Monday, July 21, 2014

Ask Mother Henn: What Do You Do All Day?

     Well, it is Blogging Monday once again, and it looks like I might actually post two weeks in a row! Woohoo! And today I'm going to embark on a new thing, which I shall call "Ask Mother Henn." Cute, no? Basically, unless people eventually ask me questions, I'm going to pretend that I have an advice column and answer questions I make up, or that it seems a lot of people have asked others elsewhere, and give my opinion on them. 

Dear Mother Henn, 

What do you do when you are at home all day, 7 days a week, with little children? 

     Well, first you do newborn things, like change diapers, feed the little one, sit for extended periods of time because little one fell asleep while in your arms and will wake if you move, change diapers, feed the little one, etc. Occasionally scrape up time to feed yourself, get dressed, brush teeth, and maybe even shower semi-regularly. Depending upon how well the baby really naps, you might even be able to somewhat keep up with housework, but don't count on it. And that is okay; at this time in your life, you are meant to do the newborn things, that is your job. Boring, yes; unfulfilling, a lot of the time; important, always. And so incredibly hard. It is the beginning of dying to oneself on the largest scale possible. It is so hard to let everything that seems to give fulfillment go, for days that seem so wasted, especially if one was particularly good at doing things before (I personally was not). But that is the key, to just let it go. I'm not saying that your life as you needs to be over for the next 20 years or so, but it is a time for your desires to fade into the background a bit, not so much that you die, but enough so that this new little life can blossom. And it will get easier. 
      That little newborn won't stay that way long, and soon you'll have a baby who can entertain himself for significant amounts of time. Yes, even 5 minutes so you can use the bathroom without them crying is a significant amount of time. And then you do older baby things, like chew on toys, try to crawl, giggle hysterically, and even manage to make dinner at a reasonable hour on occasion, in addition to laundry and dishes. You will be able to shower every day if you wish, and never forget your teeth. But though you will have more time, that dying to self is still so present, and even more difficult because of the illusion of time you now have. 
     But those days will pass quickly as well, and then you will be off to toddler things, like spinning crazily until you fall down dizzy, running up and down on a long strip of paper and laughing hysterically because of the crinkly noises, sitting and reading the same book so many times in a row, and finding with awe that he can amuse himself without your direct participation and sometimes without you even in the room! Alas! The temptation to try and get 'things' done is stronger than ever, and tantrums often result when you do. "Why can't you just go play by yourself a little longer!?" you catch yourself thinking, or even yelling, "Why can't I just get this one thing done that will make me feel like a productive useful person?!" Or "Why can't I just be left alone for 5 minutes to read something that is not a child's book?" In your frustration you forget that tickling is important, that vrooming around with trucks is productive, and for this time in your life, your job is to be his whole world. Yes, there is a greater universe outside of you, and you must introduce him to that, but for now it is more important that loud and silly songs be sung than blogs be written and Facebook browsed. It is so hard to let those things go, but the days are so much easier when you do.
     What happens when you have two? Well, you do newborn things in addition to toddler things. You change diapers, feed little one, feed toddler, read out loud lots, occasionally remember to brush your teeth, etc. Feel like you are never going to have it together, forget that you need to let it go, roar at little children for whom you are their whole world, cry, regroup, and begin again. You watch in awe as one day you realize they don't need you to actively play all the time. You watch with tender heart and moist eyes as they amuse each other, the younger lighting up and watching every move of the older, the older delighting in the laughter of the younger. You realize that it will not be this way forever; someday you will be able to do 'you' things again, that there is a light at the end of this tunnel of baby and toddler things. But try not to get too caught up in that glimpse of light, because someday is not this day. This day the most important thing you can do is be their world, and to do baby and toddler things, read The Tale of Jeremy Fisher for the umpteenth time, belly laugh with the baby, and enjoy these days, for the old ladies are right - you will miss these days when they are gone. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Guilty, Ashamed, and Fearful No More

     On my journey of discovering who I am and who God made me to be, I've come to the realization that I have a lot of unnecessary and misplaced guilt, shame, and fear. Over what? Well, just about everything. I feel ashamed and guilty because my life is good, that I really have nothing to complain about, and nearly everything going for me. I have a pretty face, somewhat enviable figure, and I'm athletic. I have a fantastic relationship with Code Monkey and adorable boys. We aren't exactly raking in the dough, but we aren't hurtin' either. Yes, I feel ashamed of these things, like I need to apologize for them, lest anyone's feelings be hurt. And I am afraid, so terribly afraid, of rejection. I so desperately want to fit in, and will basically conform to whatever group I'm with, so that I don't stick out in the least. So much so, in fact, that I don't even know what it is that I as Jenn actually like and don't like anymore, and what it is that I as people-pleaser only like because it will save me from being disliked.  
     But you know what? I'm done. It's over, Fear. This relationship is stifling me, and I'm not going to allow you to suffocate me anymore. And I'm not going to miss it, either, because it wasn't fun. Not a bit. Alright, I know life isn't all about having fun, but it is about growth, and Fear will at the very least stunt it, if not kill it outright. So I'm not going to hold back anymore. No, I won't be rude, mean, or obnoxious, but I won't keep my silence and allow myself to be walked on or unheard anymore. 
     I'm going to play in the rain because my toddler wants me to, whether it is "grown up" or not. I'm going sing 'Let It Go' at the top of my lungs, because I like the song. I'm going to hold fast to the country music of my childhood, because it is so much a part of who I am today. I'm not going to let my fear of spiders or ticks keep me holed up inside, cowering for fear of what might happen, on a beautiful day. As much as I need my alone time, I actually do like talking to people, even ones that I have never met before. I'm a bit into healthier, but definitely not fanatical about it. In fact, I'm not really fanatical about much of anything, and am willing to give pretty much anyone the benefit of the doubt. I love philosophy, and probably was a psychologist in another life. (No, not really, it's just a saying.) I love figuring things out, and for things to make sense, even though I can't argue logically worth a darn. I love horses, and country, and farm. Oh, I could go on, and on, and on. But it's getting late, and I'm a morning person deep down, so I shall call it quits for now.

I am so extremely blessed to have the friends that I have. MichiGoose, Mocking Byrd, Kestral, M.St.P., and my Sister, thank you all so much for the feedback you afforded me. It was superbly helpful. <3

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Merely A Woman

     Well, this post is to try and flesh out my blog title a bit, and try to explain where I hear the emphasis in "She? A Mere Woman!"
I guess we'll shoot for the emphasis first. I hear it said by a man, scoffing at the idea that "she" could possibly do/think/whatever, hence the question mark. "A mere woman" is meant to be like a put down, showing how he thinks it is ridiculous that a woman even contemplate such a thing, while at the same time discounting the fact that she accomplished it. Does that make sense? 

     And so we come to the actual definition of "mere" (I don't remember which online dictionary I took it from, sorry).

MERE:  1. Being nothing more nor better than. - This was the meaning I had in mind when I decided to take it on as a blog identity, sorta like not as good, lacking. But guess what? There is an even better meaning!

MERE:  2. a) Pure and unmixed.
2. b) Fully as much as what is specified; completely fulfilled or developed; absolute. - How stinkin' cool is that? It means practically the opposite of the first meaning! And is actually quite the compliment. So I inadvertently gave my blog a double meaning. :D 

     Read in light of the second meaning, it basically means completely a woman, absolutely a woman, which I think is really neat, though I'm not sure yet what it means to be a "woman". There are so many different definitions and anecdotes thrown around out there as to what being a "woman" entails, it's difficult to know what is accurate and true to reality and what isn't. At first, part of my reasoning of blogging was to blog on intellectual stuff, because it seems to me that society still doesn't really believe, or maybe more accurately like, that women are smart, capable, etc., apart from their looks but I think I've kinda failed at that. You don't think that society thinks that? Then point out to me the plain Jane, but smart, women that people listen to. I can't think of any. From newscasters, to sports chicks, to politicians, all of the women that we see are usually deemed to be pretty "hot". Oh, whoops, unless you count the liberal, feminist ones like Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, and Sandra Fluke. For the most part, though, if you can read a teleprompter and look fantabulous doing it, then you are noticed and worth paying attention to. And I'm not entirely sure where I was going with this post, since I started it months ago, actually had the idea when I first started the blog years ago. 

     Now, please don't think I'm in the "All men are chauvinist pigs" camp, because I'm not. Seriously, feminists easily fall into the chauvinist category as well. And honestly, they are doing absolutely nothing to help further the cause of women in regards to equal respect and all. From my point of view, all they aspire to is to be like men, and the basest sort of men at that, with all their "free sex without consequences, we can be better than men at male things, beat men at their own game" sort of attitudes. How can you be powerful in their view? Men like sex; be the hottest, sexiest damn thing around, and you'll have them fawning over your every move and viola! you can do anything you please. Power! Power! Power! Never mind that you are selling yourself so cheap that it doesn't even matter anymore. Thus feminist propaganda, continues to propagate the first definition of mere in regards to women:  Nothing more nor better than our sexual identities as women. Why bother trying to better yourself as a whole, when you can just use sex to get what you want? 

     I am challenging that worldview. I'm so tired of being shoved into someone else's little tiny expectation for me as a woman, wife, mother, daughter, person, ME. I'm done. So I'm not going to write heavy, intellectual posts about deep topics; it's not my style, really. I'm going to start typing the way I write letters to close friends, with familiarity about things as I see them, my thoughts and ponderings about the world and my experience in it. No, I'm not going to be insisting that sexuality be shoved into places dark and secret and shameful, because it isn't. Much as it can be an annoyance sometimes, it is a part of what makes the human race tick. I do think, however, that it doesn't need to be the part in the forefront like it is; there are better things we can use to define ourselves than sexuality. I'm going to endeavor to find out who the whole, pure, unmixed, absolute, mere Henn is. I've got an inkling it will be a fantastic journey, and that there could be quite the tsunami as a result of these little ripples in the hithertofore calm waters I've been floating in. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Why I Work Out

     Because MUSCLES!!!!! Seriously, though, because the stronger my muscles are, the more I will be able to do. I've always been quite active, rather sportsy, and I don't want to lose it. Especially not now that I have kids, and two boys at that. I want to be able to do *ALL THE THINGS!* that they might be interested in doing someday. Goodness, there are things I want to do someday, like finally hike Old Rag, for instance. But I also don't want to wait forever, for when we no longer have babies that need to be carried. Because who knows when that is going to be! Sure, looking better is certainly a plus, but not my main motivation. I don't want a "perfect" looking body; I want a body I can do amazing things with! And one of the best sources of information and motivation I have found is Girls Gone Strong. They are all about empowering and motivating women of every fitness level to better who they are as people, not just physically, though that does play a huge part. Go check them out!
     
     My current little training program is Body By You by Mark Lauren. I'm starting slowly, easiest exercises in all groups, because there is no rush, no pressure to perform. This whole workout thing is going to be a lifestyle change, and there are no deadlines to hit. I don't have to be a certain size by a certain day so I can fit into a certain dress. Let's face it, a woman who chooses to bear children for the duration of her childbearing years will constantly be changing size, and shape too. And that's ok. Because my goal is to be strong, be agile, be healthier than I would be otherwise. Once I "graduate", or if I decide I'm bored, I'll be switching to The Modern Woman's Guide To Strength Training, provided by Girls Gone Strong. Someday soon, when I have make time, I'll sit down and go through mine in depth. (Code Monkey got it for me for Mother's Day, complete surprise, since I had told him I would like it, but then thought we decided no because I already had a workout program and my track record for sticking with working out has been rather, um, poor...) There is a lot of info in there, and even though I'm not going to be doing their workouts for a while, I can still utilize the nutritional manual and shake recipes. :) 

     Well, I guess that's that, mostly. I do have more thoughts on the general subject of women and working out, but I have to save those for another day. Jose is awake, and I should probably get him up. <3