Momfession #61: A semi-charmed kind of life

I was reading a story to my four-year-old daughter before bed tonight. She, being a fairly typical little girl (and much to my chagrin) loves princesses and predictably chose a story from one of her princess storybooks. In this tale, Cinderella and Prince Charming are celebrating their one year wedding anniversary. In true royal fashion, they are planning an elaborate ball to celebrate the occasion. On the morning of the ball, the Prince and Cinderella have a romantic breakfast together, and he gives her a giant sapphire ring. Which Cinderella, being the beautiful but not-so-smart gal that she is, promptly loses.

By this point I am only two pages into the story, and I am already trying to hold back my negative commentary (you’ve GOT to be kidding me…a friggin’ ball? A giant ring? And then she LOSES it?). But, my daughter is enjoying it, so I swallow hard and press on.

Cinderella can’t possibly look for the ring by herself, so she enlists her two mouse friends to help her find it. They tell her to walk back through her entire day, so they can check each place she visited in order to look for her ring. And as I read on, I begin to realize how closely Cinderella’s day parallels my own days.

So without further ado, I present to you: How a Princess Spends Her Day (and how closely it resembles mine)

Writing in Her Journal

According to Cinderella, the first thing she did after receiving her new ring was write about it in her journal. Yes, of course she did. I mean, doesn’t every lady immediately write in her journal after something *wonderful* happens in her life? I know I do. Except mine sounds more like, “Dear Diary, today my husband and I managed to speak five whole sentences to each other before one of our children started screaming. How marvelous is THAT?!” I begin thinking that Cinderella and I have a lot in common, minus the bling, of course.

Drinking Tea

Cinderella spends the next part of her day drinking tea. I can’t believe Cindy is a slave to caffeine like me. We could be twins! Of course, hers is served to her in a lovely china teacup on the balcony of her castle while I guzzled my Tim Horton’s medium-coffee-with-two-creams yesterday while driving to ballet class (late, again) and attempting to answer unanswerable questions like, “why is today Saturday?”. That’s almost the same, right?

Spending several hours reading in her library

OK this is where things started going sour for me. So while Cinderella spent, “several hours reading in her lovely library”, I brought my kid to ballet, then a birthday party, then got gas, got my car washed, went grocery shopping, picked kid up from birthday party, wrestled screaming kid from birthday child’s home and into car, drove home, hauled groceries in, growled at second kid because he was still wearing his karate uniform even though karate was over hours ago, growled at husband for letting kid wear karate uniform around the house…you get the picture. So, so, not relaxing. Cinderella wins this round.

Picking flowers from her garden

Cinderella spends a good portion of her day picking flowers from her garden to use as décor for that evening’s ball. While I don’t quite share her enthusiasm for gardening, I do appreciate Cinderella’s effort at some sort of meaningful work. Until this point, her day has pretty much been useless. But the fact that she does her own party décor gives me slight hope that this story might turn around. As for me, I cleaned my house and lit a rose scented candle. I’d call that a solid tie.

Gathering water from the well

For reals? That’s some actual manual labour there. I am thoroughly impressed that Cinderella gathers her own water. Like, lets the bucket down and cranks it back up and everything. This chick is more of a badass than I realized at first. Of course, it turns out that it was the water gathering that caused her to lose her gigantic sapphire. So, I am thinking that’s probably the last time the Prince is going to let her draw her own water. Plus, she makes her little mouse “friends” go down into the well to fetch her ring which feels a bit like child labour to me but with mice it is really hard to tell their age so I will let that one go. Meanwhile, back in my house, I made my older kid set the table for dinner and pour a hefty glass of wine for yours truly. But it’s not considered child labour as long as they’re my kids, right?

So, there you have it. A princess’ life of leisure and my life of…well….life. Who says princess stories are sexist, drastic misrepresentations of reality? In actuality, we’re all leading charmed lives. You just have to look hard enough.

Momfession #58: No fun

 

I’ve been blocked lately. Not just writer’s block, which I obviously have (please see date of last post for proof), but, just….blocked. I feel like I’ve stalled….run out of gas…in my personal life. Like I am so filled to the brim with things I HAVE to do that I have no space left in my brain for novel thoughts, ideas, or inspiration, or….fun. So I keep motoring on, working hard to make a mark in my career, to make things stable for my kids, to make sure our home isn’t a total disaster, to make a (somewhat) healthy dinner most nights. And on the days where I actually have something planned for myself, I feel like it takes an inordinate amount of energy for me to work up the least bit of excitement about it.

Because honestly? Sometimes all I really want is a day where I don’t HAVE to do anything, even if that thing is something “fun”.

I know I am extremely lucky to have a strong network of people who will watch our kids at a moment’s notice, and a husband who doesn’t mind me taking some time for myself in the least, and that I shouldn’t complain. In fact, I feel ridiculously guilty for even thinking these thoughts, because I actually get way more “free time” compared to most parents.

But hey, it’s my blog, and I can complain if I want to.

So that’s it. Earthshattering news, I know: a mom who is overwhelmed, overworked, and overscheduled, and maybe feels like she’s losing a bit of her fun-loving self in the process. Oh, and who’s feeling guilty complaining about it.

That about sums up my last month or two. Now how ‘bout you all? Any of you feeling particularly guilty or “un-fun” these days?

Momfession #57: Busy doing nothing

It’s been a while since I’ve written. I guess you could say I have been busy, although that seems like a lame excuse. Who ISN’T busy? Lately, though, I have been feeling especially unable to fit anything else into my life. I have a schedule that is beginning to drive me insane. Not only is it packed, but it is so predictable, and so ordinary, it’s maddening.

But instead of wallowing in self-pity, I thought I’d let you in on my daily life. Because if I’m feeling overwhelmed, there’ve got to be other moms that are feeling the same way. As you read, try not to feel jealous over the glamour of it all. And if you can relate, please comment. It will make me feel much better to know that you all have busy, boring lives too!

So without further ado, I present to you…

The Momfessional’s Daily Schedule

  • 6:20am- alarm goes off, I press snooze at least once.
  • 6:45-ish- finally drag myself to the shower. On the way, I not-so-quietly open up the door to our daughter’s room to start her wake up routine. She is not a morning person. My son has already been up for at least 30 minutes, watching some (hopefully appropriate) shows on Netflix
  • 7am- dry my hair while my daughter runs screaming into my room because she doesn’t want Daddy to change her, or look at her, or talk to her.
  • 7:10-7:20am- attempt to simultaneously dress myself and my daughter while my son storms around the house because he either: a) can’t find his Pokémon cards, or b) doesn’t want a bagel for breakfast, or c) can’t wear shorts in 10 degree weather. Then coax/prod/force my daughter to eat at least a few bites of something before we leave the house.
  • 7:30am- drop daughter off at daycare. We have perfected the goodbye and the entire dropoff now takes only four minutes. Unless one of her teachers starts chatting with me about her latest potty training regressions.
  • 7:45am- Run through the train station parking lot to catch the train, which has just arrived. I squeeze through the doors just as they are closing and flop myself into a seat.
  • 8:30am- Arrive at the office. Breathe. Have my first cup of coffee.
  • 8:30am-4:30pm- Work, rarely take lunch, sometimes fit in a call to G’s school, the doctor, or my husband (since morning conversations are pretty much impossible)
  • 4:50pm- Catch the train home. Always board at the last minute, usually sweaty and breathless.
  • 5:30pm- Arrive home, drop bag, immediately start making dinner, attempting to ignore the cat at my feet and the fact that I have to pee. Around the same time, my husband arrives with the kids. They burst through the door, my son asking if we can order pizza (no), my daughter announcing that she peed her pants. I secretly wish I could just pee my pants too.
  • 6:15pm- Dinner. One or both kids complain about one or more things on their plate. I ask my son to sit up straight and eat over his plate approximately 30 times. I unsuccessfully attempt trick my daughter into eating at least one vegetable. Any attempt at adult conversation is thwarted by the two jabbering/screaming/complaining children.
  • 6:50pm- Fight with my daughter to take a bath. Fight with her to brush her teeth. Fight with her to get out of the bath. You get the gist.
  • 7:30pm- Stories are read, kisses are given, dollies are tucked in to bed. My daughter screams and demands I stay for “five more minutes”. When I leave, she screams for anywhere from 5-20 minutes.
  • 8pm- Start bedtime routine for our son. Thankfully, my husband does this as I am just about to lose it and I still have to pee.
  • 8-9pm- Clean dishes, tidy house, do laundry, fill out permission slips, write in son’s agenda, make school lunch, feed the cat, run out to grocery store because we have no milk or bread, again. How is it possible that we use SO MUCH milk and bread?!
  • 9pm- Sit down. Sometimes do work while watching Netflix. Or watch trashy Real Housewives episodes. Or blog (as you know, this one rarely happens anymore).
  • 10:30pm- Start my own bedtime routine. I’m tired, but what makes me even more exhausted is thinking about doing it all over again tomorrow.

Momfession #54: Come here often?

Last night, I attended an after-work networking event. It was at a bar in downtown Toronto, and while not particularly fancy, it was a kid-free few hours out where I could have a drink and meet new people, and I was excited. At one point in the evening, I was chatting with a young(er) and somewhat attractive guy about work stuff when a much-younger-and-skinnier-than-me girl walked past. I watched with amusement as his gaze immediately shifted away from our conversation and toward the girl in the fitted red dress. I wasn’t at all offended (heck, I was checking the her out too) and I chalked it up to the obvious wedding ring on my finger and my business attire. It was only later that I started thinking about it, and wondering if those were the only reasons why I was no longer worthy of a check-out or some good old-fashioned flirting.

I used to love to flirt. And I was good at it. I was never the hottest, skinniest, sexiest woman in the room, but boy did I know how to flirt. I never had a problem finding men to flirt with on a given night; they always just sort of materialized. And I never for a second considered that the men I flirted with wouldn’t be interested in flirting back.

But once you become a mom, something happens. In fact, several things happen that seem to deter random men in bars from wanting to flirt with you. Apart from the obvious extra poundage, frumpy mom clothes, and wedding-ringed finger, something changes that I can’t quite comprehend. Maybe it is the slightly overenthusiastic look that I must have on my face, because I am out drinking a drink like a grown-up and talking to other grown-ups about grown-up things. Or maybe there are some sort of un-flirtworthy pheromones that a woman’s body produces once they birth a child. In any case, I am pretty sure that my days of being able to command a man’s attention in a room full of other women are long gone.

I would never want to trade the life I have now for my single days. Although it was fun to go out, flirt, and sleep until noon, and my boobs were much perkier then, I actually feel much more attractive and secure than I ever did in my twenties. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a part of me that misses being thought of as attractive by someone other than my husband and kids. It is flattering, obviously, but perhaps more than that, it is a reminder of the person I used to be before becoming “mom”. Sometimes, in the insanity of life with kids, I lose sight of that flirtatious, fun-loving, spunky girl that I used to know. And I miss her.

So if you’re a dude, and you ever see me out in a bar, buy me a damn drink. It won’t get you anywhere, but it will make this frumpy old mom feel a little bit more like a lady.

Momfession #53: Control freak

Last night, while playing volleyball, I sprained my ankle. As soon as I landed (on a member of the opposing team’s foot, after a failed attempt to block a shot) I knew I was in trouble. The pain was so overwhelming I could do nothing but lay curled on the floor for a minute. It was the kind of pain that makes you want to throw up; anyone who has broken a limb or gone through labour knows exactly what I mean. My mind immediately started racing: what if it is broken? What if I have a cast? How will I get to work? Do I need crutches? How am I going to drop my daughter off at daycare? There’s no juice for breakfast…how am I going to go grocery shopping if I can’t walk? And on, and on.

My husband says I worry too much. That I should just relax and accept that sometimes, things just happen that I can’t control. And it is true. But when you have people depending on you, it is easier said than done. For one thing, I recently started a new job at a new company. When I say recently, I mean that today was my third day. And I have already had to take a sick day. I don’t think I have taken a sick day in over a year, and here I am, already taking time off. What must my new company think? I wonder. That I am a complete spaz? That I am one of those people who is always getting hurt? That I am a liability? Of course none of those things are true (although my spaziness is up for debate), and my new job and boss are awesome, but I still worry about the impression that this situation makes.

And then there’s the kids. Although they were really great today (K offered me her “comfy blanket” this morning and G helped me hobble around the house), I feel guilty about my state. I wasn’t able to get to the grocery store last night and they had no juice or milk at breakfast. I couldn’t carry K upstairs the way I normally do before bed. And I was extra irritable tonight with them as a result of my pain and discomfort. I felt like I failed them in the mom department today, although I am sure they didn’t notice one bit.

Maybe this is life’s way of telling me that I can’t always be the one in charge. That things will still be OK, even if I need to lean on other people for a change (literally and figuratively).That I can’t control everything, all of the time, and I need to accept that. And that worrying isn’t going to change any of that.

For me, and I think a lot of other moms, it is an extremely difficult challenge to overcome. We are used to being the ones in charge: running the household, booking the appointments, building our careers, nursing the boo-boos, setting the bedtime routines, and generally managing our lives and those of our family’s. So when I lose even a little bit of that control, I tend to panic. But in reality, any amount of control I think I may have over my life is a bit of a sham; there is really no way to control this great, crazy, unpredictable world that we live in. So why try? There are going to be sprained ankles and missed meetings, lost lunch bags and failed tests, natural disasters and financial issues, whether I like it or not. I guess I just need to put my feet up and accept the imperfection of it all.

So if you need me, I’ll be at home tomorrow, resting my ankle. I’ll be the one on the couch watching Netflix, wallowing in self-pity and cupcake crumbs.

Momfessional #50: Me, me, me

Nurse. Teacher. Friend. Professional. Sister. Daughter. Judge and jury. Cruise director. Housekeeper. Cook. Policewoman. Accountant. Interior decorator. Party planner. Veterinarian. Travel agent. Wife. Sex symbol. Bank machine. Commuter. Businesswoman. Blogger. Tailor. Laundromat. Organizer. Secretary. Mediator. Psychologist. Dictionary. Hairdresser. Doctor. Career woman. Student. Moral compass. Landscaper. Dietitian. Mom.

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about who I really am. Maybe it’s because it is the most depressing time of the year, or maybe I’m having an early mid-life crisis, but either way I can’t stop thinking about ME. As in, what makes me happy? What am I good at? Can I really have it all? And if so, what does that even mean? I’m not just talking about a career, either. But life in general. What is the f**ing point of it all?

I’ll spare you the philosophizing. Suffice it to say that I have had some pretty deep thoughts running through my head recently (thankfully, I have watched enough episodes of the Real Housewives this week to balance out all that cerebral activity). And I know I am not alone. Fellow mommy bloggers and friends Not the Only Mama and Average Working Mom both posted recently about similar topics. While one mom asked herself if she’d ever feel on top of her game, and in control of her life again, the other wondered if she should be more career-oriented and focused on her job. But I think the thing that they were both really asking was the same thing that has been bothering me: am I doing enough?

Why do we beat ourselves up over that question? Why do we feel that we have to be everything to everyone? And to make matters worse, why, while we are carefully juggling about a thousand different labels —from cook, to career woman, to wife, to mother— do we stop and think, “shouldn’t I be doing MORE, or doing it BETTER, or making it more MEANINGFUL?” Why can’t we just accept that this life, right now, is the best life there is?

Maybe it is the curse of our generation. We were raised to believe that we could do anything we wanted; we had options like never before. We didn’t have to stay home and raise our children; we could have an education, high-powered careers, a husband that was also a hands-on dad. As fabulous as that all is, it is also incredibly unsatisfying. Because I never really feel like I am fully committed to one thing. Instead, I split myself into teeny, tiny pieces (one for my company, one for my husband, one for my family, one for my kids, one for my friends…) in an attempt to “have it all”. Only the more I think about it, the more I realize that “having it all” might actually be an unachievable myth.

I’d like to say that I am going to let it all go, and decide to live in the moment and never wonder if what I am doing is enough. But, I don’t think that is realistic. I may never feel totally satisfied about where I am in my life, and I might always wonder if I could do more. But, at least I know that I am not alone, and that there are moms just like me out there having the very same thoughts every day.

So this one goes out to you, fellow philosophical, overachieving moms. You might think too much, and you’re certainly all a little nuts. But you’re also all awesome and absolutely perfect, just the way you are.

So go open a bottle of wine and turn on some reality TV. The laundry will still be there tomorrow.

Momfession #48: Whatcha want? Whatcha really, really want?

mindfulness

Yesterday, I was working from home when I received a Groupon email. It was advertising a highly discounted, two month membership to a local gym. Since I have been feeling especially disappointed lately with the 20+ post-preggo pounds that I still haven’t shed (three years later), and my general lack of activity, I clicked on it. But as my mouse hovered over the “buy now” button, I spotted the candy-covered gingerbread house that my kids and I made for Christmas, perched nicely on the counter, just five feet away. My eyes darted from the frosting and gumdrops, to the fit, smiling, six-packed lady on my screen. “Sweet, cookie goodness now, and the hope of a tighter ass in two months,” I thought. So, I went for it. I grabbed a giant chunk of gingerbread roof and got ready to make yet another New Years promise to get in shape. But just as I was typing in my billing info, I stopped, and a single, clarifying thought entered my mind.

Do I really want to do this?

Continue reading “Momfession #48: Whatcha want? Whatcha really, really want?”