Having It All

Last week I read this article on Jezebel about women not giving a shit about having it all.

While the article is right on and I relate to it on SO many levels,it bothers me that women who are doing exactly what they want in life aren’t defining it as “having it all.” Even in an article about how women are perfectly content going to work — but NOT climbing the corporate ladder so that they can also enjoy raising a family – are being defined as “in betweeners” and “not ambitious.”

WTF? Why must it be so black and white?

How is living my life exactly how I want —  NOT HAVING IT ALL? What more should I want to have???

Sure, I’d love to go on more vacations, do more (or any) volunteering, and maybe hang out with my friends more – but, I’m perfectly content with my working mom status. I’d also like to have perfectly angelic children — but where’s the fun in that?

I think the title of the article bothered me more than anything… and obviously, it triggered something. It really it begs the question- why are we defining ourselves with what we DON’T have? And also, why AREN’T we deeming ourselves successful? Why does society feel the need to box women in just a few categories? And WHY IN GOD’S NAME do we feel like it’s always a competition?

I think what really struck a nerve with me is that even though this article was defending women like me – a mom who isn’t trying to rule the world – it still made me feel like they were saying we are inadequate. And believe me, we are NOT inadequate.

I work at a job that I enjoy.

I make a decent salary.

I use my Master’s Degree  and I feel like my students loans are actually WORTH IT.

I am able provide high-quality care for my kids and they LOVE IT. Seriously, they never want to LEAVE they love it so much.

I cook (relatively healthy) meals for my family 90% of the week.

My kids are my biggest cheerleaders and champions and (most of the time) they respect me.

I am married to a great guy who is an EQUAL parent.

I find time for ME. I have hobbies, I read books, I watch TV, I exercise.

I have traveled to more than 5 places in past 5 years (for work and pleasure).

Again, how is this not having it all? And more important – how is that not being ambitious? I feel like every damn day I am ambitious, but also, realistic.

Yes, my life is crazy and hectic and (most days) it’s nonstop. But it’s my crazy and hectic. And it’s fulfilling. TO ME.

Maybe in order to feel like we DO have it all, we need to need to stop labeling what “having it all” really means. It’s not just ONE THING to everyone. It’s not a stay at home mom vs. working mom thing either. You CAN have it all without kids, right?? I mean, not everyone wants them!!!  It’s also not really even a woman thing. It’s a HUMAN thing.  (Related sidenote: why don’t I ever see articles about men having it all???)

Instead of trying to “have it all” — why not just try to be happy? And if you aren’t happy? What’s stopping you from changing it?

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How do you define “Having it all?” What’s making you want to rant today?

Finding The Joy

After my miserable 6-miler with Paula a few weeks ago, I wondered if I would be able to find the joy in the long run again. I mean 6 miles wasn’t even THAT far.

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Not that today’s run was SUPER long, we’re talking 8 miles here, but I discovered that an early bedtime and proper fueling can really go a LOOOOONG way. Even if the heat and humidity are trying to you kill you.

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Doesn’t it just LOOK hot? Damn all you people with nice cool fall weather.

But GOOD NEWS! Yes, today I found that joy. In fact, I felt SO good at mile 6 that I considered going for 10 miles.

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A mile later I decided that was NOT going to be happening today! Endorphins make you think crazy thoughts.

It’s not to say that this run was not without it’s quirks. My water bottle leaked the whole time, the underwear in my shorts are stretched out thanks to pregnancy (you’re welcome for that little piece of TMI) and kept riding up my butt, my iFitness belt would NOT stay put, and my bladder was like, “Dude what the hell?” at mile 4 (I’m thankful for Publix).

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I finally resorted to the “belt under the boobs” look at the halfway point. It worked.

However, I still felt great and I got it done. I finished 8 miles in 1:18. My longest, and possibly best, run since having Evan.

8 miles, bitch. #hurtsogood

Those 8 miles reminded me that I am stronger than I think — mentally and physically.

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It also reminded me that finding the joy meant feeling alive, feeling like I had endless energy, and jamming out to my music. I’m not going to lie – having some solitude and time to myself also helped. There is only so much sibling bickering that I can listen to in a given weekend.

Today’s run gives me 14 miles for the week  2 miles Thursday night, 4 miles Friday afternoon, 8 miles today = running math), which is the most miles I’ve put in since who KNOWS when. Two years ago I’d give myself shit for considering 14 miles as a huge accomplishment, but today I am just happy. It means I’m on my way back. It means races and race eves, and post-race celebrations — and, yes, enjoying the long run.

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It’s amazing how much your perspective can change, huh? How do you find YOUR joy?

Somewhere In The Tunnel… Looking For That Light

I’m going to be honest here… things have been challenging for me lately. I’ve been writing this post for a few weeks now. I’ve been trying to articulate how I feel, but it has been hard to capture into words. And I don’t think I’m quite there yet but here goes…

It’s not the baby that’s challenging me. No, he is as sweet as pie.

Living every week like Shark Week.

In fact, I feel bad about how challenged I’ve been feeling because Evan is truly the easiest baby in the world. He eats, he smiles, he sleeps. Repeat (with some diaper changes in there somewhere).

No, the challenge is ME.

You know that feeling when you finish a really good book or you binge watch a really good TV show (ahem Orange Is The New Black lovers – you know what I’m talking about). That’s kind of how I feel right now. About life.

Returning to work has thrown me for a loop. I can’t even explain why, because, as I’ve mentioned, I really like my job, I really like my coworkers, and I like the time to myself. I know it takes a little while for me to get back into the swing of things, but usually by this point I’ve adjusted. I have not adjusted.

This time around the adjustment is harder. I see it slowly happening, but it’s frustrating that it’s not getting easier, faster. It’s also frustrating me that I am being unrealistic. At this point I’ve decided my brain is just one big contradiction.

I wake up tired. I spend the morning feeling angry. I spend the day thinking about this face…

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And then I spend the night feeling guilty.

Oh, and did you remember that I have other kids?

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I feel guilty about them, too.

Braeden has been so wonderfully sweet with the baby (he really loves him so much), but I feel like he is angry and distant with me at times. OK, most of the time.

Hey there Mr. Attitude

I feel like I don’t play with him enough, or talk with him as much as I want — and instead I yell at him too much. I feel like he’s growing up way to fast and I don’t know how to reel him in.

Livie has been difficult, as expected. She IS the middle child. She is adorable and sweet and sassy, but can also be stubborn and dramatic and four.

She's deceivingly cute

She is too smart for her own good — or maybe just my own good. She has definitely regressed and at times tells people that she wishes she was the baby. It seriously breaks my heart.

Oh and then there’s the fact that I’m married.

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Hey husband.

Dan has been nothing but patient, kind, and helpful. He mostly tackles the care of the other two while I am taking care of Evan. After 16 years together he gets me. I have that whole “only girl + oldest child” thing (if it’s not a thing it should be) and he has that “only child” thing – so we both like our alone time. But maybe not THIS much alone time is healthy? I know it’s important to keep a strong marriage when you have kids, but it is another case of easier said than done, especially with a new baby. I feel like I don’t even have time to take care of myself, let alone a relationship. So it’s on autopilot right now. Most nights we spend taking care of the kids and then sitting in silence while we get lost in a book, TV, or the internet. It’s certainly not the picture of martial bliss. But, after being touched and pumped and worrying about things all day, I really just want to snuggle with my baby and try to unwind my brain and then sleep. Alone. It’s the only thing I can handle right now. And I feel guilty about that too.

I know it will get easier. I know that my stupid hormones are not helping. I know that focusing on things that make me happy WILL make me happy. I know that running will also help. I know that going on a few date nights without the kids will help me feel better about my marriage. I know all of these things… but it doesn’t mean I am any less of a mess.

So why am I putting this out there for the whole internet to read? Why am I WHINING about having a wonderful husband and three healthy and happy kids, who act like kids?  Maybe because I don’t want to feel like I am so alone in my thoughts and feelings. Or maybe because I’m tired of pretending like my life is back to normal. I put on a happy face most days. I don’t know how good at it I am – but it’s there. When people ask me how I am, I say, “good.”  And I can talk about the baby for hours. Even though he doesn’t do much yet. I try to find the fun and the funny in my day to day activities. If I’m laughing, my laughter is genuine, and so are my smiles, but deep down I am wishing that I was still on maternity leave. Mentally, I’m not ready to be back to work. Back at life. Deep down I feel an odd sense of unhappiness – but I don’t know WHY. It’s unnerving.

Normally, I would make a plan or a list. Because that’s what I do and really there is so much to look forward to! But this time… I’m tired. So, I’m just going to whine about it and just put it out there. Acknowledging that things aren’t “perfect” out loud is the first step, right ? ‘m also focusing on making it to Fridays. And trying to be more patient and kinder to myself and others. And telling my husband it’s not him and that I love him. And that I sometimes feel like I am failing. Who knows, maybe I need some spiritual guidance? See… I’m already starting to make a list.

Truthfully, I think I just need to accept that these things take time and that normal is a relative term. It’s normal to be flustered, overwhelmed, and tired when your life changes – no matter how prepared you think you are for the change. It’s normal to feel challenged. But really? I cannot wait until this changing, growing period is over and I can say – I made it through and we have learned/experienced/grown so much. Until then, I’m in the tunnel, looking for that light…let me know if you see it.

And obviously, I need to go for a good run right about now… because DANG it’s getting all serious up in here.

Feeling The Itch

Despite claiming that I’m going to sit on my ass for 6 weeks, I have the itch to work out. Who am I?

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Now, I’m not going to do anything crazy and I’m definitely not going to start running until I have clearance from my Dr. (I have no desire to be restitched or have my bladder prolapse any time soon), but I think I am going to be a total hypocrite and start walking a few miles a day and then add some upper body strength training later this week. I figure I am already lifting a) my 32lb 4-year old and b) a 30+lb car seat – so what’s the difference?

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I’ve also started doing some planks to get that core back in shape (and by started I’ll add that I’ve been doing them for the past 2-3 days) — and I can already feel a big difference.  I would love to start lower body as well, but again with the stitches and whatnot. I hate to keep bring these up, but I admit that it scares to start running again again because of them. Well, that and the fear that I might pee myself or trip over my legs. Have I mentioned I’m clumsy? I almost fear learning how to run again – because yes, that’s really what I’ll be doing.

Feeling the itch to workout is kind of weird because most days I am beyond exhausted and can’t fathom doing anything more than sitting on the couch with the kid on my boob (no lie, how I spend roughly about 80% of my day), burning more calories than you could possibly imagine And I’m not even remotely interested in working out to get back into shape or lose weight. If anything, I just miss that adrenaline rush. I could definitely use a visit from the endorphin fairy.

I also miss having stuff to talk/blog about. I mean pictures like this are cute…

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This is literally what I am looking at as I post this…

But it’s not the only dimension of my life – even though if feels like it right now.

Now the hard part, finding workouts that are POSTPARTUM friendly. As much I want to get back into a “normal” routine – I don’t want to throw myself into it and regret overdoing it. Anyone have any recommendations? I have the previous round of Best Body Bootcamp to start once I’m feeling more like myself again, but I’m totally not there yet.

So that’s where I’m at. And yes, feel free to also call me a crazy, loon, hypocrite in the comments, because I totally deserve it. Unless, I totally don’t follow through on any of this… which is highly likely at this point. In which case… carry on.

Things Lately

I’ve kind of lost track of what day it is… how is it possible that it’s already Memorial Day Weekend??

1. Things here have been pretty low key. I’ve mostly been sitting on the couch with a baby hanging off my boob. A few times this week I’ve managed to shower, get dressed, and put some makeup on. It’s the little things!

Newborn snuggles

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Evan is growing like a weed. I love seeing his little personality shine through, but I also don’t want this phase to go by so fast! This is probably all hormones talking, but it during this time I understand how the Duggars have 19 kids. Don’t worry, I will NOT be having 19 kids. Or anymore.

And because I will find any excuse to post pictures of him… here are the many expressions of Evan:

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I shall call him Squishy and he will be mine... And he shall be my Squishy.

I’m just a little bit obsessed with him…

2. I went to lunch with Paula and a few other friends on Wednesday and she told me that when she comes to my blog she feels like I only have one kid these days. Rest assure, I have not given the other two away…

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Although, I’m questioning this one. Anyone want a 4-year old?? (kidding.) Seriously though, she’s trying us hardcore.

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They’ve (thankfully) just been busy with school, birthday parties, the park and fighting over getting to hold the baby…

Morning snuggles in bed with Lulu.

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We have also been getting lots of family walks in…

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Saturday should be interesting because it will be the first time I’m with all three of them by myself. *Hold me*

People have asked me how they are doing with the baby and for the most part they are doing pretty good. B is really great with him and can hold him on his lap without assistance and L loves to wake him up and give him kisses.  Truthfully, I’m impressed because he’s pretty boring right now. The important thing is that they both love him. It helps that Dan has really been focusing on them, while I focus on E.

3. You really forget about sleep deprivation with a newborn until you experience it again. Wow I’m tired. Evan actually isn’t too bad with sleep, so I can’t complain. He wakes up to eat every 2-2.5 hours (sometimes the first stretch will be 3-3.5 hours) and he goes back to sleep without a fuss. But a lack of sleep is still a lack of sleep. Especially since I went into this on a deficit. <–bad idea.

4. I really don’t look forward to menopause for one reason: HOT FLASHES.

I have been waking up in pools of sweat. You’d think that I’d remember this side effect of postpartum hormones, but I really don’t remember experiencing this before. It’s intense.

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That said, while my hormones have definitely been all over the place, but I haven’t been experiencing the baby blues as hard as previously. Maybe it’s just part of that whole “easier recovery” thing. Whatever it is, I’ll take it!

5. I’m not planning on doing any kind of body after baby posts (although I might do some “return to running after baby” posts) — but I will share with you my one-week postpartum pictures – taken on Monday.

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I have no shame in how scary I look here…

I’m not really sure how much weight I’ve lost, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I was only up about 10lbs, maybe less. Most of my pants fit (even though I’m living in leggings, Pjs, and dresses!) but none of my shirts do thanks to the my newly acquired girls. I’m pretty happy with how my body is bouncing back. I did wonder if it would be different this time because I’m older and the baby was definitely bigger (i.e., my skin was stretched out so much further!) – but it seems to be the same as the other two. I’d LIKE to think this is because I had a healthy and active pregnancy!

Overall, I feel really good, although every now and then I’ll have some more afterbirth pains (FOR THE LOVE when will they end??) so I know my body is still trying to get back to normal and I need to take it easy. It’s hard because I feel great most days and then my body gives me a little reminder that I truly did JUST have a baby!

6. Although I’m nowhere close to working out again, I am staging my return. My postpartum Dr. appt is scheduled for June 25th – which just happens to be the day before my birthday. Maybe I’ll get a little run in FOR my birthday?? I definitely need new shoes – so I’m eyeing another pair of Brooks PureConnect for weights/speed work and the new Mizuno Wave Sayonara (which don’t come out until July) for my long runs (when I get there!).

 pureconnect2 WaveSayonara

Despite the fact that the thought of running again terrifies me, I am ready to get back into it! It’s weird to think that at that point it will be almost 6 months since my last (real) run. That’s a long time!

8. So obviously things are really, really baby centric here, but I’m slowly making a return to “normal” — or at least trying to figure out what the “new normal” is! I can only hope Evan remains this calm (people tell me that 3rd babies usually are – anyone else find this to be true??) because he’s definitely making the transition easy so far (although I still wonder – where does my day go?).

9. Could I ramble on any more?

Since I probably won’t be posting again until later next week — I hope everyone has a great Memorial Day Weekend!