Archives for posts with tag: mom life

Covered in reminders of things to do, woman freaks out!

I know I joke a lot about the boys. Like, a lot. I post a lot about their funny and absurd situations and sayings. And I share hilarious memes about how insane parenting is. But sometimes, it’s so hard and draining. Really really really really…..hard.

This week has been one of those weeks juxtaposed with incredible exciting news and progress in my work life.

My seven year old being home and not going to camp, like we planned this summer, has made things super challenging for me. I am balancing four different worlds of work, plus two kids, full time.

I have a three year old that hasn’t been sleeping in his bed which means, I haven’t been getting sleep.

I’ve dragged them to meetings and coffee shop write sessions. I’ve carted them to and from swim lessons, piano, summer camp (little one is still in his), doctor appointments, make breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, and snacks so many damn snacks, all while balancing my work load. And this is the job, I know that. I’ve done it for 7.5 years.

Yesterday I had a huge moment in my writing career and they managed to destroy it for me. I am going to say it, and it sounds harsh because they’re kids, but sometimes kids are crazy. Sometimes, they don’t act right. I love them, I would kill for them, I would die for them but yesterday, they didn’t act right.

I had a meeting with my writing coach and what turned into a kid free meeting transitioned to one kid and then after a preschooler morning tantrum begging to stay home, transitioned into me dragging two kids across the city to sit in a coffee shop quietly while I met.

They forgot what the word quiet meant. Erased it from their cognitive function. They were so bad. Jack was challenging me and just disrespectful and defiant. Alex followed his lead. A meeting that I paid an hour for lasted less then thirty minutes. Because I decided to cut it short, after the second “I have to poop, mommy!” statement came. Yes, somehow, two preschooler poops in under thirty minutes.

During one of the brief moments we had to chat before another interruption, she said that the way I was diving into the characters and how I portray these family relationships could really make this book a hit.

Do you know how long I have been waiting to hear those words? I have dreamed of writing a novel since I was a child. And my children, interrupted that blissful bubble within seconds by complaining and throwing things and acting so rude.

I couldn’t even relish that comment. I didn’t even get two seconds of pure bliss about it.

I know this post may seem whiny and complainy, but I truly don’t do this a lot with my kids. I take it all with a grain of salt, mostly. I crack jokes and find the absurd humor in how wild a ride this is. Because it is. And if you don’t fucking laugh, you will just sit in a corner and cry about it. And that’s no fun.

But this time was different. It was too far. This time was a dream of mine and all I asked for was for them to sit quietly on their devices, which you would think would be amazing. Unlimited unsupervised screen time! They couldn’t. They wouldn’t. They didn’t. They refused.

Moms have limits. Edges. Every so often our precious bundles of joy nudge a little too close and, boop, we go over that edge. This was me yesterday. Right over the edge. I am burnt out, to say it gently.

Being a working mom, especially a work from home freelancer extraordinaire mom is fucking hard. I am expected to be a full time mom and a full time writer/officer/director/secretary (these are all the hats I wear). I wear them by choice. They are all passion projects. I want to wear them. But I also want someone to cut me some fucking slack, coughcoughkidscoughcough.

I don’t have a lot of mom in me today. I have been lazy. I haven’t been able to focus on my book, which I should still be riding that comment/thought, but I was just staring at my document and nada. I did feel all of this that I poured into this post. Maybe this will help. Writing is my catharsis, after all. Maybe I will use what happened yesterday in the book somehow, twisting and turning that moment into the story I have been pouring every fiber of my being into. Art imitates life.

But today, today, I wanted to feel sorry for myself. Tomorrow, tomorrow they go away for the weekend with Grandma. Tomorrow, I reset. Tomorrow, I write.

 

 

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It’s here. The options for escape, narrow and tough to find. They vanished quickly if you were not fast enough. We will be swarmed relentlessly. Surrounded and closed in. Minutes seem like hours. Hours seem like days.

Summer break.

At the beginning we were bright eyed and bushy tailed. Naïveté. Sweet, foolish lady. We had plans and activities. So much room for activities. By the end, our reserves are depleted, we are weary.

May and June are filled with excitement. The finish line is here. No more lunches or homework or rushing out the door or calls from school nurses or pickups or drop-offs or projects. Freedom!

You have so many plans. You have events around your town bookmarked on your phone. ‘Top Twenty Things to Do with Your Kids this Summer!’ Kid’s painting on the promenade. Movies in the park. Museum events. Play dates. Squirt gun painting. Festivals all over your state. Blueberry picking, we are going to pick and eat blueberries.

A month goes by. We’re fine. We can do this. We aren’t that tired, yet. Surely, they’ll wear themselves out. How many times can they say “I’m bored?” How many YouTube videos of people opening toys can they watch?” We learn, there is no cap on these. How many times can they fight over the same toy? There is a whole room of toys. This is just a phase, an adjustment period.

Museum and zoo and beach trips will cure these issues. Adventure is out there! We’re going to explore the whole damn city.

We cover so much ground, it’s exhausting. We’re all sick of outings and adventures. It’s hot. They make us carry so many bags. So much sweat.

Ah, the sweet relief of escape. A three-week summer camp. Our break is well deserved, we are superstar moms. We imagine days of lounging quietly on the couch, eating grapes, watching shows. Out of the corner of our eye, we see it. An overflowing sink of dishes. Plans for sitting around flow down the drain. Collapsing on the couch again. Sweet relaxation. Small underwear on the couch, entangles on our feet. The sigh, and up we get, to gather up all the summer sweat laundry.

There is no relaxation.

Summer camp ends, wide eyed, we look around, “oh wait, me? I am in charge again? ALL day? And night! Ok, I can do this…Yes….Right?”

How many slime projects can one mom withstand?

How many smears of peanut butter can one mom find on her couch. The answer? It’s somewhere in the double digits.

How many “watch this moms?” can a mom’s eyes fixate on? “Wow the twentieth flip was as awesome as the first!”

How many fights can one mom referee before she lacks empathy entirely? “Figure it out kids, problem solve!”

Then the summer storms come. You’re all locked inside, together, boundless energy contained. It’s a powder keg. We start to panic. They sing their chorus of “mom mom mom mom mom mom mom mom” until we have to look in the mirror, checking for bleeding ears. They’re blood free, shockingly.

“Devices! The lot of you! Mommy needs a minute!”

We wonder, is there such a thing as too much family time?

Then you spot it, one leaf, tinged orange or red, just a small piece of it. Fall is approaching, we think or hope. Back-to-school ads pop up left and right, confirming your hypothesis, they will head back soon. The finish line is within eyesight.

We pause, slow motion amongst the chaos of messy floors, couch cushions disrupted, underwear left on lampshades and uncapped markers on carpets. The kids never stop moving or growing. Growing? They’ve grown so much this summer. Nothing fits, they’re bigger and a little older looking. Our hearts ache, our babies are another school year older. We interrupt their summer shenanigans and hug them close.

“Don’t grow! Don’t go!”

“Mommy, you’re weird.”

A burst of energy flows through us. Feeling desperate to keep them this little for another week or two.

“Hey, did you guys want to go to the spray park? A picnic outside? Sandwiches for dinner? Water gun fight, sure!”

Don’t go! We long for Fall to take its time arriving.

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I have had anxiety for most of my life. Now that I am in my 30’s and have a full understanding of anxiety, looking back, I can see that I have always had it. It comes and goes. Sometimes it is hibernating and other times it has been awake and in control. In the last few months it has been pretty prevalent. There are a variety of reasons I think it has decided to hang out for a while, which would take a few blog posts to dive into, so we will leave it there. What I want to talk about is the fact that I decided to see a therapist recently. This was a hard decision for me, as I always thought I could manage things myself. I have ways of coping and handling it. Exercise, deep breathing, baths, oils, acupuncture, etc. Those coping mechanisms haven’t been as effective lately. This time around I think I need a little extra help. It is what it is. It was a big step and I wasn’t excited to go, but I went.

It was awful. Worse than I could have predicted, if I am being honest. And I wasn’t thrilled to go, so imagine how bad that means. The doctor pulled out her phone at one point and started scrolling through it as I spoke. For an extended period of time. She offered no reason as to why. It wasn’t taking notes, she had paper and a pen for that. At the beginning she asked if I wanted medication. I said I truly would prefer to avoid any medication. I wanted to work through things in a more natural way. At the end of the session she wrote me a prescription and spent 10 minutes talking about her medication plan for me. She told me to take probiotics and not eat sugar. I do both of those. For many YEARS! She told me she couldn’t help me and wrote down some other places and told me to go there. Then check in with her in six weeks. She kept rubbing a strand of hair all over her chin. She charged me $500 and doesn’t take insurance.

Those things were minor compared to the absolute worst part. I was explaining the stressors of motherhood to her. Or at least the stressors I have been dealing with. From Alex’s food allergies to Jackson’s animal allergies and asthma to terrible two’s to whatever else was on my mind at that moment. Motherhood is hard. I am a stay at home mom. I have been doing this for six years. She told me “some people just aren’t cut out for that. Get a sitter 3 times a week for 3 hours at a time and get someone to do your laundry and stuff.” I felt as if I had been slapped in the face. I am not “cut out” to be the very thing I have been pouring every fiber of my being into for the last six years. It was so dismissive and really kind of cruel to say after meeting me once. I felt like total garbage as I left. I felt a million times worse than when I walked in the door, biting my nails and clutching my tea as my anxiety over trying this out punched me in the chest.

Being an anxious person, I have been repeating her comments over and over in my head since leaving that office. She didn’t listen to what I wanted for myself. She told me she couldn’t (or didnt want to?) help me. She was literally on her phone, which you would think that as a professional trying to help someone with anxiety, you wouldn’t do that to a patient. She told me I was not cut out to be a mom. She told me I wasn’t cut out to do the thing I have dedicated my life to. I just cannot believe that seemed like an appropriate thing to say.

As this has flipped and flopped over in my brain, I have used it as a moment of self-reflection. I am not a perfect mom. Not in the least bit. I lose my temper at times. We all do, even if we don’t post about it. I feel bad when I do. I wonder if I am messing them up. I try though. I spend all day with them and doing things for and with them, thinking about them. Last night my oldest woke up with a 105 degree fever. I massaged his legs until he relaxed as he laid next to me in bed. I put a cool rag on his head. I let him physically lay all over me because it made him feel safe. I have changed poop diapers today. I walked to Target with both boys so the oldest, who feels better, could buy Pokemon Cards and then made a video for Youtube opening them. (It’s all the rage) I have broken up fights today. I have asked them to stop slamming the playroom door, and it has fallen on four deaf ears. I have made meals. I have gotten snacks. I have listened and chatted with them. I have taken interest in their interests. I have been in the trenches all day on little sleep. And that is just today!

Walking home with them I came to a realization. I AM cut out for this. I am because I have been doing it for six years nonstop. The longest break I had kid-free was going to D.C. with my mom this January for the Women’s March. I was gone from Thursday-Sunday. That was the most time I have had off from motherhood. I still thought of them. I facetimed them. I searched for little gifts for them. I talked about them. They are always with me. I am cut out for it. I am also perhaps, a little burnt out. Which I don’t think is weakness or sucking at what I do. I think that is human. I think that is motherhood. I think that is parenthood. Anyone in any career can be working at workaholic levels and get burnt out at some point. Does that mean they are not cut out for it? Does that mean they can’t do what they do? No. Maybe they need a break or to take a step back and refresh themselves, sure. Maybe they need a vacation. It doesn’t mean someone should tell them they are not cut out for what they do. It doesn’t mean a mental health professional should articulate that judgement after meeting them one time.

According to the ADAA 40 million adults in the U.S. have anxiety. Women are two times as likely to suffer from it. This is not an uncommon thing. If women are more likely to struggle with anxiety, then that would mean, many mothers also battle this. I am not some unique special case. It doesn’t mean I am not cut out to be a mom. The fact that I was brave enough to know when my own methods of coping were no longer effective means that I want to take care of my family. That was one of the most unfair and hurtful judgements I have ever had thrown at me. It could probably go unsaid, but I will not be seeing her again. Just knowing that I am not the only woman, and mom, facing anxiety is comforting. I share my little story so that other mothers know, you are cut out for motherhood, even if on your worst day ever some batty lady tells you that you’re not.

 

Over the last almost 6 years (quietly sobs), I have often been asked the question “how do you keep your workout routine with kids?” This post does not have a one size fits all answer. Because life is not one size fits all. Hell, even my little world isn’t always the same size. Some days work better than others.

A normal day consists of me waking up at 5am on the dot, coffee, then a workout. My workouts vary between Pilates, running, swimming, strength/weight training. On Saturdays I do karate, outside of the house. It gives me an hour guaranteed to myself. By waking up at 5 on weekdays, I ensure that I am up way before my boys (I have late sleepers, I know I am lucky with that) and I am able to usually get an uninterrupted workout in. This wasn’t always the case when they were shiny newborn humans, but as they age, their sleep normalizes.

There are mornings where littles wake up earlier than usual and I have a workout buddy. At this point, Jackson, the 5 year old, can pretty much fend for himself. Sometimes he joins me, sometimes he wanders around the house entertaining himself. Alex, well he is 2 so I keep him with me if he is up. In general, that is how I balance it. They have learned that mommy works out. It is just a simple fact of life here. They have to respect that time for me. I am happy to include them, but I am going to workout. There is no parent guilt in that either. We need to take care of ourselves in order to take care of others. You are important too. I am a firm believer in that!

I have been sick for over 2 weeks now. A cold that turned into a nasty sinus infection. I am on the mend. Due to some amazing herbal tea and a black walnut nasal rinse. When I woke up at 5 today I decided I wanted to run. I haven’t ran in over 2 weeks. I couldn’t bring myself to hop on the treadmill. I have a love/(mostly) hate relationship with the treadmill. I decided I would get Jackson off to school and then go running in the forest preserve with Alex. I had EVERYTHING situated to operate smoothly. I spent the time I would usually be working out getting everything together. I even filled the tires on my BoB while Jackson ate his breakfast. I was ready to do this.

Then we were in the drop off line at school. I asked Jackson where his backpack was. It was still at home by the backdoor. He forgot to grab it. School on a good day is 10-15 minutes away. The main road we take is currently under construction. It can now take 20-30. This morning was on the longer end. Meaning now my run was going to be pushed back significantly, maybe canceled all together. I had to drop him off. Then drive home, grab bag, drive back, then hike it back to the forest preserve. That is how today’s workout started. See, not even my days are always one size fits all.

I did all of that. In a little less time than I had predicted. There was less traffic on my second drive to school because it was a bit later in the morning. Some of the work rush was gone. When I realized this I thought “Ok, you can do this. This is working out fine.”

The run started off ok. Not great, but manageable. He complained for the first 5 minutes that he wanted to walk, but eventually I was able to persuade him to stay seated. He had his ipad, snacks, milk, and box (it is a small house he carries everywhere that is filled with his favorite toys. He even sleeps with it). Around the 1.8 mile mark again he asked to walk. We were nearing the park, so I lamented that he stay seated for just a little while longer, we would be at the park soon!

I am a momma of my word, so freedom he had! He enjoyed himself for a bit. Then said he wanted to walk. Refusing to get back into the stroller. No matter how many times I said the word iPad. Which, I suppose is a good thing. But I digress.

There is no running when you are walking with a wandering two year old. I had about 2 miles of actual running under my belt. And about 2 miles to get back to the car. The real adventure began. He had me wander up this cool tree house pavilion area we had never walked up before. I followed his lead.

He is my wild child. My wanderer. My very free spirit. My mischievous little dude. Jackson is a free spirit in many ways. He also has his moments as a 5 year old seeking independence yet still utterly reliant on our constant attention. He has that internal battle going on right now. Such is life at 5, nearly 6. When Jackson was 2, he was not quite so independent. We went on runs all of the time. I cannot recall any specific times he ended up walking. I remember once when he was an infant and I ended up carrying a crying baby home. For the most part, he always stayed put, very content. Alex is a whole different person. He seeks adventure and his curiosity is overwhelming. He has no fear. (unless it is Halloween decorations or the movie Ghostbusters) He didn’t want to stay with me. I tried the trick, “ok mommy is leaving, bye bye!” And I started to stroll away. HE LAUGHED AND THEN STARTED TO WALK INTO THE WOODS! He cares not for my silly bluffs. He knows I am not leaving him alone in a forest. Sigh, he won.

My 4 mile run today turned into a 2 mile run. With a lot of toddler walking. And a nice maybe half mile sprint at the end when I finally got him back in the stroller. Then we headed home. It was after 11am. I had wanted to be home around 10ish. But all of my plans fell apart one by one. I adapted. I didn’t forget to stretch, despite the late time. We headed up to my Pilates Room. I am getting too old to not get a post run stretch in. That shit is for 20 year olds, not women who have had two kids and turned 31 almost 6 months ago. We better stretch our muscles and cool down, lest we want to regret it later.

Which really made my entire chaotic morning worth it. That photo on the right. I can’t! My timing just worked out perfectly. The milk swan. I will be incorporating it into all of my future mat classes! Ha!

The takeaway here? The insightful lesson I wish to impart on all parents looking for a way to stay fit and have tiny humans running around your feet (literally)?

FLEXIBILITY! I don’t mean in the backbend sense. I mean in the life sense. You have to be flexible with yourself and your schedule. You have to be flexible with your children. You have to adapt to your surroundings. If that means that you only run 2 miles, but get a nice 2 mile walk/cool down in, then shit, at least you were moving! You moved 4 miles on your own two legs. Your kid was moving on his legs too! I even threw in a few walking lunges while pushing the empty stroller. Alex stopped in his tracks and laughed, but hey, you are the reason I am doing these buddy. 😉 Get back in the stroller and I won’t look so silly!

But seriously, sometimes you have to workout with your kids around. Squats in the living room. Pull-ups on the play ground. Pilates at 5:45 am and saying “hey sweetheart, sure join me,” when a tiny human waltzes in at 6:15. Sometimes your run gets pushed back by a good 30-45 minutes because of a forgotten backpack. I was annoyed, but hey, I survived and I ran! Shower was later, lunch was later, but I got that milk swan photo, so life works out sometimes.

For more Pilates and Fitmommaboom inspiration, follow me on Instagram Colev25 You can find frequent Pilates videos, my often self deprecating humor, adventures with two male tiny humans, and any other random things that inspire me to hit share.