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.