Things you don’t know until you’re pregnant

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I thought I knew about pregnancy, then I became pregnant. While there is so much information floating out there about pregnancy, and most of it seemed legit, I really didn’t learn most of these things until I discovered that I was growing a mini-me. And today I’m going to share these gems of knowledge with you all.

  • Pregnancy is ten months, not nine. Everyone says 9 months but it’s 40+ weeks. Do the math, 4 weeks a month that’s 10 months of growing a baby. I’m already 9 months pregnant and no baby yet. When is this thing over??
  • You don’t get to eat for two. Normal people always love to tell me I’m eating for two, but reality is I only get to eat another 300 calories a day. Yes, the struggle is real.
  • Your bones will move. Not just your hips but also your ribs widen. No longer do your undergarments fit, and those jeans that used to be HUGE on me? SUPER tight now. Almost cried because not sure I will ever be able to wear my clothes again.
  • Feeling movement in your belly becomes normal. I barely notice it when baby is moving these days. She’s almost always moving that it just feels natural. Wondering how my mind will adjust to no movements post-birth.
  • Guys will hit on you. Especially the closer to the end, the bigger I get the more date invitations I get. I kid you not, about 4-5 guys have asked me out over the last few weeks. I don’t know if it’s because they think “hey she’s a decent looking whale” or “hey if she can be a mama she can likely take care of me too.” Either way, the answer is a hard no.
  • People will assume. Strangers and co-workers alike assume I have a husband, and tend to ask me if he’s just as excited as me. I’ve found it easier to just smile and nod, yes totally excited and if not does it even matter?
  • Enjoy every moment. The time before baby arrives is known as the baby-moon. It’s like a 9 month honeymoon, and it’s important to enjoy every moment of it. Because once baby is here, everything is different. Not a bad thing, just different.
  • Sleeping becomes interesting. You can’t sleep on your back, or stomach. And should ideally sleep on just your left side. Until everything goes numb and you die. The end. Just kidding, you will wake up to pee before dying. Many many times, especially towards the end when baby is all up on your bladder.
  • Things will be uncomfortable. Lower back pain and hip pain like I’ve never felt before. Oh the joys! Everything is uncomfortable: walking, sitting, sleeping, breathing, etc. But it really doesn’t start until close to the end so at least you know the end is near.
  • The bathroom is your friend. I spend more time peeing than doing anything else these days. At least I know I’m hydrated since I pee about 15-20 times a day and it’s almost always clear like water.
  • People will treat you differently. Almost like you have a disability. Not a bad thing, but people hold doors open for me and treat me a little more gingerly than normal. I do get told that I haven’t slowed down at all though by those who know me. I’d agree until this week, I feel like once I hit 39 weeks my body checked out. I definitely feel slower this week.

While all of these may or may not be a surprise to you, I feel like it’s been an adventure from day one. Watching my body go through the changes and tracking my baby’s growth has been amazing. I can’t wait to meet baby girl and hope she comes soon!

How to get the girl of your dreams

I’m going to be completely honest with you. 99% of my posts are geared towards women. No offense to the guys, I just relate better with those with ovaries. But someone I met and went on a handful of dates with last year has apologized to me and more recently after apologizing again has asked me to share some insights and tips to “not screw up like how I did with you.”

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So all of you get to reap the benefits! By no means is this an exhaustive list, but it is definitely the things that keep me coming back. And I could totally tear this guy (and others) apart by listing what they’ve done wrong. But I like to keep things positive and suggest some simple things they can work towards in order to do everything to attract the next great person that they come across.

Next time you find yourself in the presence of someone awesome, focus on the following things:

  • Be honest. Y’all don’t even know how many times a guy has lied to me. May it be a white lie to make himself look better, or a bigger lie because he’s guessing at what I like and what I want to hear. Guys, be honest and be yourself. I’m not going to fall for that fake guy you’re painting. I strive to be completely honest (minus the sarcasm) and I expect the same from you.
  • Listen. Most girls love to learn about you, but also adore an active listener. I can’t tell you how often I sit down with someone and every time I’m talking they’re just thinking about what they want to say next. I know how it works, my mom was a master at not listening and just thinking about what she was going to say next (if she even let you talk in the first place!). Guys, I love it when you talk about yourself and I will listen carefully but I expect the same from you!
  • Be a gentleman. This is a dying art. Holding a door for a girl goes a long way. The things I notice seem small but go a long way. Are you opening the car door for me, or the restaurant/building door wherever we’re going? Do you walk me to my car? Do you offer a hand when it’s slippery? Do you say please and thank you? It’s silly but these tiny things don’t go un-noticed.
  • Be patient. Last but certainly not least, don’t pressure a girl into anything physical. Almost every guy I dated last year wanted to sleep with me ASAP. Like whoa boy, get to know me first. If you really do want to end up with a quality woman, you’ll be willing to wait and follow her rules. And it’ll be worth it.

What are some things you focus on when dating?

Joy is the key to happiness

Oftentimes I’ve ran into this situation: “Oh we’re just together for the kids.” I’ve seen it in my family, friends, and acquaintances. It’s become so common that I usually don’t even think about it. Strangely enough, I’ve always found it sad even though I don’t have kids and have never been in a similar situation. Expecting a baby has brought this situation to the forefront once again, and this time I can’t ignore it.

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Growing up with your parents together/married is a dream come true. I can say being able to live in just one home has definitely helped shape me into who I am today. You could say that’s why I believe in marriage, got married, and hoped to be married for the rest of my life. God has other plans for my life, and as you know He was like “Nope, not this one Jen.” That doesn’t change my beliefs. I still believe in marriage, I just believe I haven’t met the right guy yet. Or I know the right guy, but the timing isn’t right yet.

But so many people force it. I’ll be the first to admit, marriage isn’t for everyone. There are a few people I know who should just remain single for their sanity and quality of life. Sometimes my pea-sized brain hopes against all hope as my heart consoles me. That guy won’t ever marry you. It’s ok, though, because he’s happy. And when you love someone that’s all you care about, is their happiness. But too often I find the husband or wife who’s married and miserable.

The pain can stem from a number of things, but they all use the same word: stuck. Oh, well I have to wait until Timmy is 18 before I divorce her. You know, the kids want us to stay together. Then when you actually ask Timmy, he wishes his parents would just divorce already. He sees his mom cry daily and his dad is so distant. The only thing he wishes would happen is happiness on both ends, even if it meant not keeping the family together under one roof.

All too often the parents trick themselves into thinking that what they’re doing is for the best. But instead they destroy everything around them. I witnessed the effects firsthand with my ex. Sure, his parents stuck it out together until he was a teenager, thinking it was the right thing to do. Now he chooses happiness first. After years of watching his parents be miserable creatures, he runs at the first sign of anything but happiness. Where his parents faked it for the sake of the kids, he will only lie so long before they catch up with him and he just moves on rather than work things out. He has mastered the surface happiness but will likely never feel anything deep in his life. Sometimes I am left wondering how he even wakes up in the morning.

What I’ve learned through these situations is that kids don’t care as much about their parents being together as they do about their parents being happy. Don’t get me wrong, kids want their parents together. Like I said, that’s the ideal situation. The two-parent household. Growing up with your mom and dad being there all the time, at the same time. But going down the list of ideal, good, and worse situations, I think it’s safe to say the worse case scenario is your parents being miserable together. Miserable parents = miserable kids.

So do your kids a favor and be happy! Even if that means being selfish. Or if divorce isn’t an option, at least seek counseling. I know some wonderful family counselors in the greater Chicagoland area. Reach out to me if you need some recommendations!

Late night thoughts

I have a theory. Or maybe a few of them. All relating to people and their behaviors. This is probably one of the latest blog posts I’ve ever done, but I wanted to write this week and didn’t have time until now.

scale-403585_1920There’s an article I read recently about this amazing couple that lost all this weight together. Like nearly 400 pounds between the two of them over the last two years. I can’t even make this up, it’s like two completely different couples. This story got me thinking about relationships and how they can literally build you up and push you forward, or knock you down and hold you back. This is an extreme case of the former. It’s like together they pushed each other to be healthier and to take back their lives.

Ideal relationships

This is the ideal relationship. We all want someone who will love us no matter what, but will also push us to be better than who we were yesterday. Settling is for dirt; people are meant to grow and evolve throughout their entire life. If we end up settling, we may miss an opportunity because we may not even get to that level to open that door. In my previous relationship, I thought I was with someone who was supportive no matter what. It wasn’t until I wanted to go back to school did I realize that he was holding me back from my goals and dreams.

Unhealthy relationships

Then you have the relationships that knock you down. “You’re tearing me apart, Lisa!” (The Room). You know, the ones where your partner tells you you’re fat or you’re boring. And somehow, despite all the weight you lose, you’re never good enough. In a way, they can push you to do better, but you’re only trying to do better because the person who’s supposed to be on your team is tearing you down. And you want to prove them wrong. Pretty sure this is unbelievably unhealthy. And if you’re in this type of relationship, the one where your significant other is extremely selfish, please do yourself a favor and leave it. You can do so much better.

Are you in a healthy, ideal relationship? Is your guy or gal willing to support you and push you forward all while loving you no matter what?

Relationships and compromise

Because without compromise no relationship would ever work out, today we are going to talk about how much of yourself you truly have to give up to make that “perfect” or (in reality) not so perfect relationship actually work. This is a perk of my always-thinking (read: overthinking) mind and also has been inspired by other people in my life who have opened up to me in regards to their relationships.

Self Love

A lot of us, as humans, are selfish. At the end of the day, we only have ourselves to rely on and love. And self-love is very important! Actually, if you don’t love yourself you won’t be able to properly love someone else. It is nearly impossible. So the very first thing you must learn to do is love and respect yourself. Without that, the relationship will consume you. You know, that “perfect” relationship with the “perfect” guy or girl. It will chew you up and spit you back out. It will destroy you, if you let it. But defend yourself with the proper mindset and it will help you grow and become a better version of yourself.

But on the other side of the same token, if you’re too selfish and focused on yourself that relationship will shrivel up and die. And you’ll be left with just yourself again, wondering what went wrong since you seemed to be doing fine the entire time.

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You have to find the right balance between yourself and your significant other. You have to compromise the right amount, and spend the right amount of time together (growing together) but also still have time for yourself and your hobbies/passions. And sometimes those passions and hobbies will overlap, but you still have to have your own interests so you don’t feel overwhelmed by the other person. As humans, it is important that we feel a few things as listed below.

  • Unique. We want to feel special, like there is no one else like us.
  • Loved. We want to feel wanted by others, their love validates us that we are lovable.
  • Strong/Independent. We don’t want to feel weak or that we have to depend on someone else to live our lives the way we want to.

But what about me?

With all this in mind, there will be sacrifices and compromises that we will have to make to be with someone. While the idea of there being “the one” perfect person for us is nice, it isn’t true. Instead of hoping/waiting for the perfect person to fit ever so perfectly into your life, you should create a list or two to help narrow down your choices (plenty of fish) so that you can find someone to work towards having a healthy relationship with. The lists that I created that have helped me are the two below:

  1. A list of ten deal-breakers. If the guy I’m dating doesn’t meet all ten, I move on.
  2. A list of red flags. Everyone has luggage, no one is perfect, but after going through my marriage, my husband cheating/living a double life, and my divorce I learned which red flags I won’t accept. If these pop up, bye felicia.

Are you in a healthy relationship? One that helps you be a better person? If not, perhaps you should make these lists and re-assess that relationship and what you’re looking for in a significant other. Feel free to comment below your deal breakers or any red flags that make you leave. And let me know if you’d be interested in my lists I’ve created for my next relationship.

Orange you glad I met ya?

Open for Business: Mini Target

target-express-oak-parkYay Target!

The cutest Target opened up this past week in Oak Park, IL. It’s one of eight small format stores in the Chicagoland area, and as an Oak Park resident I couldn’t be happier.

No longer are the days I’d have to cross the busy street of Harlem to go to Walgreens to pay for over-priced convenience-store items (i.e. Gwen Stefani Revlon Makeup). Now, it’s as easy as walking comfortably a few blocks from where I live to get any and all of my Target (Trademark) store needs (and those I have aplenty).

While there is even the added bonus of a mini Starbucks (hello, coffee!) there is a part of me that is sad over the opening of this store. First of all, it’s at the bottom of a new high-rise that’s now a part of the Oak Park skyline. Which, since I’m new to the area, I don’t really know Oak Park without it. So that’s fine. But a part of me does worry how this Target will affect the little guys. You know, the small local businesses of Oak Park. Which I personally like to try and support as much as I can.

I’m an avid fan of these local businesses and always out and about looking for more to add to this list.

Local Businesses I love

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What businesses do you frequent in Oak Park? How do you feel about the new Target? I was in there the other night and look forward to utilizing the store when needed. Especially on those days I don’t feel like driving and would rather walk around my beautiful Oak Park neighborhood.

Dating in 2017 – a mental shift

Dating is dead, or so they say. In my opinion, it’s not completely dead, it has just changed into something very different compared to when I started dating many years ago. Back in the day, guys used to try. I remember my first date like it was yesterday. The nerves, the effort, the flowers (kinda), the missed first kiss, the sweaty palms. Wait, am I talking about a date or a sporting event? Oh, that’s right, this was when I was a teenager and dating in high school. Pretty sure I was way too nervous to even talk to boys at that point. So let’s fast forward to college.

In college, I was still weird (actually this never changed) so after a short but sweet long distance relationship, I turned to what was a new way of meeting people: dating websites. Even though I met people unconventionally, I still got to know them the organic way: through phone calls and dates/hanging out. And they still tried their best to impress me, or at least create a good time. Going on dates was fun. At one point, I met three different guys in the span of a week. Despite feeling like I had endless options (plenty of fish, anyone?), I settled on one of the three and ended up in a long term relationship with him.

Fast forward through even more awkward dates, some guys I met face to face, others also through the magical internet, I always appreciated the effort when a guy would try to actually court me. Not just bring me to Starbucks, but to actually plan something out like a nice dinner, or a local musical or concert. When they paid attention to what I like and executed a successful date based on similar interests we shared meant a lot to me. I actually have developed a similar skill where once I start to get to know someone, I pay attention to what their interests are and try to plan dates and events that would interest them.

Sometimes I feel like I can be a little aggressive though, and sometimes this backfires on me. There are many guys I’ve scared off due to my straight-forward, no-nonsense personality. But I’ve come to terms with the fact that if a guy can’t handle me, it’s his loss.

But with the new age dating, and the popularity of dating apps, dating has turned into more of a game. With the endless swiping you can do, it definitely feels like there’s an abundance of eligible single people out there. Some days I feel like I can swipe for ages, but never actually find anyone or anything interesting. It makes me yearn for the older days of simple dating. I just want to get to know someone. Someone who’s willing to get to know me, and try to court me as I try to court them. Make it a more even playing field, guys don’t always have to take the lead. But once in awhile, it’s nice to not have to wear the pants all the time. 🙂

What are your thoughts on the current dating scene? Are you dating or just laying low? Are you in a relationship? Or married?  Also, this image sums me up pretty well:

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Wonder Woman – Wizard World 2017

Last weekend, I attended my first Wizard World Comic Con here in Chicago. I went dressed as Wonder Woman, and I had a great time. Everyone was very nice and no one was too critical.

I got to see lots of other fellow cosplayers dressed up as many different characters, ranging from cartoon/anime to TV show and movie characters. I even saw an adult man dressed as Eleven from Stranger Things. My favorite, by far, were the storm troopers and anything Star Wars related. It made me miss my Han Solo costume.

But I had a great time actually dressed like a female hero for once. Who should I be next?

 

The power of positive thinking

A happy mind = a happy life. Joy is eternal, but happiness is fleeing. Happiness is a choice you have to make. You choose to either be happy or not. Only you can make the choice to see things positively or negatively, or maybe somewhere in-between. While it’s ultimately up to us, we don’t have to make the journey to happiness alone.

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It’s a great idea to seek outside of ourselves for sources of joy. I.e. faith, spirituality, or close friends and family. The only thing about seeking happiness from other people is that we are all human and we all make mistakes. We will always let each other down, especially if you try to find all your happiness in your significant other or spouse. This is a bad idea, as one day your partner may disappoint you. Then what? You’re no longer happy, and you feel like they aren’t happy either. Rather than depending on someone else for your happiness, find happiness in yourself. Love yourself first, then and only then can you love others. And true love doesn’t depend on happiness.

There will be days when you’re sad or angry. But that doesn’t mean you have to see everything in a negative light for the rest of time. As long as you continue to work towards having a positive mindset, all else will follow suit. It’s crazy the things that can happen once you change your outlook. Happiness can ooze from you with the right mindset.

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Is the glass half empty or half full? How far will you go with a negative mindset? Will you miss out on something in the sky when looking down?

 

Psychology of Behavior

Today I’m starting a new series. I’ve always been fascinated by psychology and behavior of people. If you’re interested in participating in this series, please email me at jenlbrice (at) gmail.com. I’m looking to interview people and may potentially post up a survey to see how others see certain behaviors/situations in relation to this topic. Please note I am in no way certified in psychology or behavior. I’ve only taken a few classes in psychology and behavior through my undergraduate and graduate studies (MS in Biology). Instead, I am going to write about my viewpoints and opinions in regards to different every-day situations that people find themselves in and how they behave throughout them. I will be seeking feedback as I go, and will take requests. Are you interested in any particular situation? Do you need advice? I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to help, but I can and am willing to give you my thoughts towards whatever it is you’re going through.

While I’m not certified in psychology, I have been working with people in many ways since high school. I have a robust resume, both in the career and relationship realms. That being said, I do not know everything and I am willing to admit that. Also, every situation is different. The way people see things is different, because we are all a little bit different from each other.

Today we are going to dive right in on this topic that’s been on my mind lately. In regards to being cheated on, sometimes we blame ourselves. We ask what did I do to deserve this? Could I have done something different to avoid this? Was I not loving enough? Am I not lovable? But the truth is that it isn’t your fault. It’s the person who cheated on you. Think of it this way: they couldn’t handle you so they sought love elsewhere. But they can’t handle ANYONE. Love isn’t easy. Ever. With anyone. Love is a choice. And to love unconditionally is not natural. We actually rarely see monogamy in nature.

So why bother? Because when two people choose to love each other no matter what, a beautiful thing happens. The rare thing is beautiful. Like my grandparents who were married for over 50 years (and my grandma still loves my grandpa, rest his soul). When you find the right person, love won’t be “easy” but it will feel right. Like how God loves us, that is also not an easy love. We killed his only son, yet he still chooses us! He still chooses to love us. No matter what. No matter our sins, no matter our past. He wants us to seek Him and to love Him. It’s through this example of love we are to love one another. Definitely not easy but more than worth it. For the love of God can carry us up mountains, through valleys and everything in-between.

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It’s truly amazing to think about. If God can love us like this, we can love each other like this. I strive daily to show my love and joy for others. I want to share God’s love with other people.

So this is pretty deep, but the recent events in America have been tugging on my heart to talk about love. Love is real, love is hard, but it is the only way we will move forward. Love your neighbor, love your brother, and together we have a bright future.

Have you been cheated on? How do you view love? Do you think it’s supposed to be easy? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

I promise the next topic won’t be as deep. 🙂