Growing Pains

I’m sitting here nursing my baby, thinking. I’ve been sitting here for roughly 3.5 hours, so time to think is something I have a lot of.  All this cluster feeding better result in the loss of 3.5 pounds (that’s EXACTLY how that works, shaddup).  I’m wondering – when are you “allowed” to outgrow something? A person, a career, a lifestyle. What’s the breaking point, the point in which you’re not giving up or giving in – you’re just letting go?

I’ve been feeling my anxiety increase and I know I need to make some changes. Although I’m having trouble grasping exactly what to change, I know something’s gotta give.  I saw a therapist for the first time in a while (sidenote – not because I didn’t want to go but due to a backlog in our healthcare system. My doc has a 300 person waiting list and had to stop taking names. Sad times for many who need help.) One of her suggestions was to get back on medication.  I have nothing against them at all, they were extremely helpful before but I’m not sure if that alone is what I need. Just because I was on medication before is that necessarily the lifestyle change I need to make?

There’s a loneliness that comes with the isolation of being a parent with little kids.  I think part of my issue is combating that. Getting out is key.  Being with friends who are supportive and who I can support right back (lifting each other up and all that jazz). I’m fortunate to have great friends but I think we all have people in our lives who weigh us down rather than raise us up. Do you let those relationships slide and maintain them as acquaintances or drop it completely and move on?

Another piece of loneliness postpartum is the restrictions imposed after giving birth. I was advised to take it easy for 6 weeks.  No high-energy exercise.  I can walk with the kids/walk the dog but it’s not the same as breaking a sweat. I break a sweat carrying the toddler up the stairs but you know what I’m trying to say.  I think some exercise/activities will be helpful for some mental clarity and anxiety relief.  If anything, I think having something that’s just for me will give me some peace.  I haven’t been committed to anything physical in a while, does that make me a poser if I pick up a new sport? I played soccer during my youth and have always enjoyed (slow) jogging and most recently have taken up snowboarding in an attempt to keep up with my stepkid.  Maybe I’ll take up kickboxing and kill two birds with one stone. I’ll get some exercise and kick some bad habits to the curb.

MAYBE I need to get more sleep. But if I don’t stay up after the baby (finally) falls asleep when will I write without interruption or eat cookies. I talk about cookies a lot. Hint – bring me (dairy free and super healthy) cookies.

Thanks for reading my midnight (1am) ramblings friends, acquaintances, and potential workout buddies.

There’s a Baby in the House

I had my baby. A baby girl. The newest member of my gang is the chillest and the illest.  I know you’re thinking it, she’s sleeping well, thank you for asking!

I want to do a really thoughtful post on my birth but this baby is a month old so that means I’m sleep deprived and a hot mess. I’m going to get some sleep (ha-ha-ha) and then get writing.

In the meantime, here are my truths so far about life with the new addition.

Note – I didn’t proofread this and I’m not going to because aint nobody got time for that.

1.Having 2 little kids is a shit show.

When my son was born 3 years ago, my step-daughter was 5. She was relatively self-sufficient so spending days with her and my son weren’t insanely demanding. Also, most months that I was on maternity leave were school months so she wasn’t home in the mornings (kindergarten was half day).

  1. Being home with a 3-year-old and  3 week old has me running around like a crazy person. I generally have on boob hanging out to feed baby girl while trying to tend to the boy. Again, the oldest is in school most days but when she is here she’s doing her own thing with her friends, being helpful with her brother, or looking terrified to see aforementioned boob dangling free. I love having my kids home with me, don’t get me wrong.  The toddler keeps me busy. But the show I am hosting is wild and crazy.

2. My self-worth as a mother is inherently tied to my child’s weight.

Everyone asks how much my baby weighs. I dunno if you know this but your child weighs x amount at birth and then can lose up to 10% of their weight shortly after. I didn’t know this. Or, I’d forgotten. Both are possible. Either way, when I went to my first appointment with the pediatrician and found out my daughter lost weight, I panicked. MY EYES WELLED UP WITH TEARS. Because what is wrong with me that I can’t make my kid fat and roly-poly with the milk from body?! WHO AM I AS A MOTHER! The nurse could clearly see the panic in my eyes and the wild train of thought behind them and calmly told me to simmer down.

If you’re concerned and curious, she’s gained all the weight back and then some. At my most recent appointment, the nurse looked impressed. I’ll pick up my mom of the year award any day now.

3. All the shit you hear like “sleep when the baby sleeps” only applies if you have one kid.

Unless I want to let my toddler roam freely while my baby sleeps, that ain’t happening. Double nap times are a rarity that you should not take for granted.   If my spells actually worked, the blue moon is in sight, and both kids are actually sleeping at the same time, you best believe I am not wasting that precious time I have alone on sleep. Oh no. I am watching Netflix, folding laundry, or having a shower. Or maybe, eating cookies.

4. I’m all about Law & Order now, so don’t come to my house without checking in first.

My survival rule is structure. I have designated times for eating and sleep. With my son, I was pretty flexible.   Eat between a general range of times, same for naps. Whatever! I’m an easy-going mom!

NOT ANYMORE. Yes all caps. I mean it.

I need to be organized so I don’t lose my marbles.  I’ve lost most of them but the few I have left, I intend to retain. So don’t show up at my house 10 minutes before nap time/quiet time expecting to hang with my kids because you will not be happy. Nobody. Will be happy.

5. I really love being a Mom.

It’s hard. It’s so fucking haaaaaard.  Everything you do is wrong by someone’s account, you can’t win.  The internet is a blessing and a curse. I don’t have a lot of close friends in Edmonton and I’m a pretty anti-social person so I don’t see the ones I have here a lot.  The internet helps me stay connected to my village, I’m so grateful for that. But man. There are a ton of parenting sites with conflicting ideology’s on how to parent your child and they’re all more than happy to tell you how you’re doing it WRONG.  I try to take it all with a grain of salt.

But I love it.  I love the first “Mommy” of the morning. The endearing and loving feeling attached to that kind of diminishes by the 400th “Mommy” around lunch time but you know how it is. It’s not all rainbows and unicorns.

That’s all I have for now. Someone pooped their pants and another someone is having a super meltdown because he has to wash his hands after going pee and it’s all hands on deck.

Photo cred – Carissa Marie Photography

Imposter

I've always felt like I barely just made the cut.  In all facets of my life, it feels like I don't quite belong and am just waiting to be found out. Discovered to be a fraud.

In friendships, I've always been doubtful that people actually want to be around me.  This has become especially difficult to manage since I've quit drinking because I can't dull the feelings. Oh, how I miss dulling my feelings with booze and drugs. Once my friends figure out that I'm not actually all that enjoyable to be around they'll drop me like a hot potato (mmm potatoes… I need a poutine), so I try to avoid any and all social situations. When I do go out, I obsess about the interactions that I had. It's exhausting.

Career-wise, while I've always felt I've done a pretty good job at most places I've worked (I think) I didn't feel like I ever really deserved these jobs. I haven't been fired (was laid off at my short-lived electrical stint, I choose to think that doesn't count. But it does. It does…), but I haven't found anything that can hold my interest for a long period of time. I recently applied to a local Digital Media and IT program and was accepted but waitlisted due to the program being full. I'm not sure if that was going to be the best fit for me but I'm open to trying something new. Part of my imposter status is to just keep masquerading at new locations.

I've wondered that I might just be filling up my time with children and dogs to avoid really dealing with myself, and what makes me happiest/makes me tick. Am I an imposter mother, wearing this mask, going on play dates, sharing mom memes with mom friends instead of figuring out who I really am? I really do love having kids and dogs though, I swear. They are the best excuses for being anti-social and if I can't drink I need SOMETHING in my pocket.

Do we wear different masks at different phases of our lives? Or are they more like costumes, helping me get into the character we want to become? Maybe it's neither and I'm just overthinking again. I'm torn (also, maybe this pregnancy is scrambling my brain).

I can't wait to see a therapist so I can say "my therapist says this is what a lot of people think/feel" but for now all I have is Dr.Google. Dr. Google says my feelings are borderline crazy or completely normal. Jury is still out.

Anxiously Waiting

 

I have been avoiding writing because I've been avoiding addressing my feelings. Healthy? No. But it's the truth and that's what I'm here for.

My anxiety returned full force at the beginning of my 3rd trimester.  It was overwhelming and intense, no matter how prepared I thought I was going to be for it.  There are a lot of issues I need to broach (with a licensed psychiatrist but a huge one is the upcoming birth of my newest baby and the decisions I need to make surrounding it.    

My birth experience with my son was not what I wanted and left me feeling scared of a similar outcome this go around. After speaking with my doctor, we decided the next best step for me is counseling to sort through my feelings.

A big part of my anxiety is my everyday struggle with expectations.  What are my expectations of myself and what do other people expect of me?  I worry more than I care to admit about what other people think of me and what they think I should be doing.

In the words of my partner "fuck them and what they think" but that's always easier said than done.

I'm trying to be more in tune to what I need and tune out more of the (perceived) buzz around me.  

I'm trying to be me.  Still not 100% sure who that is yet…

 

It’s Not You, It’s Me.

Last weekend, I initiated a break for myself from social media.  I’m not super committed to the break so I temporarily deactivated everything with no end date in mind.  I’ve done it before but never from Instagram AND Facebook at the same time.  I have no connection to the social world! What are people doing, eating, and wearing?? Let me tell ya, my phone is less exciting without the social network. But a break was overdue.

I reached a point where I couldn’t feel anything but jealousy, guilt, and a general feeling of unhappiness when checking the updates.  I was comparing every aspect of my life.  Why aren’t I as pretty as her?  Why don’t I dress as nicely as she does?  Why can’t I wear my pregnancy like those women do?  Why doesn’t my house look like that?  Is my relationship and are my kids as good as theirs?  I’m not sure if any of you have reached this point but I felt like I was taking photos just for the purpose of being shared, not just for myself, or for the purpose of capturing the moment to remember.  I’ve always maintained that I stay on Facebook because it’s a connection to friends and family, a lot of which are scattered across this and a few other countries.  Which is true to some degree but at some point, I crossed a line.  I would post a photo and wait to see if people liked my photo. That’s a weird way to feel about a photo of your children.  Kind of takes the magic away, doesn’t it?

The week was not surprisingly hard.  Seriously. WHAT ARE PEOPLE DOING.  It made me realize that I really don’t have a close relationship with a lot of people – which is cool because the people I am in touch with regularly are amazing.  But I should make an effort to be more social (quiet Doug, I can hear you saying “I told you so”).  My break away has also shown me how much time I waste looking at Facebook and reading click bait articles.  I’ve actually read the world news on multiple occasions this week, without Facebook deciding which stories are the most important or prompting me to do so.  Baby steps in the right direction.

I’m sure I’ll end up back on the social media platforms, it’s a great way to stay connected and a perfect way to share blog posts.  But it’s definitely nice to take a step off the grid and remind myself why I loved my life so much in the first place, without someone else clicking a “like” button for me.

Hide The Cookies For Yourself

I’m rounding the corner of my pregnancy and nearing the finish line now which has me spending some time reflecting. Thinking particularly of my pregnancy 3 years ago with my son and how differently I see things this go around and how much I’ve gone through these past few years.  It’s been a humbling few years.  Little humans will humble you, regardless of how they came to be in your life.

Now, please know that I do not think I am a parenting expert AT ALL nor am I someone who should dish out advice.  So think of these as few tips that pertain to parenting, just a heads up. Lessons I’ve learned. Because we’re friends. And we’re cool like that.

  • If you take prenatal yoga, you will spend most of the class trying not to fart or pee your pants.  Don’t let that deter you. Do it, it’s great! I didn’t do it with my first pregnancy and I’m so glad I did it this time around.   I’m just letting you know so it won’t be a total surprise when you need to spend a straight hour clenching your ass while it’s up in the air in front of a stranger.
  • Do not judge other parents for petty shit. Because one day your kids will act up and force you to react the same way.  I promise you will. It’s one of the unspoken laws of parenting.  One day you’ll find yourself telling (yelling) your kid to walk from the car to the door barefoot because you’re DONE reminding them to keep their shoes on until they get inside the home and you don’t care that it’s raining and you’ll really eat your judgy judgmental words.
  • You will neglect your pets.  Don’t panic.  It’ll only be a little bit and it won’t be forever. You will figure out a routine so your pets get walked, fed, and loved like they used to.  Your kids will make it up to them by being sticky and delicious and forever accidentally (and purposefully) dropping snacks for them. It evens out.
  • Once your child is aware that their shirts and pants are in the dresser and can reach them, do not bother folding their clothing anymore. Ever. I mean it. You can ball it up and throw them in the dresser because they’re going to do it for you anyway.
  • Depending on the kid, your nursery will start to look like a bare showroom with duct tape on electrical outlets and teeth marks in bed frames.  Or is that just me?  Am I the only one whose kid is part beaver?
  • It’s okay to feed them fast food. Get the McDonalds or the Dairy Queen or the pizza. Save your sanity and feed the children. They’ll survive to tell the tale. And they will, they’ll tell everyone you fed them chicken nuggets and fries.  And when they tell the story, you’re the hero, not the villain.
  • If you feel like you’re struggling and need help, it’s okay to ask for it. I insist, please ask. Demand help. I will be so proud of you. Like first time your kid goes on the potty proud.   If you feel like you have no one to ask, ask me. I’m officially designating myself YOUR person to talk to, should you feel up to it.  We can sit in silence and watch tv, I can hang with your kids while you have a nice hot bath, we can go for a walk or we can cry together.  Whatever you need. Don’t suffer alone.
  • Hide the cookies for yourself. I know we teach our children that sharing is important, and it is. But sometimes, it’s nice to have something just for you. When you finish a bag of frozen vegetables you can hide the cookies in there. And eat them later in the shower when you’re finally alone.

Just kidding.  I don’t eat cookies in the shower anymore.  I’m a mean mom now, I eat them right in front of my kids and tell them life isn’t fair. Part of the many lessons I’m here to teach.

Like I said, I’m no pro.

Drop me a line and tell me more tips and lessons you’ve learned!

 

When I Grow Up

I’ve always been envious of people who knew what they wanted to do with their lives.  I have many successful friends and family members who are inspiring and have worked hard to get to where they are.  Career goals in their mind’s eye, they managed to stay focused (how? they were so many happy hours?!) and have reached fulfilling places in their fields.

Now, me?  I spent most of my 20s (most, all, whatever) partying while scraping my way through university. I’ve been extremely fortunate to land some jobs I really loved while traveling down my path and met some fantastic friends amongst co-workers.  Even though I don’t regret the steps I’ve taken, I haven’t ended up exactly at a place I’d like to be.  My lack of direction has always been obvious and led me to jobs instead of a career or towards an end goal.  I chose safe or for the moment jobs instead of broadening my views on what I could be doing for a lifetime.

I find myself still struggling to know exactly where and what I want to be. I know I’m smart (not smarty pants smart but I can read a book and write a paper) and there’s always the option of going back to school (hello, student loans). But, for what exactly?

I wish they had guidance counselors for people my age, who will listen to you ramble while you spill your dreams and describe the things you like, then they’d tell you the best career for you. But no. I have to be an adult and figure that out on my own. WTF. If I had that capability, I would have that sorted out by now.  I suppose I could seek out a psychic but who has the money for that.

Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.

Choose a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.

Do what you love and the money will follow.

Passion is the difference between having a job and having a career.

Who do I know that is living one or more of these mantras? How did you do it? Did you always know what you wanted?

I think part of my problem is not knowing myself.  I hid me from me for a very long time with the help of drugs and alcohol. I’m now forced to reckon with myself and uncover some truths and one of them is – who are you and what do you want to be when you grow up.

I’ve started looking at various programs, different schools in my city, and discussing options and opinions with friends and family.  I’m looking inwards to figure out what I enjoy – I realized that analyzing and researching are my jam in addition to reading and writing.  But where does that leave me? The jury is still out on that but one thing is for sure, I haven’t blossomed yet because there’s a lot more for me to learn.  I just need to figure out where to plant my seeds so I can keep growing.