Thursday, August 30, 2012

20 Questions: Jamie

You've heard from Mal, Alexis and a few other guests. Today, Jamie is answering our 20 Questions. Next week you'll hear from two more guest mamas!

1. Tell us a little about who makes your house a home.  
Tim, my husband of 3 years. He runs the Midas shop on the 28th St. in Grand Rapids (so if you live in the area and need any work done on your car, stop in and see him!). He balances me in almost every way. I say almost because we are both worriers. It's been fun to watch him grow as a dad. He can get Stella laughing so hard that she can't stop.

Our Love Bean, Stella is 11 months. It's hard to believe that she's almost 1 already! She has 6 teeth and 2 more just popped through recently. She loves her blanket. She's probably going to be one of those kids that has to take carry a piece of their blanket in their pocket when they go to school. She is the sweetest babe around, but she makes you work for a smile.

Jamie, well you know me. I'm trying to build a freelance graphic design business, so that I can remain home with Stella. I've been meaning to post about that for awhile, hopefully next week.

2. What's a typical day in your household like?
Tim wakes up around 6am to start getting ready for work. At 6:30 he bribes me out of bed by telling me he has coffee made. I pack his lunch while we chat about our plans for the day and then at 7am he's out the door headed to work for the day.

Sometime between 7 and 8 (usually closer to 7) Stella wakes up, I go get her out of bed and then feed her breakfast. While she's eating I unload the dishwasher and clean up the breakfast mess. After breakfast we usually shower and then I get some freelance work done and watch my morning talk shows, while Stella plays by herself. Sometimes, I get interrupted to read a book or two :) Around 9:30 she usually goes down for a morning nap, and I get about an hour and a half of uninterrupted time to get work done.

Once she's up from her morning nap, we don't have a strict routine. We play, read, run errands, or go visit her Nanner or her cousins. If we're home, we eat lunch around noon (which is usually leftovers from mine and Tim's dinner the night before) while listening to music. and I usually sneak in a little more computer time, write blog posts or do some more freelance work. She goes back down for an afternoon nap around 2:30/3:00pm, and I get more work/stuff around the house done.

She usually eats dinner around 6, while I start cooking dinner for me and Tim. Our meals are separate right now because, Tim doesn't get home until 7:30 or later, and that's about time for Stella to be winding down for the night. When Tim gets home, he and I eat. After dinner he gets Stella ready for bed and gives her a bottle. She's in bed by 8/8:30 most nights. When Stella gets older, it's my hope that we'll be able to have at least one meal together as a family, even if that means waking up extra early to have a big breakfast together.

I have a personal rule that I don't get on the computer after Tim gets home, and we only watch TV shows we both agree on, so from the time Stella goes to be to the time we go to bed (around 10) we get to have some quality time together.

3. How has your lifestyle changed since having children?
Our lifestyle changed a lot after having Stella. Tim and I went out almost every weekend and even during the week sometimes. We would order take out or go out for dinner like 3 or 4 times a week and I went shopping all of the time. We both had full time jobs, and we didn't have to worry about anything other than ourselves. Around the same time that Stella arrived, our job situations changed, we had more expenses and less money coming in. Our lifestyle changed dramatically. We rarely go out anymore, and now that we're back in Michigan we hardly ever eat out. Although, when we were in Chicago, we would usually ate lunch and dinner out on Sundays, because we were usually out doing something as a family, even it was just walking around the neighborhood.

We've adjusted pretty well, although, we do miss Chicago sometimes. It's so much more fun watching our Love Bean blossom.

4. Have you ever felt the need to defend your decision to start a family in your 20's?
Yes, when we were living in Chicago, but not since we've been back. In Chicago it was pretty strange to people that we were even married in our twenties. Add having a baby at 24, and you have an even more uncommon lifestyle. I always felt the need to justify our decision by saying, "I know we're young, but getting married and having kids young is totally normal in small town Michigan."

5. What's the most challenging thing about being a mom, and what's the most rewarding?
For me, the most challenging thing is letting Tim figure things out on his own. Since I'm home with Stella all day (and she's a total mama's girl) I know exactly what to do to calm her down when she gets upset, I know which foods are her favorite and which ones she'll just throw on the ground. I know Tim needs to learn all of these things in his own way and time, but sometimes I just can't stop myself from taking over.

I think the most rewarding thing are all the little moments that can go unnoticed, like when you catch your baby "reading" a book to herself, when she snuggles her head into where your neck and shoulder meet, or when you walk in to find her head first in her toy bin trying to dig out the toy she wants. Those are the moments that I just feel overwhelmed with happiness.

6. How are household chores divided up in your family?
Since I'm at home all day now I do all of the housework. Not gonna lie, sometimes it's a little frustrating to have to do all the chores and chase after Love Bean all day, especially when I have design projects or blog posts I want/need to work on. But I guess that's the trade off I made when we agreed I wouldn't get an office job.

7. How do you find a balance between your commitments and family time?
Tim works long hours, and he works every Saturday. He usually sees Love Bean for 1 to 2 hours everyday. I think it breaks his heart, so on his days off we usually hang out just the three of us, so he can get his Stella fix. We do need to get better about making time to visit Tim's family.

8. What's your most embarrassing mom moment?
When Stella was about 6 months old, I took her on the Amtrack to come up and walk with Team Gatlyn at the March of Dimes. Since we were participating in the walk, I had her stroller with us, which made things a little tricky. After we got off the train, I was trying to unfold the stroller while holding Stella, but I was having a lot of trouble. A lady noticed and came over and said, "here let me hold the baby, while you mess with the stroller." AND I LET HER! I just handed my baby over to her! Obviously, she didn't run off with Stella, but what if she had?!

Why didn't I say, "Actually if you could just open the stroller for me, that would help a ton."

9. Who (or what) has influenced your parenting style the most?
Tim and I talk about how we were raised and what we want to carry over and what we don't. And I watch other parents—family, friends, strangers at the grocery store—and try to emulate things I like, and make an effort to not do certain things. I also read about parenting a lot, and try to put into practice things I think will work for us. I subscribe to the idea that not only is every child is different, but every mom is different, so there isn't a one size fits all parenting style.

10. Since becoming a mom how have your friendships changed? Have you made new friends, strengthened friendships, or lost friends?
My friendships didn't really changes all that much. Since we didn't have Stella until after we'd been out of college for a couple of years, my friendships had already sort of settled into what they were (if that makes sense). The friends I had stayed in contact with from high school and college are still my friends and were among the first ones to visit and make time to see Stella.

My relationships with each of my sisters has changed and been strengthened now that we're all mothers. Especially with Mallorie - we always butted heads a little bit when were young, but now we're super close and talked at least 3 times a week while I lived in Chicago.  However, I can't say that I've really gained new friends by becoming a mom, maybe when I join MOPS this year...

11. How do you fit in time for your romantic relationship?
Like I mentioned above, I have a personal rule that on days Tim works, I don't get on the computer after he gets home, and we only watch TV shows we both agree on. That has helped our relationship in so many ways.

12. What's one piece of advice you have for future/new moms?
Don't feel guilty if you don't love every minute of being a mom. Trust me there will be times that you just want to scream/cry/pull your hair out, and that's okay. For me it was the first few weeks of breast feeding. I remember crying multiple times when it was time for Stella to nurse (Stella was having trouble latching on one side, and it hurt, like really hurt). I even remember texting Tim once asking if he'd be upset if I gave Stella a bottle. We powered through it, and breast feeding worked out just fine.

Those tough moments are short lived, and are overwhelming out weighed by all the magical moments of being a mom. They aren't worth beating yourself up. It wasn't going to be the end of the world if I didn't make it to my breastfeeding goal. I wasn't breastfed, and I turned out just fine :)

Also, don't ever wake a sleeping baby!

13. What's your childcare set-up and why does it work for you?
I stay home with Stella. Since I'm just starting to get into freelancing, it works for us. I think that when I start to have more work come my way, we might have to rethink our set-up a little bit. It's tough to get enough work done during nap time.

14. Do you ever get time to yourself?
I get time at home to myself - nap times or if I go out for a run at night, but I rarely go do anything alone outside of home.

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?
Hands down, leaving the house was the biggest adjustment. Instead of the standard keys, wallet, phone check, with a baby it's keys, wallet, phone, diaper bag (which has a checklist all of it's own), blanket, oh and don't forget getting the baby ready. And even though it's only an additional couple of items, until you get your system down, it adds like at least an extra hour onto what used to take you a minute.

16. Has having children changed your relationship with food?
I don't think my relationship with food has ever been that unhealthy. But when Stella started eating solids, I made a conscious decision to be more aware of eating a balanced diet. We eat a lot more vegetables now, and I've found ways to work them into meals I normally would have left them out of.

17. What are your plans for your child's education?
I tossed out the idea of homeschooling, and Tim shot that right down. Plus I think my mother in-law, a teacher, would probably want to disown me ;) So, when the time comes, she'll probably go to public school. But the idea of homeschooling/unschooling really fascinates me. It's something we'll definitely do before she goes to school and on Summer breaks.

18. How is discipline handled in your family?
We are just now starting to consider disciplining Stella. I'll definitely be the disciplinarian of the family though. Tim can't even bring himself to leave Stella in her crib if she stands up before he walks out.

Right now the two things I am being most conscious of is NOT talking in the third person, when scolding her and using the same stern tone of voice each time. So instead of saying "Mommy said, no you can't do that" when she's taking all of the DVDs out of the drawer for the hundredth time, I get down at her level and say, "Stella, I said no." and remove her from the situation. It makes the conversation more personal, and gives Stella the direct attention that she needs.

19. If you could change one thing about your current set-up, what would it be?
Right now, there are lots of things I wish were different. But I'm trying to remember, sometimes things fall apart, so better things can come together. Something I also think Tim and I need to both work at is just being content and happy with how far we've come.

20. Finish this sentence, Before having kids, I wish I would have known...
That being a mom would come to me naturally. People say that, but if you're like me and have never had a maternal instinct in your life, you find that really hard to believe. For me it was like flipping a switch, the second she was born I felt completely comfortable.


  1. You are such a good mom, Jamie! I loved getting to know you better through your answers. Keep up the great work!

  2. I love the way you discipline. We do that too -- still, and he's 6. It is effective. We also added time-out when removing from the situation as he got older, if it is a repeat offense. With explanations for why he's going there and apologies from him (recapping why he's sorry and in time out) included in the time-out routine. It has worked really well.

    I always think about how scary and intimidating it must be for him if we were to stand over him and raise our voice... I always hated that as a kid.


    I love reading the answers to these!

    1. Thanks Angie! I'm glad to hear that this strategy has worked for someone else.

      I've enjoyed this series too! I think I'm going to suggest to my sisters that we seek out some other moms to participate, so we can keep it going!


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