risky behavior

A while ago I was watching The Switch, and while that movie isn’t really a cinamatic masterpiece, it had a line that really resonated with me. Sperm donor (see? Already you want to watch it) Patrick Wilson walks up to fellow character (Jason Bateman) and says, “Hey, you know, we don’t really know each other. Lets grab a beer.” I know that seems so commonplace, but it takes courage to let someone know you want to spend time with them and get to know them. I love the honest way he asked him to hang out. Too often we assume that other people either 1) have enough friendships, or 2) they simply wouldn’t be interested.

In my time off work, one huge long giant week, I’ve tried to be intentional. Intentional about working out, organizing and cleaning my home, spending time with my daughter, and paving new relationships.

I don’t know about you, but putting myself out there can be intimidating. The simple act of asking someone you don’t know to coffee, well, that can be tough sometimes! There is nothing like the relaxing feeling of an old familiar friend that really knows you…but in order for that to happen, we have to start somewhere!

I was reading a blog this morning that detailed some of the reasons we don’t pursue relationships:

1. We’re busy. I know in my own life, I’m drained by the end of the day. Making my way out the door for drinks at 7:30pm (gasp!) with a friend can be challenging, especially when its dark and cold outside and your couch and pjs are calling.

2. We’re hurt. Relationships aren’t always easy. We get hurt when others don’t reciprocate, when we feel unimportant, when you feel you’re constantly initiating…the list could go on!

The blog author shared several ‘joy-stealing’ thoughts that can consume us when we’re starting new friendships, letting others into our homes, and spending time together:

Is my home clean enough? Is my decor nice enough? I haven’t dusted in two weeks. My bathroom, or fill in the ____ is so outdated.Will they like me? What will we talk about? What will they think of me?

She writes that we’re so worried about ourselves, and what others think, that it absolutely ruins us.

Maybe I’m the only one who struggles with these thoughts sometimes (but somehow I don’t think so). Its too bad, and we let our insecurities drive a wedge between us and what could be fantastic relationships.

And so, I’ve tried to be intentional. In getting to know others. In putting myself out there. In asking someone I don’t know to do something. For me personally, this is a time in my life when my identity as a mom is still forming, and that affects a lot of other things…friendships being one of them.

We all want to feel important. I really don’t know anyone that has it all together. We all want to know someone values us, wants to hang out with us, or finds us interesting. Simply put, we all need to feel connected and that we matter.

I’ve learned that putting myself out there, although risky, almost always pays off. It’s not always easy, but the returns can be great. I’ve also learned that my unlikely friendships can be some of the ones I find the most enjoyable.

Why not throw in a cute picture to drive my point home? I’m a sucker for chimp faces. This is pretty dang adorable.

How do you ‘put yourself out there’? How do you pave the way for new relationships? What helps you be courageous? Please share!

 

 

 

peek-a-boo with your fence

I know there are responsible things to do. And then there are things you have to do. And then, well, there are things you just do. This week I had a quick and dirty lesson in ‘the do’s.’

A while ago I had a baby. Actually, lets jump back a few steps.  Before that, I went back to school, incurred a ridiculous amount of student loan debt, graduated, and then I had a baby.

I decided I wanted to stay home with Addie. Scratch that, by default, I stayed home, and I did want that, but I wasn’t entirely sold. She was born in early December, and I didn’t think it would work very well to start a school counseling position and then almost immediately take maternity leave, though it could have been done, it didn’t sound like something I wanted to do.

I wrestled a lot with staying home for a bit. There was a lot of joy and certainly a great amount of convenience in staying home, but I would constantly scour school district websites for jobs, think about little things I could do to work; basically, I spent my time peeking over the fence and never really settled into being there.

At the end of last year I was offered a job, not in my field, but close enough. It was a great deal for a working mom, almost as good as you can get, wonderful people, great program, in house daycare and all signs seemed to point towards, “You’re a dope if you don’t take this!” So take it I did. And I did it, gratefully, and then things started to slowly fall apart.

Addie got sick…all the time. Not just the sniffles, but the barfs. Fevers. And then the sniffles in between. I’m fairly sure that I left butt marks in the chairs at the walk in clinic. Sleep came in short doses…Tony stayed home, I stayed home, my mom drove down, and it just got ridiculously sucky hard.

At some point I lost my joy because it became clear that things just weren’t working. Tony got to a point where he couldn’t work from home anymore, I got to a point where I was slacking in planning because I was slacking in life, as a mom, tired and giving half to everything, and then Addie got sick again. I met with my boss for coffee last weekend, who’s just a classy lady, and she released me from my position. I never would have quit. I just don’t…to my detriment, and I think at times to others, I just wouldn’t quit something, but to be gracefully released from this was a blessing. I sat at coffee surprised, but relieved. Everyone was getting what they needed.

As I went back and read this blog post, I’m grateful. I know that I got a chance to be a working mom, and its not right for this time in my life. That doesn’t mean it won’t ever be, but right now, its time to be home. For a day or so, I went back and forth wondering if this is the responsible, prudent thing to do. And then we decided that this was just the thing that needed to be done, and that was that. I’m home, I’m in with both feet, and thats a great feeling.

On another note, working moms are amazing. If you know one, you should tell her she’s amazing. Give her a Starbucks card, a hug, a compliment. I didn’t do it that long, but man. They’re incredible.

 

 

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