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What motherhood has taught me….

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

Month

September 2015

What every woman deserves after she is done having children….

I don’t think that anyone can ever quite mentally prepare you for the lasting effects that pregnancy and giving birth has on your body.  Between the saggy breasts, the stretch marks, skin pigment changes, and the muffin top (enhanced in part to three C-sections) that is now your lower abdomen area, I don’t think as a woman I was prepared for these physical transformations, that were in my case an inevitable part of this process.  I in no way mean for this to sound shallow, but rather to point out that for me, as wonderful as becoming a mom was, as a woman I went through a very unexpected almost grieving process when I looked at my body in the mirror.  Quite honestly, when I looked at my stretch marks and saggy areas I didn’t feel some wonderful pride that this was a body that had created life and carried it for 9 months, but rather I felt unattractive and depressed.

What made this transformation even more difficult to process mentally was that no amount of working out, toning, and attempts to regain my pre-pregnancy body were going to fix these areas that had stretched beyond their capabilities; areas that were even more telling once the breast-feeding had ended and the baby weight was shed.  I was going to have to learn to accept and somehow be comfortable with lady parts that had gravitated south and an abdomen that looked more like a rough terrain aerial map.  And while today, almost two years later, I try not to dwell on this and let it define me, I would be lying if I said that I am ok with my appearance.  Almost two years out from my last child I am still not comfortable in my own skin.  Those areas that jiggle and bounce (and shouldn’t – or at least not in the way they currently do now) definitely have impacted my self-confidence as a woman and as a wife.  And the irony out of all of this is that my husband is always complimentary of me and tells me that I am attractive and sexy.  I just don’t see what it is that he sees though I am grateful for his support.  This is an issue that unfortunately is mine.

I jokingly say to my girlfriends who are moms and feel how I feel that it is my firm belief that once a woman is done having children she should be offered a FREE tummy tuck and boob job. Let’s face it, (and I am living proof) no matter how hard we try to get our bodies back into some semblance of sexy and fit, there are some proportional issues along with some redistribution and reallocation issues that no amount of working out is going to fix.  So why shouldn’t we be offered the opportunity to lift the girls and put them back where they started out – north of the abdominal border – before pregnancy and breast-feeding dragged them south.  I want to wear a bra, not tuck them in my underwear for God’s sake.  Why shouldn’t we be able to “re-inflate” them and actually have them look like breasts again rather than sad little conical structures that if you bend over naked actually compress further and hang  like two flat pancakes.  Why shouldn’t we be able to get rid of that muffin top, that in my case is only amplified by my C-section scar.  No amount of crunches are going to fix that, so it seems only logical that a surgical intervention be provided.

So how about it moms…. how many of you share this mental struggle related to your physical appearance? Or if you do not, how have you worked through it if you once did share some of these sentiments?

I want thank http://niagaramommy.wordpress.com for her piece on losing the baby weight – which made me smile (and laugh at its truth) and then inspired me to write this piece.

With homework time there should be alcohol….lots and lots of alcohol…

Okay moms of school-age children – I don’t know about you, but in my household, homework time is fraught with moans, groans, whining, meltdowns, and repetitive phrases of “this is so hard.”  They barely have their assignments out of their folders and the grumbling has already begun.  As a mom I want to be supportive, loving, empathetic and patient with them – but their incessant complaining wears me thin while their escalating indifference makes me want to pull my hair out.

In particular I am really struggling with my older son.  He has some borderline attention issues that I am on top of, and while they are certainly impacting homework time, I have yet to determine if they are resulting in any comprehension issues.  I had his comprehension abilities tested a few years ago and there were no issues identified.  I freely admit that I was surprised at those results and would’ve bet that there was some problem with his comprehension ability – but there was not.  Yet he struggles so with reading comprehension that it sends both our frustration levels over the top, which certainly doesn’t make for an ideal homework environment.

Then of course there is the homework itself.  I still have yet to wrap my brain around what my children are learning – or rather the method by which they are learning.  While it seems we might finally be steering away from some of the common core curriculum (thank god) – I worry that the demands to keep up with the set pace of the district has in fact put my children at a disadvantage.  I could care less that certain topics much be broached within certain time frames if it means my children aren’t fully grasping one topic before moving on to another.

I worry that my children’s attitudes towards homework will create a lasting negative impact on their desire to learn.  I worry that my older son will self-defeat himself before he even tries out of fear that he cannot do it when he really can.  I worry that as a mom I am failing my children by getting frustrated with them because of the drama that is homework time.  If only this were easier.  I wish I had some answers – some way to make this better for my children.  I wish I could help them overcome their struggles.  I wish I had more patience with their frustrations instead of making them my own….

If only homework time came with alcohol…lots and lots of alcohol.  While I am not a big proponent of drinking by any means, and I am certainly not meaning to promote it’s consumption- if your a mom you understand where I’m coming from. Sometimes we just need to take the edge off and this just might do the trick. 

When mommy needs some sleep….

I freely admit that I have been burning the candle at both ends and it’s starting to show.  With the kids back in school I’ve added overseeing homework (just shoot me now) and making lunches to my already lengthy list of mommy responsibilities; that include but are in no way limited to laundry (doing it, folding it, and if I am lucky putting it away where it actually goes), cleaning the house, making dinner, doing the dishes, and chasing around a toddler who in no way wants to stay in one place and who is all about making messes.  Then there are my shifts at the hospital, renewing some of my specialty certifications, and teaching both computer training to new hires and Basic Arrhythmia to nursing staff.  Late nights coupled with early mornings have taken such a toll that today I fell asleep while listening to my oldest son read me his current event article.  I keep telling myself to get to bed early (or at least at by 10 – which is early in mommy hours) but there is just so much to do that I often sacrifice sleep for progress.  Maybe however I would be more productive if I would just let things go long enough to get some sleep….

Today I was the nurse….

  
Today I had to look a family in the eyes and tell them that the needed to prepare themselves for the worst – that their mom, their sister, their friend might die.  Today I looked into the eyes of a daughter, heartbroken and sobbing, and sisters whose tears wouldn’t stop flowing, and did my very best to be compassionate, informative, and realistic as to the status of the situation.  Today, I was able to connect with a family at their most vulnerable; by listening, offering support, being accessible when they needed me, and offering privacy so that they could grieve a situation they were not prepared to grieve.  Today my heart was heavy for a daughter who was begging her mom to wake up, and sisters who just wanted one more day.  Today I was the nurse that they needed me to be.  Today I was the nurse that every patient and family deserves – the nurse who was blessed with time – the time to be there for a family whose whole world was crashing down.

In a time when healthcare is in a state of flux, when hospital budgets are driving staffing ratios, and when the demands on a nurse’s time often result in an inability to provide the comprehensive care that we would like to provide to our patients; today embodied the very reasons that I became a nurse.  Today was about compassion, empathy, support, offering explanations, answering questions, and being able to listen.  Today was more than providing physical care, today was about providing care to my patient and her family as whole beings.

Today I was the nurse who gave it her all and left work feeling as if I made a difference….

The faces of angels…

They may try my patience throughout the day.  The may be loud, intense, demanding, needy, and inquisitive.  They may be full of energy, high-spirited, occasionally whiney, and sometimes rude.  They may zap my energy, test me often, and push me to the edge of crazy.

BUT –

They also are full of love, full of smiles, caring and compassionate of others.  They try their best and always want to please me.  They want my approval, want my attention, and want my time.  They are the best of me.

Sometimes I lose site of the joys of being a mom when I find myself overwhelmed by the responsibilities that come with this role.  Yet at night after I have put my kids to bed and am tucking them in one last time; I am overcome with a sense of peace as I look at their sleeping faces.  They are so angelic in their slumber that my heart swells with love for these three little people who I just adore.  No matter what has happened during the day, their faces in these moments erase my frustrations and make being a mom so worth it.

Procrastination….

  

 
Maybe it’s because I am a mom and my time is already spoken for so those things that I need to do for myself take a back seat until the last possible second.  Maybe it’s because I seem to do my best work under pressure.  Maybe it’s because when I do have a free moment I want to spend it sitting down for a hot 5 seconds, not fulfilling my responsibilities of adulthood.  Whatever the reason, I am once again facing the 11th hour and feeling the heat.  I should be studying for a renewal class right now for my PALS re-certification and I can’t seem to muster the motivation to finish looking over the material.  I keep telling myself to get it done but once again I am distracted – by life, by my responsibilities as a mom (tonight was back to school night and I “lost” 2 hours to that), and by the undeniable feeling of hating to study at this point in my life.

Juggling my personal life as a wife and mom to three active children with a career in which I am required to stay current with evidenced based research and incorporate it into my nursing practice is tricky to say the least.  Finding time to read up on relevant practice information, studies, and knowledge is difficult as it often needs to be done in the evening after the kids have gone to bed, the lunches are made, the house is reassembled to pre-child destruction, and any other household chores have been addressed in some way.  Sitting down come 8:30 or 9 pm to begin some intellectual piece of information is more a sure-fire way to put me to sleep, not promote learning.  Thus, I often will put off what I need to do in the hopes that I will find time on another day at a more reasonable “learning hour.”  Maybe it’s not so much that I procrastinate as it is that I am having delusions of grandeur to think that I will magically find some other time amidst my personal life chaos to sit and read, uninterrupted, and actually absorb what it is I am reading – so as to learn about what I am reading.  Anyway, l will wrap this up as I have procrastinated long enough – time to study…..

Week 2: The Ending is Yours Story Challenge

The Ending is Yours Award
The Ending is Yours Award

Okay – while I had some views and positive feedback I had no “bites” on this feature attempt.  However, I am not one to give up so easily so let’s give this a try again.

The background for “The Ending is Yours Story Challenge” was inspired by Sometimes Stellar Storyteller (http://nicolaaucklandwordpress.com).  It was her Six Word Story Challenge prompted me to participate and then add my own twist – that of challenging others to finish out my prompt by adding an ending. It was then her suggestion to use my twist as a feature – which is exactly what I am going to attempt. I welcome you all to participate!!!

THE ENDING IS YOURS Story Challenge
Each week on Sunday I will put out a “Story Starter.” It is my challenge to those of you who wish to participate to finish my prompt and create your own ending however you see fit. It can be as long or as short as you wish.

Today’s Story Starter:  She began shaking as she read the contents of the envelope she’d found tucked in the back of her mother’s desk drawer.

The Rules: (thank you again to Sometimes Stellar Storyteller):

Finish my story prompt . It can be as long or as short as you wish.
Publish your story ending on your blog and include a pingback to this post so that everyone can read, appreciate and comment on your story.
Please leave a reply below to this post just in case I don’t receive the pingback (they don’t always work)
Read, comment and ‘like’ at least one other story ending published on today’s story ending prompt.
The winner will be the story ending with the most likes on their own post at the end of the challenge.
The end of the challenge will be Wednesday night at 9pm EST.
I will announce the winner on this post and include a link to the winning story.
First, second, and third place will have the honor of downloading and using the below highly coveted awards on their blogs should they wish to do so.

The Ending is Yours Award
1st Place – The Ending is Yours Award

The Ending is Yours Award
The Ending is Yours Award

2nd Place – The Ending is Yours Award

The Ending is Yours Award
The Ending is Yours Award

3rd Place – The Ending is Yours Award

The Ending is Yours Award
The Ending is Yours Award

Good Luck!!!

Finding my voice….Why I blog.

Sometimes amidst all of the chaos that is my life, the only tranquility that I can claim for myself is this time – the stolen 5 or 10 minutes in which I can express my feelings, vent my frustrations, share my triumphs, and admit my failures as both a wife and a mother.  While I write for myself as a means to reflect on who I am and forge ahead on the path of personal growth; I have found that the path that I am on is shared by many.  If what I write inspires others, by adequately conveying just the right amount of my life experience, mixed with a little bit of humor, some impassioned views, some heartfelt emotion and of course lessons learned then I welcome you to share my journey.  It is my sincere hope that my words might strike a cord with you and offer you a laugh, a nod of understanding or a feeling of “thank god it’s not just me.” I tend to blog frequently, or at least as frequently as my life allows me the material to do so – with three children there is often a lot to say – and it my hope to continue to be able to do so as often  as the opportunity presents itself.

As you read my blog I also welcome you to check out my weekly feature that I have started as well – as it is my hope that it will gain some momentum and grow as well….

Take a moment….

  

Take a moment today to count your blessings.  Take a moment to remember all those who lives were lost and who gave their lives on this fateful day 14 years ago.  Take a moment to hug your children and kiss your spouse for there are not nearly the amount of guarantees in life as there are expectations.  Take a moment to reflect on all that you have, and how in the blink of an unexpected eye the course of your life could be changed.  Never forget the monumental significance of what we lost on this day.  Take a moment to say a prayer, to pause in silent reflection, to breathe…..

Take a moment….

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