life

Where Have I Been?

You may or may not remember from the introductory post I did a while ago that I was in graduate school working on my masters of science in biology and since my last class (biostatistics) ended I hunkered down and started studying for my comprehensive exam which was a 4 hour test on 10 classes over the course of the past 4 years.  Between still working full time, having an energetic toddler, and studying for comps I decided to take a hiatus from writing.  After I finished my exam I had to spend the next 11 days down at Mississippi State University running from lab to lab completing the capstone portion of my masters.  It was a grueling almost 2 weeks but I finished my program and was informed last friday (July 7, 2017) that I passed the comprehensive exam and I’m pretty confident that I’ll pass the capstone class.  Now I’m just waiting on the official word that I am a MS degree holder.  While that is good news I definitely had some adventures when this Yankee city girl ended up in the wilds of Mississippi.

I will not lie I was a little nervous heading down to Mississippi for 12 days leaving on Father’s Day for a variety of reasons.  I was leaving my 15 month old Munchkin with The Mr. and Babci, I was a very stereotypical New Jersey girl heading down to the South, I was battling a brutal case of strep throat (102 degree fever on Thursday before I left), and I was trying to stay on top of the very hectic schedule the program coordinator had set out for us which was jam-packed laboratory days from 8am-6pm.  I flew down and ended up meeting a lot of really great people from all around: Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, South Carolina, Mississippi, Missouri, Michigan by way of Florida, Illinois, Texas,  and then me.  I definitely was an odd person out because I am loud, take no prisoners and curse like a sailor (I blame my father…) and many of them were not but amazingly we (for the most part) meshed pretty well together and worked together to try and make sure everyone was able to succeed through the grueling days with the lab reports to write and exams to take (for 12 days I had 5 lab reports, 6 or 7 exams and quizzes, and then a few other assignments) as well as some time for fun along the way.

I ended up going “herpin’” with a couple of the guys that were in the program which basically consisted of driving around looking for amphibians or reptiles around dusk.  One of the guys, I’ll refer to him as M-squared, knew way more about herpetology than anyone else I’ve ever met and could identify frogs by their call and most organisms on site.  He was our guide as we went driving around the Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge and would identify various frogs, snakes, and other things we saw.  We even saw a crayfish (or crawdad) crossing the road (I feel like there’s a joke there…) and got attacked by a giant Stag Beetle but that’s a story for a different time.

We also ended up having a few nights off where we didn’t have a lot to do and were able to go out and enjoy ourselves.  It was almost like reliving college days but with much better bank account and much worse sleeping in ability!  I missed my family but had to concentrate on what I was doing and didn’t have a whole lot of time to talk with them but the few times I did it was great to connect with them but I’m not going to lie, I embraced my unencumbered lifestyle.

It was the first time I had spent any significant time away from the Munchkin and I had asked for some advice from some other moms (that’s always a mixed bag isn’t it?) and one of them said to make sure I put myself fully into the adventure because otherwise what was I leaving her for?  So I took that advice and focused on where I was, what I was doing, and who I was with instead of constantly worrying about what was happening 1,000 miles away and I wouldn’t be able to do anything about it anyway.  Luckily the Mr. is someone who is quite capable of handling his daughter without any trouble but I wasn’t sure how the 5 fuzzy four-legged children or the state of the house would fair.  I knew I would come back to everyone fed and alive I just wasn’t sure how well it would have been done!

After being out of reality for 12 days and shedding all of the roles that I play I came back home and slipped back into those roles but with one less burden.  Those 12 days were a blessing in many forms: I had to focus on what I needed to and I had to let go and let the Mr. handle it all for good or for ill.

I’m glad I was gone and now I’m glad I’m back!

background

About Your Messy Mom

Now that you’re with me on this voyage I thought I would tell you a little bit more about me.  I am a woman with no generation; some people want to lump me in with the Xers and some people want to put me in with the Millennials.  Other demographers have even given me and mine our own little sub-group: the MTV generation.  I think what that means is that I, and most of my friends, have no generation of our own.  We are a straddle group and I’d like to believe that we take the best from both the Xers and the Millennials.

I’ve had a computer since I was 4 and the internet since I was probably 12 so I guess in some way that does make me a lot like the “Millennials.”  I’ve had technology and I’ve used technology before it became just point and click so here I am starting to use it in a way that will hopefully help me become a better mom by carving out something of my childhood dreams here on the internet.

I’m not going to bore you with all the nitty gritty details of my life but I’ve had a pretty good one, I was raised in a loving and stable 4 person family with Babci, my dad (who passed away in 2012), an older brother and myself.  We had a variety of pets (dogs, fish, frogs, and a few parakeets) growing up but nothing had prepared me for the chaos I’ve gotten myself into with 2 dogs, 3 cats and 177 gallons worth of fish.  Throughout my formative years I knew school was important because both my parents were teachers (middle school…I don’t know how they did it) so when I was done high school I KNEW I was going to college but I really didn’t know for what, hence the reason I applied to different colleges with a different major for every college and amazingly they all wanted me.  For a variety of reasons, the college I went to was the one I had applied to as a forensics major (I was originally planning on being Dana Scully)  so I was put on the science track (chemistry, calculus, and biology 9am-12pm M, W, F for freshman year…) but when it came time to do our freshman research I ended up doing small mammalian tracking in an urban forest and loved it; from then on I was an environmental science major.  I graduated college after four years with a BS in environmental science while also earning minors in chemistry, biology, and political science but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with that degree so I didn’t pursue graduate school just yet.  I had interned with the state Department of Environmental Protection but wasn’t hired (yay funding freezes!), I worked for AmeriCorps, I worked for a private environmental firm and then came to be a high school science teacher.  I have now been a science teacher longer than my college and previous working years combined so I guess I’ve found my fit.  I do love my job, it’s tiring some days (teenagers are draining even though I get to send them home!), but I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world, even on the bad days (and there are always a few every year).  Since I found my niche I also went back and am working on my MS in General Biology, which will hopefully be finished the end of June.  If you haven’t gathered by now I’m not too good at being idle.

Now, however, there is a new development into my working and living career….enter the munchkin!  As of this writing she is 11 months and 1 week old.   She came into our lives on March 20th a healthy amazing little girl after a few days of obnoxious induced labor 3.5 weeks early.  And life changed.  Mostly for the better but we’re knee deep in the trenches right now so I can’t say that I’m the happiest person all the time but I try to do my best. I’m an “older” mom since I waited until mid-thirties (I was not considered “advanced maternal age” by a smidgen but who came up with that term anyway??) but I have no idea what that actually is supposed to mean since I feel completely clueless.

I came to the idea of writing this blog a few weeks ago because I realized that I’m currently on the hamster wheel of adulting and it sucks and it’s draining.  It’s making me miserable because all I feel like I’m doing is cooking, cleaning, paying bills, taking care of the munchkin, the Mr. or doing grad work (take that “Real” Housewives of whatever city/state you choose) and I needed something that wasn’t a “responsibility.”  I used to always love to write and once dreamed of getting paid to write so here I am writing, not getting paid for it, but at least sharing it so I’ll take the compromise.
I am glad you’re here and I hope that you find as much pleasure in this as I do.  I’m going to hopefully keep it light, funny and relaxed but along with giving birth came the incredible weight that I am now responsible for another human being in a world where bad things happen, luckily I have the Mr., Babci, a great group of friends and amazing pets to help along the way.