A working mom with a twist

In keeping with last week’s theme of friends named Krista, Julia’s friend from high school and university, Krista Pelton, joins us a guest blogger. It’s her first time with the Sisterhood and we’re so glad she’s here! 

I am a working mom.

I went back to work when my son was 14-months old, part-time, and it slowly progressed to full-time. I worked when my husband was not working, mostly, and friends and family watched my son.

Then, it became hard when my son turned 3 and no longer napped. I could no longer work from home in the afternoons. My little bubble burst.

So, our solution? It was not full-time daycare. It was Daddy-took-a-leave-of-absence-from-work. One that extended until junior kindergarten starts this fall.

Aleksandr Ryzhov/Shutterstock

Aleksandr Ryzhov/Shutterstock

When junior kindergarten starts this fall, my husband will have been away from his job for 22 months. So I could pursue my career without any barriers. He had a job and I had a career. There is a huge difference. The pursuit of my career path far outweighed the job.

After almost 22 months it is still the best decision we have made. Besides getting married and having our son. I wake up and go. I worry about myself and no one else every morning. I don’t feel guilty or stressed out. I get to be 100% present working and when I come home I can be 100% present.

I leave the rest to my husband who has picked up the duty of stay-at-home dad like a pro. He is the one that potty-trained him in two days. Even through the night. True story.

Sure, eventually he is going back to work but until our son settles into school it won’t happen. These last 22 months have been extremely rewarding to see my son and husband become so close. Their routine and bond is something only a father/son can understand and I am thankful I had my 22 months and my husband had his 22 months fair and square.

I can’t speak much to being a working mother because I have the fortunate backing of a stay-at-home dad. I don’t have crazy daycare challenges, rushing around and worrying about who’s getting our son every night, or worrying about how much time I get to see him in a day. He wakes up when he is ready, has a great day with his dad and dog and then I come home to a smiling, happy boy.

It was an unconventional decision, although it’s becoming more common in today’s society.

We simply don’t like chaos. We didn’t even like the thought of being stressed out. We did it because it made sense to us at the time and it still rings true today. It’s only money after all, but being 3 and 4? Money can’t buy that.

~ Krista Pelton

If you’d like to write a guest post and join in the Weather Vane Sisterhood fun, email us at weathervanesisterhood at gmail dot com. We’d love to have you!

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Introducing…

In our house, we are allergic to everything.

Let me rephrase.

We are allergic to everything with fur and feathers. Cats, dogs, bunnies, birds, hamsters, guinea pigs, cows, horses, chickens, ducks, mice – allergic. Sneezing, itchy eyes, scratchy throat, runny nose, disgusting, unhappy, uncomfortable – allergic.

I am the most allergic between Ben and I, but even he gets a little runny and sneezy around dogs and cats.

Ben has a house rule: if someone (directed mostly at me) brings home something that we (again, mostly me) are allergic to, he will cook it for dinner.

And he’s really adamant and meticulous about keeping things that we (me) are allergic to away from us (me). I’ve only once been able to fool him into letting me have what should have been a never-in-a-million-years activity with a horse – we were on our honeymoon in Quebec City and they offer horse-drawn carriage rides around the Plains of Abraham. I told Ben that because we were outside and we were moving (i.e. there was a breeze), I would be more than fine. About five minutes into our tour, the lovely French tour guide said, “Madame, I’m afraid you might be allergic to my horse.” I nodded, while blowing my nose and wiping my eyes, and I said, “Maybe.” Ben was furious.

Ever since then his vigilance in keeping us (ME) away from all things allergen-filled has never wavered.

Now, you might have noticed that pets are quite popular among the Sisterhood. Toni has two sweet, giant dogs; Jacqui has two adorable breakfast-food/miniature dogs; and Andreah is cat-sitting. So, what the hey happened with me?

Short end of the genetic stick, I tell ya.

So, when events are held at either Jacqueline’s or Toni’s houses, allergy medication is taken, wooziness sets in, and all clothes, blankets, toys, etc. are washed when we get home. It’s just the way it is.

Through our pre-baby years of marriage, we were offered the chance to dog-sit a soft-coated wheaten terrier, a dog that is supposed to be hypoallergenic. We pocketed the offer and decided that after we had babies we’d consider it. We would hate to get a dog just to have to break-up and give away the dog because of allergies. That would be heartbreaking and a lot of trouble that could be avoided if we were just patient.

And then along came Sophie. Sophie who had an allergic reaction to the boxed rice cereal you’re TOLD to feed your babies as their first food. Sophie whose hands and wrists swelled up to more than double their size because we failed to wash a hand-me-down coat before letting her wear it. Sophie who gets licked by a dog and immediately gets welts on her skin. Sophie who can only have clothes washed in a specific kind of laundry soap or all hell will break loose. Sophie who gets itchy when she has too much dairy. Sophie, the queen of all things allergies.

Sophie clinched it – we would never, ever own a pet. Ever.

Or at least a pet that had fur. Or feathers.

But then…Sophie started asking for one. Asking why we couldn’t have a cat, dog, bunny, cow, horse, etc.? And when we explained that any and all of those things would make us sick, she would get heartbroken, which of course makes us (ME) a little heartbroken.

So, Ben and I had THE talk. The should we get a pet, talk. The our options are limited in what we can bring home, but should we bring something home, talk. And we thought about responsibility. And we discussed death. And we thought about cost. And we worked on timing. And we decided.

Yes. Yes we would get a pet.

A fish.

We didn’t tell the girls where we were going and on Friday morning, a school holiday, we drove to the pet store and made the magic happen.

We knew we wanted a fairly hearty fish who would survive living in our zaniness with 3 under 6 being their owners. So we settled on a Betta or a Siamese fighting fish. The downfall with these? They have to live alone, otherwise they’ll fight the other fish, so we were only getting one fish, which means the girls would have to decide on ONE fish, not one each.

After narrowing it down, both girls picked their favourites – Sophie a beautiful red, purple and blue one, and Lillian a lovely multi-hued blue fish. We brought in some big guns for the tie-breaker- Isaac. We held both jars with the fish in them over the stroller and Ben asked him to pick one. Within seconds we had our fish (for the record, that will be burned and will self-destruct (I hope), Isaac picked Lillian’s fish).

Oh, hello!

Oh, hello!

We bought a bowl, a net, some food, some water conditioner, the girls each picked rocks for the bottom, and Isaac “picked” a plastic plant. We were all set.

Once we got home, with the fish (and everyone else) in one piece, we set about getting our fish’s new home ready. Both girls opened their packages of rocks so we could rinse them off.

Bowl rocks are serious business

Bowl rocks are serious business

Next up, some lessons in sharing the sink.

Teamwork!

Teamwork!

And some lessons in not throwing rocks in glass house-bowls.

GENTLY.

GENTLY.

Isaac was super helpful during this process.

Isaac taking care of other business.

Isaac taking care of other business.

We double-triple-quadruple checked the water temperature and set up our fish’s new house, complete with landscaping.

Move-in ready

Move-in ready

Some prayers, held breaths, and finger crossing, and voila! Our fish was swimming around in his new home.

Reviewing the rules: no touching the bowl or the water or the fish. No holding the fish or petting the fish or moving the bowl. Look with your EYES.

Reviewing the rules: no touching the bowl or the water or the fish. No holding the fish or petting the fish or moving the bowl. Look with your EYES.

Now for a name.

We needed a democratic process because 4 out of 5 of us are very opinionated. Or at the very least able to articulate our opinions. (Sorry, Isaac.) So, over lunch, which the girls loved because we called it a lunch meeting ( so formal and fancy!), we each offered suggestions for our pet’s name.

Not sure if they're all winners...

Not sure if they’re all winners…

After careful deliberation, we narrowed it down to four selections: Blue, Optimus Prime, Superman, and Finn. How to choose?

We decided that as Isaac chose our fish, so he should choose the name. Ben came up with a simple process – give Isaac four blocks, each one representing a name. Whichever one he picks, that’s what the fish’s name will be.

Ben set up the test…

Decisions, decisions

Decisions, decisions

…and Isaac picked.

He grabbed two!  Always the rebel.

He grabbed two! Always the rebel.

And so, it is with great excitement, that we introduce the newest member of our family: Blue Finn.

I think it suits him.

I think it suits him.

It’s been three days and so far we haven’t killed him.

I think we’re off to a great start.

~ Julia

The darnedest questions

When a child asks a question, there is no hidden agenda, no secret motive, they simply are just curious and want to know; however, they are very impressionable. Who their parents choose as their immediate circle have a direct impact on who they are – those people are their entire world.  Everyone looks different, dresses differently, has different personalities, body types, etc., which means new things to little minds bring out the best questions EVER!

Question: Why did you write on yourself?

Grown-up answer: I have two tattoos, so far, which are located on my wrists. When I wear anything that does not have sleeves they are there for the world to see, including you, Little One.  One reads “força” which means strength in Portuguese, representing my dad who has taught me in many ways to be strong; and the other one is “beauté” which is French for beauty for my momma, to whom I attribute my dashing good looks! I wrote on myself to always remind me where I came from. And Lillian when you are 18 and want to get tattoos, I am going to tell you to wait, a year, two years, three years even, and think long and hard like I did, and make it meaningful. And regardless of what others may say, it’s your body. Your mom may have a different response to this.

Actual answer: Because I was silly and wanted to write I myself. It’s something you do when you are older, much much older…like 40.

Question: Where are the rest of your panties?

Grown up answer: I have no idea! No, really. When you grow up, suddenly it becomes the norm to pay more for less fabric. It becomes more uncomfortable to wear something that is more “appealing.” Don’t get me wrong, sometimes less fits better with an outfit, and sometimes it’s nice to wear something scandalous.

Actual answer: My bum ate them.

Question: Why do you have owies on your face?

Grow up answer: Well beautiful, they are called zits because I like chocolate and chips and sometimes fall asleep with makeup on. I also touch my face when I am stressed, which happens very often when you become a “grown up.”

Actual answer: I dunno, Baby Girl, I just don’t know.

Question: Why did you kiss Uncle Cody? Are you getting married?

Grow up answer: I kissed Uncle Cody because I wanted to. Unfortunately you don’t always love people when you kiss them and you aren’t always going to marry them. You may think you love them, but you will find out the hard way that you have to kiss frogs to find your prince. And yes, Baby Girl, we are getting married.

Actual answer: Yes, Baby Girl, I love him and that is the only time you should kiss someone – when you love them and only when you are going to marry them.

Sophie’s response: Ew, gross!

~ Jacqui

Guest post – Blessed

To celebrate our 50th post, we asked our mom to write a guest blog. Thank you so much for reading with us this far! We can’t wait for the next 50. And to our Mommita – we LOVE you!

As I anxiously await each new submission to the blog, I realized something: I crave connection with my babies every day. Even as they live their lives, I still want and need to be a part of their lives. After all, I am a mom and will always be. Oh, I have added a few titles to my repertoire, Grammie being my most favorite of new additions next to girlfriend. Before this blog there were days when I had no connection with them either by phone, chat, email, text or Facebook updates. Those days I felt almost empty; something was missing. You see, my greatest accomplishment and joy are my four babies. Just thinking about them makes me cry with joy and pride. When my girls asked me to write for the blog, I responded, “You know I am going to cry,” to which Julia and Toni immediately responded, “I know,” and, true to form, I did.

I love being their mom and always have. I never doubted that I would be proud of each of them, that I would be there for them, that I would do whatever was needed to help them, guide them or rescue them. As I see what lives in their hearts, I see the girls I know, love and adore. I am blessed!

The ladies, back in the day

The ladies, back in the day (L to R: Toni, Mom, Andreah, Jacqui, Julia)

My girls, each in their own way, were my strength as I ventured to take the most challenging of steps in my life to be me again, a woman, a single woman. They were my cheering section, along with their men and the many friends, Dianne and Paula to just name a few, and family. With each step I took, from renovating the house in preparation to sell, to moving to a new town, they were there. It was hard for me to find the courage I needed. I was scared – let’s face it, I had been a part of a couple for 28 years. I had never done this before, be just me. But I am absolutely sure that it was even harder for my girls to see me venture out, dating (we call it shopping for shoes), harder for them to start a new life without the two parents they loved not be in one place.

Oh, what had I done? How have I failed them? What kind of example am I to end my marriage? This was all I could think as I watched each of them struggle to find the balance in all this. It broke my heart to see the impact on each. When I expressed this to Julia so many moons ago, she said something to me that has stuck: you have shown us that it is okay to say enough, it is okay to say this is not good for me and move on. I hear my OH so wise daughter each time I make a change in my life.

Don’t get me wrong – if I had to do it all over again I would not change a thing about our life as a family. I loved my life, loved being his wife, rallied in the title that will be mine forever- Mommy, Mom, Mommita – joyful in what was “our family” no matter how flawed it was, it was ours. Through all the trials and joys, that is where we grew, where the bond as women began. Without all those experiences we would not be who we are today – strong, independent and dependent, loving, giving and, yes, emotional women.

A wise man once said to me that if you put God in your life and seek His favour first, all things are possible. He was right. Through many prayers, I found an amazing man who I loved and lost. I was lead to an amazing job that I did not apply for but got that I love and still have today. The many of the lessons in my life have shown me that it is okay to be just me, that no matter what society says I should have done, I did my very best. I am not perfect, but that is okay too. Over time and putting God first in my morning prayers and pleadings through the tough moments, I have found a new love that makes me joyful and filled with laughter. With that love comes new joy and even more family to love. I wake up every morning in love with my man, in love with our families, so happy to be me. I am blessed as only God can bless me, with a life that is worth living with no regrets!

~ Christine (a.k.a. Mom)

If you’d like to write a guest post and join in the Weather Vane Sisterhood fun, email us at weathervanesisterhood at gmail dot com. We’d love to have you!