

    So if you lose your note card this time (or the URL to this link), chances are you found fulfillment without it.