Happy Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day to the present fathers, step-fathers, adoptive fathers, fathers of loss, fathers of divorce or separation, fathers-to-be, and future fathers who are trying to so hard become fathers.

Hello, friends. Today is Father’s Day, and for many, this is a day for celebrating the man, or men, in your lives who have helped to shape you into the person you are today. Unfortunately, for many others, this can be a sad, or upsetting day. To those of you who are struggling on this day, whether it be from a sense of absence, loss, or some other type of pain, I just want you to know that you are not alone.

I want to take a moment to thank three men in my life who all had a hand in making me the person I am today. My relationship with each is wildly different, but they are the fathers I have known in my life.

First and foremost, I want to wish a happy second Father’s Day to the love of my life, my rock, my everything, Kyle. I wish I could put into words how much you mean to Liam and I, and how much we appreciate how hard you work for us. The love you have for our son shines through your every interaction, and I know that he absolutely adores you. We both do. I wish we could celebrate Father’s Day today, but you’ll be at work, working your butt off to make sure that Liam and I have a good life. I am so proud of the man and father that you have become, and I love you very much.

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Secondly, I want to say happy Father’s Day to a man who has been in my life for nearly 20 years. A man who I have always had a rough relationship with, but who was always there for my mom and I. I don’t even have a single picture of you and I, but Happy Father’s Day to my step-father, Larry. You took in a woman and her daughter who were down on their luck, gave them a roof over their heads, and supported them financially until they could get back on their feet. You had a son of your own, but accepted me as your second child, even though we butted heads constantly. You were never easy to get along with, but you have come a long way, and have made my mom so happy. Thank you for all the gifts you paid for, but took no credit for. Thank you for trying, even if it didn’t work out the way you wanted. Thank you for keeping my mom sane and happy. Thank you.

And finally, I want to say happy Father’s Day to my biological father, Mike. I haven’t seen you in many years, and before that, many years more. I never knew you growing up, and I wish you had cared more about me, and your other children, than drugs and stealing. It was hard growing up without a father. I blamed you for a lot my my mom’s unhappiness, as well as my own. I blamed you for every bad boyfriend, every crappy apartment, and every toy I wanted but never received. I know now that you were sick. You are sick. And you are incapable of caring about anything, or anyone, including yourself. Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, I hope you are taking care of yourself today.

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Happy Father’s Day to the present fathers, step-fathers, adoptive fathers, fathers of loss, fathers of divorce or separation, fathers-to-be, and future fathers who are trying to so hard become fathers. Enjoy your day!

Thanks for reading, friends.

Jan

Daily Prompt 3/16/2016 | Envy

Take some time to appreciate your cards, because while you may not have a Royal Flush, your Full House is still better than that other guy’s hand, which spontaneously combusted, burning both the cards, and his hands, and then he was rushing to the hospital, but he didn’t have insurance because he lives in a crappy country with an even crappier healthcare system, and he were slapped with an outrageous medical bill that he will never be able to pay because he never got to finish school, because he couldn’t afford the high tuition at the community college he attended, and has since been stuck working horrible jobs that pay poverty wages, making it impossible for him to go back to school to finish his education, even though he really, really wants to so that he can have a better life, but now he is horribly in debt, and now people will call him lazy for the rest of his life without knowing a damn thing about his struggles to try and build a better life for himself.

In response to The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt 3/16/2016 | Envy

One of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to myself is my somewhat lack of appreciation for the things that I have. Yes, I am aware that this is a huge, obnoxious flaw on my otherwise sterling list of personality traits, but I also feel like we are all guilty of this to some degree, even if we try to say that we aren’t. We live in a society that tells us that our worth is based off of what we look like, and how much stuff we have, and this makes us want more and more, even when we already have all that we need. Everyone does it. Try as I may, I can not seem to change this ugly thing about myself, though I have gotten much better about accepting my life and certain situations in recent years.

I think my envious nature peaked in high school, and plateaued pretty terribly over the next few years. I was jealous of every single person that I met, sometimes over the most ridiculous things. So much so, that I became bitter toward people, even complete strangers, for having things that I did not. And, of course, when you focus all your energy on all of the things that you don’t have, you don’t leave yourself enough energy to love the things you do have, especially when it comes to personal things, such as appearance.

I still have days where I want to curl up into a tiny ball of hatred thanks to my envy of the most trivial, unimportant things, but I’ve got a pretty decent handle on it these days. Growing up, and starting a family, has opened my eyes, and has helped me appreciate many of the things that I do have in my life, both big and small.

I’ve struggled with my weight throughout most of my teenage and adult life, and sometimes, when I see a thin girl wearing something cute that I don’t think I could pull off, I get upset. But then I remind myself that I am aware of my body, and I am working on it, and some day, I could wear that same outfit with confidence. She may have insecurities as well. No one is perfect. Yes, I have a weight problem, but I am otherwise healthy. I have perfect blood pressure, perfect cholesterol, no major back problems, and no underlying medical conditions that attribute to my weight issue that would make it impossible to lose weight. I am healthy, and if I really hate my appearance that much, I do have the power to change it. The only thing stopping me, is me.

I also get jealous over gorgeous hair, flawless skin, full lips, etc… but hey, that is just genetics. And those who don’t have it, either embrace what they were born with, or fake it. And I don’t particularly want to be fake.

The one thing that I have been obnoxiously proud of in my life is my son. My handsome, energetic, brilliant son. My son, who has been sleeping through the night, every night, since he was 4 months old. My son, who is tall and skinny and perfect. My son, who amazes me every day with how advanced he is with his development. My son, who embraces strangers’ children at the park because he loves people and playing. I am so freaking proud of the little human that I created, and I pat myself on the back for being a huge factor in who he is today. I rock.

Moving on…

Money. Everyone wants more money. People who say money doesn’t matter, or money can’t buy happiness, are lying. Have you ever been behind on paying your bills, and have run the risk of having your power and heat shut off in the middle of winter? Have you ever looked in your cabinet, and saw that your baby was almost out of formula, and it would be a solid week before you could afford more? These things cause massive amounts of stress and anxiety on people. I’ve struggled with these things. Luckily, our financial situation has stabilized, and we are so much better off than we were just a year ago. My husband works his butt off so that I can stay home to raise our beautiful son, and we are still able to have full bellies and paid bills, even with only one of of working. We have a crummy apartment, but we aren’t homeless. We don’t have a Mercedes, but we have a reliable car that gets us around safely. We don’t have new, high end furniture, but we have comfy beds where we dream of a better future, a used couch that my son loves to climb on, and everything in our apartment serves it’s purpose.

Being jealous of what other people have is normal, in my opinion. I find myself still feeling it from time to time, most often with my sister-in-law, who is two months younger than me, but she has a house, two cars, and is constantly decorating and redecorating her home in beautiful ways. But I also know that she is in debt. A lot of debt. I have no debt. None at all. I also have a phenomenal credit score, and I don’t even have any credit cards. When she got pregnant at a young age, she lived at home with her mother for a long time with her boyfriend, and did not have to work to pay bills. They were able to just save and save and save. Her now husband has a great job, and was able to support her for several years, and was able to buy her a car, and pay for her to go to school, so that she could get a decent job, and they were able to save up until they could buy a house.

She is still in debt, and complains about it often, yet is constantly buying new furniture, and gets her nails and hair done bi-weekly. Having the prettiest house on Pinterest, and the most sparkly nails at work, are not goals that I want to obtain. I want my son to have a college fund. I don’t feel like the understands the value of money, and how crippling debt can be, because of being handed things, and I guess that is where we vary. Our situations are wildly different, because we had different advantages and disadvantages, which obviously would lead to different outcomes.

I got off on a bit of a tangent, and I’m not quite sure where I was going, so I guess I’ll leave it there. Sorry about that. I guess what I was trying to say was that everyone has a different story, and that green may be my favorite color, but it is not flattering to wear green on your heart. Everyone has been dealt a different set of cards, and that will have a huge impact on the game and how we play it.

Take some time to appreciate your cards, because while you may not have a Royal Flush, your Full House is still better than that other guy’s hand, which spontaneously combusted, burning both the cards, and his hands, and then he was rushing to the hospital, but he didn’t have insurance because he lives in a crappy country with an even crappier healthcare system, and he were slapped with an outrageous medical bill that he will never be able to pay because he never got to finish school, because he couldn’t afford the high tuition at the community college he attended, and doesn’t have anyone who can help him out financially, so he has since been stuck working menial, dead end jobs that pay poverty wages, making it impossible for him to go back to school to finish his education, even though he really, really wants to so that he can have a better life, but now he is horribly in debt, and now people will call him lazy for the rest of his life without knowing a damn thing about his struggles to try and build a better life for himself.

Yeah. You’re probably at least slightly better off than that guy. So appreciate your shit.

Thanks for reading, friends.

Jan

The 5 Love Languages Test

Recently, I stumbled across a Good Mythical Morning video on YouTube, which inspired me to create a bit of a writing challenge for myself, revolving around The 5 Love Languages Test. The 5 Love Languages Test was developed by Dr. Gary Chapman, who is an accomplished author, as well as a marriage counselor, and motivational speaker. The test is a series of only 30 questions, which help you determine your love language (or your child’s), and what is most important to you in a relationship. There are 5 different love languages: Acts of Service, Words of Affirmation, Physical Touch, Quality Time, and Receiving Gifts.

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Once you complete the test, these 5 love languages will be listed, in order of importance to you, based on how you answered, and you will be given a complete breakdown on what your results mean. Here were my results:

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According to the website, my highest scoring language was Acts of Service, with 12/30 points. The website defines Acts of Service as the following:

“Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter. Finding ways to serve speaks volumes to the recipient of these acts.”

Do I agree with my final results?

Nail. On. The. Head!

As a stay-at-home mom, nearly all of my time and energy is spent on my son. Cooking meals, cleaning up spills, changing diapers, teaching, playing, etc. The time that I’m not spending with my son, such as during his naps, are usually spent taking care of myself. Things such as showering, finding something of my own to eat, or even catching a short nap so that I don’t fall asleep in the middle of building a Mega Bloks tower, become priority when my little monster is in his crib. Dishes, vacuuming, folding laundry, scrubbing the toilet, and other household chores, just melt away into the chaos, and my apartment slowly turns into a war torn country. Acts of Service are like tiny Christmases in my life. They don’t happen nearly as often as I would like, however, and that is a problem for me.

My fiance works 55-65 hours a week between his two jobs, and is usually exhausted by the time he gets home. He simply does not have the time, or energy, to help me with the housework, or with our toddler. I hate my apartment being messy, and while I do manage to find the time to keep my living room, and my son’s room, neat and organized, there is so much more that I wish I could get done, but I definitely don’t really have the time or energy either.

Recently, my son had been going through a bit of sleep regression/separation anxiety, and was waking me up every hour to hour and a half. I slept terribly, and so did he. Despite this, he still managed to wake up, bright and early, ready to begin his day. I, on the other hand, could not move. My fiance, who did not have to work until later in the morning, and was still home, got out of bed, changed our son’s diaper, and occupied him for a bit so that I could get a few extra minutes of sleep before making them breakfast. In the 13 months my son has been in this world, my his father has only changed 7 diapers, including that one. He’s verrry squeamish, and even pee diapers make him queasy. For him to realize that I was basically comatose, and to take care of our son so that I could get those few moments to myself, truly meant so much to me. It wasn’t exactly emptying our sink of all the dirty dishes, but it was a huge help. If we weren’t already engaged, I would put a ring on that man so fast if he did my dishes for me…

What about my other scores?

If you had asked me all these same questions pre-baby, my answers would have been completely different. My obsession with keeping my apartment reasonably clean has basically consumed all of me, and at the end of the day, I have no desire for anything else, much to my fiance’s dismay. I’m not surprised that Physical Touch is at the bottom of the list, as it has never been that important to me to begin with, intimate or otherwise. I’ve never been big on affection in public, but lately, we have both just been too exhausted to even cuddle with each other on the couch. Well, about half of the time.

Which brings us to Quality Time, the second highest result. While I may be low on my desire for Physical Touch, I do very much love my fiance, and I value what little time we do get to spend together. We don’t have date nights, or anything like that, but even sitting next to each other, watching Netflix, means a lot to me. I look forward to the one day a week that he gets off, just so that we can go to the store as a family, or go for a walk. That means so much to me.

Words of Affirmation and Receiving Gifts are also low on my list of results, and there is a good reason… I simply don’t like them. Pre-baby, these things would have been tied for the absolute bottom, because both make me quite uncomfortable. Sure, I appreciate hearing, “I love you.” every once in a while, but other than that, I do not take compliments, or gifts well, even from a significant other. Every birthday, Christmas, and Valentine’s Day, I insist that Kyle not get me anything, but he refuses, and I end up with flowers, candy, a cute stuffed animal, or a new piece of jewelry. I don’t mind getting these things from him (as opposed to getting presents from family, which makes me incredibly uncomfortable, but they will not listen to reason) but they aren’t things that I actively desire. Same thing with compliments. It makes me smile when someone tells me I am a good mom, but I definitely don’t like compliments pertaining to my appearance, even from Kyle. I just don’t. Never have.

All in all, I would say that I completely agree with my results, and I understand why I got them. I didn’t necessarily learn anything new about myself, as I’ve always been pretty in-tune with my needs, but I feel like I should sit down with Kyle, show him my results, explain what they mean to me, and have him take the test as well, so that we better understand what we need from the other person. Our relationship is great, but it is not without flaws and challenges, and I feel like this exercise could help us out.

My challenge to you: Take the test, and write a post about your results, and how you felt about them. Were you surprised by your results, or were they expected? Did you learn anything new about yourself? I encourage anyone reading this to take the test, whether you are in a relationship or not. You can even take the test for your child. Who knows, it may help you understand your own needs, or someone else’s, a bit better. Let me know if you do!

Thanks for reading, friends.

Jan

Daily Prompt 2/8/2016 | Janise

The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt 2/8/2016 | Say Your Name

“Write about your first name: Are you named after someone or something? Are there any stories or associations attached to it? If you had the choice, would you rename yourself?”

My name is Janise. Say it out loud. It is pronounced the same as Janice, or Janis, but spelled slightly differently. When you look at my name, what pronunciation did you use? Did you say it correctly, or did you say Jan-EE-se? If that’s what popped into your head, then we can’t be friends anymore.

Well, fine, we can be. I guess. You’re lucky you’re cute.

Growing up, everyone mispronounced my name, and I never understood why. My name is not exotic. It’s somewhat uncommon, but, seriously? Maybe because it’s my name, but when I look at it, I think of Janice. I mean, have you ever met someone named Jan-EE-se? I’m sure they exist, but I certain’y haven’t met one. From kindergarten, all the way until my senior year in high school, every teacher that I ever had pronounced it wrong. Usually more than once. In fact, my homeroom teacher, which I had for all four years of high school, never once pronounced my name properly. He was also our senior class adviser, who called our names at graduation for our diplomas, and I had to remind him how to say my name. Twice.

Towards the end of my senior year, I started going by Jan, and I still do to this day. I don’t know if it was just where I grew up, but people out here (I grew up in southern Maine, and now live in central Illinois) seem to know how to correctly pronounce my name, and I’ve only had a handful of instances in the last 7 or 8 years where people slipped up and called me Jan-EE-se. But I still go by Jan. Dropping those few extra letters has changed my life, honestly. I gained a whole new persona.

With all of that having been said, I do like my name. I’m not named after anyone special or significant, but it is my name. It’s not rare, or exotic, but it also isn’t a common name. I used to detest my name, and always asked my mom why she had to name me something so weird. But, really, my name isn’t weird at all. Now that I am old enough to appreciate it, I like that it is spelled a bit differently, because it gets people talking, and it a good ice breaker whenever I have to introduce myself, like at a job interview, or some other situation where the person would be looking at my name on paper. I finally grew into the uniqueness of my name, and I wouldn’t change it at all. Not one, single letter.

Do you have a name that is often mispronounced?

Thanks for reading, friends.

Jan(ise)