Life + Style

November 15, 2012

Let's get personal: Part 2

I was so warmed by all of your sweet comments following yesterdays post and a little overwhelmed by the sheer traffic on my blog yesterday.    Many of y'all must like this over sharing :)

And I must apologize now because I had to break today's post into two as well so there's more where this is coming from tomorrow.
I started my blog when I lived in Pawleys Island, SC.  I thought we'd stay in that house forever and the blog name, Pawleys Island Posh made sense.  To my newer readers who can't figure out why I live in Richmond or my older readers who never got more than a we moved announcement, here's a little bit on that.  Heck, even my friends in Pawleys might have been surprised by our sudden choice.  Yes, I had an infant, and, unbeknownst to me, was pregnant again when we made the move in 2011 from Pawleys Island, SC to Richmond, VA.  Here's a little back ground on what fueled that seemingly random move.
The company I worked for in Myrtle Beach was under the umbrella of a hedge-fund in NYC that started going under in 2009.  As we started watching the ship sink, I knew didn't want to stay in real estate and I didn't see any real career opportunities for myself in Pawleys.  I also got pregnant for the first time just as all this was happening.  Although I lost that baby I knew I wanted to try again right away.  I realized having a baby and staying home to raise them was really important to me.  More than anything.
Matthew's company was downsizing due to the economy so his ability to move up was looking slim. He'd also worked for his Dad's development company off and on for years and had come to realize that he didn't like mixing family and business.  Work should stay at work.
Another reason we talked about leaving was that Matthew wanted to get his MBA which was impossible for us to do in Pawleys Island.  We started realizing that there were better opportunities for our family in many ways if we left.  Richmond seemed like the logical location because we'd have my parents here for support. But before that goal could be accomplished, I found out I was pregnant again and going back to school full-time was off the table for him.  I'll save my thoughts on that for another day.  

Also, despite a loving and supportive community in Pawleys, I realized that I wasn't sad at the prospect of leaving.  I think it was just too small for me.  I need space.  I need privacy.  I need a little hustle and bustle.  I like walking outside and seeing a world awake and moving all around me.  It helps me keep perspective.  As for our home, we didn't get a single offer on our house in Pawleys during the first 6 months or so that is was on the market so we decided to pull the listing and wait and see.  Wait and see if Richmond was the right move for us and wait and see if we would end up back in Pawleys and in need of a roof over our heads.  Wait and see if my parents would use it enough to justify them buying it from us.  I'm pretty sure we're settled in Richmond for the long haul, but, as I've assured my husband many times, I'd move anywhere with him.  Some parts of the move have been easier than others.  I really feel like I'm in the right place for all the right reasons.  I'm grateful to have a supportive and fulfilling husband.  He's my everything.  The most important factor in my life is being with Matthew and that is anywhere.  I'd move to the Nordic to be with him.  I don't believe there is one perfect place.  Our children will thrive in any house they grow up in because it will be a happy and well loved home.
Although, Charleston is the one place I think we will always keep on our radar :) 
I miss my friends there and Matthew misses the immense availability of outdoor hobbies.
 I'll be perfectly honest.  Meeting people has been hard.  That's not Richmond, that's anywhere.  Making friends as an adult is really hard.  I got to take the easy way out in Pawleys because several friends from college already lived there and the wives of my husbands friends were inclusive from the start.  Everyone lived down the street and were in the same place in life.  That's not the case here.  It's actually one of the things I like about Richmond, the diversity in the people you meet.  But it doesn't necessarily make falling into friendship easy.  Being a SAHM mom makes it even harder.  It's hard when your life is centered around your kids ever-changing schedules and making plans guarantees someone will be off that day.  It's hard when leaving the house means changing diapers and clothes and packing a suitcase full of " just in case", all the while timing it when someone's not hungry or sleepy or having a meltdown. 

It's hard to get over the on the surface banter with moms you meet at the park when you realize that although you have more to offer the world, all you can think of talking about is squeezable applesauce and zulily.  It's hard to not feel inadequate and to want to choose your sweatpants and bed over two hours at happy hour with women who actually have something interesting to say.  Please don't think I'm accusing mother's of not being interesting.  I promise I'm not.  I meet with a great group of women once a week or so to watch our children play together.  They're interesting and accomplished women.  They're smart and they're funny, but it's hard to get a good conversation going when you're constantly interrupted by a dirty diaper or a hungry baby or a certain somebody that wants you to watch her go down the slide...again.  And those same women are ready for their stretchy yoga pants and Bravo at the end of their children's day or a night out alone with their husbands when they get the rare chance, just like I am.
And I found out that I'm not the kind of mom that joins things.  I'm not knocking all of the wonderful moms groups out there.  They offer invaluable resources to mothers that face a day surrounded by people who can't talk back.  But it's like the quote "I wouldn't join any club that would have me".  It's just felt too forced to me so far.

And please don't think that I don't have hobbies or goals that extend beyond my children.  Because it's evident if you read my blog that I do.  I'm not some desperate housewife stuck in suburbia with a dirty diaper smeared on my shoulder.  I love writing and the creative outlet I find in blogging.  I love interior design and styling outfit boards.  I love painting and photography.  I think I have ugly duck syndrome; I like making ugly ducks into swans.  That's the basis of all my creativity I think.  But I just don't have the ambition or the cut-throat drive to need to be anything more than an interesting and good wife and mother.  That's what makes me happy. 

I'm happy to be where I am.  I'm sure some would find me boring although none could say they don't feel happiness and laughter in my presence.  I'm sure of that.  My current goals don't extend much further than my own children's childhood.  I want them to feel loved and cherished and remember a mommy who played on the floor with them and said yes almost all of the time.  There a million ways to never say no to your children without every losing the power.  I've mastered that craft.  So there will be time for new friendships and uber-fabulous things to do and talk about later in life.  This isn't the season for that.  

As for retirement, we've discussed returning to Charleston.  Our hearts are happy there.  The people are good there.  The water is heaven.
 In reality I just hope Matthew and I have the physical and financial health to be comfortable when we retire.  Although to be honest it's hard to even fathom that day might come!  We like to play the winning the lottery game rather than having the actual retirement conversation.  It's way more fun.  Either way I want to spend some time in Paris and Italy.  Matthew wants to safari in Africa.  I'll be thankful for the chance to make that choice one day.
*I'm also horrified to learn that the last family picture we have was taken back in May on Mother's Day.  I just searched my entire archive to find something suitable for this post and came up really lacking.  I'm embarrassed by the lack of pictures of my kids together and ones of them with Matthew and I individually.  Dang, I need to force this issue asap.  Oh well, you know what they say about the cobbler's kids.



  1. Great personal posts! I love your take on being a SAHM. It's always so hard for me to honestly describe it without sounding like I'm complaining...cause I'm not. It's just hard. Well, you get it. You described it perfectly!!!

  2. Love hearing your take on staying at home with Wells and Tagg. I have the same thoughts and feelings, but I was never able to voice it that well. I want to go back and visit Charleston some more, we didn't get to spend as much time there as we wanted when we lived in SC, and we both feel like we missed out.

  3. Just got done reading yesterday's post... adorable!
    I must say that so many SAHMs will indentify with your feelings about motherhood. No one is making us stay home, we do it because we want to but it is so hard to figure out where "mommy" ends and the other you begins. I have been a SAHM for 18 years and still struggle to find like-minded women to spend time with. My teens friends moms all work and the preschool moms all run marathons or are terribly stand-offish.
    I absolutely love that a requirement in decorating is making your kids happy and comfortable. Playing with your kids is so much fun and time well spent.

  4. I just adore this entire post! and yesterdays was pretty darn awesome too! I knew from our first coffee date when I meet you and Matt I was gonna love you guys!

  5. Perfectly stated, thank you for putting my feelings into words! And our long term plan for Charleston is in place-once our boys are in high school, we build there and get the heck out of Atlanta! PS I'm not a good "club" person either, but have a fabulous playgroup!

  6. I think all moms secretly share in your same thoughts....I know I do and I'm a working mom. It's hard, either way, no matter what situation and what you make of it, is what you make of it. I learned that a long time ago to now worry about what others think. Loved this post!! :-)

  7. Indeed, you said what every SAHM has felt or thought...and you said it beautifully- thanks for being so honest and authentic- very sweet to read:)

  8. Great post again. This series is fantastic because if at all possible, it made me like your blog more. You are so is very hard to make friends as adults. You are being pulled in one hundred directions and it is the same for a working mom too. I echo everything you said. It really made me feel like I am not the only one!

  9. Amen sister! I don't know a SAHM, including me, who doesn't feel the same way. You said it beautifully and I couldn't agree more. And I love, 'this isn't the season for that'. I think I may have to make that my mantra. :) My sister and BIL lived in Richmond for years so I got to spend a lot of time there. And the hubs and I have taken several trips to Charleston - both fab towns. Good choices. :)

  10. It is always hard to find balance in life. It sounds like you are in a really good place though. I have been a stay at home mom for eight years now. Because my kids are in school, I sometimes feel like it is time to get a job outside the home but with my husband's travel schedule it would be hard with all of the after school activities. I also volunteer a lot - sometimes a little too much. When I was young, I always wished my mom wasn't working so she could attend class trips and run events, so I am doing that now for my kids. There is always time to work. Kids grow up way too fast and I want to be there for all the important things. Thanks for sharing your story with us. I really enjoyed your honesty.

  11. great story! I've loved learning more about you!

  12. We love having you and those adorable kids here in Richmond, Julia! I hope to see y'all again soon!!

  13. Loved learning more about you through this post! I think that with every stage of life, some more than others, there is a constant pressure to do more, be better, meet more people, etc. Finding the balance is key and it seems like you're doing a pretty darn good job at it!

  14. I'll admit, I was ready to yell when you said you're in Richmond for the long haul. Just happy to hear some Charleston shoutouts too :) You know I want you here. Beside that little point though, love this so much, great way of describing how hard it is to have conversations with kids in tow. I'm actually not a huge fan of playdates for this reason. Much prefer a good girl night. Speaking of... :) xx

  15. Loved these last two posts! You're fascinating in the most wonderful way.

  16. I've never lived in Charleston but I have visited and I currently live in Richmond. I don't think I'll ever want to live anywhere else other than those two places. They have the perfect mix of plenty of things going on but with a smaller town feel. And lots of history!

  17. I had no idea you live in Richmond...where have I been???? I grew up there and lived in charleston for a time after college...totally know why you love that place!!
    My boys are now 9 and 6 years old and life is SOOOOOO much easier these days. I look back at those diaper days and life as a full time mom and it was soooooo hard!!! At this phase in my life, I have an identity other than just being a wife and mom...which makes me happy.... Although I realize the wife and mom is the most important.! And here's a tip:.we always had wine at the afternoon playgroups which was GREAT...try it if you haven't already- HIGHLY recommend!!! I Still can't believe you life in Richmond!! I'll be there for thanksgiving and can't wait to hit 5807, fraiche, etc etc!!,

  18. Fifty Shades of Twilight Games my hiney! I'd take reading this story over those any day. Xoxo

  19. Love, love reading your story! :)

  20. Wow, you shared some wonderful thoughts and obviously parts of yourself here. Being content to just be your kids mom at this time in their lives is a wonderful goal. Be glad you are able to dedicate yourself to it and don't worry about anyone else's opinion. To say it goes too fast is an understatement.

    You have a great style with your blog. I tire of many of them, but yours just gets better! Thanks for sharing.

  21. What a amazing post!! Thank you for sharing your story! I am a SAHM and can relate to it all!!!!

  22. Yesterday & today's post are both incredible! You are such an inspiration Julia!!! And I am loving the O'reilys & Dengates references, C of C times were unbeatable! Maybe one day will both be retired in Charleston! xx

  23. Speaking from someone who moved around a lot as a kid (always the new kid) it is difficult moving to a new city. I always say it takes over a year to even feel at home. I can tell that in no time you will find a few "besties". Thanks for sharing your feelings with us.....#raw.....

  24. I complete get everything you said!

    Great story about how you and your husband met.

    My husband and I have plans to retire to Charleston too. My husband was born in Charleston and we were married in the gazebo on the battery. It is a special place....always tugging our hearts too come back.

    Enjoy your weekend there!

  25. Julia, when your kids get a little older and start going to school, they will make friends, and you will become friends with their friends' parents. RIght now, things can seem confining, but just remembr to enjoy every moment with your kids because they grow up SO fast. You blink your eyes, and they are suddenly getting married and starting families of their own. But i know you know this already.

    I have one suggestion. Have you thought about joining the Jr. League? That's a great group of women, and I found that they provided a venue for me to stretch my wings and polish my skills and find new ones. I did all sorts of things I didn't know I could do. Things which I parlayed into my job. The League was always full of accomplished young women, and I think now it is a combination of working women and SAHMs. I have friends of a lifetime I made from that group. I'm not sure how the Richmond rules work for membership, but I know here they are always looking for talented new members.

    As to retirement, if Charleston is what you want, then be sure and maintain your ties there, just not to the exception of creating new ties in Richmond. My sister lived in Charleston a long time, and we loved it there.
    So I understand the draw.

    I have lived away from home my whole adut life and have moved several times, so I also understand the need to connect. You will get there, and in the mean time, you have your blog and photography interests. You are so talented, and I know that your photography skills will be in demand in Richmond. Do some things as a volunteer, and people will be jumping at the chance to use your services and to get to know you better.

    Sorry for the long post. Just wanted to share in the hopes that it would help.



  26. If you ever want a friend to grab a quick coffee with in Richmond, I'd love to meet up! I'm not married yet or a mommy, but I do spend each and every day with 18 5 year olds so I can relate to the utter emotional exhaustion kids create, ha!

  27. I can completely relate on the SAHM topic. I am also in RVA (actually out by the zoo) and spend my days with my 2 boys (2.5 yrs and almost 5yr!). I wouldn't trade it for the world, but it definitely is harder than i ever imagined it would be. I also love photography and those interior design, DIY projects! Maybe we will run into each other sometime.


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