I’m Ten Pounds Overweight and I Cannot Be Bothered to Even Try to Lose Those Stupid Extra Pounds

I used to care, you guys. I used to REALLY care about my thighs. And sometimes my arms. If they weren’t as toned or as thin as I thought they ought to be, it really ruined my mood. I wasted a lot of good years being moody about a lot of stupid things, one of the biggies being my body. I’ve reached the point where I am working actively on being happy and I’ve crossed off my stupid thighs from the list of things that determine my happiness. Here are some reasons why:

Stretchy work pants exist. Seriously, these things are the champion of all chaps. You know how clown cars can hold a ridiculous number of people in their teeny-tiny automotive space? These pants are kind of like the that – you can fit a ridiculous amount of your stout self into a seemingly tiny leg hole. I will forever own pants made of “super stretch” material, whatever the hell that is. They are comfy and cozy and don’t overly embellish my flaws with weird curves or creases. Plus, I can run, skip, hop, or do a reverse roundhouse kick if I ever needed to, without splitting a seam.

Some foods really do taste better than being skinny feels. Anyone who tells you otherwise has some sort of deep-seated psychological turmoil going on. I mean, come on. Bacon, pizza, nachos, chocolate…wine…need I say more? Every time I am on a restrictive diet I am CRANKY as hell. Or at least not nearly as pleasant and boisterous as I am when I’m eating what tastes good. And in case you didn’t realize, SO ARE THE REST OF YOU. Trust me. People who want to hang out with other fun people generally do not choose to surround themselves with the ones who refuse to eat anything other than kale and baked chicken breast. There’s a reason for that and it’s called being laid-back and happy. I’m quite sure there’s some research-based study waiting to happen out there that could prove this. (If you’re running the study and looking for participants, I want in as a control subject. Can I get paid to eat nachos and report my mood?)

Being overweight doesn’t equate to mushy and out of shape. Not only does skinny not equate to happy, it also doesn’t equate to healthy. Even though most of my pants are a bit snug these days, I actually am more fit than I’ve been in a while. I’ve been focusing on working out some previously neglected muscle groups and have been pleasantly surprised at the results. My hips are stronger, my ass is stronger, my arms are stronger, my core is stronger. I am physically more capable than I’ve been in a while. I’m so much stronger than I was in the past, though not nearly as svelte.

My body is just a shell. My extra ten pounds are not ME.They just give my passions, my ideas, my insights (and okay, yes, my organs and definitely my ass) a little extra cushion. When I’m doing something that gets me excited, makes me feel alive, makes me feel strong, or smart, or ridiculously silly, I forget to notice my body. I need to fill up my life with more of those things. No matter how big or small they seem, and no matter if anyone else around me understands why they make me feel so good, THOSE ARE THE THINGS.

I know I won’t give a shit about those ten pounds years from now. Years from now, I’ll look back and think how great I looked, because I will be old and wrinkled and lumpy. Do you ever notice how old people who are too skinny look kind of like gross crepey-skinned skeletons, but those who have a bit of chub look a lot healthier? So really I could just be giving myself a little boost for looking my best as a senior. That could be my prime, who the hell knows? Or maybe I’ll go just be a real disaster and I’ll have bunions and skin tags and a bladder that is sitting precariously perched, far too close to the outside of my body. I could have dementia, or cancer, or a degenerative disease that makes it difficult to open jars or go for a walk or maybe even to just comfortably sit. Or maybe I won’t even be here at all. It seems rather prudent to get over my physical self now and move on with more important things in my life.

I’m over caring about those last ten pounds. I Can. Not. Be. Bothered.

Hooray.

 

As If Moms Need More Proof Sleep Deprivation Is Real

A lot of people say they never understood exhaustion until they became a parent. That wasn’t the case with me.  I’ve dealt with exhaustion from sleep issues, and depression/anxiety, so after Baby Grouch Number One was born I think I actually felt better in the mornings than I used to.  I was tired, of course, but I was always tired and honestly having a kid just gave me an excuse to get up and keep moving, and I didn’t feel any worse, most of the time, so I just focused on the gift that is motherhood and welcomed the fact that I felt like shit, on most days. I felt the same amount of tiredness that I used to, but at least I was being productive, and I had newfound happiness.

But, once Baby Grouch Number Two came along, I began to understand how those other people felt. I hit the ground running.  With two, there was not much time for resting postpartum, and I had to keep moving.  I still do.  There is no down time.  The house is constantly a mess, my arms are constantly carrying my little ones, along with bags, bottles, books, baby dolls, diapers, wipes, sippy cups and peanut butter crackers.

So, there’s coffee.

But holy hell, I am TIRED. And even though people always ask, “is the baby sleeping?”  it doesn’t really matter if the kids sleep through the night or not, it’s the cumulative effect of sporadic mid-night wake ups, waking up to pee, hearing phantom baby cries, hormonal changes (hello night sweats!?! ugh) and Mom Ears – supersonic hearing that cause me to wake up when my husband rolls over, or my daughter coughs, or when the tree branch scratches the window outside the dining room, downstairs, on the other side of the house (we’re getting that tree cut down soon).

There is not enough coffee in the world.

Recently there was a study about how moms are sleep deprived, even several months after giving birth.  So, there’s the scientific proof.  But we moms don’t fucking need it, do we?  No. We don’t.  We know it’s real based on the stupid shit we do when we’re in such a state. Here’s my latest:

1) I went jogging with a pal the other day.  Which sounds good, until you hear the rest.  We meet at a local gym (that neither of us is a member at), park our cars and jog from there.  We are typically gone for about an hour or so.  On our last jaunt, I was exhausted (shocker) and had to walk the last half mile.  I got back to the parking lot and my pal was still there.  I thought maybe I wasn’t that slow, since she was still there stretching, but NO.  She was there to tell me, “um, your car door was open this whole time”.  I left my car door open, for an hour, while we jogged.  She looked concerned.  I was embarrassed, since this was one of those friends who you really don’t want your crazy to show, you know? But, she’s seen it, that’s for sure, so oh well. Thank goodness I live in freaking suburbia because my wallet was in my trunk, safe and sound.

1b) I was reminded that I was also pretty loopy after having just one kid.  I went jogging once and didn’t realize until about two miles in that I was wearing two different shoes.

mommy brain

2.  I drink coffee all. day. long.  I have to or I will stop moving.  So I turned on the Keurig the other day and turn around and see this:

mommy brain 3

I forgot to put coffee cup under the spout.  Eff.

3.  I have to pee a lot, from all that coffee, but I’m even screwing up peeing.  I went to the doctor and was supposed to pee in a cup before heading to the room.  I went in, peed, came out, and realiized I forgot to pee in the cup.  The nurse came in the room and gave me a quizzical look.  I gave her a head shake, and a shoulder shrug while saying, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I forgot”.  I had to laugh becacuse it feels like there is literally nothing I can do about this kind of crap. I accepted it, chugged some water and tried again later (I had to focus, but I was able to complete the task)

toilet

4.  I got in a fight with my husband, I forget about what (of course). We were arguing and then went to the grocery store and then was so tired I forgot I was even mad at him.  Probably for the best, but still.  You know how annoying spouses can be.  So that’s some serious tiredness to completely forget that shit.  And then, I remembered what I was mad about later, and I didn’t even care.  So tired.

5. I’ve lost two car keys in the last few months.  Those fuckers are expensive.  Did Toddler Grouch toss them in the trash?  Are they in the basket they should be, I just can’t see them through my exhausted glassy-eyed gaze?  It’s a modern day mystery.

mommy brain 2

I’m all about scientific studies, so YAY SCIENCE for discovering we’re all sleep-deprived.  Even though we already knew.

Quite frankly, it makes me feel better when I hear that I’m not alone.  It’s things like this (it’s HILARIOUS – click it!) from Momastery‘s Facebook page, that make me smile and think that what I’m going through is perfectly normal and perfectly fine.  I can laugh at myself, (and let’s be honest, a little harder at the other acts of sleep-deprivation that are not my own) and keep on truckin’.  Peace out, fellow Mamas, who do so much, with working brain cells so few.

Any sleep-deprivation stories you want to share with me, so I feel less alone?!

Broken Machinery

The floor is lined with well-oiled machines.

They are gleaming models,

producing perfect products.

They hum, whir, purr.

 

Smile.

 

They are lustrous, polished instruments

with safety valves releasing steam,

and automatic shut-offs.

They are controlled and efficient.

 

But one machine is not like the rest.

A single rusty clunker,

worn out, broken down, wearing thin.

It screeches, bangs, clanks.

 

Snarls.

 

Gauges tarnished, valves corroded, sealed stuck,

it is unreliable and dangerous.

It will cough out mangled wares

’til its inevitable collapse.

Image credit: Wikipedia

Image credit: Wikipedia

The Secret

She had to hide It somewhere. Somewhere safe. So, she cut herself open, quickly, before anyone could see It. It had to be hidden from view from prying eyes. From her own eyes.

The pain of the cut was nothing compared to the pain Exposure would bring. Or so she thought. She shoved it inside her chest cavity, wedged beneath her lung, impeding her breathing, but just a little. She could deal with it. Hopefully.

She cleaned up the blood and hastily stitched up the wound, much more concerned with the functionality of the stitches than the aesthetics.

She didn’t bury it as deep as it could go. It was a somewhat superficial burial, but an effective one, nonetheless. Too deep and It could do some serious damage to the internal organs. Too shallow and It could burst through the artificial seam, undoing all the work she had put into harboring It.

Because of Its relative proximity to the surface, sometimes It pressed against her wrinkled scar tissue, making it stretch… itch… ache. She ignored the nagging tension when she could, and tried to press the bulge down just a little deeper, with minimal success, when it became too much. Eventually It would subside on its own, even if only to resurface later. An internal iceberg she hoped wouldn’t sink her.

She covered up the slight bulge and occasional redness of her jagged scar with a polished wardrobe and a carefree attitude, so no one would suspect she was hiding something so ugly underneath. Inside.

If you liked this post you may also like The Monster’s Comforting Cloak.

Secret:  An internal iceberg she hoped wouldn't sink her.

Secret: An internal iceberg she hoped wouldn’t sink her.

Flu Season Preparedness Tips For Parents (Hint: You’re Screwed)

Flu season is upon us. Flu shots, Vitamin C and hot green tea with honey can help keep the symptoms at bay….for awhile. But, even if you lucked out before, at some point it is inevitable that the flu will wreak havoc through your household.  Vaccines, vitamins and all-natural remedies (can I get a what what for my neti pot?) can support your immune system functions, but they’re not magical potions.

I’m generally opposed to parents complaining about anything related to taking care of their own children. Sleep deprived? No personal space? Have to play with your kids and teach them stuff? And you’re STILL expected to clean your own house? Yeah, shut up. That’s what you signed up for. There are plenty of people out there without kids who have other responsibilities that result in them feeling just as tired and stressed out. And, don’t even get me started on the many who are struggling to conceive who would do anything to have our so-called “problems”.

Except there’s this. Being sick when you have children is a specific type of agony.

Uh huh.  You parents know what I’m talking about.  Being sick is never fun, but when you’re a parent, it brings the misery to a whole other level.  Here’s why:

1)  You can’t rest.  Back in the day when you were sick, you’d stay in bed all day feeling sorry for yourself, sleep for hours on end, and give your body some time to heal.  You might manage to summon the energy to call your mom or your significant other to ask for a home delivery of saltines and ginger ale. But, once you’re a parent, there is no resting in bed. You still need to feed your children, get them ready for school, and then feed them AGAIN for dinner (they’re so demanding).  You also need to make sure they don’t flush all of their toys down the toilet or impale themselves with a shish kabob skewer they pull from a kitchen drawer.  You trying to “take it easy” is exhausting and physically demanding.

2)  You don’t get any sympathy.  In the PK (pre-kid) era, your spouse used to feel bad when you got sick.  They’d make you chicken soup, take your temperature and say sweet things like, “Feel better, babe!”.  Nowadays when you mention your scratchy throat, or cough extra loudly for attention, your significant other just responds by getting pissed off. Gone are the days of getting special treatment and here to stay are the times of getting leered at with disgust and a growled, “Don’t get sick” request/threat. Because chances are, if you’re sick, so are they.  Or, at least on the verge and you being sick means more work, and more exhaustion, for them.

3)  Your body never actually gets a chance to heal.  In the past, an infection would run its course, and be in and out of your system in a jiffy.  No, back then a few days didn’t FEEL like a jiffy, but now you have the perspective to realize that your body used to heal itself with lightening speed.  These days, your immune system is less efficient than the federal government, and you’re lucky if that seemingly harmless cold doesn’t linger for weeks, or more.  A virus that doesn’t mutate into a lethal condition is reason to celebrate. I’m quite certain that the white blood cell count of parents are at a perpetually statistically significant level of elevation, compared to non-parents.

4)  You might infect your poor child. It’s not just about you anymore.  Nothing is worse than a sick child.  In contrast to being completely pissed off when it comes to your spouse being sick, you have nothing but sympathy for your little one. When your spouse gets sick, don’t be surprised if you alternate between thoughts of, “Help me out you lazy bum!” and, “Get away from the baby – what are you trying to do, kill your own offspring?!”

5) You will probably get infected by your poor child if you have escaped contamination thus far. This sucks for multiple reasons. For one, you probably got infected while having face the repugnant task of cleaning up a bunch of puke from the kitchen floor, from the kid’s car seats, or – the worst – out of the heat vent when your kid leans over the side of the bed to puke in the middle of the night. Great placement, kid!  You earn some parenting bonus points if this happens when you’re sitting on the side of the bed, placing a cool dishcloth on your germy bundle of joy’s head, and some of it splatters on your face/lap/in your own mouth. Not only does this make you sick in the Stand By Me sort of a way, but it exponentially increases the chances of you becoming actually infected, and from the looks of it, possibly with Ebola. If this happens to you, suck it up and don’t expect any niceties from your spouse until Spring.

If you liked this post you may also like 10 Key Pointers For Picking A Mate or Ten Tips For Sustaining A Long-Lasting Marriage.

Chicken soup is a common classic comfort food ...

The Office Is The Only Hope

The office is the source of hope.

But it brings with it, more.

 

Fluid filled, cystic anxiety.

Blood soaked uncertainty.

Regression, after success.

Loss.

 

It brings stomach aches and heart palpitations.

Emotions and exposed nerves that are scrubbed raw,

to maintain sanitary conditions in the sterile environment.

 

It’s a recurring nightmare that offers the promise of a dream.

The office is the source of hope.

But, it is not free for the taking.

 

You must pay, with more than only money or time.

You pay with undignified prods and pokes and pills.

With screams and moans that are saved for later.

With tears that are held back and with some that escape.

With exhaustion.

 

And even with a visceral reaction to the office itself, you keep going back.

It’s where you hate to be

and want to be

and must be.

Because the office is the only hope.

Waiting room

The Reproductive Endocrinologist’s Office Is The Only Hope For Those Dealing With Infertility (Photo credit: Melissa Venable)

Angry is Easier

In 8th or 9th grade, I remember a light switch going off.  Click.  I was no longer the goofy, somewhat naively happy teen who thought making silly faces was hilarious and who loved sports more than anything.  Suddenly I was angry.   I was angry with society and I was angry with my parents and I was angry with my friends.

I remember getting mad at a friend of mine over something stupid, and I hit her in the head with my notebook at school.  As hard as a spiral notebook full of lined paper could ever be hit at someone.  And I hurt her, probably more emotionally than physically, but either way, we didn’t talk much after that day.  I walked around like a husk of myself, hollow inside, feeling cold and empty and not knowing who the hell this person was who was such an asshole.  I’d like to say this was the only asshole move I’ve ever made, but that would be a lie.  I still feel badly about that day.

Usually my friends were left relatively unscathed, but my dad got the brunt of it. He was an easy target.  My pent-up emotions needed an outlet.  Teenagers tend not to choose healthy outlets and I was no exception.  Why actually deal with my emotions when it was SO EASY to just release them by starting a fight?  YELLING SCREAMING PUNCHING.  As a teacher now I see students do this to their parents and their other teachers.  I’ve even heard some of them tell me they do this on purpose, and I marvel at their self-awareness.  I didn’t realize what I was doing at the time, because I was too busy screaming and yelling and punching.

But, every time I got angry with any of the people I loved, and lashed out at them, I got angry with myself.

Because I wasn’t even really angry to begin with.

I was sad.

Looking back, it is clear that I was clinically depressed, not at my all time lowest low, but my first lowest low and not too far off from the all time record.  But, who admits being sad?  Especially if there wasn’t a reason?  Sad is weak.  Angry is strong.  A strong voice.  A strong punch.

Many, many, years later, my husband’s best friend, who he had known practically since birth, died in a horrific motorcycle accident.  He was wearing his helmet, but wearing a helmet doesn’t save you when your wheels skid on some gravel and you end up sliding into oncoming traffic and get dragged to pieces by a semi-truck. Other than high school this was the most angry I’ve ever been at someone.

Yes, I was angry at my husband’s dead best friend. I was angry at him for dying.

“DIDN’T YOU KNOW WHAT THIS WOULD DO TO HIM?! YOU DID!  SO WHY THE FUCK WEREN’T YOU MORE CAREFUL?”  Why the fuck weren’t you more careful!  LOOK WHAT YOU DID TO HIM!   A broken record of yelling inside my head.  For a year.

At this point I was old enough to realize this wasn’t rational, but that didn’t change how I felt.  I was selfishly angry at this happy, carefree, kind, now-dead boy because I knew my husband would forever have a hole in his heart in the shape of his friend.

But bloody hell, I’m 34 years old.  I think I heard somewhere that I’m supposed to be an adult by now.  And adults don’t do that.  Well, okay, some do.  But not the adults I would like to be like someday, when I grow up.

And angry isn’t strong.  Angry is weak.  Angry is selfish.  Angry isn’t even ACCURATE.  It’s just there because it’s easier.  It’s lazy.  I know from experience that if I act angry enough, then I am sure to be left alone and can continue to avoid the real problem for as long as possible. It’s easier to be angry and mean and lash out and push away than it is to deal with my problems, my fears, my out of whack hormones.

So today, 7 years after the motorcycle accident, I’ll admit it.  I’m sad. And instead of yelling and punching, I’ll make silly faces and go to yoga and give those around me a hug.  7th grade me knew what life was all about.

20130512_220026 (2b

 

If you enjoyed this post you might also like The Accidental Marathoner and   Depression is Analogous to Treading Water

Traits I Inherited From My Dad

My dad is pretty awesome. Happy Father’s Day, Pa!  Love ya.

1.  Eat healthfully.  Have an apple a day.  Don’t eat just to eat.  Enjoy cottage cheese as a delicious protein-punched snack.  Except also love pizza.  And love it with a passion.

2.  Make smart financial decisions.  Don’t overspend.  Save, save, save.  And then save some more. I didn’t follow this advice so well, however I did marry my husband, and he does this, so I count it as a win for myself.

3.  Be creative.  My dad once created this elaborate hoax where he and my younger sister “kidnapped” the neighbor’s Santa Claus around Christmas-time.  He wrote ransom letters and thought he was really helping the family nextdoor get into the holiday spirit.  Turns out, he actually traumatized those poor children, who thought Santa was in danger and that they weren’t getting any presents.  It still makes me laugh out loud when I think about this.

4.  Have incredibly large eyebrows.  Ok, eyebroW. Black one(s).  This one wasn’t so much a lesson learned, but more of a genetic characteristic.  A very bountiful one.

5.  Love your spouse.  My dad writes my mom little love notes and draws her pictures and writes her poems to tell her how much he adores her.  He’s been doing this now, for over half of his life.  It’s beautiful.

6.  Love your family.  Even your children or your wife or your siblings, when they are assholes going through a rough patch.  Maybe especially then.

7.  Get pissed off about things.  And act, for about 1 minute, like these things are the most important thing on the planet.  Especially if they’re not.  This doesn’t only come from my dad, I come from a long line of people who get pissed off over things.  Countertops.  Lights.  Carpets.  I don’t get pissed off so much over those things, but definitely over others and I think sometimes the “passion” over countertops and lights and carpets comes across much more strongly than it is really felt.

7.  Be committed.  Not to a mental hospital.  Well, yes, if you need one.  But, that’s not what I mean.  If you say you’re going to do something, do it.  If you are going to be married, be faithful.  If you are working with others, be honest.  Don’t do anything half-assed.

8.  Have at least a little bit of fear of getting Alzheimer’s.  And, maybe the gene.  We won’t really know for sure for a while now, but we know it runs in the family.  The good news is, we know how to love creatively, and how to save, and how to get pissed off, and how to remain committed, despite the pissing and moaning.  So, we should be okay.

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Parenting: Reasons to Panic #2: The Sleeping Newborn

I have vivid memories of Mr. Grouch, in his college apartment, during muggy summer months.  I can picture him, stripped down to his whitie tighties, sprawled across his twin bed, with the oscillating fan one centimeter from his toes, the soggy air leaving him too lethargic to move. A sexy, sweaty, beast.  The two of us are different in so many ways but in this way we are oh so much the same.  Wait, not in the sweaty beast way.  Well, actually, yes, in the sweaty beast kind of way.  What I mean is, neither one of our bodies can adequately handle the oppressive heat of July, August, September.  Our air conditioning runs on high all summer long and we keep our home chilled enough to be able to walk around the house in jeans and hoodies.  We do not like to be sweaty beasts.

So, when Baby Grouch was born, in the fierceness that is August, as ridiculous as it seems, we felt the need to put a little heater in her bedroom.  You turn on the heater, and then set it to the appropriate temperature, which, in our case, was around 71 degrees, and it has it’s own internal thermostat.  At the time of this episode, Baby Grouch was a couple of months old and was sleeping 3-4 hours at a stretch.

The first night she slept for 6 hours, I woke up, in a panic.  I got that surge of adrenaline that I had become so accustomed to, every time she woke me with her squeaks and squawks, but this time it was because she was quiet.

IS SHE OKAY?

Shrouded with the fear of sudden infant death syndrome, I hurried to her room, and opened the door and a wave of heat hit me in the face.

Then the REAL panic started.

OMG OMG OMG IT’S TOO HOT OMG OMG OMG I COOKED MY BABY OMG OMG GREATER RISK FOR SIDS WHEN IT’S TOO HOT OMG OMG I COOKED MY BABY “HUN! GET UP! THE BABY’S TOO HOT. TOOO HOOOOTTT!”

I was screaming and yelling and flipped on all the lights; I opened the windows and took Baby Grouch from her crib and removed her from the sweltering room and laid her in the hallway all the while still yelling panicked nonsense at my husband.  I unswaddled her and took her teeny tiny body out of the sack.  My heart was pounding out of my ears.  Just because she feels warm right now, doesn’t mean she’s okay.

She opened her eyes.

OMG OMG OMG “SHE’S OKAY!  SHE’S OKAY!”  I’m still screaming. Out loud, not just in my head.

This all happened within a matter of seconds and Mr. Grouch wasn’t even out of bed yet.  Er…he may or may not have been laying in bed, watching me silently while giving me the, you’re-such-a-freaking-crazy-hormonal-wife-I-don’t-even-know-what-to-do-with-you-right-now look.  He said calmly, “I think you forgot to set the thermostat on the heater”.  Indeed, I did.  It was over 80 degrees in that bedroom (probably 20 degrees warmer than the rest of the house) and for weeks I was sick about it.

Looking back, I think about that college apartment in the summer and how we didn’t have central air.  I realize that many people, in summer months, allow their houses to reach heinously high temperatures (and some even enjoy it.  What??).  Some of them probably even have babies that sleep there with them, that are okay.

What panicky sleep stories do you have of your newborn?

Still Sleeping