Disappointment

My little girl turned 1 year old a week ago today. That is not the disappointing part. The disappointing part is that I am not yet down to my normal weight and I HATE that I CARE SO MUCH.

scale

I am disappointed, not it the weight, but in the fact that I care so much about the weight.

I have really, really been trying to re-frame my image of myself, especially since having a daughter. It would break my heart if she felt so concerned about her weight.

I know I need to be kinder to myself. I did, after all, have foot surgery in December which kept me sedentary for two months. So I have really only been able to be active for about 2.5 months.

But in that 2.5 months I have only been able to budge my weight a couple of pounds and now it’s plateaued. I am still recovering from the foot surgery so I’ve been slow to get back into my old exercise routine but I would have expected a little more show for my efforts.

muffin-tops

I am frustrated you guys. I just want my old clothes to fit the way they used to.

I am also cheap and don’t want to have to buy new clothes to feel comfortable. But I am not going to lie and pretend that this is mostly stupid vanity and being too concerned about what the scale says.

SO. If you have any tips that worked for you. Words of encouragement. Or just tell me that I am being shallow and vain.

hey-girl-you-got-this-i-believe-in-you-meme

For the record, I plan on never talking about weight loss and dieting in front of my daughter, or expressing any disappointment in my appearance as I know that’s the worst thing for her to hear as she grows up. Which is why I am venting here instead of at home in front of her (though she is only one and wouldn’t really know what I am saying).

SO I keep in all my head, but in my head I am frustrated with myself, my weight, my wardrobe, and my overall fitness level.

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I Don’t Wanna

I am having a hard time doing things lately. My job is stressful and I used to love this job, but now it is stressful and I feel like I am failing.

Being a mom is hard. So much harder than I thought it would be.

If I quit my job, there’s no reason to keep my baby in daycare anymore. That would mean I have a new full time job of being a stay at home mom.

I love my daughter but she’s a handful right now. We aren’t even into tantrum phase but she has so much energy and get into everything and does throw fits if you take things away from her (like choking hazards). So my days would be following her around the house making sure she doesn’t hurt herself.

Inevitably she’d still hurt herself. OR I’d make her cry by taking away things – or moving her away from the dog’s water bowl again and again, all day long.

I wouldn’t accomplish anything else around the house.

I’d still feel like a failure.

How do all you mom’s out there do it? Work? Stay home? How do you not feel like you are failing? I’m really struggling at the moment.

School Walkout

I hate this. I hate this so much. I hate that our children have to stage a walkout to get the nation’s attention that they do not feel safe at school.

In America. Children do not feel safe going to school. Let that sink in.

We are full of talk. Pointing fingers of blame. And then we do absolutely nothing.

I don’t know what the solution is. Speculation is thrown around everywhere about what will reduce the number of violent gun deaths. But when it comes down to putting those theories into action and policy? We suck. We fail. We plug our ears and shake our heads until something else gradually gets our attention and we forget that we have this HUGE, debilitating issue until it happens yet again.

I could go through the list of common targets that people love to blame when these things happen (admittedly, I was about to do just that) but that would make this post unnecessarily long, because the truth is none of that matters if we don’t do anything and innocent people continue to die. 

I will address one thing that I keep seeing pop up here and there. Being “nicer” to your fellow classmates. This is victim blaming. This is telling students that they weren’t nice enough to their classmate and so it’s their fault he shot up the school. I don’t think our society has a problem with niceness. Yes, bullying is a problem. But kids have been bullied by their classmates since the beginning of time. Bullying is not uniquely an American problem, and yet mass school shootings is uniquely and American problem. Also this “solution” doesn’t address all of the mass shootings that happen outside of schools. Because there are plenty of those as well.

In fact – thinking through all of the other common targets of blame, none of them are uniquely American. Violent video games, movies, music, high divorce rates, reduction in religious belief, mental health issues, and even a rampant gun culture. None of these things by themselves are uniquely American. 

One thing that isn’t talked about as much, but does seem to be different among high income countries is access to social programs that support people below the poverty line. Here’s a graphic from this BBC article.

social programs

I don’t want to put too much emphasis on this though, because what we really need is well funded, thorough research into the issue.

Why do our citizens pick up high powered weapons and turn them on their peers?

This makes me nervous to send my little girl to school when she’s older. I hope we can come together and actually work to do something about this issue. It makes my heart hurt.

 

 

These are NOT New Years Resolutions

These are NOT New Year’s Resolutionsbitmoji1105603469

I don’t really believe in New Year’s Resolutions. I think we all overdo it around the holidays and use the New Year as an excuse to detox a bit from the overindulgence. But far too often we give ourselves lofty unsustainable goals that we fail to attain and get discouraged and fall back into our old habits defeated and forlorn. 

NY-Resolution

 

So these are NOT New Year’s resolutions…

BUT

I had a crazy 2017. Becoming a mother for the first time in April. Trying to figure out my new life/role as a full-time mom with a full-time job.

Experiencing the ups and downs of new motherhood, and lots and lots of body changes. Losing (most of) the baby weight. Boobs filling and deflating with breastfeeding. Trying to figure out what I can eat that doesn’t upset baby’s tummy.

Then I had foot surgery right before Christmas. I have been mostly sedentary for the last 6 weeks. Just this week I started physical therapy.

A couple weeks after my foot surgery we had back to back illnesses in my house which you can read all about in my last blog post. Somewhere in the middle of all that stress and sickness, my milk supply dried up and I stopped breastfeeding altogether.

So needless to say I have had a lot of changes to my life, my body and my schedule in the last year. 

Now that I have stopped breastfeeding and am no longer trying to keep a milk supply up.

Now that I am in the active healing phase of my foot surgery, starting some light exercises on my foot.

Now that I am (mostly) over my head cold that has knocked us all around the last few weeks.

I feel ready to try and reinstate some of my old habits that kept me healthy, both mentally and physically, prior to baby.

I don’t expect to return to my old life. I don’t want to. I love being a mom. I will never have the freedom over my schedule that I used to (at least not until the little ones are out of the house). But it is time to find my new normal, which needs to include some healthy habits. As much for my mental health as my physical health. 

So here’s my starting point:

  • Break my sugar addiction. This is a big one. I have a BAD sweet tooth. It had gotten to the point where I was eating gross store-brand cookies that WEREN’T EVEN GOOD. But they were sugar and I needed a fix. SO for the month of February I have committed to cut the sweets. Of course there’s been sweets in the break room every day since! 28 days to break a habit they say. Perfect. We’re at day 7, so far so good.
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Had to turn down this delicious looking treat 
  • Establish a gym routine. So I haven’t started on this one yet. I need to sit down with Beau and we need to make a plan because we both value gym time and need to figure out a way to take turns. My plan is to talk to him about this in the next couple days and start this weekend. exercise
  • Reduce my carbon footprint. So this isn’t as much for my own health as it is for the health of the world. But I believe that we should all have at least one goal that gives back in some way to our community and/or world. So I am committing to take the  bus more, and eat less meat. My plan is to give meat up entirely for Lent. I am not Catholic, but I like partaking in Lent anyway. And thereafter choosing meatless options for lunches and anytime I go out to eat.

public transit

 

Anyone else out there make goals for the year? How are you doing on them?

The Return To Work

I was on the bus last week with a neighbor of mine, heading to work. He said he recently met someone who works for Microsoft and found out they offer their employees 6 months of PAID maternity leave! That sounds AMAZING. maternity leave

I took the typical maternity leave route of applying for FMLA, and draining my accumulated paid leave time in order to still get a paycheck while out for the (maximum) 12 weeks of leave. Twelve weeks is just shy of three months and not nearly enough time, if you ask me.

Technically my body had (mostly) healed from giving birth and I was capable of working again. I even felt somewhat ready to face the world and be more social and get out of the house. But jumping back into an 8 hour work day? More importantly, leaving my teeny tiny 12 week old baby for 8 hours in daycare? It was ROUGH. 

Like I mentioned in a previous post, she was colicky in the beginning and had a hard time laying down to sleep. 12 week old babies are just so helpless, and with 7 other babies in the room and only two adults between them, I knew my precious little baby wouldn’t get a whole lot of attention.

Why is it that other developed nations have figured out how to let new mothers (and fathers) stay home with their new babies for a full year before returning to work? 

Furthermore, many of these nations have affordable, or even free, daycare options!

mater

For a nation that claims to value babies and families, we really don’t act like it.

As in all things, actions speak louder than words.

When we say we care about children, but struggle to continue to fund CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) we are showing where our priorities really are.

When we say we care about children, but block LGBT parents from adopting children who are otherwise stuck in foster homes we are showing where our priorities are.

When we say we care about children and pregnant women, but we pull out of the Paris Agreement and de-fund the EPA we are allowing excess toxins into our air and water, babies and pregnant women being the most vulnerable to toxins, we are showing where our priorities really are.

When we say we care about children, but no meaningful gun laws have been passed, and at least 1000 more children have died by gun violence, since the Sandy Hook shooting. We are showing where our priorities really are.

When we say we care about women, but 1 in 3 women are physically abused by an intimate partner.  We are showing where our priorities really are.

When we say we care about women, but actively work against their best interests and block their ability to get the healthcare they need. We are showing where our priorities really are.

These are just a few examples of how we fall short of caring for our women and children in this country. So it is really no surprise that we don’t care about a child and mother in the first year of the child’s life.

Our actions speak louder than words. 

I have also been disappointed to hear older women complain that we have it so much better than they did. We do. I am so grateful for the fact that my employer couldn’t fire me for getting pregnant and taking leave. But aside from being guaranteed a job to come back to, we really don’t get much more help. Some of these women seem to feel some resentment toward the women of today for getting it (slightly) easier than they did. But I think we can do better. We can hope that it gets even better for the next generation after us, and not feel resentful when our nation shows progress. women

Seriously though, if  you Google image “women today meme” you will see a slew of sexist, violent, hateful memes that make me want to vomit. Clearly we’ve come a long way.

But I digress…

I will say that there are many, many ways that I was lucky during this time. I acknowledge that even having access to daycare and the ability to go back to work is not something every woman has the luxury of, even today. My work was also flexible with me, so I was able to do a bit of work from home during the first couple of months, so I didn’t have to leave Dolly at daycare for 8 hours straight. Also, daycare was in close proximity to my work and I was also able to visit her on my lunch break to breastfeed her.

Even with all of these luxuries, it was still HARD. I didn’t want to be a stay at home mom. I wanted to return to work and I am very glad now that I did. I think it’s better for both of us. I also know it would have been hard no matter how old she was. But there is a huge difference between 12 weeks and 6 months. If European countries can give a full year, why can’t we be HALF as accommodating?

We can do better. We must do better. 

Mothers out there, what was your experience like? How soon did you go back (if at all) and how did you cope?

Everything AND the Kitchen Sink!

It’s been a rough month for my little family, so I am a bit behind on any lifestyle changes I have been hoping to implement this year. But I have a pretty darn good excuse…

I had foot surgery on December 18th :/ 

foot 1
December 19th. Day after surgery

Two years ago I tore I ligament in my foot playing soccer. At first they said it would heal on it’s own and had me wear a boot for 8 weeks. Then I started physical therapy, but it wasn’t healed. Then they told me to stay off of it again and give it longer to heal, so I did. But it didn’t heal. Then I got pregnant and ignored it for a long time. I could still walk and run on it without pain, but later in the evening I would get pain and swelling. I also could not go up on my toes at all, the torn ligament was the lateral collateral ligament in the side of my foot by my big toe.

Capture

 

So I was able to live with it, but not able to be as active as I’d like (planks were a no, as was yoga, calf raises, push ups…turns out you flex your toes back for a lot of things).

foot 2
January 14th. Healing underway

 

The surgery was the week before Christmas. I was completely non-weight bearing for the first week and then was able to hobble around putting light pressure on my heel, being sure to avoid pressure on the front of my foot.

Did I mention Baby Doll is crawling???

And pulling herself up to standing?!?!

esme standing
This was taken December 10th

So that has been mighty tricky. Baby Doll started crawling a couple of weeks before the surgery. I knew it was going to be hard, but I wanted to get this over with before she gets even more mobile.

After I scheduled my surgery, my dad was cleared to fly. He is in poor health and was having foot issues related to diabetes. So he, too, had to have foot surgery last year and wasn’t allowed to fly until recently. So he also hadn’t met baby yet and was anxious to come visit. So he came over Christmas and helped out (kind of). He was good at cooking me meals and somewhat watching baby. But he wasn’t great at watching baby because he cannot get up and down off the floor with her. He was also not great at cleaning up after himself in the kitchen – BUT I cannot complain because I didn’t have to cook myself anything (or pay for any of the groceries) while he was in town.

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She’s super interested in faces right now

THEN, On Christmas Evening, the shut-off valve under our kitchen sink broke! On Christmas. The shutoff valve! So water was leaking everywhere and we couldn’t shut it off to that one sink, so we had to shut off all the water to the entire house! On Christmas!

So no plumbers were available. No hardware stores were open. And none of us could shower, or flush a toilet, until we got it fixed… 

Luckily my dad is also pretty handy with plumbing. The next morning he and Beau took a trip to Ace Hardware and had it fixed in no time.

kitchen sink
Dad on the floor. Notice his foot is still in a boot from his surgery.

But beware! If you have one of those faucets that detaches with a hose and lets you spray water around the sink, the loop that hangs down under the sink can snag on the shut-off valves. Yank too hard to pull the faucet out and over time it will wear it down and eventually snap off. On Christmas.

But that’s not the end of it… Boy oh boy…

By the end of the week, Dolly had come down with Roseola. At first we just thought she was teething because she was feverish and fussy but otherwise seemed fine. But by Friday she was breaking out in a rash and so Saturday it was a trip to the pediatrician to see what was going on. Luckily it is self limiting and you just have to let it run its course, medicating with tylenol, ibuprofen or other fever reducers that are safe for babies.

So through that she started sleeping terribly again. Like up every two to three hours screaming and not wanting to be put back in her crib. It was exhausting.

So of course the next week Beau gets pink eye, because we’re whipped and sleep deprived and immunity is low… He finally goes to a doctor last Thursday because it still wasn’t totally cleared but the doc said it was pretty much through so not to worry.

Then that night he starts feeling worse and having G.I. issues. By the next day it’s chills, body aches and fever… Yup. He got the FLU! I know. This is getting to be ridiculous. So he goes to the urgent care clinic and gets on Tamiflu but doctor says he is still contagious for three days. So I had a nice long weekend (MLK Jr. Day) with Beau quarantined to the upstairs and me on full-time baby duty.

Good thing he was no longer contagious by Monday night. Because I thought I was going to die from lack of sleep and just general exhaustion.

Let’s not forget that I am still limited with my foot. And it’s my driving foot so I can’t drive. And I can’t carry a baby down our porch steps even if I could drive. So I didn’t leave my house from Friday after work until Tuesday morning. Rough.

Get your flu shots. Even if they are only 30% effective. 

I got mine. Dolly got hers. Both of us avoided flu. Beau did not get his shot this year and we all suffered because of it.

So you can see why I haven’t attempted to take on anything else in my life right now.

Sorry this turned into such a long post! How was your holiday? Hopefully better than mine…

Colic and Acid Reflux

So Baby Dolly turned out to be a little bit tricky.

crying esme

(Beau trying to soothe Dolly bouncing on a fitness ball with her)

She wasn’t sleeping well and definitely did not like being put down on her back to go to sleep. She slept well on my chest held upright in my arms. Which was amazing, but also I needed to sleep sometime. 

Oh, and nobody warns you that newborn babies make weird breathing noises in their sleep. They grunt and gurgle and it can be soooo exhausting if you are a light sleeper like me. 

But aside from those normal grunting noises she was definitely having trouble being put down. So after discussing her symptoms with the pediatrician we were sent home with a diagnosis of acid reflux and a prescription for Ranitidine.

Her improvement was night and day! SO so glad we started the Ranitidine. She almost immediately had a easier time being put down to sleep without arching her back and crying. I even noticed a reduction in the amount of grunting noises she made in her sleep. It was a miracle drug.

BUT – she was still a bit of a fussy-butt every evening. Most nights she’d have a crying spell that was only quelled by bouncing on a pilates fitness ball while singing to her for upwards of 45 minutes to an hour.

Beau and I would take turns trying to coax her to sleep but regardless of what we did she had a crying spell most nights. Beau refuses to admit, even now, that she had colic. I, however, admit it fully (I also believe this is why we’re still having a bit of trouble sleeping at 8 months Confused Face on Samsung Experience 8.5 (Galaxy Note S8)).

Sure, I’ve heard of others who had WAY WORSE cases of colic. I thank my lucky stars it wasn’t worse than it was. Still, it was NO FUN and definitely made “Healthy Sleep Habits” hard to form.

I think the only way I survived this phase was with Beau’s help. We made the decision to introduce a bottle when she was around 2 weeks old. She took to it like a champ and still took my breast. No nipple confusion!

This did mean that I had to find some time each day to pump enough for one bottle to be given each night. But this was a small price to pay for 4 straight hours of sleep! 

She was still waking every two hours to eat so I’d feed her and then head to bed super early (like 7pm, no kidding). Then Beau would take the first shift and give her the bottle around 9. Then he’d hang out with her until she woke again around 11 and then he’d come get me and I’d take the rest of the night. Those four hours were essential to my sanity, and Beau still got enough sleep to function at work the next day.

We are lucky enough to have a spare room so one of us could sleep with Dolly in our bedroom (she slept in a bassinet of course) and the other would sleep in the spare room upstairs so as not to be woken by the cries. I realize this is a luxury not everyone has.

In all though, she did eventually grow out of both things. So if you are dealing with either of these issues. I feel for you. Hang in there, it does get better!