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Advice Column: Response to Muddled

Dear Hailey,

Recently, my friend had spoken of an Internship near us. We are both High School students, looking for a job. The Internship sounded cool, but I decided to apply to a few fast food places near me instead. Fast forward two months, and no luck. Not one place had called me back. In desperation for a job, I remembered the Internship. I checked the website: Still hiring. I filled out the application, and within 3 days heard back. I think they want me, as they informed me they had skipped phase one of the interview process, and wanted to go directly to phase two. The said company is a somewhat prestigious software company, and I feel that my working at this company could help me immensely in the future.

However, when I told my friend that they wanted to interview me, my friend become very jealous, understandably. He knows a guy who works in the company, and he and the guy have been trying to get my friend into an interview for a month now. And I just waltz in and immediately get asked to be interviewed? I’d be frustrated too. I fear that if I get the job, my friend and I will no longer be friends. We have been very close friends for almost 3 years now, and have been with each other through the good and the bad. I don’t want a mere job to ruin all that we’ve built.

Luckily, one of the local restaurants has emailed me, saying they’d be interested in hiring me. However, they are a small company, and pay minimum wage ($7.25) and according to other High School employees, they have poor hours, usually only scheduling you in once or twice a week, for 3-4 hours. Whereas the Software Company is very flexible with how YOU want to work, and is offering $11.00 an hour.

Help?

Muddled

 

 

Dear Muddled,

I’m going to be very upfront with you. While it’s important to value friendship, a true friend wouldn’t want you to give up on an amazing opportunity simply because they are jealous. It sounds like you have already been putting yourself in your friend’s position to consider their feelings, and I want you to do it again. If the roles were swapped, would you want your friend to give up on this opportunity to spare your feelings? I would imagine you would likely want them to pursue this.

Also, it’s important to consider that you working there could quite possibly open up doors for your friend. Internal references, (especially from stellar employees) can carry a large amount of weight. The next time a spot opens up, their chances of receiving an offer for a position could be increased due to your positive reference for them. I saw that you wrote that they already know someone who works there, but more than one positive reference goes a long way. Two positive references might be the pull that your friend needs to get an interview.

You are absolutely right about this helping you with future employment. Working for a software company will definitely do more for your future opportunities than food service.

If you are worried about telling your friend of your decision, try something like this: “I know that you are upset that this job was not extended to you. I value your friendship, but this is a really great opportunity, and my working there could open up opportunities for you as well”. Phrase it in a way that you are comfortable with (I’ve been out of high school for about 10 years, so I’m definitely not an authority on how high school students talk), but the important aspects are to acknowledge their feelings, let them know how much you value their friendship, and also let them know of the future doors this could open for them.

Congrats on such an amazing opportunity. $11 an hour is an amazing pay rate for a high school student. I wish you luck with the interview, and with your friend.

 

Hailey

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Advice Column- Always a Bridesmaid

Dear Hailey,

 

I am a fairly new new-comer to your blog and was reading through some past advice column posts and decided to post my own question, or share what’s on my mind. I am single, but honestly I’m pretty happy about it- MOST of the time. I haven’t met the right guy yet. I would rather be single and happy than married and miserable or, not happy in a marriage and I feel very strongly about those convictions. I refuse to settle. But, through the years as my friends get married (and most of them are) I have been heavily involved in helping them plan their weddings whether it be local or even if they are on the other side of the country they still call and need input, etc.

I love that my friends involve me with their special day and take my opinions seriously- but SOMETIMES it’s just hard. I mean, I don’t want to sound like sour grapes here but there’s that part of me that sighs inside and thinks “Always a bridesmaid, never a bride.”

I guess it’s natural to feel this way but I was just curious on your thoughts. I am really happy for my friends and I especially enjoy being a part of the wedding and other festivities. I’m an amateur photographer and taking wedding photos brings me joy! Dating has always been a struggle for me because most of the guys I get involved with turn out to not be as great as I’d originally thought and it always ends- but in retrospect I’m GLAD that I didn’t end up with any of them.

I’ve dodged a few bullets. My good friend sent me something that said, “My prince charming is not coming on a white horse, he is obviously riding a turtle somewhere, very confused.” I laughed so hard at this because, it’s true! Perhaps I should think of this at the next wedding I attend and laugh to myself. Thank you for your time.

Always a Bridesmaid

 

 

Dear Bridesmaid,

You are wise to approach the prospect of marriage with caution. It is a decision that has a large impact on your life, and definitely shouldn’t be taken lightly.

It’s natural to want to be with someone, it’s how we’re wired as humans. We seek out companionship, romantic or otherwise.

It’s also normal to feel some dissonance when we recognize a gap between where we are, and where we want to be. It’s an uncomfortable feeling, but it serves an important purpose in personal growth and progress. However, when you aren’t sure what you want, or how to get it, it can make this uncomfortable feeling even harder to understand.

You have put into words what all people have experienced at some point: A longing for something they are not sure that they actually want.

It sounds like on the one hand, it would be nice to have someone. On the other hand, you mention you have had some bad experiences.

Relationships are hard. People can be disappointing at times. It’s also hard when you find that most of your friends are in a different phase of life than you.

Listen to yourself. Think about what you picture as a happy life for yourself. Think about what that means for you, and not just in regards to relationship status. I wish you luck!

Hailey

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How to Stop From Falling Over the Edge

We’ve all been there, everything is just hunky dory and suddenly, it happens. You start to feel an impending sense of dread, of anxiety, or a giant wave of depression that makes you want to turn around and go back to bed. Maybe something triggered this, but maybe it just appeared out of nowhere, like a monster in an unfortunate magic show.

What do you do now? Here are some options to avoid spiraling into a full blown depressive episode or panic attack:

1. Take a quick inventory of yourself

Have you eaten today? Taken a shower? Are you dehydrated? Are there any basic personal care tasks that you’ve neglected that could be dragging down your mood? Taking care of your body is essential to avoiding depressive and anxious episodes.

2. Get a change of scenery

Ideally, go for a short walk if possible, or even a drive. If the weather won’t allow, or if you are at work and can’t leave, or stuck at home with a napping baby, then switch rooms or go sit outside. At the very least, open your curtains and let some natural light in. Maybe open a window and let in some fresh air. Ahhhh. Breathe it in. That’s nice.

3. Change your clothes

This isn’t always possible, (such as if you are at work or simply away from home) but maybe you need to get out of your yoga pants and into something nicer? Or maybe out of your uncomfortable clothes into something a little more cozy? A fresh outfit can change your perspective.

4. Take a spiritual inventory of yourself

Have you been neglecting your spiritual needs? Consider some prayer, meditation, or scripture study to help improve your mood and prevent a panic attack/depressive episode.

5. Call a friend/family member

If possible, meet in person. There is something about mental illness that causes us to isolate ourselves, but this is the complete opposite of what we need to do when it rears its ugly head. Call your significant other, your mom, your best friend, your sister…anyone who has your trust.

6. Change tasks or take a break

Are you working on a task that is exacerbating your negative emotions? Step away for a minute, and approach it with a fresh perspective later.

7. Find a distraction

We need to process our emotions and they can’t be ignored, but there is a big difference between processing and wallowing. Sometimes we just need to pull ourselves out of a pit of despair. A funny video, a book, or anything that will take you somewhere else for a few minutes. Personally, I don’t like social media as a distraction in this context because I feel it could do more harm than help in this situation.

How do you stop from falling over the edge? Let me know in the comments below!

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You Have More Than You Think

I had the opportunity to visit Baltimore for a work trip earlier this month. We decided that we would jaunt over to DC before we headed back home, since it was just a train ride away. While we were in DC, we visited the Holocaust museum. It was a harrowing experience, but an event that needs to be remembered.

After reading and seeing the contents of the exhibits for the 3 hours we were in that museum, it seemed incredibly disrespectful to carry on with my usual posts. At least with out acknowledging the haunting things I witnessed, and express some gratitude for what I have been blessed with.

Learning more about what happened all those years ago made all of my current worries seem…small. Insignificant. Unimportant. Even a little silly. I have enough food to feed my child. I have a comfortable home. I’m allowed to live and work where I wish. No one is threating any of my basic rights, my family, or my life.

I have so much to be grateful for. You do too. Try not to get caught up in what you don’t have, or what has gone wrong in your life, and think about what you have been blessed with. You have more than you think.

I’ll be back with my usual posts before too much longer, but the worries that seemed so big before, like my son’s slowness to achieve developmental milestones, or my inability to get what I want to get done just don’t seem like the looming difficulties that they did a few weeks ago.

Our problems don’t disappear knowing that someone has (or had) it worse than us, but it’s important to recognize that if you have a roof over your head, safe living conditions, access to food, and the ability to live as and where you wish, you are dang lucky. Everything else is just extra.

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My Son is a Milestone Slow Poke

 

My little guy is kind of a slow poke.

I don’t mean with running, because that kid is FAST. I mean he’s slow with developmental milestones. He was slow to crawl, slow to walk, and slow to talk. (But he was 9 pounds at birth, and got all of his teeth well before 18 months, so there’s that).

Like many naive new parents, I always thought my kid would be the fastest kid to learn new skills, and achieve milestones. He was going to be breaking records and just impressive all around. A Guinness book of world record baby for over all genius-ness and brilliance.

That vision didn’t materialize, and I currently have a sweet, beautiful baby who isn’t in a hurry to achieve milestones at a fast or even traditional speed.

Here’s the deal: His doctor isn’t worried, so I’m not worried. Well, let’s be real here, I’m my usual level of nervous wreck about this as I am with everything else. So all in all pretty good for me.

In all seriousness, my kid is happy and healthy. His speed at achieving milestones doesn’t reflect on his intelligence, my intelligence, my parenting ability, or anything really. He’s just a kid, discovering the world at his own pace, albeit a slower pace.

He’s a toddler, and I’m not in a hurry to make him to grow up. He’ll get where he needs to go, but on his own timeline. And while it is definitely not what I expected when I entered motherhood, this has been a good exercise for me in patience and humility.

Milestones are just that, markers on a long journey. He’ll get there. And if we get to the point where we need to seek help for him? We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Do you have a kiddo who was exceptionally slow (or fast!) at achieving their milestones? Tell me all about it in the comments below!

Posted in Narrative | 2 Comments

When You Can’t Seem to Get Crap Done

Before I had my son, I was the queen of productivity. I could clean the entire house in one afternoon. I would make a to-do list, finish everything on it and then some. If I wanted something done, I got it done.

Now that I have entered motherhood, most of what I can accomplish is limited to the small window of nap time. If I attempt chores any other time, they are constantly interrupted by tiny hands that need love and attention. On top of that, ever since becoming a mother my ability to focus isn’t what it used to be. That to-do list I used to be able to bust out in one afternoon takes a few days.

This is honestly one of the changes in my life I have struggled with the most in motherhood. Trying to find time to accomplish what I need to get done, what my family needs, and somehow maintain some semblance of sanity.

I’m still working on remembering that my value isn’t determined by what I can accomplish. No one is grading me on what portion of my to-do list gets done. It’s fantastic when I can get things done, but when I can’t, that’s ok too. It’s ok to stop what I’m doing when my little guy needs me, or even if I just need to steal a few moments for myself.

I’m working on remembering that it is necessary and essential to take time for myself. Time for toddler cuddles. (When my busy little guy slows down to cuddle of course).

I’m not any less of a wife or a mother if I can’t accomplish everything on my list.

If everyone is taken care of and happy then that is what matters.

What has been your biggest struggle with transitioning to motherhood? (Or fatherhood?).

 

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Before You Get Mad at a Loud Kid, Read This

As you know or can imagine, traveling with kids is just a complete joy (Insert thick sarcasm here). They get thrown off of their routines, they don’t sleep well, and while they remain adorable through all of this they also become unmanageable little terrors.

We had the privilege of being able to attend my brother’s graduation at the end of last month. We’d struggled for the previous day and half with basically no naps for our toddler, and it had been physically and mentally exhausting. We were completely wiped out.

I finally got the tired little toddler to sleep. He hadn’t napped that day, or the day before, and it was nothing short of a miracle that I got him down so close to his bedtime.

I heard a knock on the door, so I assumed my husband must have forgotten his key when he ran out for snacks.

They continued knocking loudly, and incessantly. I ran over to the door, pulled it open, and it was a small child. They couldn’t have been any older than 7. They looked startled that it was a stranger opening the door, and said very loudly, “Sorry I thought this was my sisters”.

I said (quietly, in an effort to keep my toddler asleep), “I have a baby sleeping, please go”, and I closed the door.

I was concerned about the light coming through the open door, and the noise from the conversation, and my whole goal was to get them away as fast as possible so I that I could keep my sweet toddler asleep.

The longer I sat in that room, the angrier I got. I had a flurry of aggravated thoughts spinning through my exhausted brain. I sat there in that dark hotel room and just stewed in my frustration.

My husband came back with snacks, and by then I was just fuming.

He simply, and wisely after agreeing that it was an absolute relief that our sweet toddler had remained asleep, “It was just a kid”.

Then it hit me. As much as I am in denial about my son getting older, in a few years…that will be my son. That will be him annoying random strangers, doing his best to remember but regularly forgetting the “good manners”, and etiquette I’ll do my best to teach him. Kids aren’t tiny grown ups, and they are just trying to figure out a world that has countless rules, written and unwritten, official and unofficial.

If it were my son, I would hope that a stranger would treat him with kindness and patience. I would hope that they wouldn’t make assumptions about my parenting, and that they realize he is still learning.

Just like the rest of us, they are just trying to figure out the world.

Posted in Narrative | 2 Comments

Why “Never go to Bed Angry” is Utter and Complete Garbage Advice

Before you tell me I’m wrong, hear me out. 

My husband and I don’t fight very often, but when we do, 99% of the time we are exhausted, right before bedtime. We’re fighting because we are exhausted, not because of a real reason or issue. We’re worn out, frustrated, and just…done.

Instead of continuing to fight, we head to bed and go to sleep. We wake up in the morning, apologize for being buttheads, and move on.

Why on earth would we continue to fight when the only reason we are fighting is because we are exhausted? It’s ridiculous to say that we can’t sleep because we need to resolve something that is only happening because we are tired. 

That silly standard of “never go to bed angry” puts us in what I can only think the call the eternal circle of idiocy. It’s inefficient, exhausting, and I refuse to participate in it. 

It’s important when it comes to going to bed angry, that you follow these rules:

1. Sleep in the same bed.

It might be on opposite sides, as far apart as possible facing in opposite directions. But you don’t want to start off the next day divided. So suck it up and sleep in your bed together. 

2. You don’t have to go to bed at the same time.

You aren’t ready to hit the hay yet, and they are? No problem! They can head to bed, you can put on your favorite show (it can even be something that your spouse hates!), and join them for some slumber when you are ready!

3. If you aren’t over it in the morning, have breakfast before any discussion.

After you both have bellies full of food, then get to resolving your issue. Hangry feelings are the last thing a calm discussion needs. 

4. Some issues can’t wait.

I am well aware that some things can’t wait until morning. You know your marriage, and what works for you. 

What’s the best (or worst!) marriage advice you have ever received? Let me know in the comments below!

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7 Ways to Turn Someone’s Day Around

I had another one of those days. A day that didn’t turn out awesome. It started out fine, and basically went to crap as the day wore on.

I’ve become moderately obsessed with vinyl, and I was at the very end of a complex project, and I messed it up. It was a layered project and while putting it together I didn’t align it right, and I ruined the entire thing.

So I wasted my time (and wasted the vinyl). That was going to be my win for the day. A day that had been rough anyway, and the botched project just cemented the crummy-ness of it all.

I spent more time than I would like to admit feeling sorry for myself. About the vinyl, about the rest of my day.

That night, I recieved a very kind text. It was from someone I don’t know very well, but it was what I needed.

And then the next day, I had two similar conversations at work. Conversations about how much I was appreciated. And really, it was just for me doing my job. Nothing crazy.

These weren’t family members, best friends, or anyone who knew me well enough to know I was having a rough day. None of these people knew that I was feeling sorry for myself. They were just letting me know how much they appreciated me.

We don’t always know when someone was struggling. But it never hurts to throw some kindness or appreciation out there.

Will you do me a favor? Do this for someone today. Be the person that brings a person out of their sadness, reminds them of their worth, and helps them pick their pieces up and move forward.

Today, tell someone…

1. How much they mean to you.

2. That you appreciated something that they did for you, or for someone else.

3. How much you enjoyed the latest pictures of them or their kids on social media, or the funny blurb they posted.

4. How they have inspired you.

5. That you have noticed their hard work.

6. How much you admire a quality of theirs.

7. How great their hair looks, or how their new outfit makes their eyes pop.

Remember, if you put good things in the world, good things will come out. When you need them, you’ll get a little piece of that goodness back. And even if it weren’t for that, it just feels good to bring someone else up out of a crummy day.

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Are you crazy? Yeah, probably.

 

I think at some point in our lives we’ve stopped all and thought, “I wonder if I’m a little…OCD? Anxious? Or…(Insert any mental illness you can think of here)”. You might be. Honestly, you probably are.

Most of us are a little bit nuts in our own right. It’s what makes humans so interesting. People are fun because they have variety. And variety doesn’t happen without throwing a little bit of crazy in there.

We’ve all got a little dose of mental illness. It’s just part of being human. Here’s the kicker: Most of the time it doesn’t matter.

Let’s say you need to check the doors 4 times apiece each night before bed to be convinced that they are locked. Your spouse thinks it’s weird, since they can glance at the doors once and be convinced that everything is squared away.

But think for a second: Is that really affecting your life negatively? Are you affected so much by those odd but benign habits?

The answer is a resounding “No.”

However, if you spend hours checking and rechecking, locking and unlocking, and counting, waking up to check again, then you run into trouble. Because your life and functioning are starting to be affected negatively.

Quirks, strange behaviors, and unique habits that can only be described as oddities are part of being human. If your relationships, sleep, and daily functioning are severely affected, that’s when we worry. That’s when you need to be referred to a medical professional that will likely recommend counseling, and possibly medication.

But if you’re just a little odd, you have some weird habits? Welcome to the club, because that’s just part of being human.

It’s good to be self-aware, because often these small habits can escalate when we reach stressful points of our lives. But cut yourself some slack. You’re just as crazy as the rest of us.

 

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