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.

 

There She Grows

I like to take up hobby’s and quit them. Not because I’ve given up on myself but because I’m lazy.

My seasonal hobby is gardening. It’s almost perfect for me.  Very lazy-friendly. When spring comes, I can buy plants or try my hand at some indoor planting. When it’s really nice, I can move everything outside and let nature handle do its business all over my greenery. Every once in a while during the summer, I’ll hit up Lowe’s and buy some plants that are on sale/dying and plant them in the yard. Again, their survival is up to nature, I just like to dig.  When fall comes, I forget about the entire gardening process until the sun shines past 5 p.m. again.

I’m not so sure that’s how real gardeners roll but I do what I want.

This spring I’ve been trying my hand at growing vegetables from scraps.  As you may have noticed from me mentioning the on sale and near death plants, I am cheap. Thrifty. Not because I’m great with money but because I spent a lot of time being terrible with money.  I started a regrow station on my dining room table.  It’s a good daylight location and it’s out of reach from the cat and dogs little paws. “Regrow station” is a nice way of saying I put a big box in the middle of the kitchen table.  It’s hideous but it takes up space where I normally throw the mail I don’t want to read and bills I don’t want to pay.

My station started out with a celery stump, yellow onion, green onion, red onion, zucchini, potato, cucumber seeds, pepper seeds, avocado seed, and parsley.

Regrow Station 03.24

I put the pepper seeds on a plate to dry, same with the cucumber seeds. The avocado pit went into a small glass jar filled with water, toothpicks inserted on 4 sides to keep the pointed end in the water, and the old potato slices with a few eyes already growing were set out to dry.  The celery, onions, zucchini and parsley were all placed with the roots in water, not completely submerged. I kept a little spray bottle nearby for spritzing the outside of the veggies in water from drying out.  I checked on them every few days to make sure there was water in the dishes and looked for progress.

It helps to have a giant box on the table in the kitchen (where I spend half my days) – hard to forget to follow-up.

Regrow Station 04.02

After a couple of weeks, I had to say goodbye to a few scraps.  The red onion, zucchini, parsley and cucumber seeds didn’t make the cut.   Not enough roots for the initial three, they just turned to mush.  The cucumber seeds stuck to the clay plate – would have been smarter to use a glass dish. Live and learn.  My potatoes have sprouted, my onions are flourishing and my celery is reaching for the sky!  No action from the avocado or pepper seeds, I’m going to give them some time. Let them ponder on whether or not they want to show their shy, leafy selves to the sun. I dunno what I’m talking about, that’s how gardeners talk in my head.

Check out that onion!
Look at those potato leaves! How do potatoes even grow? Is it underground and you pick it? I’m afraid to google it and discover I’m not really growing a potato.

 

Over here stalkin’ my celery. GARDEN JOKE.

Oh, hello, my little green friends.

 

 

 

Check out those roots!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Growing my own green onion will save me approximately $5 a year, at most. It’s not just about the money. Is it? No, it’s more about giving me a reason to keep the box out.

At the end of the day, my yard always has weeds that I can pull. That also counts as exercise and makes you look like a good neighbor. Little tip from me to you.

What about you guys, any gardening tips or tricks? Will you be growing anything this year?  If you’re a seasoned gardener, let me know! I’d like to grow something fun like strawberries or a giant peach. Kind of like James but without the huge talking bugs.

The Little Zygote That Could

I did it. Well, I don’t know how much of it was necessarily me or just luck.  Maybe it’s fate or simple biology. Who knows, not me.  My body did it.  And I’m thankful.

It held on to a little baby seed. The little zygote that could.

After miscarriages, periods, doubts, fear, and time (seemed like forever – in real life it probably wasn’t), I finally got pregnant. From the second I became pregnant, I knew it. Not in a loving “mama could sense it” way but in a “sick from day one” way.  My body let me in on the secret. A secret to be shared with the porcelain god and anyone within earshot.  I am definitely “lucky” I was unemployed at the time because there wouldn’t have been a chance I could keep it from my coworkers or employer.

It hasn’t been easy so far but I’m not complaining (shut up, Doug).  The sickness was unbearable for the first three months but it’s always sort of a relief to know that the baby is really thriving in there.  I finally stopped acting like the hero I’m not, once I reached month 4 I got a prescription for Diclectin.  I feel mostly like me again! Praise modern medicine!

I’ve been trying to keep my head straight this time around and enjoy all the moments I’m able to, should the present pregnant moment be my last pregnant moment.  I’m not anticipating a disruptive and terrible end. I’m just not wasting my time worrying every single second of every day that something has could go wrong and instead embracing the time that I’m given.

When I was pregnant with my first, I spent every moment in my head. Freaking out. Overthinking everything. (That’s my ‘thing’- did I tell you I’m obsessed a sinkhole will open up under my house? I digress). Did we have enough “stuff”? Did I prepare enough? Am I taking the right vitamins? Am I eating enough “good” food? How can I be a new mom and a stepmom?  My incessant and stressful worrying led me back down the path of depression I’d fought so hard to get out of in my teens and 20s.  I spent the final months leading up to my son’s birth attending mental health counseling and feeling like I was in the dark despite the brightness and blessings of my life around me.  My son’s first year found me struggling through a postpartum depression (PPD) haze, doubting my happiness and indulging in stress.  It took me an additional half year or so to realize I even had PPD and had developed some unhealthy coping skills to manage it (first I was spending money I didn’t have, later I was drinking more wine than I cared to admit).  I’ve made the decision that, with this pregnancy, I’d try to let go of those things I can’t control and embrace the moments along the way.

So, bring on the fun pregnancy photos in the snow. I might even do a maternity shoot this time!  I’ll definitely be writing about my experiences a lot more, even if it’s just for my own eyes.  Every day is not the same and I definitely have to remind myself to chill out and stay present.  For example, I may have freaked out a little bit before my last ultrasound after reading a few stories about children born with 2 heads or imagining there was an alien baby in there.  But I didn’t fall down the spiral. I saw it up ahead and spoke to my partner and the ultrasound technician about my concerns.  That particular spiral is safely in the rearview for now.  The world is safe, there is no Decepticon in my womb.  That would have been cool though, right?

I’ve begun month six and my baby is on track and my health is good – so far, this path is definitely less rocky than the last. I haven’t set up a single thing, purchased anything (we’re hoarders so we do have tons from the other two kids) and have yet to be consistent in taking my vitamins. What I lack in pill form, I make up for in trips to the refrigerator. The bathroom scale can attest to it.

I’m just human.  No path is the same as another, nothing is perfect and no one knows exactly what to do or what they’re doing.  It’s better to accept those imperfections as best you and I can and move forward rather than try to pretend they don’t exist.  Trust me on that one.

Toby

Our family has experienced a lot of changes the past few months. Change is good albeit a bit stressful and overwhelming but, for the most part, it’s good.

I’ve been wanting to write about Toby, our newest fur baby, for awhile but things have been crazy so here I am now.  While still trying to conceive and assuming it wasn’t going to happen (more info in another post), I decided that I needed an additional dog.  Toby’s photo came my way across my amazing friend, Sarah.  She’s a volunteer for Protection Pitbull in Montreal, a Pitbull advocate, and an all-around wonderful person. When transporting Sir Toby to the vet to have his manhood snipped she dropped his pic my way and let me know that Toby is an amazing family dog who needs to be adopted out of Montreal due to the Pitbull bylaw newly in effect (Coderre, you’re a loser).

It just so happened that Toby would be going into the care of BARCs Rescue in Calgary.  What are the odds?! That means it’s fate, right?! So, without consulting my partner or discussing with my family, I emailed the rescue and submitted an application to become a foster.  Within a week or so, I was officially signed up as Toby’s foster mom with the option to adopt. (At this point, I did consult my partner. I am a mostly responsible adult.)

After some paperwork sorting and reading lengthy literature about fostering that nearly put me off the task, Toby boarded a West Jet flight to Alberta.  I excitedly packed up some dog food and toys and headed to the airport roughly 40 minutes early, just in case he happened to get in ahead of time. When has a flight ever arrived early?

I’d like to say it was love at first sight but I’m no fool. It was definitely like and a little bit of fear at first sight.  Toby is big. Much bigger than my Bichon/Mini-Poodle mix.  A big, sturdy, quiet dog was wheeled out of the cargo hold in an ever bigger dog crate and my first thought was,

“There’s no chance I’m fitting that thing in my vehicle with the dog inside”.

The crate just fit on its side and Toby squeezed his way in beside it.  I fed him food from my hand and he quietly sniffed out the window during the drive home.  That was just the beginning of us making things work.

Our family has tried their best to speak to this gentle giant in our best Quebecois-French accent to make him feel welcome and at home and to let him know that we are friends, not foe.

Toby’s presence has been a lesson in patience and kindness.  We are all not so different, this dog and I.  He definitely has some anxiety around large groups and can feel protective and scared about the unknown real quick.

I get it, man. Preaching to the choir.

He’s misunderstood by his smaller and older canine companion in the house when he’s not trying to fight but simply trying to play.

I hear that bud. Sometimes, they just don’t get me either.

And his favorite thing to do is eat, find food to eat, steal food to eat, get treats to eat.

Oh, my dog, my best friend, we are not so different at all.

If you can adopt or foster, check out these resources below.

http://barcsrescue.com/index.html

https://www.petfinder.com/

http://www.protectionpitbulls.com/