Thursday, July 24, 2014

The things we say

I just had my third baby girl 2 months ago.

This time around, I'm even more relaxed. At ease. Confident in my parenting abilities.

And yet, while I feel good about my role as a mom, I also feel very much like a 'new mom' at times. 

Once again, I'm rounder. Heavier. Tired. Often sporting a messy ponytail and clothes that don't fit as well as I'd like.

I cry easily. I have raging hormones that cause me to sweat and lose hair and develop strange skin conditions.

Needless to say, I'm once again feeling kind of crap about my appearance.

Because this is my third time around the block, I know what to expect. I know that I'll hold onto the weight and look a little bit less like the old me and more like the moms from Saturday Night Live's "Mom Jeans" parody for a while. I know that it won't take months for me to feel and look like I want again - it'll take closer to years. And I know that it's all okay, because I've grown a human and now I'm sustaining that sweet little incredible being with my body.

But that doesn't make some things hurt any less.

A few days ago, I ran into someone I used to work with but hadn't seen in 4 or 5 years. A woman I barely knew - but knew she was nice enough. A working mom who I sometimes crossed paths with in the office. Pretty. Thin. Very nice smile. She asked what I was up to now and when I smiled and said I was on maternity leave, she gestured towards my body and said "I could kind of tell".

I could kind of tell.

I was shocked into silence at the moment and just smiled at her awkwardly until we were able to come up with an excuse to no longer stand there making small talk. And for the rest of the day, I couldn't help but replay that encounter over and over again in my mind.

It hurt.

It hurt me that someone would point out to me that my body is less than perfect (something I already know) rather than congratulate me, or even just pretend to be happy for me. It hurt me that a fellow mom would say this to me. A fellow mom - which automatically made her someone I had an unspoken kinship with.

Yes - I could give this person the benefit of the doubt and say that maybe she didn't mean it the way it came out. Or maybe she's socially awkward. Or maybe she was even just referencing my tank top and lulu pants - widely known to be the uniform of the stay at home mom. 

Except. I can't unhear "I could kind of tell". And it will always be in my head that maybe she meant it the way I think she meant it. That I looked like a messy, heavy new mom. 

And while I'm reading all the articles about the importance of moms getting into pictures with your children and loving yourself and never letting your daughters hear you say you're fat and ugly - I'm wanting to believe it and live by it and pass it onto my children. I think to myself, "Yes! I am perfect the way I am."

And then someone gestures towards my round stomach that's sticking out over the top of my pants. And I'm sent into a shame spiral.

Which makes me realize... we women have a long way to go yet. 

We may tell each other that we have to love our postpartum bodies. We may tell each other that we need to end the "Mommy wars" and stop judging each other. We may tell each other that we need to stop telling our daughters that beauty is very, very important.

But we also tell each other that we're fat.

And that makes me so sad. Not just for myself, but for all new moms who see a completely different person staring back at them when they look in the mirror every day.

I don't really know what the solution is. I don't know what I would say to that woman if I could. But I do know that in a few weeks, when my 4 year old asks me to go swimming with her at the cottage, I'm going to put my bathing suit on and go.

I may still have hurt feelings. But I'm not going to let my little girls know. I will not let the power of words overshadow the joy of being a mom.

Rounder. Heavier. Feeling unsure of my appearance. But always proud to be a mom.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

An open letter to my perfect daughter Lauren

Dear Lauren,

Today I dropped you off for your third-ever day of daycare. You only go twice a week, so adjusting to part time daycare can be hard. But I still wasn’t prepared for you to cry so much and reach out for me as I left the room.
You see, you’re an independent little 19-month old. You love to play on your own or follow Anna around. You like snuggling, but you don’t always want to be chased around for kisses and hugs. (You get a little annoyed when I insist on kisses in the morning when you first wake up.) You aren’t really attached to me the way Anna was (you’re quite happy to have Grandma or Daddy cuddle and hug you. In fact, sometimes you seem like you prefer them). So when you reached out for me today because you didn’t want me to stop holding you, it broke my heart.

Yes, the rational side of my brain knows you’re having a great time there. You love all the toys and being around other kids. You eat and sleep and have fun and then come home. It’s all good.
But the emotional side of me doesn’t ever want to let go of you when you’re willing to let me hug you and hold you and comfort you.

When I pick you up and you throw yourself into my arms because you’re so happy to see me – it’s the absolute best part of my day.
When I snuggle with you as you drink your bottle of milk before you go to bed for the night, I get to stare at you. I touch your soft little feet and hands. I run my fingers through your curly hair. I look at your eyes and your cute little nose. Another great part of my day.

And the reason I’m writing this letter to you now is because sometimes life just feels like it’s rushing by. Like a river with a strong current. Sometimes I feel like I’m going to turn around and you’ll be grown up, with friends and school and a busy life. And those times when you reach out for me will be even fewer and far between.
(But I want you to know that that’s absolutely okay. You are just perfect to me. You don’t have to be glued to my side for me to know that you love me. You’re amazing and wonderful and smart and silly. And I hope you know how I feel about you).

But I also want you to be able to look back one day and know that there was one morning in July, when you were just a wee toddler, that your Mom cried in the car all the way to work because she loved you so much. And that no matter what you do, where you go, or who you are – I will always feel that way.
I will always reach back for you, Lauren.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Useful advice

Hello lovely Mamas. How are you on this fine morning?
Alright, now that that’s out of the way – enough with the niceties and on with the recounting of tales of my kids’ lives for your amusement/enjoyment/to pass 5-10 minutes of your day away.
My 19 month old is teething like a mofo. Poor thing must feel awful. When she’s not crying or fussing, she’s shoving her hand in her mouth and holding it there. (Heart. Breaking.) Sometimes she wants to be cuddled. Other times she’s mad and wants nothing to do with us. Unless we have Popsicles.
My 3 year old is super funny and cute lately. She wants to hug Lauren to make her feel better. Lauren generally wants no such support.
So, lately, Andrew and I spend most of our time trying to distract Lauren and breaking up sibling fights.
And then comes bedtime.
Last night, for what feels like the 100th night in a row, Lauren required me to rock her to sleep until she was out cold. This from the child who loves her crib. The child who will drink a bottle of milk, go to bed and either fall asleep instantly or happily talk to herself for a while before falling asleep.
Now? She thrashes around and screams and cries if you dare to put her down before she’s asleep. Yet, while you hold and rock her, she plays with my face, pulls on her eyelashes, taps her feet together and other such fidgeting. Also? The kid REFUSES to shut her eyes. They can be rolling around due to complete exhaustion and she will STILL try to force them to stay open.
She is slightly irrational.
Anyway – so things have been stressful at my house as of late. And while I was scouring the parenting articles to try and find some tips for getting through this stage, I came across this useful tidbit:
“Reduce what is making you exhausted”.
Oh. Oh, thank  you. THANK YOU so much for this helpful advice. I had never thought of trying to get Lauren to sleep without me needing to rock her for 2 hours. You know what? I will try that tonight! I will reduce my exhaustion by putting her to bed with no screaming and then skipping off to bed myself.
And by “putting her to bed with no screaming and then skipping off to bed myself” I in fact mean “putting her to bed with much screaming, caving and rocking her for 2 hours and then running to the kitchen for a glass of white wine, followed by a marathon of Keeping Up With the Kardashians just because I need some non-thinking alone time to myself on the couch.”
That should work, right?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

This Dad's Life

So, in the last post I blogged about my un-fun husband. While everything I said was true, I now feel that as Father’s Day approaches, it’s only right to blog about some of his most awesome moments. After all, despite his quirks, he is a pretty cool guy.

Therefore, I give you the following: One of my all-time favourite Andrew moments.
After a full night of staring at her newborn face in the hospital, we were finally allowed to bring our wee, first-born Anna home. Andrew and I were both nervous about the responsibility. To say we were unsure of ourselves is an understatement.

I remember putting her on the floor of her bedroom in her car seat and staring at her tiny, little 6 pound body. Andrew and I looked at each other with “What now?” written all over our faces.
I was tired. Andrew was tired. We needed sleep after the previous day and night. And that’s absolutely what an experienced parent would do.

“Should we take her out of her seat?” I asked – desiring to cradle her soft, beautiful body in my arms. Sleep could wait.
“Sure. I’ll hold her,” Andrew answered back.

He knew I felt very strongly about getting a lot of skin-to-skin time with Anna – so I held her, half-naked, pretty much non-stop at the hospital. But I also felt strongly about Andrew getting the chance to try out “The Warm Fuzzy” I’d read about in a baby book. Skin-to-skin time for Dads (who are, more often than not, fuzzy) and babies = The Warm Fuzzy. Can you get any cuter?
So Andrew took his shirt off, sat down on the glider in Anna’s room and held his arms out for me to place this little fragile being in them. After removing her sleeper and getting a blanket to cover her up with, I gently, carefully placed her on Andrew’s chest.

After a moment, his entire body relaxed. I watched him put his head back on the glider as he let his eyes close.
He was home.

When he opened his eyes to look at me, they were glassy and red. I started crying. We both started laughing.

“This feels really nice,” he said to me.
And that was the moment. He was a Dad.

Ever since then, Andrew’s been the fixer of boo-boos, the horsey to ride on, the maker of the yummiest pasta. And the most patient, loving Dad of two wild and woolly little girls.
He may not always pick his battles with the girls, but his steadfast love for them has been undeniable since the beginning.

Happy Father’s Day, Andrew. You’re pretty darn incredible.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Why my husband isn't the Fun One

I love my husband.

It's like looking into my home at 5pm every day.
He is a fantastic, hands-on daddy. He's been involved in dirty diapers, kissing boo-boos, putting the baby to bed and all the other many things that come with parenting since day one. He does it all and doesn't complain. Seriously.

He's cheerful. He's easy-going. His daughters adore him. (Sometimes it borders on annoying when we argue and I want to hold a grudge for, say, 15 minutes, but he's already whistling and calling me "hun" by the time our yelling has ended.)

Anyway. There's something looming (that his mother will probably dislike me for...)

And that is a big... fat... but.


He's so fantastic, BUT I really wish he could just take the path of least resistance with our toddler sometimes. Just once. (Okay, maybe twice.)

In parenting, you gotta pick your battles. As I'm sure we all know, it's really not worth it to fight over everything. Sometimes you have to stand your ground and tell your child no, they can NOT wipe their face on the table. Other times? If you think it'll avoid a battle - sure, have that popsicle right after breakfast. If it means I can drink my coffee hot for once.

But when it comes to Daddy, it's his way or the highway. Which really surprises me.

When I was pregnant, I remember thinking "He's totally going to be the Fun One. I'm going to be the one to tell the kids to brush their teeth while he rolls on the rug with them and tosses chocolate bars into their wide-open, laughing mouths."


Instead, he argues with our 3-year old over almost everything. And the problem is? He will only win about 1/4 of the time. We have a toddler/preschooler. She is not rational. She does not make sense 90% of the time. When she wants her cereal in a red bowl, you better not try to talk her out of it, dammit. Because SHE WILL MAKE YOUR LIFE MISERABLE.

Yet, I seem to be able to find a way to reason with her most of the time. And, as you probably know if you read this blog, I so do not have the whole parenting thing figured out. I'm no toddler-whisperer.

But I'm bigger than Anna. And my 34 years in this world have fortunately made me a touch wiser than my 3-year old. And, therefore, I can tell her that the red bowl is dirty, but OH MY GOODNESS! YOU'RE SO LUCKY because the BLUE bowl is clean! I wish I could use the blue bowl. My cereal fits into it just right. Amazing!

So, as fantastic and great and wonderful a Daddy as he is, my husband drives me crazy on a near-regular basis.

Which leads me to the conclusion that he derives some sick pleasure from seeing me lose my hair at a rapid pace.

Or... he's a man.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Another Top 10 Round Up

No time for full & proper sentences today. Instead! A list that has shown me just how dull and mundane my life really is...

Top 10 most boring Facebook status updates made by me

10. Spinach, banana, plain yogurt, strawberries, blueberries, mango and chia seeds. Mmmmm.....

 9. 1979 by Smashing Pumpkins is on.

 8. Date night with the hubster for my birthday!

 7. 6:39 pm and I haven't eaten dinner yet.

 6. Off to work...

 5. I haven't watched Grey's in years and years.

 4. Burlington peeps: Bell or Cogeco for TV and Internet?

 3. Run Tuesday. Spin Wednesday. Run Thursday. Rest for the weekend.

 2. Almond milk... not bad. Figs? Ew.

 1. What should I have for breakfast?

Friday, April 19, 2013

Top 10 Round-Up

We're busy people, us Moms. Sometimes we only have a quick minute to scan an article. Yet, I still have very important things to share with you people. Which is why I bring you the following "top 10 round-up". Very weighty issues - at a glance.

Without further adieu...

The 10 grossest things my kids have done
1. Licked a toilet.
2. Ate a cheerio off a hockey rink floor.
3. Picked my nose.
4. Ate cat food.
5. Found gum at the park and chewed it.
6. Swished her hands around in the toilet water.
7. Sucked on the “business end” of the nasal aspirator.
8. Licked her sister’s face.
9. Pooped on the floor.
10. Had “ketchup fingers” for lunch. (Ketchup fingers = licking ketchup off her fingers).