Tag Archives: mom

How Does One Make the Perfect Life Choices?

I’m sitting in an airport waiting for a delayed flight, wearing bright orange compression socks, thinking about the latest book I’m writing. It’s been harder to write.

The main character is divorced. She was pregnant when her husband left her for her friend and she had to quickly get a job. She goes back to school to get a secondary education degree because her bachelor’s was in English.  

She had planned on getting a Master’s and possibly a Doctorate in English but then she met John. They fell in love. He got a job and they got married and she didn’t get a Master’s. When she got pregnant with their first child, she kept working. Then the two of them together decided she would stay home with their son. After childcare costs, it made more sense. And he made enough. Plus, she believed her kids would be better off if one of them could stay home. He made more, so she stayed home. She often thought about getting her Master’s, but then a kid would get sick and she wondered how she would do it all. She kept putting it off.

Until the day her husband came home and said he wanted a divorce.

She doesn’t think much about her choices (Why bother? It won’t help) until she has to work with a graduate of hers who has just finished her bachelors and wants to go get her Master’s. But she met this guy….

So Grace looks over at all of her decisions.

And this is where I’m stumped.  

Of course women should get an education and support themselves. Of course they should accomplish all they want to accomplish. But what if the two spouses decide that one parent could stay home. They think it would be better for the kids. But then the spouse who stays home loses potential income. Loses years of experience. May pass up on education that would help because they put their trust in their spouse.

Is this possible anymore?

Do both parents need to always work because relationships seem to be so fluid these days?

I stay home. Yes, I’ve had different jobs and done different things, but when I thought of applying to be a substitute teacher and saw they wanted 3 professional references, I started to cry and didn’t finish the application. I couldn’t think of a professional reference. Sure, I had people who would give me a reference, but I hadn’t worked for anyone in years.  

At the same time, I think having one parent able to stay home is great for a family. I think I’m slowly going insane, but besides that, I think it’s a good idea. If possible.

I had a parent home until I was about 12 or 13 and then I would come home and be alone for about an hour. It wasn’t that big a deal. I would do my homework and watch Days of Our Lives. The worst thing I did was eat a whole box of Kudos and then throw up. I never ate another Kudos again and I’m not even sure they make them anymore. They probably heard my story and realized they didn’t have a future.

But I remember when I missed the bus and I couldn’t get a hold of anyone. I was scared. I thought I’d have to stay at the school over night. My neighbor came and got me and it wasn’t a big deal except for the 30 minutes when it was.

I’m around if my kids forget their lunches or nice clothes for a presentation. I pick them up for appointments and make sure things generally run smoothly.

Except for those times when I mix appointments up and I show up at the right time a day late. Or when I give each kid a different kid’s lunch so when I see one on the counter and it says my youngest’s name but I know I gave him something, I just eat that lunch myself.

I’m not a very domestic stay at home mom but I’m a “I’m here if you need me” one.  

As I write from my character’s point of view, I wonder if this is still a good idea.

If I went back into the workforce and actually used my law degree, I would never make the money I would’ve made had I stayed working. I’m so far out of the game, I wonder if I could get a job.  

Some people volunteer and keep up their resume that way. I haven’t kept a file of what I’ve done. I think I was taught you don’t get credit for volunteer work. It’s a service. (And if it gets around that I’m a helpful person, people may actually ask me for help. No one wants that.)  

So what’s the answer?

Is staying home still a viable option?  

How does one make the perfect choices in life? And never regret them?

I would love to hear your views.

Pros and Cons to Slicing Your Thumb Open

I was cooking.  Okay.  I was actually slicing oranges using a mandoline.  To put in a fruity drink.

But it was for other people.  So I actually bled for other people.  (I made blood oranges.  HAHAHA.)

And I sliced a large portion of my thumb off.  Or almost off.  It still hung on by some skin.

I screamed and put it under water and screamed some more.  Blood was pooling in the sink.  I made my son cry.

I ran out to the car and opened the garage and tried to get a hold of my husband and let the dog out and then called a friend to take the youngest to soccer.  He couldn’t get the dog in the house so I drove to my husband’s office with the dog while keeping my thumb wrapped in tissues and above my heart because I remember something about keeping limbs bleeding above the heart.  Or was it below?

My husband numbed my thumb (I screamed for that.  It hurt.) and then he stitched it.  (I screamed for the stitch in the area that hadn’t been fully numbed.)

I went and got dinner after because I hadn’t really eaten that day and I was really nauseous.  REALLY nauseous.  And I needed to head to the church to help with the drinks I was in charge of for the evening.  (The dog had peed on the recipes.  I decided just to email them to people.)

The girl at the register asked what I’d done and I told her I sliced my finger and got 8 stitches.  She was shocked I had to get so many stitches.  I remarked, “Well, I did get it done by a dentist.”  She didn’t reply to that.

This is the second time my husband has fixed a cooking accident for me.  And neither time did I get nitrous.  I’m a warrior.

You may be wondering what could be the pro of all of this and I shall tell you.

When I showed up at the office with my bloodied thumb, the first thing my husband said was, “Maybe we should start ordering out more.”

I decided I'd earned this sequence, Darth Vader shirt for $5. It's gonna make the thumb on my scare invisible.

I decided I’d earned this $5 sequined, Darth Vader shirt. It’s gonna make the scar on my thumb invisible.

 

Road Trip Recap

When we last saw our heroes, they were cramming themselves into a tiny SUV which should’ve been bigger.  We now join them somewhere on I-90.

I’d only reserved two hotels for the entire trip.  I had no idea how far we would travel each day and so I only booked for what I thought would be busier places: Rapid City and Nauvoo.  The little towns by Mount Rushmore are basically shut down off season, so I didn’t find anywhere closer for a family of five.

With a waterslide.

Mount Rushmore was pretty cool, I thought.  My husband had wanted to hike around it but all of the trails were closed because it had snowed the night before and there was ice.  And the Department of the Interior does not mess around with ice.

The kids became junior park rangers and I learned a lot about Mount Rushmore that I hadn’t known.  For instance, Teddy Roosevelt wasn’t originally planned for it.  And dynamite was used to create 90% of it.  And honeycombing isn’t just for bees.

Custer National Park was a highlight.  We saw prairie dogs, deer, elk, coyotes, wolves, wild ponies, and bison.  One bison started licking our car.  We found out from another visitor that they lick the salt off the cars.  I had just thought that was the bison way of being friendly.

This is the bison licking our car. If you would like a better picture, you can get out of your car and take it...

This is the bison licking our car. If you would like a better picture, you can get out of your car and take it…

Once you leave Rapid City, heading East on I-90, you start seeing billboards for Wall Drug.  And then you keep seeing them about every 50 feet.  There are big billboards and little billboards.  Billboards offering free water.  Billboards offering discounts to Vets.  Billboards with obscure drawings that have nothing to do with Walls or Drugs.

By the time you’ve driven 5 miles, you are very curious as to why Wall Drug advertises so much.  So we decided to stop.

(Which may be why they advertise so much.)

It was Easter Sunday and I wasn’t sure it would be open but THERE WERE SO MANY SIGNS we thought it was always open.

So we got off the freeway.  And followed the signs to a GIANT store.  It took up a whole block.  It was amazing.

It was closed.

So instead, we went to the bar across the street and had the best burgers and fries we had eaten in a while.  And fried pickle chips.  I would like a lifetime supply of fried pickle chips.

I think the highlight of the trip for the kids (and for me) was Nauvoo.  It’s a historical town where we learned how to make rope, bake bread in a brick oven (hypothetically), weave our own rugs and make a horseshoe.  The kids like living history towns; we sort of make them like them because we keep taking them to different ones.  It just makes it easier if they decide to enjoy themselves.

We learned a lot.  We even ran into Susan Easton Black and George Durrant who were there on  a very brief mission.  We followed her around town and the cemetery (with her permission).  We even stayed an extra day so we could hear her lecture.

And it’s a good thing we did because we then got to see the Carthage County Museum (or something like that) which was made from the collection of a biology teacher from the local college.  She used to collect things.  Nowadays we call that hoarding but I guess her stuff was interesting enough to keep her house as a museum.  And that’s where we saw the pickle jar with the pickled two-headed pig.  A true highlight.

It's in a PICKLE JAR!

It’s in a PICKLE JAR!

We finished our trip in Independence Missouri.  We spent the day driving to different LDS sites and then we went to the visitor’s center.  We knew it had been a long day and trip and that we were done with it all when the missionary asked us what we should do before we pray and my 8 yr old said:

Eat.

(The correct answer was some version of ponder…  meditate, think, pause…  Eat was an answer she hadn’t heard before.)

The whole trip was a good time.  There wasn’t too much fighting (Thank you Tyler Whitesides for writing The Janitors series and reading it onto CD’s).  By the end of the trip I think we were all sick of each other, but we all learned a lot.

I learned that my great, great grandfather Haight had a 16 day old child who passed away at Winter Quarters, Nebraska and that my great, great, great grandfather Higgenbotham had been a missionary from Nauvoo.  I got a CD with their information and their wives’ information and I can’t wait to read what I found.  Eliza and Louisa, their wives, did amazing things and wrote about it.  I can’t wait to read their journals.  It made Nauvoo a little more real, knowing my ancestors came through there.  (I even know where their land was.  I asked the owners if I could have it back and they said no.  I didn’t even get my own parking space in the lot that was over Gpa Higginbotham’s 1/4 acre.  Seems unfair.)

Can you see the resemblance?

Can you see the resemblance?

I think the kids learned a lot about U.S. and LDS history but they will probably remember the bison licking the car and the two headed pig the most.

But one day they will go back, wearing their prairie diamond rings, with the information we got this time, knowing their ancestors were there.

Prairie Diamond Rings

Prairie Diamond Rings

“This is Not What I Ordered”

We just got back from Spring Break 2016.  I know what you’re thinking.  You’re thinking that being the party hardy family that we are, we went to Cancun, Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach, or were asked to be hosts of the MTV beach party.

You are very close.

We rented a car and drove for a total of 2200 miles and 42 hours.    (Is Road Trip still an MTV gameshow?)

I called the local rental company I happened to be on the website of and asked the guy who answered what the difference was between a standard SUV, a luxury SUV, and a premier SUV.  He told me to rent a Standard and they would give me an Expedition.  Part of my goal in renting a car for the road trip was to try out a bigger car and see if I liked to drive it.  I said Okay fine and didn’t think about it.

Until I worried it wasn’t going to work out.

I called Thursday to ask if we could rent a day early and they said sure.  The person on the phone said nothing about not getting the car I had been promised so I tried not to be worried about it.  I just couldn’t believe there was an Expedition in Helena.

(When Kevin wanted to rent a convertible for an anniversary trip, it took them a week to get one up here.  This isn’t really convertible country.)

I showed up on Friday to get the car and they had a

Dodge Ram Truck

for me.

I was told it is in the same category as the Standard SUV which I had ordered.  I asked if no one noticed I would be driving it ONE WAY to MISSOURI when they put it aside.  The lady at the desk said that she didn’t think it would work.  I agreed.

I then went outside and looked at what they had available.  The minivans were on recall and so I basically had the option of a Dodge Journey.   It had three rows but it is smaller than our Pilot and therefore did not reach my goal of trying a bigger car.

It also changed the plans of how we would pack.  Unfortunately, I did not change WHAT we would pack, causing a tiny panic when trying to fit everything in our suitcases for the flight back.

(We decided to fly back so we could spend more time at different sites and less time driving.  It would’ve been a great idea and we would’ve had plenty of luggage, had we gotten a larger car.)

So that is the start of our week-long trek across the US of A.

Join us next time for “My Rapid City is Faster than Yours” or “Nauvoo; Naw Problem.”

I really wanted to become a biker while here. But our SUV was too small.

I really wanted to become a biker while here. But our SUV was too small.

Karen Hatch: A Truly Remarkable Woman

A dear friend and remarkable person passed away recently and I’m including her obituary.  I hope to be like her.  She was one of my favorite people to talk with at church and I will always be grateful for her example to me.  She was an accomplished woman who never regretted giving it all up to stay home with her children.  She was and is remarkable.

The following obituary with a picture can be found here.

Karen Frances Parker Hatch died January 22nd from head injuries suffered in a fall on the ice on January 14th. She was born on January 9, 1935 to Edna Maughan Parker and Fred Cooper Parker at home on the ranch near Hall, Montana, the 7th of eight children.

She attended the two room school in Hall, graduating from the 8th grade in 1948, and then attended Drummond High School, graduating in 1952. She received a B.S Degree in English education from Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, in 1956, and taught high school English in Oakdale, California, and Ely, Nevada until 1960 when she returned to BYU to pursue an M.A. Degree in English which she received in 1962. She then taught English at BYU until 1968.

In the summer of 1964 she attended the University of London, in London, England, for a six week course in 20th Century English Literature, and received a certificate of completion in August 1964. While in London she attended a play at which Queen Elizabeth II was also present.

For the academic year 1967-68 she studied at UCLA at Los Angeles, California, and successfully completed a specialized course of post graduate studies in teaching English as a second language.

On September 13, 1968, Karen married Carl A. Hatch in the Logan Utah Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and lived in Helena, Montana since then. For the next 30 years she focused on raising their six children, which she considered her most important work. Karen was an avid reader, and enjoyed traveling, opera, and classical and jazz music, but was always looking for an adventure whether it was riding in a hot air balloon in Albuquerque, on camels in China and Egypt, on elephants in Thailand and Myanmar, or snorkeling in the Caribbean at Cancun, Mexico, to celebrate her 80th birthday. However, she found homemaking, marriage and being a mother and grandmother the most fulfilling of all her life experiences. She loved her fifteen grandchildren and used her sewing skills to make each a unique blanket.

When her children were grown she worked for the Federal Government and the State of Montana in gathering labor and census information.

She and her husband taught English at Shandong Normal University in Jinan, China for the academic years 2003 and 2004. From 2006 – 2008 she and her husband were called by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to serve a humanitarian mission in the Thailand Bangkok Mission as country directors of LDS Charities in Myanmar, living in Yangon. During this mission she was involved in providing clean water to villages, education and medical institutions; in furnishing wheelchairs and prosthetics to the disabled; in having specialists from the United States, Japan, and other countries, train Myanmar doctors, nurses and other medical professionals neo-natal resuscitation; and in teaching English to governmental officials, young adults pursuing advanced education and hotel service employees.

Her devoted, lifelong membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints provided her opportunities to serve in many callings: teacher, choir director, Young Women’s President, Primary President and Relief Society President. Since October 2001 to the present she has served as an ordinance worker in the Billings Montana Temple. She followed the invitation of Moroni, the last of the Book of Mormon prophets, who wrote: “Come unto Christ, and be perfected in Him.”

Karen is survived by her husband, Carl, and their six children and fifteen grandchildren: Emily and James Lynn (Brendan, Connor, Ian and Erin) of Lethbridge, Alberta; Maureen Hatch of West Jordan, Utah; Jonathan and Tara Hatch (Caleb, Alyssa and Natalie) of Auburn, Washington; Jennifer and Christopher Childers (Ansel, Jonas, Owen and Sadie) of Richland, Washington; Lucy and Jay Johnson (Seth, Samuel, Henry and Daniel) of Durango, Colorado; and Sarah Hatch of West Jordan, Utah.

I Volunteer; I’m just that Selfless

It’s 6:51 am.    I just worked out at Crossfit, made lunch and breakfast smoothies for everyone and made Kevin an omelet.  In the next half hour, I will make pancakes for the kids as well.  And Tuesday is the day I volunteer at the school and bestow my knowledge upon Littles and basically change lives within half an hour.

I feel like that should be enough for the day.

Isn’t it kind of greedy for my family to want more?

Isn’t it the time of year to be nice and kind to all?

Wouldn’t that mean letting me stay in bed for a few days?

Aren’t I part of ALL?

If EVERYONE is supposed to be nice and do good to all species during this time of year, then who gets to sit back and enjoy all this niceness and goodness?

I volunteer.

It should be me in sweats, in bed, with a tv, and this cake.

It should be me in sweats, in bed, with a tv, and this cake.

A Case of the Stay-At-Home-Mom Blues

I haven’t been on here recently.  It’s been a difficult time.  I have the stay-at-home-mom blues.  At least that’s what I’ve decided to call them.

It’s that feeling that what you do doesn’t really matter.  Someone else could step into my place and do everything I do without much difference.  Anyone can make bacon in the microwave or cook slightly burnt pancakes.  In fact, someone else may make pancakes that take eggs and oil instead of just water.  So they would do it BETTER.

I know I’m not the only one to get into this groove occasionally.  I think everyone has a trigger.   I have two.

1) Occasionally, about every couple of months, I’m actually told that my life is not as important as others’ and I should change my schedule to fit others’ better.  If I do not change my schedule of unimportant things or change how I parent, I am a selfish, selfish person.

2) I go to a continuing law class for me or some dental conference for my husband and I am completely non-existent.

I usually turn #2 into a game.  People have to be fairly narrow minded to not be able to talk to a spouse about anything but their profession.  There is a rather wide range of topics out there ready to be discussed in this wide, wide world.  The app Trivia Crack is proof.  Of course if these topics are not found in Entertainment Weekly, I can’t really be bothered; but I never said I was not one of the narrow minded folk.

#1 is a little harder.  I don’t know if my schedule is that important.  I try to be available if a teacher or child needs me.  I try to keep the house running and organized, but who couldn’t do this instead of me?  If I don’t over-extend or do things I hate/feel I can’t do, am I selfish?  What are the measures for these things?

Is the person saying these things to me truly the selfish one?

Hard to know.

I’m doing my best to snap out of it and realize my small, little life has some meaning.  It’s not always easy.

Like today.  I decided to be mother of the year and make my kids cookies for their day off of school.  Except they were the ready bake kind.  And I burnt half of them because the top oven of my double oven doesn’t cook evenly.  Then I ate the four that were left undercooked because I COULD NOT BELIEVE I failed at ready bake cookies.

Swimming sounded like a good plan next.  Endorphins always help.  Until I started to get incredibly nauseous with a killer headache because I’d completely forgotten to eat breakfast and being pregnant and swimming 800 meters on 4 semi-raw cookies does not cut it.

But there is still hope.

There’s an 80% chance that when I order pizza for dinner tonight, one of the two pizzas will be enjoyed.  And the other will be eaten in my bed at midnight while watching Hart of Dixie reruns.  I’d invite you, but 80% is still kinda risky.  Best to test the odds on my own and instead invite you to lunch next week.

After all.  There’s nothing on my schedule important enough I can’t move.

This is the picture in my kitchen.  I'm wondering if I should add a % so people know what they're in for.

This is in my kitchen. I’m wondering if I should add a % so people know what they’re in for.