On Friday I opened the blog up to questions from readers and promised to answer as many as I could today. So, here we go:
Why did you move your blog over to its own domain? Did this improve your number of hits? And is it making you any money? I started this blog as a way to keep in touch with family and close friends. But the more I posted on my marriage, the more people found it interesting. Pretty soon, I was averaging about 500 hits a day through my original WordPress blog. Then the hits went up to 1,000 a day and I decided it was time to expand. Moving to my own domain allows me to do things like write my own code, create my own layouts, and €“ most importantly! €“ generate revenue. Since I have moved over to my own domain, my readership has grown and I now fluxuate between 3,000 and 5,000 hits a day, depending on the topic. I am making money with the blog, but it definitely isn €™t enough to quit my job ( €¦yet!). I €™m still counting on a billion dollar book deal!
How did you decide to write a blog about such personal experiences? How are you comfortable being so open about personal relationships, feelings, shortcomings, etc.? Its funny because I don €™t really consider myself a very open person! If I had to classify myself, I €™m actually a bit on the shy side. So, its pretty odd to me, too, that my blog is so honest and open. But there is a reason. One of the reasons that I personally believe the divorce rate is so high in the US is because no one talks about healthy marriages. The only time you ever hear anything about marriage is either when people are so perfect it drives you crazy or people are about to get a divorce. I wanted to write a blog about the daily issues of a real married couple. There is middle ground between being the perfect married couple and being on the path to divorce, but when no one talks about what those real marriages look like, then suddenly expectations for marriages are set incredibly high and at the first hint of trouble or disagreements, people are ready to throw in the towel because no one has ever told them that the things they are dealing with are completely normal. People are so afraid to talk about the problems in their marriage because they are afraid people will think that they are unhappy or are not right for each other or are on the way to the divorce attorney. What a load of crap! Real marriages have people who really love each other all of the time and who really can €™t stand each other some of the time and who really fight and who really make up. That €™s a real marriage. But if no one represents that voice, then how do people know that their marriage is normal? People take marriage way too seriously. I don €™t mean to say that a marriage is something to be taken lightly at all. It is a serious decision to make and it has serious consequences. But Chris and I found that pointing our fingers and laughing at each other was a hell of lot better than pointing our fingers and blaming each other. We try to stay humorous. We try to stay happy. And I try to keep this blog honest and real so that people can see how strong a marriage can be even when things aren €™t perfect. Another reason that I €™m so open with my issues is that it is very therapeutic for me. Sometimes Chris and I will have a big fight and when I sit down to write about the humor I found in that fight, I let some of my own anger go.
How did you know you were ready to get married so young and do you ever regret it? This is by far the question people email me the most about. Chris and I got married at the age of 22, right out of college. We €™d been together since we were 16-years-old. But to be honest, I would have married him at 22 even if I €™d just met him. For me, the question was never €œCan I spend the rest of my life with this person? € The question was always, €œDo I want to spend the rest of my life without this person? € And my answer was always no. I don €™t know where we €™ll be in ten years. I don €™t even know what we €™re having for dinner tomorrow night! But I can tell you that where ever I am, I want Chris there, too. And, for me, that was enough to marry him. Everyone has their own reasons and justifications for getting married, so I €™m not saying my criteria is for everyone €“ or anyone for that matter. But that was the question that I asked myself when I decided to marry Chris. And, no, I haven €™t regretted one day after my decision. There is nothing I want to do in life that I can €™t do while being married to Chris and so I don €™t choose to look at it as if I have someone holding me back. In fact, I €™ve done more than I ever could have dreamed of doing because Chris was by my side.
What is your favorite thing about being married in general? My favorite part of being married is going to bed at night. When Chris and I were in college, we dated long distance for four years and I got used to falling asleep talking to him on the phone every night. Now, five years later, I still smile to myself when we climb into the same bed. It is my favorite part of the day and I don €™t think I €™ll ever take that for granted.
How did you get your job and did you have a totally different career plan for yourself or is this what you wanted to do? I don €™t really talk about my job on the blog that often, but I do love it. It is not, however, where I EVER pictured myself being. I actually thought I €™d be a Congresswoman or at the very least a kick-ass attorney by now! But two weeks after I received my acceptance letter to law school in Florida, Chris was accepted to Yale in Connecticut. And you don €™t turn down Yale. So, we moved and I decided to apply to law school in Connecticut instead. But I ended up withdrawing my application because I saw how passionate Chris was about his field of study and I realized I wasn €™t that passionate about law. So I sat down and thought about when I was happiest professionally and it was college. I loved the educational environment. I loved working with students and helping them find their paths. And so I started applying for positions at Yale and I finally got one a few months later. And here I am. Its not where I thought I €™d be, but I wouldn €™t want to be anywhere else.
How did you and Chris know you were ready for kids? When we bought our house in Connecticut last summer, there was this tiny bedroom upstairs. It was painted pale pink. When we started redecorating and working on the house room by room, I saved that room for last. And sometimes I €™d wander in there at night and think about what it would be like to use this room as OUR nursery. That was when I first started thinking about it. When I talked to Chris about our time line, he said that if it were to happen he would be okay with it. He didn €™t want to think about it as trying to have a baby because that was too much pressure. But IF it happened, he would happy.
We were pregnant the next month. I call it a surprise because €¦well €¦it certainly surprised Chris!
Were you ever weirded out by the fact that you were growing a person inside of you? What did the kicking feel like? Did it keep you awake at night? HECK YEAH, I was freaked out!! That was one of the things that made me the most uncomfortable during my pregnancy. If I thought too much about the fact that it was a HUMAN BEING that was growing in my belly, I got really weirded out. But his kicks were just heavenly. They felt sort of like what it feels like if you hold a fish in your hands. Okay, that €™s probably not a €œheavenly € image. But it was. And he kicked a LOT. A LOT. And because he was breech, his hands and his feet were in the same general area, so when he started kicking and pushing, it was all in the same place in my stomach. I actually became pretty sore up in my ribs because he moved in the same spot so much. But I loved the kicking. It made it feel real to me and not just like some sci-fi movie!
What is the most unexpected part of motherhood? Good or bad? I think the most surprising thing was how naturally it came to me. I €™ve never really been a baby-gazer. I wasn €™t one of those women who always wanted to hold the baby in the room. And so I thought I may have to warm up to the baby first. I just couldn €™t get my head around not being a mom one second and then being a mom the next. But that €™s exactly how it happened, and I actually felt that. It came so easily and naturally and it happened right away. I just knew what to do. It was so weird. The bad surprise has been how inconvenient it is to just €œrun in € somewhere. Like if I want to run in to the post office to get stamps. A quick little 2 minute trip just takes a lot longer with a baby. But in the grand scheme of things, its not that big of a deal and it has been nice to have someone who makes me slow down in life.
What is the one baby item that has been a lifesaver for you? That €™s a hard question because, in general, I hate most baby items!! But his swing has been pretty darn fantastic. We have this one and he loves it. LOVES IT. He takes naps in it and plays in it and just hangs out there. We couldn €™t live without it!
Are you using your gym membership yet? No, but thanks for the laugh.
How is your bond with Beanie now? Everyone was right. The Bean does flip flop between who he prefers to hang out with €“ me or Chris. Right now, its me and I love it. The other day he smiled in recognition of me when I got him up from his nap. Any mom will tell you that the first time you know your child recognizes you, it just melts your heart. In fact, I promised him a pony that afternoon.
How are your c-section incisions healing? By Week 5 after my c-section I felt worlds better. And now it is Week 7 and I finally feel like myself again. There isn €™t anything that I can €™t physically do now and that is just fantastic. I don €™t work well with limitations.
How long is maternity leave in the U.S.? At my job, you can take as much time as you want but you €™ll only get paid for whatever days off you use. Luckily, I had saved up a bunch of days off and so I €™m taking 12 weeks. The law says that employers have to give you a certain amount of time if you request it, but they don €™t have to pay you for it. I €™m fortunate that my company does pay me during my leave.
What will your days be like when you go back to work? We have Beanie enrolled at a really cute daycare center that I am really comfortable with. So, I €™ll drop him at the daycare on my way to work and then pick him up on my way home. Chris can €™t really do this because he works in the opposite direction of the daycare and he leaves so early in the mornings. I €™m dreading it, but its actually not a bad set up.
How are the dogs dealing with the baby? The dogs are spectacular with the baby. Lucy doesn €™t pay much attention to him really. She comes up and kisses him every once in a while, but for the most part she doesn €™t really mess with him. Molly on the other hand would kidnap him for her own if I didn €™t watch out for her. She follows that baby everywhere. She only occasionally tries to touch him and when she does its to lick his arms, hands, face, toes, ears, etc. Mostly, she just likes to be near him. She lays on the floor next to wherever he is. She even sleeps in the nursery. I was really nervous about the dogs, but they have been pretty awesome really.
Do you know how adorable your baby is? Yes. Yes, I do.