Thursday, August 23, 2012

20 Questions: Angie

Hi TwentySomethingMamas readers! My name is Angie and I blog about life with a sexy fisherman and our superhero son over at Authentically Angie.

I'm pretty jazzed that the Mamas invited me to take part in their "20 Questions" series... because who didn't love that game in high school? Amiright? I mean, how else were you going to con your poor friends into telling you all their deepest secrets and desires? {insert semi-evil-but-still-very-
likable-laugh here}

Let's get to it:
1. Tell us a little about who makes your house a home.
Sexy fisherman/ClintClint is my husband of 6 years, my best friend, and my compass. He's sexy, hilarious, handy... and he takes direction well ;-) Haha. Clint works as a claims rep for an insurance company -- but fishes as if that was his job.

Isaiah is an inquisitive 6 year old with an even older soul and a penchant for reading -- and he is a superhero on the side. He keeps his dad and I on our toes with questions like "How many countries are there?" and "What does 'inquisitive' mean" ... he is a laugh a minute, that kid. He was the best surprise either of us could ask for.

Animal friends/Roxanne and Brew
Alongside us human-folk we have some furry friends residing in this old house of ours. Brew (feline) and Roxy (canine) were both rescues who came into our lives, caused mayhem, and then never left. Haha. They make our lives more interesting and our house a home. Despite their insanity.


I am a twenty-something hippie wannabe doing my best to tread lightly ... and keep my sanity. I have an affinity for coffee, Greek yogurt, and beer. I don't know what I want to be when/if I "grow-up" but for now I am lucky enough to work from home full-time as a regional Account Manager.

2. What's a typical day in your household like?
Our days are really anything but typical and every single day in different. We have a few constants in our routine however, like work and family dinners. A "typical" school day might go something like this:

7:20 Clint leaves for work (after brewing Angie some coffee, awwww)
7:45 Angie gets Isaiah up and ready for school (breakfast, lunch packed, teeth brushed, animals fed, etc)
8:28 Take Isaiah to school, Angie calls Clint on the way home from dropping Isaiah.
8:45 Angie works
11:30 Angie and Clint talk on the phone again. Haha. Wow, we are overly connected. We usually talk for like 3 minutes each call though.... so maybe that is less creepy?
3:21 Leave to get Isaiah from school
4:00 Isaiah plays outside, or watches a little TV while Angie continues to work on her laptop wherever he is
5:30 Clint gets home! Angie and Isaiah pounce. We have a family "snuggle patch" and talk about our days and what we feel like eating for dinner.
6:00 Angie makes dinner, we eat together, Clint cleans up. We usually talk about the next days' plans over dinner as well. We like to take it one-day-at-a-time around here.
7:00 Family activity. This varies a lot. Might be a walk to the park, Wii, gardening, yard work, errands, reading, ball game, etc etc
8:30 Clint reads to Isaiah and puts him to bed
8:45 Clint and I either take turns on the treadmill or grab a glass of wine/beer/whiskey and head for the couch. Sometimes we continue the yard work or whatever we were doing before Isaiah went to bed, but either way we are usually home for the night.
11:30 Clint and I head to bed. I read, he sleeps.
12:30 Angie snooooozes

Some evenings we watch Clint play ball, some evenings we go fishing, sometimes we eat dinner out or have people over for dinner... I also usually spend one evening a week with a friend of mine. It's very fluid and we are comfortable without a routine. The routine outlined above probably happens 3 times a week max. Summers are a huge cluster with very little routine. They go something like this.

3. How has your lifestyle changed since having children?
Our lifestyle is night and day different. When we had Isaiah we were so young and had very few responsibilities. Before he was born we just did whatever we wanted all the time. Now we try harder to make time to eat together every day (something that is very important to both of us) and to keep some semblance of a routine for Isaiah's sake.

4. Have you ever felt the need to defend your decision to start a family in your 20's?
I wish I could say "no"... but I have. However, it wasn't necessarily a "decision" per se to start a family in my 20's so in some ways I had to defend it even to myself. I think it is easy for people to pity me/us or to assume that we are only together because of Isaiah -- but I think that cheapens what we have. What we have is amazing, and no amount of questioning or side-ways glances were going to take that away from me.

Few people have come up to me and said anything, but there were a lot of "looks" and gossip in the beginning. It was harder to brush off then, but now I couldn't care less and I'll happily explain to anyone who will listen how fortunate we are to have each other and to point out the many ways that having a family in my 20's has benefited me -- and my family for that matter.

5. What's the most challenging thing about being a mom, and what's the most rewarding?
Challenging: Patience. Without a doubt. I have never been a patient person and sometimes that 100th question during a 5 minute car ride is a little hard to answer with much more than an "i don't know" or an "ask your dad when we get home." Haha. 6. It's a fun age.

Rewarding: The sense of accomplishment I feel when he gets something "right." He tries so hard at things and I just love that feeling when something you taught them "clicks." That look on his face when he gets it. Man I love that look. It feels like we both accomplished it together.

6. How are household chores divided up in your family?
We try really hard to keep things 47/47/6. Clint and I work the same number of hours each week and we share an equal amount of household chores as well... and Isaiah does his 6% too. We feel strongly that he does his part.

I cook, Clint does the dishes, I empty the dishwasher (when he cooks, I do the dishes)
Clint does the laundry/I put it away
I do the finances, Clint does the mowing/weed whipping
We do the weed pulling/gardening/painting/organizing/moving -- and Isaiah helps
We all clean the house
Isaiah cares for the pets and cleans his room, empty's trashes, etc.

7. How do you find a balance between your commitments and family time?
Clint and I have an understanding... we both do as we please, within reason, and as long as more times than not we are together. He plays sports and fishes and hunts and I make dinners with friends and go out sometimes. And we both go to all of Isaiah's activities together.

Family time is a priority, but so are each of us as individuals. Some people might think that we are doing it wrong or spending too much time a part, but for us it works.

If we ever decided to have another child, I could see where this dynamic might shift -- but for now, it is pretty simple and we are so thankful for that.

8. What's your most embarrassing mom moment??
Oh man. I could go on for days... the most recent one played out like this:

{We are at an end-of-the-school-year Kindergarten class pool party/potluck. There are parents and kids everywhere. Everyone is eating, it is pretty quiet.}

Kid across the table: My dog killed a possum.
Isaiah: Oh really? My dad kills possums with a baseball bat.

Me: Ohmygod! Isaiah.... (to the other parents) I am so sorry.

Awkward chuckling ensues.
I wish I could have denied his claims, but alas -- I married a Neanderthal. And it comes with the territory.

9. Who (or what) has influenced your parenting style the most?
Our own childhoods have influenced our style the most, undoubtedly. We also talk at length about what we want for Isaiah, and the best ways that we can shape him so that he is set up to succeed. Communication is huge. And being on the same page is a must in our book.

10. Since becoming a mom how have your friendships changed? Have you made new friends, strengthened friendships, or lost friends?
I think in the beginning (at least for me) you kind of find out who your friends are. Luckily most of my friends were very supportive and have remained my friends. I have certainly made new friends as well, mostly because my son and I are overly social. And of course, some friendships have fallen by the wayside. But I think that happens regardless when you leave high school. Since our family got started around that same time I think it makes the line a little blurry.

11. How do you fit in time for your romantic relationship?
I swear that I am not trying to promote only ever having one child... but it certainly has made our romantic relationship easier to maintain.

Having one 6 year old child, an amazing network of friends and family, and an 8:30 bedtime... as well as a mutual desire to not let the fire burn out -- and mutual attraction of course (ahem) -- has all been helpful. The stars align pretty regularly and Clint and I get a good amount of time to ourselves. We are so thankful.

When Isaiah was younger and we were still establishing a network of friends here in Ann Arbor it was much harder, but not impossible, to get time alone together.

12. What's one piece of advice you have for future/new moms?
DO NOT compare yourselves to other moms or participate in the mommy-war mentality. It is so easy to judge yourself, your kids, and other moms and kids... or to get down on yourself about not doing it "right." It sucks the joy right out of motherhood.

For me, that meant getting off Facebook. Disconnecting a little was done wonders for me.

13. What's your childcare set-up and why does it work for you?
I am fortunate enough to work from home full-time and Isaiah goes to school full-time (has been since pre-school) and that takes care of most of our childcare needs. We often do kid-swaps as well. I have a few friends with kids who we trade off and on with. We haven't paid for a babysitter in years.

14. Do you ever get time to yourself?
Yes. For me it is a necessity. I find it wherever I can. I take candlelit baths and read, I go for walks, and I love to shop alone. My husband is a saint. He knows when I need some time, and he diverts Isaiah.
15. What was the toughest adjustment going from 1 to 2 or 2 to 3 kids? If you only have one child what was the biggest adjustment after baby was born?
For us the biggest adjustment was finding routine. Getting in a groove so that we could find ourselves and each other again was a low priority in the beginning -- and then a high priority when we realized that only prioritizing the baby was going to make for a loooooonnnnngggg 18 years. Haha. It took time, but we are right where we envisioned getting to all those years ago.

16. Has having children changed your relationship with food?
YES! So much. I sound off on this quite often because it is something I am passionate about -- but we definitely eat a 'cleaner' more local and less processed diet than we did before Isaiah was born.    
17. What are your plans for your children's education?
We send Isaiah to Ann Arbor Public Schools and we love it. We hope to one day send him to college if he chooses (UofM would be ideal -- wink --) but we are hesitant to make any plans for him in that respect. College isn't for everyone.
18. How is discipline handled in your family?
We do time outs as needed and we have spanked previously on rare occasions. Mostly Isaiah is good at listening though. Sometimes we take away privileges as well -- like TV and Wii/Leapster and favorite toys. I'm sure we'll be moving into grounding and other consequences down the road, but we aren't there yet.
19. If you could change one thing about your current set-up, what would it be?
I know this is going to sound ridiculous -- but I wouldn't change anything right now. A year ago I would have wanted a house. Three years ago I would have wanted to be graduated and working. 4 years ago I would have wanted a community of friends here to lean on. 5 years ago I would have wanted to move. 6 years ago I would have wanted to crawl back in the womb and start all over. Haha.

We have worked too hard and so tirelessly to get through college and find jobs and settle down in a house and put Isaiah in school full-time. For years we were looking forward to getting right where we are now. And I don't want to spoil our dream-come-true by wanting for anything else.

Not just yet.
20. Finish this sentence, Before having kids, I wish I would have known...
.... how to gracefully handle awkward moments. Haha.

Thank you so much for letting me talk about myself on end. :-) I enjoyed being a part of this series!

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