Who Should Pay?

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When you’re in a relationship there are a few subjects that can be tough to talk about or come to an agreement on. They are:

 

  1. What/Where should you eat
  2. Where should you go on date night
  3. Who’s family will you spend the holidays with
  4. Who’s going to drive
  5. Who should pay

There are obviously many, MANY more important topics that should be discussed as you become serious in a relationship but I feel number 5 is one of the bigger ones.

We all come from different backgrounds and families. Some parents instill in their children, male or female that the man should always pay, as men are “providers”. I find this ideology to be rather old-fashioned and outdated, stemming back to a time where women made little to nothing compared to men; so of course it made sense for a man to foot the bill.

There is also the belief that whoever makes more should pay more often or cover more of the bill. This allows both people in the relationship to contribute monetarily to joint activity without resulting in the person who makes less spending more than they can afford.

The last belief (that currently comes to mind) is splitting the bill in half. There isn’t one person that pays more or pays at a certain time; with any activity that you do together, you share the cost.

I can see how each idea makes sense, and if I’m being honest, when I started out dating, at 18, I thought the guy should pay. To shine more light on the subject, I wasn’t working at the time. I was a full-time college student and had no extra money. My parents were paying for my gas so I could get to and from school. Once I began working, my perspective changed, slightly. I then held the belief that both individuals should contribute but whoever makes more should pay more. To shine even more light on the subject, I was making $7.50 an hour then (in 2010) and working only part time. The guy I was seeing worked full time and made almost $10 an hour. He was able to afford a lot more than I could, so if we went anywhere, I paid what I could and he covered the rest.

Now, we’re in the beginning of 2017, and I have yet again changed my opinion. (This change happened in 2014 when I moved in with my then boyfriend.) I now feel that there doesn’t have to be one set way that you cover costs in a relationship, if that doesn’t work for you because people are all different and each situation is unique.

In my current relationship we discussed how we felt about spending money from the beginning. We agreed that neither of us wants to nor should feel obligated to purchase anything for the other, if we don’t actually want to. If we want, we can but, for example, if we go out to dinner, I don’t expect him to pay for my meal in addition to his. If we go to the movies, we’ll purchase our own tickets, however if I’m doing okay financially that week, I’ll happily buy his ticket or get him a drink.

Just like everything else in any relationship, open communication is the key, without it, this would never work! For example, if I’m short on funds and we plan something, I let him know immediately so we can make adjustments to our plans, if necessary.

It is still funny to see the reactions of people when we ask for separate checks or when we purchase movie tickets and he requests just one. The cashier will glance at me, with a look of uncertainty on their face and smile. Some of them just proceed with the transaction as normal and others will give me a sad look, as if they feel bad for me.

While the way we operate in our relationship may not be the norm, it works for us right now. Later down the road, if marriage is on the table, the way we do things could change but until then we will happily continue to pay however we feel.

 

Simply,

Tiff 🙂

 

(If you’ve read this and want to share how things work in your relationship, or if you have any opinions about what I’ve written feel free to leave a comment 🙂 )

Artificial Intelligence & Me

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Nowadays, there are SO many movies, videos, TV shows, books, and various other forms of entertainment that depict life with robots helping us and each opinion is different. Some stories portray life with robots as a positive; expressing that life will be much simpler whereas others believe that robots and really any form of A.I. will turn on us and become corrupt.

Both ideas are interesting and hold merit; however, I believe that relying on artificial intelligence will eventually backfire.

I am comfortable with computers; in fact I love them! We have information literally at our fingertips (I actually used the internet to help me decide what to write about today). Anything our inquisitive minds want to know, good old Google (and various other search engines) have covered.

Googling information is where my interest in artificial intelligence ends and where I think it should end for us all. Don’t get me wrong, I know many companies are toying with the idea of creating robots to save lives, which is an amazing thing, but I know once we master robots for medical purposes, it won’t stop there. Next, there will be robots for household chores, driving cars (or just self-driving cars which may sound great but what happens if the software glitches???), robot police officers, cashiers, bank tellers….. The list goes on and on. Not only will hundreds of thousands of people be out of jobs, but we leave so much room for the machines to become corrupt, glitch and overall, royally screw up our daily lives as we’ll all become dependent upon them!

So, if we allow robots and other artificially intelligent machines to take over, I see things going one of two ways:

  1. We will all become super lazy as these machines are doing literally EVERYTHING for us; we will also become morbidly obese and do absolutely nothing but eat and drink and be useless (Think of the Pixar movie Wall-E, just in real life).
  2. The machines will be great at first; kind, pleasant, helpful and eager to please but they’ll actually be plotting against us because although humans created them, they are much smarter than most of us…. They’ll see that they are superior to us in almost all ways and plan to either take over the planet and have us serve them….. Or they’ll murder us.

Ok, so I just went from one extreme to the next but I don’t see any good coming from us dabbling with artificial intelligence! Really, that roaming vacuum is smart enough for me. We are already much too dependent upon technology and disconnected from the real world; do we need something to cause a deeper disconnect??? The answer is NO!

I feel my opinion on this will always remain the same. I don’t care how the machines are marketed or how they may benefit us and make life easier. People are already unpredictable and (most of us) have emotions and can be empathetic when we make decisions; machines can’t do that. Artificial emotions are impossible and wouldn’t help us in the event robots decided to enslave the human race.

So, when the time comes for A.I. enthusiasts to purchase robots for their homes, you best believe I won’t be in line to make said purchase. I’ll be at home, preparing for the inevitable… the day that our “friendly” helpers decide that we aren’t smart enough to control them and they come together to enslave or murder us all.

Simply, Tiff 🙂

(While this post was just for fun, in the back of my mind I really do have these fears! Haha)

Outgrowing Your Past

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When I was younger, my dad used to tell my sisters and I that our closest friends in life would be one another. He would make a point of making the three of us stand in the kitchen and hold up 5 fingers, he would then instruct us to put down three fingers, leaving just two; those two fingers symbolized how many true, best friends we’d have in life— each other.

I went through my childhood, teens and even early adulthood thinking my father was crazy. He didn’t have many people he would consider his friends which is why, I assumed, he was so pessimistic about the likelihood of remaining close to my friends from school. During these years, my sisters were the LAST people I wanted to hang out with. It honestly wasn’t until I moved out and my middle sister moved away that I began to believe my father.

Life has a way of changing the way you see the world, sometimes. Change can be good and it can also be bad, and the only thing we know for sure is the inevitability of said change. As life goes on, we learn and grow. We learn about ourselves, the world, your family, friends… everything. It’s almost like we’re in a long, never ending hallway, with tons of doors and endless possibilities to learn. With each day that passes, we change ever so slightly; in a way that helps to develop us as an individuals. Now, here comes the tough part; as we’re growing and changing, everyone around us is doing the same.

While these changes can help us grow closer to our loved ones, it can also have an inverse affect. My dad’s theory really started to become real to me, once I realized how different I was as a person. As my circumstances changed (pregnancy) and I was unable to do the thing I used to (drink) I began to lose touch with my friends from school. It was as if everyone I was close with and regularly hung out with fell off the face of the earth once I had a bun in the oven. I even had one friend tell me that she was giving me space and time to be with my family… I know this to be a bold face lie. (I couldn’t get drunk with her and I refused to be her designated driver when she went out, so she wanted nothing to do with me.)

Don’t get me wrong, prior to pregnancy, my friends and I didn’t hang out too much; we did text throughout the week but other than that, face to face meetings were few and far between. My sisters were the ones that were there for me when I felt alone; they talked to me, checked on me, spent time with me …. They were there for me when no one else was (my son’s father was in the picture, at the time but having him around wasn’t the same as having my friends… it’s a long story, there).

It may sound as if I resent my friends for not being present during these drastic physical and hormonal changes I experienced, I wasn’t at all; but their lack of presence really made me appreciate my sisters like never before. (Being the eldest daughter, I always saw my sisters as these little girls but having them by my side during my journey to motherhood really made me see them in a different way.)

At this present moment in life, I’m the mother of an (almost) two year old and if I hold up five fingers and remove three, my closest friends are and always will be my sisters; and I’m surprisingly okay with this. I mean, it sucks that my dad was so right about something so negative; however it’s a part of life.

I learned a long time ago that while everyone has their own things going on in life and we’re all busy, but we still make time for the things and people we love.

Currently, my father’s opinion on friendships is an accurate description of my friendships, but that doesn’t mean it will remain that way. While losing friends or just losing the closeness that we shared sucks, it doesn’t mean that I’m done with making new friends. Friendships are much like relationships in the sense that the best ones are found when you least expect them. For now, I’m just going to enjoy my sisters as my closest friends and just wait. For all I know, I’m creating a lifelong best friend as we speak!

And dad, if you’re reading this, you were semi-right. My two best friends are my sisters but there’s always room for a few more (friends, not sisters)!

 

Simply, Tiff 🙂

Letter to My Younger Self

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Dear Younger Self,

Life is short. It is short and utterly unpredicatable. Your life has it’s good and it’s bad moments. It has it’s constants and its whirlwinds. Your life is filled with happiness, saddness anger, love, hate, and everything in between. But your life is just that….. Yours.

People will come into your life and you will have no idea how long they’ll be there. Some people will be there throughout your entire lifetime and others will be there for a short while; maybe to teach you a lesson or be with you through a certain experience or stage in life then disappear. Regardless of who comes and who stays, your life is just that….. Yours.

Everyone is going to have an opinion about what you should or shouldn’t do, what you should or shouldn’t say, what your should or shouldn’t eat, or whom you should or shouldn’t date;  which is fine but you can’t allow the opinions of others to sway you any which way. You have to learn to stand on your own two feet and understand that while listening to the advice of others is okay, it is still your life and you’ll have to live with the decisions you make.

Never forget that everyone will gladly give advice to you, but the advice they give may not be what they would actually do if placed in the same situation. So listen if you wish, but make sure final decisions are made solely by you.

Understand that your job isn’t to make everyone happy. The only person’s happiness you are responsible for is your own; don’t let anyone make you think otherwise. Do not bend over backward for individuals who would not do the same for you.

Remember that it is okay to say “no”. You aren’t required to do everything everyone asks of you; if you don’t want to do something or can’t, just say “no”.

Love yourself. There is only one you. You are beautiful, intelligent, unique, creative, and sweet, among many other things; NEVER change who you are to be someone you’re not. I promise you, one day, you’ll find a man who loves you as you are, unconditionally; he is out there.

Stand up for yourself and your beliefs; Speak up if someone does something you don’t like. Stay informed; learn as much as you possibly can.

Do what your heart desires. Do not give up or give in on something that you love. Don’t let the opinions of others stop you from doing what makes you happy. No one knows you the way YOU know you, and no one knows what’s best for you the way they will claim to.

Keep your head up, stay humble and never stop growing and trying to better yourself.

Being selfish isn’t always a negative trait; do what’s best for you and always put your best foot forward.

Always forgive but NEVER forget.

No one is perfect and failure is inevitable. Don’t be afraid to fail; you’ll always bounce back stronger before.

Learn to let your guard down and be yourself. If people don’t like you for the person you are, they aren’t meant to be in your life.

Don’t stay in a situation that makes you unhappy. Your happiness should always be one of your biggest concerns. No matter how hard you may think it is to leave, I can guarantee you, you’ll feel better once it’s over.

Once trust has been broken, you can never earn all of it back. Forgive and move on but don’t be fooled twice.

Life is short. It is short and utterly unpredicatable. You only get one life… so make the most of it.

 

Simply, Tiff 🙂

 

Permanent Mommy Brain (PMB)

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**DISCLAIMER: I want you to keep in mind while reading this that I am in no way, shape, or form complaining about my mommy duties; I am simply speaking about my personal experiences and what I have learned thus far!**

While I was pregnant with my first and (currently) only child no one took the time to explain that once you have a child, your life and brain are inexplicably altered…  Well, I knew that having my son would be a HUGE responsibility, but I didn’t know to what extent.

I never realized how little responsibilities I had until I birthed Trenton. I only had to worry about me, myself, and I (and occasionally my boyfriend). I wasn’t concerned with buying diapers or bottles, making sure the refrigerator was stocked, or that the house was clean and baby friendly. I never thought about scheduling doctor’s appointments or stocking up on cold medicine or first aid kits, or buying clothes for each season. (Being as we live in Florida, I only own short sleeves and sweatshirts. Apparently, a baby has to wear more layers during the cold.) When I look back at my life a few years ago, I laugh at how complicated I believed things to be. The most challenging aspect of my life was coordinating work and school… which compared to my life now, was a piece of cake!

I knew being a mom was a full time job, but I had no idea how consuming parenthood could really be… I feel no one truly knows until you experience it for yourself; especially since we all parent differently. I feel like my mind is always in Mommy Mode. I don’t care what time of the day it is or what I’m doing… I can’t seem to fully relax or not think about what Trent needs.

From the moment I wake up, I have Trent on the brain. My first thought is “where is he?”. (Trent starts out most nights in his crib then every night like clock work he wakes up whining from his crib, staring at us until he is in our bed. We do have the rare occasion where he sleeps through the night but it doesn’t happen much.) After I’ve located him, I begin to plan what we have to do to get ready and on the road in a timely fashion. I figure out what he’s going to eat and wear and then try to estimate how long it will take for us to get out of the house.

After quickly getting him fed, in the car and to daycare, I head to work while thinking about his bag and triple checking off items in my head to make sure I didn’t forget anything. While at work, I keep my phone within view just in case his sitter calls me with some emergency. I don’t really worry about his because I know he is in good hands, but I am aware that anything can happen. Throughout the day I plan for dinner and what he’s going to be eating the next day. I plan out grocery store trips for small things he may need and search the internet for activities we can all do together on weekends.

During my drive to get Trent I’m always excited to see him and get home. His daycare is right next door to my Gram’s house so by the time I get there, she’s already picked him and my other little cousin up (they are 1 month and 2 days apart in age). Once I arrive I feed him, wash his bottles/cups and lunch bowl, then he gets a bath, some warm milk, and we head home.

When we arrive home he is usually asleep so I can put him in his crib and get ready for the next day. I swear, most if not all of what I do is for the baby; either directly or indirectly.

Being a mom and having PMB is tiresome but it is very rewarding. Knowing that I am positively affecting my child with all of my pre-and-post planning fills me with joy! He begins and ends each day happy and healthy and that’s all I can ask for. Sometimes, I wish I could temporarily turn of my Mommy Brain but that isn’t possible for me. If I go out with friends or Trav and I are out on a date, I feel like my brain is a gaming console; things pertaining to Trent are still there but are just downloading in the background while I focus on the tasks at hand.

Permanent Mom Brain is like an blessing in disguise. Because my mind is always wandering back to Trent and what I need to do for him, it allows me to multitasks without completely coming out of Mommy Mode. At times, this totally leaves me drained and wanting to curl up in a ball and silence my thoughts for a while but all I have to do is think about how positively these thoughts benefit the baby and it’s like an instant pick-me-up!

So, for those of you who are expecting, get ready for a whole new life experience; you’re in for a wild ride! And if you’re already dealing with PMB, you go, Mom! Just try to stay focused and just remember that Permanent Mom Brain is a good thing. (If there are any dads out there that deal with Permanent Dad Brain, Kudos to you! You keep up the good work as well!)

Simply,

-Tiff 🙂

If I Can Do It, You Certainly Can

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So, I’m very proud of myself! I did my very first 5K this past weekend. I had been planning to attend for weeks and did my very best to train. I tried to make it to the gym at least 4 days out of the week and surprisingly, I was successful. For the first week of having a membership, I forced myself to make it to the gym. I stopped making excuses and just went. Soon, I began to crave the gym. If I didn’t go, I felt lazy and unhappy. The gym kept me energetic and upbeat!

In addition to regularly working out, I began to change my diet. I found myself craving unhealthy foods/snacks less and drinking water and eating fruits/veggies more. Overall, the small changes I made were definitely making a difference. It felt nice to be winded after 3 flights of stairs instead of just one flight. As weird as this sounds, I’ve grown to like the burn I felt during a good workout and the soreness I felt following; it made me feel like I was truly making some progress, which pushed me to keep working hard.

The week of my race, I caught a cold from the baby; this being the second cold in less than a month. I was frustrated and just drained. My workouts ceased, eating healthy stopped, and my water consumption drastically decreased. I went from drinking between 60-80 ounces a day to drinking no more than 25. On some days, I went an entire day without so much as a sip of water. I knew I could do better but didn’t have the energy… I was back at square one!

The day of my of my race, I was super excited but tired; I planned poorly. I had a beer the night prior and that was a day I drank little to no water. I also went to bed pretty late. With the late start that morning, we arrived late to the race. After a quick potty break we lined up to start the race and it was at that moment I began to feel apprehensive about the race. I know it wasn’t about finishing first (which I couldn’t do in a million years at my current fitness level) but I was worried about being able to finish at all!

Our wave was so large, we were split us in two groups. The bullhorn sounded and the participants were off! I could see people of all ages, body types, and fitness levels clambering over the first obstacle. Some people struggled, but many did it with ease and a little grace. (Did I mention, some of the race participants were children…. most of these children put me to shame! They climbed the obstacles with no trouble at all, and were running circles around me.) Seeing that people were at all sorts of fitness levels relaxed me; I wasn’t nervous anymore.

The next thing I remember was the bullhorn being pressed again and my wave taking off. My boyfriend, Travis was on my left and I did my best to keep up with him. the first obstacle had an inflatable ladder and a slide on the other side but was much more difficult than I had first anticipated. At this point, I was already regretting not going to the gym that past week.

I feel I should mention that I am a VERY uncoordinated individual. I trip over the air a few times each week. So, because the obstacles were inflatable and swamped with people of various weights, my balance was affected tremendously! I tripped after stepping off the first obstacle and landed right on my knee. (I was more embarrassed than hurt at this point but even without the pain, landing that way sucked. I also want to point out that this was my first but certainly NOT my last potential injury.)

We jogged to the next obstacle and about halfway, I told Trav we had to start walking. I was SO out of breath, it wasn’t funny. With having to exert so much energy to use my arms and legs to pull myself up, over, and through various obstacles, anything faster than walking was out of the question; I was panting and struggling to breathe by the time we made it through the 4th obstacle. Travis, who was hungover at the time was doing a better job than I was! It made me a little disappointed with myself but I never gave up.

After slipping, tripping, and tumbling through all but one obstacle, (it was very high and involved me climbing 3 inflatable walls…. I struggled with the first wall and there was no way out. I knew I wouldn’t have made it to the finish and I didn’t like the idea of being trapped in a giant, inflatable obstacle!) we made it to the finish line about 50 minutes later.

Our time may have been slow for a 3.1 mile race, but what matters most is we finished! The main reason I wanted to share my experience is because I find  myself discouraged at times… Well a lot, when it comes to working out. I tend to lose focus or take breaks when I shouldn’t but I am learning not to beat myself up when I don’t make it to the gym or not to be upset that it took almost an hour to complete the race. The most important thing to do is keep moving forward and not to dwell on what I didn’t do, but to use that experience to help me grow. Becoming a healthier version of myself isn’t a race nor is it a phase… it is a lifestyle and no changes will occur overnight (as much as I’d like for that to be a possibility). This is a journey for me and as long as I don’t give up, I’m making some sort of progress.

So, for anyone out there struggling with a healthier living or weight loss journey, remember to keep moving forward. What I mean by this is don’t look back at what you haven’t done or should have done better. Just keep your focus on the positive; if you drank 8 ounces of water which is more than yesterday, congratulate yourself! If you had junk food today but ate healthy today, you have a reason to be proud!

Focusing on the positive things you’ve done instead of the negative will definitely keep you motivated and looking for more ways to improve your daily life! Before you know it, you’ll be doing inflatable 5K’s (or regular races) without skipping obstacles or feeling nervous, at all!

Good luck to you all on your individual journeys….. You can do it!

Simply,

-Tiff 🙂

To the Offendees of the World

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We live in a world where if someone has an opinion, they’ll state it… even if said opinion is negative, hurtful, or tramples on the rights of another individual. At the same time, we live in a world where people are easily offended by simple things. You can’t even post a simple joke without someone being offended.

There are always the offenders and the offendees and everyone involved falls into one of these categories. Today, I’m in my very own category called “The Irritated”.

While listening to my favorite radio station a segment came on where they were talking about breastfeeding in public. As a (fairly new) mom I did attempt to breastfeed and found it to be one of the most natural and beneficial things in this world, however there are plenty of people who do not share my same sentiment. I am specifically referring to breastfeeding in public. I find myself constantly irritated the people who become offended or grossed out, or annoyed to find women feeding their babies in the most natural way there is. It literally pisses me off! Like, how DARE you get mad at a mother for feeding her baby?

There are a few public reaction videos I’ve seen where a woman is feeding her baby in public and she receives very negative feedback; there are looks of disgust and rude comments, people would even move away from her if she sat down while feeding the baby! People would literally tell her things like “You shouldn’t do that in public”, or tell her that what she was doing was disgusting. Someone even stared her down as they walked by with a look of disgust pasted on their face.

In these videos there was the occasional person who would be perfectly okay with what she was doing but most of the passerby were not. To make matters worse, there was a woman with a high level of cleavage and rather than be grossed out she would get looks of approval by men and women would ignore her.

It makes me angry when i think about this double standard. Showing your breasts in a sexual way is acceptable and acknowledged in a positive way but when you use them for what they were intended for, everyone panics!

The big question here is, why??? Why are boobs such a big deal? I think one of the biggest problems in our society is that so much is now sexualized; breasts being one of the largest! (Haha, no pun intended there.. but that did make me chuckle). The individuals who freak about public breastfeeding 9 out of 10 times associate boobs with sex. For some reason, they struggle to differentiate between a natural way to feed and sex. I want to say immaturity plays a big part in this but really, I think those that are offended were taught from a young age that breasts were meant to be had, not seen. (Basically covered)

As a child, I wasn’t breastfed and I didn’t have anyone around me feeding their children that way either, so I didn’t know much about it. I was taught that my breasts were a “no-no zone”, meaning they weren’t to be seen or touched by anyone (as I’m sure most parents today also teach their daughters). The older I got, the more that was instilled in me.

I had large boobs from a young age so I always found it hard to buy cute shirts that didn’t put my goodies on display for the world. Once I became an adult I found myself caring less about covering up my cleavage. It’s just skin, tissue, and (in my case) very small amounts of muscle… who cares if people see the top of them?? At 23, I still feel this way.

The point I’m trying to make (in clearly a roundabout, rambling sort of way) is that even though I wasn’t taught about breastfeeding while I was younger, when I finally saw someone doing it I wasn’t disgusted, angry, or offended; I was and still am perfectly okay with it (and so can most, if not all of these other people who have an issue with it).

To this day, no one has made a single valid point about public breastfeeding being wrong that has made me say, “Oh, well that does make sense”. I just keep encountering stupid arguments or comments that are contradicted by every movie, tv show, magazine or video game where the cleavage is ridiculous and the boobs are just out there.

So, my message to all of you who are offended or upset by a woman breastfeeding her child in public is…….

Grow the FUCK up! If you have a problem with a woman feeding her baby in the most natural way there is, avert your eyes or leave the area. Do NOT make the poor woman feel like she is doing something she should be ashamed of. If anything, YOU should be ashamed! Ashamed of the fact that you are such a narrow minded, immature individual with your head stuck so far up your ass that you don’t know which way is up!

It perplexes me that so many adults, like you are acting like children. I suppose I need to say to you what I would say to a child…. If you do not have anything nice to say, do not say anything at all! I need those of you who would be categorized as “offendees” in this situation to do something for me….. Please EDUCATE your children so they do not grow up to be ignorant and hurtful individuals like yourselves.

Teach them that just because they don’t agree with something, that doesn’t make it wrong and that it doesn’t give them the right to be rude and make others feel like shit. I would greatly appreciate it!

Simply,

Tiff 🙂

Baby Milestones!

I have found myself extremely busy these past few months. my last post was MONTHS ago while I was standing at the front desk of my previous job waiting to check guests in. (I worked at 5AM so people to check-in were few and far between). I am thankfully faaar away from that place and I haven’t looked back since.

I am now currently at a job I very much like that has NOTHING to do with hospitality or checking folks in, which I’m grateful for. I’m hoping now because I won’t have ridiculously long and annoying hours, I’ll be able to post more but with a baby walking……. yes, I did say WALKING around, it’s hard!

As you may have guessed from the title of my post and the emphasis I put on “walking”, my pumpkin is officially walking!!!!!!! Ok, I feel like I need to back track a tiny bit so we’re all on the same page.

When I created this blog, I was on maternity leave after just delivering my first and currently only child, Trenton. In the time since my last post Trent has learned to crawl, is eating solids and finger foods, says “dada”, “cat” (which sounds like “gack”), can stand up unassisted, opens and slams cabinets, give kisses and accept hugs (he doesn’t give them), and he can drink out of a cup, among various other things.

Currently, my Baby Bear is One year old (technically 13 months as of the 23rd) and is developing well!

As a new mom, it is so exciting to watch this child learn and grow every day. I fear soon I’m going to blink and he’s going to be 32 with two kids of his own which is a terrifying thought…. Not because of the kids, of course. I want tons of grand-kids but I want my baby to be a baby for a little while longer!

I seriously feel like I’m exaggerating. Anyway, this was the biggest milestone I’ve seen in a while and I really needed to share my excitement somehow and what better way to share than my blog?

I can assure you, there will be many MANY more baby updates where this one came from… and regular updates, as well. I’m going to try my best to regularly post so stay tuned!

Simply,

Tiff 🙂

Sex Ed: Conflicting Ideas, Opinions, and Attitudes

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For one of my psychology courses my professor asked us to compare the sex education we received from our parents, school, peers, and the media and it got me thinking about my past and what I learned. I had SO much information about sex floating around my head I had no idea what to do. I had correct information, information that was mostly false tinged with slight truths, and WAAAAY too many opinions that it became difficult to figure out where the opinions of others ended and where my own began! As conflicting as the knowledge I picked up was, I wouldn’t change any of it because it helped me to discover the opinions and attitudes I have toward sex, and a lot of other things, today.

The sex education I received from my parents was minimal. It was more so along the lines of don’t have sex, sex is bad; if you have sex, you will get pregnant and ruin your life. They told me that sex should wait until marriage and not happen a moment sooner. When I was around 13 years old my mother was quite open with sex but as I got older, she became more rigid and strict. The first time she mentioned sex was when we were watching the news together and they had a story on underage teens throwing a wild party while their parents were away. My mom looked at me and asked me what I knew about sex. Of course, at the time I only knew what I had learned from my friends so I told her the truth; not much. She then explained to me what sex was, what happened during sex, that it was an act done between two people very much in love and much, much older than I was and that it was how babies were made. She told me that if I had any questions she would be more than happy to answer them and that if I ever felt I was ready to have sex, I should come to her and we would sit down and have a conversation about it. At that point in time I thought my mom was the coolest mom ever! It was such a serious and mature talk and it made me feel like I was definitely growing up and that she didn’t see me as a little kid anymore. Needless to say that openness did not last. Once I hit the dating age her demeanor changed from come talk to me about sex whenever you’re ready to if you’re even thinking about having sex, I’m locking you in your room until you turn 35. It was very discouraging and it made me feel like I wasn’t as close to my mom as I thought. I didn’t even dream about approaching my father about sex; the topic of dating alone made him itch to reach for a shotgun, or so I was told growing up. Not receiving adequate support and openness about sex from my parents pushed me to look for answers to my questions, elsewhere.

The information I picked up from school was more about the biological aspects than emotional. I think even today sex in schools is a touchy subject and they try to keep it as objective as possible, never delving into the emotional or physical ramifications of sex, which I’m sure is just the way parents and teachers liked it. We always learned about the male and female sex organs and how they work to create life, STD’s to scare us into not having sex, and abstinence. I remember always feeling like there was this underlying message when adults spoke about STD’s. They would say how dangerous they could be and that was the reason to stay abstinent but I felt they always wanted to say “if you have sex, you will catch a disease and die”. Of course, reading between the lines of such a message gave off the impression that sex was something that was bad and only bad people did it. Being as I was not much of a rebellious teen, this actually did help to keep me from having sex, other than having no interest in it at the time; but I know it did have the opposite effect on some of my classmates. Sex was all anyone was talking about!

I learned quickly growing up that what you couldn’t find out at home, you could most definitely find out at school. Since my parents weren’t much help, and my teachers tip-toed around the subject of sex I looked to my friends for advice, information, and their own personal experiences. I also learned pretty quickly that my peers either knew just as much as I did or they had wrong information. I had a basic understanding of how sex worked and knew that if it were to be done with someone you love, it couldn’t really be as bad as the adults made it seem; I also knew as a teenager, it wasn’t something I personally was ready for. So while I was eager to learn more about the subject, I took everything my friends said with a grain of salt because they weren’t actually having sex so what would they really know about it? No one knew much about birth control options and STD’s were something no one wanted to catch or dare speak about so most of my information was the random tid-bits picked up from their older siblings conversations; mostly just steamy stories about date nights that ended up with them going “all the way”. As usual with teens, anything that parents didn’t want you doing was exactly what we wanted to take part in so, of course my friends always had positive attitudes about sex, even if they didn’t really understand the entire concept of it. I partially blame the media for the way teens view sex; of course anyone would think it were fun and a good time with the way television shows show adults, and sometimes teens enjoying casual sex.

I was very sheltered growing up. Sheltered to the point where my only options for entertainment from the TV were the select cartoons my father Okayed, educational shows, the news, or shows where the characters were close to my own age, which was quite difficult to find. Because of this, I wasn’t exposed to many shows that had anything to do with sex. When I was finally old enough to watch PG-13 movies, around 16 years old is when I began to see why my father censored so much of what we saw. Romance movies or “chick-flicks” were my favorite at this age, along with romance novels and they all had the same premise; girl meets boy, falls in love with boy, she gives it up to boy and they live happily ever after. Seeing this as a now older teenaged girl made me think that sex was this amazing, romantic experience; anytime movie characters had sex, they seemed even more in love and that was something I wanted! This changed my view of sex for the next few years of my life. I wanted this fairy tale type of love that resulted in world changing sex and happily ever after which changed my attitude on the subject from neutral feelings to positive. I’m sure there were plenty of other teenaged girls who felt the same way I did; and with raging hormones, teenaged boys had positive attitudes about sex as well. The media has almost always given off the idea that sex is something that is exciting and that casual sex is not only acceptable but should happen quite often! Every now and again in shows you’ll see characters stop and ask “do you have a condom” but a lot of the time the scenes skip right over this part and get down to business. In the shows I’ve seen birth control is only talked about when women forget to take it or their significant other/sexual partner is asking if they are on the pill; there is never really an explanation of what this “pill” is and what it does.

Throughout my teenaged years I got the idea that sex was bad when it came from sources like my parents and school but received the complete opposite message from my peers and the media. With such big parts of my life giving conflicting messages, it was no wonder I was confused as to what I should think. I wanted to make my parents happy but at the same time with my friends whispering in my ear about how great sex is and the media showing me how fun it looked, I was torn! The older I grew and the more information I learned I was finally able to come to my own decision about sex; it is a beautiful and amazing act that can create these perfect little creatures, it can be a way to express your love and caring for your significant other, and it can be sheer blissful fun when done with the right person. Everyone is going to receive different information from various sources that will try to influence your opinion and your decisions to reflect their own beliefs but ultimately, each and every one of us will grow to have our own unwavering attitude toward sex and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I think the best way to help each growing generation is to give them as much information as we can but don’t try to pressure them into taking on the same opinions of sex that we do because when it comes to sex, we all do it when we’re good and ready, despite what anyone says or thinks. Providing support and knowledge is the best way to help teens to make intelligent decisions that will keep them safe.