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.

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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?

Adventures in Sick Land

What goes around comes around. In the daycare world, this apparently mean illnesses. We haven’t been well in my house for the last month. It’s starting to get ridiculous.

Here’s a recap of our sickness calendar:

Dec. 29: Baby Doll gets Roseola. Fussy and cranky for about a week.

Jan. 4: Beau gets pinkeye. He hopes it will clear on it’s own and doesn’t go to the doctor until Jan 11.

Jan 11: That night Beau gets sick. Turns out it’s the Flu (probably got it from going into the doctor for pinkeye!).

Jan 29: Dolly has a cold. Croup-y cough, nose running like a faucet. Then the fever starts and she is making a noise when she breathes. Diagnosis: Ear infection.

Somehow I have managed to avoid all of these illnesses until today. Ugh. Woke up with a sore throat and a cough. But I am out of sick days at work, so I doped myself up on Dayquil and dragged myself in. Mom’s don’t get sick days.

Fortunately my little one has been a trouper and as sick as she is, is still playful and fun.

Here’s some photos from the last couple of days.

 

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She’s starting to pull books off the upper shelf. Round two of baby proofing is in order.
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She loves looking out the front door with our doggy. Two peas in a pod.

Beau and I have had our mind on sleep training since mid-December, but there’s no way I am attempting to sleep train a sick baby. So, with being sick, she’s waking up a lot and needing extra cuddles.

We’re going a bit crazy.

Beau and I are trading off night of sleeping, and so far it’s survivable, but it’s by no means ideal.

I hope everyone else out there is doing better this month than we are! Here’s to a better February…

Daycare Drama

Picking a daycare for an infant is no easy task. If you live in a big city, it can also be quite competitive. A friend of mine, we’ll call her Julia, had a baby one year prior to me and advised that I look immediately and get on wait lists as soon as I know I am pregnant. So I took her advice and got on a list pretty early on, before I had told most people that I was pregnant. At the time the daycare said their wait list was around 9 months out, which would be perfect timing with my maternity leave.

Julia was using a woman who lived near us and had an in-home daycare and she LOVED this woman, whom we will call Claire. Claire was also half the cost of the daycare whose wait list I was on. Julia insisted that I must use Claire and offered to tell her about me and “get me in” with her.

This sounded great to me. Paying half and much and having a word of mouth recommendation sounded perfect. 

Every so often Julia would tell me that she was telling Claire about my pregnancy. How far along I am, how I am excited to use her to watch my little one. Everything sounded great.

And then things got weird. 

Around January (I was due in April) I asked Julia for Claire’s phone number so I could start coordinating with her myself.

Julia got weird about it and said she’d “ask” Claire if it was okay if she gave her number to me. Which had me a little worried, after all, why would Claire be mad at Julia giving me her number if she’s expecting to care for my child? 

When I followed-up about the number, Julia said she forgot to ask if she could give me her number, but that Claire isn’t sure yet if she’d have a spot for me and so I didn’t need to “waste my time” calling her about it yet?!

WHAT?!

So this whole time she was assuring me that I’d have a spot with Claire and suddenly she’s not so sure… I was PISSED and confused and I panicked.

So I reached out to another friend, we’ll call her Wendy, who also had a baby about a year before me (her daughter and Julia’s son were about the same age). These two were not friends but were mutual acquaintances. I asked Wendy if she had found a daycare for her daughter (at first Wendy’s mother was watching her, but I knew she was looking for another option). Wendy knew that Julia was going to get me in with Claire and so asked what happened there. So I told her that Julia was suddenly being weird about it and wouldn’t give me Claire’s number.

I suppose I shouldn’t have said anything to Wendy. This was my mistake. 

Wendy reached out to Julia and called her out for not giving me Claire’s number. BIG DRAMA. SO then Julia confronts me about talking shit behind her back. She gives me Claire’s number but says she’s going to “stay out of it now” and stop talking to Claire to try to get me in with her.

So I guess it’s my fault now. 

So I call Claire. And she is elusive as to whether she will have a spot available. Apparently she had some older kids who should be starting kindergarten at the end of August, but she hadn’t confirmed with their parents that they will stop using her daycare services. I needed daycare starting mid-July anyway.

And now I was only on ONE list because I trusted my friend and counted on getting in with Claire. Another mistake. 

I never brought it up again. I actually don’t know where the breakdown was with Julia. If she had second thoughts about me getting in with Claire After all, her son was the youngest there, and my baby would probably need more attention in the beginning, which might take away from her baby. 

Maybe she wasn’t sure if I actually wanted to use Claire and so she didn’t really push it with her, not wanting Claire to save a spot for me and then have me back out, she didn’t want to risk souring her relationship with her son’s provider.   

But this is really just me making excuses for her. 

Luckily the one daycare list I got on came through and we were fine.

Needless to say, I have learned my lesson with Julia. We were pretty new friends when I first got pregnant, and now that I know her better I see a side of her that I have to keep an eye on. She is very competitive. Detrimentally so. She is unfortunately not a trust-worth friend.

In some ways I feel sorry for her. She is so insecure and constantly compares herself to others. I figured out a long time ago to not compare myself to others. Some days I still struggle with it, but mostly I am happy with who I am. Constantly comparing yourself to others is exhausting. Everyone you meet will be better than you at something, and worse than you at other things.

Why do we women do this to ourselves? Have any of you had a similar experience with a friend, or another mom? How did you handle it?

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?