Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Great and Powerful Oz by Kellie "Dance Machine" Milton

At first I was unsure as to why I started my post off with this title, but upon further introspection, I’ve concluded that what I am writing about concerns something great, powerful and something that most women think will grant them their greatest wish. Being thin. Being thin is like a mythical creature that women chase their whole lives. Like the epic quest for the white stag in Narnia, or the pot of gold at the end of the dieting rainbow. 

I would like to address a very particular facet of this great quest. Something that has always afflicted me in various cycles - Closephobia*; a pronounced fear of one's own closet and apparel. Now, I am sure there are plenty of confident, thick and thin, women reading this (and maybe even a man or two *gasp*) who have never struggled with their own minds in this way. For you, I shall describe it. It is like the worst imaginable game of truth or dare. If you DARE try and wear your skinny jeans, you will be faced with the awful TRUTH of your late night snacking and the audacity of choosing flour tortillas over the low-cal corn on taco night. 

In the last 18 months I have lost 45 pounds. It’s quite an accomplishment, I know. If you ask me about it, I would happily tell you with a wink, "yes, it's true, I’m thin and beautiful now." This is my way of proving (to who, I’m not sure) that I see myself as I am and that I know that losing 45 pounds has not turned me into Heidi Klum. It's also my way to allay my discomfort when someone is shocked at how much weight I’ve lost. These last few months, I have wandered off the narrow path, thanks to the holidays and the chocolate loving chubs that still lives in my brain (my very own dark passenger). I realized this week just how far I’ve strayed. I mostly work from home and some days I live in jammies or work out wear, but this week I started training and had to go into the office. On Monday morning, I found myself fresh from the shower, and standing in front of my walk-in, paralyzed by closephobia. I was so afraid of picking out clothes that would feel tight from my winter indulgence and unused gym membership. I tried several different outfits and settled on black leggings, an oversized sweater, and trusty long scarf to hide my sugary sins. For good measure I put a big, bright flowery clip in my hair. I looked in the mirror feeling successful and loathsome in equal measure. 

I don't have the answer for this feeling. I am sharing, so that maybe in your toughest bouts with closephobia, you will feel less alone and feel a sense of sisterhood in the quest. I’m trying to get back on the path now, but I am firmly avoiding the scale. I don't want to have to amend this post to say "I’ve lost 35 pounds" this year. Heaven forbid I have to be honest with myself ALL THE TIME! I am a grown ass woman and sometimes that means I get to be afraid of my closet without shame and no one can make me weigh myself. 

So ladies, keep fighting the good fight, and try to make that closet your bitch! And if sometimes it bites you in the butt and you want to crawl back into your sweats, put on some black leggings and a kick-ass hair adornment and walk out with your head high, knowing that you've got a friend in me. 

*Closephobia may or may not be a term I made up.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

You Can’t Always Trust Your Emotions By Sophie Patten

Sometimes we remember things as being perfect or as being awful, when really they were much more average than that.

If there is anything I have learnt through the trials and tribulations of having and loving people with depression, it’s that you can't always trust your emotions.

We take our emotions everywhere with us

what is "good" or "acceptable" sometimes changes depending on how we feel and the contributing factors along the way. 

How many of us having an argument with our spouse or partner or best friend and in that moment, at the height of your out rage, you feel like the other person will never understand you.. you’re so mad you think you won’t get over it?  That ever happen to you?  If not, just stop reading right now because evidentially you and I don’t speak the same language. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I Am So Jealous Of You... By Susie Klein

Blogging is the new worldwide pastime it seems. Who knew that so many had so much to say? The ‘Mommy Blog’ is clearly one of the most popular genres of blogging.  According to recent statistics there are 3.9 million women with children who write blogs in the United States today*. Add to that number the creative and chatty moms in other parts of the world and it is a staggering picture of women connecting.

Some may say that the high proliferation of mommy blogs is all about competition and simply a place to brag on one’s own offspring. I know that is true in many instances, but I believe it is much more than that. It is about connection. No matter how many books an expectant mom reads or how many articles she scans online about what to expect when she brings that baby home, there will be questions. Big questions and small questions become so intermingled that the tiniest doubt can multiply in size and overwhelm a new mother. She needs an answer and she needs it now!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Desperate for Downtime by Anonymous

We have come to the end of our wits. We are teetering on the brink of insanity. We have lost bags upon bags of marbles. We are invariably irritable, frustrated, cantankerous. We have reached a level of desperation that we never thought we would still know nearly a year after the birth of our daughter.
I hear about these babies that sleep through the night after just a few short weeks. I hear about these kids who sleep for 12 hours straight. I hear about the babies that can just be laid down in a crib and easily, tearlessly fall asleep on their own. I don't really considered parenting to be "unfair" -- until it comes to this. How come those parents get to sleep? Sleep deprivation really is an instrument of torchure. I googled it. Its kind of disturbing...
I have tried everything. She has a consistent bedtime routine. Getting her to go to sleep is not so much of the problem. Getting her to stay asleep is an unobtainable aspiration. She will wake up anywhere between one and three in the morning and she will stay awake for hours. The apartment is dark. There are no distractions. We don't talk to her or let her play. We have tried leaving her in her crib and letting her cry at increasing five-minute intervals (Ferber method). We have tried just standing next to her crib and rubbing her back until she goes to sleep (except she won't go to sleep. She will stand there and cry and it is heartbreaking). She uses a pacifier. We keep a fan in her room for white noise. We have tried softly talking, singing, and humming to her. We make sure her needs are met. She gets a new diaper, a bottle, and a blanket. I have spent hours on the internet and reading books. Every suggestion they have offered has been tried and nothing will work. She isn't sleeping too much during the day. She usually only sleeps about an hour or two during the day, even if she only got five hours of sleep at night. She isn't just sitting around all day, not expending any energy, either. She is constantly on the move, exploring everything she can reach, crawling and walking all over the place. She eats a good bit during the day. I just don't understand how she isn't completely exhausted at night or why she won't just stay asleep.
I have been told that when I was a baby, they could just lay me down and I would go to sleep on my own. I find this hard to believe, because for as long as I can remember, I have had trouble falling asleep. Even if I am exhausted (which is pretty much always), I still toss and turn for hours before I can fall asleep. Then the baby will wake up after I've just fallen asleep. So I can barely even rest when she rests. I can't take the medication because I won't hear her, or I won't be able to get up.
Has anyone ever heard of the child's book for exhausted parents? Go the f*** to Sleep, by Adam Mansbach? If you are sensitive to swear words (or have no sense of humor) then I wouldn't suggest it. But if you aren't quite so tightly wound, check this out:

I find myself thinking about this book quite often.
I guess I just needed to vent. Maybe I'm hoping someone has some advice or a method I haven't yet tried. Or maybe I am hoping somoene else can sympathize.

Monday, August 1, 2011

What I Know For Sure by Sophie Patten

I have three daughters. My oldest Evelyn Rose is 5, my middle daughter Annabelle Heather is 2 ½ and my youngest Penelope Violet is 6 months old.  I am 28 and have been married for six years and my husband and I run a publishing company owned by my father.

Since having my youngest baby girl in February of this year I have felt overwhelmed with postpartum depression.  I feel like there is a lot of stigma on this subject because people seem to go to the worse case scenario, which for me would be that I want to harm my baby or older kids.  Lucky for me this isn’t the case.  I just feel very low and have been very hard on myself since she was born.  I have been unable to pull myself from the depths of sorrow that depression has taken me.  Some days I have felt completely hopeless. I have felt unworthy to be the mother to my wonderful children or the wife to my incredible husband.

On those dark days, I compare myself to other women around me. To the moms and wives who in my hazy-headed opinion are managing to keep on top of their lives in more effective ways than me.  I feel like everyone’s house is cleaner than mine, no one else seems to struggle with cleaning and tidying the way I do.  Everyone else is thinner and happier than me.  Everyone else is more at peace than me, more satisfied.

Having these kinds of feelings is very alien to me because I am actually a very confident person and don’t usually compare my happiness to other peoples.  I might have fallen prey to comparing the state of my house to others before, but not really myself.

I have been to my friend’s houses when they have been messy but I don’t see it the way I see my own mess.  I see it as a stain on my record, a sign that I haven’t evolved past teenage immaturity.  But the truth is there are five people living in my home and I am the main person who tidies and cleans so of course I am always behind.  I finish cleaning the kitchen and the toys are a mess – I finish organizing the toys and the coats, shoes and sweaters are everywhere.  Being mom is never ending chores and even if you manage to get to the end, everything will be a mess again within days/hours/minutes.
It’s a series of thankless tasks and to-do lists so long that after a while it’s just insulting.  After all cleaning the outer windows is definitely a good thing to do… but er if you have two hours and your list also includes laundry, making dinner and giving the kids a bath, chances are cleaning the windows isn’t the daily priority. I’m sorry but if I have a jam-packed day chances are giving the kids a bath isn’t high on the list either. 

And that makes me a terrible mom right?  In my head it does.  I think, aah they don’t have developed sweat glands yet so they don’t REALLY smell bad and I’ll just brush out Annie’s hair so you can’t notice the ranch/yogurt that she put in there yesterday.

I know that there are terrible people in the world and we hear about them on the news every day. They are represented on television shows like CSI and Law & Order and a thousand other shows and movies. The villains. The terrorists. The kidnappers, abusers and molesters.  But I have come to believe something which has become very important to me lately, as I have felt the delicate nature of my mind feel ever-more flimsy in the tapestry of my life; I have come to believe that people, by their nature, are good. 
There are bad people; evil people, no doubt.  But there are literally billions of people in the world. The current worldwide estimated population is 6,852,472,823.  Think about everyone you know… sure you might know a couple of real assholes, people who genuinely don’t seem to give a shit and just hurt people.  But chances are you know a hell of a lot more people who are decent, kind, loving and good. 

We are all connected by some special and fundamental truths. We want to be loved and give love, we want to be heard and seen for who we are and we want to create something that is lasting. This creation could be anything, art, music, writing, poetry, arcetecture, and of course it can also be having children.

For many people their children are their only legacy.  

Monday, July 4, 2011

Ben's Birthday Story by Heather McGilvary

Thirty six years ago I remember how important I suddenly became, because I was now a mum.

 I was necessary to someone. He needed me above all others. When I crossed over a road I must now take care, because somebody was relying on me to come home to him safely.

In a nutshell, I became precious to myself because I was so precious to my son. Before he could utter a word, he told me in a thousand ways how he depended on me. This was regardless of my immaturity, my inexperience and my paranoia about him.

If he slept too long, I thought he had died. If he did not sleep so well, I worried about that too. I was caught once boiling an egg cup, for his gripe water, as I thought anything unsterilized would kill him. The person who saw me do this was an older friend who also was a nurse, and her laughter over the egg cup incident (it cracked in the boiling water) is still clear to me. “Wait till you have four!” she snorted, “You’ll have no time for all this angst!”

What a painful and exquisitely wonderful time, when all senses seemed heightened by this tiny person who had grabbed my heart. I spent  hours just staring at my little boy. I sang him love songs over and over again, so that he would know with every fibre of his being that he was my joy and my delight. I told him a hundred stories where he was the hero and saved the world.

Time has passed of course. Two more tiny people have clutched my soul just like he did. Two other fascinating, complicated and wonderful human beings have come out of my body just as he did. Less paranoia was involved, but no less passionate love.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Even A “Bad” Mom Can Raise Good Men By Susie Klein

I recently read a post here by Anonymous titled, forget success, i just want to survive And I saw myself in every line she wrote. I recognized her frustration and her temptation to believe that she was not the mom that her child needed. She is concerned that her mommy skills may be less than what her kid requires.

One of the reasons that our great friend, Sophie, began this blog “for moms and by moms” was to show us that we are not alone. You are not alone in feeling like you do not measure up in the Mommy-Wars. For some crazy reason we all feel as if every other woman around us is doing it right and we are doing it wrong and our child is going to turn out to be some kind of monster or gutter-dweller.

I am going to stick my neck out here a bit and presume to speak from a place of knowledge and experience in this area of mothering. To validate my ability to identify with you, here are a couple of excerpts from my journals...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

G.D. it, I Forgot The Tortillas By Sophie Patten

I try saying things like “Holy Mackerel” and “Good Gravy!” in front of my kids, but I’m afraid the odd s-bomb has escaped my lips without very much apology.  To be honest the Disney swearing just tickles me pink and even when I’m around regularly sized humans I enjoy throwing out a “Oh, Holy Nights!” or a “Good Night Nurse!” every now and again.

Going to the store with three children under 5 is not easy. The afternoons make it worse because they have all just woken up from their all too brief naps, and aren’t energized by breakfast or 10+ hours sleep like they would be if I took them in the morning. 

I bundle them in the car, check for shoes, sweaters, pacy and toys for the baby…  I grab snack and drinks, jump in the car and pass out the snack only for my oldest to whine “I don’t want THAT snack mommy!” and my toddler to scream her agreement that I am apparently rubbish for selecting THAT snack. 

ADMISSION: Half the time when this happens I say “Rough, it’s THIS or nothing”, aaand the other half I heave a giant frustrated sigh and stomp back in the house to get a couple of different items that I know will soothe the little beasts and guarantee a smoother outing.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Moms, Dads & Stress by Becky Blankenship

Moms and Dads carry a lot of stuff with them, things that crowd the mind and undermine patience. You know, the usual day- to- day concerns like getting the kids off to school, making it to work on time, dinner, laundry, bathrooms. But why is it on some days there is something that compromises our ability to handle things?         
 Some days it may be the stain on the carpet that pushes the button or a hairstyle that won’t “style” that finally makes us snap. Of course it’s not those things alone, it’s the culmination of all things together.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Better Judgment by Anonymous

Sometimes, I see parents rushing out of the store with their kicking and screaming child, snapping something harsh at them, and then, we make eye contact and the caught-red-handed look comes over their face.

At first, i think, "I will never do that with MY child." and then, I re-evaluate the situation: How many times have I dropped my head into my knees in frustration and starting sobbing? How many times have I had to leave her in her crib and walk away for a few minutes? How many times has some horrible thought crossed my mind and then I immediately "took it back"?