Marriage Advice

I think the best piece of advice I got when I got married was this:

Never say anything bad about your spouse publicly.

At the time, it didn’t mean that much. I was in love and he was awesome and would I ever have anything bad to say about him? I mean, like, ever?? But of course the honeymoon was over and suddenly I was living with this other person and we didn’t always see eye to eye or maybe I didn’t like that shirt or maybe it annoyed me when he would try to help me in the kitchen (I was not a cook. He was great at it. I know now it was intended to be helpful but at the time I found it condescending. We laugh about it now.). I could have called my mom and my friends and my sister and  complained all day long. Any time we had a fight, I could have gone to someone else and whined and cried about how bad I feel. I’m sure I would have gotten the comfort I needed and the validation I needed at that time.

But then, a week later, when everything is wonderful with us, how would my best friend be feeling about my husband? Knowing intimate details about our fight? Or thinking that he is a horrible person for treating me so badly when it was actually one little misunderstanding and he and I worked it out, but of course I didn’t run to my friends to tell them how awesome and nice he is and how he made me dinner and hugged me for half an hour while I just cried or how he randomly brought home a movie that I love and have been wanting to buy…

Thankfully, I never put my family or friends in the awkward predicament of having to choose sides over issues. If there is something serious going on, we went to our ecclesiastical leaders or to a professional. Not to my friends or his friends or my mom…

In this day an age, we have Facebook and Twitter and Snapchat and Instagram and… I don’t even know. There’s so much. And with all this social media people are breaking down walls of what they say. People aren’t afraid to get into arguments with complete strangers. And it seems like people are willing to risk friendships over stupid and trivial matters. Everything has become life of death and if you don’t agree with me, then I’m unfriending you and blocking you. And I’ll let everyone know what a crappy person you are.

I have seen so much personal stuff just thrown out on the internet because “It’s my Facebook and I can post what I want!” The last few days I have been devastated to read a friend making some vague and some not-so-vague digs at her husband’s family. They are definitely warranted, but I have to wonder if this is really the right venue to do so. I’m really uncomfortable. To top it off, things are being said about her husband now. I saw a comment thread go on and on as people talked with this friend about what her husband needs to do. Her husband even got on and half-heartedly tried to comment and yet more and more people got on and told him what he needs to do for his wife.

I really feel this should have been a private matter between them. I don’t live in their house and I have no idea what’s going on behind closed doors. I can shout my opinions about the the limited information I have gathered from Facebook, but how is that actually helping them? If I were to have this on my Facebook and I had 15 people jumping all over my husband, telling him what I need and what he needs to do, Ches would feel completely betrayed by me. I wouldn’t blame him for walking out, honestly. It is not the business of my friends to comment in a public manner on what I need to my husband. There are other, better, more effective avenues to take.

And another thing… if you have confided in me terrible things about your significant other and you went through a LOT of emotion in a break up, please don’t expect me to be able to just pick up and be happy when the two of you get back together. I’m super cautious. This person hurt you. And I love you and I get protective big time of the people I love. It’s hard for me to forgive all the hurt they caused you because I. Am. Not. There. And I’m scared they will do it again. I have to worked very hard to be happy for you.

I’m not saying don’t ever confide in me. I’m not saying I’m not here for you. Just know that once a person has been put in that position of “we hate so-and-so”, it’s really hard to get out of that position. I can’t switch gears that quickly. I love that you think enough of me that you come to me when you need a moment to vent. I get needing those moments (I have them. A lot.) and I encourage it because it’s not a good idea to just keep everything inside and pretend your life is all happy happy joy joy. I may talk to someone individually from time to time about my frustrations, but I don’t think you’ll ever hear me talk badly about Ches to a group or in a public forum of any kind. I love him and our marriage too much.

Overall, I think we all need to be careful of what we say in public and who we say things to. Do we want to betray that person we love? Do we want to risk damage to a relationship that will be harder than ever to repair?

Working Conditions of a SAHM

So you know that whole “No yelling” rule? Yeah. Not going so well. I keep trying not to yell, but the last few days especially I just don’t feel like I have any other course of action. I’m letting the yelling and screaming take over. It has to stop and I will start over… AGAIN. Eventually I’ll make it. It’s going to take a while.

Here’s the thing. I’m a stay at home mom. Sure, I teach color guard and winter guard, but that’s in the evenings and many weekends. It doesn’t pay much (not even enough to buy groceries). It’s more like a hobby that I get a couple of bucks. Don’t get me wrong: I love it. I do! But it’s not a career. Not for me. My job; my career is being a mom. And I have to tell you… it pretty much sucks.

I love my children and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to be at home with them. Really. But this is THE loneliest job in the world. I don’t have close friends. I go for days without actually speaking to another adult (no, my husband doesn’t count because when I’m doing guard I only see him as he’s saying “goodnight”) about something other than my children.

The working conditions of a stay at home mom is the worst. This is a 24 hour job. This is a 365 days of the year job. I do not get vacations. When we have days off school or actually get to GO somewhere (which my husband and kids would call a vacation), it’s actually more work for me. I’m the one planning and organizing the majority of what’s going on. I’m making sure everyone has clothes and eats food and isn’t bored in the car and has their favorite pillow, etc. When someone else in the family gets sick, they get to stay home. They get to stay in bed and sleep or lay on the couch and watch TV. I bring them fluids and toast, medicine, a cool compress, Kleenex, or whatever they need. If they need sleep, I keep the rest of the house quiet. When I get sick, everyone else still does their thing and I get to fend for myself. On top of that, I still have to take care of the baby (the joys of being a nursing mother!). No one takes care of me except for me, but I get to always take care of everyone else.

(Side note: This makes it sound like my husband doesn’t do anything. That’s so NOT TRUE. He’s amazing. He also does laundry and cleans the house and cooks meals. He takes care of the kids constantly and is my biggest supporter and cheerleader. I just feel so alone because he and I have to run in opposite directions and work opposite schedules on a regular basis just to keep our house running. Ches is the most awesome man I know. The BEST husband. The BEST father. This is in no way meant to bash him. This post is about me.)

I do the laundry. I make the meals. I clean the house. I drive everyone to the places they need to go. I volunteer at the school. I go on field trips. I help with homework. I read books/stories. I organize play dates. I find babysitters for those times that Ches and I both have to be gone and can’t have the kids with us. I feel like a house elf who is just hoping someone will accidentally present me with a sock.

If I could, I would totally have a Girl’s Night Out. Or a weekend away with my husband or my girlfriends. But you have to have friends to go do that with. And you have to have money to pay for it. I don’t. I don’t get paid for this job, and my husband is “only” a teacher. We all know how well they are compensated.  We have made the decision for me to stay home at this time because of how important it is to us that the kids have a parent at home. Besides, if I worked, the majority of my paycheck would go to childcare and what’s the point in that? Also, I have tried working part time and I do not do well trying to have a “real” job and still take care of my family. It just doesn’t work for me.

The worst part is that I have this crippling depression to deal with. Other people can just “make the best of it” and they are okay with the hand they are dealt. They make it work. They are happy. I am not happy. I can’t be happy. There is no way to just make myself happy. I have coping strategies so I have happy moments and I’m not constantly hiding in my bed under my covers, but believe me. I’d rather be in bed, hiding. I don’t want to face the messy house and the children asking me for help finding a t-shirt or what to make for dinner tonight when all we have is some frozen chicken and nothing to go with it.

I get frustrated and sad and angry and anxious and overwhelmed. I question my very existence. Constantly. And I have to remind myself that not everyone on Facebook is as happy and perfect as they appear.

I go to bed every night, disappointed in myself again, but promising myself that I’ll do better tomorrow. And I start fresh every morning. Some days work, some days don’t.

Today, it’s not working.

So… be kind. Realize that I’m not the only one out there that feels like this. Know that we are all fighting our own inner demons and just trying to stay afloat most of the time. And let me whine sometimes when I say how much this sucks and I dream of some ME time.

I’m Cranky And I Know It

I’m 36 weeks and 2 days today. I am scheduled for a c-section when I am exactly 39 weeks. All three of my boys came early, so I fully expect this one to come early, too. Thank goodness, because I’m SO done. I’m cranky. About stupid things. Lots of them. If you don’t mind, I’m going to list the things that are truly bothering me (and reduce me to tears… well, everything makes me cry these days. By they way… pregnancy SUCKS.)

People who drive faster than the posted speed limit in a school zone. I don’t care if it looks like no one is around because it’s the middle of the day and the kids are all in class. I don’t care if it’s still half a block from the school. It’s still a school zone. Freaking pay attention to the signs. And don’t give me bad looks or speed around me just because I’m actually following the law.

People who haven’t figured out that my name is SARIAH, not Sarah, and Ches is CHESLEY, not Chelsey. Even after repeated corrections. What’s worse is that Ches has been working for the same school in the same district for 5 years and they still can’t get it right.

People who have to give me all kinds of unasked for advice on how to recover from my upcoming c-section. Yeah. Because I haven’t done this three times already. Pretty sure I know how it goes.

People who say, “At least you’re not pregnant over the summer!” I live in Arizona. Our winters are your summers. It’s the same freaking thing. I did not retain water or have swollen feet with any of my previous pregnancies (and two of the three were truly summer pregnancies), but I have had swollen feet for probably 5 months now. It’s getting worse. They kinda hurt now. It’s too freaking hot.

People who tell me what gear I do or do not need for my new baby. Again… my fourth baby. I kinda know what I’m doing now. (This does not apply to people telling me about gear that wasn’t around when I had my other kids. For example… Bumpo chairs. Yay or nay??)

8th grade girls. I learned when I was student teaching in a middle school that 8th grade girls only see what is going on inside their mirror. This was proven to me again this weekend. Gah.

Health insurance. We have been paying out the nose for the past year so we could be on the group plan offered through the school district. Ches and I decided that we just can’t afford to keep the kids and me on this plan another year (Ches is covered by the district, so it makes sense to keep him on it), so we started to look around. To get the SAME coverage by the SAME insurance company (but go through someone else), we will be paying over HALF the amount. We have been ripped off and it pisses me off. No more group plans for me!

The heated pool in my neighborhood is just too cold. You call that heated?? Pshaw! I should be able to comfortably just jump in the pool. No shock.

Stupid birds that sing too loudly every morning outside my window. We actually have a large, grassy, courtyard like area in front of our house. So there are lots of birds, and they are holding some kind of rally out there at 530 am. Sick of it. I want to sleep.

Baby is too high and I can’t breathe.

Baby is too low and I have to go to the bathroom. Again.

I hate dusting.

I hate laundry. It’s never ending. Crap… that reminds me… I gotta throw in another load because I’m down to like two pairs of shorts that fit and 3 shirts that cover my belly.

My hair color is SO BORING. I hate my hair.

People who don’t RSVP to invitations. It’s not that hard. Click yes or no. Call the number. Email the address. It’s easy to do, so DO IT.

People who drive super slow in the far left lane on the freeway. Do not go under the speed limit in that lane. Move over to the right so I can be on my way, thank you very much.

Irritated

Is it part of pregnancy that I find myself so overly irritated by just about every one around me and everything that is happening? I am SO annoyed. SO irritated. SO bothered.

As mentioned in the comments on my last post, I feel like I have to justify all of my thoughts or actions. WHY? I do not. Guess what? I’m 35 years old. I pretty much know what I’m doing by now. I still make tons of mistakes, but WHY should I have to explain away my actions, my thoughts, my desires? This is not my first pregnancy. This is actually my fifth. This will be my fourth child born. My fourth c-section. I think I know a little bit of what I’m doing. However, I have people around me constantly trying to give me advice and tell me how I should be feeling and what I should be expecting. Ummmm, no.

We don’t even need to get into politics. I try to keep my mouth shut because no one ever agrees on politics. Why can’t people just trust that I’m going to try to make the best decisions after carefully studying and thinking out the process? We have our Arizona primary coming up. I got my sample ballot in the mail yesterday. I’m pretty sure I know who I’m going to vote for, but I’m not positive yet because there is still more to look at. There always is. (Oh no. I just realized that by advertising I will be voting in the primary now everyone knows I’m registered Republican. Let the flaming commence…) I hate politics. I’m sick of the presidential election. I’m sick of the bickering and fighting and the stupid things that are getting in the way of the actual issues (seriously… Romney speaks French fluently. Why is this a problem again? Just one example of how the politicians are taking small things and blowing them up when they never mattered in the first place).

I’m sick of being me right now. I’m sick of feeling like I’m not allowed to have an opinion on anything because I don’t speak as firmly or loudly as someone else.

I’m constantly annoyed by being told how, when, and why to do things. I’m a big girl. I can figure it out. If I need help, I’ll ask. These aren’t big things. It’s inconsequential things, like how to clean the blinds or where to put my kids’ beds. What do I actually need help and advice on? How to deal with doctors and ADHD diagnoses and major anger issues in a 6 year old… And I’m pretty sure on those I have asked for help from certain people and I completely appreciate their advice. If your child does not have ADHD and/or is highly Gifted, you have no idea what I’m going through so stop telling me things like, “He’ll just have to learn how to focus. You can’t hold his hand.” You. Don’t. Know. (Some of you reading this really do know what I’m going through, so of course I’m not talking to you in this paragraph. I need your advice and I need to hear how you dealt with things and what your child did. cough*Karen*cough)

You know what doesn’t irritate me? Support. Kind, loving words from my real friends. The ones who say things like, “I love you. You’re doing a great job. This will come to an end. I’ll pray for you.” I’d love it if you could bring me a yummy sandwich for lunch and say, “Hey, how are you feeling today? Can I take Parker so you can take a nap?” But that’s just not going to happen. My real friends are all too far away. They are the ones reading this now.

Oh yeah. I’m irritated that all y’all live far away from me. I can’t be there physically to help you, either. It drives me batty. I want to be able to be the shoulder to cry on, the one to come do your dishes or take your kids. The one to say “hey, I found this job listing from whatever company around the corner. Maybe it could help?” But no. We’re all spread out from coast to coast, in different countries, and it’s hard to not have that physical presence sometimes. So I’m irritated by that. Don’t get me wrong. I’m loving the support that I do get from each of you, my real and true friends. You are amazing and give me just what I need, when I need it. But it gets lonely sometimes when you have to stare at a computer screen in order to feel any love.

And now you know. I’m irritated, annoyed, and kind of angry on a pretty regular basis. Three more months and then this baby will be here and let’s hope I don’t have to deal with PPD this time so I can move on to being a happy mother again.

Boys Vs. Girls

It shouldn’t be a contest, but apparently it is. Everyone seems to expect that because I have three boys and I’m pregnant again that I want a little girl. Everyone seems to think that they have to wish pink on me. Everyone is very vocal about hoping that I finally get the daughter I am “obviously” trying for.

Let me make myself very clear on this. I was not trying to have a girl. I was not trying to have another baby. We thought we were done. It’s been over 5 years, after all, since the last baby. I don’t get pregnant easily. I don’t like being pregnant. This is a surprise. A happy one (I *do* love newborn babies!!), but a surprise nonetheless.

Also, I love my boys. Very, very much. I love having all boys. Yes, they are messy and loud and active doesn’t even begin to describe the boys. I love having Star Wars toys and Legos and cars and trucks and dinosaurs spread throughout the house. I hate ironing, but I love getting those crisp, white shirts on them each Sunday and fighting about whether or not they should wear a tie (the answer is always yes, by the way). Yes, I feel outnumbered in the house, but I love being the only girl. It’s what I know.

Do I want this baby to be a girl? Not really. Like I said… I know boys. I am a mom of boys. I am used to boys. I know how to change boy diapers and how to comb boy hair and where to find the cute and fun boy clothes. I know what boy toys to buy and what boy books to read to them. I know BOYS.

I will admit to having a desire for a daughter. I want to put bows in her hair and dress her up in pink plaid or cordouroy dresses. I love cute little Mary Jane shoes and white tights. I want a daughter to buy a prom dress for. To take to dance lessons and have in my color guard. I want to be able to go wedding dress shopping with my daughter someday. Several months before I got pregnant Ches caught me watching “Say Yes To The Dress” on Netflix and asked me why I was crying. “Because I’ll never have the experience of watching my daughter try on wedding dresses!” He was mystified and said, “But you’ll have daughters in law. You can go with them.”

“It’s not the same,” I answered. You see, while I am amazingly blessed to have a mother-in-law who I love dearly and who seems to be pretty fond of me, I know that is not the case for everyone. What if my sons marry girls who don’t want to have anything to do with me? Or don’t respect me? Or just plain don’t like me? What if I don’t like them??? What I have with Heide seems to be rare. I love her, I respect her, I want her to be a part of our lives. From talking with my friends, that is the exception more than the rule. That makes me sad.

Having a daughter is different than having a son. Teenage girls are SO different from boys. I work with teenage girls. I love my girls. You have no idea how much I love them and I try to keep track of them after they leave me. But I come home from work and then I whisper to my belly, “Please be a boy. Please be a boy.”

Girls are just so full of drama. Believe me, I know. I am a girl! When boys have a problem with someone, they punch it out and are done. Either they are friends again or they aren’t. Doesn’t matter. They are done. When girls have a problem, they talk to their other friends. They spread gossip and play mind games. They hold grudges. For yeeeeaaaaarrrrrssss. I am still upset at the girl “friend” of mine who, in 1994, sat down next to me in AP Biology II and said out of the blue, “Even though you’re Mormon and going to Hell, I’ll still be friends with you.” Oh, and then a year later, when my boyfriend and I broke up because we were going to universities like 2000 miles away from each other, she KISSED him that very night. Not cool. So yeah, I’m still holding a grudge. You know the movie “Mean Girls”?? That’s exactly how girls are. In middle school, high school, college, the work force… it just doesn’t end. I don’t want that in my house. I don’t want a girl because I can’t handle that kind of drama.

Boys are easy to dress. Blue jeans and a t-shrt and they’re good. Girls have to have “outfits”. And yes, there are tons of cute things out there that I drool over every time I go to the store, but the thought of having to actually buy any of that scares the heck out of me! Certain shirts with certain pants. Skirts and dresses. Casual skirts, dressy dresses. And the HAIR. My boys are lucky if we even comb their hair in the morning (well, Aiden likes his hair long, so we definitely have to brush and comb it every day…), but with girls? Brush, comb, style. Every stinking day so they don’t look like paupers going to school.

And then there are just the looks. This is going to make me sound so shallow, but it’s something I have thought a lot about. I just hope I can type out properly what I am thinking.

There is a certain standard of what is considered pretty, beautiful, cute, or whatever when it comes to females. I feel like it’s a lot more strict and a lot harder to be truly attractive as a girl. Males don’t have those same standards. I mean, how many times do we watch a TV show and the husband is this awkward looking, over-weight guy, but the wife is always super thin and super hot? Men can be downright ugly as long as they are smart and funny and friendly. Women have to beautiful no matter what.

I was a skinny, scrawny, nerdy, awkward little thing. I felt very keenly from a young age that I didn’t measure up. I never had clothes that fit me properly. I remember hanging around after church with all the kids in the gym, running around, waiting for our parents to finish gabbing so we could go home and have lunch. The older girls would play with the younger girls. You know, swing them around or play tag or whatever. I noticed, however, that the older girls only played with certain younger girls. The younger girls that wore the pretty, frilly dresses and had their hair done in perfect curls and intricate braids. These younger girls were “cute” and “pretty” already, by the age of 5 or 6. And other people noticed it. I wasn’t one of those girls. No one EVER swung me around. I was easily overlooked. Of course, my memory (like any distant memory) is flawed and it may not at all have been how I perceived it. But it was my perception. In middle school I had bad skin and a bad perm. In high school I was “one of the guys” for so long, I honestly didn’t know how to react when I was asked out on a date for the first time. (I thought he was joking. I shot him down. Big time. In front of half the band. I’ll never know if it was real. We never went out. I couldn’t figure out why someone would WANT to go out with me!) I just never was one of the pretty girls, no matter what my mom said to me.

I don’t want that for my daughter. I don’t want her to feel awkward and ugly at age 6 or 16. I’m scared of the standards our society has set out for beauty for girls and I just plain don’t want to deal with it. I don’t have the best body image of myself, and I don’t want to be a bad example to her because I feel so fat and ugly and unsure of myself at age 35. I’m scared of eating disorders. I’m scared of outside influences. I’m scared of my influence.

And now you know. I don’t want a girl. I want another boy.

I’ll find out in probably another 2 weeks. And if it’s a girl, I WILL rejoice and look forward to all the great things a girl will bring to our family. For now, however, I will continue to hope for another boy. I don’t want to hear another word about it.

Mormons, Sex, and Basketball

There has been so much press lately about this “sex scandal” involving Brandon Davies, a basketball player for BYU. I’m not going to rehash the entire story or even provide links to the story simply because I think most of you have read enough and know enough of what’s going on. I just want to give a few of my own thoughts on the subject. Am I an expert? Nope. I am a Mormon, but that doesn’t mean I speak for all Mormons. I speak for myself. I enjoy watching basketball, but I don’t follow it closely. I just enjoy the game. So everything I say here should be taken with a grain of salt.

I am not a fan of BYU. I don’t hate the school or anything, but I’m just not a fan. Through all of this “controversy” I have become a huge fan of Brandon Davies, however. And yes, I will be cheering BYU on as they play through the championships. I hope they go far.

I attended a Church-run school myself. I wish given a copy of the Honor Code with all the information about the school, so I had a chance to read it and agree to it before I ever even applied to the school. BYU and all the LDS church run schools are private schools. They have every right to have an extremely strict Honor Code. Every applicant knowingly signs the Honor Code. They all agree to it. It is never a surprise to find out that rules are being broken because as a student, you are made fully aware of what you are signing on to. If you don’t like the rules, you either don’t attend the school (thereby giving the spot to one of many students who would gladly follow the rules and attend the school) or you obey the rules but get on a committee that helps review things and change things. You try to change things in a positive manner. When I was at Ricks College (now BYU-Idaho) I was in amazement at the many people who had blatant Honor Code violations because they simply didn’t like it. I may not have agreed with everything,either (seriously… a curfew for college students??),  but I did my best to adhere to what I had signed on for. I signed my name stating that I would follow the Honor Code and I tried to be honorable and live by my word.

I have made the mistake of reading comments on other news articles and blog posts about this whole thing with Brandon Davies. Wow, there are a lot of negative, degrading people out there! I couldn’t believe how many people used the words “medeival”, “archaic”, and “antiquated” when describing the part of the honor code the says to live a chaste life. Most people didn’t even have the verbal skills to use those words, however, and pretty much just called it stupid. Many commenters said it is unrealistic to expect a 19 year old to not have sex with his girlfriend. And even more said that the Mormon church is making sex out to be dirty and shameful.

Again, I don’t speak for the Church and I don’t speak for every Mormon, but I do have my own experiences and opinions on this. So this is what I believe.

Sex is not dirty. It is not shameful. I have never, ever been taught that in church or by my church leaders or even by my parents. Not once. I was taught that sex is very special, sacred, intimate, and private. My parents didn’t talk a lot about it to me, and it would have been nice to have some more information, yes. It was drilled into me that premarital sex is not okay, but I knew there was a difference between being told not to have sex until marriage and not to have sex ever. Mormons obviously have sex (look at the number of children we have!), and we don’t have to constantly talk about it or advertise our sex lives to know that we actually have very healthy, enjoyable sex lives. The thing is, we hold it so close to our hearts… make it into such a special and intimate act… that it really is that important to only have sex with our spouse, and only after we’re married. Ches and I did not have sex of any kind until after we were married. Why? Because we wanted it to be that special. We wanted to wait and to save it for that time. Did I want to be intimate with Ches while we were engaged? Absolutely! But it was more important for both of us to wait. I cannot express how important it is to members of my church that we really do hold off until marriage for sex. It is not something that everyone else believes and I don’t think I’ll be changing anyone’s mind, either. I would just like people who are not of our faith to understand and respect that this is extremely important and leave it at that.

I also do not believe it is unrealistic to expect teenagers or young adults to abstain from sex. Yes, there are plenty out there that are going to have sex. I get that. I do not deny it. I feel like society has turned teenagers into walking hormones with no self-control that are ready to rip each other’s clothes off at a moment’s notice. We have made sex so prevalent in our movies, music, advertisements, books, speech, etc., that it’s no wonder that’s all we think about. Just because it’s so out there doesn’t mean that it’s that normal, however. There are so many things going on for teenagers and young adults. They are figuring out who they are and what kind of adults they want to be. Why do just expect that sleeping around is part of it? It’s not! It’s okay to teach kids to abstain from sex until they are older and more ready for it. Because of my believe that it is such an intimate and special act, I believe that it is a highly emotional thing that is being shoved down our throats as something commonplace. It’s not special if you’re experimenting with different partners or whatever. It’s not special if you never hold off or hold back. I’m not saying that it is shameful to ever have sex and we shouldn’t have it at all. I’m just saying to hold off… and don’t have such a low opinion of young adults that they “can’t”. Sex isn’t everything. There are so many more things… far more important things… than having sex. And there is so much more to it than having sex because your 19 and that’s what 19 year olds do.

I feel awful for Brandon Davies. He has been thrust into this spotlight for a seemingly small mistake. As important as chastity is to us as members of the LDS church, in comparison to the kinds of things athletes at other schools do, this is nothing. I find Davies to be extremely brave. He broke the Honor Code. He committed a serious sin. He did not wait until the end of the basketball season to confess. It seems to me he went to his bishop right away. He could have waited, you know. It doesn’t sound like anyone caught him doing anything. He made the choice to confess. He wasn’t coerced into confessing. There is no actual scandal involved. The girl isn’t pregnant. Again, he could have waited until April and stayed on the team, but he didn’t. He knew what he did was wrong and he decided to take care of it right away. That takes guts. That takes honor. Sadly, the entire nation knows what he did and he is unable to take care of this privately, as he should be. Can you imagine the pressure he must be under? Let’s not forget his girlfriend in all this. She is also a BYU student. Everyone knows what they did. That’s just never fun to have your private life broadcast. I wish we could just let them take care of this privately. (And yes, I realize that by writing on my blog I am also making this much more of a public display that I should. I have thought long and hard about writing this, believe me.)

I read comments that Davies will be shunned because of having sex. Interestingly enough, that seems to be the opposite of what has happened. Davies has the support of his teammates and coaches and the entire student body. Guess what, general public? Most Mormons do very little shunning. I’m sorry for that one random person you know that was disowned by their family, but in most cases, we are a very accepting group of people. We know that we are all human and we all make mistakes and we are all just doing the best we can. None of us are perfect, and we don’t ostracize others for not being perfect.

I am glad he didn’t get any kind of preferential treatment. It says a lot for the university. Basketball is extremely important to Mormons. We have basketball leagues in our congregations across the world. “Church ball” is crazy! But it’s part of our culture. We love playing as much as we love cheering it on. And BYU fans are pretty rabid (I know some of you reading this “bleed blue” and can attest to this) about their sports. So yes, it is disappointing to have such a great player get suspended from the team. I am absolutely amazed at the love and support Davies is getting. No one is going to blame him if the team doesn’t win the whole sh-bang. If they do blame him… well, we need to re-teach the concept of team sports, then. One person does not make the team. And honestly, before he was suspended, how many non-BYU fans had heard of Davies? It was all about “Jimmers”, wasn’t it? Not saying he’s not an important member of the team, but there are all those other guys on the team that also play and can pick up the slack.

So Davies confessed to violating the Honor Code and was suspended from the team. He had to know he was going to be suspended from the team. He had to know that by not waiting until the end of the season that he was putting himself in jeopardy of suspension simply because BYU has suspended football players for the same thing. It’s well publicized. You break the Honor Code, you face the consequences. Hey, Amare Stoudemire… he’s still in school. No one is denying him an education. Before you start spouting off ugly, hateful things you should understand what you’re talking about. We have this great concept that we believe in as Christians. It’s called the Atonement. We believe in repentance and forgiveness. By confessing what he did, Davies is seeking repentance and forgiveness. There are consequences for our actions, and being suspended from the team is the consequence. However, because he isn’t repeatedly breaking the rules he gets to stay in school and everyone says they are sure he’ll be on the team again next year. I can completely see that happening. We believe in forgiveness, and Davies is absolutely going to get it.

So, I’ve rambled on far too long. Most of my readers are also LDS, went to Church-run schools, and probably having the same thoughts as I. I just wanted to throw it out there. Not to beat a dead horse, as my friend Katie has said, but I find the entire issue fascinating because of the reactions of both Mormons and non Mormons.

Date Night

Ches and I don’t actually do date night. I know we’re supposed to have a regular date night, and I know that we would both like to have one. However, there are several reasons why we don’t.

For our monthly Relief Society Meeting next week, one of my neighbors is teaching a class about date night ideas. She sent out a little survey to everyone last week. Yesterday I showed up to park day and she said, “Okay, you haven’t answered my survey so I’m going to ask you the questions right now…”

I interrupted. And I yelled at her (I’m really, really sorry for yelling at you Jill. It was just a bad day.), “I’ll give you the answers. We don’t have date night. We don’t go on dates. My husband works so much that we hardly have time to go. We can’t afford a babysitter. I have tried several times to get into or set up a swap with people that were interested, but then they drop out for whatever reason. It falls through. And then I find out later they have set up a swap with someone else. So no, we don’t have dates. I don’t have a ‘Best Date Ever’ because just getting a date is the Best Date Ever. And I don’t have any good ideas for a date I have wanted to try because I just want to be able to go out with my husband in the first place.”

I really didn’t mean to sound so angry and bitter, but it came out like that. Really, I kind of am angry and bitter about it. I can’t figure out how to get a babysitting swap going. I have tried countless times. I have approached people and I have been approached by people. In the end, it always falls through. I give up. Later, when I hear some of these people are in a different babysitting swap that they managed to set up with some other couples, I just end up more bitter and angry. I’m very hurt. What’s wrong with me? Do people not trust me to be with their kids? Do people not like me? Do they not like my kids? In my head, it’s all of that. They don’t like me, they don’t like my kids, and they don’t trust me. I could go on a whole different rant about that. Again, I’m sure I’m just being paranoid and overreacting, but it’s hard not to feel disliked and distrusted when not only is no one available to you, but you are never asked to babysit for them, or do favors for them, or even have your kid play with theirs.

I’m counting down the years until Aiden can start watching his brothers. 3 more years and he’ll be 11 and I’ll be okay leaving him for a short amount of time. Until then… do I just give up on dates? Absolutely not! Instead, I spend countless hours texting and phoning and emailing. I scramble and scramble. I usually find someone in the end, but there have been a lot of times where I’ve had to give up and not attend something because I can’t find a sitter.

Ches is taking his orchestra students to see Joshua Bell tonight. I had to scramble to find a sitter, and thankfully my new walking partner and friend volunteered. She happened to be at my house when I got the text from the teenager we had asked saying she had a family thing. My friend said, “let me check my schedule, but I think I can do it.” Oh, thank you thank you thank you, Jeanetta! Now I just need to find someone for tomorrow afternoon and next Thursday night… We’re going into debt just to attend these concerts, but dang it, I’m going to see Wynton Marsalis next week no matter what! Again, Ches is taking students. I’m counting both of these as dates, however.

You take what you can get.