Search

What motherhood has taught me….

A mom shares lessons learned as she juggles her family and career….

The Over-40 Mommy Weight Loss Challenge….

Throughout my life I have always been physically fit, active, and for the most part – in shape.  Except for a blip in college (hello freshman 15) and being pregnant, I never really had to worry about my weight or my health.  In fact, when I met my current husband I was probably in the best shape of my life (and that was post two kids and divorce).  At that time I was walking between four and six miles about five times a week.  I was also toning and working on my core; and amazingly, I actually was getting some abs back post two kids.  I felt good about myself and for the first time since my divorce, I felt confident about the way I looked.  This is not to sound vain, but we as moms know that the reality for many of us after having kids is that our bodies change.  And let’s face it, those changes can be hard to process.  Stretch marks, sagging breasts, a muffin top (thank you 2 C-sections) are things that are glorious reminders of the baby you birthed, but also are reminders of the body you lost.  Factor in a divorce with a post baby  mommy body and you’ve got a recipe for insecurity – especially if you are re-entering the dating world at some point.

Weight didn’t really become an issue until after I had my daughter.  Of course my pregnancy with her was completely different.  Yes I felt lousy, but I was able to eat, something that I couldn’t do with my boys.  In fact, I was so sick with my first two pregnancies that I lost weight initially.  After giving birth to them, there wasn’t much to lose to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight.  With my daughter all I did was eat – in fact I ate donuts like it was my job.  I gained and I gained and I gained a little more than they would have liked.  Oops…

I gave birth to my daughter under the foolish thought that the weight I’d gained was going to “just melt away” – as it had with my boys.  Boy was I wrong.  And I was wrong for many reasons.  First, I was older now.  When I had been pregnant with my boys I was much younger.  My body chemistry and metabolism were different then then they were when I had her.  Secondly, I’d gained more weight than I had with the boys so that remaining 10 lbs was an unexpected hurdle I struggled to overcome (and am still struggling with).  Thirdly, I had my daughter in the dead of winter.  With the boys, I had them in warm months and as soon as I was given the okay, I started walking again.  This was impossible to do in the winter.  By the time I could walk, my maternity leave had ended and I was back to work.  Fourthly, I breastfed the boys and that also helped with my post-pregnancy weight loss.  While I breastfed my daughter, it wasn’t as successful as it had been with my boys and I noticed a difference in how my body reacted – or didn’t for that matter.

Thus, I never lost that remaining 10 lbs.  Then I turned 40 (almost 2 years ago now) and the ten pounds turned into fifteen and then twenty.  It was as if the scale only knew one direction – and that was up.  I looked into the mirror and was so frustrated by what I saw.  The imagine looking back at mirror was no one I recognized.  For the first time in my life I looked fat.  My self-esteem and self-confidence plummeted.  I was disgusted with myself.  Forget intimacy, I didn’t want my husband to see me naked – it was my own insecurity not his, but non-the-less it greatly impacted that part of our relationship.  I tried changing my diet to be more health conscious – that is, I ate more salads and chicken and drank lots of water but the scale never seemed to budge (hello you’re 40 remember – slow metabolism has set in remember)  My husband (at my request) bought me a very basic treadmill that I swore I would use – yeah that didn’t happen (hello – you have kids, a job, and no time for yourself – it made a great clothes rack though).  I talked with my doctor regarding adjusting a medication that I was on that could cause weight gain – that too did not help.  The scale just kept going up.  I tried colon cleansers and thermogenics (my least proud moments).  I would like to say that the final straw was the fact that my cholesterol levels shot up to numbers that I not only didn’t recognize, but that I swore belonged to someone else (yeah go figure – thank you salads).   But no, it wasn’t that or even my borderline high blood pressure, or when my back and knees ached from being on my feet all day, or when my jeans didn’t even fit me any more.  It actually was when we booked a vacation for this upcoming spring that I finally decided to take action.   The cold hard truth is that I have no clothes to wear on this trip (I know that sounds vain – sorry) and I absolutely refuse to buy any that will fit when I have an entire closet full of clothes I could wear if I were just ten pounds lighter.

After much investigating and talking to many of my friends and coworkers who belonged to gyms and various work-out facilities, I finally found one that was both affordable, offered me the types of workouts I knew I would do, and most importantly offered CHILD CARE!!!   I was sold.  I joined the YMCA a few weeks ago and my commitment to getting healthy and into the kind of shape that I want to be in has been a great motivator.  This is so much more then losing a few pounds.  Its about reclaiming myself, rediscovering my self-confidence and boosting my self-esteem.  Its about feeling sexy and desirable again (in a way you believe not just because your husband tells you you are).  It’s about putting myself first so that I can be there for my family.  I truly believe that if I feel good, then I will be better able to be the mom and wife I want to be.

I will keep you posted as to my success….

Advertisements

And in her goodie bag was a whistle. Are you kidding me?

So my daughter came home from nursery school all excited today because in her cubby was a goodie bag.  And in this goodie bag were all sorts of cute little trinkets that ranged from a bracelet, to a ring, to some candy, and even a whistle.  Yes you read correctly, a whistle.  A high pitched, very annoying, shrill whistle.  Well my daughter thought that this whistle was the greatest thing in the entire world.  It was of course pink (one of her favorite colors), had Trolls on it, and made the most delightful noises (sarcasm) when blown into incessantly.   I was quick to inquire as to what classmate she received this goodie bag from as I more or less wanted to know what idiot of a parent deliberately inflicted this kind of torture on my poor unsuspecting ears and last nerve.

As my daughter walked around the house puffing away on this wonderful toy, I secretly began to contemplate how I would rid my house of this horrific ear splitting noise device….. would it be an accidental trash toss out? would it just go missing?  or maybe it will somehow end up broken (not a far-fetched idea considering how my kids are with their toys)?

As of this moment I have yet to carry out “my whistle hit.”  In fact, as I write this, the whistle is on the table next to me….where it will stay at least for now.  And while I might not know exactly what to do with it, I do know what my message about it will be.  I would caution parents to use common sense when it comes to giving out toys or trinkets that make noises that could be construed as obnoxious.  While the toys or trinkets might be cute, not every parent welcomes that kind of noise in there home.  In fact, I would hedge a bet that many moms (and dads) would be grateful to skip another noise-making item, especially when one’s household is often noisy enough.

The Common Thread….

I read a post this morning off of the “Mommy Doesn’t Lie” blog and it really resonated with me as a mom (I encourage you to read the post).  In this blog, the mom referred to herself as a broken crayon and went on to rather poignantly support her analogy.  I loved it.  I loved reading about another mom’s perception on how her life is now, because it only seeks to highlight that we as mothers share a commonality that together gives us a great strength and purpose.

Most days I consider it a win if I make it through the day where no one has cried (much), myself included, no one has gotten in trouble, I haven’t yelled (much), homework got done with minimal whining, we ate dinner by 6, everyone showered without an argument, and got into bed by 9.  I look in the mirror at the end of the day – which for me is usually around 11pm, and try to give myself a pep talk about doing it all over again that next day.

Motherhood is the hardest thing I have ever undertaken.  It is a true test of one’s mental strength, one’s patience, one’s selflessness, and one’s physical stamina to function on little or no sleep.  Granted the payoffs are priceless – first smiles, first words, first steps, pictures they color you, every time they say “mommy” or tell you that they love you, hugs they give, and moments in which they succeed at anything that they try.  Yet payoffs come intermixed with the general handwork of raising them.  Then there is the messiness (lets face it, kids are sticky, sloppy little tornados of disaster), the whining, the meltdowns, the snotty looks, and snarky remarks (if you have older kids).  As a mom you have to be on top of everything – did they do their homework? do their chores? brush their teeth? use shampoo in the shower?  You are also the chauffeur, the taxi service, the human ATM, the fix-it person, the maid, the cook, the nurse to illness and boo-boos, and any and all other required skill sets.  You are known only as mom.  Not “Jennifer” or “Michelle” or “Jill” but mom.  It’s as if you didn’t exist until that first child came along.  Gone are the days when you got dressed up, wore make-up as an every day occurrence (instead of on a special occasion), worried about who might see you if your wore sweats, cared if you showered before school drop-off, and had a closet full something other than yoga pants and T-shirts.  Gone are the days when you “used to be fun,” took random shopping trips to the mall with your best girl friends and spontaneously would “go out for a night on the town.”

Sounds grim – it kinda is.  But then you realize that almost every other mom out there is going through similar struggles and similar challenges.  You are not alone in how you feel, how you respond, and how you now are.  And that it is what makes motherhood a force to be reckoned with.  We as moms need to embrace the commonalities of what we share and use them to regain our identities as women – not just moms.  Imagine who we could be if we merged the woman we once were – you know, the one who’s buried down deep, with the woman we are at this very moment.  Man – we would be a force to be reckoned with.  A force so strong and so unstoppable that all would take notice.

Breathing a sigh of relief

If you had the opportunity to read my last blog post you’ll remember that a slight hiccup was enough for me to momentarily question whether or not I might be pregnant.  I am in fact – Not.  Relieved – yes – for so many reasons.  And, in my relief there is the realization that I am done having children.  Don’t get me wrong,  I love my kids and most days I even like them…. but many days I feel as if I am under-qualified to meet the demands required of me.   I am tired, cranky, stressed out and often overwhelmed at all that has come with the job.  I relish moments of victory in which my kids shine and are triumphant; but more often I secretly cry at how hard raising them is under the circumstances.  My boys have had to endure their father and I getting divorced; and then several years later my getting remarried to a man who still to this day has yet to find his niche with them, and them with him.  The constant disconnect between everyone has taken its toll and is destroying me.  The harder I try to bring everyone together the worse it seems to get.  I have considered family counseling, and probably should go, but we never quite seem to venture down that path.  Another shortcoming of mine.  My daughter is the apple of her daddy’s eye, which is like rubbing salt in my boys wounds.  Warm and fuzzy he is with her, and yet with us his demeanor is more matter-of-a-fact.   This infuriates me to no end and no matter how many times I try and broach the subject with him, I just can never quite impress upon him how his lack of a meaningful relationship with his stepsons is destroying our family and our marriage.

Then there is the school drama with my older son coupled with the social awkwardness and the resentment from both my boys for moving them away from the town in which they grew up in.  My daughter doesn’t listen to me and while most of the time she can be so sweet, on the turn of a dime she can also be very bossy and pig-headed.  Her listening skills borderline suck and many times I feel as if I am talking to myself rather than her, or even the boys for that matter.  I set rules, everyone bends them.  I ask for help and everyone moans and groans.  I make a meal and despite the expectation that everyone will help clean up; everyone scatters.  I clean, do laundry, chauffeur my kids here, there and everywhere, help with homework, cheer, support, and will go “mother-bear” on someone for them and yet I can’t get five quite minutes to go to the bathroom in peace.  And if and when I do manage to scrape together some me time I feel guilty for it.

So yes, I am relieved – for so many reasons….

What if I am Pregnant – at 41?

So a few months back I had a heart to heart with my OB-GYN regarding the birth control pill I had been on for the last 3 years.  In a nutshell I told her how much I hated it.  I hated the horrific migraine headache I would get on Day 1 of my period that would last until about Day 3 – regardless of how I tried to manage it’s symptoms.  I hated the fact that my period was so super heavy on Day 1 into 2 that I couldn’t make it 2 hours without  a trip to the bathroom.  And I hated that my period lasted for about 6 days before coming to an end.  I requested to go back to the pill I had been on prior to getting pregnant with my daughter and she concurred that a such a change was certainly warranted based off of what I ‘d been enduring.  I was thrilled.  In addition to changing my pill, my doctor also altered how I was to take it – that is, she wanted me to skip 2 periods and only allow them to occur every third month (yup 4 times a year).  Even better I thought.  God the money I would save in tampons…. hooray!

I started my new pill without incident.  I skipped my first period without any unwanted side-effects.  Bonus I thought as I was anticipating some possible breakthrough bleeding or minor inconveniences – yet none occurred.  I started my second pill pack and was into week 2 of it when I made a unsettling discover one night.  Yes, that is when I realized I completely had missed a pill the night before.  Apparently I had taken Monday nights pill, totally forgotten Tuesday’s pill (that’s what happens when you lay down with your 4-year-old at bedtime rather than finishing out your night-time routine) and now on Wednesday night I was staring at both Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s pills in the packet.  A feeling a dread came over me as I did some quick “life instant replays” in my head and realized that should my little pill mishap have in any way opened the door of ovulation opportunity – I very well might be in trouble being that my husband and I had shared some very quality time together as of late.   I quickly downed the errant pill along with the one I was supposed to take and told myself I would allow myself to just get my period at the end of this 2nd pack.  No harm, no foul right?

As luck (said with sarcasm) would have it, during week three of my 2nd pack I got exposed to scabies at work (the joys of being a nurse) and as a precaution had to quell my body with a lovely chemical cream – solely as a preventative measure.  Even more reason to allow myself to get my period that following week.  The week of truth came and I waited and waited.  Finally late on Wednesday it showed up – barely.  On Thursday it came and it went and I spent Friday feeling as if at any moment it would come back.  It couldn’t actually be completely done I thought.  Yet, it did not return and I was left feeling oddly mixed in my emotional state.  A one day period – phenomenal! and yet very disconcerting in light of my little pill mishap.  Was this really my period?  It had to be – right?

So I began my next pill pack – the one I am on currently, and tried to put the gnawing thought that I might be pregnant out of my mind.  Until the other day.  In this last week I have felt unusually bloated.  I burp constantly, which as my best friend was quick to remind me (amidst her uncontrollable laughter) that I did that throughout my entire first pregnancy.  My boobs are kills me (sorry if its TMI) and occasionally I am getting this odd fluttering in my stomach.  I keep telling myself that all this is nothing, that its stress related, however; this little tiny voice in the back of my head keeps saying, “what if?”  And it’s that gnawing voice that got me thinking – good lord what if I am in that small percentage of women who managed to screw up her birth control pill and get pregnant?  What then?  I have three kids already – four if you count my husband.  I am almost 42.  I am finally at a place in my life where I am regaining some independence.  My youngest is in nursery school, she is finally wearing big girl underwear all the time.  She can do things for herself and while she still needs me she also is exploring her independence.  Professionally I like where my career is at.  If I am pregnant how do I start all over?  I gave away all of my baby stuff.  Our house only has four bedrooms and our cars seat 5, not six.  I am to tired to do 3 am feedings and diaper changes.  OMG the thought makes me want to cry and puke all at the same time.   Then the voice of reason says – there is no way you could be pregnant – right?

Guess it’s off to the store tomorrow to pick up a test…..

New Year, Same Old Challenges

I approached 2018 with cautious optimism.  In my head I had plotted out how I hoped this new year would unfold.  My marriage would somehow get easier.  My husband and I would start communicating better.  He might actually be interested in what I had to say.  He might work less, be around more, help me with the house and kids, and make a vested effort to bridge the gap with his step-sons.  As for my children, they’d be more patient with each other, yell less, bicker only on occasion, share better, offer to do some chores without being asked, and be more tolerant of each other.  And as for me, I would become a better mom.  I would be more patient, yell less, try not to curse as readily as I currently do, lose some weight, make time for myself, and start to put me first.   What I had hoped for was quite frankly – a miracle…. a big fat unattainable miracle.  Instead 2018 began just as 2017 ended.  When he is home (and not working) my husband is on the couch glued to the TV with his phone in hand.  There was no magical moment in which birds sang, the sun grew warm and a grand epiphany was realized – you know the one in which the man’s eyes are opened to all that his wife does and he feels blessed and lucky that this woman is his.  Yep none of that.  My kids have been struck down for the last month with a wicked case of entitlement which has been complicated by bouts of quite frankly – asshole-itis.  Yup I said just that.  Between the fighting, bickering, parenting one another, talking back, whining, and greed, I feel as if I am raising heathens instead of human beings.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love my kids very much and innately they are good, kind, and caring children.  Yet lately it is if they are possessed by a group of hostile hooligans which are running a muck.  No amount of discipline is able to reign in their crazy train.  So as you can imagine my patience has not only worn thin, it’s worn out.  Can you imagine – 15 days into the new year and I am using curse words like commas, yelling like a lunatic, and feeling more flustered than I have ever felt before.  And forget me time, and weight loss, and putting myself first.  That is just not happening.   So I am left asking myself….  How do I elicit change when I can’t even change myself?  After all, isn’t the quote something to the effect of “Be the change you want to see?”  Lord knows I have tried to change but inevitably I fall right back into my old patterns.  This begs the questions: “Is it even possible to change myself if everyone I am surrounded by is unable to change themselves?”  Am I destined for feel this way forever?  What is it that has to give in order for my family to take notice?

 

 

I think I suck at being a mom….

Being a mom is supposed to (or so I thought) bring about some great joy and fulfillment to the life of a woman who has embraced it’s blessings.  At least that was the illusion (or maybe delusion of grandeur) I was under when I became pregnant with my first child.  Fast forward two more kids later and the joy and fulfillment are more like experiencing perpetual anxiety and feeling defeated.  Sound terrible, maybe….. but as a mom whose burning the candle at all ends (yup, apparently I have more than two) I feel as if I only get a fraction of the joy and fulfillment that I thought being a mom would bring in comparison to the angst, frustration, aggravation, sleep deprivation, and overall sense of failure I feel shrouded in.  Motherhood is the hardest thing I have ever had to do and as my kids get older I feel as if I am sucking at it more and more.   Trying to be everything to my kids is impossible and does no one any good.  I end up cross and short-tempered and then my kids complain that all I do is yell.  *sigh* I am not sure what the solution is… or if there is one.  Selfishly I want some quality alone time so that I can re-energize my own sense of self, and in doing so be better for my kids.  That however is so hard to come by – I’d have a better chance of being struck by lightening.  Day in and day out though I wake up thinking that I am going to rock motherhood for that day and that that day will marks a new beginning, a turning point in my motherhood journey.  Yet the day generally ends as most days do, motherhood has instead rocked me and basically knocked me on my ass.  Motherhood 1 – Mom 0.

More to come….

My Mid-Life Crisis

I just read the most fantastic article titled The New Midlife Crisis – Why (and How) It’s Hitting Gen X Women by Ada Calhoun, and couldn’t help but think – “Holy shit I am not crazy but rather I am apparently having a midlife crisis.”  It was the most refreshing feeling I have had in a very very long time…  Here’s why….

I was raised to believe that with handwork and dedication I could do anything, achieve anything, and be anyone I set my mind on being.  I was raised with the understanding that being financially prudent would enable me to be financially sound.  You didn’t live beyond your means.  You didn’t buy something if you couldn’t pay for it.  It was nice to want things but better to be able to get what you needed.  And, I was raised wanting to have a family like the one I’d grown up in.  So I did what most of my generation did – I went to college, graduated, established my career and while doing so got married, bought a house, and started a family, eventually got divorced, then remarried, expanded my family and moved.  However, the continued effort to obtain this “grand dream” has been seriously understated for many reasons.   First there is the rising cost of living with little raise in pay.  Then there are the disagreements with my husband when our financial, career, and parenting goals don’t mesh.  Then there is the sense of entitlement and attitude radiating from my kids.  Lord knows I am trying to raise them right but some days I look at them and think – “shit my kids are turning into little assholes.”  Sound harsh – maybe – but societal and peer pressures along with technology have stolen my kids childhood and created a completely different futuristic ideal for them.  Most days I feel as if I am putting in all of this effort to achieve something that I don’t even know if I believe exists anymore.  Most days I feel as if I am a colossal failure as a wife and mother.  My husband thinks I am coming unhinged and my kids tell me all I do is yell.  Most days I feel as if I am losing my mind….

On the days when sanity hangs in the balance and I am one snotty look, snarky remark, grouchy retort, or generalized aggravating moment away from going postal, and I have to remind myself orange probably wouldn’t look that good on me I just pray for a few moments of peace and quiet –  or at least enough time for my Xanax to kick in.   Unfortunately these moments are near to impossible to come by.

As a working mom with three kids, a husband, and a household to manage – every waking moment these days is spoken for.  There is no down-time, no free time, and certainly no “me” time.  My calendar is a color-coded visual nightmare.  Between my work schedule, the kids school activities, sporting events, tutoring sessions, doctor’s appointments, and dentist and orthodontist appointments, I am going all day long every day.  Of course along with all the prior mentioned engagements there is also the grocery shopping, all other necessary household errands, homework time, making lunches, making dinner, doing laundry, cleaning the house, paying bills, dealing with customer service issues, and blah, blah blah blah blah…. If these keeps up I am going to be forced to pencil in when to shower and sleep…

I know I am not the only mom who feels tapped out, stressed out, overwhelmed, under-appreciated and under-fulfilled.  I can’t be the only mom who feels as if all she does is yell at her kids and fail to meet some ridiculously high imaginary parenting bar – set by society.  I know I am not the only mom who leans in close when her kids are misbehaving in public and hisses a subtle threat to knock off the bad behavior or else.  I am also not the only mom to threaten to clean up toys with a garbage bag, make kids eat what was made for dinner or go to bed hungry, and broken something of their kid’s just because they lost their shit at the one millionth time of pleading with their child to do what was asked of them.  I can’t be the only mom who looks at her husband and wants to scream – “Dude a little more help here would be freaking awesome!!!”  I also am not the only mom who looks at her sleeping husband while the kids are awake and running amuck and thinks how easily it would be to clobber him with a pillow at that very moment.  And I know I am not the only mom  who thinks, feels, and says all of this because one of my best friends (and mother of 4) shares almost identical parenting saga.  I have also found comfort in being in public and overhearing other moms recount similar parenting stories that leave me feeling as if maybe I am not doing so badly after all.

So why, despite knowing all of this does nothing change?  Why can’t I skew attitudes, alter perceptions, advance my career without sacrificing my family, get more help from my kids and my husband, and feel more fulfilled in my life?  It’s not like I have been asking for anything unrealistic, out of the ordinary, or off-the-wall.  I just want what I have always wanted….a happy family, well-adjusted kids, a good marriage, and a fulfilling career – while being respected, appreciated, and helped by the very people I care about on a daily basis.  Why, despite knowing that I am not alone in how I am feeling does that only offer me a fleeting moment of solace?  How is it that collectively we are all in some way struggling with similar issues but fighting this “battle” as individuals?  How is this all so elusive?  Of course if I knew the answer to this I wouldn’t be writing this blog….

 

When I am sick….Points to Ponder

As moms and wives we are the glue that holds it all together.  We are the cooks, the cleaner-uppers, the bill -payers, the chauffeurs, the enforcers, the organizers, the supporters, the cheerleaders, the nurses of boo-boos and illnesses, and we are anything else required of us for the simple sake of rearing our children and standing by our significant others.  However what happens when we get sick?  Apparently not much in my household….

What I have learned is that…..

  1.  I doesn’t get a sick day or even a sick moment for that matter…
  2.  I am still expected to perform all of my regularly scheduled duties otherwise the house falls into complete chaos….
  3. Apparently my being sick pales in comparison to when husband is sick….no matter how shitty I feel….
  4. When asked by my husband if I will still be making dinner it is grounds for justifiable homicide…
  5. When your husband offers to bring home dinner when you are sick you need to specify exactly what you feel up to having.  Apparently the obvious dinner choice of soup in my household was replaced by polish kielbasa…
  6. When your sick and your husband takes off to play golf remind him to choose wisely when he asks you if he can play four more holes…
  7. Your kids will inevitably need you more when you are incapacitated by illness….
  8. There will be no reinforcements from others as coincidentally your illness will coincide with them being away….
  9. Your husband will questions the validity of how crappy you actually feel…

 

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑