CSULB - My College Experience · Life · Marriage · Parenthood

A purse and diaper bag kind of day

I realize I’ve been, once again, thoroughly inconsistent with my writing/posting so I’m trying something new. I’ve decided that Thursday evenings will be my writing day. Yes, I should be reading, studying, washing our daughters dishes, getting her food ready for tomorrow, and countless other things, yet I also should be writing because I love it and I miss it and I think about it when I’m not doing it. So here I am, my first official Thursday post day. Any other post on a different day will be considered ice cream on the side.

That being said…I had two really awesome conversations yesterday that touched two very important parts of my life, the mommy in me and the ever growing and learning woman in me. I could probably break this down into two different posts, but I’m keeping in mind that I may very well start with posting about one and promising to get back to you on the other and then realizing it’s been weeks later and I’ve left you hanging. Trying to avoid that scenario from happening.

The “diaper bag” kind of day:

As you all know (hopefully) I recently changed careers and am now working for a wonderful non profit organization that helps “empower women, men, and teens to attain economic self sufficiency through employment success”. I’m usually at the Santa Ana branch but this week I was covering for the Donation Coordinator of our Costa Mesa location. My first really cool conversation had to do with being at the Costa Mesa location. There’s a regular volunteer that we’ll refer to as Mrs. R that comes in to help out every Wednesday. We were processing some donations and chatting when somehow we got on the subject of the experience of being a new mom and I found myself sharing with this almost stranger some very significant information about my experience the first few months of motherhood. What was particularly awesome about this conversation with Mrs. R is that as I talked with her and she shared her experience with me, I realized so many interesting things about myself that looking back had been very difficult for me to accept and verbalize as they were happening to me.

For one, I realized that I was extremely hard on myself those first few months of motherhood – I still am sometimes but I’ve gotten so much better about it, I think. What I realized, in talking to Mrs. R, is that because I had excelled at other life experiences that I had considered challenging and difficult, it really threw me for a loop when I realized that I had no idea what I was doing as a new mom. That mother instinct that you’re supposed to get and you “just know” feeling never seemed to really burst out of me, and thus I figured, what’s wrong with me. Why don’t I just know, why is that instinct not kicking in? Well I had NO idea what I was doing and on top of it I was being really tough on myself for not “getting it” or “knowing it”. And I feel like it is just now that I am truly realizing that it’s completely okay to not have a clue and that it’s normal. Another thing I realized and that I hadn’t said to anyone else except of course my husband, but was now sharing with Mrs. R is that I also felt that the person I was (and I briefly remember writing about this in a post once), the woman I was, was gone, she was lost somewhere very deep inside me and I was now this other woman that I didn’t know as well as my former self and I was sad and frustrated. I felt like a part of me was mourning the loss of that other “me” and yet I didn’t know how to speak these thoughts without worrying about someone criticizing me as not being fit to be a mother. I was afraid to ask if other people felt this way for fear of being the only one and it made me very sad and there were times that I cried a lot and I didn’t understand why that was, and I would just pray to God to help me get through it and make those feelings of loss and sadness go away. I realize now that it was okay to have those feelings, because becoming a mother is a beautiful thing, but for me it’s also been scary and filled with lots of different emotions.

It was really cool because the conversation with Mrs. R and her own motherhood experience she shared, which was very similar to my own, really opened my eyes to something new inside of me. I found it felt good and was totally okay to share this with another person and that it’s okay to have those feelings.

The purse kind of day:

God has such a way of working through us and connecting us with the right person that we need to speak with. Later in the day my sister in law (husband’s sister) was texting me asking about work and how it was going and eventually I mentioned to her how I am struggling to find a topic to choose for my Quantitative Research Methods class this semester. As God would have it, my sister in law wasn’t busy at that moment and she told me to call her and we started to talk about the different areas of interest that I had and what topics I had thought of. This piqued the interest of a completely different side of me, the woman that is thrilled to be in her last semester at school and lights up when discussing school work and tossing around different ideas.

Our professor wants us to think outside the box and of course research something that has been done so that we’ll have journals to read, but then she wants us to tell her why our somewhat similar topic is innovative. Yikes! I had thought about some things having to do with social media and lack of connection between people, but the thing is it very much feels like nowadays social media and the effect on X is being done by too many. Oh and also, there’s another catch with this research, our professor wants that our target audience to answer our survey be CSULB students because it’s easier to collect the data, especially if we run into any issues of not having enough data as it gets closer to the due date of the paper. That was one of the main reasons why I kept having to change my choice of topic because most of what I wanted to research on was geared more towards like late 30’s married population and so this would definitely be a bit of a problem connecting to CSULB students that are primarily in their 20’s and unmarried.So then my sister in law tells me why not explore a different group, like possibly the gay and lesbian community. Wow. Interesting!

Well today in class our Prof asked that we share with the class what our topic was and I decided to tell her it would be “how does sexual orientation affect the desire to have children”. She commented that it was a good question but she worried that I may not get enough correspondents answering truthfully about their sexual orientation and this could place a problem with my paper if I couldn’t get adequate data. She said it would probably be best to make sexual orientation one of my variables but not my main independent variable. So I sat there brainstorming and came up with the idea of the link between career goals and the decision to have children or not. This way my main independent variable will be career goals and my other variables will be gender, sexual orientation, and possibly GPA. The awesome thing was my Prof said that if once I come up with my survey/questions I find that I’m able to get a 50-50 response from straight and gay students, then I can always change my introduction and make the fact that I did find sexual orientation had a big effect into my innovative finding. Win!!

At the end of the day when I reflected back on the two different conversations that I had and the different aspects of myself that had a chance to show themselves, I just felt so blessed and thankful to God for being able to have both experiences, and that I learned something so new about myself and looking outside of my little comfort area or what I deem as okay thoughts/reactions. I felt like I had two very significant aha moments.

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