With the New Year comes a national obsession of trying to get back into shape. As if our bodies forget that we don’t exercise before January 1? I’ve found that some people keep up a routine for five weeks (beginning in January) and then stop the rest of the year. I, on the other hand, have a more consistent approach to trying to stay in decent shape. A rather lame one, but one that works for me. You see, I exercise so I can feel good (and essentially, eat more). If I don’t work out at least three to four times a week, my husband says, I act like something that rhymes with “switch”. I can’t help it. I enjoy eating and I have to find a balance. But when I open my door and it is pitch black, 25 degrees and my driveway is a sheet of ice, I have to resort to my lowest, lamest calorie-burning denominator. Running in place. And a few floor exercises. My kids have found me in my room, running in place while watching 30 Rock repeats many a morning. My son will clap and jog around the room, saying,” Come on, ladies, you can do it.” My daughter will do leg lunges, saying, “Feel the burn, girls. Feel the burn”. At this point, I can’t stop giggling, but at least I’m doing something. I do venture outside and go to the local YMCA too. I like to jog with my overgrown puppy dog and go to the occasional Yoga class. I’ve done a couple triathlons over the past decade, but I’m not obsessed. Let’s just say I was the only woman to finish the Danskin triathlon riding a mountain bike with a kick stand. OK, so I got the bike off of CraigsList during the recession. It’s all good. Just do what works for you.
It’s not every day that you come in contact with something that means so much to you (and comes in adorable, convenient packaging). Not since I discovered Little Debbie’s® Swiss Roll have I felt such a confectionary connection. Meet my new best friend, Nutella & Go. This little snack can literally melt away kid-rearing stress without adding layers to my behind. (Due to the small size of the package, not necessarily my lack of self-discipline.) God bless America.
I pack these Nutella singles with mini-bread sticks in my kids’ lunches. (Boy, how I wish I had this snack when I was in elementary school.)
When the wind blows every leaf from the neighborhood onto my lawn and my wool sweaters beg to be dry cleaned, I know it’s time. Time for winter. Time for the holiday season. The season for hats and hot chocolates. The season for skates and skis. And, God bless, the season for stress eating. This year, as soon as the hint of burning chimneys reach my nose, I find myself in the pantry looking for leftover Halloween candy. Rifling through the freezer for frozen pizza. And piling whipped cream over every freaking hot beverage known to man. I know I’m not an animal. I’m a human being. But something in me tells me it’s time to hibernate for the winter. Meaning it’s time to stress eat.
Stress eating does something miraculous for my sanity. Please don’t spoil it for me. Because, as long as I exercise here and there, I feel I can justify the expansion of my thighs a little longer.
Here’s a fun link to my favorite winter beverage on a stick.
The other day, some girlfriends and I started trading “Motherhood was toughest for me when” stories. One friend, who I will call Kelli, admitted that when her kids were infants, she felt like she was going stir crazy. “They weren’t even talking to me yet. Being home full-time just wasn’t right for me.” That’s when Kelli decided she was a better mother when she worked. (Later on, she was able to work part-time, which made everything balance out.) Another friend who I will call Lila admitted that she adored those hibernating infant years, but when she eventually went back to work full-time, something didn’t feel right. “Seeing the sitter take my daughter everywhere killed me.” Lila eventually started working from home part-time, giving her the best of both worlds.
Another mom who I will call Dara worked as an attorney for years. Had Dara not quit for good when she decided to be a mom, there would have been no way she could balance it all with her two kids. I could go on and on (and I will eventually, believe me) about my experience as a working mother. The bottom line is I’m at my best when I’m working from home part-time. That’s where I feel like Jackie. That’s where I feel the most balanced. If my kids are sick, I can stay home with them without feeling guilty that I’m missing work. I can walk them to the bus stop, pick them up from school, and never miss a practice. When I was working full time, the pressure of missing work for a practice or coming in early so I could leave early for a pediatrician appointment was emotionally and physically draining. I have to hand it to those moms who work full-time, I don’t know how you do it. I don’t know how I did it! I can’t tell you how much stress I carried on my daily commute. But I’m happy to say that although I still have my days, I’m much happier today as a work-from-home-mom. (And I think my boss is a pretty cool lady.)
I think I’ve blocked out a lot of things over the years. Some intentionally, others no so intentionally, as a friend and mother of five so eloquently described, “I lost my mind once, then regained it again.” When my son was an infant, it was not fun trying to get him to fall asleep in his crib situated about three feet from our bed. Did I mention that we lived in a one-bedroom apartment at the time? He’d fall asleep in the infant carrier, so we’d lift him up ever so gently, and he would wake up and scream. We would position him perfectly on his side in the crib with those pediatrician-recommended pads. We’d rub his back, position the binky just so and he would drift off for about 30 seconds. Then he’d start to cry. Then cry some more. Then the wailing would begin. He was addicted to sleeping in his infant carrier. (And addicted to his binky, which is an entirely different story.) Had he kept up the carrier craze, it would have been not so pretty for many reasons. Namely, our pediatrician at the time said he needed to wear a helmet to prevent baby Calvin from having a flat head. Enough was enough. There was no reason for this nonsense. We were intelligent enough human beings. I gave birth after an ungodly amount of hours and my husband didn’t even pass out. Together, we could figure this out. We once tried putting him in bed with us, then carrying him to the crib, which kept him up for another hour or two. After several more nights of this, we tried something another couple had suggested, something I had read about but was afraid to try on my own. We let him cry it out for three nights in a row. Three more nights of agony worked. I’ve tried blocking out the part where I teach you why it worked. But my brain is a little fried. Bottom line: Baby Cal got it. He slept in his crib and did not need a helmet. Mommy mission accomplished, at least for a couple months until teething began.
If you really need a pick me up today, be so thankful your children don’t act like these fictitious kids, from the movie Talladega Nights starring Will Farrell.
I went to brunch with a few girlfriends the other day and after some small talk, we all started venting about our kids. It’s an inevitable part of lunching with the girls. And it feels so good to let it out. I had just spent all morning going back and forth with my daughter, trying to get her to school on time. She is actually an easy-going child, but she is starting to show signs of what I hope I don’t see a few years down the road. She used to get ready in five or 10 minutes flat. She used to spend most of the morning chatting with me while I made breakfast, fixed lunches, organized backpacks, fed the dog, and made sure I didn’t leave the house in PJ bottoms. This particular morning, my daughter was acting like a 17 year old and this mom had had it. Did I mention she’s 7 years old? She probably took a good 30 minutes to get ready, yelling from upstairs, “I’m coming mom….Guaa.” This is the point where I become my mother, “Don’t take that tone with me, young lady.” She walks downstairs, with perfectly brushed hair, wearing striped leggings and a cowl-neck top. “Mom, I was just trying to brush my hair and put on my clothes.”
My inner mom is wondering, “That alone should only take 7 minutes, tops. She doesn’t even take a morning shower or blow-dry her hair.”
I vented this during brunch to my friend who has two grown daughters and a 7-year-old girl. She looked at me, straight-faced, then smiled and said, “Good luck, my friend, good luck with that.”
No. I’m not dealing with a 7-year-old inner teen. Please no. This mom wishes to stay in denial a little longer, thank you very much.
In appreciation of the fact that my daughter is not yet a teen, check out this link to the movie 13 Going on 30 starring celebrity mom, Jennifer Garner, yet another actress I have never met and probably never will, but I adore anyway.