My House

When you come to my house, you should probably wear socks. You see, the vacuum has steadily made its way down my list of priorities and has settled just under "shaving my legs" and above "scrubbing the oven." Crumbs and sand and fluff abound, is what I'm saying.  

When you come to my house, you should never use the first tissue, especially if you have to reach into the box to retrieve it. A certain preschooler puts tissues back into the box if he hasn't "used it up" completely. We're trying to break him of this habit. Unsuccessfully.  

When you come to my house, you should suit up before you ask for baby snuggles. The baby is the leakiest baby. At the very least, you should make sure there's a receiving blanket between your clothes and her mouth. She  will spit up on you and it's best for everyone's sanity if the spit up doesn't land directly on your clothes. 

When you come to my house, you should turn a blind eye to the piles of papers, books, kids' toys, unread mail, and other assorted tat that collects and multiplies on every available surface. I would love to have counters clear of clutter but this season of my life is not an uncluttered one. I've made my peace with it. You should too. 

When you come to my house, you should not expect witty conversation or riveting discourse on current events. My brain is oatmeal. Thick and glue-like. My sleep is broken and fleeting. My thoughts are basic and fragmented (when did Poppy last eat? did she feed on both breasts or just one? which one? take a quick peek under the shirt, when will my boobs be normal again? when will I be normal again? when was the last time I felt normal? what is normal?). Welcome to fifteen seconds in my head. Lather, rinse, repeat. All day. 

When you come to my house, you should wipe the toilet seat before you sit down. Someone is asserting his right to stand when he pees. That someone is short enough that he can't point his plumbing down into the toilet bowl; he sort of shoots right across the surface of the seat and leaves puddles and chaos in his wake. 

When you come to my house, you should try not to be scared of the wild-eyed, sleep-deprived woman babbling at you about the weather (the extent of my current conversation skills,) or the preschooler who is vibrating with joy at the prospect of someone to play with instead of the crazy lady who used to be fun but now spends her days with a screaming infant attached to her chest, or the tiny bundle of rage who should be cooing adorably if diaper commercials are to be believed but instead is spewing spit up and fierce cries from her adorable little Cupid's bow mouth. 

But you should come to my house.  

You should come to my house and pretend that your feet aren't sticking to an unidentifiable substance on the floor. You should make me feel like a brilliant conversationalist. You should hold the baby and dodge her spit up and fury. You should make us feel normal again, just with the magic of your presence. The days are long and seemingly unending. Your visit is a bright spot in the sea of dirty diapers and hour-long negotiation-filled meals and sore boobs and one more episode of Paw Patrol and "watch this, mommy!"s. You should sit on the (sticky) couch and drink a mug of lukewarm tea and make me feel like a human being. Because one day I'll do it for you. 

World Breastfeeding Week 2015

Today is day one of World Breastfeeding Week 2015 and I'm conflicted. On one hand, I want to be all "heck yes, breastfeeding!" and on the other hand, I'm sensitive to the fact that breastfeeding is a challenging and emotional topic for some people.

I think that breastfeeding is healthy for babies and it's healthy for mamas and I want to provide support and encouragement to anyone who needs it. But I also think that formula is a valid choice (as is combo-feeding). I'm struggling because I want to acknowledge World Breastfeeding Week but I don't want it to feel like a slap in the face for those women who couldn't breastfeed or chose not to breastfeed for whatever reason.

Do you (or did you) feel supported in your infant feeding choices, whatever they may be? Do you feel like the conversation surrounding breastfeeding / formula feeding is difficult to navigate? Do you wish it was easier to talk about the way we feed our babies? How can we shift the conversation so people don't feel judged or excluded or defensive when talking about infant feeding?

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Weighty

I currently weigh twenty pounds more than I did two years ago. That statement isn't hyperbole. I literally weigh twenty pounds more than I did two years ago. 

I would like to be able to shrug it off. Twenty pounds is not the end of the world. Twenty extra pounds doesn't make me a bad person or a bad wife or a bad mother. Twenty extra pounds doesn't affect my ability to be kind or loving or generous. It doesn't prevent me from doing my job or enjoying my hobbies. Twenty extra pounds is just twenty extra pounds. 

But it bothers me.  

My body has not felt like my own for a long time. First pregnancy, then cancer, then pregnancy again, followed by miscarriage. I struggle to not hate my body. I feel betrayed and let down by my body.  

It's silly, I know it's silly, to be upset over twenty pounds when my body has been through so much. But I can't help it. I feel uncomfortable in my body. I don't know how to dress this body. I want to hide it. 

I started a workout program back in January which I've maintained to varying degrees over the last six months. I lift weights and I sweat and I have seen positive changes in my body. I have seen muscle definition grow and I have felt strong. I try to eat relatively healthy and I struggle with my sweet tooth. Maybe this Hillary + 20lbs is the new normal.

It's not terribly unique to be a 30-something woman concerned with body image, is it? I'm being woefully banal, I know. I guess I'm just hoping that someone has the magic answer. So please, tell me: how do you love the skin you're in when your outsides don't match the image you have in your head?  

Flawed

Someone close to me recently pointed out one of my flaws. Not one of my "flaws" like I work too hard or care too much. A deep, dark, and twisty flaw that made me instantly answer in my snippy snappy voice. It doesn't matter who said what (I've got the righteous indignation covered, thanks) because I truly believe they weren't being malicious or even unkind. And they weren't incorrect. What they said was true, even if it stung to hear it. 

I've been thinking about this exchange since it happened. I wasn't unaware of my flaw. It wasn't a surprise that other people had noticed. What hurt so much was the fact that someone whose opinion I care very much about took the time and effort to notice my flaw and then tell me about it.  

I've spoken to this person about how my feelings were hurt and we've come to this unsteady conclusion that they didn't think telling me would necessarily change my flaw, but that I could handle hearing about it without feeling dark and twisty. Which makes me think this whole "I got this, what are you going to throw at me next, Universe?" attitude is not serving me well. Because I could not handle hearing it. Hearing it made me feel naked and exposed and inadequate. My strength is a facade. 

I try to be gentle with people. I expect a lot from the people in my life and sometimes I am too hard on them. But this recent exchange has shown me that maybe I need to be a bit more gentle with myself too. I don't have to be the strongest. I don't have to crush everything that comes my way. I could stand to be softer and more compassionate overall. Even if it makes me uncomfortable to admit it.