Wednesday, April 13, 2011

If I could see myself...

When I was fifteen I never thought about life after high school. I mean, I knew I wanted to go to college and I knew I wanted a degree in education. But I never really thought about it. And I certainly never thought about kids and being married.

Even when I was in college, after I met Jon, I never really thought about being married and having kids. I knew from very early on that Jon was it. He was the guy I was going to spend the rest of my life with. I was right (I am a lot of the time) and five years after we started dating (almost to the day) we were married. But even then I didn't really think about having kids.

After we had been married a few months the baby bug bit. It bit me, but it didn't quite get Jon. I think he swatted it away. After we had been married a year the bug bit him and we started trying to get pregnant. but even then I didn't really think about what having a baby would be like. I knew I wanted it but it didn't truly click how much I would change when that child was born.

I have changed to much in the past few years. That is normal I think. But I think about myself at 15 and wonder if I would recognize me if my 15 year old self met my 31 year old self. Yes that was half a lifetime ago. And I wouldn't want to be like a teenager now. But there are some things I never expected to want.

For example, even four years ago I never thought about the food I ate. I tried to by healthy but I didn't think past that. I didn't think about pesticides, or hormones, or preservatives. I bought prepackaged, frozen meals and used them often. But now I think about them a lot. Being a mom has really opened my eyes to what we eat.

Five years ago I never thought about my budget. Jon and I have always been savers. We never bought things we can't afford. But we also never thought about how much we wanted to spend at the grocery store, or ways to save there. Being a stay at home mom and wanting to remain that way (while staying out of debt!) has opened my eyes to coupons, budgets, cooking from scratch, meal planning (that was not even in my vocabulary a few years ago) and other money saving strategies. Having my own garden and actually working on it to make it successful is something new to me as well.

When Jon and I first got married none of those topics was in my radar. I know I didn't think about diapers before I was pregnant with Madeline. But if I had I am fairly certain the term "cloth diaper" would not have been one I would have used. And forget "cloth wipes." I don't even know what made me think about cloth diapers at all. But five years later I am very happy to use them.

And homeschooling? Nothing I ever thought I would consider! When I was teaching I thought homeschooling moms were a bit nuts (no offense to any homeschooling moms!). I didn't know anything about it other than their kids MUST be antisocial. I was very wrong. And I just spend a few months teaching myself about the topic. It isn't the avenue we will be pursuing but I see how it can work for many, many families.

Five years ago I didn't think about vaccines. If the doctor recommended it then my daughter got it. I don't know what opened my eyes to that topic, but since reading The Vaccine Book, Jon and I have had several discussions and approach vaccines in a much different way with our children.

Seven years ago I didn't think I would still be in this house. This was supposed to be our 3 to 5 year house. Seven years later, and three kids later, we are still here for the foreseeable future. I didn't think how living on one income would effect our plans to move. We are happy in our house, I love my little house and my yard and my neighborhood. But I would like to move to a town with better schools before Madeline gets to middle school.

I NEVER thought I would even consider having chickens. Now it is something I would really like. However with a border collie for a pet we would need a much bigger yard to have chickens. So that plan will hold off. Maybe in our next house (that we will buy before Madeline gets to middle school I hope).

In some circles I would be considered crunchy (baby wearing, cloth diapers, sometimes co-sleeping, breast feeding, delay vaxing, etc) but in others I would be considered completely mainstream. I don't know what to call myself. I just do what works for my family. One thing I do know, if I saw myself now when I was 15 I would not have believed who I would become.

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