Monday, October 28, 2013

Finding yourself on the trail.

A wonderful weekend of friends, fun and time with family.  Monday feels like a cold hard slap in the face. A hang-over, with no alchohol involved. We all have our jobs to do, places to go yet we move slow and heavy like we've had a long sleep we don't wish to wake from.  Little sad faces at daycare, as I walk away knowing I am already late when the day has only barely begun.  Four years in, and yet Monday morning drop off still pulls at my heart strings.  'Stay with us, Mom', I hear over and over in my head as I fake a smile and wave from outside the classroom. Act cheerful and don't make a big deal out of goodbye, they are always fine the 'good' mom whispers in one ear.  You are late, late, late the 'stressed' mom on my other shoulder hisses.
 Calls to make, clients and patients to see, and so much paperwork I can't seem to get my footing on this morning.  Heart racing, head spinning.  Breath and drink my tea, the only anchor to the boat of  my anxiety.  The to-do lists seem to be all around.  Wonder if the girls are doing better with their day?  Have they already bounced into their Monday, and are they having fun with their friends?  How when I work so hard, does it never seem that I am caught up or even above the drowning level.
Lunch and time to run.  Oh, the woods.  My blessed safe place to be.  Earth, dirt and leaves.  On and on my chest aches with the cool air, but finally my mind starts to settle down to a hum of my breathing.  Earth, dirt and leaves.  No one can find me here, no lists, no calls, no pressures except for my own desire to run faster and faster.  Over the down logs, the small puddles, around the twigs.  Earth, dirt and leaves.  I made it. There is the lake smooth and empty.  Quiet and silken it waits for me to remind me that peace does exist.  I find myself for a moment on those trails, among the earth, dirt and leaves.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

What I didn't know before I was a Mom.

This is a list that has been rolling around in my head for awhile and by no means a complete list. They come in and out of my head on a daily (sometimes moment by moment basis), like waves crashing on the beach. I think, boy I wish I had known that. Over all though, I know it wouldn't have changed anything and is now just part of my reality. Still all the same I think of them.

 1. How loud children are. All the time.

 I mean really really loud. Sure, infant days they are crying and screaming, and heaven forbid you have a colicky baby but after that time ends, the real noise begins. My girls are a loud happy, loud sad and loud all times in between. If you are trying to talk on the phone, and say they are reading a book well even that is a bit loud. They listen to us, and can tone it down (most of the time) when asked. Currently K is into singing. I am not sure you could technically call this singing. At times, I have actually thought she was injured in another bedroom. No she is just singing in a high pitched kind of wail. I don't say anything, how can I? She is happy and singing. All the same, by the end of the day I crave a little quiet. Just a little peace and quiet.

 2. How much work is involved.

 I don't live on a farm. I live a pretty nice middle class, working mom life-style. It is still an unrelenting amount of work. Day-in-Day-out. Laundry, diapers, dishes, pick up toys, drop off kids, pick up kids, dinners and on and on. I wish you could say that you just think, its all worth it and every action is one filled with love. The unicorns, rainbows and sprinkles and sunshine fill your heart as you wipe your fifth bum for the day. No, not really it is hard and long days of tedious work. I did have the revelation the other day though, that this is also exactly what your children need. They need that stability. They need to know that parents are there for them, that is what instills you with a sense of safety in this world. Food in the kitchen, a clean home and bed to sleep in, and parent that clean, wipe and love you all the while. Growing little people isn't easy, and it isn't for the weak of heart but somebody has to be there so the children can chase rainbows, play with sprinkles and dream of unicorns.

 3. How often they are sick. And thus how often you are sick.

 Germ bugs, that is my pet name for my children. Not the very motherly really. Honest all the same. They are filthy little germ balls. I do my best with hand washing. Good sleep and nutrition, and of course vaccinations and modern medicine. I have the guilt that they go to childcare, where they play with other germ balls. A good week is when the whole family is healthy. Those are pretty rare, so I actually would say a good week is when one of the girls only has minor amount of snot dripping from their noses. In the last three years, I was pretty sure I needed to be admitted to the hospital for the amount of vomiting that had occurred (more than once) and I have also felt delirious with fever (several times).

 4. How proud you can feel when something goes well.

 We went to the dentist the other day. My little K, who has sensory issue always. Who used to scream and shake when I tried to put spoons in her mouth, and always dry heaves if something got to far in her mouth. She has been known to rock almost like a mental health patient when a situation gets to out of control and people are coming at her head. She sat in that dentist chair, and had a full exam with cleaning with a smile on her face. She was polite, nice and enjoyed it. I thought it was going to be dreadful, like it had been previously. But, it wasn't it was one of those blissful parenting moments of pride and pure satisfaction. I never knew that it would feel so much better to watch my daughter accomplishments than my own.

 5. It is still impossible for me to have the outside of my home and the inside of my house organized and cleaned up at the same time. Similar things then are that it seems impossible for me to have two children happy and healthy at the same time. Or I can be doing well at work, or at home but typically not at the same time.

 Nothing more to add to that one. It is life, a continual game of doing the best you can do. A game I will gladly keep playing.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Mommy Wars, Social Media, and a dose of reality.

I went to a professional conference last weekend.  I happened to bump into a classmate I hadn't seen in nearly ten years.  We have children the same age, obviously are the same profession.  We seem to have big difference on our outlook on life though.  Granted this was a brief conversation but it went something like this:

"I see all you guys doing all your running, and exercising and just don't know how you do it."
"Hmm", I say quietly.  Thinking to myself, who is all you guys?  And how did my running come into this conversation at all.
"I have a hard enough time getting to work, and taking care of my son.  I have long hours, and a not much help."
"I can see where that would be really hard.  I have a lot of support from my family."
"I have no support.  Like I said I just don't how you all do it"
Luckily at that point the lecture was about to start.  I said my quick good-bye, still wondering who was she talking about.

That is when I realized it was case of believing social media is reality.  We may not have talked in the last ten years, but I know that she is on that darn friends list on Facebook.  The group of people she was most likely talking about are the people I went to veterinary school that I do talk to on a regular basis and that also seem to work out and we may a few pictures in running events.

I really left the conversation feeling frustrated.  I have a like-hate relationship with social media.  I like it at times so I can keep up with friends that live far away, or to share pictures and events with relatives that we don't see all the time.  Bedrest, and   the NICU were a little more enjoyable with some cyber-friends to cheer us along the way.  I like that it gives me a little break in the day occasionally.  Mostly though I just think the whole thing could blow up and we (as in the universe) would be better off.  It isn't going to happen, so because of that I feel that I just don't take it too seriously (most of the time).

I will admit on a tired night, when my house is a disaster and girls have run over me all day long I will glance at facebook and think "Geez, how are they doing all that!"  "How can they look that good!"  and eventually, "What is wrong with me!"  Then I turn off the computer, pick up my book and realize that is just a little (slightly fake) snippet of peoples best life and it is time to relax.

I post the cute pictures of my girls.  I don't post pictures of them when their hair is all a mess from waking up, and they are screaming at each other with dried food on their faces and pj's--- with my slightly filthy pet filled house in the background.  I will make a status update, about a fun weekend with the family or a silly thing I have done that day.  I don't tell you about my splitting head-aches or how many times I have eaten lean cuisines for lunch at work.

I am a real person,  I try to present a honest picture of myself.  That said, the 'mommy wars' are so silly, and I truly hope that my classmate take a bit of time for herself and realizes not to believe everything she sees.