Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The End of An Era

This will probably be my last post for 2009. My, my, my what a year it's been...

Maybe it's the halt of the Christmas crazies that now allows us to actually breathe, which then leads to thinking. Maybe it's the impending New Year just a few days away that causes us to pause and reflect. Maybe it was the news of a friend from high school who died in a tragic death that got me thinking about where our choices lead us. I don't know, but I do know I’ve been here before. Usually at the end of every year I think about yet another year that has flown by too fast.

Someone recently sent me (and 25 other people) an email that said "The only ones who fear death are those who have not yet really lived." My stomach dropped a little bit when I read this because I knew all too well exactly what that meant. I've made no secret of the fact that my mortality has been on my mind a lot lately. I know I'm not that old and I know for the most part I'm sort of healthy, but I still can't help but feel the nudge to hurry up and live before I don't have the option. But what does that mean?! Living seems like such a simple concept, yet so many of us become watchers of our life instead of do’ers.

This year marks the end of a personal era for me. Our youngest child just turned one and I’m 99.9% sure there are no more babies in my future. My child bearing years are over. I know a great many women who have rejoiced in this, but I have to admit I’m a little bit sad. It really struck a chord with me when we recently gave away all the little baby gear: baby bjorns, diaper bags, strollers, car seats, activity mats, rattles and (so many) toys, bassinet, crib bumpers, burpers, receiving blankets, new born sleepers. These are all the things that destroy the d├ęcor of a house, but scream “we have a baby.” The good news is that all the items went to two different women who were in real need. The bad news is that I felt sad when I should’ve felt good about helping people out.

Maybe subconsciously I’ve let myself go under the disclaimer that I’m a busy mom. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still really busy but it’s a different kind of busy when you don’t have a baby around. I wonder if I’ve been using this as an excuse to avoid actually having a life…oh God, I hope not!

I don’t know where this post is going today, but I do know I’ve rambled enough. Be merry. Be safe. Be happy.



Monday, December 28, 2009

Five Christmases


I had to work on Christmas Eve this year and boy was I bitter! I guess I could have trumped my assistant and had the day off, but for the most part it is a slow easy day of work and I don't have to lose any vacation time by being there....but it still REALLY sucked. Maybe next year I'll say screw the vacation pay cash-out at year end and I'll take a few days off.

Well, we survived another Christmas shuffle this year amongst our family. Below is this year's shuffle schedule:

1. Christmas Eve with my mother-in-law's family
2. Christmas morning - our house
3. Christmas brunch - my in-laws
4. Christmas evening - my family
5. Day after Christmas - my father-in-law's family

Don't get me wrong, my kids made out like bandits in the gift department, but just one year I would love to just escape to Tahoe and do a white Christmas in a cabin with just our family. I know what I'm about to say will sound cheesy at best, but isn't the real gift during the holidays just to spend time with each other? I miss so much while I'm at work that all I want to do is just see and be with my family. For the record, I know my "mommy guilt" is out of control and I'm working on it.

We went pretty low-key and low cost at our house this year by getting each of the kids one great toy gift. My daughter got a Razor scooter ($20, Target), my son got a Radio Flyer big wheel ($10, craigslist) and the baby got the cow and bird noise makers ($5 each, pottery barn). I also threw in some new PJ's and warm clothes that they needed - which they were not thrilled about, but were still happy to unwrap.

I can't believe that another year is almost over...it seems like just last week that my life was a series of exciting options waiting to be clarified. I think the three kids and a mortgage provide all the clarity necessary at this point. The places I could go with the "if I knew then what I know now" concept...

I love everything about Christmas - even the shuffle has its perfect moments. I know there will come a time that I will miss the genuine joy of kids at Christmas. This was the year my daughter realized that Santa and Grandpa were the same. Each year Grandpa dresses up as Santa and makes the appearances at a few of the Christmas shuffle stops. It broke my heart to confirm that this year Santa needed help and Grandpa kindly volunteered. I'm keeping Santa alive at our house as long as possible.

Again I asked each of the kids to please, please, never grow up and stay my little ones forever. Again each of them shrugged and said "Sorry Mommy, I just have to get bigger." The truth is the bigger they get, the fuller my heart grows. They will always be my babies...



Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Big Apple

I love New York City. If I were single and childless, it would be my city. Luckily my youngest sister lives in Manhattan and graciously offered to host my daughter and I for quick visit. We had some airline credit that we've been struggling to use for the last 2 years so instead of letting it expire, my husband gave the green light for my eldest daughter and I to visit one of her favorite Aunts.

New York City during Christmas is spectacular! From the Saks Fifth Avenue windows to ice skating at Rockefeller Center, they really know how to light up a city with festivity. It was a lot of fun to do something special with my daughter who I hope is old enough to remember our trip. I hope I will be able to do something as fun with each of the other kids at some point.

The nice thing about stepping out of your daily routine is that you have a chance to actually think without the interruption of the normal chaos. This is a double edge sword. While my daughter and I had a really good time, I saw behaviors come out of her I would have never imagined. When she didn't get her way she was demanding and critical. At one point she thought I bumped her while we were walking and she yelled that she is "tired of this" from me. In another instance I told her she couldn't get a specific toy and she pointed her finger at me in the store and yelled "You're a liar!" None of these episodes remotely resembles the daughter I thought I had. Where did my good little girl go? And who is this spoiled little brat who has replaced her? Frankly, it was devastating to me as a mother. Did this happen because I work and can't be home to keep them in line?

The long plane ride home gave me a chance to really try and evaluate where things went wrong. After 6 1/2 hours and careful consideration, I know the problem likely started with me and my mommy guilt. Ugh...that's really hard to say... I miss my kids when I go to work, so I started bringing them cute little (sometimes big) things home here and there so that they knew I thought about them during the day. I began buying my kids' affection without even knowing what I was doing.

My mommy guilt did more than just hurt me this time. It created one materialistic and spoiled little monster with two others close behind her. I love my daughter,there's no question about that, but I need to love her enough to be strong enough to raise a productive human being who does not depend on material objects to feel fulfilled in life. I need to replace things with genuine love and attention.

This was a great trip for both of us that neither of us will ever forget.







Monday, December 7, 2009

Good Enough

This might be the longest I've gone yet without posting this year. The holiday season began right before Thanksgiving and seriously, there is no end in sight. Between family flying into visit and everyone wanting "time with the kids" there has been no down time for our family. Everything seems like a rush...I just want it to stop.

Work has been an absolute fiasco with the end of the year approaching and I have had little time to breath, much less write. Of course there is inner-office drama all over the place and with predominately female coworkers you can only imagine how our minds take off. It's so funny to me that my company is male governed, yet female run. It's so interesting to watch the president of our company challenge our egos by instilling fear in us. When he does a site visit, we all feel a little sick because you never know what or who he's going to go after. He's a pleasant man, unless he feels it's time to revitalize your fear of his authority. He thinks that if he challenges your "man/womanhood" you'll step up to the plate.

Women don't work this way; I don't work that way. We are loyalty and reason driven, not necessarily ego driven. We don't want to be thought of as stupid, so therefore we work really hard to do a good job. On the contrary, we just get pissed off and start planning our victory when we feel as though we are wronged. you. Thank goodness for women's lib, right? Now we can run the work place, keep our houses clean and all the while be good mothers and wives. Ask my husband, he'll tell you how successful I am (or not).

I feel like I'm constantly juggling work and home and dropping either is not an option. When I first went back to work I told my daughter to just hold on for three years. She has never forgotten and reminded me the other day that there is less than one year left on my promise. I tell her all the time that as long as she does her best, that's good enough. I don't know how to explain to her that I'm doing the best that I can and it's not even close to good enough. I'm trying to plan for the future, but today I just want to survive.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Mediocrity vs Ungrateful

My friend/colleague and I were talking (procrastinating) this morning about work and life and one thing really became apparent: If we were just a little stupider we'd be kazillionaires. This is a pessimistic view point at best, but hey, it's where we were this morning before the coffee kicked in.

I had come off of watching that show "Million Dollar Listings" on Bravo last night while doing laundry and I could not believe what I was seeing! It was like watching The Kardashians collide with "The Donald" and it had all the rubber-neck twisting appeal of a bad car crash. It's basically about these three super real estate agents selling mansions in SoCal. They were whiny and snively and one of the dudes touched and talked about his bowl-cut hair in a nasaly voice that almost put me over the edge. These guys were so stupid! My friend and I have witnessed the "Stupid-er Theory" with a number of our clients over the years. I swear, the dumber they were the wealthier. Disheartening isn't it? Well, it was for us until...

I'm sure many of you have read the story about the man who was misdiagnosed as being in a coma for the last 23 years, but really just living in major paralysis. This man listened, felt and saw everything going on around him for decades. My friend and I concluded that this is by far worse than anything her and I have EVER experienced (or probably will). It lead to the very familiar, "I guess my life could be worse" statement that we've all heard a million times. But then I thought, really? This was just us signing our lives over to mediocrity. "Oh, I guess my life could be worse" while true is a total cop-out on actually creating a life you want. It makes you feel like the measly life you have is all you are capable of. The backlash to this is that if you don't make this statement then you're made to feel ungrateful about the life you have. It's a catch 22. Either you're mediocre or your ungrateful...hmmm....which is worse?

Just a little pesimistic food for thought today. Thanksgiving, here I come--by the way, I knew I gained a little from weaning the baby, but a "little" ended up being 6 freakin' pounds or 1/2 a pant size as I like to think of it! So, while I'm excited about Thanksgiving (food), moderation is going to be front and center.

Gobble, Gobble!





Monday, November 23, 2009

Tick...Tock...

Here's a funny from my daughter who never fails in giving me a good laugh (at my own expense, of course)...

E: I'm going to miss you, Mommy.

Me: Why? Where do you think I'm going?

E: You're going to die soon and I'm going to really miss you.

Me: I'm not dying - why do you think I'm dying?!

E: Because you have gray hair and you are so old.

Me: By the time I die, you're going to be old. Don't worry about it. I'm here to stay.

This was followed by hugs and kisses and giggles. Even though the topic at hand is something I don't look forward to, it's so funny for me to try and see myself though my own child's eyes. Old for me is always my grandma - not even my parents. Old for me is feeble and toothless, none of which I am. Old for her is just being a grown up. That used to be old for me too, I guess, but how quickly things change. I never thought I'd be a grown up and here I am. There is nothing like a child to bring you back and ground you.

Happy Monday....2 days till Turkey Day!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday....Finally!

Maybe it's the extra sleep I've been getting now that my Itty-Bitty is sleeping through (most) of the night! She has now been boob-free for 1 whole week! It's absolutely amazing how feeling almost rested changes your entire perspective on, well, everything.

A little blimp in this whole weaning thing is that I had forgotten that breast feeding actually consumes calories. I think I've gained a few pounds in the last few weeks which I feel like I'm constantly working against. Looks like this girl has literally got to stop eating for two (and when I'm angry, upset, tired or procrastinating).

The weather out here has been really cold. I know, I know, I should say cold by west coast standards. Cold here is about 37 degrees. Running outside has not been an option I have been open to over the last few weeks, but I'm getting there. Now that I've had some additional sleep, I'm feeling like I can conquer this whole running and dieting thing (again).


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Secret Door


I would first like to preface that I absolutely LOVE being home with my family. But, sometimes there is definitely too much of a good thing. That said, every once in a while the loudness of a house bustling with life and kids gets to be too much for me and I need to find a quick and momentary escape to find my mind. As embarrassing as this is to admit, that escape usually is achieved by hiding in my kitchen pantry. The door is frosted glass so I can see out, but they cannot see in since I blend in with the foods. There is small step stool in there that I am able to perch myself on for a moment and mentally recover.

Last night as I snuck into the pantry, onto my perch, I watched my kids run around yelling "MOM, MOM, MOM" "I was playing with it first!" "MOM, MOM, MOM" "I'm telling Mommy!" "MOOOOM!" By the time they finish invading every room of the house trying to find me, I "magically" appear in the kitchen and answer "What do you need, honey?" at which the whole story of what I just secretly watched unfolds. This whole thing is probably about 3 minutes long, but it gives me a chance to just step out of the noise for a moment and regroup.

Maybe this is slightly irresponsible to let my kids run around looking for me, but seriously, the alternative is losing my mind and risking a potential mental meltdown which is not really an option with small little kids. How can you tell them to settle down and practice patience if it is not something you are capable of? One pantry escape and 3 mini chocolate bars later (darn Halloween stash!) and life was back on track and everyone was happy. What more could a girl ask for :-)



Monday, November 16, 2009

You Know It's Love When...


...You're husband helps you wrangle up your Spanx before you head to work. Yes, that's right. Spanx. Those things you swore you'd never need, the things you bought and then returned several times before deciding to keep them, those things that are so tight your brain feels restricted, those things - god forbid - you take down to go to the bathroom because you'll never get them up again?!?

It's totally embarrassing. The last thing you want your husband to help you with is this modern day girdle. Unfortunately, I fell asleep early last night and I didn't finish my laundry. I was out of things to wear today so I went with the quick, non-iron and cute wrap dress. These types of dresses are normally very forgiving, but even more so if you can actually squish your bits together for a clean body line. The problem with the Spanx is that while they are innovative, I sometimes cannot get them pulled all the way up in back which results in an awkward looking roll on your back...kinda like the "muffin top" affect, but on your back? I know, this is graphic and gross - welcome to my world.

Anyway, only a man who loves you would help you manipulate and pour your post baby self into this torture device. If he's judging me, he surely didn't show it. But if he's not (and I really hope he isn't), then I have found my Prince Charming.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

All Most There...

When you have small kids sleep deprivation is a way of life. My tell tale sign that I'm at my limit is when someone asks me a simple question like "What's your phone number?" and I can't give them the answer. I just stare at them blankly and make some dumb noise like "Uhhhh...uh....uh..." until the answer eventually makes its way out. This is completely humiliating in a work environment where thinking is not an option, but an absolute requirement.

I normally sleep about 4-5 hours a night - 6 if I'm lucky. This whole weaning the baby through the night is killing me. I'd say I've been averaging about 3-4 hours of interrupted sleep and I'm dying here. Last night I totally folded and threw a boob at my kid to get her back to sleep...two steps forward, three steps back.

Overall, I'm pretty good at my job. It's not that I like what I do or anything, it's simply that I hate feeling stupid so I'm that freaky person who is usually overly prepared, rarely wrong and on my game. I have rarely in my career ever been reprimanded for doing something I shouldn't have (again why this blog is anonymous!). Today was the exception. I missed something stupid because I am so tired and didn't have the energy to even debate it. I screwed up and the bosses were not happy. So, I sat there took my lashing like a big girl and began clock watching.

Thank God tomorrow is Friday...and thank God there is only 45 minutes left before I can leave without feeling guilty.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Mother Knows Best...


Well, my mother has apparently taken to reading my blog and sent me a supportive (smack upside the head) message in the form of a "talking gnome card" from the e-card service she subscribes to. I have to admit that the delivery was genius and the message was right on. In a nutshell she basically told me to suck it up and quit whining because I'm luckier than I'll ever know - specifically because I have "...3 healthy kids, a husband who doesn't hang out with hookers, and no one has cancer (in our family)." Since my own mom survived 5 less than perfect children (of which I'm the oldest), I guess she's earned her street cred. I love the "husband who doesn't hang out with hookers" part--seriously, Mom?

But, she's 100% right. I think I get caught up in my pity party sometimes and I don't acknowledge how lucky I really am. The work thing is a double edged sword. I am SO incredibly thankful to have a good paying job in these tough times. We definitely pay for where we have chosen to live and it must have been worth it if I'm still doing it (that and my house didn't sell when we put it on the market a year ago). I definitely know moms who feel that they are better moms for working and having something that is just theirs. I'm envious that I don't feel that way; I wish I did. Once I had my kids, all I wanted to be was their mommy. It is how I define myself and my purpose.

For me, a good mother puts what she wants aside for the welfare of her family. At the very top of the list, my family needed me to step up and find a way to provide for them so we could keep a roof over our head and food on the table. I've done that and will keep doing that as long as I need to. If I passed on the opportunity to take care of them and provide a happy and safe life, how could I say that I loved them with all that I am? I think that you love your family the most when you have to make tough decisions you don't want to, but that are ultimately best for them. Maybe somebody else could turn a cheek, but I know I couldn't.

Being a mother is a tough job. It's the greatest leap of faith most of us will ever take. It is also the greatest reward we will ever receive IF we give it all we got. I like to think of motherhood as a bank in which you keep making deposits. Someday, if you deposit enough, invest enough, you'll have a life and a family to be proud of.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Brutal Honesty

A really good friend of mine and I were chatting this weekend (all before 7:00am because when else would we find time) about the crazy weekend we were in for. She was getting ready for a garage sale, I was running around like a mad woman trying to get my house ready for a family birthday dinner for the baby. My husband, like every other husband in America, helped me with the house by beautifying the yards. I've come to find (with the help of other women) that men's yards are like women's kitchens. They are the at the core of how we view ourselves. If either are a mess, then by deduction so are we.

My friend and I met in college. We were both beginning our teaching credential programs after having non-educational careers. When we met, we were both barely pregnant with our first children. Since we were in education programs we had a crash course on the child's psyche. We read tons of parenting books, shared tips and hoped for the best for one another. Our due dates were 2 weeks apart; she was having a boy, I a girl. The bond that solidified our friendship was a phone call she made to me the morning she went into labor 1 week early. I'll never forget her frantic words, "The books, they all lied. Take them outside and BURN them!" I couldn't help but laugh and told her I'd come visit her soon. I checked into the hospital that night 1 week after my due date and our babies were born mere hours apart. We like to think that they came into this world with a friend waiting for them. All of our kids have been friends since and our friendship has become stronger with each passing year.

I've always seemed to gravitate towards strong, Type A women. My friend is one of the strongest I know, which is why I respect her and her opinion so much. We are two totally different women in most respects (politics, religion, education) except that we are mothers and want to be good ones. Our friendship is not for the weak, but neither are most of our conversations. It's our differences that have made each of us a better friend to one another. The beautiful thing about friendship is that we can't always be strong. A good friend will get you back to where you need to be - without judgement.

Her and I have always despised those who felt entitled to a certain lifestyle. Thank goodness I love her because I don't think I could've heard what she said to me this weekend from anyone else. She said (nicely) "You know, you are not "entitled" to this life that you want." At first I wanted to tell her to shut up because I didn't want to think of myself as one of those people who live in a bubble. But, then I thought maybe to an extent she is right. I guess I'm not really entitled to being a stay-at-home mom. This acknowledged, it doesn't change the fact that I want my old life where I was a SAHM back so bad.

I think the hardest part about going back to work is feeling so close to the life you want, then losing it. I don't have a problem working; I have a problem missing my kids' lives. Sure that old life was a struggle because we only had one income, but at least I wasn't paying someone to raise my kids. At least I could offer them my time and love even if I couldn't buy them cool toys or expensive trips. I know I'm not alone in this. This recession has hurt a lot families and forced them to make a lot of decisions we never wanted to. But, when did wanting to raise your own kids become something you weren't entitled to?


The Painful Minivan

This is for my husband and every other man out there who has been emasculated by the minivan...

http://theguysmanual.msn.com/?Category=catID3&Id=v3&source=msneditorial&gt1=25050


Thanks to KMK for sharing this!

*Note on Technical Difficulties*

For some reason, yesterday's subscriber posting and a partial draft of today's post collided. If you are a subscriber and parts of today's post look familiar, my apologies. Also - thanks for subscribing!


Monday, November 9, 2009

And the Weaner is...

Today is my first day back to work without a breast pump since January! The good news is that the baby LOVES whole milk and her new sippy cup. She has absolutely no interest in the bottle or breast milk and cries if it is offered to her as an option (sad for me). The bad news is that she is devastated over losing the comfort of a boob at night. Last night was a terrible and long night. She woke up several times crying and could not be consoled. It took me everything I had not to just give in, throw a boob at her and end the whole saga. By 4:00am I wanted to cry too, but I think I was just too tired. I hate this weaning part the most. I hate seeing her so upset.

I don't know what it is, but she definitely does not sleep at night as long as the other two kids did. By now, the other two only woke up one time in the night. Maybe because she's my last baby I've coddled her more than the others? Who knows, but the thought of another night like last night almost has me nursing her until she's 10!

I just received a call from my eldest daughter's school office - never a good sign. My first thought was that she finally beat up the little boy who has been bugging her. Then the nice woman from the office said "Someone needs to come pick her up because she just threw up." Ugh....the worst part is it was after lunch and she threw up in class and all over herself. Thankfully the Nanny is a trooper and cleaned her all up and set her up with a bowl and a few crackers in the "Quarantine Room" watching TV. Oh God--I can only imagine how the parents of her classmates are FREAKING out right now!

If someone would've ever bet me a million bucks that someday I would be near tears wishing I could spend the afternoon with a throwing up kid, I'd of taken that bet. Needless to say, it's been a rough start to the week. My fingers are crossed that the "Barf-o-Thon" doesn't make it's way through the entire house just in time for Thanksgiving.

Here's to staying healthy!


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Happy Birthday Baby!

Today is my baby's first birthday. Out of all my kids, I feel like I've missed the most with this one. My Addison is the sweetest, most pleasant baby I've EVER had. She rarely cries and she loves everyone. I was so thankful that she woke up in time this morning for me to tell her happy birthday and give her a big hug and a kiss. I love her so much that I could literally start crying right now because I'm not with her on her big day.

At this very moment she is with the Nanny at her 12 month well-baby doctor's appointment. She is receiving all sorts of accolades from the doctor on her first year accomplishments that only her mother could be so proud of. She is getting a shot and someone other than me is consoling her; telling her it will be okay and that they love her.

I HATE missing these appointments. I sat in my car this morning in traffic trying to console myself about how this is not a big deal, but ya know, it really is. I love checking in with the doctor on where my baby is at at this monumental milestone. I cursed myself for taking two days off last week which did not allow me to take today off. Sure, I tried to reschedule but the appointment would have been pushed out to when she is 13 months old - and babies change in that one month.

I know it is pathetic to play the "It's Not Fair" game, but I can't help it. I'm pulling that card today. I hate that I'm missing so much and there is NOTHING I can do about it. I hate this economy. I hate that I'm not with my kids today....


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

How Much for that Little Doggie?


Nice shoes and handbags are my weakness. I love the pretty perfect lines of a finely made high heel - not a pump, but a HIGH heel. I think they make even the most questionable looking legs appear more attractive. Can I afford my champagne taste on my beer budget? Of course not - just like most of us.

Last week I played this game by allowing myself to buy these super expensive shoes that were even on sale, knowing the whole time I would return them. I just needed to get the "I want" out of my system. So, I bought them, I brought them home, walked on my carpet a few laps, put them in the box with the receipt and I was done. I can't actually believe it worked!

Two days later, I very easily returned the shoes. I still needed a new pair of work shoes, so I settled on a less expensive, but still attractive high heel. They are black patent leather with a metallic purple interior. They were divine in their own right. They were not the uber expensive quality of the pair I returned, but who are we kidding. Neither were the slacks I would've been pairing them with.

I only wear heels while I'm at work. Since I have parking in the city, it's quicker and cheaper for me to just drive instead of taking the train. Not to mention I get to sit quietly within my OWN space for an hour to think (if I so choose). I usually leave the house in a pair of Uggs or some sneakers since I cannot drive a stick shift with heels on.

I set my new pretty shoes by the door this morning so I wouldn't forget them, then went back to getting ready for work. The next thing I know, my husband is yelling "Uhhhh....Are these your new shoes?!" I ran out to see my little Itty-Bitty baby girl gnawing on my shoe like a viking with a turkey leg. My husband snatched it away from her and she quickly moved on to her next victim. Needless to say, my pretty new heals now have bite marks all over the back of the heel...who needs a dog when I have a baby, right??

It's a good thing I love her...


Monday, November 2, 2009

The Good, The Bad & The Skinny



I took a few much needed days off last week to work in my kids' classrooms and just hang out with them. We're always so busy with our day to day lives that it's not often we get to just stop and hang out. On Friday, I finished sewing a rag quilt for the baby that I started a year ago and the kids got to visit with their great grandma and their great aunt whom they don't get to see nearly enough. I won't lie and say that the pace was slow, but I definitely felt closer to what I miss about my old life.

This Halloween was our best yet. This was a pleasant surprise considering we had major melt down before actually getting out the door. The weather has been cooler, so a sleeveless Wonder Woman costume just wasn't going to cut it. We insisted on a shirt under the costume which resulted in crying and screaming and all other drama you could imagine. Our little "Woody" was sure the pj's he had on under his costume were too small and he didn't want packing tape to tape on his boots, he wanted scotch tape....seriously, I'm not making this up. I think the baby started to cry at one point out of empathy for all of us.

Once we finally got out the door, the drama "miraculously" stopped (thank God!). This was the baby's first Halloween. Like each kid before her, she donned a little chicken suit. Her little waddle butt was so cute! I had forgotten how sweet it is to watch a new walker try to keep up with the big kids. It doesn't seem that long ago that I was just waddling around the neighborhood hoping to not go into labor.

The big kids were finally old enough to go up to doors and walk (run!) on their own. There was no shortage of parents yelling "NO RUNNING." It was an unsuccessful plight, but we tried. We parents spiced it up this year by dressing up to walk the kids. Now, some people might frown at the cooler that followed us through the neighborhood on a wagon, but I challenge someone to throw that gauntlet down. We were safe, we didn't get crazy and I neeeeeeded that cocktail. The kids loved that we dressed up and I have to admit, it was A LOT of fun.

It's no secret that I've been struggling with my daughter making comments about my weight. To refresh, "Mommy, why are you so much bigger than the other mommies?" or my favorite, "Mommy, when I grow up I hope I never look like you because you're fat." My heart hurts just thinking about that again.

It all started after I had this last baby and she began school. It's funny how they notice so much about people and consciously and subconsciously have already begun to measure their lives against those of their peers (or their moms versus their peers' moms). And, who doesn't want their own kids to look up to them as role models?? We make a very conscious effort at our house to focus on healthy and happy not skinny or fat.

Over the last few months, I've been trying really hard to get "healthy." Last weekend, I ran my best race yet since I've this baby. It was only a 5k, but my goal was to not stop running and a friend and I did it. It wasn't pretty, but we freakin' did it! I think it was really good for my kids to see me take time out to take care of me. I still screw up occasionally, but overall I'm hanging in there.

Here's one of the best parts of my weekend...My daughter was standing next to me in line during our weekly Target run and gave my thigh a good swat. "Oh! Wow mommy, you've lost a little weight!" (her smile was pure pride) "You're skinny just like K (my friend)!" Then she started grabbing my waist band on my jeans and pulling up my shirt--you get the picture. I wanted to scream with joy from the mountain tops "MY daughter thinks I'm skinny!!!!" But, I didn't. I just said "Well, I'm trying to be healthy and that's what's important." If I'm not going to focus on the fat, then I can't focus on the skinny either. I want her to think about being healthy and capable. Nothing else.

I of course texted my friend and shared the joyous news that a 6 year old thought we were skinny. Who knew that this little opinion could change my entire day. I feel motivated and for the first time in a long time I feel normal. Now, I know I still have a few pant sizes to contend with, but progress is progress.


Friday, October 23, 2009

What's That Smell?

I JUST DUMPED AN ENTIRE BOTTLE OF BREAST MILK ALL OVER ME. What more is there to say...Now I will smell and my baby will have to hit the freezer reserves (if there are any left!).


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Two Weeks, but Who's Counting?

I'm always running around the office trying to get things done. When I realize it's time for me to pump, I run into my office shut the door and as soon as I'm done, I'm running out. Today, I ran out right into a contractor walking into my office. "Hey" he said. "How's it going? What do you have there?" It was me standing their with the cold packs to throw in the freezer, a breast pump attachment and a bottle of milk. "Uh, nothing" as I tried to tactfully slide back into my office. "Hey, are those bottles? What do you have in there?" IS HE SERIOUSLY ASKING ME THIS? "Nothing" I said, "I'd rather not discuss it." Then, I shut my door and wanted to hide under my desk. Yeah, humiliating. And, what an idiot. Go figure!

Two times a day I shut my office door to pump. It's time consuming, it's getting tougher to do effectively and it, at times, is humiliating. My baby is now 11 1/2 months old and in two weeks she will transition to regular cows milk. There is a part of me that is so relieved to be able to stop pumping/breastfeeding and another part of me that is a little bit sad. When I'm at work away from her, this is my way of giving to her even if I'm not actually there. When this stops what will my contribution to her be during the day? Even though she doesn't know how tough it is to get her a bottle, I know. This is the end of an era for me. She is my last baby (unless I win the lottery or my husband buys on - neither of which I am really banking on). I should be overjoyed at the prospect of getting my life back. But, I'm not. I'm just okay with it.

I have a light cold going through my house right now-thank God it's not the flu (yet). First it was the baby, then me, then my son and I think it's creeping up on my daughter. When my kids are sick, there is no place I'd rather be than right there beside them. I race home to get to them. When the baby was sick, I'd fly home, drop my junk at the door and practically run to her. I'd pick her up to hug and kiss her and then the worst...she didn't want me. She wanted the Nanny. She gave me a quick cuddle, then reached for the Nanny. This breaks my heart, but when I put it in perspective, I'd rather the baby reach for the Nanny than repel her.

In the back of my mind, my trump card was that I was a source of nourishment for her. We were able to share a bond that no one else in my household gets to share. Now, in two weeks this will be gone. Weaning is going to be tough on both of us. I can almost understand how some women prolong the nursing experience for years. I can see now that the "lasts" associated with the final baby are going to be harder than I ever imagined. I see tears in my future...



Monday, October 19, 2009

Where the Wild Things Are


You know you're getting old when...You totally yell at some teeny boppers for hot-boxing (smoking pot in their car and rolling up the windows to double the high) their car next to my mini-van (ugh, the mini-van, a painful subject to discuss, so we'll save this for another post) at the drive-in movies.

Let me first preface that we as a family LOVE the drive-in movies. It's cheap, it's easy and everyone has fun. We have never had a bad enough experience to where we would not come back. Sure on occasion a kid melts down, but then they get over it and the movie night goes on. There's usually a fair amount of kids out sitting in folding chairs or laying in the back of their cars, which allows for any tantrum or outburst to just blend in with the other commotion.

We went on Saturday to watch the new movie, "Where the Wild Things Are" which was a total butchering of the book, but it was still fun just hanging out as a family. The baby slept through most of the movie, except to wake up and feed. My little boy got bored with the movie (as did most of us) and decided to go to sleep. My oldest daughter giggled at the funny monsters and cuddled up between my husband and I and loved as if she were an only child.

First it was the hard pistachio shells being thrown out of the car window in front of us - "Clink, clink-clink, clink," that was annoying but it comes with the territory. Then the cigarette smoke, which I'm not thrilled about, but it happens. Mind you, this is the same car for each of these annoyances. I could get past all of them until a big plume of pot smoke hit my husband, my daughter and myself in the face. My daughter pinched her nose and looked at me. "Mommy, what is that stinky smell?" I looked at my husband "That's it" I said. I hopped out of the back of my car and walked up to the hot-box car. My heart was pounding. I can't remember the last time I got in a fight, then thought "hell, I have 3 kids. I can do this." "Knock-knock" I tapped the window. "Yeah" said a startled teenager, joint in hand. In my mom voice I said "When my 6 year old daughter asks me what that smell is, I don't want to have to explain it to her. I'd appreciate it if you could stop. You're at a kids movie - NOT cool." "Alright" was all her doe-eyed face could muster up. Needless to say, the smoke stopped. Mission accomplished.

I was a lot of things as a teenager, but I don't ever remember being that stupid or inconsiderate. I guess I could have been (and I'm just blocking it out). There's knowing you need to be responsible, then there's really knowing you are responsible. I knew that night I had grown up. I traded in my Chevy Tahoe for a stupid mini-van (dagger in my heart, lungs shriveling) for crying out loud! The more I thought about it, the more I felt like a killjoy, but seriously who wants to do the drug talk with their 6 year old? I know I didn't. I'll hold out for another few years if I have any say over it.

The one good thing is that I know I'll step up to the plate for my kids. I always thought I would, but now I know. We'll go back to the drive-in movies and we'll have a great time. Maybe next time we'll even bring beer for the kids...just kidding!


Friday, October 16, 2009

Yea! It's Friday!

I'm so glad the week is coming to an end! My poor baby has been sick and my little boy has been having some breathing issues. The doctor thinks that he may be developing asthma, which is just not fair. He has FINALLY gotten past a lot of food allergies and now has to deal with this?! He's such a trooper and I can't help but love him - love all of them for that matter. My oldest is chugging along filling the shoes only an oldest sibling can. Trust me, I know this first hand as I am the oldest of 5. She's such a thoughtful little girl and I'm so proud of her. They are all growing up way too fast...

As most everyone knows, I've been struggling to lose the extra 40 lbs of baby weight I've been lugging around. My biggest challenge has been to try and stop the emotional eating. In my world, food is a mental wellness drug - which I have clearly OD'd on. I think if I can lose this weight and feel better about myself, maybe the weight of all the other things in my life, like wanting to (still) cry everyday I leave my kids will not feel so heavy. I have to find a way to stop being soooo sad about things I can't change right now. Lots of moms have to work. I get it, but it doesn't mean that I have to like it.

Here on the west coast, humidity is not something we are used to. Yesterday, following a previous two days of heavy rain, the air was hot, thick and sticky. I did NOT want to run, but I worked too hard to lose 2 lbs. last week. By the time we got homework done and all kids to bed, it was 9:00pm. I went out and ran hard for about 20 minutes, then hit the treadmill run/walking for an entire Grey's Anatomy episode, minus commercials. I don't have time to watch TV, much less TV with commercials. I am a huge fan of the DVR :-).

As a general rule, I only weigh myself one time per week and that is usually Sunday morning. I couldn't hold back this morning and ended up weighing myself and I am happy to report that I am down 1.6 lbs this week. I have until Sunday to lose a mere .4 lbs to meet my goal of 2 lbs a week. If I can stay solid for one whole month, I think I can actually do this thing.

Did I mention how HAPPY I am that it's Friday??? Have a great weekend everyone!





Tuesday, October 13, 2009

So Tired...

Overall I have a good life. I have great kids, a good husband a nice house and a job in an otherwise struggling economy. But I am so, so, so tired. I am so tired today that I couldn't even say my name or formulate a coherent sentence this morning when I got to work. Throw in some wicked wind and rain, a flooded freeway and a sick baby and well, you get the picture. I live on about 4-5 hours of interrupted sleep a night and I never ever get everything that needs to be done, done.

I know people make fun of me for playing the Lottery. How do I know? Because they tell me so. "Oh, quit talking about winning the lottery" "You know, it's never going to happen, right?" Call me crazy, but I play the Lottery because it gives me hope. If I thought that I was going to wake up every day for the rest of my life this tired and stretched thin, I would lose it. I will not apologize for fantasizing about getting to be a stay-at-home mom or for having a maid (yeah, lottery or not, probably not). Seriously though, wouldn't we just quit pushing forward if life didn't seem like it would ever be what we had dreamed of? Maybe we don't achieve it all, but a stalemate is unacceptable for me.

Will I reallllly win? Probably not, but I know I never will win if I don't make a few plays at it. In my humble opinion, getting "hope" for a buck is not too shabby. Take that, you killjoys! :-)


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Financial District


I went for a walk on my lunch today and I swear everyone was super thin and crazy fashionable. I'm a sucker for beautiful shoes and handbags and I saw no shortage of either today as I strolled Market Street.

The Financial District is at the heart of the "Plastics." Everyone is attractive and very professional looking. The shoes are polished and the handbags are smart. I had labels like Chanel and Christian Louboutin flying from every direction. I'm not a label whore, but I know what I see when I see it. They all looked like they were on a mission to get somewhere important. And then there's me. Plain Jane making her way down the street in slacks and tennis shoes listening to my iTunes. In today's financial crunch I just can't compete with the Plastics. Deep down I know I don't want to either. I've learned the hard way that money doesn't buy happiness.

After I came back to work from maternity leave, I did not restock my wardrobe with great expensive stuff in bigger sizes. I can't justify $100 on ONE blouse, much less $100 on ONE pair of heels - and I've gotta walk around in those things ALL day. I improvised and pieced together cute stuff from Target or found bargains at Banana Republic (like $12 for a really cute black skirt!). There is no shame in a bargain to me - regardless of where I bought it. I guess it comes down to priorities and what is most important to you. My priority is getting the hell out of here just as quick and as fast as I can to be with my kids. They are the reason for everything I do. If I'm willing to sell my house and move to BFE, then you better believe I'm willing to dial my wardrobe expenses down to get where I want to be.

I'm not going to lie. I miss the great clothes and the ability to justify the expense. Good fashion doesn't die just because you can't afford it. Truthfully, I don't know that I'll ever buy designer again, even if I am ever able to afford it. In these times, it just seems frivolous and wasteful and those are not values I want to ingrain in my kids. There's going to be bigger problems in life than who is wearing what - trust me. What better time than now to teach our kids to just be happy with who they are and what they have. Someone in life is always going to have more. We mine as well just get comfortable with it.


Monday, October 5, 2009

"The Soupy Boob Show"

This morning I spent a few extra minutes examining the new fine lines around my eyes and the droopiness of my skin on my legs. I don't even waste time on my boobs anymore because they are a disaster: soupy and droopy. Man I took my body in my twenties for granted! Sure, it wasn't perfect, but there are things you just didn't think about then - like back-fat. No one tells you about the little extra pudge that sits at your bra line. It's a tragedy...but, weirdly enough, today, it didn't completely devastate me. Maybe it's the two pounds I lost last week starving (according to my typical standards) and slaving on the treadmill. All I know is I NEEDED those two pounds.

These days I now save my "devastated" emotions for things that really count - like walking around the office today and realizing several hours after I've arrived that my already challenged boobs are hanging at my knees. "Why?" do you ask? Because I forgot to fasten up the nursing bra - on both sides - after I quickly fed the baby this morning. I had been racing around, literally, unlatched. If people didn't notice, they were blind. Yeah, that's devastating. After three kids, all of whom have been nursed, a certain droopage is expected. Pair that with the extra weight gain and well, we have a freak show: "Come one, come all to the Soupy Boob Show!"


Ugh....humiliating.


Optimism

I feel abnormally optimistic today, which considering last week's unfortunate whirlwind, is like winning a prize. Monday's for me are usually the worst of the worst, but not today. I mean it wasn't like "YIPPEE, I'm heading to work" or anything, but it wasn't the jab to my stomach I've become all too familiar with. I'm usually pretty tired from trying to get everything ready for the week and sad because I have to wake up and leave my kids for 12 hours a day. Those things were all still there, just the shock of it was...hmmm...duller. I don't know know, maybe I'm just too tired to know anymore :-).

This weekend was full as usual. My dad who has been out of work since January recently had surgery on his shoulder. He lives alone in a modest house in the city next door to mine. It's not far, but far enough that we probably don't visit has much as we should. My sister has done most of the work to make sure he is taken care of, but Saturday was my turn. The kids and I visited, we went grocery shopping, we did coffee and then we visited more. He was not the best father, but he is a good man and a great Grandpa to my kids. This is redemption enough for any grudge I may have ever had. Seeing him so distraught over not finding a job for so long makes me thankful for what I have. I can't explain it, but I just feel like everything is going to be okay.

We're all in such a rush - I'm the biggest offender of this. As I cleaned out baby clothes from the dressing table yesterday I had to periodically stop to hug a small outfit both my girls have now worn. They still smelled like a baby. Even as I clean out the clothes I still have just a small glimmer of hope that I get to have another baby, that this little dreamy stage of life will not end. I know this is selfish. I know we don't have the room, we can't afford it and we will terminally be tired for the rest of our lives. But then I look at my little boy, my sweet loving little boy who has been struggling with a mean streak lately, and I think where did the time go? When did he start being a big kid with thoughts and emotions of his own. Even when he thinks I'm a "Meanie" and runs from me, my love for him is steadfast. I love my kids more than anything else in this world. Would another baby really cramp our lives that much?

I'm telling you, if this isn't a lucky week I don't know what is. I know we're all supposed to be at the driver's seat of our happiness, so this week is going to be my go at it. Maybe I crash and burn, but maybe not...we'll have to see.

I know it's sick, but I've invested yet another dollar on a lottery ticket. Hope. It's a powerful thing.



Friday, October 2, 2009

TGIF


You know that you're gonna be late to work when:

1. There is daylight where darkness is normally.

2. You wake up actually feeling like you slept.

3. You have a super important meeting that morning.

4. You didn't do dishes the night before because you were going to get up early and do them.

5. You have nothing to wear because you were going to get up early and run a load of wash.

When you are trying to run out the door for work - 45 minutes late - baby gates are not your friend. I made an error in judgement this morning. I was 3/4 of the way down my stairs when I made the decision to hurdle the gate I would have otherwise had to crawl over. With a big "STOMP" sound all my kids looked up from the breakfast table. "Wow, Dad. Did you just see what Mom did?" my daughter whispered. "Yeah, your mom is a superhero" I heard my husband say with a smile. I knew right then and there that we'd be tackling the "But you did it, Mom! Why can't I" scenario sooner than later. I'm just glad I didn't eat it and add another 15 minutes or more to my already behind schedule.

I'd like to tell you that my day went smoother and that the clouds parted and rainbows jumped from the sky and left me a pot of gold, but I can't. Why start lying to you now? From a "friendly" conference call with a company who wants to take my job to a colleague interviewing for a position with a competing company, my work life followed my home life in perfect stride. The good news is that in another 1 hour and 28 minutes I'm going to get in my car and drive like a maniac to get to my sweet, rotten, perfect kids - oh and of course, to my perfect imperfect husband who is coaching a game that we'll try to make.

Well, there is my day. It was so ridiculous, I actually had to start laughing at one point. I only finished half of my "Do or Die" list, but there is always Monday when a new list will be created. What's a few more things to add? I guess if life was too easy we would get bored and do drugs and have random irresponsible trysts with strangers to keep it lively. Oh, but not me, I live lively (isn't it obvious?). At the end of the day I have a family I love and my very own house to clean and I wouldn't trade this for the boringest life out there ;-).

Happy Friday! Go love someone!







Tuesday, September 29, 2009

What the HELL am I doing HERE

I think the title says it all. I'm sitting here typing with one hand and holding the breast pump with the other. God help me if I tip the contraption onto my keyboard sending a rush of breast milk everywhere. Like it's not already humiliating enough that everyone in my office knows what I'm doing in here when my door is shut. I don't care what anyone says, breast feeding mom's who have to pump at work are secretly snickered about--just like the smokers are persecuted by non-smokers for taking daily "smoking breaks." (Kinda different in that smoking kills you, but it's the only example I could think of right now.)

I wish so much that earlier in my life I would've grasped the concept that money REALLY isn't everything and that happiness is the most important. My life has been driven by a paycheck. I am fortunate enough that that decision has helped our family stay afloat during these turbulent financial times. I know that there are people out there right now struggling to pay their bills and feed their kids. I know this and yet I still I can't stop the relentless patronization of myself for being stuck in a career that, to say the least, is boring. It's not like I'm not busy, because I am. Every single day. It just lacks any sort of mental challenge. I keep feeling guilty for not simply embracing a constant thankfulness for just having a job. I will definitely acknowledge that I am lucky to be working, but when did wanting to be happy become such taboo? Is being happy now considered a luxury ticket item reserved only for the wealthy and well deserved?

Right now I should be working on a quarterly report that is due in, oh, 25 minutes in order to meet the mid-west time cut-offs. I'll finish it on time because I don't have the option not to. I've become a master of procrastination because losing any time on work that is not a necessity is an obscene notion to me. The old me would work on a report a few days in advance to make sure everything was perfect. The new me says "Screw it!" I'll get it done in an hour and honestly no one will know any different.

I don't know why I'm so pissed off today. Maybe it was missing the baby take her first steps. Maybe it was the fact my kids have been acting terrible --not an exaggeration-- and I can't be there to be the law, or just maybe I've gotten old enough to realize when it's time to say "Uncle." I keep waiting to live the life I want and I've come to realize I may not really know how to do this. I think the "waiting" is the problem. I think I need to be a do'er. Writing this blog keeps me barely holding onto the do'er concept of another life that doesn't seem so impossible.

Off to finish my report, play the lotto and find my path...


Monday, September 28, 2009

So Close...

Some of my biggest regrets in my life are missing those special "First's" with my kids. Now I don't miss these events because I haven't been a good mom or because I don't care enough to be there, I miss these moments because I can't be there. The reality of it is that I have to go to work. Trust me, if there was a way around this I would have found it.

My 10 month old baby has just started to get her footing. She's standing and reaching and doing all the typical things a baby does just before she takes those first steps. I've been begging her (and the gods) to please, please, please don't let me miss those first steps. This past Friday, I walked in the front door and was met by my mother-in-law, who watches the kids periodically, and she said "I can't believe she's walking!" "Yeah, she's getting close" I said. "No, she's really walking." I must have gone into denial because I said "Yeah, she's been taking a step here or there for a few weeks now." "No, I mean she's really walking" she said. Then I got it. I felt the blood run from my face and my stomach churn. "Really?" I said. "Watch" was all I heard and next thing I knew, my little Itty-Bitty took several steps to embrace my legs. If my mother-in-law wouldn't have been there I would've cried...

I was so f-ing close. It was Friday. It was the day before my birthday. I missed it by hours...

Over the last 6 years I've missed stuff. It's just inevitable, but this time was the last time I'd miss a baby walking. It's the end of something special; an era over. My sweet little Addie is my last baby. There, I said it out loud. I know that she is the last even though I have wild fantasies about just one more. When I had just the 2 kids I knew in my heart the magic number was 3. If I had 3 I'd never feel like we shorted our family. Truthfully, I'd do 4, but there are too many stipulations that would need to be met in order for this to be a consideration--like winning the lottery, not working, getting my husband to buy on to it....you all know how this goes. I know it's the end.

I promised my husband if he gave the green light on 3, I'd never beg for 4. Sometimes I wonder if I only want 4 because I want one last chance to see everything I've missed with the 3. Like, between 4 kids you get a complete set of 3 kid memories....I know it's sick, but maybe??

All I know is I missed something big. My husband said "Well, aren't you excited to see who she grows into next?" Uh....No. I like her just the way she is. I don't need her to grow up. The other two grew up and I swear all they do is either yell at me or each other. I have yet to meet a baby who isn't from the top of their sweet heads to bottom of their curly toes, perfect. I'll take the baby :-)



Monday, September 21, 2009

A Day Off


I took last Friday off to work in my son's preschool class, which he claims is the "greatest day" of his life--goof ball. I love doing it because it gives me a chance to see him be in his own domain with no pressure from his siblings or I. He has a chance to just "be" which is rare for him at home. His older sister thrives on teasing him and his little sister attacks whatever it is he's playing with. My favorite is when he gets lost in play, then remembers I'm there. He scans the room for me and when he finally finds me he displays the most perfect, happy, genuine smile I've ever seen. It almost makes me cry...

A day off work during the week never really means a day off work for me. My iPhone blew up all day with email, I had multiple "I'm sorry to bother you on your day off, but..." calls and I had a hard time shutting down the "What did I miss" part of my brain that regularly keeps me up at night. My day with my son was penciled in so tight, that I had actually forgotten to schedule "pump" time which by the end of the day made me look like the porn mom walking around with my exploding bust line. But, what's another day of humiliation in the scheme of things, right? I got to hang out with my little guy all day and seriously, I'd do it again.

My vanity is so secondary these days to just being with my kids. It's taken some time for me to really get the big picture, but I'd pass on a swanky handbag and Jimmy Choo's all day long just to hug my kids longer, clean my house more and to breath more deeply. Now, I may go home to a mean pile of laundry and stinky diapers and question what the hell I just said, but at the end of the day I really know where I want to be.



Monday, September 14, 2009

From the Mouths of Babes...


To lighten up the day, here is a copy of the email I received from my daughter's first grade teacher:


Hello!

So, we were brainstorming words that belonged to the "ap" family...nap,sap, tap...and then Emma raised her hand and volunteered the word "crap." One of her classmates said, "Oh, that's not a real word." Emma with a look of I know what I'm talking about argued saying, "It's a real word. You say it when you forget to bring something!"

Have a great weekend!

Ms. X

Not my finest parenting moment, but it made me laugh. If you read the last post, then you know that a good laugh was needed. It's amazing how one minute they can say mean things that crush you and the next minute they can say something that makes you love them all over again.


The Plastics

This weekend was a hard one for me. I can live with being a "Football Widow," but this past weekend everything came to a head. I am not a fan of Fantasy Football, not because I actually hate the game of football, but because it is not just ONE team you have to watch. It's all of them (which translates to an entire day of football). It usually takes me a few weekends to make peace with this, then I'm done. I'm going to let it go after this. My husband also coaches high school football and honestly I like that he does this. Their first season game kicked off on Saturday. I love that he participates in the community and sets a good example for our kids. My kids also love that he's a coach. They can't wait to go to a game and be able to head down to the field during halftime to tell the world this is my dad.

Every mother wants their kids to be proud of them, especially when it comes to our little girls. We want them to be as proud of us as we are of them. We like to think that we are setting good examples for them on how to be good happy people. Out of the blue this weekend while my daughter was just sitting on my lap she said "Mommy, I hope when I grow up I never ever look like you because you are fat." I was speechless. For the first time in my life, I didn't know what to say. All I could initially muster up was "That's not very nice to say" at which she added "When I grow up I want to look like my Auntie L because she is so skinny." Auntie L, as I'll call her, is my skinny little sister who I think deep down thinks that overweight people are to be secretly judged. She's never said anything to me, but I hear what she says in passing to the skinny and even younger sister of ours.

That last part iced my cake. It's not like she said it to be mean, because we were just hanging out. She said it because that's what was on her mind as she sat on my lap. Did my sister subconsciously or worse consciously veer her on this path?? My daughter and I talked about it again at some length, but I don't think she really gets the magnitude of what she said. It's not that she just said it about me; I could get past this. It's that she is beginning to view people as skinny, normal and fat. I remembered that after I had the baby last year she asked me "Why are you bigger than the other mommies in my class?" I should have known right then and there that it's not just the kids in class that are making impressions on the kids.

Today was my son's first day of 4's preschool. He was so excited to be there. Thank God for him because he still loves me just the way I am. As I dropped my son off this morning I watched some ( I say some, because I know that normal ones exist and they don't deserve to be generalized in this batch) of the SAHM's gather with their designer stroller's in tow looking way to glam for preschool. I did not see one chubby or normal mom in the group--and I looked hard. The first thing that came to mind is "There are the Plastics" which for any of you who have watched "Mean Girls" know what I'm talking about. I bit my lip as I felt my eyes begin to swell. I hope my little boy just goes on playing right past the nonsense.

My mind was racing this weekend to find a way to combat this. I'm pretty sure this stuff isn't coming from home since we've made a pretty big effort at our house to NOT use the word fat to describe people... but what if somehow it is?? Then I thought maybe it's where I'm raising my kids. I like to think where we live is pretty normal, but I know it's not. There is a lot of money surrounding us and even in these tough times there are no shortages of designer jeans and fancy shoes lining the pickup lines for kids. Maybe we should pack it up and move deep into the valley away from everything.

Regardless of how I may be feeling about myself, all kids should know the joy of growing up without judgement; in a house where people love you for you and not for what you look like. They should also be focusing on happy and healthy versus skinny or fat. There is so much time in life to doubt yourself about the way you look and who you want to be...does it really need to start at 6!?


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Running for my Life

I've had a cute little Nike+ attachment I've been meaning to add to my running for some time now. Last night was the night. It was almost dark, but I figured if I didn't go then, I'd never go. I need to really commit to myself to take time out for just me. I manage to take time off work for the kids, be home on time for whatever my husband has going and I never seem to make a little time for me.

My mortality has really been on my mind lately. I'm not old by any means, but I'm definately not the spring chicken I was 10 years ago. I've been thinking a lot about the life I'm living and the life I want to live. I want be around long enough to watch my children and their children and maybe even their children's accomplishments. I can't do these things if I don't take care of myself. I love my family, but I'm learning that in order to take care of them well, I need to take care of me.

I've found that a great part of my battle with food stems from my inability to waste. It doesn't matter if we go out to eat or if we eat at home. I can't just let food go in the garbage. I need to eat it so it doesn't get wasted. This totally doesn't make sense. I don't waste the food, but I fill my body with waste. Maybe this is a product of being forced to eat everything on my plate as a kid or maybe it's my dad's dinner time stories of starving kids in ethiopia that compel me to stock pile the extra food. Whatever the reason, I need to get past it. I watch my kids eat and when they're full, they just stop. I need to learn a lesson from them. I need to emotionally remove myself from eating.

That's where the running comes in. Running with the little Nike tracker was an interesting experience. I am not a fast runner by any means, but I certainly never thought I was a slow as the tracker said I was. I've always been a solid 10-minute miler. Last night I was a 20 minutes--seriously, couldn't I walk faster?!? I can really feel the extra 40 lbs I've been lugging around after this last baby. The good thing is that I'm so devastated after the run I can't even think about eating something. I'm going to try it again tonight. I need to remember that I'm not just running to look good, I'm running for my life.