Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I Love Guest Bloggers!

You guys know that I love, love, love Anne from AJD+three. She inspires me in so many ways. Possibly the biggest is when I get down about being a full-time working mama and feel stretched to my absolute limit, I can think about her being a full-time working single mama, putting herself through law school. It doesn't get tougher than that, ladies and gents, which is why I feel that this post of hers in particular should not only win some awards, but also be able to be entered as an essay on any job application she is filling out!

Without further ado, ENJOY!


Why “Mom” Should be Considered a Job Asset

First, I want to start off my saying I am honored to guest post for Ali. She is a good friend and a great blogger. I racked my brain for something interesting, witty, funny, and captivating to share with you all today….well, you get this instead, as I have discovered I blog best when I am blogging about what strikes me.

Those of you familiar with my blog know that I am unemployed and I like to keep it real. Reality for me is, I have been job searching for over a year and the “gap” in my employment history has become quite an issue. I am volunteering to plug the hole a bit, but really, employers know that I just can’t find a job.

You know what I think though? I should be permitted to plug that hole with the job title “Stay at Home Mom.” I should be able to write down: “Completed work projects after traditional work hours.” Or maybe: “Mastered multi-tasking amongst multiple high priority tasks with a high rate of success.” How about: “Obtained good results working with high demand clients.” Those are all necessary, useful and impressive job skills, right?

Well, unfortunately, in my profession and in many others, being a stay at home mom not held in a positive light. In my field specifically, as an attorney, many firms consider having a family to be a negative attribute, as that family may take time away from working. Despite working a job that often is done thanklessly and without pay (aside from the unemployment, of course), I cannot say that I have worked during this past year. I simply must leave that year blank.

How screwed up is this? I know all moms, those who work from home, stay at home, work outside of the home, work very hard to maintain their homes, raise their children, be good wives or partners and still keep a part of themselves. I find it really difficult to fathom why work as important as child rearing is often not considered valuable work experience or history to hiring managers out there.

I am not naive enough to believe “you and I can change the world” or anything of that sort. I know that when I wake up tomorrow that my resume will still end in June 2009. But I also know that I appreciate my accomplishments. I have learned a great deal from staying at home. I have gained many hard to acquire skills.

So to me, those skills, my friends, are job assets.

Friday, July 23, 2010

This post was going to be titled "Say Goodbye to my Little Friend"

Because when I made this decision on Monday, today was supposed to be my last day pumping. I was going to go home, throw out all my flanges, and put this monstrous leather bound box with a strap on a very, very high shelf and forget about it. We are 2 days away from the one-month-countdown to birthday, and for the next 9 days I will be by my little guy's side 24-7 (well, except maybe a date with hubby one night) so I decided that I would pump this week just to keep my supply regulated so I can feed him those 9 days.

My supply has steadily decreased over the last 7 months. Working full-time and nursing just don't mesh easily. Am I proud of myself for sticking this out so long? Of course! Am I hoping that my boobs and Jacob's wishes will allow us to still nurse twice a day for the next 6 months or so? Absolutely! But it's so disenheartening to pump only 4 oz a day, and earlier this week I reached the point where it was taking 20 minutes to let down. Not good for the nips in any way, shape, or form. It even hurt to nurse him because I was so sore from pumping.

This combined with the fact that he has taken straight formula bottles a couple of times recently and happily consumed them, when before he would reject a bottle if there were not at least 2 oz of breastmilk mixed in, made the decision a little easier. That and the fact that a guardian angel whose son turns one this weekend sent me two boxes of Similac and only asked me to pay shipping. I even knew it was the right decision at the right time, because instead of feeling guilty as I did a couple of months ago when I considered stopping, I felt nothing but sweet relief. Imagine not having to lug a pump, a cold bag full of ice packs and pump accessories and milk, and my purse to work every day. And home every night. And if we weren't going straight home, I had to carry that dumb bag around everywhere to keep my milk cold.

Well, as usual, my breasts have had a resurgence, causing me to reconsider my grand plans. Every day this week, I have taken home between 6-10 oz, an amount unheard of a month or even two months ago. I just pumped and got 7oz in one sitting. I swear I haven't done that in nearly 5 months. In fact, I only brought two storage containers, and this will fill both, so I have to scrounge around to figure out what to do for storage when I pump this afternoon. I mean, I guess this is great news, because now I should be able to ride out just 3 more weeks when I return to work.

And I can say that my son was primarily breastfed his first year. But you guys know I gave up labels long, long ago. So, I guess we shall see...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Thank You For Breaking My Heart

This is a very, very personal post. One my husband might or might not want to read. I mean, I'd like for him to stick with it for the eventual outcome, but the beginning might be difficult. In any case, here goes...

I was in love with a boy once about 8 years ago. No, 9...I can't remember exactly. It was long enough ago that sometimes things that happened pre-him seem closer in my memory. Anyway, we'll call him Michael because today's The Office desk calendar quote comes from another Michael. Michael lived six hours away, and I met him through one of my very best friends, who is still a good friend. They went to high school together and kept in touch, and one night I was hanging at her place and she happened to be on the phone with him. She had to pee, put me on the phone with him, and the next 11 months were history.

Our relationship was normally intense for people in their early 20's. I would go visit, we would play house, and everything just felt symbiotically right. We enjoyed each other's company. We read literature and the newspaper on the porch in the morning and went out to drink beer and play pool at night. The weekend would end, I would come home, I would miss him, I would always wonder whether he missed me as much. This went on for about 9 months, during which time I gradually began to feel like maybe he wasn't as emotionally invested as I was. Michael was a very outgoing yet private person. Everything needed to be face-value with him...there were no hidden agendas, there was no secret meaning to his words. Although my husband cringes when I say this, he was probably one of the most intelligent people I have ever met. In retrospect, I felt very threatened by that and probably never really let myself be myself with Michael. I always wanted to impress him, and that's not necessarily what he wanted.

Looking back, I was probably just smart enough for Michael. He didn't mind laughing with me if I made a dumb statement, as long as I was willing to laugh at myself. That's part of what I have with my husband that some of my previous relationships were missing: that feeling that no matter what I do in front of him, I can laugh it off or cry on his shoulder. That's the experience that a 30-something has that 20-somethings are often missing. No more embarrassment when I forget how to convert cups to ounces or can't remember if Ed McMahon is dead or not. But ten years ago, that side of me was missing. If I made a mistake, one of two things happened: I got embarrassed, sensitive, and withdrawn, or I got haughty and defensive. (OK, honesty check: I still sometimes do those things, but not nearly as often and I'd like to think I get over them more quickly.)

Rgeardless, as much as I desperately wanted the relationship to work out, I guess God had other plans. I was second in Michael's life to one thing, and that was his career. He was very, very proud of where he had gotten, and made it very clear that while he cared for me, I was not his priority. Looking back with the perspective of an older woman, I realize that that's OK. He was 24. What 24 year old is thinking about his long-distance girlfriend more than his perfect-fit, lucrative job? But as a 22 year old in near-idolitrous love, it hurt to know that I would never be more than second in this man's life. So when Michael moved to California for work and did not entertain the idea of me moving with him (because believe me, I did entertain it whether I was honest about that or not), I stayed home. I stayed home and cried every night to my best friend and his roommate, searching for an outlet for that pain and hurt.

And in the end, it all turned out just as it should have. Because that roommate that was there every night I visited my friend to talk/drown/cry away my pain? That is the man that became my husband. The father of my wonderful, beautiful, intelligent child. My partner in life, my lawn boy, my other half. Equally intelligent as I am in the most complimentary ways and able to make me laugh more than anyone I've ever known.

So thank you Michael, for not asking me to move in with you. For not putting me first. For breaking my heart. For making me recognize the parts of myself that needed a different kind of fulfillment than you could ever provide. That's exactly what you were supposed to do all along.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Travelling...With Children

I guess I've been reflecting a lot lately on before and after mom-dom because I'm nearing that one year mark ever so quickly, and since little man is now starting to talk, walk, and be generally more self-sufficient than I think I'm ready for, I have more time to reflect on just how different reality versus my expectations of parenthood are.

I think I feel the opposite way of what I heard before having a kid. I heard a lot of "you will never sleep/eat/have a romantic date again" and while I get that for some people looking back at their child's first year, that may be what it feels like. But I feel so much more fulfilled, settled, and just right. I'm pretty sure I underestimated my own abilities as a mother before my son was bored. I had a lot of "wow, is this really going to work" moments during pregnancy. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it and I basked in the attention, the coddling, the thought of those last few months to be a family of two and a dog, but I also wondered what would happen when my monthly "free" nights to have a bath, order Indian takeout, and watch a chick flick alone in my house disappeared. I feared that I would be resentful to my son for this loss of freedom and personal space.

While on vacation at the beach last summer, I watched other mothers as they chased their kids around, making sure they had sunscreen on and/or didn't poop in the sand. They couldn't kick back and read a book while catching some rays. They had to drag so much more crap down to the beach...umbrellas and cabanas and cooler bags and extra towels and beach toys and a hat and a rash guard was never ending. At night, I took as much time reading in the recliner as possible because I just knew it would be the last vacation where I would be free to do that all I wanted. I thought I would dread this year's vacation because I would finally realize how much my mom's "vacations" had really been harder work than she did at home all these years.

But, as we're getting ready to take one of these beach trips soon, I find that I am in a totally different place than expected. The thought of 9 days with my son, husband, parents, and sister's family sounds amazing. I may be more excited for this vacation than any other. My son is going to hang on the boat with Pops. I will have built in babysitters for the evening that my husband and I choose to go out for a nice dinner and walk on the pier. I get to take my baby to Cape Lookout and show him the fun I enjoyed growing up. We can play in the sand (which I've always secretly loved to do anyway, even after I was kind of too old to do it alone). I don't care that I have to load a pack n play, high chair, and other assorted baby junk into the trunk of our sedan.

And, after he goes to bed exhausted at 8:30 each night, I can spend all the time I want in that same recliner, reading a new book.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

More About How Experienced I Am...

Last night, a younger friend dropped by to pick up some baby stuff for her sister that is visiting. We are loaning our infant carseat, stroller frame, bouncer seat, etc. to her so that she doesn't have to try to navigate the airport with her 4 1/2 month old son and assorted crap that comes with having a 4 1/2 month old. This, combined with the fact that her little sis is planning her wedding, made me think about how obssessed I have been over certain things in the past. We talked about all the wedding magazines and shows and bridal salons she has checked out, and it brought me back to that time when NOTHING WAS MOE IMPORTANT THAN ME PLANNING MY WEDDING! But that is a different story. Let me tell you about some baby things I no longer need to obsess over.

Baby food. Remember my tiny Sprout giveaway? Well, I became a fan of Sprout on facebook and they sent me a box of 6 assorted pouches. "Cool," I thought, and then immediately followed that up with, "what the hell can I do with this?" Too little, too late, for my child who ate baby food for about 2.7 weeks until we switched to a modified baby-led weaning plan. "Well, maybe I'll do another blog giveaway?" Then I remembered that out of everyone who reads my blog, only about 3 of them have babies eating baby food still, and I know two of them in real life. So lucky them! They each get 3 pouches of Sprout!

Baby legs. Thank GAWD I never gave in to this obsession. I got my baby steals email today and nearly shuddered at the thought. Why was I so concerned with these? Seriously? Leg warmers for babies? I do give myself was winter, and diaper changes were tough enough as he started wriggling and squirming. Now it's summertime, 90+ degrees every day, and the most laughable thing I can imagine to put on my son are freaking leg warmers.

Baby toys. Because once we hit standing/cruising status, I realized it doesn't matter. I could fill his toybox (okay, he doesn't have a toybox, which is something I should put on his birthday list) with empty water bottles, old pans, toilet paper, the dog's tennis balls, and anything he can "drive" across the floor like a car and he would never know that those huge exersaucer/jumper/sports center monstrosities even existed. Come to think of it, if I just emptied out our large cooler that would make a perfect toybox, because that's his favorite household item at the moment.

Assorted diaper bag crap. I forget to pack a bib half the time. I forget to pack diapers sometimes. My kid only has one sippy cup and it's usually dirty (after hummus and baked beans dinner last night I get the heebie-jeebies to think about it's status right now...and I'm kinda worried it's where the dog can get to it, so he may have 0 sippy cups when we get home tonight). I think his burp clothes and receiving blankets are long gone. He only poops once a day in the AM, so I rarely have more than 3 wipes on hand. Honestly, I don't even know what else we used to keep in that thing.

What have I replaced these things to obsess over with? Well, you know there is always something!

Baby shoes! He got his first 2 pairs about a month ago, and it was love at first sight for all of us. So far he's a Robeez baby, but we are expecting these in the mail any day (thanks again Now, I was following the hippie standards with the "barefoot is best" mantra for a while. But then I got tired of having the dirty-little-feet baby out in public. And Jacob got really tired of not being able to get down and boogie in public. And my husband got tired of me letting our son crawl on the dirty floor in public. So we have shoes!

Birthday parties. Now, anyone on any mom website with any child between the ages of 6-12 months knows that this is the hottest. topic. ever. I'm not that mom. This will not be a debutante ball, coming out party, or showcase for mom. My kid will not have a separate "smash cake outfit" or $25 cowboy hat to wear in pictures. In fact, he will only have a smash cake because Harris Teeter will give him one free. He will likely be naked or mostly naked when we put the cake in front of him. I am making his real cake/cupcakes. I am ordering his invites online for cheap. (I need to get on that, actually). I will buy paper plates and silverware at Wal-Mart or Target. Despite how much I love what some of these Etsy sellers are doing, I'm just not paying a ridiculous amount of money for all this specialized paper crap that I will have to set up and tear down anyway. Just grilling hamburgers and hot dogs in a local park with a playground. But that doesn't mean I'm not getting excited about the "theme".

Yogurt. Seriously, do you know how hard it is to find full-fat Greek yogurt?

Big boy pajamas. He wore his first pair last night, and when I went to get him at 6:45 AM, my "baby" was leaning nonchalantly in the corner of his crib, smiling at me with his elbow propped on the rail. How have we gotten here so soon? He is now the oldest kid in his baby daycare room. He's going to move up any day now, we're only waiting for a space at this point. His teacher told me this morning that she's started taking him over to "visit" because he gets bored in the little baby room. more onesies, no more footie pajamas. Walking will come any day now.

And I will have to start saying "I have a toddler".

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Dear Bewbs...

I am only asking for 6 more weeks. 6 more weeks of pumping twice a day at work, 6 more weeks of nursing 4 or more times a day on the weekend (that will be the hardest to let go), and I know you can do it. After that, you only have to work between the hours of 7PM-7AM, and you will get a break the rest of the day. You can be my little vampires and sleep peacefully all day, if you can just hold out and give me at least 6oz a day for 6 more weeks.

Pretty please? I'm just not ready to give up on you yet, but you are making it really tough to love you right now. I appreciate everything you've done, and I know Jacob does, too, but the last 6 months have been tough and at times, fruitless. As much as I am dreading the W-word and the long transtition we will take with that, I am at least ready to admit that 1 year is enough for my full-time nursing attempts. Things would be different if we were home all day, but this working and pumping...I am so, so over it.

Especially when I spend 15 minutes crouched at my desk, typing one-handed, to only get 2 ounces.

We can do a little better than that, right?

Monday, July 12, 2010

You Can Only Please Yourself

I think I finally feel like I'm not a "new mom" anymore, like I've got this thing called parenthood mastered and I'm in the advanced level instead of the beginner one. Of course, I am well aware that whenever that happens, God or Jacob or fate or whoever is in charge of this cruise ship will roll a stumbling block my way, put me in check, and say "not so fast there girlie". Like, this morning (and the last few weeks if I'm being honest) I can tell that the breastfeeding is an instant soother. It is such a big part of our wake-up and bedtime routines that I am really unprepared for the moment in the next 6 or so months when we all realize that is no longer an option and I have to figure out a different plan for those occasional 2AM nightmares. But we're not there yet, so...

Here is some advice for my new mom friends, or those trying to start down that journey.

Basically, it boils down to: people suck, and YOU are the mommy.

That's right, no matter how you look at it, and how hard other people try to stay out yo biz-nass, there will always be SOMEONE telling you what you should or shouldn't be doing, or at the very least giving you the side-eye when you give your 10 month old a breadstick at Pizza Hut. The most important thing to remember is this: people have advice, opinions, and experience, and it's ok to lean on that sometimes when you feel lost and overwhelmed. But when you got it, you got it. Mama instinct is a pretty powerful thing, and sometimes I just KNOW that what I'm doing is what works for me and my baby at that time, and I'm doing more good than harm.

Every now and then when I'm out in public, I think people are looking at us strangely because we're the parents who forget to bring bibs, baby spoons, and sippy cups all the time. We are the parents who are feeding our child from our own forks, giving him a piece of bread from the breadbasket or some crackers to keep him occupied while we eat, and letting him drink his water from a regular cup and straw (okay, we do hold it for him, the other would be disastrous). I personally think it's easier this way, and sometimes realize I'm just as bad for rolling my eyes at the two year old whose parents come packed with an army of his own special food from home, a special sippy cup full of chocolate milk b/c he doesn't drink water, and plenty of activities to keep him from getting unhappy at dinner. Then I realize I'm being just as judgy as they may or may not be towards me, and I stop. Because if that's what works for their outing, so be it.

Family is the same way. I am lucky to be blessed with a wonderful family relatively free of Judgy McJudgersons, but now and then there still moments where I can tell someone thinks I'm coddling my son too much. For every one of those instances, there's probably someone else at the family gathering who thinks I'm a cold, cruel mama for ignoring Jacob when he crawls over and whines for me to pick him up for no other reason than he just wants to throw a fit. I do it, too, though...the way I shoot my husband a look when I overhear another mama being overprotective. This has got to stop, but it's just human nature. We all feel that our way is the right way, and forget sometimes that it's just the right way for us, but maybe not for everyone.

Breastfeeding is a big one where women do this. I'll admit it: I have judged formula feeders in the past. I have a hard time understanding why a woman wouldn't even try to breastfeed her baby given all of the info out there that says it's obviously better for the child. But then again, I also understand that if a woman tries and hates it, then obviously that's not going to create a rewarding bond anymore than holding a bottle will. And I've had both sides of judging for my breastfeeding decisions as well: my sister practically sneered at me when I told her my first goal was to breastfeed while home with the baby on maternity leave, but I really hoped to make it to six months. "Why would you only go six months when you know a year is better?" ("well, I don't know, maybe because neither of us has a kid yet and we don't really KNOW what's better") And now at 10 1/2 months I get strange looks and comments for still pumping at work and still breastfeeding in public.

So, my point is, new moms and moms to be, trust your instincts. When the time comes, you will know what feels right. And everyone else can shove it. There will always be detracters, but if you stay strong, do your research, rely on your "experienced" friends, and when in doubt use your gut, it will be much easier to smile and say, "thank you for the suggestion. If this stops working for me, I just may try that," then you will have this motherhood thing in the bag.

Like I do. Wink, wink...

Friday, July 9, 2010

What? She cooks, too?

Well, I guess this is going to be my first recipe post. Maybe the only one you ever get, because while I love to cook, I don't have much time for that, and I have even less time to tell you about it. But since I accomplished a long-term goal on my bucket list the other night (and because my husband, who pretends he is a food critic at every meal, actually said "this is fantastic! I wouldn't change a thing!" after this dinner) I am going to share.

This will not be your normal recipe post. A) Because I still like to keep it fun, and B) Because I don't measure. So you aren't going to find a list of 1cup of this and 1 tbsp of that. Instead, I will tell you what I had in my house and what I did with it.

First, some backstory as to how we came to arrive at this Tuesday night meal. I have always wanted to be the "throw a bunch of shit in a pan and it will taste wonderful" kind of cook, but it has taken me YEARS to get here. And after our recent trip to Philadelphia where we ate cheesesteak, some fruit, some more meat and bread, some butter and other meat and bread, and consumed 4 alcoholic beverages each night while sitting in the backyard after the baby went to bed, hubby and I were in need of some monetary and dietary detox.

We went to Trader Joe's Monday and bought some green beans (sad that they weren't local b/c we've got some good ones in market, but they are still delicious) and I had some two week old cherry tomatoes and mushrooms that had managed to survive in the fridge while we were gone (hippies be damned, these were from the Farmer's Market). I also had on hand a half box of linguine, four frozen chicken tenders, and we always have stuff like olive oil and garlic. I'm also a lucky enough gourmand to have white truffle oil in my pantry. Tuesday night we were tired*, baby took a late nap so we didn't have to rush a frozen bag dinner onto the table, and it was time to go for it.

So, I started by heating the white truffle oil while the chicken defrosted. I sliced two cloves of garlic and threw them in, on medium-high heat, until they kind of burned. (Don't worry, I removed them.) I diced the chicken up and cooked it next, removed it from the pan, added just enough olive oil to round it out, and added some diced onions and more diced garlic. When the onions got translucent, I added the green beans for about 5 minutes, and then the mushrooms. Meanwhile the pasta water boiled. Now, for technique: I do NOT stir my veggies often! Hands OFF! You actually want them to get a little bit of brown to them and let them brings a sweet roasty flavor to the party.

Normally here I would "deglaze" my pan with some wine, but we were out and this was also for the kiddo, so I just added some water, stirred the brown bits up from the bottom of the pan (we don't use non-stick for this reason) and then covered and let steam for a few minutes. The green beans need that. Then I took the lid off to let the water evaporate. When that was done, all I had to do was cut up some cherry tomatoes and let them cook just enough to soften, then add the chicken and pasta back in and grate some delicious pecorino romano over it. Here we would typically add salt and pepper, but again, with kiddo eating full table food now we do that to our own food at the table.

If I had nothing else to do, I could have this dinner on the table in 35 minutes. With a dog who is food protective and in need of retraining, a kid who wants Mommy, and a hubby asking questions, it took me closer to an hour Tuesday. I would post a picture, but I'm scarfing down the last of it as leftover lunch. In fact, it's even good cold.

But I hope to get better! If you decide to try it, let me know how it goes. Of course you can omit and/or add whatever! I would try spinach or asparagus instead of green beans, some shallots instead of onions, whatever is around.

Bon appetit!

*I realize this statement sounds like an oxymoron, but I actually destress by cooking. It's why I'm so freaking fat.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

I Had a 4 1/3 Day Weekend!

And I have to say, despite an occurrence that could have sucked big-time, I made the most of it.

So let's get the assorted happenings of my trip to see my sister and the site of our country's first Independence Day going.

First of all, the plane flight was fantastic. My baby was an absolute doll, charmed everyone on the plane around us, and settled in for a snack as the plane was being secured. He recognizes the nursing cover now, so my plan to "get ready" early was thwarted when he just couldn't wait five more minutes to begin his meal. So of course, who popped up from under the cover about 15 seconds before takeoff? That's ok, because daddy had the paci handy and my little guy drifted off to sleep instantly. It used to be that I looked forward to the 51-minutes of peace and quiet and my gossip magazine on this flight to Philly, but I have to tell you, the 51 minutes I spent with Jacob asleep on my shoulder, nuzzled into my neck with his arms tucked in between us, was 167 times better than if Jake and Vienna were standing in front of me arguing themselves. It reminded me that things we are scared of before we become parents maybe aren't as bad as we think. I used to nervously eyeball frantic moms with babies on the plane thinking, "yikes! That must suck for her." But no, I get it.

I also learned just how proud my hubby is of the fact that I made a commitment to breastfeed our son as long as possible and stuck to it. When the security person checking the diaper bag pulled out the bottle and said, "um, this is empty?" My husband looked at her and said proudly (and really, almost bordering on snobbishly) "my wife breastfeeds our son". I might have been more in love with him at that moment than ever before!
I'm going to enliven you with a few pics from our trip. First up, we visited a city park. Now, us being Southern suburbian-country folk, a city park is a new experience. I like how this pic says, "We bad...don't mess with us, son, or we'll jack you up."

Of course, there was also a parade. A parade that was interrupted when I foolishly tried to support more weight than I should have at an awkward angle as I was hoisting my fat ass up onto a ledge. That ended with my knee buckling (I actually felt my kneecap slip out of place and back in) and me bruising my tailbone, crying on the sidewalk for nearly a half hour. Luckily I wasn't holding Jacob when it happened. The pain was literally as bad as labor...I had to breathe through it to keep from passing out. I can't believe that
1) I am able to walk, and
2) I was able to walk an hour later
I thought for sure we were going to be wheelchair/emergency room bound. But, while sitting on the sidewalk I happened to snag my new favorite pic of my little guy. Tell me what pain this face couldn't erase:
We tried really hard to watch fireworks. They were supposed to start sometime between 9:30-10:30 and I was really excited because with a birthday of July 7th, you kind of grow up obligated to assume that the fireworks are for your birthday. And I knew Philly would have big ones. Unfortunately, we spent over an hour camped out in a field waiting before finally packing it in at 10:45. Jacob had fallen asleep after being cranky for a half hour. I knew as much as I wanted to see fireworks, it wasn't fair to him. We had to get up early for our flight the next morning, and he hasn't gone to bed past 10 since infancy. There were definitely good times in the field, though! And he loves his aunt and uncle. Until we see them at the beach in three weeks, they will just have to remember this:

Friday, July 2, 2010

Day 312: A Guest Blogger!

I am visiting my little sis in Philadelphia this weekend, so my favorite blogger over at Momma Makeover returned the favor...without further ado, here is her Scarlett O'Hara Moment!

"As God is my witness, as God is my witness they're not going to lick me. I'm going to live through this and when it's all over, I'll never be hungry again. No, nor any of my folk. If I have to lie, steal, cheat or kill. As God is my witness, I'll never be hungry again." -- Scarlett O' Hara, Gone With the Wind

I had a Scarlett O'Hara moment a few months ago. I was at the very lowest point of my PPD, ready to stand in front of a bus, and crying incessantly out of loneliness and desperation. I did not want to live - and that translated into every nuance of my existence. I saw my child as just a mouth to feed, my husband as just another person who "had to put up with me." I saw the world through shit-colored glasses.

And then I had enough.

Enough of the sadness, the stasis, the loneliness.

Enough of hating the view from the mirror.

I went out, raised that proverbial fist to the heavens, and got angry. Good and powerful angry. I WANT MORE, my soul cried, starved for so long. My life wasn't meant to be lived in a self-pitying puddle of tears.

I had my Scarlett O'Hara moment that morning. (Sans the lying and cheatin' and stealing part, of course.) From then on, we've been rolling forward.

It's not been easy.

No, there are no quick fixes.

I still look the same, with a little more upkeep and a lot less crying. No Extreme Makeover reveals here. My muffin top still exists - though it sags less due to daily exercise and less snacking. My hair got a cut, but it isn't suddenly a ripple of rich brown lovely. My eye bags could still be packed for a month long trip into the Serengeti.

But what is different is that my spirit, my soul, my Ka, my inner self, my life force - IT MOVES.

It is water flowing out, in action. It is Scarlett O'Hara cutting the drapes to make a dress to find a way to save Tara.

"I'll never be hungry again. No, nor any of my folk."

My spirit will never starve again. My child isn't just a mouth to feed. He is a life force wanting love and play and laughter. My husband isn't just "another person" - he is another soul needing encouragement and joy.

My tears were a stagnant pool that fed no one.

My joy is an ocean that takes us to new destinations.

So my Scarlett O' Hara moment's fruit is this: I live for joy. I and my own deserve joy. And life has infinite sources of it. Sitting down, crying in a room, I am locking out that joy. Walking out, into the sun, speaking to others, LEARNING - that is finding joy, each moment.

PPD is not an excuse to be in stasis. Get the counseling, find support, find...yourself. Struggle always exists. Life is full of problems. There be dragons beyond, and they are a bitch to slay.
But you can do it. You can do all of it, because your spirit is full.

Fist to sky, promise to live in joy.

And you'll never be hungry again.