Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Wait For It!

Standing together with my husband and kids, we were asked if we had any New Years resolutions for 2018. The first thing that came out of my mouth was, “Yes, to have patience." It was meant as a joke and as if on-cue, he laughed. My husband agreed that yes, patience would be nice, as he smirked. Whether it was poke at myself, my kids, or my career, well I am not entirely sure. I do know that following that question, I am realizing patience is, in fact, exactly what I want in the new year.

Reaching my 5 year old son has been challenging to put it lightly. He is having a difficult time adjusting to Kindergarten. He is whiney and seems unhappy a lot of the time, and I can't tell what part is him just being 5, and what part is me not having the right tools. I have screamed at him more than I want to admit. I have wanted to run away so that he would miss me and stop taking me for granted. I have thought about taking sugar, dairy and wheat out of his diet to calm him down. All fleeting, but happening in my head nonetheless. This too will pass, but the key ingredient to this volatile recipe is patience.

Everyone only has so much time in the day, and myself included. I make these lists everyday that I seem to rarely finish. At the end of the day, checking things off my list is not what brings me joy. I know not everything needs to a positive moving experience, but I don't have to be productive from morning to night. I've somehow forgotten how to relax, to slow down once in a while. When I start hearing myself ordering the kids to complete tasks, I need to be patient with myself and with them, and remember that the biggest missing piece for children in today's culture is downtime. We all need it.

As far as my career goes, I have so many irons in the fire. I love so many things and still haven't fully decided where I will direct my focus. I continue to love my work with senior fitness, I love writing and acting, as well. I will keep pursing these things while managing this home and raising a couple of youngins. Preferably with a bit more patience in 2018.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Still Waiting!

When I had my first baby, a dear friend who doesn't have children gave me some advice. She asked me to please remember my friends who don't have children. I quickly responded that I would of course never forget any of my friends, but she went further into explaining how easily women can forget their past identity once they become a mother. I took her advice to heart, and I have never forgotten it. When I became a mother, I tried to include my friends into my new world, but the two worlds didn't always fit. Soon enough, many of my close friends joined motherhood as well, and we connected once again.

There are still are friends though who haven't had children. Some because they don't want to, some because they desperately want to but it hasn't happened yet, and some who fall somewhere in between. I try to make sure I am still the friend I was before I had kids, but I do fall short sometimes. There is a lot less time social time available, and a lot of the social events these days are centered around families and kids. Sometimes when I call a close friend of mine who doesn't have kids, I try really hard to talk about everything in my life but my kids. It's really challenging.

Recently, one of my friends found out that she and her husband were not going to be able to have their own biological children. They had tried to get pregnant on their own. They did a few rounds of fertility treatment, and even tried to use eggs she had frozen from a few years back. All attempts were unsuccessful -- they were depleted financially and emotionally. Their doctor recommended that they consider a donor egg, so that she could still experience pregnancy and childbirth. This was not an easy decision, especially when the one thing she doesn't have on her side is time. One day on the phone she came straight out and asked me what I thought she should do: I could not give her an answer. She has to find it on her own, but I began to think what I would do in her situation.

Within a month of her telling me this, another friend shared a very similar dilemma. She and her husband also tried fertility treatments and are now beginning the process of adoption. While month after month of hoping for a possibility of pregnancy comes and goes, two of her co-workers who sit beside her have both gotten pregnant with their second children. As I was listening to her, I thought of how so many women struggle with this journey into motherhood. There is so much identity tied into who we are as women. There are many women who are happy, content and complete without having to become a mother, yet society still begs an answer from them on why they don't have children. Whatever the reasons behind having or not having children, we could all use a bit more sensitivity on these very sensitive subjects.

Having had two healthy children of my own, I don't take for granted how hard they were to come by. After months of trying, a miscarriage, and three horribly difficult pregnancies, the entire journey was quite a ride. A worthwhile ride, but not an easy one at all. My friend's rides now are equally filled with hurdles and they will get over them too. At the end of the road, if they so desire, they can both have a baby. It may not come in the package they were expecting but with a little bit more waiting, their baby will come.

In the meantime, I am committed to my friendships with them. With or without children.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Studies say...

The last thing I wrote was about being impressionable. Nothing challenges my confidence level more than when my children have a meltdown and I can't seem to help them out of it. I start looking at them and wonder if there might be something wrong with them. After trying so gently to talk to them, and they still continue on hysterically, I begin to lose my patience. I quickly try to reference all the tools I have read about in parenting books. I've read not to raise your voice since losing control only makes them feel more panicked, and your yelling will only add to their meltdown. I have also read to stop what ever you are doing and get eye level with your kid, and acknowledge what they are feeling. I have also read that ignoring your child completely during their freak out can be effective. So after so many conflicting reports, I can understand why I am paralyzed sometimes and can't figure out which tactic to try. Oh also, everything I read says to stay consistent -- so there's that.

Every night when I make dinner, I begin my dance. I am reminding one to please focus and do homework, while I attempt to keep the other one from snacking right before dinner. Its the same routine, and I work really hard to get a balanced, healthy and somewhat appealing meal on the table. The end result is usually the same and my husband and I eat while they ask if they could be done after two bites. They say they tried it but don't really like it. After researching so many kid friendly meals, testing recipes, and spending time and money on cooking I am shot down by these little humans. If they scarf down some bland rice dish I have carefully unseasoned for them and say they like it, I am thrilled. I have won them over again. This is the most emotionally abusive relationship I have ever been in. It works both ways though. I make them eat fruits and vegetables and threaten to take away dessert. I tell them they will not grow strong without muscle foods. I tell them they will not have smart brains without superfoods. I tell them the dentist said no gum, and the Dr. said only dessert. Then I read another article about making sure kids have some sugar so that it isn't taboo, then I read another one saying that sugar will kill us all.

In moderation is the advice these days in screen time. No one is really there for you though when that thirty minute show is over and your kid is so angry at you for turning it off. Or when you are the only parent who doesn't let your kid have an iPod touch, no one prepares you with the law degree needed to handle that argument. I wasn't aware of the post-tv show watching zombie that would be replacing my child, or that they would be glued to the couch unsure of how to use their legs again. It's healthy to watch a little television though. After all, that is how we wind down at the end of the day. The taboo thing applies here too though, so best not to take it away completely. I personally don't have my kids watch it during the week. Studies show kids are much more active and creative when you take it off the table. 

"They" say it is best not to tackle more than one issue with your child at a time, so if my son is pulling his sisters hair, screaming, and kicking — which one do I tackle first? I have tried to train him to wake up and say "good morning" instead of asking me for Batman or a chocolate chip cookie. Today it didn't work though. I sat on his floor and quietly responded to every “Mommy, I want to watch batman." I didn't raise my voice, I didn't give in, I didn't ignore him. I simply explained (like many books have instructed) that we don't watch Batman in the morning, and my answer is final. I also told him that when he ready to talk about something else, I will be right here. I did as "they" say and he didn't. So then I ignored him, not because I was trying a different approach, but because after 20 minutes of hearing, "Mama" yelled, I was paralyzed by all of the options and opinions swimming through my head. As of right now, parenting books are no longer welcome on my nightstand. I'm choosing sleep, and self-preservation. Studies say some alone time will do me good.