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Goodbye 2016

It’s been an interesting year for me. I don’t feel like 2016 was a year of accomplishments, but more a year of self-realization. Walking away from a fancy VP title at a great advertising agency and moving to a VERY part-time freelance role drastically changed my life. No need to rehash, as I wrote about it previously but damn I miss having those daily co-worker relationships. I don’t know if I’ve ever spent as much time alone as I did this year. Franny goes to school two days a week, but I’m typically tied to the computer working and not exactly getting out and seeing people. I think so much solitary time naturally led to more time thinking and analyzing, hence the year being a year of reflection and self-realization.

I’ll hit a couple highlights, but mostly I’m thinking about goals for 2017.

Franny: I’ve internally referred to 2016 as the year of Franny. She was my main focus this year and for good reason. We started the year with her behind on some key developments, such as speech. With a shit ton of hard work and 3x monthly sessions with a speech specialist, we are ending the year in a very good place. She’s talking and communicating more than ever and I’m insanely proud of her progress. That sassy daughter of mine is a dream come true and even on the most challenging days, I know how lucky I am to have her.

Cooking: This year I learned to enjoy cooking. That’s a huge one for me, as I’ve always despised it. Sun Basket changed everything for me. Now that I know I enjoy it, I’d like to learn not to rely so much on a food services. I want to spend time digging through recipes and coming up with some go-to family favorites.

Teaching: I’ve wondered for years if I would like teaching, so this year I taught a creative writing community education class. I dug it enough that I agreed to teach a second one in January. I would love to teach at a community college level or maybe high school. I’m going to continue exploring this in 2017.

Meditation: Another game-changer for me was learning to meditate successfully. I’ve tried and tried over the last two decades and could never quiet my mind… and therefore didn’t find it useful. The Headspace app changed that for me. The guided meditations and short videos did the trick, it helps that Andy Puddicombe is my mindfulness boyfriend. I need to be more diligent at making time every single day to meditate in 2017, instead of just fitting it in a couple days a week. I’m a far more pleasant person to be around when I’m consistent with it.

Happiness: I thought for sure that quitting my job and spending more time with Franny and the pugs would instantly make me happier. In some ways it did, in others it didn’t. I’ve discovered that I need to treat happiness as a full-time job. I’m wildly jealous of people who are just happy all the time. I, on the other hand, am anxiety ridden, high strung and a classic over-thinker, which isn’t exactly a great recipe for automatic happiness. In 2017 I want to complete Gretchin Rubin’s Happiness Project and spend more time working on my personal happiness. It’s usually the last thing on my to-do list and it’s obvious that I need to change that. The same goes for self-care. After Franny was born that became the very last priority and that’s not healthy. I can’t have my life be all Franny all the time. I need to focus on myself, too.

Relationships: I am truly the luckiest to have Chris as a partner. Sadly, I didn’t focus enough on us this year as I should have. We had very little time together, and I need to make date nights a regular occurrence. This has been *such* a challenge since I don’t feel comfortable leaving Franny with just anyone. My mom is the one who watches her when we do get away, and she’s just not close enough for me to make that a common occurrence. I’ve made it a goal to find a sitter I trust. I really do need to place more focus on our relationship, because goddamn he’s a good catch. I mean seriously, he’s so smart, funny and a total dreamboat. Secondary in this category, I didn’t spend nearly enough time with friends this year. I hope to make that more of a focus in 2017. I’ve considered starting a monthly girlfriend club where we get together and chat over drinks. Still thinking through the best way to do this, but do know it needs to be a focus.

Freelance: After a year of freelancing a few different projects, I have figured out what I like and what I don’t like. I need to launch a freelance website in 2017, and focus on finding more content work and less monthly marketing retainer work.

Fitness: I made some progress here with implementing daily cardio. I don’t let myself have a drink at night unless I’ve hit my 30 minute cardio goal. And if there’s one thing a mama needs, it’s a drink after a long day with a sassy toddler. In 2017 I’d like to start practicing yoga, either at home or a weekly class. I’m also thinking about starting a spin class again… we shall see on that one.

Reading: I made a point this year to read more female authors, which led me down the path of feminism. More to come on that in 2017 for sure. I’d like to really expand my reading list in 2017 and include far more WOC authors. I’ve been absolutely loving Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s work. If you’ve got recommendations, I’d love them.

Little Free Library: If we’re friends on Instagram or Facebook, you already know about this one. Chris gave me the most amazing Christmas gift: my own little free library! I’ve wanted one for years and years, but worried about vandalism at the old house. I’m insanely excited about this new hobby project and can’t wait to share books with others. As soon as it warms up enough, we’ll be installing Little Hapworth. If you’re local, please come visit my library! If not, you can follow along via social media. I set up a Little Hapworth Instagram account. And I’m hoping to get the website up soon, which will have info on donating books if you’re so inclined.

Truth be told, I’m worried about what 2017 will bring with a Trump administration. It’s more important than ever, to focus on making a difference in the world and being a better person. I plan to have my 2017 recap include volunteer work and an update on my post-election plan progress.

Now, if you’ll excuse me… I have a lot of whiskey to drink since I’m off the sauce in January. See you in 2017! XOXO

 

My Post Election Plan

I’ve given myself adequate time to mourn the election results – now it’s time to get to work. Rather than letting myself remain sad for the next four years, I’ve created my post election plan. Sometimes being slightly Type A is helpful!

My plan started forming while in the shower, so here’s the first draft. Yes, that’s a photo of my shower… it’s often where my best thinking occurs.

post-election-shower-planning

After spending a few more days thinking and planning, I now feel like I have the start of a solid plan. OMG it feels good! Here’s my second draft:

Family and Tribe – the most important people in my life deserve more of my attention and I don’t want to lose sight of that

  • I’ll show more love and offer more support, even if I don’t always agree with them (Hi Republican family, I love you like crazy and fully accept we will likely never agree on politics and that’s ok. XO)

Community Work – find like-minded people in my own area and donate time within my community

  • Joining Utah Women’s Democratic Club (I’m waiting until January, so I only have to pay the fees once. Hush, I’m a freelancer and no longer work full-time)
  • Currently a moderator for the Utah Chapter of Pantsuit Nation Facebook group

Cause Work – donate time to organizations I support, and donate money to political campaigns I believe in (focusing on reproductive rights, human rights, and female candidates)

  • I signed up as a volunteer for Planned Parenthood and start in March
  • I’m currently researching female candidates on a national scale

Educate – read more on feminism and life experiences of minority populations

  • My to-read list is overwhelming in the best way possible
  • I need to find podcasts that support this goal (current fav thanks to Danielle is CYG)
  • I need to compile a must-watch in 2017 documentary list

Create – it’s time to create a little of my own little legacy here

  • I’ve got a plan that I’m really excited about, but won’t discuss quite yet

Lots to do, but also I need to remember to laugh. My current giggle is how much the word ‘election’ looks like ‘erection’ in this post.

The Relationship Between Bourbon and Elections

I sent this snap to a close friend over the weekend, and sadly it’s exactly how I spent most nights after putting my daughter to bed. Not a good picture, whatsoever, but it’s important for me to document my feelings right now… and this sums it up.

Bourboning my way through election results

Post Election Thoughts

I, like many, are distraught over this week’s election results. I’m still somewhat in shock… but I need to start documenting my post election thoughts sooner than later.

My heart aches and I can’t stop with the tears. This makes every painful breakup feel like a damn picnic. In fact, my pain is on par with losing my little brother to police brutality… it truly feels like a death.

I didn’t see this coming – I absolutely expected Hillary to win. I naively had no idea women were so hated and untrusted in our country. The fact I’m raising a daughter in this toxic environment keeps me awake at night. How am I supposed to tell her she can grow up to be anything she wants, when I stopped believing that myself this week? Hold please… more tears.

I’m tracking my thoughts in list form, because I will be adding more as my hurt turns to rage.

  • An unqualified, ignorant, racist, misogynistic, homophobic bigot was elected over an incredibly qualified woman who has spent her entire career serving the greater good. Don’t tell me it’s not a gender issue. I’m so sick and tired of hearing that people don’t trust Hillary, if she were a man it would be a completely different story – without a doubt. SO MUCH MORE ON THIS LATER.
  • The number of white women who voted for Trump makes me crazy angry. How dare you not support another woman? If she weren’t a good candidate of course I wouldn’t be upset over this, but she was THE candidate.
  • Bernie bros admitting to not voting? Unbelievable to me. Had he won the nomination, I would have been disappointed sure, but still supported with wholeheartedly. I voted Hillary over Obama in the 2008 primary, yet I’ve done nothing but support and adore President Obama and all the incredible things his administration has done.
  • I’m terrified of what this means for those who don’t fit into Trump’s white-straight-male-Christian mold, especially members of my own family and tribe.
  • I’m horrified at the bullying in schools and general acts of cruelness that are erupting only days after the election. What does this mean for the next four years?

So what’s next? Well, I’ve been talking about getting involved with local politics and Planned Parenthood for two years, but haven’t. This is a much needed wake-up call. I’m joining a group for female democrats in Utah and I’ve started the process for volunteer work with the local chapter of PP. As for donations, I plan to make an ACLU donation in my daughter’s name.

None of this will be enough, but it’s a start. I need to feel like I’m doing something positive instead of hiding in bed and ugly-crying my way through episodes of “Gilmore Girls” for the next four years, even though that’s all I want to do.

My #Herstory Failure

I called my little brother on election day, to make sure he hadn’t voted for Trump. I know, I know… but I seriously have no boundaries. He mentioned something that’s been bothering me for days. Someone asked him if the only reason I was a Hillary Clinton supporter was because she was a woman. He knew that wasn’t the case, but apparently my Facebook posts led someone to think that.

I failed. I was so excited about shattering that goddamn glass ceiling with posts like the one below, that I neglected to post my thoughts on the fact Hillary was (AND STILL IS, DAMMIT) the most qualified individual on that ballot.

SHAME ON ME.

Lesson learned, next time I will discuss the merits of my support and not just discuss my excitement over making #herstory.

#herstory

Did Franny or freelancing ruin my social life? Maybe both.

I’ve been freelancing for a year and for the most part I’ve absolutely loved it. It’s so nice not stressing about missing important client meetings because my kid is sick. And more importantly, it’s been fantastic having this time with my daughter. My only regret, it not quitting my job sooner… but the silver lining there is that I ended up being promoted to VP post maternity leave.

The biggest drawback to freelance, however, is not having co-workers. I’ve always known working was a social hub for me, but didn’t realize just how important those day-to-day relationships really were. Sure, I have absolutely amazing friends, but it’s not so easy to get together with them as it was pre-Franny.

I miss coffee dates with my office husband and lunch dates with work friends. I have two days a week where Franny goes to school and I try and make that time as productive as possible, between freelance work, errands and getting my house in order… I don’t make friendships a priority like I used to. I need to figure out a way to change that. And soon. Otherwise I might not have any friends left and will start thinking characters from “The Mindy Project” are real life pals.

My Daughter’s Stalker

Yes, my daughter who will be two next week has her first stalker, and I couldn’t be prouder! That’s how weird parenting is… you finding yourself prideful over the oddest things.

  • OMG my kid can drink out of a cup. Alert the media, I have a genius on my hands.
  • OMG my kid can say dog. She’s a future vet and will make me the future proudest Mama.
  • OMG my kid moved a stool to the sink to wash her hands. She’s clearly the most independent child alive.

Back to the stalker though, because how cool is that?! I’m gushing with pride.

Last week, I stopped to pick Franny up from school and she was still napping. I went to her classroom to wake her up and found a little boy sitting next to her cot watching her sleep. The little boy, an adorable oafish fella, always follows Franny around and constantly wants to hug her. Kinda cute, but she truly hates it. When I woke her up, she looked up at her stalker and let out a giant sigh. Franny looks like her Dad, but she’s sooooo my kid sometimes.

 

 

Here’s to Blogging Again…

Next week marks a year since I quit my fancy agency job and became a part-time stay-at-home-mom and part-time freelancer. I had high hopes of documenting this huge life change, but haven’t done shit. What I didn’t realize is that being home with a toddler is demanding…  and so, so exhausting. I could go on and on about that, but the point of this post is that I really need to start writing again.

You see, I committed to teaching a community education creative writing class. It starts in a month and I really, REALLY need to get back into the habit of writing, mostly so I don’t feel like a teaching hack.

The most I’ve written lately is goddamn grocery lists and Instagram posts, which is incredibly sad since blogging used to bring me such joy. I need to find that creative joy again, so here it goes…

I swear I’m going to start updating this blog again. Stay tuned.

 

Mama Guilt

Guilt has always been a motivating factor in my life. Seriously.

For example, let’s say I want to skip a family event… I don’t have to question whether or not I’ll feel guilty because I so, so will. I have to ask myself how long will I feel guilty. I’m OK with anything less than 48 hours of guilt. Anything higher means I can’t skip the hypothetical family event.

Enter mama guilt.

When I’m at work, I feel guilty I’m not home with Franny. When I’m home with her, I feel guilty I’m not at work. Don’t get me started on the guilt I feel over the pugs not getting as much attention as they deserve. Don’t worry, they still run the show but just with less walks.

Does it get better or at least a little bit easier?

Because ohhhmyyygoddd people, there’s nothing stronger. I wish I could bottle it up and get my loved ones drunk off mama guilt. WAIT, forget my loved ones. I’d open a fucking club and make billions.

58 Days

My due date is 58 days away. I’m so ready for this to be over; pregnancy is definitely not my favorite stage in life.

That said, I’m incredibly excited to meet our daughter. Our daughter. OUR DAUGHTER. I have to keep repeating that, because it just doesn’t feel real. Sure, I can feel her kick… um, constantly. Yet, my mind is having trouble grasping that this is a human and not just some freak medical condition that will just magically go away and not produce a human.

You guys, a daughter!

I am going to be in charge of raising another human being. The universe allowed that. MIND. BLOWN.