For the 100th post I wanted to do something special. And what could be more special than begging, pleading, getting on my hands and knees! to convince Jenn to share about motherhood and … cars.
Jeremy: Are you surprised Belonging Together made it to 100 posts?
Jenn: Of course not. I think you’re a great writer and as long as you set your mind to something you accomplish it. Sometimes you start things and don’t finish them…
Jeremy: (Laughing) No argument there…
Jenn: But as long as it’s something you enjoy doing and want to do, you definitely do a good job.
Jeremy: Sometimes I finish things I don’t want to do, like the bathroom renovations. But that was a necessity.
We discussed your transition from working to being a stay at home mother. Ultimately you decided to stay at home with Penelope. What tipped the scales in favor of staying home?
Jenn: I didn’t want our daughter to be raised by other people. I have nothing against people that send their kids to day care, but I wanted her to be in the most loving environment she could be in. That’s here with her family.
Jeremy: What’s the biggest challenge of being a stay at home mother.
Jenn: Not knowing what the day will bring. Some days are good and other days … not so good. Penelope is going through this phase where she has to do everything herself and when she can’t she starts to cry. Sometimes she starts crying for no reason at all. It can be emotionally draining.
Jeremy: What’s the most gratifying thing about staying home with Penelope?
Jenn: Just being around her. Seeing her grow and change, blossom into a young woman. It’s scary some days, to see how fast she’s growing up. It’s amazing we’ve been together less than a year and she’s completely changed. She seemed so baby-ish and she’s totally different now. She’s more independent, she has to do everything for herself, even though we know she can’t. She feels like she can do everything.
Jeremy: I remember seeing those elements of her independence in China. Was there a moment when it clicked and you thought “I’m really glad I stayed at home with Penelope”?
Jenn: Yes, the first time she hugged me and said she loved me (choked up). That was very special.
Jeremy: What do you think the most surprising thing about motherhood has been?
Jenn: My defensiveness. I don’t want anyone to hurt her emotionally, physically, or in any other way. Anytime we’re with another group of children and they refuse to play with her or take her stuff or are mean, it upsets me. I’m like a mother hen. She does get looks from kids. All the children we’ve been around at parks and gymnastics are white. No one has said anything but they look at her differently. It really upsets me.
Jeremy: Did you consider that before she was home with us?
Jenn: I thought about it, but how can you prepare yourself for something like that until it happens? I don’t want to make a scene and I don’t want my child to know I’m upset but it really upsets me that kids are like that.
Jeremy: I think there are some things it’s good for children to know their parents are upset about.
If you could go back in time and change one thing to prepare yourself for motherhood, what would it be?
Jenn: I wish I would have taken more time to read books about education. We’re always learning no matter how old we are. I want her days to be filled with learning. I don’t want her days to be filled with watching “Curious George”…
Jeremy: Or Elmo?
Jenn: Or Elmo. She needs to be smart.
Jeremy: Let’s change gears here. What’s my most annoying habit?
Jenn: I don’t know if this is a habit, but it bothers me that sometimes you pretend to listen to me but in reality you’re not hearing a thing I’m saying.
Jenn: (Laughing) That really annoys me but later you say “You never told me that!” when in reality I told you several times but you weren’t listening. You were pretending to listen to me.
Jeremy: I don’t know anyone that likes that!
Jenn: I don’t like being the recipient
Jeremy: How have your expectations of me as a father compared with the reality?
Jenn: I had high hopes for you…
Jeremy: You make it sound like I let you down! (Laughs)
Jenn: No! I was going to say they all came true. The high expectations.
Jeremy: Before we went to China you thought I wouldn’t discipline her but once we got there it didn’t turn out that way. Since then I’ve been the disciplinarian many times.
Jenn: That’s true.
Jeremy: What advice would you give to a prospective adoptive parent?
Jenn: Just love the child. Of course I hope that anyone who would adopt a child would do that. Kids try our patience a lot. Sometimes they know they’re doing it and sometimes they don’t, just like men. Every parent needs patience.
Jeremy: So was getting the Prius a good idea?
Jenn: Of course! I love our Beep-beep car (what Penelope calls it).
Jeremy: We labored over that decision…
Jenn: I told you to begin with it was the right car. Why get an older car that might not last. Let’s just get what we want.
Jeremy: It’s practically off the assembly line!
Jenn: I think it’s a great car. It’s roomy, the gas mileage is great. I’m glad we got it.
For the faithful readers, I say “thank you” for continuing to frequent my little corner of the world wide web.
As I mentioned in a previous post I hope to expand the site. Post #101 is the first fruit of that hope.
Until then, feel free to browse the previous 99 posts.
Here is to the next 100. And the 100 after that.