Monday, June 29, 2009

The Obvious...


Wow, what a weekend! We had one birthday party on Saturday, then we hosted our own. We celebrated my daughter's 6th birthday at our local park last Sunday and I can't believe how she's grown. That said, I also cannot believe how much work goes into planning a kids birthday party. Of course it had to be one of the hottest days of the year (108 degrees) and it was outside. Thank god for some of my friends who let us borrow their pop up canopies or we would have been more miserable than we were. No wonder people fork out the $400 to do a Pump it Up or Princess party. Luckily kids this age are just happy to be hanging out with their friends, so with water guns and water balloon fights everyone stayed content.

I have come to the conclusion (I'm a late learner) that this time with my kids while they're small is going to be the hardest but best part of my life. Their love and acceptance is so pure and honest it recharges your faith in humanity - which is tested daily by adults, trust me . They also still really like us. They harbor no grudges yet. No still means no and bedtime is still when we say it is. I believe the kid part of us is the best part of who we become as adults. I know I'm stating a lot of the obvious, but it's sometimes the obvious we don't pay attention to as much as we should.

My daughter's real birthday was last week on a weekday. I didn't think much about it other than to get up early so I could make her favorite breakfast, chocolate chip pancakes. As I was getting ready to leave for work she said "Mom, my 6th birthday only comes once. Can you please not go to work and walk me to (summer) school?" My answer should have been yes and I should have called in sick to work. But, I didn't. I went to work and promised her I'd do something special for her when I got home. I thought she'd get past it. That night, I was talking to my mother-in-law and she said she asked Emma if she had a good day and she said "No." I was surprised. What could have gone wrong? I pressed further for the answer and she said Emma told her "I didn't have a good day because my mom went to work." After taking some time to think about it, I realized that this was the first time in her life that I hadn't been home for her birthday. I decided right then and there, I was NEVER missing another kids birthday again. I have vacation and sick time and I'll be using it.

Our lives have become about the kids. Everything I work for, everything I hope for and most things I dream of involve my children, yet sometimes in that plight to do what's best you miss the importance of why you're doing it. Kids constantly need something from someone and you get so wrapped up in just covering the need that you lose focus on the path to getting things done. As they get older, I know this will change because their sufficiency capacity will increase. I already see it with my oldest child who doesn't need me to get her a drink anymore. She's perfectly fine finding a way to get it herself. In the big shuffle of everyday life I find that I haven't paid close attention to the obvious- like the coo of a baby or the inability of a 3 year old to correctly pronounce words (Elmo vs Elbow or helicopter vs helicracker).

I'm finding that with this last child, I really hang onto everything she does. I wish I would've done that with the others. I wish I could have found a way to slow down. My sweet Itty-Bitty girl has now moved on to full crawling and those sweet newborn firsts have passed forever. There will be no more little babies in our house after this one. I'm excited and sad at the same time to see how all of our lives evolve. I'm also going to make it a point to focus on the obvious. It's the easiest change to make - it's right there in front of me, I just need to learn to pay attention.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Reunion Time


REUNION. I never thought this was going to be such a dirty word. My 15 year reunion is right around the corner and I keep getting these stupid Evite reminders to make up my mind and decide whether I'm going or not. Right now I'm a "Maybe." Man, 15 years. It sounds worse when I say it out loud...

At one point I was REALLY looking forward to going to my high school reunion-like 10 years ago when I thought I was going to be thin, successful and definately envied. If you've read my previous posts, you'd know I do not feel like much of any of these things right now.

I admit to trying to check out the majority of my class via Facebook to gauge my RSVP and I'm not proud of it. Facebook is a big step for me. I'm not into social networking or reconnecting (no judgement if you are, it's just not my thing). Anyone I still talk to from high school (like one or two people) are all I need. Who has time with work, kids and family to have superficial relationships?!

Anyway, I digress....I have one week to RSVP to this thing and quite honestly, I don't know if I can do it. I'm thinking that this reunion can be my catapult to jump starting my healthy life. I am a huge fan of perseverance by humiliation. I'm not bigger than admitting I care what people think. It's how I finished a marathon. Surely, I can lose 30 lbs.

Last night at dinner I did the "should I?" or "shouldn't I" with my husband weighing in. His response, "Go if you want to." Of course I WANT to go, but for all the shallow reasons I stated above. I've always thought it was a silly concept to not do something just because you felt "fat" and here I find myself doing just that. While it's been 15 years since high school, clearly not a lot has changed. I have 7 days to decide... Ugh...


Monday, June 22, 2009

Off to the Races


My husband and my daughter ran their first 5k race together. I was so proud of my little trooper. My son and I walked around for a little while and waited for her and my husband to bring it home. We expected them to be awhile, but then she turned the corner for the home stretch. I've never seen so my determination on her face. Her little body was so tired and the smile she started the race with had been checked. They announced her name as she closed in on the finish line and I saw her dig deep to make it. She finished in a little over 35 minutes. My last 5k post-pregnancy run came in at about 31 minutes! While I felt like a total loser, I was so happy for my little speedster.

After the excitement settled, I looked around at the other racers coming in. Let me tell you, if you want to feel like crap about yourself, then go wait at the finish line of a local race. I put on makeup every single day I go to work. I style my hair. I squeeze my body into "professional" looking clothing. I cram my feet into stylish heels. So, on a day off or when the weekend rolls around, I try hard to do none of these things. Sunday's race appearance was no exception. I had on sweats, no makeup and comfortable tennis shoes. As I began to scan the crowd my eyes were compelled to focus on the healthy, lean and attractive women clustering in post race cheer. Good for them, right? Here's the kicker (in my rear). A lot of these women had now picked up their babies - not toddlers or preschoolers, but babies. I wanted to crawl in a hole. I felt like the biggest pile in the bunch.

I've never been bone thin, but I've been healthy and comfortable in my skin. These healthy runners, who also manage to be mom's, is a bitter reminder of what I am not. I even feel uglier. Since I've gone back to work and had a baby, I don't recognize myself. This body I have is not me. I should be cheering for these women, but instead I find myself loathing them. Why do we do this to ourselves and to our own? I'm going to try this week to add in two days of running - even if it's only on a treadmill. I don't think I can get anymore tired than I am. Really, what's the worst thing that can happen?







Friday, June 19, 2009

Little Black Handbag


As I was racing around my office this morning with my handbag, I felt a sharp pain in my shoulder. I stopped a moment to register what was interrupting my hurried state and realized it was my purse. My first thought, was "like I have time for this," but then I thought about an article I recently read about women and hypertension and I decided to stop. I don't need to start pushing daisies any sooner than I have to.

I slid my bag down to my hand and tried to do the weight guestimation test. Maybe a small child, but definately not a newborn? I had nothing. I walked across the office with my big bag to the copy room where there is a scale. The result: 8 1/2 lbs! What the hell is in my bag and do I really need it?!? I'm going to venture out and say I don't need 80% of the crap I've been housing in there. World hunger will not be solved if I carry this heavy bag. Between my 8 1/2 lb. bag, an 18 lb. baby and my large bustline, my back is gonna break!

Now it's no secret that many women, myself included, jam pack our handbags to prepare us for whatever life may throw our way. Lotion, lip gloss, powder, child immunization cards, benedryl, pens, wallets, checkbooks - the list goes on. Mom's who have experienced the diaper bag days and have moved on out of this phase are big offenders in handbag stuffing. It's like we just can't walk out the door without packing a small medicine cabinet and/or our last will and testament.

My weekend goal is to (make all the necessary appearances to birthday parties, cut and color my gray streaked hair and father's day celebrations) clean out my handbag. I'm sure it'll happen :-).

Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Calgon Take Me Away....


It's one of those days that just can't end fast enough. I had clients fly in today and whenever they visit it always raises the stress meter around here. The great news is that the client was happy and I still have a job. The bad news is that I've been wound so tight these last few days trying to make sure things are perfect that the moment the client walked out the door I felt like I had hit a wall. One hour until I blow out of here like a maniac on crack to get home to kiss my babies - and my sweet husband. I think he feels like he's been kicked to the curb in some ways. He's probably not totally wrong, but it's certainly not on purpose. I barely have a brain left to keep everyone happy. Tick, tock, tick, tock....

I need a break. I'll work harder tomorrow. Hell, I worked hard enough already today. I'm going to run out and buy a lottery ticket real fast. Oh, I hope the lady at the counter is nice - I feel like it helps my chances. One of these days, I'll win something, right? Maybe today is my day!



Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Conversation with a Five Year Old


My daughter, Emma, has a birthday coming up and is very excited. My kids have so many toys, that we usually ask family to try and get them something they need - like clothes or shoes. Yesterday when Emma's grandma, my mother-in-law, asked her what she wants for her birthday, this is how it went down:

Grandma: So is there anything you need for your birthday?

Emma: I don't know, maybe a Jasmine doll.

Grandma: How about some new underwear?

Emma: Oh, yeah!

Grandma: Would you like some new "big girl" underwear?

Emma: (Hesitation) Does that mean the underwear that goes up your butt?

Everyone apparantly thought this was hilarious except me. My husband practically fell out of his chair laughing as he re-told the story to me. Yeah, I wasn't there, thank God. If it were my mom having the conversation with my daughter, it probably would've been funny, but it wasn't. I really like my mother-in-law, but we don't talk about these sorts of things. I'm married to HER son for crying out loud. I was mortified. I felt like a dunce. Note to self, kick the kids out of my room (ha!) while changing and wearing a thong! Don't we mom's deserve no panty lines?


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Best Part of the Morning


I leave pretty early in the morning so if any kids stumble downstairs before I leave it's a perk. I always enjoy giving them hugs and a kisses before heading out to work. I adore each of my kids for all sorts of similar and different reasons, so this next comment is not me playing favorites...

My favorite part of the morning is watching my sweet little baby open her eyes from a night of sleep. First she tosses and turns, then stretches - all the while her little eyes are squished shut. She even manages to squeeze in a smile before opening her pretty blue eyes. After she works out her kinks, then all four limbs stretch out simultaneously and her eyes open. I swear I hear a gospel version of Hallelujah playing in my head when the big event occurs (I am fully aware that this is silly). My husband and I stood over her this morning for what must have been 5 minutes watching and waiting for her eyes to meet ours. When her little peepers finally locked onto ours, she squealed with delight. And we did too. It's as though just waking up is her greatest and most important accomplishment; and she's always so happy.

Each mom loves her child more than any other child we see. Our kids are our favorite kids. Itty-Bitty, as we lovingly refer to her, is our third child and I am still in awe at the tiniest thing she may do. I am fully aware it's not nearly as exciting to you, but I know you have or will experience the "awe-affect" I speak of at some point. Some moms swear they just love kids in general. I don't share this sentiment. I love my kids and I really like your kids.

There is something to be learned from our little Itty-Bitty. Pure happiness. If we could manage a morsel of the joy in opening our eyes each day the way she does, we'd all be better people. Growing up happens too fast. I'm going to try and slow it down just a little today :-).


Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Nanny


Last Friday marked the end of my daughter's first year of school - kindergarten. I can't believe a whole school year has already gone by. I think I was almost as excited as she was to celebrate the big day. I of course took the day off, so work killed me in the days leading up to the ONE day off. Nothing was going to keep me from attending her class festivities. I think that the last day of school was actually harder than that first day. There were definitely moments that I just watched her play with her classmates and my eyes would well with tears at how quick it's all going by. It doesn't seem quite like yesterday that she was born, but it certainly doesn't feel like 5 years have gone by.

The weather on Friday was cold for a mid-June day, so I left the baby and my little guy who's fighting off a bit of a cold home with the Nanny - which was a nice option. I think when people hear you have a nanny, they think you are swimming in riches and have a maid - none of which are true in our case. We are FAR from being New York jet-setters or Hollywood socialites. We are a pretty normal family. It just made sense to bring someone to our house that I knew was safe for the same amount of money it would take to shuffle them to day care. I have friends who have opted for the day care route and their kids are fine, but it wasn't the best fit for us.

I spent most of my maternity leave looking for someone to love my kids in my absence. Overall, she - Nanny we'll call her, is great. I rarely see Nanny during the week because I'm usually gone by the time she arrives and she leaves by the time I get home. Our relationship is really one that is phone based, but effective nonetheless. She has, as I had hoped, become part of our family. That said, it's still kind of weird to have someone in your home everyday caring for your kids. You know, those little people you long to be with only to whop out a chunk of cash to someone else for a job you'd happily do for free? Yea, no one's bitter here...

When we first hired her I told her to organize and de-clutter if she had the time and basically gave her free reign. She periodically cleans our refrigerator out, does kid laundry when she can and vacuums periodically. I've always stressed that the kids come first, so if she doesn't have time to pick up, it's no problem. Here's the weird thing, she's done everything I've asked for and I'm a bit resentful. I'm not sure if it's because I couldn't keep my house clean with all the kids going everywhere or if it's because she's living my life I want-or maybe it's both. I'm happy my kids have finally accepted her, though it definitely didn't happen overnight.

I think my issue is primarily that I want MY life back. It's going on two years that I've been back to work and the angst of missing my kids has not wavered. I feel like it's the worst whenever I have a long weekend or a weekday. It makes me feel like "thank goodness, that work life was just a dream," but then I realize, it's not a dream. This is my new life and there is no going back.

This self deception is a slippery slope. It's so incredibly good to be home with my kids when I can be, but when I leave them for work it's like ripping the scab off again to heal. I've said this before and I'll say it again, I struggle most with balancing my life. I hope it comes sooner than later; I just don't know how to do it. It's funny, but I was talking to another mom who is a SAHM and she said "I don't know how you can do it all" and I responded "not well." She stared at me with a look of surprise and said "Well you've got us fooled, because it looks like you're doing it very well." Ha! Me? If looks were everything...



Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Where's My Head?

My husband has often said that if my head wasn't attached to my body, I'd lose it. He was onto something. My daughter had a field trip today and since no one could take her I HAD to take a 1/2 day off work (I wasn't excited or anything). I was running, literally, from the school home to trade cars and swap clothes before heading to the office. As I was going over the Bay Bridge it dawned on me that I forgot to pump before I left the house, but I thought "I'm close enough to work, I'll pump when I get there." Or NOT since I forgot my breast pump today at home and of course, right next to the front door! It was too late. I couldn't go home without setting myself back an extra 2 hours. This is the first time I've not brought it to work; only the second time forgetting it about it ever. The things that get missed when we're rushed...

It is going to be the longest half day I've ever worked. Right now, my full ta-ta's are screaming at me to be relieved. Trust me when I say Kleenex and toilet paper don't cut it on stopping a leak - I have unfortunately proven this point.The person who created breast pads is my hero today. Thank goodness I had a set in my purse or I'd be in serious trouble.

Big breasts are overrated. Every time I look down I get a cheap porn show from my bursting bust line and crazy cleavage. This sucks. Maybe in another life this would be cool, but not in this life time. Ugh...back to work I go with the focus of a two year old...


Monday, June 8, 2009

More

I know this is going to sound weird, but some of my favorite times with my kids are from conversations while we're driving. Ideally, we'd be out laying in the warm sun talking, but that just doesn't happen easily with all the ages and stages we have at the house. Someone is always running, jumping or scooting somewhere, so sometimes the only way we get some talk time in is when everyone is safely strapped into their car seats.

They confide their secrets to me while we're driving. They tell me what they want to be when they grow up (my daughter wants to be a Crystal Hunter, my son wants to be a Scarecrow). They tell me what they hope for and what they want. The one that is hard for me is when they tell me they hope I'll be able to stay home with them "like before." I assure them that I'm trying for that too, but that I'm always with them even if I'm not physically there. Sometimes it may just be the latest cool toy they want, but other times it's something sweet like feeding someone who doesn't have food. It's these thoughtful moments in conversation we have that I love them more than I thought possible.

I love the expression that goes into their stories and sometimes their stories lead me to my own deep place where I can question myself - in a good way. For instance, we were driving yesterday and we were talking about what we want and I got to thinking about how I can give more to my kids - not material things, but more of myself. The part of me that's fun and loving and happy; the best of me. The me that stops and listens and really hears what's being said without being preoccupied with diaper changes or dishes. I remember missing my own mom when she was running her own crazy schedule with 5 kids in tow. I feel as though I've only gotten to know her better with the birth of my own children. They get plenty of the driven, crazy, scheduled mom they see trying to cover all the bases. I hope I find a way for my kids to know me now. Is this possible? I don't really know. I'm finding that while more time with my kids is most ideal, it's more of a present me that seems to count the most. Who would've thought this could be so hard to genuinely give...


Friday, June 5, 2009

Go Lotto, Go

Good for this guy! I didn't win, but at least someone who needed it did!!

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_rags_to_riches

Happy Friday Everyone!

The Firsts


There is nothing that replaces the pain in your stomach of missing one of your child's "Firsts." I'm lucky. I've been there for most of them.

My daughter had her first big girl field trip to the zoo where she rode a bus for the first time. I couldn't go because I had to work. My husband was able to go (which is good) and he said it was fun, but I just couldn't get the detail I needed to not feel sad about it. It's sick, but I want to know everything from start to finish. I want to visualize the sweet smile on her face when she held a friends hand, I want to hear her joyous laughter while she's eating lunch with her peers, I wanted to sigh with a full heart at the way she surely held her dad's hand when making her way through the animals. I wanted to experience the full excitement a "First" brings.

"Maybe the next kid" I tell myself, half heartedly knowing that I may miss it with the next kid too. I read an article recently about a mom who had been laid off and for the first time she was able to be home with her kids. Her kids were now in high school and she found they didn't need her like they had when they were little. There was no classroom party planning or volunteering, no more cute recitals to be worked on and there were no more cute art projects to put together. She was still happy to be there, but it was bittersweet. I don't want to miss the early years.

Some will argue that you need to keep parts of your life for just you; that you're children cannot be your everything. I would argue that these sweet moments with my kids are what comprise a joyous life for me. They are my everything. I don't get up and go to work to feel fulfilled. I go so I can provide for them. When you don't see them but a few hours a day the drool on their face begins to look important and time home becomes a luxury.

I missed her first field trip, but thankfully I will be there for the last day of her kindergarten year. How fast it's going by...


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Freak Out Recovery

Well, Monday's post was clearly a freak-out on my part. Some of you probably saw I made a comment which I removed because it was just me being mean to myself. No one really needs to read that.

In a plight to conquer my procrastination of life, I had a realtor assess our house to see if moving to the "greener side" is even a possibility. I mean why even waste time thinking (whining) about something that's not even an option, right? The realtor called me today and it's settled. California home prices have taken such a hit in this recession that moving is not an option right now. Done.

I've taken up (trying) to run my office building stairs in an effort to get back to exercising. It's sad, but hey, it's something. I want to win my life back and I'm willing to work hard. I don't need to be Hollywood skinny, but I'd happily settle for healthy. I'm going to do what I can. I know I'm not the only one who struggles with balance, but if it can be achieved, I'm your girl.

I think as mom's we put too much pressure on ourselves to do EVERYTHING. I think I freaked out because I want to fix everything in my life TODAY and I just can't. It's going to be a long road and I need to find a way to stop and smell the roses as they say. Maybe it's a control thing....who knows. I do know that we have become a society of immediate gratification, myself included. I've learned (and keep learning) that achievement cannot be measured this way.

My kids will learn to deal with adversity the same way they see me deal with it. Luckily this blog has become my cheap therapy. I vent, then I go home and just love them. My life will never be what it was two years ago, but I won't be the same either. Hopefully I'll find a way to be stronger and happier with less.

By the way, I bought a lotto ticket today....cross your fingers :-)

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Greener Grass...


Happy Monday-I mean it should be right? I have a healthy family, a mostly clean house and a job. What more could there be? This is the question I keep asking myself over and over and over. Why can't I be satisfied with this?

In the last few months, I've seen numerous people walking out of office buildings with the token "desk box" we've all seen. I can only imagine what those losing their jobs must be going through. I'm sure it's terrible and I am REALLY thankful I've still got a job since I'm able to support my family. I know I'm one of the lucky ones. But, there is absolutely no fulfilment, muchless satisfaction, in the job I do. I used to wonder why people looked so forward to retirement. I used to believe you just live your best life now and not wait until you were 55 years old (maybe 65 in my case). What happened?

I was acutally in the shower on Saturday and I had a moment of "YES, thank goodness it's summer break soon" only to realize that this is not applicable to me (I sat in the shower another 5 minutes coming to grips with this obvious realization). What do I need to do to wrap my head around the fact that THIS is my life and I HAVE to go to work everyday. I keep looking forward to something - anything that will save me.

I love where we live, but it's just so expensive to stay afloat. What do I do? Should I uproot my family and move to a more affordable state where I can be a SAHM? Would our quality of life be better? I don't know what the right answer is here. I'm terrified I'm going to wake up one day and my life will have completely passed me by. I want to be able to live for today, but as weird as it sounds, I don't know if I really know how to do this. Is the grass really greener on the other side?