Hard just gets harder

by , on
November 29, 2010

I’ve been under stress lately – I’ve been sick for over a week now, Joe went away and I haven’t been sleeping well (and neither has the Baby Girl), there are a lot of things I’ve been wanting to do but just haven’t been able to, what with being sick and alone with the baby, who is starting to walk and get into even more mischief.

I’ve been having mood swings. I feel okay most of the time but I can get very angry or sometimes I feel like bursting into tears. I’ve been forgetting things and losing things.

I feel as though I’m going crazy.

And that feeling makes everything a little bit worse because I need to have control over something.

Lord knows I can’t control the baby. I can’t control the dog. I try to control the level of cleanliness in the house but I can’t stay on top of everything. I try to control my diet but that doesn’t work all the time, especially when I’m in moods like this.

Life is made all the more complicated by the fact that I am no longer on maternity leave – as of today I am officially on vacation instead of leave. I’ve started thinking about Christmas travel, which is rapidly approaching (and I’ve been doing my shopping), and when we get back from celebrating Christmas it will be the new year, and then one week of transitioning the baby to daycare and then back to work I go.

I’ve been off work for a year and it seems I remember so little of that time. It just doesn’t make any sense. My baby is almost a year old, and that just doesn’t make sense.

More importantly, we have so little time left just the two of us like this, and that just doesn’t make sense.

I’m so excited for her to be in daycare. She’s going to prosper spending time with another woman who can teach her different things, and three other kids all day who she can play with and learn from. At the same time I dread my transition from full time mom who gets to share all these great experiences with my daughter, I am excited about going back to work.

I’m excited to be doing something that engages different parts of my brain. I am excited to have people to talk to without have to plan specific times and places for play dates (but oh how I’m going to miss those play dates and the wonderful women I’ve met!). I’m excited at the possibility of new challenges.

And then there’s the guilt.

I never wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. Never. In fact, Joe and I talked about him taking paternity leave at one point so that I could keep working. The fact is that I haven’t loved every minute that I’ve spent with her this year, but the good has outweighed the bad in so many ways – it’s not even close. I can’t imagine having missed this time. I can’t imagine having not made these connections.

And maybe it will just teach me to relish every moment and remind myself, even in the times of whining and crankiness, that she’s something special and everything I do is for her.

Modeling clay

by , on
November 27, 2010

Lately it seems as though the days I have the energy and motivation I don’t have the time, and the days I don’t have the energy and motivation the time is there.

I’ve missed three Booty Camp classes. The first one I should have gone to, the reason I didn’t was more emotional than physical. The second and third I missed because of an intestinal virus that left me feeling weak and nauseous and I knew I couldn’t make it through the class.

This Monday I will be missing my fourth class in a row because I’m joining my sister at the Senators game.

Joe was away in Calgary last week and I was sick and alone with the baby for a few days, and I did a lot of cooking and baking  to keep myself busy (plus, one of the ways to keep the baby girl entertained at the moment is to let her play with the plastic food containers, so hanging out in the kitchen is a plus).

So I went about two days without eating, and about a week without exercising at all.

Now I have a cold, and the baby has a cold and she’s waking up three or four times a night, which hasn’t happened in a while.

And I’m furious.

It seems as though every time I get a step ahead I get knocked right back down again. I can’t tell what’s an excuse and what’s legitimate any more. I can remind myself that I’m doing good things and I’m getting stronger but my head always gets in the way eventually.

Right now my only goal is to fit comfortably into my work clothes in the next two months, to stay steady and continue to remind myself what I’m working for – She’s about two and a half feet tall, starting to walk, she’s got one section of hair on her head that curls, and she’s a bit of a challenge every day.

I remind myself that my weight and my fears are stopping me from letting her experience things. I want her to have fun winters with sledding and skating and building snowmen and snow forts. I want her to have great summers with long walks in nature, climbing things, swimming, building castles in the sand.

She loves being outside, and I love taking her to explore the world. She reaches for me when she wants a helping hand to walk with or when she’s hurt and she wants a hug.

But last week I was so tired and so frustrated and so alone that I told myself I was a bad mother. My head kept telling me that I wasn’t talking to her enough, and I wasn’t reading to her enough, I was sitting down to play with her enough.

But I know I’m a good mother, and more than getting healthier and losing weight and being able to do things with my daughter – being able to keep up with her – more than being a model for a healthy lifestyle, I know that what I eat and what activity I do affects my mood, and that is becoming the most important thing.

The more fresh air I get, the more active I am, the less sugar I eat, the better I feel about everything I am, and I don’t have to stop the bad thoughts and remind myself that I’m a good mother, that she excels in every way, and that she is loved almost everywhere she goes and part of that is because of me.

Watchful eyes

by , on
November 20, 2010

When I found out I was pregnant I started thinking about daycare almost immediately. There was no question I was going back to work after my leave, and I’ve heard horror stories of costs and waiting lists and I was terrified of not being able to find the right person to take care of our baby.

I also spent some time crying about the mere thought of leaving my child with someone else day after day, but there is no choice.

When I started searching for answers on daycare I soon found out about Ontario’s Centralized Waiting List. You put your name on this list and you’re supposed to get phone calls from daycares in your area with your specified preferences in the months leading up to your return to work.

And then we hit October – three months before my return to work – and we hadn’t heard anything and I started asking questions online and at playdates about how other moms were finding daycare. And I started hearing stories about the Centralized Waiting List being almost useless and that I really needed to start looking on my own.

And then I started to panic.

I thought this was one thing I had under control. Our name had been on that list since before I hit four months in my pregnancy. I thought that’s all I needed to do. Now I started searching the web again, looking through online ads, checking bulletin boards when I went out and wondering how I was ever going to find  the right person to care for my baby?

My biggest fear was not that we wouldn’t find anyone, my biggest fear was that we would settle for someone we weren’t entirely comfortable with because of the panic we were feeling.

And then we got a phone call.

In my frantic web searches I had signed up with a service for home care. They called back about an opening they had and at first I said no because I thought it was too far out of the way for Joe, who would be dropping the baby girl off on his way to work and picking her up on his way home, but after I talked to him and he said it was fine if it was the right place, I called back and scheduled a meeting.

We met her, toured the house, watched her with the baby and left feeling relieved and very, very comfortable.

And when I talked to our lady at the service again she said the caretaker had also felt very comfortable with us.

And so I start taking the baby girl to daycare on January 3 before my return to work on the 10, and I’m relieved that people warned me not to wait for a phone call and to take matters into my own hands.

But I’m going to miss her so very, very much.

Fit as a fiddle

by , on
November 18, 2010

I skipped my fitness class yesterday.

We had signed the papers to get the baby girl’s spot in daycare and handed over a cheque that gets the ball rolling – a big chunk of money leaving our bank account every month. I was overwhelmed, tired, sad but relieved. We’ve had a very busy week that keeps getting busier (and Joe is going on a business trip next week).

I didn’t have it in me, I didn’t think, to make it through the class.

Today I was reminded how much good the class can do for me.

You see, the Booty Camp classes come with a DVD that is supposed to carry you through the rest of the week. Today I did the beginner workout on the DVD and it was really hard. I was drenched with sweat when I finished, and I was reminded of the bonus of being in class: The women.

In class we work in teams and we cheer each other on. The other women in my class are all shapes and sizes, some are more fit than I am, but we have things in common. There is an incredible feeling of ‘if she can do it, then I can do it.’

While I was doing the work out on the DVD, I was looking at three very fit women who, while much more ‘real’ than a lot of women I’ve seen in these types of videos, were a lot less average than the women in my class. They also laughed through their workout instead of sweating. The women in the DVD make it harder to get through the workout.

When I’m in the room with other women who are sharing my pain and working their way through it, that makes it easier.

When I finish the class, I’m sweaty and red in the face, and tired and my arms and legs hurt, but every time I’ve left the class I’ve chosen the stairs over the escalator. I feel empowered, I feel like not giving up any opportunity to reach my goals.

If they can do it, I can do it.

In memoriam

by , on
November 17, 2010

Today in Ottawa we are celebrating the life of a young girl that few of of us knew and trying to understand why a fourteen year old would take her own life with no warning and apparently no reason.

At first I questioned the decision to have a public memorial, not sure that her family was involved, but it has become apparent that they are trying to use the tragedy of their daughter’s death as an example . I am amazed by the Richardsons, both as a mother who can’t imagine losing her daughter by her own hand, and as a former suicidal teenager.

This morning on a local breakfast show they were talking about what signs people can look for to recognize depression, so I thought I might share the signs that I have learned to recognize in myself, and how I know it’s time to ask for help:

  • I lose my appetite almost completely. I don’t eat meals and when I do I don’t eat much of them.
  • I don’t sleep. I won’t go to bed until I absolutely can’t keep my eyes open and once I do go to sleep it will be some time before I get up again. I spend a lot of time in bed doing nothing. Most often I start getting my days and nights reversed.
  • I am very bored but won’t do anything with myself, actually can’t think of anything to do to occupy myself, so I just lie there. Even when other people come up with suggestions I usually hem and haw about having to get dressed.
  • I cry, a lot. Usually when there’s no one around to see me. I remember a very specific occasion when I was a recent graduate, unemployed and living back at home, collapsing on to the kitchen floor and weeping, feeling completely useless.
  • I fight a voice in my head that tells me everything bad about myself. I have, honestly, had screaming fights with this voice that tells me that I’m just not good enough, not smart enough, that I’m the problem, and sometimes the voice wins. This is the voice that starts to tell me that everyone would be better off if they didn’t have to worry about me.

The biggest thing that I remember is that my mother didn’t see it. Or maybe she saw it but didn’t realize how bad it was. But my father knew.

One day after my sister and I had dinner at his house my father asked me point blank how long it had been since the last time I thought about killing myself.

He also told me that if I didn’t tell my mother he would.

And that’s when I went to my doctor and was prescribed anti-depressants for the first time.

It is an ongoing battle. I have been on and off the pills since I was 17. I have had low points since then, but because I sought help, because I was pushed to seek help, I was treated, I’ve had some great experiences. I’m married to a wonderful man who still deals with my highs and lows, I have a beautiful daughter and my midwives and my doctor watched me for signs of postpartum depression – which I am still dealing with.

I hope that if my daughter faces depression when she’s a teenager I will see it, and I hope that I will be able to explain that it does get better. High school can be the darkest point in your life, but you escape it and you grow.

A hefty weight

by , on
November 15, 2010

I got through my second Booty Camp session this evening. There were a few times I thought I would have to stop and a few exercises that my body just wouldn’t let me do as many reps as we were supposed to.

I knew that pushups were going to be a problem going in to this class. I knew this because they have always been a problem for me. I have never been able to do more that a few ‘regular’ pushups and even the form with knees on the ground has proven difficult. I have weak wrists. They are ridiculously small compared to the rest of my body. Right now I also happen to be wearing a brace to help with carpel tunnel syndrome.

Tonight we did one set of exercises that went: 5 jumps, 10 punches, 10 kicks, 10 knees-up, 5 pushups

We were with partners and we took turns doing these sets, doing four total. By the second rep I could barely get myself back up off the floor.

I should mention that these sets followed burpees, squats, lunges, and an exercises that began with us laying on the floor.

It frustrates me to no end that after maybe half an hour of exercise I was incapable of lifting my own body weight. I just couldn’t do it.

I can’t handle thinking that I’m too unfit to lift myself off the ground when I’m tired. I need a smaller, stronger body, I need stronger ankles. I need to know that I’m strong enough to take care of myself and react when I need to.

The grammarian in me says ‘Creative’

by , on
November 14, 2010

Sara from My Points of View today had some very kind words for me and also passed along a Kreativ Blogger award. Sara is a person that I got to know over Twitter, through her blog and in person and I am always happy to see her (and her kids, who are awesome). Sara is the kind of person that I really, really want to be friends with, so knowing that she enjoys reading what I have to say is pretty cool, to put it mildly.

There are rules for the Kreativ Blogger award:

1) Thank the person that gave you the award

See above

2) Copy the logo and paste it in your blog

See above

3) Link to the person who has nominated you for the award

Yeah, above

4) Name 7 things about you that people might find interesting

  • My kneecaps are in the wrong place. Seriously, they’re too high, which is why my knees sometimes give out on my and why they crack whenever I bend down – which use to make people who had lockers near me turn around and say “Are you okay?!”
  • I love a good bad pun or a terrible joke. Joe says one of the reasons he loves me is that I can get myself into hysterics with my own jokes. Bad puns run in my family.
  • At my wedding we had play-by-play and colour. It was awesome and I really regret not setting up something that could record it.
  • I have two spleens. My doctor mentioned this in passing after I had an ultrasound when I was a teenager. My sister thinks it’s hilarious and my husband demands to know how I can feel good having two spleens when Peter Forsberg doesn’t have one at all.
  • When I was a kid hamsters were my pet of choice. I had between 10 and 15 while I was growing up. They have a very short life span.
  • My dog’s full name is Chancellor Heinrich von Fluffenstein Puppyface.
  • I have tried to leave Ottawa five times, I always end up coming back.

5) Name 7 other Kreativ Bloggers and 6) Link to the blogs you nominate

Laurie at Not Just About Cancer was one of the first people I connected to on Twitter. I started following her because she’s a fellow knitter and soon came to realize that we had a lot more in common. I love reading about her kids, who seem like the types of people I want to take over the world, I love reading about her projects, and she’s taught me a lot about a lot.

Two people that I’m just getting to know on and offline are Sasha from The Rambling Stroller and Jennie from Really Jennie. Two people who, like Sara, I immediately took a liking to and I love that their blogs help me learn more about them as we try to connect.

Cori from Quirky Cori is someone I talk to a lot on Twitter and have a lot in common with and I’m not even really sure how we first connected. Cori is a lot like me as a blogger – she tried to write a personal blog, but then there’s an issue she just can’t not voice her opinion about.

Finola from Finola’s Blog has already received a Kreativ Bloggers award, but I like her a lot and I want to give her one too. So there.

Christine from Coffees & Commutes writes beautifully and honestly and she’s going through struggles that I expect to face in the future and so I read her blog with interest and I tried to send her as much love and positivity as I can while I take in her words. I hope she feels the support.

Lauren at A fate of possibilities is a former co-worker of mine who has just gotten married and moved back to England after several years in Canada. Her post about her grandmother was incredible touching and her stories about her Canadian husband adjusting to the British ways of doing things are hilarious.

I’m not sure I’ve done any of these blogs justice, but that why the links are there. Read them.

And now I look forward to seeing who they link to as the blogs they read and love, so that I can love them too.

Alma mater

by , on
November 12, 2010

I am a graduate of Carleton University. I am married to a Carleton grad. I am the child of two Carleton grads, the sister of three others and if I started counting all my relatives that have Carleton in their history (cousins, second cousins, brother-in-law…) the list goes on and on. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Baby Girl ended up as a Carleton student in 17 years time.

In my three years spent completing my BA at Carleton, I worked at the student paper (where I met a lot of my current friends, as well as the man I ended up marrying). The Charlatan has a history of, well, an interesting relationship with the students’ association. In the past, I have had issues with decisions CUSA has made, and I generally hold them under a microscope.

This morning I was listening to CBC Radio and I heard the current president of CUSA speaking about a law suit recently filed by CUSA and the Graduate Students’ Association against the university administration. I was surprised to find that in this case I completely agree with CUSA.

The university administration has decided to withhold fees that it collects for the students’ associations until they give admin access to audited financial statements (and until they sign a lease that CUSA has objections to, depending on which side is telling the more truth).

When I was a student, the CUSA amounted to almost $200 on my tuition bill.

That is $200 that administration has collected to have over to the students’ association so that association can provide services – including employment – to students. And they’re not handing it over.

If I were a Carleton student right now, I would call administration and demand that they give me back my $200 if they are not going to use it for its intended purpose.

It is not the place of administration to hold CUSA accountable, it is the job of the students. In essence, admin is now telling CUSA that they don’t trust Carleton’s students to elect appropriate representatives, they don’t trust those representatives to do the jobs they were elected to, and they don’t trust the students to ask questions and demand accountability.

Now CUSA and the GSA are using more of students money – their only source of income – to sue the university for money that is rightfully theirs.

Administration is wrong in this case, and they need to find some other way to get the students to bend to their will.

I hope that the students at Carleton realize what is going on here and protest the actions of the university, but I’m not optimistic that will happen.

Booty Camp, session one

by , on
November 11, 2010

Yesterday evening I showed up to my first Booty Camp class to be weighed and measured (and to find out that I currently have 38 per cent body fat… Ick ick double ick).

I showed up half an hour early for the assessment and there were a handful of other women there, some new to the class and some who had clearly been there before. This was the first thing I was unprepared for. I thought the whole class would be starting together.

I also didn’t expect to feel like the fattest, most unfit person there. Once the class started I was pretty sure that feeling was right on the money.

I sort of expected that the class was more for women like me, trying to kick start their fitness. These women were not what I expected. Many of them were slim, a few were quite obviously fit – including the one that spent our rest times not resting at all.

I felt more out of place than I thought I would.

By the end of the class I was red in the face, sweating, and determined. I made it through. I didn’t complete all the exercises but I kept pushing. At one point I thought was going to be sick, and I did spend time looking at the clock. But I made it through.

I’ll be damned if I’m the one in my group of friends who quits (that’s right Lara, Anna, Vicky, and Sara).

I’ll be damned if by the end of four weeks I’m not under 200 lbs and feeling much more stable in my squats.

I’m also going to be exercising in between classes, and I plan to do some yoga to keep myself a bit more loose. I think it will help.

There are also a few things I’m going to do different next class: I’m going to wear different pants, since mine were falling down during jumping jacks and that made it difficult to concentrate; I’m going to put my yoga mat down wherever I’m going to be attempting push-ups because the wood floor was doing a number on my bad knees; I’m going to wear a looser top so I don’t feel so self conscious surrounded by mirrors.

On Monday, I will be more prepared for what the class is, and I will be more prepared to make my way through it. Assuming my quads stop hurting by then.

Getting my butt kicked

by , on
November 9, 2010

Thanks to a connection made at She’s Connected, tomorrow I start four weeks of Booty Camp.

Lisa Richards, who was the awesome representative from Booty Camp at the conference, registered me in one of their four week sessions, Mondays and Wednesdays, and my off and on fitness regimen gets a kick in the ass tomorrow.

I’m afraid. I’m afraid that I’m going to psych myself out of succeeding. I’ve done it before. I think of failure more than fun or challenge. The fact is that I know I feel good when I exercise. I know that when I’m active I’m more awake, more comfortable and I have more energy.

I am going to look at my four weeks of Booty Camp as my re-dedication, my reminder, my reboot, if you will.

Yes, let’s call it my RE-Booty Camp. I will let the spirit of RE-Booty Camp flow into the rest of my efforts and screw this failing and feeling guilty.

Hear me roar.

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