“WE were ON a BREAK!”

Could this BE any more hilarious?

Could this BE any more hilarious?

 

If you know me in real life, you know that “Friends” is one of my favorite shows ever (Erin, are you reading this? You better be).

Just kidding, I needed a reason to find this dude because I LOVE HIM

Just kidding, I needed a reason to find this dude because I LOVE HIM

Sometimes a break is the best thing you can do for yourself. Hey, look at the show. They end up together, don’t they? Ya never know.

I’m going through a tough time right now. I feel like I always seem to have something stressful going on, but this is a pretty big one. I don’t want to go into detail because I’m still figuring things out myself. But hey, if you believe in prayer, throw some my way as often as you like!

I’m the kind of person who “stress eats” when I am stressed out. Makes sense! But when I go through really hard times, I have a hard time eating. When I pull myself out of the funk and actually start eating, I still lose weight. That’s becomes the point where I think “Oh hai…you are stressed out like WHOA and need to figure things out. Life isn’t that bad! Get it together and it will be okay.”

I guess I’m the same way with writing. I may go long periods without posting blogs, but I’m still jotting notes, tapping ideas into my iPhone, spinning tales in my mind.

I’ve lost it all because I’m too sad.

One day I won’t be so sad, and one day I’ll write again. But this time, I’ll start with the journals, the notes jotted for me and me alone, the comfort of knowing that it’s okay if others read the words I write.

Until then, thank you. Thank you for always being faithful, for leaving comments that always made me smile, and making me feel that maybe, just maybe, I was good at this writing thing.

I know I’m a good mom, but when I’m this stressed out, I worry it will affect my Boo Boo. She is amazing! In fact, I’ll leave this melancholy blog on a happy note! You’ll get a picture of Baby Anna, and the lyrics to one of my favorite songs ever. It’s the kind of song that makes you happy and sad and seems to apply to your life at random times.

I dress her in pink, people still think she's a boy. I think she's beautiful.

I dress her in pink, people still think she’s a boy. I think she’s beautiful.

 

“Of all the things I still remember, summers never looked the same,

Years go by and time just seems to fly, but the memories remain,

In the middle of September we’d still play out in the rain,

Nothing to lose but everything to gain,

Reflecting now on how things could have been,

It was worth it in the end.”

~ September ~ Chris Daughtry

 

Nothing is forever, but thank you for giving me something to aspire to come back to.

~Jen

 

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Evil, Stinkin’ Mommy Guilt

If you have a child and you work, you have Mommy Guilt. If you have a child and you don’t work, you have Mommy guilt.

Maybe you formula feed and have Mommy Guilt. Maybe you breastfeed and have Mommy Guilt because you can’t give as much attention to your other children. Maybe your child has colic, and you have Mommy Guilt. Maybe everything is going relatively smoothly and you still have Mommy Guilt. Sound familiar?

Moms are amazing. This is a pretty well-known fact, but it’s reiterated when you actually have a child. Men start to see it in the mother of their child, and women start to feel it after they carry and nourish another life, and then continue to nourish that life.

So why do we beat ourselves up? This has been on my mind for a while. I feel that, at almost 15 weeks old, Baby Anna and I have settled into a good routine. She randomly sleeps through the night (yay!), only gets up once a night if she doesn’t, eats like a champ but still has her slender, girlish figure, and is the happiest darn baby I’ve ever known. She is my traveling companion, my partner in crime, and my biggest reason to take care of myself, because I want to do my best at taking care of her.

But sometimes at work, I get a familiar pang and wish I could see her right. now. Not when work is done, not after I sit in traffic to go to daycare. Now. That thought almost always leads to, “You know, you really should just be home with her anyway.”

Wow! Where did that evil nugget come from?

Here’s some background; I have a good job. Actually, a really good job. My boss is flexible and doesn’t micromanage. He lets me leave early often and I pretty much run the schedule myself. Even if we could afford for me to stay home, I would be crazy to let go of a good job that pays well.

Plus, I remember the last few weeks before I returned to work. I was tired, overwhelmed and majorly lacking in vitamin D.

I have a chronic pain condition. It hurts to get out of bed. Carrying around my little pork chop takes a toll on my back. If I don’t have a reason to leave my house, I won’t…especially in winter. I also think I deal with Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Truth

Truth

I’m a better mom because I work. Having a reason to set the alarm early means I feel better because I’m up early. Returning to work has helped me get (almost) back to my normal weight range, and sometimes it’s refreshing to be outside in the cold (don’t tell my husband I said that).

Yet, I still beat myself up for the things I don’t do. When Angel passed away, I did the same thing. I sang the “Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda’s” and cried until I practically made myself sick. It took a conversation with a friend to point out what we did do for Angel. Her last memories weren’t of a shelter, or abuse, or a cold, wet floor. They were of love, a warm and comfy bed, good food, and the best fur-brother anyone could ask for.

Fred is a good helper when it comes to organizing laundry.

Fred is a good helper when it comes to organizing laundry.

Maybe we all need to do this more when it comes to our kids. Feel bad because your husband works  longer hours so you can stay home? Don’t. You’re home with your child. Feel bad because you’re at work and your child is at daycare? Don’t. You’re providing for your child. And if you’re blessed enough to have a similar situation to mine, you have an awesome day care and your little one loves going.

Healthy and happy...must be doing something right!

Healthy and happy…must be doing something right!

So stop beating yourself up. Creating a child, delivering a child and raising a child is a pretty big deal. Odds are, you’re awesome at it. Heck, maybe the most anxiety-ridden moms really are the best, because the crazy voices in their head make them try harder.

Wouldn’t that be nice? Shoot, I would deserve a medal.

Just . . . Stop

I am a self-proclaimed-crappy-journal-writer. When friends post blogs and pull lines or pages from previous journals, it makes me sad. Sometimes I can’t even read the blog. I have a few journals with scattered thoughts, tucked away in a box somewhere. But I do not possess notebook upon notebook. I have more than one, but only one or two that has actually been filled. Instead, all my thoughts are crammed into my head, and it’s no wonder I have a hard time shutting off my brain.

For background, I started out at a young age, writing anything I could write. I copied definitions from the dictionary, just to feel the pen or pencil glide across the paper. I started silly stories, wrote down the things that made me angry, and scribbled other nonsense that only an eight-year-old can dream up.

My scribbles were found, read and scrutinized. My stories were mistaken as a reflection of my real life, my angry ramblings were criticized, and my nonsense was taken out of context and almost ridiculed.

It was hard for me to write again, for a long time. And even though I have worked through a lot of the issues (although, not with the person who gave me the issues), I hesitate to journal.

I know my husband won’t go through my things or read my words, but someone else might, someday. What if I am brutally honest and write the things I am feeling while being pregnant, and my child reads it one day? What if I’m gone, and my words are found, but I can no longer defend my feelings or choices?

I was 14 when my aunt passed away, and her parents read her journals. I remember my mom telling me how upset everyone was by her words. That only increased my fear and anxiety.

I carry my journal in my purse but rarely try to fill its pages. I ache to write more, and the more I write little nothings, the more I want to write blogs, or dabble with the two main books in my head, or try to find a “real job” where I can write (in addition to, not instead of, my current job).

Yesterday I started to write more. It was glorious. I had started lugging my laptop to work again, but I know this will not be feasible when my stomach prevents me from seeing my feet. Sometimes I’ll send myself an email, filled with blog ideas, book excerpts or quotes I want to expand.

Maybe I should email myself my journal. Maybe that will help squash the fear until it’s completely gone. Will it ever be gone?

I won’t know until I stop being afraid. If I wake up every day and tell myself, “You are not afraid of your words being read,” perhaps I will start to believe it. Maybe it’s the same principle as “Choose to be happy, and you will be happy.” My inner snarky self is already laughing at me, knowing it’s hard for me to change.

I’m going to try anyway. I want to write about everything. The beach, working in bridal, basketball, being pregnant, my dogs, my loves, my life. The things I want read and the things I want to keep hidden. The good and the bad, the issues and the triumphs, the family who stayed and the family who flew away.

So I will. If someone reads it and gets offended, oh well. I will never be truly happy with all these thoughts in my head.

And maybe these darn headaches will finally give me some peace.

Weird, Wonderful and Mostly Weird

 

Fact: Women’s bodies were made to have children. Lesser-known-fact: Some bodies are just more “made” than others.

You know who I’m talking about. That pregnant friend you had, the one who glowed, smiled, laughed and giggled for the entire 9 months. Maybe she had morning sickness, but in the midst of wiping the vomit from her chin, declared things like “Even though I feel like crap, this is a miracle and I’m enjoying every minute. I wouldn’t change a thing and life is frickin’ amazing.”

Pregnancy is all about weird stuff happening to your body while amazing things are happening to your body. It’s awesome, strange, confusing and pretty cool. But mostly, in the beginning, it’s just weird.

I’m currently in the four-month-funk. Otherwise known as “constantly wondering if people know  you are pregnant or just think you had too much fun at Chipotle over the weekend.” I don’t really feel pregnant, except for all the yucky stuff. I feel sick every day, walking up stairs is equivalent to a 5K, and I just want to know if it’s a boy or a girl, darn it!

I know when I start showing for real, can finally paint the baby’s room and settle into the “everyone is going to touch my stomach” phase, I’ll probably feel a lot better. For now, at least I can have some fun with all the weird.

Every woman is different, so I’m sure there are some who have never experienced what I have, and there are so many factors I will never experience. But somewhere, I know there is another woman who can say “YES!” about one of my weirdnesses (I am fully aware that is not a word, but I like it) .

Eyebrows

What the crap happened to them? This isn’t an entirely new issue, since my eyebrows started rebelling around the age of 28 (I’m currently 31). However, hormones have turned them into a full-blown-experimental teenager. Some of them want to go up while others want to go down, and they never seem to want these things at the same time. I use my Revlon-eyebrow-wax-stick thing every day, but still find myself running to a mirror to check them out. Who runs to a mirror to check their eyebrows?

Pains

I read that you can feel the baby move extremely early, but most women aren’t aware unless it’s at least their second pregnancy. The closest thing I have felt to movement has been pain. The problem is, when the body feels pain, the brain immediately thinks “Something is wrong!” Since I have fibromyalgia, I have tried to distinguish between “normal” pain and “call the doctor” pain. When you’re pregnant, every pain is the latter. In order to not get blacklisted by your ob/gyn, learn to become BFF’s with Google and Babycenter.com.

Hair

I’d like to file a formal complaint on this one. I have said before that God gave me good hair because He knew how hopeless I would be at styling. Maybe my unborn child is testing my skills, because what was once easy peasy hair is now “Where’s my husband’s razor, because it’s all coming off!”
*Note* DO NOT do anything drastic to your hair while pregnant. You. Will. Regret. It. Thankfully I heard this advice before I hit the second trimester, and my hair remains ugly yet unscathed.

Face

I’m one of those strange women who longs for the complexion of her teenage years. Right around the time my eyebrows went on strike, my face started to become difficult. Again, the hormones have jumped the weirdness into high gear. But, it’s nothing that an expensive online “professional” skin care purchase didn’t fix. Who needs a college savings fund? *sobs*

Nails

Don’t worry, I didn’t forget about the good weird stuff! My nails are amazing. They are strong, grow like weeds and cling to nail polish like never before. Downside? I feel the “need” to take advantage and keep them looking their best at all times, but I royally suck when it comes to at-home-manicures. My nail salon couldn’t be happier.

All these fun weirdnesses have left me feeling rather abnormal. I know that the happy pregnant girls probably experienced something similar, but somehow managed to continue strumming their harps while they braided wigs for children with cancer. They never would have complained non-stop via blog.

The truth is, I’ve never been normal. But normal is boring, right? (That’s what weird people tell themselves to avoid crying into a pint of Phish Food.)

Mmmmmmmm. . .

Overall, I may not be the best pregnant chick, or have the best attitude about pregnancy, but I know I’ll be a good mom. Anyone who stresses, agonizes and obsesses over all this crap has to be good at the final product, right?

Don’t answer that.

Fear the Pregnant Woman, Not Her Pit Bulls

I had hoped this funk would have passed by now, but the more I read about Maryland’s new stupid poopy law, the bigger the funk becomes.

Mom, why so sad? Just look at me, I iz irresisti-bull

This new stupid poopy law (official term from now on) states that all pit bulls are inherently dangerous. Period, done, no questions asked. If two dogs are in a fight and one is a pit bull, the dangerous nature of the other dog doesn’t even need to be questioned. One is a pit and is immediately at fault.

When the you-know-what hit the fan on Friday, I was grateful that my handsome Fred isn’t even a true pit bull. He is half American bulldog and half mutt, with only .44% of that mutt-ness being pit bull.

I'm a lover, unless you taste like bacon ~ then I might lick you to death

Stupid poopy law states the dog must be at least 1% pit bull. Angel, in all her obedient, sweet glory, falls into this category.

Hide yo' kids, hide yo' wife, because a pit bull is learning a new trick!

Let’s think about that one for a second. I wonder how many black labs are walking around with 5% pit inside them? Or Boston terriers? German shepherds? ANY dog can be a mix of a dozen different breeds. One would think that this little tidbit of information would prove how ludicrous this ruling sounds.

I’m mostly German, does this mean I’m going to open a concentration camp? For my Jewish husband’s sake, I hope not! Are all black men in hoodies a threat to our safety?

If a man breaks into my home, I better hope I shoot him before Angel can get a hold of him. Because if she causes him any harm, I am liable for his injuries and he could sue me. Someone could attempt to rape me, but if my pit bull bites him in the ass, I, as the victim, become the bad guy. The dogs that make me feel safe in my house, when I’m walking after dark, or when Alex isn’t home, just became a liability?

Can we eatz a humanz now?

The first thing we did was cancel our dog walking service. I cried. In my current with-child state (and even before), the dog walker was a huge blessing. I didn’t have to worry about being stuck at work after 5, because I knew the dogs had a mid-day potty break, some play time and even a few treats. They learned how to walk well and behave well with someone else. They were socialized, exercised and tucked safely back in their crates.

Now? We can’t trust anyone with them besides us and a few close friends. The risk is just too great. And to be honest, I don’t trust other dogs. There are several neighbors who think they are above the Maryland leash law and let their dogs roam free. If that dog attacked mine, it wouldn’t matter how dangerous the dog was. Mine is guilty until proven . . . guilty.

Between this and the GOP’s war on women, I find it hard to believe we are living in the year 2012. This law was passed because of one pit bull with an irresponsible owner. Interestingly enough, the incident happened five years ago. Five. Funny, something else happened that year that should have proven that maybe humans are responsible for their animals’ behavior. (Cough-Michael Vick-cough) I want to know when people are going to be held accountable for their Chihuahuas, which are some of the nastiest, nippiest little dogs I have ever encountered.

So to all my neighbors, don’t take it too personally when you try to walk near me and I hightail it across the street. Kids? Don’t ask me if you can pet my dogs. They are great with kids, but I don’t know if your kid is great with dogs. Honestly you could probably punch Angel in the face and she wouldn’t even care. But your kid’s fun at the expense of my dog? I don’t think so.

This new stupid poopy law makez me sad

You shouldn’t be afraid of pit bulls. You should be afraid of the people who own pit bulls and see them come under attack. Add in some hormones and you end up with an angry, indignant pit bull lover. We won’t be silenced until you educate yourselves on what is really dangerous; ignorance, hatred and prejudice.

The Weight Debate

One of the first things you notice when you tell people you’re pregnant is how fascinating your eating habits become. I’ve heard everything:

“Eat whatever you want! It’s the only time you can do it!”

“Does everything taste better?”

“Don’t gain too much weight!”

“What are you craving? Anything good?”

“What are your favorites?”

“Is there anything you can’t stand?”

“I craved ‘fill in the blank with every food imaginable.’”

 

In the beginning, eating was a challenge. I learned at my first ob appointment that I had lost 5 pounds, and was actually the thinnest I had ever been. Imagine that! The skinniest version of me, and preggers nonetheless.

So when the doctor told me that a healthy weight gain was about 25-30 pounds, I thought, “Pshhh! Bring it on, Doc.” Then he said they expect you to gain 10 pounds in the first TWENTY weeks. That made me gulp a little. But since food and I were still on a hate/hate basis, no sweat!

When I hit the 12 week mark and noticed I had gained 6 pounds, the sweat began to pour. Buckets! 8 weeks to go with only a 4 pound gain?

In case it wasn’t blatantly obvious, that “Don’t gain too much weight!” I threw in there was from my boss, the plastic surgeon. We had a pretty decent talk about health, weight, pregnancy, etc. He did follow his comment with stating he didn’t judge women who gained a lot of weight, and he understood how hard it must be.

What he said next really sunk in. He said, “Most women, in my experience, feel a bit of a sense of loss after the baby comes. Maybe it’s ‘I don’t feel as sexy now, but I’m a mom, so that’s okay.’ But I will tell you, adding 50 pounds that you can’t lose will contribute to that feeling and leave you depressed. And it’s really hard to lose.”

Darn those doctors for always being so smart! I must admit, part of me wondered if this was a threat in disguise. “Don’t come back to work looking fat and gross!” Gulp, again.

The moment of insanity passed and I knew he was right, and even further, he was just looking out for me. We’ve worked together for over 3 years, and he knows I try to eat healthy (mostly) and I am pretty active with my husband and two dogs.

See? Look how active we are!

But a few weeks ago, my eating habits were just bad. Exercise had become too much of a chore, and I justified my choices because at least I was eating. However, I was choosing to eat more chocolate and less veggies, instead of finding the healthy balance.

Balance. *shakes-fist* I hate that word. I think I’ve always hated it, because I’ve always struggled with it. The cup is either all full or all empty, the sun is either shining brightly or hiding, depressed.

I met with a therapist for a few weeks, and she helped with the concept of balance. I was struggling with family relationships, and she taught me to look at the situation like a car window. You can roll it down just a little, in order to let someone in, but you don’t have to completely roll it down and let them manipulate or take over.

Eating while pregnant is like that car window. When I want chocolate, darn it, I’m going to have it. But a Snickers bar every day is probably not the best idea. Or, if it’s another “Give me a Snickers now if you value your life” situation, I need to make sure I eat a few cucumbers (yes, whole – whole cucumbers) to help make up for it. Last night, I went for a long walk with Hubs and Dogs, chopped up a bunch of veggies for snacks, made myself a big salad for lunch, and took one more bite of the brownie I hadn’t been able to resist.

The truth of the matter is, some women are just naturals at being pregnant. They glow, they feel great the entire time, they radiate with happiness, and their life revolves around the growing child. I am clearly not one of those women. While I want my child to have the best life possible and I will strive to be the best parent possible, I do worry that I will feel that sense of loss. The least I can do (for me and the baby) is not let myself get to a place of being overweight, unhealthy and depressed.

Whether you’re pregnant or not, a balanced life applies. So raise a glass of milk with me (while I pretend there’s Kahlua mixed in) and let’s all stop beating ourselves up. That’s the baby’s job!

The Good, the Bad and the Pregnant!

In case you don’t religiously follow me on Facebook (and why wouldn’t you?!) I am 13 weeks pregnant. I know I’ve been a little quiet lately, but as the world leader in “Worst Poker Face Ever,” I didn’t feel capable of posting without giving away my little secret. If it makes you feel any better, I’ve been avoiding friends-in-real-life in order to not spill the beans.

But now the beans have been spilled! And all I want to write about is my various symptoms, expanding waistline and growing terror. Don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled and excited to be a mom. I’m just not sure my developing child would choose me from a conveyor belt of potential parents.

All that being said, I’ve been thinking a lot about how interesting pregnancy is. It amazes me that every woman experiences this differently, even when she herself has multiple children. So here is my fun-filled list of how much pregnancy changes a woman; good, bad and mind-numbingly-confusing.

  • By the third or fourth trip to the bathroom in the middle of the night, you start to wonder if you’re secretly growing a prostate instead of a baby.
  • Stairs? Forget it. Just have one of those old-people-chair-escalator-things installed and invite your friends over. You may even get away with charging for rides, and let’s face it, you could really use the cash.
  • You cry at everything and nothing. The only reason I even suspected I was pregnant was from sobbing uncontrollably to an episode of “House.”
  • Every woman in your life asks if your breasts have gotten larger. This may not apply if you’re already blessed in that area. In my case, people are pretty darn excited for me.
  • The foods you used to love have now become “Get me a Snickers bar now if you value your life” serious.
  • Pickles and ice cream really are incredibly fantastic. No, not at the same time.
  • You have an overwhelming desire to start a support group for single moms.
  • If you’re lucky enough to be as severely afflicted with road rage as I am, prepare yourself! All logic goes out the window. You want to get out of your car and scream that people are not only endangering your life but the life of your unborn child. (Logic does not, however, tell you that you should now, more than ever, not be getting out of your car and screaming at complete strangers.)
  • Those little irritants of life are now full-blown conspiracies. Everyone is out to get you, everyone is trying to piss you off and yes, everyone sucks.
  • All the baby experts (people, books, websites) admit that morning sickness is total crap. Nausea happens all day, every day, and even when you’re also hungry. Even if you aren’t physically getting sick often, it’s pretty much all you can think about. Other than Snickers bars.
  • Your skin may start to hate you and cry out in rebellion. I had my eyebrows waxed two weeks ago and my forehead is still angry.
  • You start to panic about everything you need to buy. We need a crib! We need to paint! We don’t know if it’s a boy or girl, but clearly we need to buy clothes!
  • You aren’t even showing yet but you’re terrified for the inevitable belly touching. You start researching witty and sarcastic comments to make sure people never touch you again.
  • You question everything. Should I tell the names I have picked out? Will people like them? Who cares? Aren’t they going to judge me on everything else anyway?

I hope the baby doesn’t inherit my sarcasm or obsession with Snickers bars.