Friday, July 3, 2009

Plugged in and zoned out

Normally I work afternoon/evening hours, but today I was able to come in to work super early which happily means I get to leave early too. An afternoon at home? What will I do with myself? However, the unfortunate side effect of coming it at 6:30 in the morning after a fitful night's sleep thanks to a teething baby means that I'm pretty dang tired and zoned out. I would like to point out though that I am amazed by how much more of a morning person I am now that I am used to waking up early every day with the baby. Several years ago, back in my single days (read: late nights and sleeping in), I had to work at 6:00 AM once a week, and I seriously felt like DEATH was knocking at the door when I'd wake up at that unholy hour.

Anyhoo, where was I? Oh yes. So I've been sitting in my little cubicle, staring at my computer for hours, bored out of my mind and totally zoned out. My eyes have been glued to my two glowing screens for what feels like eternity, and I feel as though every data point I enter into a spreadsheet sucks out a little more of my soul. I decided to take a break and go outside to sit on the concrete curb and watch the cars drive by on the feeway. Ah, nature!

But what do I do once I settle myself on the curb? Pull out my BlackBerry and check my emails, that's what!! Another little screen to stare at! BAH! I instantly realized what I was doing and was disgusted with myself. What is it about modern day humans that makes us feel the need to be entertained and informed all the time? Why is it so hard to sit and just be for a little while? I had to consciously tell myself to put away my phone and relax. Enjoy the sunshine on my face. Listen to the sound of a chirping bird over the roar of trucks on the freeway. Watch the cute little potato bugs (or pill bugs, or roly-polies, whatever you call them where you are) feel thier way around in the dirt. Let my thoughts wander.

I'm no psychologist or sociologist, so I have no authority when saying this, but maybe that's why so many of us are so messed up. We're so distracted by a million things all the time- TV, internet, radio, cell phones, magazines, etc.- that we don't ever experience who we really are at the core. We aren't in touch with our thoughts or feelings. Instead we choose to see what the rest of the world is doing ALL THE TIME. As a result, we miss out on what we need deep down. We don't really evaluate how we feel and plan a course of action. We don't discover our passions or talents that make us truly happy, because we're too absorbed in seeing what the newest status updates on Facebook are. Maybe this is all a bunch of psycho-babble. I just couldn't help but notice how when I went outside to escape work, I was still attemtping to escape just being me.

Time to unplug for a bit. I'm out.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The new diet plan

I have a wish. An unoriginal wish that every woman (and probably a lot of men) wish for all the time. I wish getting skinny would be a heck of a lot easier. And that money would grow on trees, but we all learned from our parents a long time ago that that will never happen. Don't you think we'd be a happier people if losing weight were easier? We could actually devote a good portion of our time and stress to other, more worthy things, you know?

I'm not talking about a magic pill or anything. I still think that being thin should require some degree of self-control and health consciousness. I'd just like it to be more...I don't know...intuitive maybe. For example, I have a terrible sweet tooth. It's overpowering at times. In fact, I think it's developed it's own personality over the last few years. It can be very tempermental, you don't want to mess with my sweet tooth. Every time I eat a meal, I crave something sweet afterward. Obviously, if I ate something sweet every time I craved it, I'd have to be carried out of my house on a forklift eventually. I can't afford to widen my doorways, so I try to limit the amount of sugar that passes my lips. Sometimes though, having such restraint is so hard. SO hard. It consumes all my thoughts and I have to actively find something to do to distract me from eating a donut or chocolate chip cookie or something equally yummy but awful. So when I do manage to resist such temptation, I feel like I need to brag to someone about it, or I deserve a medal or something. It's hard! Especially when I'm stressed/tired/emotional/bored/awake...But who really wants me to call them multiple times a day to let them know I avoided chocolate again? No one, that's who.

The biggest problem I have with this whole system is that the act of simply resisting the Evil Donut does not make me any skinnier. Sure, it may prevent me from getting fatter, which is all good and dandy and highly desireable, but it's not getting me any closer to being skinnier. It's just keeping me where I am right now, which still kinda sucks! If I wanted to shrink down in size I'd have to do more than resist dessert, I'd have to watch what I eat for dinner too. And then I'd have to exercise more, and who has time for that?

I wish that the mere act of not eating something bad for you when you wanted to would automaticaly burn like, 400 calories. That way, each time you resist food temptation, you would actually get closer to your goal, rather than staying in the same place. It's so genius! Why oh WHY can't the world work this way? Or we could make pastries and chocolate and bacon calorie free,but just as delicious. Either one is fine with me. I'm not picky.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Thoughts of a working mother, part I

I've heard a lot of different perspectives on how being a working mother affects people. Some people are anguished by the thought of leaving their babies, others welcome for the escape. I suspect many actually feel both on a regular basis. Overwhelmingly, I think being a working mother means loads and loads of hot, fresh guilt. You feel guilty for leaving your innocent baby in the hands of another. You feel guilty for missing all of his or her precious moments- moments that someone else may not appreciate. You feel guilty for being a burden to the caretaker. You feel guilty for feeling like you can't do your job as well as you did before due to new scheduling restraints. You feel guilty that after a long day of loading up all the baby's crap, driving to the babysitter's to drop off your precious wee one, working all day long, driving back to the babysitter to pick up said wee one, driving home to throw together dinner, and then get the little sweetie to bed you just don't have the energy to clean your filthy house. Or scrapbook the glorious moments of your child's life. Or work out to get rid of that ghetto booty. Or bake bread in the effort to be charitable to your neighbors. You're just stretched too darn thin, and it hurts. I 100% do not think men understand this, unless they are single fathers. After all, traditionally men are supposed to be away from their children working most of the day. Society (and genetics, I do believe) dictate that they are not the nurturers by nature, and do not long to be with their children more. Maybe they do and they're just too tough to say so, but I honestly believe that the burden rests more heavily on the shoulders of the working mother than on the working father.

I keep hoping I can get used to this lifestyle, and in a lot of ways I've been able to dull that ache inside that tells me I should be with my sweet girl. But some days when I turn around to look at her one more time before I leave and she looks at me with those big blue eyes and reaches a little hand out to me, it's as if that little hand has unknowingly torn my heart out and once again it hurts.

Don't get me wrong, I was never the type that dreamed of just getting married and having babies. Sure, I wanted it, but I dreamed of a career as well. I wanted to be that high-powered, intelligent woman who made big decisions and was important. I am in no way berating the women who are able to do this with little ones at home. I admire them and respect them and support them. I am in no way judging any working mother who enjoys working. This is purely my personal experience I am speaking about, and I've found that since having my baby my dreams have changed dramatically.

I actually do still want to work throughout my life, I like being mentally challenged. Although, truth be told motherhood has taught me the definition of "thinking on your feet" far more than any job I have ever held. I just want to work a little bit and only on my terms. Maybe someday it will happen, but until then, I hope I can get this emotional juggling act perfected.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The hidden definition of parenthood

Before having a baby I heard all sorts of things about what parenthood is like: "It's a miracle!" "It's exhausting!" "Your life will never be the same!" "It's not about you anymore!" "It's full of joy!", you know, blah blah blah. And it's true, I've felt all of those things and more. However, there was one overwhelming definition of parenthood that seemed to have been overlooked, and that is that parenthood is synonymous with the term "paralyzing fear".

Obviously there's a lot of fear surrounding becoming a mom or dad. What if I drop the baby? What if she poops on me? What do I do if she cries? What if she doesn't like me? But I'm talking, like, big fears. Monumental fears that you have no control over. Such as the fear that eventually my sweet, lovely, innocent little girl is going to grow up to be an 18 year old that one day comes to tell me she's running away. With her 52 year old boyfriend named Howard. Who happens to owe $24,000 to the IRS so he's trying to hide but it's ok mom because they love each other and they'll get through it together. Oh, and he's so brave because he's getting over a cocaine habit and he says she's his inspiration. How lovely!

But even though there are all those absurd, monumental fears, there are plenty of other daily ones that cripple me if I think about them too much. Kidnapping. Creepy men. A giant earthquake in the night that causes a slab of drywall to land on her crib. Rotten formula that will make her sick. All the grubby strangers that insist on touching her hands or face when they see her. THERE'S SWINE FLU OUT THERE YOU IGNORAMUSES! Cancer. SIDS. Mean dogs with big teeth. Need I go on? I'm sure any mother or father out there could list their own fears without missing a beat.

It's just the fact that I can't control it. I can clean out her bottles and wash my hands and make sure there are no blankets near her face when she sleeps. But I can't detect cancer growing in her body. I can't stop the swine flu from claiming her. I would do anything to protect her if I only knew how.

But the thing is, even though there are lots of awful diseases and people and natural disasters, for the most part we all grow up relatively happy and healthy with little trauma. I just have to remind myself that if I can do it and everyone else out there can do it, then my little girl will be able to survive in the big bad world too.

Well, that is, if her mother doesn't confine her to a plastic bubble for the rest of her life.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Bad mom day

So today has totally been one of "those" days, and it's only 4:00 in the afternoon. I was so looking forward to the weekend after an awful week at work. I've been exhausted and just COULDN'T WAIT to have some time to relax and do nothing. No such luck so far. I woke up dead tired, the baby was cranky because she is teething and who knows what else is bothering her. She's been serenading me all morning with a high pitched "eeeeEEEEEEeeee!!" over and over. Not only is she cranky, but for some reason the dog is cranky too and just keeps whining. I know she wants to play, but that's just too darn bad today. Too bad for me she's not catching on real quick that mom is grumpy and wants nothing to do with her slobbery squishy ball that she keeps trying to jam between my calves. The dear hubby had to go to work, so I'm on my own all day.

On top of that, the dear hubby decided he wanted to mount our TV to the wall last night, which he did, but left the tools and debris scattered all about the living room. The TV is not hooked up, and I'll be darned if I'm going to try to figure that out (I'm sure it's not that bad, but why bother to find out on a day when I'm TIRED?) I would've liked to have spent some mindless time watching the Food Network or something, but oh well. After listening to both the baby and dog whine for an hour I decided I'd had it and put the dog in her crate, the baby in her crib, and should've gone to bed myself. I instead spent the morning tidying up, but really I should've gotten some sleep so that maybe I wouldn't be so irritable. Baby woke up before I had the chance to get ready, so I stuck her in her little activity chair like I usually do and set her in the bathroom as I showered. Except this time, she kept up the "eeeeEEEEEeee" refrain from earlier, and then decided to full on cry (although it sounded to me like she was faking it. SHE CAN'T FOOL ME! Ha.) This is where the bad mom part came in. Rather than feeling the urgency to hurry, I just tuned her out shaved my legs. Some lunch seemed to cheer her up a bit, but then after it was time to get ready and head out the door for some shopping. Although baby can't quite crawl, today she demonstrated that she can Army crawl and is quite good at, it and spent her time getting into my make-up and trying to suck on all the brushes. At this point bad mom emerged again since trying to get ready was impossible. I stuck her in her crib with a bottle, teddy bear, and a book so I could finish doing my hair. She was entertained for a few minutes, but then began to cry just like earlier. But, bad mom that I was, I ignored her and just proceeded to do my hair. What is wrong with me? Is there something wrong with me? I mean, nothing I was doing was making her happy. Was it bad to just let her whine and cry, or is that normal?

Either way, we managed to make it out the door to IKEA. Since dear hubby had decided to mount the TV, we felt we could use some shelves to fill in the space below the TV where the fugly secondhand entertainment center once stood. Luckily IKEA wasn't too bad, until the end when baby was getting impatient, I couldn't fit the ^%$#@ shelves I wanted in the cart, and I couldn't push one of those big trolleys and hold the baby/push her in the stroller. After many attempts and much frustration, I gave up and decided I'd go back with hubby or by myself sometime this week. I did decide to check out a few accessories I picked up (SHHH- DON'T TELL THE HUBBY!). However, stupid IKEA only seems to employ 5 people in that whole entire giant store on a Saturday afternoon and every line had like, 30 people in it. After what seemed like forever, I managed to check out (I had forgotten IKEA doesn't give you bags for your items in an attempt to be "green". Instead they ask if you'd like to BUY a bag to leave with. Excuse me? I'm all for being green, but what the crap happened to the basics of customer service???).

I was supposed to go grocery shopping, but I had spent over an hour and a half in that enormous store only to leave without the items I went to buy. Baby was about to meltdown due to exhaustion, so I gave up and went home. As I was driving along one of the back roads that I always take I got stuck behind someone who had THE NERVE to drive the actual speed limit. Who does that on a back road? There aren't even lines painted! That means the speed limit is just a suggestion, right?

So now here I am, tired and aggravated and desperately trying to prevent myself from eating a whole bag of potato chips and then a whole basket of cookies that seem to be screaming, "I'M FULL OF CARB-Y GOODNESS! COME PARTAKE OF ME AND FEEL YOUR STRESS MELT AWAY!" Which is completely true, but on top of everything else I'm having a fat day, and therefore cannot afford to drown my emotions in delicious oil and butter and chocolate.

I've got to pull myself together. I have to attend the wedding reception of one of my closest high school friends who was in love with me for years, but I always had a boyfriend. I can't have him feeling like he's better off for marrying someone else, right? Due to some unexplained female compulsion, I feel the need to waltz in there, flash a smile, and charm the whole room into thinking that "DANG, she's the one who got away!". When in reality, I'll probably be lucky to show up in a matching outfit that doesn't show my baby-pooch before the thing ends and everyone heads home for the night. Such is life.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Goodbye dignity, hello motherhood- part 2

I was fortunate to receive good medical care after delivering my daughter, with a great doctor and kind, attentive nurses. Of course, they regularly checked my vitals and how I was feeling. However, there was one thing I wasn't quite prepared for them to check. Obviously, I expected them to take a little peek down there to check my stiches now and then, so I was prepared when that happened. But one day, I'm chilling in my room, minding my own business when the nurse came in to check on me. She took my blood pressure and pulse, checked the swelling in my hands and feet, asked what my pain level was, you know, the usual. As she's chatting with me she's lowering the bed and I'm thinking, "This is unusual...". She keeps chatting and begins to roll me on my side away from her and moving my hospital gown. At some point in all this I vaugely remembering hearing her murmur, "Ok dear, let's check for hemorroids real quick..". It didn't register. Check for what? Check for-- HELLO!! Did she just look at what I think she looked at?

Oh. My. Gosh.

Seriously, why does no one warn you about this stuff?

I felt so violated.

Monday, May 18, 2009

What's that going out the window? My dignity?

So the other day I was talking to hubby about something funny that had happened with the baby and how becoming a mom means that you really lose a lot of your dignity on so many levels. Seriously, talk about being humbled. While pregnant you barf in public, have to go to work with swollen hands and feet and face, you suddenly get all big and fat, you can't tie your own shoes, you're gassy, your skin breaks out (I thought your skin was supposed to glow!)...Oh, and did I mention your hooha is regularly on display for all sorts of strangers? Nice!

Then, once you have the baby strange people are touching your boobies to show you how to nurse, strange people might see those boobies while attempting to nurse in public, you always smell like baby barf, you have to pretend to not be humiliated while your child screams in the middle of Wal-Mart. Yes, you can kiss your dignity goodbye.

So I started thinking of my most undignified moment ever, and maybe this wasn't truly my most undignified moment because in all honesty the whole pushing part of labor is kind of a blur and I'm sure plenty of unlady-like things happened during that hour and a half. But, according to memory my most undiginifed moment was a few hours after I delivered my sweet little girl. From what I understand the nurses think that the sooner you get up and moving the better, so the CNA came in and told me I should try to go to the bathroom. What? On my own? Did she not realize I had just pushed a baby out of my hooha a few hours ago? Shouldn't I be able to lie in bed for days now? Ugh. So I figured what the heck, I'll give it a shot, even though my legs still feel a little goofy. Now how to get out of bed? Hubby on one side, CNA on the other...move oh so slowly...holy crap, did I deliver a baby or get hit by a train? I mean, the obvious areas hurt, but I didn't expect my back, biceps, triceps, neck, and everything else to hurt! Ok, finally managed to get out of bed and discovered that my right leg was still pretty much numb. So I proceed to drag my right leg and limp on my left one to the bathroom, at which point the hubby abandoned me because I didn't want him to witness what came next. I managed to stumble to the porcelin throne with the help of nice little CNA girl whose name I didn't know or maybe I just can't remember it. I go to sit down but ooh wow! Sitting hurts! Maybe I'll just oh-so-gingerly perch on the edge...except my right leg is still numb and can't support me. So I grip the metal helper bar to the side and decide how best to maneauver my giant hospital gown as to not dunk it in the toilet. Hmm, I can't seem to support myself and hold my hospital gown in a way that still covers me, so I basically just fling it off me except for one small part still clinging to my shoulder as I awkwardly support myself and do my business. However, I am not alone in this awkwardness, the sweet little 19 year old CNA is observing this whole thing. I realize she's seen it a million times, but heck, I haven't done it in front of a stranger before! Plus, as I look around I realize how truly horrific the whole scene is. There's blood everywhere- the floor, my legs, the toilet. Gross. I don't even recognize my body. I still look pregnant, but now my stomach is like rising bread dough and jiggling all over the place as I hunch over trying to grip the bar and the toilet seat. I have nice purple stretch marks decorating my skin. I remember looking up at the CNA and giving her a feeble smile and saying "sorry!", hoping she would understand that if I had a choice I would not put her in this situation. Then, as if it wasn't humiliating enough, she handed me a squirt bottle in place of toilet paper. Ugh.

Looking back now it seems like a different person going through all this, and it is kinda funny. Oddly enough, even though it was completely undignified I'm not really embarrassed. It's just part of being a mom- the super messy part the no one tells you about! And really, I know I'll do it again someday. At least this time I'll know what's coming!