Saturday, December 26, 2009

The More and Less of 2010

As I always do this time of year, once the excess of Christmas Day is behind me, I have been reflecting on the new year and the hope for change it brings. Last year I had such high hopes for where I'd be at this point this year and I am not entirely sure what went wrong. I have some legitimate reasons, some really good excuses and many more lame ones. The question then is what to do about them. I realize that I have to narrow down my focus and my goals. I can't be every kind of mom, the completely dedicated employee and the fabulous homemaker that I sometimes pretend I can be. Sure I can be any number of those on any given day, but I can't be all of them all of the time. It's time to really rethink the everywoman thing I have going on.

This led me to wonder what I want more of and what I want less of. I want less running around, stress, exhaustion and frustration. I want more health and energy, quality time with Nathan, more productive time spent. I want to spend more time with my husband enjoying life and less time trying to catch up. That was the easy part. How do I achieve this? How do I meet these goals? And what specific things are involved?

Here's my preliminary list, in no particular order:
1. Less take out = more healthy. It also means more meal planning, cooking, cleaning, food shopping, but with practice and consistency I know I can make better use of time already spent doing those things.

2. Less time on frivilous pursuits. It's ok to zone out on Facebook every now and again, but certainly less status updates, less checking to see if anyone cares about my status updates and less wondering what everyone else is doing. Also less time needs to be spent on other borderline interests (paid surveys, reading blogs and magazines I don't love, etc.).

3. Less excuses for not excersizing and more time finding ways to squeeze it in. This is a necessary move for so many reasons.

4. More organization. I need to put stuff where it goes and find places for things that don't have one. Part of this is also continued downsizing. I have too much stuff. I am hopeful that a move to a new house will really help push this along.

5. More quality time with Nathan. Less TV for him. More planned activities, crafts, learning etc. I'm not going to teach him a new language or anything, but I'm not his babysitter, I'm his mother.

Overall, I need to spend less time and energy on things I can't control and worry about what I can. I need to make good use of my time. I have the sneaking suspicion that if I spend less time wasting time and more time doing things that matter, I'll find I have a lot more time to spend.

Here's to hoping for a better 2010.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Bad Mommy Day

My kid is turning into THAT kid. You know the one who is yelling in public, acting up, making his mother want to pretend she doesn't know him. And I'm turning into that Mom - the one who didn't really need to discipline much and now is up to her eyeballs in the terrible toddler years and doesn't know what to do.

Today started well enough. Child slept well and we headed out to his grandparents where he's left while I work. The ride was quicker than normal so there wasn't much chance for incident. He was dropped off without a hitch. Then the afternoon hit. His lunch wasn't great. He did not nap. He hates having to go home as it is, but today was the added torture of the dentist.

He told me he'd be a little scared, I said that's ok and walked him through the visit (the dentist just looks, it's not even a cleaning!). He said he'd be brave. He sat down in the chair and completely lost it. Flipped out way more than a kid should. The dentist wasn't too thrilled, I think mostly because my kid was BITING him! I can't believe it. I have the kid who bites the dentist.

The rest of the afternoon was a disaster - begging for a cupcake he brought home from his grandparents' house, throwing things, screaming, etc. I know most of it was fueled by a lack of nap, but I honestly can't say this is isolated. Like I said, he's becoming THAT kid.

I can't make excuses for it anymore. I can't blame his lack of sleep or he's hungry or moody or whatever. This is my fault. I let it happen. I am his mother.

I can take away toys, but who cares, there are millions. I can say no treats or snacks, but that's all he eats are snacks. I could take away TV, but then I lose the 15 minutes I get to get something done (yay, a punishment for me). I tried the sticker chart for good behavior. He didn't care. I tried telling him he would eat what I made him or he'd starve, he said he'd rather be hungry (for two weeks... no one can say I didn't try...). He said he couldn't try the potty because his butt was dying.

I've let him get away with too much. Now I have to put my foot down. I've always said he's the kind of kid who will take a mile when you give an inch and yet I fall for it anyway. Sometimes it's because I'm too tired to deal with it or I don't want to fight. Sometimes it's because I feel bad for him for whatever reason. Mommy guilt is a killer, but it has to stop.

I don't have a plan yet. I need one. The task seems so daunting. Moms who have been through this and so much more because their kids are older probably think I'm being ridiculous. Moms my grandmother's age would say that he just needs a swift kick and some tough love. I don't have much personal experience growing up to say what worked for my mother. All I know is I can't let this get worse and I'm at a loss for how to make things better without making all of our lives miserable in the process.

I guess I've got some thinking to do.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

End of October

It's that time of year where I'm getting ready to be extra busy (holidays, work crunches, etc.) and suddenly desire to be thinner and more organized and a better mom and wife. It's almost as though I wait for the most impossible times to self-improve in anticipation of failure.

In light of that, I'm going to give it another go. Last weekend was my 15 year high school reunion. I saw a lot of people I hadn't seen in, well, 15 years. But what I saw the next day was far more frightening. A friend posted his pictures on Facebook and there was a crowd shot. Off in the background was a group of us talking and my back was to the camera.

I. Am. Enormous.

Naturally this realization comes right before my anniversary (must have take out!) and our celebratory dinner out (must have rodizio!). I let myself have the preplanned dinners and they were delicious. But now, on the eve of a new week, I must recommit to eating better. Seriously this time. I truly feel badly for everyone who has had to stand behind me and see me from that view. And like any insane person would, I cropped the picture, blew it up and put it next to my computer so that as I work and dream of food, I can look over and see what that behavior has gotten me. It's also serving as a not-so-gentle reminder that I need to get off my FA and work out. And also that I shouldn't wear shortsleeves in public.

The other things - the more organized and "good" wife and mother - I don't have a plan for that at all yet. I think I need to get back to what I know works, which is to create a schedule and stick to it. Left to my own devices, I will do nothing. I will sit here and hit refresh to see if anyone on Facebook had a new thought. I will stare at my checkbook and think about the bills I have to pay next pay day. I will look at a pile of work and think about how much physical space it takes up instead of doing it and getting it out of here. So perhaps if I have a plan - work is during THESE times, cooking and exercise HERE, cleaning is on THIS morning - maybe I can actually look back on a week and know what I've gotten done.

I know I should be flexible, allow for the curveballs life will throw me. But anyone who has known me for a long time knows that I'm not flexible and I can't be spontaneous. If I stop trying to be and rather embrace my true way I will actually get things done. How did I get through school and college and an out of the house job? I had things to do at certain times and that's when I did them. Period. Now I try to be flexible it always blows up in my face.

The next part of this, and maybe I'll leave this for my next post, is that I don't have any interests any more, simply because I don't have time for them. What I need to do is schedule in some time to do something that I enjoy. Writing, reading, cooking, exercising - all things I enjoyed at one point. I must get back to that point in my life. I can't just be about cleaning and working and complaining. But I think that topic is for another day.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The first day of the rest of my life?

Tomorrow is supposed to be the big day. I'm supposed to begin my path to a healthier me. I was considering an all out blitz, using the Fat Smash Diet to jump right in. I've failed at every diet I've ever done. The main reason for that, I think, is diving in too fast, too crazy, too ALL IN. So I'm going to try something different.

I'll follow the FSD at dinner since Husband would like to do it and it works for him. During the day, I'll continue to eat down the food stash in the house (so I continue to chip away at the goal to not be wasteful, to not spend so much money, etc.), try to make healthy choices, avoid take out and all that. If I try to do FSD and there are things in the house to be eaten, they will taunt me and slowly drive me insane. And while I know that is a crazy thing to have happen (and I'm not talking about a candy bar or something, I'm thinking specifically of the homemade chicken soup in there), excepting my crazy is probably a better bet than ignoring it.

I'd like to say I'm going to work out and and lose a zillion pounds, but I know myself far too well to actually think that will happen. However, common sense tells me that if I eat well, practice portion control, don't get the take out and fast food, I can't help but lose weight. And things will calm down (I think, I hope...) and I'll find time to work out. Not necessarily every day, but sometimes. That is just going to have to do for now.

I've said similar things before. That I'm not going to let my insanity get in the way of making real progress towards goals that I have to keep. And then insanity sets in, giving way to failure and eventually even lower self esteem. So this time I'm going to set my goal as simply to do better. Hopefully it will work this time. For some reason, I believe myself more today than I have any other time I've said it.

Maybe believing in myself is what I've been lacking. Maybe tomorrow really is the first day of the rest of my life.

Friday, September 25, 2009

OCD? Counterproductive? Maybe.

I've been thinking a lot lately about living a healthier lifestyle. Not just about the take out thing, but the convenience food, the refined stuff, etc. I've been adding in a lot of sugar substitutes to allow myself to indulge in things I shouldn't be having in the first place (read: soda). If the regular stuff is so bad for me that I have repeatedly tried to cut it out of my life, why then would I want to add in a version of it that's even worse for me?

The other thing I've been thinking about is my caffeine intake. It's bad. Really bad. It's even starting to keep me up at night. But that's what 4-5 cups of coffee, several cups of tea and 1-3 cans of soda will do to a person. I think the realization came to me in two waves. First, there was the night that my skin was so dry I couldn't stand it. I realized I was thirsty. Two glasses of water in under a minute later, no change in my thirst. So I started trying to remember the last time I had a glass of water and I was at a total loss. Perhaps the week before? I had no clue.

The second realization was when I was reading someone else's blog about being a mother of a young child. She was talking about lack of sleep and used the phrase "robbing Peter to pay Paul." It's all going to catch up to me at some point. Whether I get sick and have to sleep or just crash, at some point I have to stop this.

OK - I will pause here while you finish giggling about me eating only healthy, non-caffeinated food.

Are you ok?

Seriously though, something has to change here. I'm not sure how to do it. I'm always looking for a way, a method, a SOMETHING. I have to wonder if I just get so bogged down in the process that I can't reach the goal. Or do I just like making procedures and lists and schedules and plans? Maybe I should just plan things without ever expecting to reach the finish line. Maybe that would provide me with more satisfaction. That's the OCD part. Let's move on to the counterproductive part.

There's a lot of bad food in mys house. Several hundred tea bags. Lots of Jell-O and pudding. A ham. I can't throw it away; I'm way too cheap for that. But that means I have to eat it all by the time I start my life makeover. Today, in an effort to use up stuff I made these incredibly sugary, buttery brownies. They are so good and I may just eat the entire pan of them tonight. But there are two sticks of butter and half a bag of brown sugar still hanging around. How many more brownies can I eat in my effort to get healthy?? I finally drank down 4 cases of soda left over from a BBQ in August. And then there are the hot dogs. I'm going to make myself sick getting healthy!!

I think what it comes down to - and this is no shock to myself or anyone else - is that I need to stop leading an all or nothing life. It is possible to be one way sometime and another way at other times. Now if only I actually believed that.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


I just read my last few blogs. I have accomplished nothing towards those goals other than to think of more goals!!


We're selling the house, I have purged a ton of stuff, my desk is cleaned off. I guess things do get done, just not how I hope. Never how I hope.

I'd say I plan to come back tomorrow and tell all my readers how I did, but we know that won't happen. And by "all my readers" I mean me when I come back on here in three months to laugh about how I haven't gotten anything done.

This blog reads like a woe is me, but honestly, it's about as apathetic and light-hearted as I'm capable of being when discussing my failure to get stuff done.


Sunday, February 1, 2009

February 1

I'm starting my new year's resolutions over again. I could make up a million excuses why, but the bottom line is I didn't really do much of what I set out to do. Then I spent a lot of time feeling sorry for myself for not being able to get anything done. I could say that I would try to work on that too - that self-pitying thing - but there are only so many hours in the day.

1. I came up with a dinner menu plan utilizing what we have in the house. I have 17 dinners planned with only minimal needs from the grocery store. I hope to stick to it. We had 13 take out dinners in January which is just disgraceful. Even if we cut that in half it's still bad. So if I can stick to eating dinner at home for 17 days in a row, that will be amazing.

2. I was going to try to stick to my schedule for working, but I don't think that's realistic. I have a considerable amount of work to make up from last month, so I think a better goal is to get caught up with work to the best of my ability. Then when I'm thinking about my March goals, hopefully I won't be reposting the same thing again.

3. I had goals about losing weight, exercising more, etc., but they are too difficult to focus on when I'm trying to pin down some basics like work and the house. So I'll say that I'll work on them if I can, when I can. Honestly, a lot of my loftier goals can only be helped by focusing on #1 and #2, so I'll leave it at that.

Now I'm off to work on the budgeting. I should make that goal number 4, to keep the budget sheets up to date and not abandon them half way through the month. I'll save that for next month.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Janauary 2009 - Part 1

Today is Nathan's second birthday. As I write this, I'm think of what was going on 2 years ago at this moment. From what I can gather, I was probably unconscious, drugged up because I'm not half as tough as I thought I was (that labor really hurts...). But later this evening I'll be thinking of how wonderful that little boy was once he finally came out.

Right now though, I'm just wishing he'd sleep because there is an enromous piece of pie waiting for me when he finally starts napping. I'm not starting resolutions until the 5th because I feel major lifestyle changes always begin best on a Monday. That, and I have plans this weekend involving eating out, cake and pie.

About those resolutions though. Here they are, in as concise a way as I can present:
1. Get healthier - start drinking water again, cut back on my caffeine consumption, at least 1 exercise session per week, make more positive food choices.

2. Get organized - get rid of the clutter, keep the desk clear of stuff that doesn't belong on it, put my stuff away. The main goal here is not have to spend one day per week cleaning up so that I can acutally work. I also want to live in a house where if someone comes over or we want to sell, I won't be scrambling to get the house cleaned up. I need it to be at least passable.

3. Make and stick to a workable schedule - All too often I'm flying by the seat of my pants, never really planning what I'll do. I have to be realistic and flexible for those days when Nathan won't nap or go to bed timely. I also have to plan some time for me - not working or taking care of Nathan. There's got to be some time I can plan to do something that I want to do.

That's it. I don't think I'm going to ever get that pie though.