motherhood calling

I was in the zone forty minutes into an “overtime” hour-long workout at the gym. It was my favorite instructor, Amanda, my gym woman-crush (and based on the over packed class, I am not alone in admiring her) and after the day before’s dancing extravaganza it was my happy place.

I don’t really ask for much for myself, as a stay at home mom who goes days without a break when hubby is out earning a living for us. I like to savor a cup of coffee in the morning, I like to take a little time to write in here, read the paper, read a book. I can delay taking a shower a few days if I have to. But – lately – I’ve needed my gym fix. Those 45-odd minutes are what cleanses my mind, makes me feel good. Just something I do just for me 5 days a week.

Anyway, the sweat was pouring out of me, seeping through my tee-shirt. My face red as a Christmas stocking and my breath labored … in the zone completely … and my phone rings. Then the buzz of a text comes through. I stop the front/back kicks we were doing, read, “Come to babysitting, H won’t stop crying”.

Mommy mode clicked on instantly, and I scanned the room. Sixty-odd women, all doing front back kicks, all within five feet of each other. There was no sneaking across the room. I had to navigate out of a class that looked like a scene from Mulan, where she’s training with all the other Kung Fu fighters. I snaked my way through the front, along the mirror, muttering sorry as I went. One poor lady had to stop her groove so I could pass, but other than that I don’t believe I disturbed anyone.

The babysitting room is a madhouse. It’s Christmas break so everyone is dumping their kids off for mini-mental breaks. The sitter apologizes over the cry of about five babies, and my ear picks out H’s wail instantly. Of course, L attached herself to me the moment I walk in. I learned a few weeks back they don’t allow breastfeeding in the sitting room, so I take H and L to the ladies locker room, like before.

My heart rate was still way elevated and the poor little bugger could barely latch on due to the slippery sweat all over me, but once we settled in and I had a letdown, the mental let down hit me too. Yes, I got a good 40 minutes in, but I envied the women in the class whose music I could hear thumping through the walls. They were there, and I was back in Mom Mode. My fitness indulgence ended just like that.

Isn’t that parenting though?

After H was satisfied the class was still in full swing, but L wasn’t going to let me out of her sights again. She screamed as I carried her into the babysitting room, she screamed when I put H in his seat. I bundled her on my back in the Tula just to assure her I wasn’t abandoning her again.

I got to navigate the class once more, to put my equipment away and gather my personal items, but this time they were on their backs doing the ab portion of the day. Feeling ridiculous I weaved through the yogamats with L snuggled up against my back, willing myself not to make eye contact with anyone.

By the time I get all the kids out the door the class was just ending.

I felt a curious mix of emotions. I felt like I was cheating myself out of a great workout, even though I’d put in my all for 40 minutes. I felt like my kids were once again butting into my personal desires and needs, and then felt that mom guilt of feeling bad for those moments of resentment. Most of all, I just felt like a Mom, loading them all up in our car, telling E there was no way we’d go to McDonalds for lunch, trying to shove a pacifier in H’s mouth sightless from the front seat before putting the car in drive. It was like, the fantasy of the gym ended in the most abrupt way and reality butted itself in before I was ready.

Even now, a day later, I’m still peeved that I could have had an extra 20 minutes with everyone in the room, I could have left the class with everyone. But, that’s life. Kids, toddlers, and especially newborns are not predictable and they have a way of reminding you that your time means nothing to them. It’s just the way it is and rather than complain, I will look at it as one of those moments that are fleeting and one day I’m sure I’ll wish my kids still needed me so much I couldn’t even get through an hour-long class.

 

zumba

I took my first ever Zumba class today.

I’ve avoided Zumba ever since I heard it was a thing, which had to be at least a decade ago. I’m not exactly one for dance, I’m not graceful or lithe and I’m pretty much always way too self-conscious with my dancing skills in public unless I’ve had several rounds of liquid courage. My best friends my freshman year of college were both former competitive cheerleaders, and I remember us bored one night so they decided to teach me a dance routine. We could barely stand up from laughing so hard at the horribleness of my moves.

So, anyway, I had no choice but to take this class today. I wanted a workout, it had to be when there was babysitting at the gym, and this was the only option. I could have gone out to the weight room or cardio room instead, but I figured today was as good as any day to try something new.

I have never wanted to walk out of a class before, but I nearly did about 40 seconds into the session.

The instructor was a hopping bunny of a dancer, her smile so real and enthusiastic it was almost contagious despite my awkwardness. Seriously. The girl loved what she was doing, you could just see it on her face. If the class were empty she’d still be bouncing up at the front of the room. She was basically in her own world.

Lucky for me, this 9:30 am class was filled with the fabulous senior Betty’s that tend to frequent the weekday-morning class sector of the gym. These ladies are all probably in their sixties or older, and seeing them ‘shake it’ eased my discomfort, a bit. They, as they say, “danced like no one was watching”.

Zumba moves so fast I didn’t have a chance to watch anyone, much less myself in the mirror. Seriously, bouncing Barbie in the front of the class had all my attention as I tried to figure out what exactly my feet and arms were supposed to do every eight-counts of the latin music.

I’m not exactly sure what I thought of the experience. I’m a bit Zumba-Whiplashed. It was sort of fun, but I entered the class alone and I was the youngest there by probably 15 years and there wasn’t anyone to laugh at myself with. I did get sweaty and my heart rate stayed elevated just like it does during a genuine cardio class, so the workout did something.

I think I prefer the high-intensity-interval classes. The ones full of burpees and squats and lunges. No one is supposed to look pretty doing a pushup. I can throw my body around without worrying that I look like a dweeb.

I wonder if there is a way I can request the Zumba soundtrack for the next HIIT class I attend, though. The music was certainly a nice change from the typical tunes and I liked the beat.

Anyway, I’m glad I went if only because it really pushed my comfort zone – it was a mental and social challenge and at the very least now I can have a real opinion on why I’ve been avoiding it all these years.

hello, dear

I’d like to think I’m an equal partner with my husband. He’s just as much of a feminist as I am, which is an awesome trait to share.

But, if a salesman comes a knocking on the door, I resort back to the 1950’s housewife I never was, “Oooh I can’t make a decision without my husband here”. It’s the perfect way to send them on their way without me actually being mean to them.

So Mr. Solar Panel, Mr. Kirby, Mr. Meat Man, if the master of the house isn’t present, don’t even bother coming up the drive.

goals

Let’s all take a deep breath in, and think about my favorite aspect of the winter holiday season. The resolutions. Those pesky things we are make and break and joke about breaking. I’m taking this Christmas-Vacation break before the new year to start with my “promises to make me a better human being” goals.

Read 100 Books in 2017

This is a lofty goal, and the previous two years I haven’t come close to completing it. In 2015 I read something like 74 books and this past year I have read about 63. In both ’15 and ’16 I had babies. I know I am capable of this goal because in 2014 I read 89 books and I wasn’t even trying to get to that 100 mark.

How I’m going to accomplish this goal: read about 2 books a week. Bring my Kindle with me nearly everywhere, and in those moments when I’d be most likely to pick up my phone out of boredom, read. Try to read in the morning before the kids wake up (if I happen to wake up before they do) and try to read at night before actually getting into my bed.

Take up cooking in that “paleo style” diet

I will never break my addiction to potatoes or carbs, but I know my family can stand to eat mindfully and more healthily. We already do a pretty good job of eating mostly clean and whole, but I backpedal into processed frozen crap when my husband is out of town. Being that he’s out of town 15-20 days a month, it can happen more than I’d like to admit.

How I’m going to accomplish this goal: plan weekly menus. Check out paleo cookbooks from the library. Not buy the crap I’m trying to avoid. If it’s not in the house, I can’t eat it. I’m going to aim for at least one complete Paleo meal per week following all of the restrictions the die-hards put on their menus, and then go Paleo inspired every other meal.

Lose 20 pounds by the end of 2017

This is lofty. Ooh man, probably loftier than my book reading goal. I have about 15 pounds of baby-making-fat on me still, and I’m okay with that. We got a new fancy scale for Christmas though and I was horrified to see my weight and body fat percentage. I am a very active person (I get those 10k steps a day usually and the past few weeks have logged at least 5 days of exercise a week). My issue is my diet I assume.

How I’m going to accomplish this goal: eat cleaner (see above). Drink a glass of water everytime I have the impulse to snack, and fill up with either almonds or a piece of fruit before I snack on something carby.I am also breastfeeding and pumping at least 20 extra ounces of milk a day for donation, so I refuse to starve myself out of vanity. But, I also know I mindlessly eat out of tiredness and boredom far too often so curbing that should help me. Even if the scale doesn’t show me exactly twenty pounds lighter by the end of 2017, as long as I can wear pretty much any of my clothes in my wardrobe and not look like I’m bulging out of them I’ll be happy.

Continue to wean my Social Media addiction

This one is already in the process. Eventually, I’d like to have once or twice a day to “check-in” to all social media outlets, including Instagram and Twitter, but especially my biggest monster of addiction, Facebook.

How I’m going to accomplish this goal: continue to be mindful of how I’m spending my “down” or “bored” time. Play with my kids instead of picking up my phone. Pick up my Kindle to read instead of picking up my phone.

Keep up the Blog

I’ve done well with this since I created this blog, but it does seem important to continue to commit to it. I will keep writing, keep reading other bloggers, and keep at it. I’ll aim for at least 2 posts a week.

So, here they are, the goals and aspirations I’m keeping in mind throughout 2017. I will be a smarter, more well rounded and healthier person by this time next year if I can just keep these goals in mind.

happy sad-a-versary

Two years ago I made a decision that changed my life forever.

I know you’re supposed to “live life with no regrets” and “don’t look back” and “everything happens for a reason”, but, this decision I made is something I have thought about pretty much every day since then- that’s 730 days I’ve played the same refrain in my mind, over and over.

See, two years ago today, (and I know this because of my Timehop App— thanks social media) I boarded my airline, the one I worked for, with my little boy. We were headed to my parent’s house for Christmas. I was 32 weeks pregnant. I had a job I loved, a new baby on the way, my husband was working at his “major” airline (a step up from the regional world). Things were great.

I sat on that airplane and watched my co-workers, the flight crew, work their asses off. Christmas time is a tough time to be a flight attendant. People bring all their issues with them onto the plane and tend to drink. Plus, most passengers during the holidays are not “seasoned”, ie, they really don’t know what they are doing.

On that particular flight, I witnessed a “service animal” bark incessantly throughout the cabin service, an angry man behind my bitch about the overhead bin space for a great majority of the flight, and some woman overdrink to the point of puking in her seat. And guess who cleaned the vomit up? Not her—- that’s right, the friendly in-flight staff.

Sitting there, rubbing my round ball of a belly, I thought, “I think I’m done”.

My old airline offered an annual buyout to their flight attendants. They called it the “Career Choice”. IE- this ain’t a career, go get a real one. Beyond the offensive title, it came with $10,000 and three years of travel privileges if you decided to quit your job. Every year I thought about taking it, but never did.

But two years ago, I felt ready.

I got off that flight really thinking I’d take the buyout. The deadline to opt in was only two days away.

I fretted, cried, discussed, argued, and obsessed over this decision the next two days. After much thought and consideration, I opted in.

I knew my new baby would take up a lot of time, and I wanted to breastfeed her exclusively for at least a year. The airline expected new moms to return to work after about 4 months off – that’s what I’d done with my older son, but I figured this round, this baby, I’d fully commit to it.

So, yeah. Since then I’ve had two babies. My husband is still working, supporting us. My life is a lot more quiet. I have dreams where I’m still employed at my airline, and I’m walking through a terminal, or headquarters, waving and talking to all the wonderful people I used to call co-workers. I often wake from these dreams crying. Seriously. My husband still finds it bizarre I have so much love for a place of employment. He honestly doesn’t understand.

When I was a flight attendant, I was at ease. My best self. I loved my job. Loved it. This huge part of my self-identity is gone now. I mourn it all the time.

I realize just yesterday I posted about how I love being a “mom” and being my kid’s world, and this is still true. But — the thing about the airline world is — it’s not exactly easy to get back into it. I tried last year before I knew I was pregnant with H. I made it to the final rounds at two different major airlines but they both passed on me. I think my primary mistake was my honesty. I shouldn’t have talked about my kids, my pilot husband. In five years after all the kids are in school I plan to enter the airline job market again and this time, I’m taking my wedding ring off and going to spin a yarn about quitting due to working on my writing. It’s sort of true.

So, anyway, this day is mixed for me. I’ve gained so much since then in my family – my marriage is better than it ever was after a pretty rough 2015 – and I’m extremely grateful to be able to stay home with my babies, but a part of me will always look back at this date as the day I gave up the dream.

most precious

We were at a birthday party on Saturday night, and it was crowded. Very crowded, like the clubs I used to get dolled up for back in my early twenties, except instead of anonymous strangers and a pulsing dance beat, it was filled with a large Italian family we know, all there to celebrate a 2-year-olds birthday.

E & L pretty much disappeared the moment we went into the small Cape Cod house. While my husband and I navigated the small talk and stuffed our faces, they were happy to play with the different toys of someone else’s kids. The last hour or so, though, L started having breakdown after breakdown. “I WANT MAAA” was said on repeat throughout the latter half of the party. Tears and arms outreached towards me, she caused a scene. This caused tension, as I had little baby H in my arms or wrapped against me the entire night. I’d pick her up, soothe her the best I could, and once she calmed down, send her on her way, only for her to return about five minutes later.

All the party attendees kept looking at me with surprised raised eyebrows, “Wow. She’s a handful” seemed like the best comment to make by multiple people there.

I wasn’t offended, really. L is a handful, at times. A squirmy, bouncing, loud, independent, willful, strong-minded and stubborn little girl. But, I could see why she was upset. She didn’t know anyone there apart from my husband and I and the place was overcrowded and overheated. Just because she can be remarkably self-reliant and independent (especially for a 22-month-old) doesn’t mean she’s always going to want to be that way.

And furthermore, why is a little girl wanting her mom a bad thing? Like, ever?

One aspect of parenting young kids I always try to keep in mind, especially in my down moments, is how my role as “mom” completely encompasses my kid’s lives. Or, better yet, I try to remember I am their whole world. I will never again be so admired, so loved, so looked up to, by any other being as my kids. And this is a fleeting thing. My first-grader adores his teacher just as much as me. They will eventually grow bigger, and their peer’s opinions will outweigh anything I have to say to them.

As a grown woman, the only people who will ever cry simply because I’ve left the room are my children. I can sing as loud as I want to around them, and rather than judge my off-key squalling, they dance and laugh. I spend the majority of my time in nursing tank tops and yoga pants with unwashed hair, glasses, and zero makeup, but when my newborn looks at me and smiles, I feel beautiful. Just seeing me lights his world up. This admiration, this power I have over my kids is unique, and as I said before, doesn’t last forever.

So, I’m not going to let my toddler’s fit for me at a party I didn’t even care much about in the first place bring me down, or embarrass me. I’m glad she loves me enough to fight and cry for me. And I’m going to continue to sing out loud, dance like a dork, goof around all day long as much as I can. One day, very soon, I will be just “Mom”, and the fan club I have will lose much of their fervor and admiration. I will revel in being Mommy as much as I can.

top 5 reasons I’m a terrible mom blogger 

  1. I don’t ever make lists 
  2. I don’t have a “niche”
  3. I have no unique expertise on parenting, except for flying standby with kids. That I know something about
  4. I spend more time envying other moms rather than being envied (or presenting myself in an enviable way)
  5. I think I’m far too self-conscious to self-promote in the way other more successful mommy blogs do. 

This is all to say, I follow tons of awesome mom blogs. This little project I’ve been writing in for two months has opened a new world to me- I even joined Twitter after avoiding it for nearly a decade. I have read some amazing blogs, from women I relate to and even admire, but (especially on Twitter) there is also a whole other subculture of the mommy blogging world I don’t really understand, or get.

Like, the blogs of moms just doing sponsored posts.

Or the lists.

I mean, I get it why lists are important and prevalent. BuzzFeed and other clickbait sites have trained us all to connect and grow curious whenever there’s a “top 5” or “7 most” or “6 things” in a blog title. I’m far more likely to read something from Twitter if it’s presented in that way. But a lot of times these lists just seem forced and I think a straight form blog post would do just as well, but because lists are the way to go everyone has to post in that way.

Just like TL:DR I find it sort of a depressing way to write. (TL DR being short speak for “too long, didn’t read” because apparently reading something over 300 words is too much work for people. Of course, many of you may know that expression, but I just learned it a few months ago through FB Groups. Another quick gripe? Why do people apologize for writing long posts on FB? If you’re writing something worth reading the longer the better as far as I’m concerned. But now this long rant in parenthesis can end).

I’m not even sure exactly what I’m aiming for as my blog’s message or theme. The name suggests an angsty teenager longing to escape her boring life, and while I am sometimes that girl and can’t believe how normal and conventional I’ve become in motherhood, I also just liked the way it sounded.

I’m the world’s worst self-promoter and honestly when I share my latest post through Twitter I just feel like a phony. I’ve always written very privately and begging people to read my thoughts is super unnatural to me.

That said, I do love it when people like my posts or better yet comment on them. I get a thrill when I get a notification of a new follower. It’s awesome – an awesome feeling and even though this blog has only been a habit for 2 months, I love it. I really do.

I am writing just to write. I don’t have goals beyond trying to sharpen this skill, writing, and being that I write about my life and my life in currently revolving around diapers and breastfeeding and kids and tantrums it just seems like calling the blog a “mom blog” is appropriate. And thus, I conclude this post with the hashtag #momlife. 🙂

we can’t always look fresh

 

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That Christmas-Tree Head sprouted arms and is holding my child!

 

We waited an hour and a half for this photo. This moment, with Santa. My kids were rockstars in line- and even though my husband and I didn’t plan on meeting Santa during our trip into the City last week, we spontaneously decided to see the Macy’s Santa was worth the wait.

After our meet and greet with this spectacular Santa, we were funneled into the line for buying the photo of said meet and greet. Yes, another line. By this time, H was awake and ready to eat, so I plopped myself down against a wall to feed him and my husband waited to purchase the picture for us.

When he finally found me again, he held out the picture. Our $21.95 proof of our moment with the Big Guy. Of course, my eyes went to find my face first. It’s only natural. And I looked terrible. Horrible. I haven’t seen myself looking so bad in a picture, especially one printed out, in years. Maybe ever.

My kids look great. My husband looks handsome.

This photo is the result of a long, tedious wait that tested the patience of us, the parents, far more than the children. I wasn’t expecting much. Everyone else in line was dressed in suits, ties, red Christmas sweaters. The little girls had tights and sparkly shoes on. The little boys had their hair parted and gelled. As you can tell from my kid’s get-up, we weren’t exactly planning on posing for a photo, but all in all they all look cute.

But, me? I can’t even describe it. A washed out obese lady, married to a man way out of her league with children who certainly got their good looks from their father.

It got me thinking, though. In today’s increasingly connected, image-obsessed world, sharing a picture of myself looking so terrible is not going to happen. We have control over every picture we take, pretty much. I can take the perfect selfie with my lips pursed just so, at the right angle, to look like my most appealing, ideal self. Even in group photos, we have the image right away to “yay” or “nay” and a re-take is instant and easy.

Retaking the photo with Santa was not an option.

It’s so rare that a picture I take of myself sticks around if I think I look too fat, my hair looks too messy, or I just don’t like to way I look. It’s instant digital trash. There was a time, back in the 90’s or early aught’s, where pictures of me looking unlike-the-ideal-me stuck around, but these days I have total control.

I had to really question myself and my reaction to this picture. Because I was ashamed, embarrassed, inflamed and really, does it matter? This picture is proof of the time we spent in line, it’s a memory we all made as a family and I’m embarrassed how I look? Why? Shouldn’t I just embrace a bad photo and get over it? Nobody will care, in fact, most people wouldn’t notice or pay it a mind, yet I know every time I see myself in the picture, I’m going to shudder.

I think what really rattles me is in every other photo my husband and I took of the day, all of them spontaneous and not preposed or checked, I look decent. Normal to me. But the Santa photo challenges this picture I have of myself in my mind.

 

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my vanity is making me post this picture of myself looking somewhat normal that day, first

 

Anyway, in an effort to embrace myself in all my bad angles, photos, and moments, I will share the full picture here. It’s on the internet, on my personal blog, and I also put it on our fridge at home, as a reminder to myself: imperfection is acceptable. And, I need to get over myself. And, it doesn’t really matter.

Please be kind, Interwebs.

 

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Oh man. Who is that lady?

 

the most sacred hour

It’s too soon.

She can’t handle it.

Why, God, Why?

For the second time this week, my daughter has skipped nap time. Skipping naptime results in cranky pants screaming over every single thing that doesn’t go her way. Skipping naptime means she screams over things that go her way too. Skipping naptime turns her into the worst caricature of a snotty nosed toddler you’ve ever seen.

Moms & Dads know this: naptime is that sacred time of day where you have peace. Where you have quiet. Where you recharge yourself. Hell, I even miss my daughter during naptime. I see her little head in her crib, peaceful and calm, and want to wake her up. But – I sure as hell don’t. See above for the explanation.

The girls not even two yet. I won’t go slowly into the night, I will fight this good fight. I’m no quitter.

Even if naptime turns into “That quiet hour of the day you must stay in your crib” I will not bow down and make this “no nap” thing the new reality.

Hear that, L? I’m just as stubborn as you. I will win!