Monday, February 10, 2014

Hard Work vs. Working Hard

"Wow, that's going to be really hard."  These are words we hear a lot lately.  When I tell inquiring minds that we are expecting twins, this is what they say (among other things).  When I tell people that I plan to breastfeed said twins, this is their response (followed by, "It's okay to formula feed, you know.")  When I disclose that they are, in fact, two more girls and we already have an almost 2 year old big sis at home, they shake their heads and tell us, "Good luck," (punctuated by a conciliatory, "Rather you than me.") And when I tell people that, yes, we do plan to return to our boat and resume the life aquatic with all three of our girls in tow, they shoot me an incredulous look and exclaim, "That is going to be really hard."

As if we don't know that.

I understand where these comments are coming from and I don't begrudge the countless people who have uttered these words to us.  Heck, I'm sure I've even said them to someone before - many times in fact.  But after hearing this phrase ad nauseum and having lots of time to sit and ponder (what with the polar vortex and all) I have started to really think about what it means when people say this and why it always makes me a little uneasy.  And I have come to the conclusion that when people are telling us that XYZ is going to be "really hard work", what it feels like they are saying is: you should probably re-think that plan.

Lucky for me, I am the type of person who is fueled, and not dissuaded, by this sort of response.  When people tell me something can't be done, or something will be "really hard", the drive within me doesn't waver at all.  In fact, quite the opposite:  the more someone tells me I can't, the more I actually believe that I can.  I'm not sure if this is the result of my natural competitive drive or a side-effect of parents who made me believe I could do anything, but when someone puts a wall up in front of me, intentionally or not, I see it as nothing more than a challenge to overcome.  I guess I should thank all the skeptics because, let's face it, nothing is more pleasurable than doing something successfully after people say you can't.

The fact of the matter is that the last three years of our life has been anything but conventional and, truth be told, we are no strangers to people telling us that what we are doing is going to be "hard".  Almost every juncture of this journey has been met with skepticism.  Refit a boat?  Insanity.  Plan a wedding AND refit a boat?  Have fun.  Quit our jobs, take off on a boat without a real financial plan and just head south?  Nuts.  Sail out to the ocean without any prior ocean experience?  Better think twice.  Stay on the boat while pregnant?  Good luck with that.  Sell your boat in this market?  Impossible.  Raise a baby on a boat?  Preposterous.  Sail offshore with a toddler?  Stupid. Cruise while pregnant with twins?  Unthinkable.  You get the gist.  So, yeah, we're no strangers to this.  Every single step of the way we we have been told that what we were going to do was "really hard" (or crazy, or irresponsible, or insane...etc) and yet, we did it.  All of it.

What strikes me most though, is that this is a country that really values "hard work" but it seems as if most of the people who tell us that what we plan to do is going to be "hard work", are not putting value on our work at all (and, yes, all of the above took a tremendous amount of good, old fashioned "work").  It seems that they are trying to actually dissuade us from working hard to do what we want to do, which leads me to believe that all work is not created equal.

If you work hard to get a degree, score a high-paying job and/or buy a nice home - your work is praised and you are considered a good, productive member of society.  If, on the other hand, you work hard to follow your dreams, do something unconventional or attempt something that might seem extreme to others - the work is more often than not, undervalued.  Why is this?  I don't have the answer but it is interesting to think about.

It's a knee jerk reaction to say "wow, that'll be really hard" when someone tells you how they are going to do something that you might perceive as unnecessarily difficult, risky or maybe even impossible, but it's not helpful at all.  There's a difference between "keeping it real" and being subversive.  I write all the time that following dreams is not easy, that the cruising life is no walk in the park, that living on a boat full time is not for the faint of heart - but almost always, I frame it in a way that shows it can be done (and is very rewarding) but that, yes, it's going to take a little blood, sweat, and tears to get there.  There is a difference.

I propose that we all try to take a moment before we blindly tell someone that their choice is going to be "really hard work" (particularly if we have zero experience with whatever it is they are proposing) and, instead, respond with something along the lines of "Wow, I'll bet that will be hard work, but SO rewarding." Doesn't that sound so much nicer?  I think so.

I know that we're in for a major "about face" in our lives, I know that our future plans will have some growing pains and, believe me, I know that this next chapter in our lives will not be "easy" and might require some tweaking. We are not disillusioned (have I mentioned that I have read eighteen books on twin rearing?!) but we are up for the challenges, just like we always are. We have goals, we have plans and we are making choices to see those come to fruition.  We're not sure what the future holds, but we're going to steer this ship as best we can and change tacks if and when necessary.  We've got our work cut out for us and it's going to be hard work - but nothing worth doing is ever easy, right?


Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.

Gail Devers

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

If you truly love what you're doing then it's not work and it's not hard. It's just a challenge. You both are up for a good challenge! Stay true to yourselves because that's all that really matters.

-John

Anonymous said...

Well said!
After thinking that I might never be able to have children, I was 31 when I gave birth to (and breast-fed) identical twin girls. The only phrase more common than the "better you than me" comment was the "I always wanted to have twins!" (Either they were nuts or just naive!) It was hard work, but I loved every single day of my pregnancy ...and almost every single day of those first years. We didn't raise our family on a boat, but I did get plenty of off-hand and negative comments never the less. It was more psychologically complicated than I expected and I didn't have time to read any books about it once they were here...we just did the best we could. Our third daughter was born when the Twins were 3 1/2 ...she (a total surprise) was such a joy to raise as well. Welcome to the "three of a kind" club.
It certainly will be hard work...so are single babies...but you both know already how rewarding being a parent is! The fact that you hope to raise and home-school your girls on a boat will be an adventure that will likely create a very close-knit family...good for you! Enjoy this season of your life for it will fly by.
-Mary Lou

Carly said...

All those comments come from closed minded people. Everyone thought we were nuts as well and I was sick of the negativity. Now that we have left the states and around more "free" minded people all we get is praises and what a great job we're doing of raising our girls. Since leaving the states I haven't heard one bad word about being pregnant on a boat or giving birth in the Bahamas. Follow your dreams and don't let people crush them.

Catherine Hackett said...

You have given Isla one of the best starts to life that anyone possibly could. Your positive, adventurous, responsible attitude is the greatest thing you could possibly mirror to her and your twins.

You guys should be terribly proud of how you are living. Most people who make negative comments are the sorts of folks who live according to others' expectations and dreams. In the end that is a very lonely life.

So looking forward to seeing all your girls back at sea on day. Until then keep up the good work.

love, Cathy

v28 said...

I believe that you will make the right decisions for YOUR family. The children will adapt to whatever life style they are surrounded by, whether on land or at sea, that's how kids are. And yes there will be tough days but they won't all be tough, most will be wonderful. The best is yet to come.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoy reading your blog, but lately all you've been doing is complaining!

SailFarLiveFree said...

You've got a healthy, positive perspective about people's comments. Remember, if "normal" people are questioning your actions, that's probably a good thing! Normal sucks!

chels-pup said...

I've never seen you face a challenge you couldn't overcome! Whats more, you know to see a "challenge" as the blessing that it really is. I can't wait to meet my two little nieces, and see you doubly thrive as the wonderful mummy that you are!

Anonymous said...

I just love all the naysayers putting in their unwanted and probably unsolicited sage advice. What gets me is that we are all on a journey and we have twists and turns within that personal journey. Britt , you and Scott and Isla and the fishies are on an amazing and unique journey that only you can imagine. This will be the best and most wonderful journey for your family. One of the nicest things that my daughter said to me was that she wanted to be the same type of parent that her dadda and I were. We took a 10 day old baby camping with 2 toddlers. Shock rippled through the family. They were disgusted with us but the doctor said that if I was happy and comfortable with it then I would have a happy baby. She still is a happy person.
You guys will always have your babies best interests and what an amazing life you can expose them to. Do what makes you all happy. Life is too short to have regrets. Xocolleen Charlton

Anonymous said...

Give the girl a break. She is 36 plus weeks pregnant with twins. Also she is taking a break from the cruising to have the best start with the babies. You may not have signed up for a Blogger who was cruising the big blue marble with a baby and now we are waiting for the next few weeks for delivery but if you don't like this then don't comment. If you have nothing nice to say then don't say anything at all. And to stay anonymous. Classy. Have a great day. Colleen Charlton

Lisa Hanneman said...

Yeah, seriously, STOP being such a COMPLAINER! Stop making us think a little about what we say before we say it. I hate when people make me think. Ugh.

MaryJo Boyle said...

Ah, Brittany, you are wise beyond your years. I am so glad that you and Scott are in this world showing the naysayers and the know-it-alls what real living is!
My husband and I have 4 daughters and we always told them to go for their dreams;
they have done that and we couldn't be more proud. Isla and her sisters are going to be miles and miles ahead of the children of those timid souls who try to discourage you--in creativity, in courage, and in joie de vie.
I'm so looking forward to seeing photos of your expanded family. =0)

Anonymous said...

Keep the sailing dream alive, No one wants to read a blog of someone raising a family in a old dodge motor home. Although that will be less boring than people raising a family in a house

Joseph Cook said...

As long as you both have goals...nothing will get in the way that can't be overcome. You go girl.

Anonymous said...

Hi: I hope you find it as easy as I do to tell those people to go f**k themselves. My best, long time reader, Robert

Michael Robertson said...

It will be hard, but you will do well. I'm compelled to share a story. I was born in 1968 and my twin sisters were born a year and 10 months later. Get this: my mom (living in Southern California and seeing a regular doctor) learned she was having twins only after the first baby was delivered (both were healthy, 8 and 7 pounds respectively). Can you imagine?

Shannon Brown said...

This reminds me of a pinnable graphic (that's bloggers for ya!) my friend made me when I was having my second baby this summer. It said "You can do hard things!" I thought about that a lot as I was learning to adjust to life as a mom of two. So now I'll pass it on to you: You can do hard things! And it'll be so worth it. Awesome that you are planning to breastfeed too. My friend Trisha of breastfeedingplace.com nursed her twins, I'm sure she'd love to offer support if you find yourself in need. Congratulations!

Courtney said...

People discourage and offer "advice" about everything, even traditional work and career goals. They're just naysayers, people who either have no dreams or have given up on achieving them. You'll find them everywhere, in conventional modes of living and unconventional. They're equal opportunity dissuaders.

tightlittletribe said...

Whoa! We needed this so bad in oir lives right now. We've lived an "alternative" lifestyle for much of our lives and I completely relate to this. It IS very hard not to question things when you get that kind of feedback, especially when you throw a little one into the mix. Three little ones in your case.
Really appreciate your insight. Keep on keeping on!

Anonymous said...

Brittany, we have twin boys who have now just left the nest. Don't let the negative comments sway you, twins are great. The first year is tough, but after that it's a breeze! They have a built in playmate and you can set them down with a box of blocks and tell them to play...and they do. Just watch out when everything gets quiet, that's when they are usually into somehing.

Carl Lambert said...

I imagine seeing you, Brit, up there giving your own TED Talk someday:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XRPbFIN4lk

Tess said...

"Here’s to the crazy ones. The rebels. The troublemakers. The ones who see things differently." This reminds me of you because you never limit your life.

I love that you, Scott and Isla, and soon your two little fishes, are willing to think differently because I get to experience things through your eyes. And know what? It's awesome! Keep it up girl, you are a real inspiration, and your positive attitude is contagious.

Holly K. Turfitt said...

I just read this post and it seriously came at the perfect time. I am pregnant with twin girls due in June, my little boy will be 21 months in June also, so I can totally relate to having 3 under 2. You have described my situation and sentiments exactly! Thank you! I love your blog and you and your family is such an inspiration. Congrats!

Karrie Sutton said...

Ok I know I'm late on the commentary here, but I just love this post! My sister always says I'm "sweet, but stubborn as hell"...so of course I admire this quality in others :) I actually feel compassion and a bit of sadness for the naysayers, and anyone who would be "down" on someone seeking to build their existence in unique ways. I think in essence, they may be saying that they don't really have the guts or fortitude to take on the same challenges that you're willing to, or that they lack the creativity of mind to view life from an alternate perspective.

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