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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

About Unemployment

In a few months I will be transitioning from an unemployed individual to a stay at home mommy.  The transition will happen whenever this little gal makes her appearance.  Besides actually giving birth I won't have to make any other changes....professionally.  The decision to be a stay at home mom was not a conscious decision.  I always figured I'd be a working mother simply because it makes financial sense.  Things don't always go the way I figured.

Back in 2012 I lost my job and began immediately looking for a new gig.  That search proved to be very difficult.  I didn't think I'd just magically conjure up a brand new job, but I never imagined how difficult it would be to find that new position.  For the last part of 2012 and into 2013 I looked and looked......and found nothing.  I was receiving unemployment at the time so that cushioned the blow a little.  I'll admit, it was sort of nice at first.  I didn't have to get up early, and I could do whatever I wanted to do each day.  My schedule was my own.  Like I said, it was first.  After the first few weeks I began to realize that sitting at home with the dogs was not all it was cracked up to be.  I love my dogs, and my free time, but no matter how many times I cleaned the apartment or ran errands I just felt so.....unproductive.

It was almost the middle of 2013 when I did finally get a new job.  My friend got me a job with her.  It was a good job with a very flexible schedule.  However, as I've mentioned before, my knees are not the greatest.  This was a very physical job.  We did not mix well.  Within a few weeks my knees were so swollen that I couldn't walk.  I was literally using a cane.  In order to attend a festival with my fiancee's family I had to be pushed in a wheelchair.  Luckily my sister was able to get me a different job with her.  I was working with kids, so it was still sort of physical, but not nearly so much that my knees couldn't handle it.

Things seemed to be going well.  I was in the final stages of wedding planning, and had a steady job.  Things were looking up for this girl.  Things were not what they seemed at that job, but I was offered another position to start immediately after my wedding.  That job was amazing.  In an unfortunate turn of events, however, I had to resign from that position in a relatively short amount of time.  An uncontrolled migraine made it impossible for me to perform my job, and working with management it was decided I could resign rather than being fired as a liability.  Awesome, right.

I've mentioned my run at Kmart in a previous post......and that brings us to now.  Unemployment and I are very familiar with one another right now.  I'm very lucky that my husband makes enough that we can still pay our bills while I'm out of work.  Things would be so much easier for us if I was working, but as I mentioned, there is a third person we have to consider now.  Any job I take now has to be worth it.  I don't want to take a position where my entire paycheck goes to a daycare.  What's the point of that?  If in the end I'm not bringing extra money home, I want to be the one raising my child.  I'm not against daycare at all.  I think it's a great way for kids to socialize and even begin the preschool process while mom and dad are out making a living.  My sisters both work at a daycare, I have in the past.  However, if the only reason I'm going to work is to pay for daycare, that doesn't make much sense to me.

I've applied to a few good jobs that would provide extra income even after paying for daycare.  I applied to one this morning in fact.  However, I'm a few short months away from having a baby.  I know that most employers are not going to want to hire a new girl to only have her take an extended leave just a few months later.  Granted, they can't discount me for employment simply because I'm pregnant, but that would not be the reason they give for not hiring me.  Especially if they have a ton of other completely qualified candidates who don't need leave so soon.

I was watching the news the other day and there was a report about job hunting.  They said to find a good job it's not only about your qualifications, but who you know.  I know that to be true.  In the past I've found several jobs because I knew someone who was already "in".  Unfortunately, out of all the people I know right now, none of them can help.  So, like I said, I will be a stay at home mommy.

I'm trying not to stress about the money and focus on what a gift it is to be able to spend time with my daughter.  I'm so blessed that my husband is very much on board with this.  He's not expecting me to continue to apply for jobs right now.  He's not opposed, but wants me to focus on the special little lady that will be coming into our lives this summer.  If I find a job before she's born, great.  If not, I'm exactly where I'm meant to be.  This stretch of unemployment is for a reason.  I've always wanted to be a published writer and devote more time to this blog.  While I know my free time will soon be occupied, maybe this is my opportunity.  Maybe I'm meant to be home for my daughter (and any future children).  Maybe just maybe this unemployment is not a blow to my professional life, but a vital opportunity for my and my family's future.  Guess I'll find out.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Right or Wrong?

I've read a few articles on social media over the past couple of days stating that the founder of the Westboro Baptist Church is in failing health and that his death is near.  In those articles, family members and members of his church ask the public to have respect and refrain from picketing his funeral when the time comes.  There are many words that come to mind reading that request.  Many of those words are not those that a polite woman like myself would say publicly.  However, hypocritical, yeah, I'll say that one over and over.

My blood boiled when I read that article.  How dare they have the nerve to ask the rest of us to have respect, when they have shown none.  They have protested funerals for victims of hate crimes, hero soldiers, and innocent children.  They protest any place, business, or person who they decide are bad or who are supporting bad activities.  They seem to have a particular problem with homosexuality.  In fact, their disdain for homosexuality is their reasoning behind protesting funerals.  We are blessed to live in a country that affords us the right to be able to protest for our beliefs.....whatever those beliefs are.  We are also in a country where we are free to say whatever we want.  That's why groups like WBC can spew all the hate they want and ask to be an exception to their own rule.  It's also why people like me can express my opinion about them in a blog such as this.

The question at hand in this instance is, "what is the right thing to do?"  Do we respect their wishes and allow them to hold a funeral for their leader in peace?  Do we ignore their requests and show them exactly how it feels to have hate thrown at them as they grieve?  I'm not sure there is a completely right or wrong answer in this case.  This is not a black and white scenario.  It's grey.....very very grey.

The thing that has always separated WBC from the rest of us, in my opinion, is that they have the audacity to do what most would never dream of doing.  They make a difficult day for grieving family and friends so much worse with their picketing.  Most people have much more respect than that.  With that thought in mind, any protest at the funeral of this man would put the protesters in a similar position to the man they are protesting.  Regardless of how evil I see him as, or how awful others see him as, he has people.  He has people who love him.  He has people who will be sad and miss him when he's gone.  He has people who will be grieving on the day of his funeral....a funeral that will be made more difficult for them if there are people showing their disdain just outside the services.

Some would say they deserve it.  I have another thought.  Perhaps, we should all do exactly as they asked and refrain from protesting at this man's funeral.  Let them mourn and bury him in peace.  I certainly don't think they've earned that peace.  No, rather, my opinion comes from my own beliefs.  I've always learned growing up that we should "treat others as we'd like to be treated" or "turn the other cheek".  Revenge will only blacken our own hearts.  The absence of protesters could speak so much louder.  Absence could say, just because we don't agree with anything you stand for doesn't mean we need to shout it to the masses.  Absence could say, although we despise what he stood for, it's not our place to pass judgement.  Absence could say, we have better things to do than waste any more of our time on this man.

It's my hope that nobody wastes their time organizing a protest at his funeral.  In fact, maybe nobody will show up to mourn his passing.  In the end, it's not our right to judge.  He will be judged by God.  People will do what they want to do.  Perhaps some who have been deeply hurt by this group need a chance for payback.  Everyone heals differently.  Everyone will have a different opinion on this.  Perhaps with this man gone, those who follow him may find the peace they are searching for without using hate as a weapon.  

Friday, March 14, 2014

Oh Baby......

I have not always been sure of some things in my life.  One thing I have always known, without a shadow of a doubt, is that I wanted to be a mother.  Growing up, I kept lists of my favorite names so that when I was all grown up and ready to have kids, I'd have a head start naming them.  I dreamed about having the "baby bump", spending time cherishing all the little things that come with pregnancy, and being so excited as my due date gets closer and closer.

Well, now is that time.  As you may know I'm married to my very own Prince Charming.  He's the best husband, and I know he will be the best father.  We were married in August and found out in October we were going to be parents.  Yeah, talk about a whirlwind, but we're both thrilled.  I'm almost 25 weeks along.....more than halfway there, and more excited every day.

However, there are some things that have not gone exactly how I'd always imagines.  For example, I figured I'd muscle through that first trimester of morning sickness, and move on to glowing for the rest of my pregnancy.  Um, WRONG!!  I dragged myself through that first trimester and waited for the day I didn't need a pill to keep my lunch (or breakfast, dinner, snack, drinks....)down.  I knew it would be coming any day.  Any day turned into, maybe next week.  Maybe next week turned into, I'm going to need a pill to keep my food down for the rest of my life!!!  Yep, I still have morning sickness.  I can skip a day on the medicine, but still, it's progress.  In the first trimester I lost 22 pounds.  I'm still down about 13 pounds because I still have no appetite most of the time, but baby and I are healthy, so point for us.

I've had bad knees since I can remember.  So, I was prepared for knee issues as I gain my bump.  I've had no knee issues for the most part.  My head, back, hips, yes, issues, but knees, not so much.  I actually had a job at Kmart near where I live.  I was working with my mom.  Unfortunately, the job was only available because they needed help to close down the store, but still it was a couple months of a steady paycheck which would take some of the pressure off my hubby.  A week in I noticed my back would be so sore after work that I could hardly walk.  I figured I'd give it time, after all, I'd been off my feet for a while.  Rather than getting better, it got worse.  I literally woke up one morning and could not put any weight on my feet because my back wouldn't let me.  Well, hello Sciatic Nerve Pain.  I hear you pop up from time to time in pregnancy too.  You're not fun.  I think I'd rather be puking.  In fact, you made that difficult too.  This girl can't get to the bathroom fast enough because I can't walk very well.  That leads to an episode of having to wash the bathroom rug.  I was so darn close.....yet so far away.  Oh well, that's what the washer is for.  Anyway, if I worked one day, I'd have to call out the rest of the week because I couldn't move.  I had to gracefully bow out at Kmart.  Of course by gracefully I mean sobbing hysterically to my mother and my husband that I suck as a pregnant woman and I am a failure because I can't even stand for a few hours.  Hormones are fun.  I was convinced I was going to be a horrible mother because I had pregnancy back pain.  Rational argument, yes?

The exhaustion has gotten a little better.....this week actually.  Up until this week I'd fall asleep exhausted just from walking the dogs.  That was a fun process when I could barely walk too, but I digress.  There have been 2 bladder infections, dry sinuses, sore throat, headaches, dizziness, heartburn, shortness of breath, all sorts of fun things.  I told my sister that if there was a pregnancy symptom where my hair turned shocking pink by 6 months, I'd look like a clown right now.  It just seems like every single awful pregnancy symptom comes for me with a vengeance.  I'm not ashamed to say I'm not a huge fan of pregnancy.

That being said.  I feel her move inside me every day.  I'm short of breath because she's lying so high, my lungs don't have as much room as they used to.  I will give her that space because if my lungs are losing space, she is getting bigger and stronger.  I have heartburn because she is healthy enough to be big enough to give my stomach acid nowhere to go.  I get dizziness and weakness because she needs me to share the nutrients I put into my body so she can thrive.  I will take it.....all of it if it means she will be happy and healthy in the environment I"m providing her for the next few months.  Did you notice I said she?  At the end of this, I get a little girl!  My sweet baby girl is worth all of this.  As much as I'm not loving pregnancy, I'm loving this time with her.  A time where it's mostly just her and me.  She knows me inside, she knows my heartbeat.  She totally depends on me for everything.  I love this time where my husband comes home and talks to my belly and he can feel her move now.  As miserable as any one day can be, it's going so fast.  By summer, we'll have this little princess home with us.  I'll have to share her with everyone else.  There won't be a time in the middle of the night where I'm getting up to pee for the eighth time and feel her wiggling as I get settled back in bed.  No, I don't love being pregnant, but I love knowing my baby is safe inside me.  She'll be here soon.  I can't wait to hold her in my arms.

Is pregnancy smooth for me?  No.  Will it be next time?  Who knows.  However, as I prepare to welcome my first child into this world I know two things for sure.  First, she is the most important reason I will ever suffer anything, not just now, but for the rest of her life......and second,  if I'm lucky enough to be blessed with more children after her, I will take it all, just so they have a safe place to grow while we wait for them to be ready to come into this world.