Friday, May 27, 2011

More Gym Misadventures, for Your Reading Pleasure

The misadventures continue . . .

My observations at the gym this morning.:

Dude, work on your triceps!
  1. The wall of mirrors in the class studio is like a giant funhouse mirror.  Surely my batwings are not that floppy.  (Didn't know there was a name for that underarm floppiness, did ya?)  Why does my reflection look so much larger than everyone else’s?  When I stand directly in front of the instructor, I’m quite sure the patron immediately behind me cannot see her at all. 

  1. The easiest part of yoga this morning was when the instructor asked us to bend into a seated position so that our chests were touching our thighs.   Hehe.  NO problemo.  Take that skinny b*tches with your perky B cups. 

  1. Every mother holds her breath when the attendant from the nursery quietly sneaks into the back of the room and scans for her target.  Today it was my turn.   Small apparently does not realize how much will power it takes for me to get to the gym in the first place. 

  1. My weight loss strategy apparently entails purchasing double-dipped chocolate covered peanuts at the grocery store immediately following my workout.  And also opening them in the car on the way home.  (I needed sustenance for the 3 mile drive.)  I got chocolate on my workout shirt . . . the irony of this is not lost on me.

5.  College girls home for the summer annoy me to no end.
·      Me:  
a)  sweating like a whore in church, 
b)  trying to prevent my pants from catching fire lest my thighs rubbing together cause a spark, 
c)  learning all I ever need to know about Pink on E! because heaven forbid the gym make NBC available, 
d)  feeling constricted by my too-small sports bra, which I purchased because if I wear my actual size then I’m liable to get a black eye or bruised knees from all the boob-floppin’, 
e)  and working the elliptical next to a mouth-breather.  Lucky me.

·      College girls: 
a)  carrying cell phone at all times, 
b)  sporting brightly colored sports bra vaguely covered by off-the-shoulder Flashdance sweatshirt, 
c)  wearing Nike running shorts that show off tanned, athletic legs, 
d)  and somehow not sweating.  Perhaps because there's no actual working out taking place.

This bothers me because when I was a college girl home for the summer I hated working out.  Riding the bike to nowhere for 10 minutes made me feel like I was going . . . um, nowhere and I was morbidly afraid of falling off the back of the treadmill.

6.  I went to the gym in the evening recently; usually I go in the morning.  The gym has a foul odor at night.  It smells like an aromatic cocktail of adolescent sweat, frito breath, and feet.

    7.  My girlfriend told me the other day that she couldn’t believe how strong I am.  She’s on crack.  Also, she wasn’t paying close enough attention and she missed the part where I switched to the 2.5 lb. weight.

      8.  I am thankful that I know the difference between a swimsuit and a workout tank, unlike one of my fellow yogis this morning.  I had to refrain from touching her lightly on the arm while shaking my head and saying, “oh, honey, no.”

        9.  You know I have a thing about toes.  (Read about my strict flip-flop policy.)  If you don’t take care of your toes, please don’t be flashing those puppies around.  I’m not saying they have to be perfectly painted at all times, but if you’ve picked at your big toe so much that your toenail looks like it’s about to be swallowed up by the toe around it, please, for the love o’ pete, wear socks. 

          10.  If one more person reminds me that it’s almost bathing suit season I am going to lose my sh*t.  According to my calendar  I now have approximately 1 day in which to lose 50 lbs.  I don’t think it’s gonna happen.
            Well, peeps, I hope this blog entry has made you feel a little better about yourself.  It has certainly made me feel worse about my chocolate-covered peanuts, which I will be thinking about as I sit pool-side tomorrow.  

            Wednesday, May 25, 2011

            Things Mommy Doesn't Want to Learn Via Facebook

            After my most recent breakdown – I know, there have been many, but please pay attention and try to keep up, people – Hubby and I agreed that we need to make Mommy a priority.  So Hubby took Large and Medium camping with the Cub Scouts last weekend while I stayed home with Small.  Small is pretty easy since he still takes two naps a day and he goes to bed at 7:00.  I booked a sitter at the last minute and was able to go to lunch and do some shopping with a girlfriend, and on Saturday evening I worked on my scrapbooks and flipped through some magazines.  Finally I settled on the couch with a glass of wine and logged in to Facebook.  It was a little bit of heaven.  For about five minutes.

            And then I saw this:
            Waiting in ER for a couple stitches.

            I dialed Hubby’s cell phone and was greeted with a hushed, “I’m not supposed to be talking right now.  We’re in the Emergency Room.”

            Yeah, I got that.

            Apparently Large was playing a game and ran into a picnic table.  He had some loose baby teeth and a very fat lip, and he required four stitches. 

            It seems that Hubby didn’t want to bother me on my Mommy Night.

            The next morning after they returned from camping and as we were all getting ready for church, one of the other Cub Scout dads rang our doorbell.  He stopped by to reassure me that Large would be fine and mentioned to Hubby that if the same thing had happened in his family, his wife would have worried that he hadn’t been paying enough attention to the children.

            You might recall that a few months ago, while I was out having drinks with girlfriends, I had to leave early because I was summoned to the Emergency Room.  (I’m just sayin’.)  But in all seriousness, it never occurred to me on either occasion that perhaps Daddy wasn’t paying close enough attention.  These things happen and it just as easily could have happened on my watch. 

            A couple weeks ago my neighbor and I took our children to the park in our community.  A major design flaw in the playground, however, is that it is located right on the river.  The boys like to go down to the dock and look at the minnows.  I had Small in the swing when the older boys asked if we could go down to the dock.  I remember thinking I’m not ready to let them go down there by themselves, so I grabbed Small and we all headed down to the water.  My neighbor and I stood on the ramp that leads from the land to the dock while the older kids were on the dock.  They know that they can’t horse around down there and no one was doing anything unsafe, and yet, as we stood there chatting, we heard a splash and we both sprinted the 10 feet (at most) to the dock.  Large had lost his footing and fallen into the water, but he had pulled himself out before we even got to him.  It was one of those things that happened in a split second. 

            I am thankful that he is not afraid of the water and that he didn’t panic.  His first words when he got out were “I’m sorry!”  He knows that I worry about them falling in and he was afraid I was mad.  I reassured him that I wasn’t angry; I was scared and I would be devastated if anything ever happened to him. 

            My point is that I am a conscientious parent, but it is difficult, at times, to strike that healthy balance between being too protective and being too lenient.  I let Small go down the slide by himself at 14 months.  I know there are people who would disagree with this permissiveness, but I make judgement calls every moment my boys are awake.   I know, when Small is at the top of the “baby” slide, that I’ll be at the bottom to catch him.  The joy and excitement on his face when I give him that little bit of freedom to explore is priceless.  I don’t want my boys to grow up being afraid to take risks, and yet I want them to have a realistic notion of consequences. . . . it’s a delicate balance.

            Of course I want to keep my children safe and the idea of harm coming to them makes my stomach churn.  (In fact, I had a hard time sleeping after Large fell in the water because my mind kept reeling through all the things that could have happened.)  From the moment they’re born we, as parents,  are preparing them to become independent of us.  I can’t wrap them in bubble wrap, though I’ve tried, for fear of scraped knees. 

            Hubby has also learned a valuable lesson: Mommy does NOT want to find out her baby is in the Emergency Room via Facebook.  Do that again and I will poison your Gatorade.

            Sunday, May 22, 2011

            The Price I Pay for Coffee

            I went to the eye doctor a few weeks ago because my left eye had been twitching for about two weeks.  Usually it happens if I’m overly tired, but two weeks was a little excessive so I made an appointment with the optometrist at Target.

            Because when you think good eye health, you think Target.

            I ran into my girlfriend, K, in the parking lot.  We both spend an excessive amount of time at Target and we’ve accidentally run into each other several times over the past couple years.  (In fact, it's our mutual love of the Retail Holy Land that binds us together in friendship.  That and the fact that we're both batsh*t crazy with this whole Motherhood gig.)  I told her I was headed to my appointment and that I figured I had early-onset Parkinson’s or some sort of seizure disorder.  I have a flair for the dramatic . . .

            After my appointment as I was loading my little ducklings into the Swagger Wagon, I saw K again.  Concerned, she asked what my prognosis was.  Her face lost all color when I told her, “it’s worse than I thought.”

            Coffee = Love
            Panicked, her hand on my arm in genuine friendship, she asked quietly, “what?  What is it?”

            With a catch in my throat, I swallowed and delivered the news. “She wants me to cut out caffeine.”

            I’d rather have Parkinson’s.

            So yes, I still have the twitch.  A little facial tic never hurt anyone, and it's a small price to pay for caffeinated happiness.  I have no self control, discipline, or will power.  I admit it.  Don't judge me.

            Wednesday, May 18, 2011

            Stuff We're Not Supposed to Talk About . . .

            Several posts ago I was having one of my moments.  (Read all about it here.)  You know, when I’m all frustrated and tired and feeling like a horrible mother.  My friend Steve forwarded a video to me, and it really struck a chord.

            First, a little about Steve.  Steve will be in the same room with you for an hour and not say a word, then he’ll utter one sentence and it’ll be the funniest damn thing you’ve ever heard.  When we met in college, he was the quiet observer with a wicked sense of humor.  He’s that guy who you know is there but you’re not sure he’s paying attention, and then he says something witty and prophetic.  The video he forwarded is smart, funny, and painstakingly honest.  Wouldn’t you know it; Steve’s got some insight about parenting that he gleaned from something he saw on

            Rufus Griscom and Alisa Volkman reveal four parenting facts that no one ever talks about.  I have certainly struggled with my feelings of incompetence and the thought that I’m doing it wrong if I don’t see sunshine and Care Bears for the 14 hours my children are awake.  The video is 17 minutes long, which is why I am only getting to it now even though Steve sent it months ago.  Because if I have 17 minutes to myself, I’m going to waste it spend it doing something productive, like watching the Real Housewives of New Jersey talk about how cleeassy they are. 

            My gift to you, fellow mommies, random daddies, friends who feel obligated to read, and facebook stalkers, is this . . .

            My unsolicited opinion regarding Griscom and Volkman’s Four Taboos:

            1. You Can’t Say You Didn’t Fall in Love with Your Baby in the First Minute.
            I wish someone had told me about this one, because I felt like a big failure from Day 1 because I didn’t have the urge to hold my baby every second of the ever-lovin’ day.  I needed some sleep.  Desperately.  And the truth is that you don’t even know this little person yet.  Yes, you love him but you are essentially strangers.  Furthermore, our birthday movie wouldn’t look anything like someone in Hollywood or at Lifetime television would produce.  I had read in all the what-to-expect books about how common it is for Daddy to feel jealous of Baby.  Guess what?  I was jealous.  I had carried this kid around for 9 months, I had unsuccessfully tried to squeeze him out, and now I was all drugged up from my surgery.  And guess who was getting all the attention?  It wasn’t me. 

            1. You Can’t Talk About How Lonely Having a Baby Can Be.
            Motherhood is isolating.  Before you become a parent, you know intellectually that having an infant (and then a toddler, preschooler, school-aged child, teenager, 30-year-old loner living in your basement, etc.) will suck up almost all of your time, but you don’t really realize yet that you have just been knocked to the bottom of the pecking order.  I got a lot of attention while I was pregnant and when the baby was first born, but then life moved on, and it moved on without me.  While my girlfriends went back to work in September, I stayed home and watched six seasons of Dawson’s Creek.  I counted the days until I could meet them on Friday afternoons for coffee with my baby in tow.  I cried one day when something came up and I was unable to go at the last minute.  I cried.  Because I couldn’t go get coffee.  (Okay, maybe that’s not a good example, given my love of caffeine, but you get the point.)  I still have my lonely days when it feels like I haven’t spoken to anyone over 4-feet-tall; and suffice it to say that none of our conversations revolve around politics, religion, or the Kardashians . . . so yes, I'm lonely.

            1. You Can’t Talk About Your Miscarriage.
            I have struggled with this one myself.  We waited the "requisite" 3 months before telling others that we were expecting.  I remember a conversation with my dad, however, when he asked why we had waited to long to tell them our big news.  I tried to explain the whole first trimester iffiness, to which he responded that it was kind of silly to not tell our close friends or family because if something went wrong with the pregnancy, wouldn’t we tell them anyway?  Lo and behold, he was right.  When I called to tell him about my first miscarriage and he said, “I didn’t even know you were pregnant,” it didn’t make it any easier.  My biggest burden was getting over that nagging feeling that I had done something wrong; I hadn’t rested enough, I hadn’t eaten the right things, I had had a drink before I realized I was pregnant.  What eased my burden was talking about it and getting some sympathy from friends.  I didn’t need people to feel sorry for me, but it was a strange comfort to have girlfriends say hey, I’ve been there too.  It IS a tough situation to have to endure, and it happens a lot.  So why does it have to be so private?
            Don't worry, Mommy'll clean it up.
            She lives for that sh*t.

            1. You Can’t Say That Your “Average Happiness” Has Declined.
            I’ll let you in on a little secret: my babies are not snuggly, calm, precious Gerber babies who look like they belong in a Johnson & Johnson ad.  They are dirty, snotty, little sofa climbers who track dirt all through our house and somehow produce more laundry than they have clothes. It makes sense that my happiness quotient, on average, has declined.  I don’t find happiness in the bottom of the laundry basket, and yet that’s where I seem to look for it every day.  I don’t walk out of my house every day and cry with sheer joy that I am blessed with the opportunity to drive my Swagger Wagon to Costco so I can stock up on juice boxes and industrial-sized boxes of baby wipes.  And while the other company spouses are relaxing with a glass of wine and a gourmet meal in a restaurant with cloth napkins and real silverware, I am not secretly relieved that I get to read How the Grinch Stole Christmas, in May, again.  That’s not to say that I am miserable or UNhappy.  It’s just that I don’t often get to do the things that I enjoy, like traveling sans the Goldfish big box, going to a movie that isn’t produced by Pixar, or drinking from a glass that doesn’t require a straw.  

            Griscom and Volkman don’t offer any solutions in the segment that I watched, but they certainly raised some valid points about parenting reality.  I appreciate their candor and their honesty about their struggles and their humor while suggesting that no parent is perfect.  Amen to that!

            Monday, May 16, 2011

            Back from My Most Recent (but certainly not my last) Meltdown

            Worry not, my peeps.  I’m back! 

            A Multiple Choice Quiz –
            I took a brief hiatus because
            1. I had a little motherly meltdown
            2. I’ve been overwhelmed with tasks
            3. I had to send the computer in for repairs
            4. Blogspot was down
            5. All of the Above
            The answer, of course, is E, but let's focus on my meltown, shall we?  

            Let’s start from the very beginning.  It is no secret that I find motherhood to be exhausting.  That’s not to say that motherhood doesn’t come naturally.  I’ve always wanted to be a mother, to stay home with my children, and to raise a family.  In the big scheme o’ things, I’m doing exactly what I want to be doing.  But the monotony of doing the same things, day in and day out, son up to son down, is exhausting. 

            And to all those mothers who post on Facebook about how sad you are that your kids are going back to school on a random Monday because you’ve SO enjoyed having them all to yourself for the weekend, I call bullsh*t.  

            That’s right . . . I said it!

            We, as women, do each other a disservice by constantly trying to portray ourselves as the epitome of Motherhood.  (Admit it, when you read the above statement, a part of you thought I never feel that way.)  We try to be the Martyr, the woman who selflessly gave up everything in order to devote her life to raising upstanding little citizens with good manners.  In the back of my mind, however, is this nagging question: who am I going to be in 18 years when all three of my boys are independent of me?

            Lately I have felt as if I am living my life in order to accommodate others.  I get up in the morning so that I can get the boys fed and ready for school.  I may go to the gym in the morning, but I try to be home in time to put Small down for a nap.  I need to be at the end of the street by 11:10 so that I can get Medium off the bus.  We run errands (groceries for the family, dry cleaning for Daddy, the bank, the hardware store, the drugstore, etc.) and then return so that Small can get another nap, and then it’s back to the bus stop at 3. I fix a snack for the kids, then supervise homework and make sure everyone is ready for practice or art class or cub scouts.  We eat dinner early because we need time for baths and books before bedtime at 8.  There is NO time for me to read a grown-up book, or sit quietly and knit, or work on a scrapbook.  If Hubby has to work late or is out of town, it’s no biggie because we all know that I’ve got it covered. 

            It’s not as if I’m a Kept Woman.  Hubby encourages me to go out and to find time for myself, but I have Mommy Guilt; that nagging thought that I could sit on the sofa and watch Oprah, OR I could finish up the laundry, or unload the dishwasher, or make the beds, or wipe down the counters, or any one of the gazillion other things that will need to get done at some point so I might as well just do it now.  We actually agree that I need to make ME a priority, but I am my own worst enemy. 

            My most recent meltdown occurred after I saw my friend, K, at Target.  Natch.  I ran into K in the parking lot, told her that we were getting ready to dine at Target’s cafĂ©, and I invited her and her brood of 4 boys to join us.  I had a little time to kill before my eye appointment, also at Target.  Seriously, if Target had a gynecologist and a dentist, I’d never have to go anywhere else.  K was in the middle of a particularly tough week, full of the everyday minutia that on any other day would be fine, but today it’s just driving you batsh*t crazy.  (You know what I’m talking about: yesterday you woulda said, you want to walk next to the cart?  Okay!  Today you’re thinking, just get in the f*cking cart, you package-opening little aisle runner!


            I tried to be supportive.  I put on my Good Friend cap and reminded her what a wonderful mother she is, as is evidenced by the fact that her kids seem to openly adore her and she is really good with them.  I listened to her as she vented, as we all need to do every once in a while.  I reminded her how important it is that we make time for ourselves, and I mentioned that I was meeting a girlfriend for a few hours of creativity on the next Saturday night.

            Except Hubby ended up having to work late Saturday, and the first thing cut from the calendar was Mommy’s scrapbooking night. 

            A Meltdown ensued.

            Hubby had been working late for a while so I had barely had any time to myself, peeing and showering included.  (I figured out one day that the ONLY adult conversation I had was with the guy at Moe’s who took my order.  They’re always so welcoming there!  Every time I walk in they yell, “welcome to Moe’s,” like they’ve missed me or something.  What?  They do that to everyone?  Sigh.)  I really needed a little time away from my family, and I REALLY needed a little bit of quiet.  When it became evident that neither was going to happen, I lost my sh*t.  I went into the whole crying, snotting, persweating I-don’t-know-who-I-am-anymore-I-can-literally-feel-myself-getting-stupider-I’m-just-so-tired meltdown.  It weren’t pretty.

            I love my boys and I love my husband.  I have a good life.  But here’s the thing: every once in a while, I need to have a good cleansing cry and a little outside validation – someone to tell me that I’m important and I’m appreciated and I’m doing an okay job and that, fingers crossed, none of my boys will end up in prison.  I need to sit in the Starbucks parking lot BY MYSELF and enjoy my cup of coffee while listening to something other than The Hamster Dance or Veggie Tales dialogue.  I need to remind my children and my spouse and myself that I am so much more than just a mother.  True, it is my most important role right now, but it cannot be at the expense of everything else that I am.  I have helped perpetuate this notion within my family, but I am going to make a conscious effort not to feel guilty when/if I try to carve out a little time for myself.  You heard it here first - here's hoping I can follow through!