The Great Unveiling: Take Two

So, here it is. My new space. It looks the same as before; the only differences are: (1) the url has changed and you can now use it to subscribe (2) you can now leave comments (3) there are now two posts.

That’s all I’m going to say (here) about that.

{Oh, but I did want to tell you–I don’t plan on explaining it there–that my new name is an amalgam of the names of my would-be third child, plus my own name wedged in the middle. It felt really good claiming those names, making them a part of me, now that I know they’ll never be a part of our family. Take note of the new nom de plum because starting tomorrow I’ll be commenting under that name.}

And since I have learned nothing in the past five years if not when and how to laugh at myself, I leave you–and this space–with this hilarious link, because damn if that isn’t me to a tee.

Good bye Stumbling Gracefully. I wish I could take you with me…

Biggest Bungle Ever

Okay, this is officially the biggest bungle ever. Please just forget I posted a link to my new space, forget my new space even exists. I will repost here when it’s actually ready and then you can subscribe, if you even want to anymore.

Wow. I was so excited to do this and I totally fucked it up. Disappointment doesn’t even begin to describe…

I also sprayed dish soap ALL OVER my dress before 8am, so yeah. It’s been an awesome start to the week.

New Space Address Change (Oops!)

Hello all,

I realized I need to change something in the url of my new space. Currently I’m sending you to notawastedword.com/blog/ but if you are adding me to a reader, please do so at notawastedword.com (NO /blog/). Starting tomorrow, that will be where you can find me and there will not be updates from the original url I linked to this morning. Sorry for the confusion! Nothing like messing up right out of the gate, huh?

Comments are open now. Man… worst blog unveiling ever…

A Tearful Goodbye

This is my final post in this space.

I’ve been eager to move to my new space, but it’s also so hard to say goodbye.

I’ve always been the sentimental type. I’ve cried in the final walk through of every one of the homes I’ve ever left, even the ones I was really ready to leave.

I’m crying now, as I write this.

This space has meant more to me than I ever could express. The growing I did here, the support I got from the people who read and commented, it can’t be quantified. This blog has been the a massive, life-altering, integral part of my life for the past five years.

There is so much I want to say, but no amount of words will ensure that I’ve said it. There simply are no words, at least none that I can find.

If my new space means even half to me what I feel this space meant, I will consider it a success.

Thank you all for reading, and commenting, in this space. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. You are this space, as much as my own writing is. I could never thank you enough for being here, in my home, day after day, post after post.

Thank you for making space what it was. I hope to see you in my new one.

In This Body

I did it. I saw my ultimate goal on the scale this morning.

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(Can I just say how much this OCD girl LOVES that each time I’ve hit my goal the scale has shown me that EXACT number. LOVE. It’s the little things, right?)

When I was seven months postpartum–at the end of almost a month of weening myself off the pump–and weighed 171lbs, I NEVER thought I was going to get here. The whole experience had been so different than the first time around, I just assumed that I was going to have a new normal and it was going to be 10-15lbs heavier than it had been before.

I started using the elliptical because I really enjoy it. I read blogs and books on my iPad and get my heart rate up, sometimes way up, and when I get off I almost always feel better. I consider that “me” time and it really is something that I genuinely want to do. I am SO GLAD we got an elliptical and SO THANKFUL that I can use it three times a week, despite it being in our son’s room.

I don’t remember exactly why I got the 30 Day Shred DVD–I had never owned a workout video before. I think I wanted something for the times when I couldn’t get on the elliptical because my son was sleeping. I had heard good things about the 30 Day Shred and the fact that it was only 25 minutes long was a definite plus. So I got it and immediately liked it. I appreciated how many different exercises there were in a single workout, and how fast you moved through them. That 25 minutes always flew by, even when I was getting my ass kicked, and I never was wondering when it would just be over already (like I did a lot with the yoga DVD I got).

I will admit that I didn’t expect the 30 Day Shred to be so effective, but the minute I realized it was, I was even more motivated to use it. And I’m so glad I tried it out because I absolutely believe that I had to do that–something different–to see the changes I wanted in my body. I suppose it makes sense: if your body is not responding like it did in previous attempts at weight loss, try something else and see if that helps. I didn’t try the 30 Day Shred for that reason, but I should have. And I hope I remember this lesson when my late 30s and 40s change the body game for me once again.

I have to admit, I’m really enjoying this new body of mine. I have been wearing maternity clothes for the past two years, maternity clothes I bought five years ago and had already worn for two years. Most of the clothes I had for my “normal” weight were pretty old and worn out too–I really needed some new pants and shirts, and well, just about everything.

I did do some online shopping and got some cute stuff, but what has been really amazing is some hand-me-downs that a colleague at work gave me. This woman has incredible style and I’ve always admired her fashion sense and when she said she had a bunch of pants my size she was giving to Good Will I jumped on the chance to take them off her hands. I got eight pairs of pants from Banana Republic and Gap, some really fun, bright colors and some styles I never would have had the balls to buy, but love now that I have them. It has been so fun wearing great clothes that make me feel great about myself. I’m really trying to revel in this feeling of loving my body and how I look, because I know it won’t last forever.

I guess all this is to say, it’s worth trying something new when your old techniques aren’t working. And it’s worth getting some new clothes when you finally reach your goal. ;)

When does the hitting stop?

I will be the first to admit that as my daughter gets older my expectations change and I find it harder and harder to tolerate some behaviors. I have to continually remind myself that my daughter is only four and that she still needs lots of emotional and behavioral support. I recently read Peaceful Parents, Happy Kids and found it really helpful in putting my daughter’s difficult behaviors into perspective and giving me some tools to handle my own reactions (I promise to write more on this book later, in my new space).

My daughter is what the parenting books call “spirited.” She’s also pretty smart, intellectually, and can be frustrated that her emotional maturity is not up to par with other ways she processes things. At four years old she still struggles (mightily) with disappointment and we’re still working through the best ways to process her big emotions when she doesn’t get her way.

I honestly don’t mind tantrums. I don’t mind yelling, or flailing on the ground. Obviously I don’t enjoy these behaviors but they don’t push my buttons. They don’t leave me seeing red.

The stuff I do mind? Aggression, specifically when it’s calmly and cooly directed at me. When my daughter hits me, or spits at me or even sticks her tongue out at me with a face that says, “oh yeah, I’m doing this right now, and what are YOU going to do about,” it makes my blood boil. When my daughter is physically aggressive toward me I totally lose my shit.

The good news is I’m WAY better about extracting myself from the situation and walking away. I try to stay and be with her but if I start to see red I leave, and I forgive myself for needing to do so.

We talk about it later. I don’t come back until I can be there for my child in a supportive and forgiving way. Sometimes that takes a while. Sometimes she’s alone, on the floor, screaming for several minutes, until I can pull myself together and come back.

I’m getting better at this, but I have to admit, my patience for this willfully aggressive behavior is wearing thin, really thing, threadbare, actually. At four years old, I KNOW she knows not to hit and I guess I have the expectations that she can use the YEARS of coaching and do overs and play acting we’ve done to practice responding differently to good use. If she has the presence of mind to look at my in the way she does before she does it, she should have the presence of mind to stop herself from doing it. The older she gets, the less tolerance I have for this behavior. At this point, when she hits me or kicks me or scratches me or spits at me, I have a REALLY hard time holding it together or showing empathy. I’m starting to wonder if this kind of behavior is “normal” for a kid her age. Should we be looking for outside support on these things? When does the hitting stop?

(I want to add that while it rare for her to direct this kind of aggression toward her peers, she does blow up at school occasionally and twice so far this year we’ve gotten two reports of her hurting other children. Also, she has never acted aggressively toward her brother, but she also doesn’t interact with him much in ways that would upset her. Mostly she acts out when she is denied something she wants, so it generally happens with us.)

If you have any advice or suggestions, I’d really appreciate it. I’m at the end of my rope.

Treading Water in a Riptide

Have you ever felt like you can’t get a handle on things? No matter what you do, you’ll be underwater?

Every day I face the impossible task of deciding which three or four things I can do out of a list of ten or more things I really should do.

Every day I have to redefine “necessary.” It all feels necessary but what is actually necessary? Washing the cloth diapers, it turns out, is almost always necessary.

When there is so little time, each choice carries greater ramifications. I am determining what is more important to me with every choice that I make. It can be enlightening. And humbling.

And frustrating. Some days my goals are completely at odds with each other. I want to streamline my life, and make things easier, but I also want to save money and be environmentally conscious. I have a certain level of professionalism at school that I have to uphold, not only to keep my job but to maintain the respect of my students. Without their respect, I can’t accomplish anything. I care deeply about fulfilling commitments, some I made before I realized how hard all this would be. I want to invest in my marriage but I also want to invest in myself. Most days my kids make it impossible to do either.

Continually, my own wants and needs come last, or I can only focus on one facet of myself at a time, leaving other areas of my life to languish. Between the stress and emotional turmoil I’ve been wading through, exercise is a top priority right now; the benefits to my mental wellbeing are just too great to stop dedicating time to working out. Which means that other things I love, mainly writing, are falling by the way side.

It’s frustrating and I’m still making mistakes, daily. I’m still letting silly whims hijack my time, like how I decided we NEEDED to have magnetic dry erase board for the fridge so we can plan our meals and maintain a shared shopping list. I just spent 20 minutes looking for one online. TWENTY MINUTES!!!!

But most days I’m doing better. Slowly but surely. Some things have to give. My new blog is still not ready to be unveiled. I’m realizing I might have to start writing there before it’s ready. It will be like inviting you all over to sit around a bare living room in lawn chairs and drink wine from red plastic cups, but if that’s the case, so be it. The most important things are my words, not my widgets.

I’m figuring it all out. At least I think I am. Some days are better than others and the really difficult days are becoming fewer and farther between.

If any of you super-charged, making-it-work mamas have any advice for a woman who is struggling just to keep it all together with a very busy, bordering on unmanageable schedule, I’d very much appreciate it. At this point, I can use all the help I can get.

How do you keep your head above water? Are there ever times when you feel like you’re drowning in it all?