In Sickness

I was a always a very sickly child. Hypochondriac, sure, but also sickly. I got strep throat at least once a month my entire childhood.

When you're a kid, being sick really isn't that bad. You get to skip school and piano lessons, you lay around in your pajamas all day while your mom makes you soup and buys you your own bottles of Sprite. Even when you feel like crap, at least you're laying down on the couch, wrapped in the comforter from your bed, watching ABC Family's daytime lineup.
I just recently found out, it's different when you're an adult.
I woke up in the middle of the night earlier this week as sick as a dog. I rushed into the bathroom where I promptly passed out. Every time I tried to stand up, I would pass out again. It was very dramatic and damsel-in-distressy of me.
I finally got some sleep but had a major headache and just all around felt like crap the next few days. All I wanted to do was lay in bed and have people bring me soup while I watched TV.
But I was about ten minutes into the day when I realized that wasn't going to happen.
Rather, I still had to do basically everything I normally do... I just had to do it while I was sick.
It didn't help that the whole first day, I felt like I was being rained on with frustrations and bad news. I drove all the way to Brigham for a meeting with my advisor, only to find out she had stayed home sick that day. When I finally realized I could eat something, I went to make some mashed potatoes and realized the potatoes I had bought only a few days before were all completely rotten.
I pretty much lost it.
But, internally. I've found it's best to let it fester until I break down over something really small and meaningless.
Basically, I just had myself a little pity party. I was upset that I had to do all my same day-to-day stuff while feeling like that. I was mad that there wasn't someone from the Relief Society showing up at the door with a hot pan of dinner saying, "I just had a feeling you needed this tonight." Overall, I was frustrated that I couldn't escape from my life for even a moment. It used to be so easy! Calling in sick, cancelling piano lessons. Friends bringing you the homework you missed.
It doesn't work that way anymore. Because I can't leave Dayen in his crib all day. He wasn't even remotely aware that I wasn't feeling good.
That same day, after running a bunch of errands, I took Dayen to the park to eat his sucker he got from the bank, and it was pretty much the highlight of his whole life. I actually started writing this blog post then, thinking, "Wow, I've learned so much. It's not about me, it's about my kid. I get it!"
Then, it got worse.
Dayen went to bed last night totally fine. I think he had coughed maybe twice all day, and not a bad sounding cough at all. Then an hour after we put him to bed, he woke up crying and making the most horrible sound I've ever heard. Every time he tried to take a breath, he made a barking sound and I could tell he wasn't getting much air. It almost sounded like something was stuck in his throat, and I wasn't sure if he was choking.
I can officially attest to the fact that there is not much in this world scarier than waking up to a truly sick child. 
I of course handled it like a pro and things could not have gone smoother.
Just kidding.
I panicked and ran in to our room to wake up Caleb. I'm sure it was a lovely, peaceful surprise to wake up to your child making that horrible noise and your wife yelling, "Something is wrong!"
Then I called my mom so she could barely hear me while I tried to make her listen to Dayen so she could give an over-the-phone diagnosis.
Then we sat in the bathroom with the shower on while Dayen looked at me like I was nuts and continued to cry and bark.
Then I called the hospital where they "weren't allowed to give medical advice over the phone", but told me it could be Croup, and at least reassured me enough that we could go to bed.
Wait, did I say go to bed? Because that didn't really happen for quite awhile. Instead, I camped out on Dayen's floor so I could hear him breathing, and then I tried to push the couch into his room because I'm selfish and the floor is uncomfortable. And when that didn't work (darn angles in this house) I brought him out to the living room in his play pen to sleep next to the couch and instead he did some headstands and smiled at me through the netting of the play pen like we were having a sleepover.
He doesn't like sleeping somewhere new.
So I finally put him down in his own crib and half-slept in my room the rest of the night, waking up every time he made the tiniest sound.
It was the worst nights sleep I've gotten since he was a newborn. It was scary, and I was anxious the whole time. The poor kid kept waking up and crying, not knowing what was going on. One time I went in to get him and he was just sitting up, looking confused. All I had to do was lay him down and he fell back asleep.
But this night made me realize something: I signed up for this. Not just sleepless nights for myself, but more importantly, to be his protector. All the time. For the rest of his life! I don't know what we would have done this week without help and advice from my mother and mother-in-law, which made me realize, it never ends. The day is not coming where I get to focus on just myself again.
And that is a wonderful thing.
I don't know why we think selfishness ever brought about happiness. It might be great to get a gift or favor from someone asking nothing in return. But it is so, so much more fulfilling to be the person doing the giving.
And motherhood, parenthood in general, shoves us into that role with no looking back. We are programmed to love this little human who does not yet have the capacity to help us when we are sick, or even thank us for anything we do for them.
And not just because they are a baby, but because they are plain human.
I remember going to the doctor when I was little, and it seemed like I always had to get a blood test done. I hated needles (still do) and my mom would always tell me, "I would do this for you if I could!" And I would always think, "Can we make that happen? Go ahead!" I thought she was crazy: there is nothing worse than being poked with a needle!
Turns out, there is something worse- watching your kid be poked with a needle. I get it now. I would do it for him if I could.
It took me until I was 19 to realize I should bake my mom a birthday cake so she didn't have to bake her own.
I can remember her being sick, and most of us letting her deal with it on her own, wondering if it meant we got to order pizza that night.
I grew up and I loved my mom, and I appreciated my mom, but I never truly understood her until I became a mom myself. I can never repay her for all that she's done for me (or for that matter, all that my mother in law did for my husband) so I do what everyone else in history has done... I pay it forward to my own children.
I come from a generation of people who live in debt so they can have new things. We post daily selfies begging someone to compliment our lipstick. We say we want to travel the world and "find ourselves" rather than have a family.
But I am here to tell you, I was never complete until I became a mom. I thought I had found myself, but I had no idea of my own capacity to love someone. I didn't know I could change 3 poopy diapers in 5 minutes time and not feel the least bit resentful. I didn't know I could spend all day every day playing with stuffed animals and blocks that I stopped finding interesting about 20 years ago. I didn't know I could love someone without expecting a single thing in return.
All the liberal feminists these days argue that not everyone is meant to be a mother, that you shouldn't have to give up your body to another human. But giving up your body is the easy part: throw a Tshirt over those stretch marks and no one will ever know. You will give up so so much more than that. You give up yourself. Your time, your resources. Your dreams. Your heart.
And it is more worth it than any worldly thing you can find. It is more worth it than searching the globe to fulfill your "wanderlust." It's more worth it than a closet full of cute clothes, a drawer of expensive makeup, or even a hard-earned degree.
It is the only thing in this life that makes us step completely out of ourselves, makes us be truly selfless and self-sacrificing for the life of another person. It is the closest thing we can ever experience to true Christlike love.
It's hard, because it's worth it. Because we have to earn it. I'm slowly getting that now.

You Can't Bash Mormons Just Because You Live in Utah

When I was still investigating the LDS church, I was given tickets to go to General Conference. It was a beautiful spring day, I got all dressed up, woke up early, and drove to Salt Lake. Where I parked, you could see the morning sun shining on the temple. It felt like the pinnacle of all this searching I had been doing: to go see and hear prophets and apostles speak was pretty cool, even for a nonmember.
But as we got closer I realized not all the crowds outside the conference center were members waiting to be let in the building. They were hecklers. 
Tons of them. At least a hundred, all with varying degrees of showmanship. Some were passing out brochures with anxious looks on their faces like they were out saving souls. Others were shouting cruel things while everyone tried to ignore them. One group I remember very vividly- there were 3 men- 2 were dressed like Mormon missionaries, and the other was in a bright red Halloween costume of the devil, complete with horns, tail, and pitchfork.
Their message was pretty clear.
I almost laughed. My first thought was, they really have nothing better to to today?
My next thought was is this really effective for them? It seemed pretty obvious that their goal was to humiliate, not to convert anyone to their own beliefs. Nothing about what they were doing made me want to go up and say, "hey you know you're right. What was I thinking going in there? Could you tell me more about your beliefs?"
But the really crazy thing is how unfazed most people were about it. I was completely shocked that it was happening, but it seemed like everyone else had either expected it, or they were just really good at tuning it out.
And it shouldn't have been new to me. My mom was raised LDS, but married my dad at 19, and he was not a member. Not wanting to go to church alone, my mom was inactive most of her married life. (But we'll get to that.) So my brothers and I were raised in that weird limbo in between: being a nonmormon in Brigham City, Utah is not always an easy thing. But I've discussed that before. Now I want to look at the other side of it.
I was always going to go to church someday. I had a book of bible stories my mom always read me as a kid. I knew about God, and I think my Mom did a good job of letting me see things from all sides. She would answer my questions about the Mormons, but she also let me go to Vacation Bible School with my grandmas church. I feel very lucky that I can say from a young age, I was able to choose.
When I was older I started going to all sorts of different churches. I visited almost every non-LDS faith I could find. I found some wonderful churches and some very welcoming people.
The only problem was: of all the churches in Brigham that I went to, there was only one who did not once mention the Mormons.
Some would be off on a great sermon, then veer off with, "now the Mormons believe..."
Others spoke of nothing but the Mormons the entire time.
My favorite was a very sweet sermon that ended with, "Now our convert the Mormons dinner is Saturday night, everyone make sure you bring a Mormon..." (Ok that's probably not an exact quote but you get the general idea!)
It was frustrating because that was the problem I always seemed to bump into inside of Utah. No matter the faith, everyone was talking about the Mormons!
Even in vacation bible school. I was probably 10 or so, and I remember we were having a lesson on how one thing can not be something else, like it would be a sin to say an apple is an orange. (I wish I could find my teacher now because I didn't understand it then and I don't understand it now.) One kid, who was probably 6 or 7, raised his hand and said, 
"Like how Mormons believe that popcorn pops on apricot trees!"
The teacher, dead-serious, nodded her head and said,
Even at 10 I remember thinking are these people serious? 
But that's the problem: in Utah, it's ok. As long as you're the minority, and you are if you're not LDS, you can say or think what you want about the majority.
But what I don't get is what happened to basic human respect? More than that, what happened to freedom of religion, and respecting someone else's religion?
Think of The Book of Mormon musical. I don't care what you believe in, how anyone can watch that and not feel rotten for our faith is beyond me. You couldn't perform a musical like that about the Jewish faith. But the LDS are openly persecuted and because your Mormon neighbor offended you once, because you are outnumbered in your own hometown, you feel like it's ok to just sit by and watch.
My mother has been bashed for her faith more than anyone I know. She seems to encounter it everywhere she goes. And if you've ever met my mother, she's the hardest person in the world to argue with. But they always find a way!
There was one night when she had been going through a hard time that had dragged on for years. It wasn't easy to go back to her church, so she went to a bible study of another faith. They started, of course, talking about the Mormons. They knew she was LDS, and they started telling her what she believed.
Now put yourself in her shoes for a second: you were raised LDS, but you haven't been active for a long time. You sought out solace from another religion: you're there! You're on their turf, ready to hear what they believe. But all they want to do is attack the LDS faith.
She told them she didn't want to talk about that, that she was going through a hard time and could really use this class. But they told her they wouldn't stop talking about it, they couldn't, because it was their duty.
I am not asking for a social revolution. All I am asking for is a little basic respect.
I visited all those different churches with an open mind. I can still say wonderful things about those faiths who were so open and welcoming to me, but I joined the LDS church because I believe it.
Even after my baptism, I took a religious studies course in college and loved it. I learned so much about so many religions. Do you realize how many are out there? And here we are battling it out among the Christians.
This is a battle that's been fought since the dawn of time. It's not a shock to anyone. But it is a little shocking that we aren't more civilized about it these days.
The lady I was a nanny for moved here from Idaho and is not LDS. But of course, you move here and it's a different culture, so she had a lot of questions. I felt like we had a good friendship, and I felt comfortable talking about my faith with her. She didn't have to agree with my points of view, because I wasn't trying to convert her. I just appreciated that instead of making assumptions or attacking me for my beliefs, she asked.
Everyone gets to live their own life. Whatever your problem with the Mormons is, I beg you: get over it. One person who wronged you does not make up our whole faith. (Neither does a dozen!) I don't care if you think what we believe in is completely wrong, the fact you can't argue is that it's my right to believe it! I will do my best to respect and value what you believe in (even if you believe in nothing) if you will do the same in return.

I'm Going to Upset You Now

I'm not sure which I see more of on Facebook these days... Requests to join your online lipsense party, or requests to please stop adding people to your online lipsense party.
So I hope you'll allow me to basically say, stop adding me to your online parties, but also WHY.
Let me first address that post that is always going around that basically says, "When you buy from a big company, you are paying CEOs to go on vacation or blah blah whatever, when you buy from your friends online you are supporting a stay at home mom!"
And therein lies the problem: there are a thousand companies out there right now promising stay at home moms that they can make whatever they are willing to work for! All they have to do is pay a small upfront fee, and promise to post something every day, and annoy their friends to no end! Sounds like a stay at home moms dream come true.
Ok I'm sorry, I don't mean to come across as insensitive. It's just that it's so frustrating that no matter how many of these companies crawl out of the woodworks, there seems to be no end to the people willing to fall for it.
About two years ago, there was a new company I hadn't heard much about yet. I personally wasn't interested in buying their products, but there was one girl on my Facebook always posting things about how much money she was making working for this company. She went on trips seemingly every month and it was all paid for by this simple job! 
Well, I was intrigued to say the least. But a quick Google search, a fair assessment of several articles about the company, confirmed exactly what I thought: it was a crock.
The sad truth is that by buying from these companies, you are helping your stay at home mom friends a little, and helping the people at the top of these pyramid schemes a lot.
I won't call out the companies individually, because I'm really not trying to hurt anyone here, but let's just say:
If someone wants you to "join their team"... It's a scam 
If a Google search mentions anything about the company being an MLM scheme... It's a scam
If you are going to be throwing a lot of online parties, or doing all your work in five minutes a day from the comfort of home... It's a scam
If you have to pay money to work for them... Oh my goodness it is a scam
If they seem to be targeting stay at home moms... Yeah, it's probably a scam
If it seems too good to be true, it probably is! And if the only good things you hear come from testimonies of those already working for the company, please, do your research. It's probably a scam.
Personally, my concern isn't for the people buying these products. My concern is for the sellers! The sellers, who make up probably close to 1/3 of my female friend list right now. The sellers who probably joined because they were struggling financially (because the ads promise you can get out of debt, go on European vacations whenever you want, and be making 450k+ by December if only you work for it!) and they joined hoping they could help out their family financially without having to leave their babies at daycare.
It is a noble cause. Trust me, I get it. That's why it makes me sick that these pyramid scheme companies prey on women so desperate to find financial freedom while still being full time mothers.
Let me give you a more realistic number: 8. That is how many people have contacted me personally, in the last week to get me to join their team, throw a party, or buy products from them. 8 people who I haven't talked to in ages. 8 people who I would love to catch up with, but who I can't help but feel frustrated that this is the only reason they reached out. 8 people whose time could be so much better spent earning money a legitimate way!
I don't care what anyone tells you. There are only a couple people in any of those companies who are ever going to make 450k a year. And they won't make it because they sell a lot, they make it because you will.
There are a thousand legitimate things you can do to make money, and still be a mom. But please oh please, my cute friends, stop joining these horrible scams.
And please, for the love of Pete, when I leave your Facebook online party group, don't keep re-adding me.

My (lack of) Mommy Style

My cute friend who has a cute and hilarious blog (which she says she started because of me- little old me, can you believe it? Therefore I think of it as my grandblog.) told me about a group of her friends who do a blog post rotation called "Mommy Style Monday." I usually just post my own things, kind of like a diary that I force all my Facebook friends to read. But I thought hey, collaboration is fun, right?
And then came the topic: Girl's Day Out.
And here's the problem: I don't have any sisters.
I have one son, and (thus far) no daughters.
Even our dog is a boy!
I'm sort of surrounded by testosterone at all times. And yes, I have friends who are girls, and my mom and I have what you could call a "girls day out" once in awhile, but for the most part, my life doesn't consist of those things any more. I would be hard-pressed to find a picture of me sporting a cute outfit and lipstick (I hate lipstick. Do you all really like lipstick or are you just pretending?) that I could post and pretend I'm off on a girl's trip! I couldn't even fake that picture today because, thus far, I've been out mowing the lawn, and I'm seriously contemplating not getting ready today. (I use a complicated formula that involves deciding not to go anywhere all day, and weighing it against the risk that someone might come to the door.)
So, I've been thinking about this topic all weekend and wondering what to write.
Here were my options:
Blog Post #1: Sometimes, when my mom isn't too cool to be in Island Park, we go to Logan together so she can pick up cleaners and we grab lunch! Although I know she loves me (she has to, I'm her only daughter) I'm fairly certain in recent times these days are used to see Dayen, not me. Jokes on her when he falls asleep though. HA!
Blog Post #2: I call this one the fake-out. Or the Instagram. Basically I get all dressed up, take a picture, write a post about how awesome my life is, and then sit on the couch and watch TV the rest of the night. Sometimes it's not the act of actually DOING something cool, but just making others think you did something cool, that matters.
Blog Post #3: Some days, I consider the simple act of getting out of the house at ALL a win. Even though Caleb drives a long way to work and back, most nights after dinner I want to go for a drive, just to get out of the house with my family. Sometimes he will bring Dayen on my photoshoots, and even though I barely talk to them the whole time, it feels like family time.
Blog Post #4: Dayen learns the letter "T"! (also: what I really did today, and most days.) My teacher friends might enjoy this one, but it doesn't make for the most exciting post. Dayen now knows O, T, S, N, D, and others that he can recognize but not pronounce. And yes, THIS IS EXCITING.
Blog Post #5: Sometimes I have friends. No, really! But I will admit that since having Dayen, "girls nights" are kind of tough. But I could pretend that I spend massive amounts of time going to dinner with my friends, but really, most of my "friend time" comes during church, or softball games, or occasionally when I meet someone nice at the park, and our conversations are interspersed with lots of "do NOT climb on that" and "go play!" and "DONT EAT THAT ROCK!" And luckily, once in awhile, I get together with my good friends and we do go to dinner or something. But we spend months planning those before it actually goes anywhere.
Blog Post #6: The clothes I wear! Ok so don't get the wrong idea... I love clothes. It's just that, how are you all affording such cute clothes all the time? When I do buy clothes, it's usually for Dayen, because he's cute and little and everything he wears is cute and little, or for Caleb because his half of the closet is embarrassingly sparse compared to mine, and because for a long time he wore the same shirt he'd had since High School, and he was unfazed by the many holes it had acquired.
The other day, I splurged and bought a cute dress, and after the first wash it shrunk. Karma, for buying something for myself.
So you want to know what I wear on a girls day out? Really old jeans. And the whole time, I wish I was in sweat pants. 
Blog Post #7: A post about all the posts I could have written, but didn't.
You can tell which one I went with.
I'm really not lame. And I do have a social life, and I keep plenty busy. But in the spirit of honesty, I think it's important for everyone to know that my life is not simply staying at home, getting ready to go out. Sometimes the only time I get out all day is on a drive, hoping Dayen will fall asleep because he's insanely crabby. Sometimes I DO get dressed up, and all I do all day is go get groceries.
But my point (I guess? I'm kind of reaching here. Clearly I don't do well when I'm given a topic.) is that it doesn't really matter. The day-to-day can be just as wonderful as the big days. Even if you're not wearing lipstick.

And if you want to read some much better posts on this topic, here's a map for you.

Kiana at Glitter & Donuts
Madeline at CaseyLand
Bekah at These Are The Days
Monica at It's All About
Amy at Harris Inc.
Melissa at The Frolics of Mama Llama
Rose at Babies & Bluejeans
Beverly at What a Day 
Juli at Journey of J^3
Susan at Sue's News

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