Hi friends! Happy Tuesday.
Today marks 31 years on this earth for me. I absolutely LOVE my birthday, even at this ripe old age 😉 I have the day off from work (I ALWAYS take my birthday off) and I’m spending it with my favorite little man. Drew is coming home early from work so that I can go to the massage he booked me. We’ll then spend a little family time together, put our sweet toddler to bed, and have a date at home. It really doesn’t get better than this and I’m soaking this sweet and special time in. Thank you to Drew for making me feel special every single day, and especially special on our big days.
Why I’m Loving My 30s
I have yet to have any issues with aging. When I hit the big 3-0 milestone, I was a brand new mama and just as happy as could be. I wrote this post last year, and when I reread it…I loved it. I look at each year as an absolute blessing, the Lord is giving me more time down here to be with the people that I love SO dang much. My job as an oncology nurse is a constant reminder to not take my health or the time here for granted and I will forever be thankful I entered a profession that continually teaches me life lessons.
I’m quite positive that I’ve never been happier than I am right now. A lot goes into this: my soulmate and hunk of a husband, our beautiful and hilarious toddler, our second baby growing big and strong in my belly, and my pursuit of dreams (this blog and Expecting and Empowered)!
As I reflected for this post I also realized it is in large part due to maturing, growing, and evolving as a person. And, I’m not done yet. There are plenty of places that I know I can improve and I think honoring that perspective will give me the opportunity to continue to be my happiest self.
I wanted to share my reflection with you today on what has worked:
Learning to communicate better: When I’m upset about something, I now pause and think: is it my own expectations that are causing me to feel this way? Was I clear enough in my communication or am I part of the problem? In my 30s, I’ve been much slower to get angry or upset. I’m no Mother Theresa and sometimes I’ll have an outburst at Drew and then quickly regret it and think “Whoa, Amy.” I tell my dad those outburst stories because we’ll often use each other to reflect on things. He ALWAYS jokes, “You didn’t stay very BALANCED there did ya?!” By slowing down, I’ve found that I was often getting too worked up over things when I was likely a big part of the problem.
I know I’ve shared this example before but I do think it is the perfect one for this point. I had continually been getting frustrated with Drew for not helping more before we left the house for the day or the weekend. I felt like I was always left scrambling around trying to get myself and Max ready and Drew was just ho-humming around easily getting himself ready. When I complained to my friend Lisa, she pointed out that what really helped her was being VERY specific with her husband on what she needed from him to get out of the house with less stress. This has been a GAME changer for us and now we totally tackle things as a team. Drew just needed me to be more clear in my communication because he thought I just enjoyed getting Max all ready and wanted it done a certain way. Oh, Drew 😉
Having friends that are truth tellers: Over the years, I know my friends have grown and matured too. When I tell one of my closest friends an issue that I’m having they are right there with a listening ear and if appropriate a suggestion. This is what I’ve learned: If a friend is reaching out to you make sure you LISTEN. Give her time to sort through her thoughts. Don’t jump in and just start complaining about whatever is going on in your life or be too quick to offer advice. Sometimes you won’t have a great suggestion and that is okay. You listening is what she needs. If you are able to see her situation from a bird’s eye view (as Lisa did in my example above) go ahead and give a suggestion. Just make sure you are being gentle and helpful. I also remind myself not to fuel their fire, how is it going to help if I start bashing their husband right along with them?? My friends are really great at this and I’ll be forever thankful that I have people encouraging me and helping me through life.
SoberAmes: I had enough alcohol in my 20s (especially early 20s) to last me an entire lifetime. I’ve been pregnant a lot lately, but even when I’m not…I no longer drink more than a glass of wine every couple weeks. Yep, no mama juice over here. I’m just happy, confident, and outgoing enough without the alcohol in this decade. I love how my body feels sans adult beverages and I’m hooked on that now. I also know it is what is healthiest, which is extra motivation. All your happy hours and dinner wine really does add up! 😉
Living Lighter: One thing I love is growing enough to realize what really matters and what really doesn’t. Before I was giving far too much energy to things that wouldn’t matter in a few years (or even months). My best friend and I were talking about this just the other day. Reminiscing about how much of a big deal being in someone’s wedding was in our 20s. Don’t get me wrong here: that is a HUGE honor. Now that I’ve had more years and experiences I will tell you this: the most important thing is that your friend is happy and marrying someone she loves. It is okay if you are watching from a seat instead of standing in a dress. It doesn’t define the friendship that you’ve had or the friendship that you will have in the future…if you handle it right.
People Might Prefer Coffee: I’ve learned that it is okay to not be everyone’s cup of tea and instead of letting that upset you, realize that it is okay. Be just as kind and nice to them as you are to everyone else, and continue living lightly because you know you aren’t doing anything to cause this. I get random and sometimes mean comments as my audience grows on social media and it LITERALLY doesn’t bother me. I just don’t have the energy to argue or care about what a stranger says about my parenting, working out, marriage, posts, etc. Whether I know them or not I do my best to not let a negative comment let me spiral into a negative thought train, I just take it at surface value. After all, you have to be slightly crazy to say to a random pregnant woman on Instagram: “Gross. Nobody cares about your disgusting belly.” I’ll always be an advocate of not bullying people on the internet and I have to encourage ya’ll to be careful with what you say 😉
One thing that I don’t like: When people tell me how something is going to go for me. I recently posted a picture of Drew and I with a caption about how we are still sure to prioritize our marriage even in this busy baby growing/raising time in our lives. Drew and I are both super passionate about this and want to make sure that we’re keeping our love as a priority. We see it as the foundation of our family and know that we are better parents when we’re happy together. Someone wrote a paragraph under it essentially saying: sorry to tell you, but with two you can kiss all that goodbye. My husband and I don’t even have time to talk and certainly don’t have alone time just the two of us.
Comments like this are the best reminder for me not to project myself onto someone else like that. We’re ALL different. Of course I run a blog where I share MY experiences and give MY suggestions. I never say things like, “Oh, you just wait…you’ll see.” Or anything along those lines because I know everyone else’s experiences are going to be entirely different from mine. Drew and I have THE most supportive parents that we could ask for and this past weekend my in-laws were already offering their babysitting services for when there are two Kiefer kiddos. They are obsessed with watching Max, especially since our longer vacation gave them time to form a really special bond with him. Drew and I have a hoot when the 4 of us are all playing with Max because he is his happiest, silliest, funniest self with all that attention.
People also constantly told me that I wouldn’t have time to workout when I became a mama. As I sit here typing this blog, I can tell you that I’ve NEVER been so consistent with my workouts. There is something about how working out makes me feel confident, happy, and more patient that makes it a non-negotiable part of my life. Drew and I work together to adjust as our lives change (and of course we’ll have to do that when baby #2 arrives). For us, we are passionate enough about working out that we’re always going to figure it out. So thank you very much to everyone who told us we wouldn’t have time 😉
With that, I wanted to end by saying THANK YOU all so much for following us on this adventure of life. We’ve had a blast sharing our ups and downs, sharing our babies, learning from ya’ll, and having the blog become a part of our lives over the years.