Friday, February 26, 2010

Child vs Work

This week has been a struggle that I think most working moms face with every child. James woke up in the middle of the night, struggling to breathe and in an all out fit. We were able to calm him down and return his breathing to normal. Of course, Matt and I had him sleep with us after the episode, just so we could make sure he was truly all right. The struggle I am referring too happened in the morning. James seemed alright when he woke up. Not his happy go-lucky self, but no fever and really no cough. So, we sent him to daycare and I went to work.

The whole day I fretted, thinking I should have stayed home with him. I even called daycare to check in on him during the day -- yes I am one of those moms. Its such a hard decision that many working moms face everyday, should we stay home with our somewhat sick children or do we wait until they get worse.  It breaks your heart when you have to send them to daycare when they are a little sick.  You want to be able to nuture them back to health, but that is not always possible.  Its hard to sit at work and not feel guilty.  That said, I think these situations are making both James and I stronger.  James is learning, not the way I would really want him too, to somewhat deal with colds and not to breakdown, and I am learning that both of us are stronger than I think.  I am not able to keep him in a bubble and he will get sick, and will have to have colds at daycare.  I believe this learning process is awful but will make us stronger in the end.

At the end of the day, James struggled with his temper in the morning at daycare (mainly due to a sleepless night) but after his nap he seemed to be a happier baby. So, we made the right decision. He was fine, even though I spent the whole day with my stomach in my throat.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Down, down, down

I have some good news to report today. Tuesday's are my weigh in and after my first week I have now lost 5 pounds. I hope to keep going, but I know that it will not continue at this rate, but if I can loose at least a pound or even two a week, I will be very happy -- my biggest struggle is going to keep with this program over the next couple of weeks -- if I can make it past 6 weeks, it will hopefully be a new habit!

Lent is tomorrow, and I am going to use Lent as an opportunity to make a longer term goal -- no French Fries (sadly but true, my ultimate weakness!). I also want to make more of a conservative effort to take James to church on Sunday's during lent. I am not saying we will make it every Sunday, but I believe that we need to start going. I truly believe that our religion does teach morals to live by and I want my child to learn them. I don't really care if he believes in god or heaven, but I think things such as the Ten Commandments, re-enforces rules to live by, which I hope to instill in my child.

On another note, we had another piece of good news today, James has officially gone a whole week without biting! We are keeping our fingers crossed but it seems as if we have made it over this phase (for now). I did have a discussion with the teacher, and of course at 16mths old, James's new favorite word is MINE...usually this isn't used to closer to 20 mths old -- but count on James to be way ahead of schedule. This means, he is probably going to the next classroom closer to 18mths instead of 20-22mths. I am very insecure about this transition. Matt seems to think it will be good as he needs to be with kids who are at his same development level, but I am little uncertain -- mainly because James's verbal skills are not where the other older kids are, and once again he will be the baby. I think he can hold his own, but he seems more content and at ease with his current friends...

As a working mom -- this is such a struggle -- how to keep your child engaged but to make sure he is in the right learning environment. We didnt think we would have to be thinking about all of this stuff until he was going off to kindergarten -- how we are wrong!

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Balancing Act

So I do read some blogs – Boston Mamas today had an article that really made me think. It was regarding striking a balance between being a mom and going to work.

This article really made me think about a little on-going argument that Matt and I had last night. I feel out of control most days and nights, I feel like our house is always a mess – believe it or not it, it drives me up a wall – and I feel like I never have any time to clean, organize, and play with my child. And, to come home at night and see dishes from breakfast in the sink and not in the dishwasher it makes me want to explode! Needless to say, I need to learn to let go and just move forward. Which is just one of the topics Boston Mamas made me think about, and so I have gone through her points below.

Do a few things well. Instead of driving yourself crazy trying to do everything (and potentially letting quality suffer across the board), focus on doing a few things well. I agree, and sometimes it’s hard to not feel like you have to do everything well! Prove that you can do it all! This is truly one of the biggest things I struggle with every day.

Focus on the present. It can be challenging to not feel work and household minutia looming over you at all times. But when you are home with your kids, be present. Of course you want to be present – but sometimes you need to do a load of laundry or clean-up the kitchen or even make a meal. So, I have made some of these chores activities James and I do together. James loves putting the laundry in the washing machine, so I hand it to him and he puts it in. Then he loves watching the wash go around and around. When I cook, we have a step stool and I let him watch and even help stir on occasions. This has made chore time a little bit more manageable and allows James and me to spend some quality time.

Make realistic goals. Don't set expectations so high that they are hard to achieve and set you up for frustration. Set small, realistic goals. I completely agree with this, otherwise, you will always feel like you haven’t accomplished anything. Some days, my goals are as simple as make time to take a shower! LOL! Other days, I have a check list the size of the equator. Our dry-erase board sometimes becomes a list of to dos instead of a weekly calendar, but it does feel great when you are able to finally cross something off – for example tomorrow I am finally getting my glasses! I have been waiting for over a year now to have glasses with the right prescription!!

Speaking of goals: So today went to the gym and ran 4 miles in 38 minutes – not to bad.


Breakfast: Chobani yogurt

Lunch: Chx noodle soup, light WW English muffin, orange

Snack: 94% fat free

Dinner: Trader Joe’s pizza and a veggie

WW online is going really well – I have been sticking to my points and finding that I am seeing results already – yeah for the first week…let’s hope this weekend goes well!

Don't make comparisons. Instead of comparing yourself to others, focus on yourself and whatever it is you are creating. This has actually never really been a problem of mine, the one thing I am secure in is being a good mom – I feel blessed for my child and his accolades…I think that at each age each kid will be doing different things and there is no need to compare yourself as it will only make you feel more insecure!

Play by your own rules. It's very easy to get swept up in the frantic pace of work but shift your perspective so that you aren’t living in fear of missing out on opportunities is very powerful. Be willing to lose so you can play by your own rules. ENOUGH SAID

Opportunity can be dangerous. There's a tendency to jump and say yes in the face of opportunity, even if it's not necessarily the right fit. Analyze each opportunity and decide whether it's something you really want to do vs. something you feel you should do. Remember that there will always be another opportunity; follow your instincts and remember that all opportunities are not necessarily good opportunities. I agree with this…the one thing I do wish I did was a new mom group. I felt that because I was going to be a working mother I didn’t need to waste my time or money to join the one in my town (yes, you had to pay), because I wouldn’t be able to continue attending the group after I went back to work. I didn’t realize was that these women may have been a great support system – and we could have even gotten together outside of the work week. That said, there are so many things that you feel compelled to do in order to “keep up with the Jones’s” and no matter what you do you never will be able too – it goes back to stop comparing. Sometimes you miss opportunities and sometimes you take an opportunity that doesn’t meet your expectations.

Change your response. There's a tendency to say yes to everything (sometimes before even knowing what it is) due to worry that people otherwise won’t like you. Change your response strategy from “Yes” to "Can I get back to you?" This response allows you the space to evaluate the opportunity. Or, you can be like me and lately I just say “No, I have a kid!” LOL! I think that I have to work on saying “Yes” more. Saying yes to having me time, saying its okay for Matt or someone else to take care of my child, saying its okay to want to have a day off.

Ask for help. Asking for help is not a weakness. Remember that asking for help does not reflect that you are incapable of doing something; you’re simply opting not to do something in the moment. I agree – even though I am a total control freak I must say the one thing I think I am good at is asking for help. I love talking to other mom’s and trying to figure out how to get through different stages. I think this is really important. Some of the best ideas I have gotten was from other moms, and my own mom. Books by doctors are great tools – but moms are even better. I even rely on my fellow working moms for ideas on how to balance, and deal with the day to day reality of being a working mom. I think you are more of a secure mom to ask for help than to bite your tongue…your child and you, yourself will be happier for it – we don’t all have the answers!!

Let go. For the control freaks out there, there's a tendency to shoulder all burdens, but it's important to let go and remember that there is more than one way to do things. I think this is my hardest “idea” I struggle with. I believe as a working mom we feel like we do not have control over much in our lives and our children’s lives; therefore, its very hard for us not to control what little we feel like we can. I was told by a co-worker that the hardest thing in motherhood is to let-go and allow things to be done – even if it isn’t the way you would like it to be done! Let’s just say, after a year and a half in mommyhood – I still really haven’t been able to fully embrace this concept – it’s a work in progress. Maybe if I could stop the inner control freak I would be able to find more time for myself!

One thing that wasn’t on Boston Mamas’ list was finding time for yourself. I might sound selfish, but as I found over the last year, and especially the winter when I have been able to go for a morning run because its still pitch black – that you forget to make time for yourself. Its hard, a constant struggle, but even taking an hour a day makes you a better mom, wife, person and friend. Remember that everyone needs some “down” time, whether its going to the gym, getting a cup of coffee, or even something as small as taking a shower – have time to be with yourself will bring you keep you SANE.

The last thing I think that Boston Mamas forgot was, if you do have a partner in this experience, take time to enjoy each other. When both partners are working, and parenting it tends to feel as if you are working together just to survive. You forget what brought you to that point in the first place. Matt and I can’t always afford to get a babysitter & dinner – we have found that it’s nice to plan a great dinner – cook together and put on a great movie. We have date night inside. I feel that it so important to be great as a husband and wife in order to be great as mom and dad – and thanks to my parents for teaching me this (even though when I was a kid, I didn’t always understand!).

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Biting the "No-Easter" in the But!

Well, at 7:30 am Matt and I sat down with James's two teachers and the director of his daycare to go over his biting issues. They believe he is going through a "me" stage a little earlier than he is suppose to so that is why he is biting because most toddlers go through it closer to two and have more verbal language to express their frustration. The only issue with this is that if James continues with this pattern of behavior he will be required to leave daycare for a month so that he can "collect" himself and work through this stage -- aka so he wont be around to bite the other kids for a month.

This is sending Matt and I into a tailspin -- we already spend $2,000 a month just to have him in this center (which is the median price in our area) and now we have to figure out - if he does get kicked out for a month, what in the hell are we going to do!! We are a bit lucky though, because Matt's office has emergency back up daycare so we are looking into how many days a week we can use them. Oh the joys!!! At the very least, the director was kind enough (sense my sarcasms) to let us know that James would be welcomed back with arms wide open at the end of the month and we would not be charged for the month missed....yeah that makes life sooo much easier!

And, on the last daycare note -- we were made to pick up James at 2pm due to weather yesterday. Meanwhile, the Nor'easter we were suppose to have never arrived -- yet we still had to pick him up at 2pm...can I tell you this makes juggling work expectations, and life so much harder -- especially since James normally sleeps until 3pm! But, I must say I really did enjoy the afternoon I got to spend with my little man. We played, laughed, colored and cuddled. Now, if I could only get through the last bit of teething and get some sleep I think we will have a much happier house! At least the ear infection seems to be clearing up!

As for exercises, yesterday I did not get a chance to find anytime for me to work out. Between trying to get laundry done -- so the dirty "Mr. Lovey" could get cleaned, scrubbing the floor after James has decided he wanted his food on the floor and cleaning up after dinner, and playing with the baby! Hopefully tonight I can be motivated enough to do Julian Michael's 30-day shredd -- to anyone who hasn't tried this -- its absolutely amazing! Kicks my butt every time and it only takes 20 minutes!!!

With all my stress in life, I must say I am still on track with WW. Yesterday, I unfortunately did not get to having breakfast -- which I know is so wrong. But for the rest of the day here it is:

Lunch: Chx noodle soup, Light WW English muffin
Snack: 2 Rice Cakes with Peanut butter (but its safe to say James had almost 1/2 of one)
Dinner: 3oz of Steak, Roasted Zucchini and a baked potato
Dessert: 3 Thin Mints

Even though I am on little sleep from last night, I was able to keep my will power up, and here is where i am at:

Breakfast: Chobani Peach Yogurt
Lunch: Chx noodle soup, Light WW English muffin, Orange
Snack: 94% Fat-Free Popcorn
Dinner: Ground 93% lean Turkey Burgers w/ fat free Amer. Cheese, steamed broccoli, and quinoa (cooked in chx broth and sprinkled with a little Parmesan cheese).

We also shipped off one of our love seats -- thanks to Matt's parents who agreed to store it for us. Now the question that is bothering me is how do we organize? I dont know if we should move the couch out of the baby's room and put as much as we can into his, or keep it like it is now, build a radiator cover and storage around the radiator. Oh, the joys of being over run by toys! I cant wait for the day when we have a room for toys, a room to eat in and a room for mom and dad to relax!

Now I am off to go get the little man, and I dont have to trek through the snow because we never got it! YES!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

My kid is the class what?!!!

Today's activities entailed dealing with a very cranky toddler who couldn't be quelled with the likes of teething rings, Motrin, and binkies. I can't wait until his incisors are in and his ear infection clears up. Then we might get a glimpse of the happy child we know is in there.

On top of all this we have been called into a parent/ teacher & director conference at James's daycare. He is officially the class biter! I have spent the better part of two weeks researching how to stop James from doing this, especially since he doesn't bite at home, and today spent almost a half hour with our doctor's office's social worker / behavioral specialists to determine how to stop this behavior. Now, not only are we worried about the repeated ear infections - post tube surgery - but now we have to worry about James possibly getting kicked out of daycare!!! Especially when we had to wait over a year to get him in one in the first place!

On top of all that stress, I had a run in today with someone who is not a mother - and who dared to judge my feelings - talk about setting me off! I know I am a hard person, but I truly believe some mothers are happy going to work and are a better mother for being in the work place. As my husband knows, I truly feel I am not one of those mothers. It pains me everyday to go to work and not to play and learn with my child. I am envious of those mothers that get to have play groups and go to the play gyms and even swim classes. Even in a major city, it is interesting that many of these classes are not offered on the weekends -- we as working mothers, don't get to do those activities with our children. So we run around all weekend, trying to create experiences and dreading the coming Monday. I am looking forward to the day when i am able to experience every full day with my child. So, to get back to the beginning of this rant - this person basically told me to get over it. I understand the sentiment --and only wish i could get over it! But, at the end of the day, this one aspect has been the biggest part of motherhood that I agonize over. I truly believe daycare has been great for James, but i believe i would be a far better mother if I was able to stay home and be with my child during the week.

On a more positive note I officially started WW on-line. What a great tool! I have never done it on-line, just the meetings. Online has so much more information to offer, it is so amazing and fool proof. I hope that the coming months lead to great success in my battle with the bulge! hahaha... So, to continue with meeting this weeks goal here is what i have eaten (so far) and my exercises. (Just as a side note, Matt's dad is visiting us tonight, so I am still not sure what we are doing for dinner - which is why it isn't recorded below).

Breakfast: Chobani Yogurt (at 140 cal. and 14g of Protein and no fat -- this is a wonderful breakfast that keeps you full and gives you a ton of energy)

Lunch: Chicken Soup, Light WW English Muffin, Orange

Snack: 2 rice cakes w/ peanut butter

Excersise: Ran 3miles in under 30 minutes.

Lets hope for snow tomorrow! It would be mighty fun to get to go home early and enjoy the product of cold weather! It so much fun to play in the snow again :)

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Start of a whole new journey

So, for months I have been complaining about finding time to loose some weight and to find some "me" time. I am starting this blog to motivate myself, express some trials and tribulations and to find my "new-self" as I come to terms with being a mother.

For those that do not know me, I have a beautiful 16 month old boy. But for the last 16 months life has revolved around him -- which has been extremely fun, enlightening and frustrating at times. James has given us a whole new outlook on life, and effected things in more ways than i could ever imagine - some good, and to tell you the truth some not so good.

But, today is not a day to look back, but a day to look forward. While still sleep deprived and exhausted I have set-out to make some changes. The first change is that I am making goals each week and will strive to make them.

This week -- my goal is to concentrate on getting to the gym -- at lunch, doing DVD's or even after work on Wed. (if we dont get a huge snow storm). My other goal is track what I have eaten and really commit to my weight loss goals. I have an amazing brother-in-law that has been working so hard to stick to his goals and I am jumping on board, signing up for WW online and deciding today to take control. So, that said here is what I have eaten / excersised today:

Peach Ciobani Yogurt

Progresso, no MSG, Chick Noodle Soup
English Muffin

Pollo-String Cheese
Granola Bar

Turkey Chilli

30 minutes on the elicptical
15 minutes on the erg (this was a lot harder than during my rowing days!)

Off to go pick up the little man from daycare -- lets hope he had a good day and no more biting his friends - that way I don't have to go into the frustrations of teaching your child when they dont really even understand why or what. Lets also hope he is in a good mood -- it makes it so much more fun to come home after a very long day, sitting a job, missing your baby; to come home to a happy playful baby!!