Monday, August 25, 2014

The Pretend Stay at Home Mom

You'll find me at the park on a sunny weekday morning chasing my toddler around while my baby snoozes in the carrier. Or you'll find me walking the mall on a rainy afternoon, the kids and I feeling cooped up needing to get out of the house. I definitely look the part; no make-up, yoga pants, v-neck and flip flops, holding my coffee in one hand pushing a stoller in the other. I can talk about picky eaters, lack of sleep and potty training with the rest of them. But the one conversation I don't join in is when the rest of them talk about waiting for their husbands to get home. Then they'll finally get a break from the kids, maybe even get a shower in. I can't relate to that.

You see, I'm a pretend stay at home mom. I'm the one giving my husband a break, giving him some down time away from the kids. Because once Saturday comes around, it's PowerPoint presentations, meetings and communication plans. It's when I become a working mom again. I say I'm a pretend stay at home mom because my family is in a unique situation. I work Saturday-Monday nights and my husband is the one that stays at home. I get the opportunity to do most things stay at home moms do during the week but still have a full-time job. 

My schedule means my family also has a four day weekend all the time. That's four days we are together going on adventures or just getting caught up at home. In theory, it sounds great. And 99% of the time it is great. I'm grateful to have this time at home with my kids while they are so young. I'm home with them the majority of the time which is amazing. 

When I found out I was pregnant with E, Mike and I never talked about one of us staying home. We just planned on sending the baby to daycare. That's what our parents did so naturally so would we. Mike became a stay at home dad by default, the program he worked for was cut and so was Mike's job. E was just two months old when Mike became a stay at home dad. I don't think either of us thought it would be a permanent gig. But over the past two years that I've been a parent, I realized it's important to me that my children are being raised by an at home parent. I know that situation doesn't work for every family nor does every family feel the same way. So as long as we can financially handle living on one income, one of us will stay home with our kids.

They say the grass is always greener on the other side and that's how I feel when it comes to Mike and my parenting roles. I don't want to be the pretend stay at home mom, I want to be THE stay at home mom. Never in a million years did I ever think I would feel that way. I've been so focused on my career for years, working long hours and stressing myself out to get ahead. But now what I want is to stay home with my two little ones and run our household. I dream of switching places with Mike and I admit, I'm jealous that he gets to do what I want to do.

I'd be lying if I said my jealousy didn't cause stress on our marriage, it does. Mike feels guilty because he knows how badly I want to stay home. He also gets frustrated with me because he thinks I see his role as fun and glamorous. Which I admit, I probably do look at staying home through rose tinted glasses. I'm sure the days are long and can get lonely. I hear the other stay at home moms at the park, counting the hours until evening when their husbands will be home to help out. But I don't care, I'll take the long lonely days over the endless emails and those PowerPoint presentations any day.

Maybe someday I'll get my chance to be the stay at home mom. However, if that opportunity never comes, I know my children are in the best hands possible. They are with their stay at home daddy and for the time being, I will be content being the pretend stay at home mom.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

More than a Jean Size

In my blog a few weeks ago, I mentioned another blog post that really touched me. This  Bridgette Tales blog post got me thinking. You see, I've been struggling lately with body image...again. I've always been on the chubby side and my love of all food and aversion to exercise and the gym contributed to my chubbiness. I was the typical yo-yo dieter, I'd go a few weeks eating perfectly and hitting the gym hard on a regular basis. I'd get frustrated I wasn't seeing results, then I'd give up. Or I would give up when I didn't eat perfectly or skipped the gym for a few days and then in my mind I would think I failed. I repeated this cycle for many years.

As I turned 30, I finally made peace with my body, I allowed myself to feel comfortable in my skin. I was ok with the fact that I was never going to wear a size in the single digits. I would exercise when I felt like it, eat what I wanted within reason (thankfully I enjoy healthy foods) and tried to live an active life. I felt good and thought I looked good.

When I got pregnant with E, I did lots of walking and Zumba during the first few weeks of my pregnancy. But then the tiredness hit and the belly grew and I stopped and never looked back. And I still haven't looked back. It has been a good two years since I've really been to the gym or exercised besides walking.

Now here I am, 33 years old, married and mother of two and I'm back to having insecurities about weight. I thought I was done with this crap. After having two kids in two years in addition to my love of food and aversion to exercise, I am at my heaviest ever. I didn't lose all my baby weight with E, but enough easily came off. I was able to wear my pre-baby jeans by the time I went back to work. When I went back to work after having Cora, I had to buy new jeans because none of mine fit. That's never a fun experience.

But this time it's more than about my jean size, it's about how I feel. I no longer can say I feel comfortable in my skin. I no longer look in the mirror and think I look like my best self. I'm considering my health this time too, I have two amazing kids that I want to be around for. I want to be healthy for them. Yes, this time it's so much more than about the jean size and even the number on the scale. It's about feeling good physically and mentally.

So how do I rid myself of these insecurities? I don't really know but I do know that it will take baby steps and the first step is getting back to a place of acceptance. Accepting the fact that it takes nine months to grow a baby and gain the baby weight so it should take at least that much to lose the weight. I also have to lose the "all or none" mentality. The reality is, I'm not going to go to the gym five days a week. I'm just not so I need to stop thinking I will. In fact, there might be some weeks I don't go at all. But that doesn't mean I throw in the towel and drop my gym membership. I'm lucky we found a really great gym that's through the community center. It's more Average Joe's vs. Globo Gym if you know what I mean. It's very family oriented as well which I love. For the past month I've been enjoying taking spin class and Barre Fusion class. I've only gone six times in the past month, but that's more than in the past two years. The key is, I don't dread going. I wouldn't call myself a lover of exercise but I wouldn't say I have an aversion anymore.

I need the same mentality for my eating. I'm not going to live life without ice cream, chocolate and all other things delicious. So again, accept the fact that I'm going to eat these things and enjoy them in moderation. I could go on and on about moderation blah blah blah. But I'm not a health professional/blogger/enthusiast so I won't. I'm a wife, mother, daughter, friend, working professional and the size of my jeans doesn't impact any of those roles, I'm accepted for who I am. So on those days I don't make it to the gym or I have that second scoop of ice cream, I will not beat myself up, I will accept it and continue to challenge myself to exercise and be healthy because I have a lot in life to live for.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Cora at 4 Months

Cora is four months old today. We just had her check-up yesterday and I hate to brag but the Dr. did say she was quite advanced in terms of her physical ability. Of course Mike and I were beaming with pride. She is quite strong when it comes to holding up her head and she will be sitting up by herself in no time. She is just a wonderful baby and I couldn't be more in love with her.

Here's Cora at 4 Months Old:
  • Weighs 13lbs 12.8oz, 30th percentile
  • 24 inches long, 40th percentile
  • Her eating is sporadic. It seems in the day she eats 2oz here and there but will down 4oz bottles in the morning, middle of the night, and right before bed.
  • Still gets up once in the middle of the night. Sometimes she'll sleep until 5am but some nights she's up at 3am. Again, very sporadic.
  • Loves toys. She likes to grab and chew on anything she can.
  • Rolled over for the first time this week. Goes from back to tummy.
  • Still rockn' it when it comes to tummy time.
  • She is so smiley compared to E. I felt it was like pulling teeth to get E to smile. Cora is always smiling with her whole mouth. I love that big gummy smile!

Friday, August 1, 2014

The Friday Five

Here's what I'm loving this week:

1. Painting
We are one step closer to having a finished basement. My mom and I painted the walls this week. Twilight Blue is the color. The work went really fast with the two of us painting, we got it done in two days. Next step, laying the floor. I will let Mike and his dad tackle that one next week. I seriously can't wait until this project is done.

Basement Wall

2. Wine Tasting
Mike and I went to a wine tasting fundraiser benefiting the Jeremiah Program. My friend Katie volunteers here and we wanted to support her as well as all the wonderful work the charity does. Plus, I needed a night out. I've been in a little bit of a funk since going back to work, and a night out with friends is just what I needed. The wine helped too. There were three stations; a white, red, and a sparkling with two selections each. I tried them all! The restaurant, Tangier, provided delicious appetizers to pair with the wine. It truly was a wonderful event and I hope the Jeremiah Program was able to make some money.

Mike, me, and Katie at the wine tasting.

3. "Exposed by my children for what I look like"
I honestly could not love this blog post more. I saw this being passed around on Facebook and I immediately fell in love with the author and her blog. As a woman who's always been on the chubby side, I could relate. And as a mom who just had two kids in two years, I could relate. But like the author, I made peace with my body many years ago. However, being at my heaviest ever right now, some insecurities have been creeping back in. This post helped me push those insecurities aside. No matter what your size or what body insecurities you have, read this article because I assure you, you'll be able to relate.

4. Granola
My family is obsessed with the Archer Farms Granola lately. E wants some "nola" for breakfast every morning, he has it with fruit. Mike and I love it too. It's great on top of yogurt or just for a snack. We've been going through several bags a week...yikes! Thank goodness it's usually on Cartwheel for an extra 5% off.

5. The Zoo (kind of)
While Mom and I painted, Mike took the kids to Como Zoo with his parents. I'm only kind of loving the zoo this week because the kids had a great time and it was nice to be able to paint without E "helping". But, I missed out on the fun and was a little sad I missed Cora's first zoo trip. I know there will be many more zoo trips in our future so I'm not too bummed.

Lunch break at Como Zoo