I received a little flack for my last post so I need to set things straight. I know I am not that bad. I know I look good.
I just want to fit into my darn clothes…
Do you see this? This is part of my closet. 90% of the stuff in here and in my dresser doesn’t fit me. 100% of this is my all new after kids clothes, as I weigh 25lbs more now than I did before I had kids. I am okay with the later part, what I am not okay with is that 90% of my wardrobe doesn’t fit me. That I don’t want to leave my house or be seen. But I have to as I have kids who require me to take them places, to buy them things, to do things with them. So when I do I look like I just rolled out of bed because the pj pants and baggy t-shirts are not the most flattering.
Call it a pity party, I call it a wake up call.
I am sure some of you are thinking I just need to go buy new clothes. I have thought that, I would love to do that. I would love to be able to put something on and feel amazing in it, I don’t care what the size is. I know already that the sizes are just a number. One clothing designers jeans are 2 sizes smaller than the others, I have them both and when they fit I feel amazing in both. My problem is I don’t have the money to buy new clothes.
I am tired of living feeling bad about myself and if that means that I want to be able to wear my yoga pants comfortably so they aren’t cutting into my skin then there shouldn’t be anything wrong with that.
I want to be able to walk out of my house comfortable and confident. I want to feel what everyone else tells me they see.
So I started operation oscar dress.
Two years ago I was lucky to attend an Oscar party with a bunch of other great ladies. I splurged big time and bought an amazing little black dress from BCBG. I remember thinking they didn’t have my size but the sales girl assured me it would fit and with her help the dress was zipped up. 2 years ago I was regularly visiting the gym and pilates classes so I was a little more toned (although that day my old trainer thought I was pregnant but that is another blog post!).
Over the last couple of years I have had stress, sickness, stress, sickness and more stress so I can’t exactly fit in the dress anymore.
I have had enough of feeling like crap and sorry for myself and realized that the only way things were going to change is if got off my ass and stopped eating cake pops!
So Operation Oscar Dress has begun.
It is my mission to fit into this dress again, and find an occasion to wear it!
I don’t think I am that far off, today step #1 was close to complete. Wear my Lulu’s and actually look good in them
Now on to step #2 – tone up the jiggly bits!
I remember the day well when I realized I had been living under a dark cloud which is surprising as I don’t often remember details. I have always blocked memories for some strange reason, ever since I was a little girl.
I had this beautiful baby girl that I had always dreamed of, but never thought I would ever have. As a mom already to the sweetest little boy who changed me forever I was content in my life, but now I had perfection. The “million dollar family” as everyone told me when they learned I was having a baby girl and had a little boy. It should have been perfection but it wasn’t. This dark cloud kept following me everywhere I went.
My Miss E was about 4 months old and we were at a well baby visit when our doctor looked at me and asked how I was doing. For months, I told people how good I was doing. How lucky I was to have such a perfect baby. She was perfect, so easy going and melded into our family like she was meant to be there. But in truth I wasn’t good, I was lost, I was crying inside unable to enjoy this life that was now mine. He knew, it was written all over my face that I was not okay, I didn’t have to say anything, he knew it. Next thing I know the nurse is in the room handing my pamphlets about Postpartum Depression and talking about the great programs and how a public health nurse was going to call me. It was all a blur, and I left feeling a slight release knowing that someone knew.
It was later that day that a nurse called me, I was surprised how quickly it all happened. I remember sitting on the floor beside my bed answering all of these questions. I know that Miss E was napping, but I have no idea where Mr K was. Maybe he was enjoying himself with one of his grandparents. He and I were lucky to have them. I felt ashamed as I admitted all of these feelings that were going on inside of me. I kept going back to how I should have been happy, I have this perfect “million dollar family”, what more could I have wanted. Maybe I just wanted to be happy so I could enjoy it.
I was set up with a public health nurse who would visit me at home regularly and a group with other moms who were going through the same thing. The group was great and it was also hard. All of the other moms talked about their feelings and cried many many times. I never cried, I couldn’t cry. No matter how hard I wanted to cry I couldn’t. I almost left the sessions every week feeling worse. Wondering what was wrong with me. If I was so unhappy, why did I not cry.
The home visits however were great. My visitor was so wonderful, it was the chance to talk to someone who helped showed me that it wasn’t as bad as I was thinking it was. I only seemed to remember the negative and having her visit with me she helped show me that my days were actually filled with lots of highs and very few lows, this process took almost a year before I was ready to say goodbye to her.
I was ashamed to tell people that I didn’t enjoy being a mom, that I was fighting with myself. I did finally get to the point where I was able to share that I suffered through Postpartum Depression but I never really talked about how I felt.
If you are having a tough time, don’t hide it. Reach out for help. Don’t feel alone.
This past weekend I was invited to do something that forced me to step way outside my comfort zone and it was the best thing I could have done.
I remember receiving the email invite to visit Muskoka Woods with a group of other moms and their kids. The first thing that went through my mind was how good this could be for Mr K and I. We often don’t get one on one time, and this would be something that I thought could be perfect for him as he has always been so against the idea of camp. This was camp for 2 days with the comfort of his mom by his side.
When I told my husband about it he laughed a little. He knows me so well that he knew that I was excited about something that I hadn’t really thought through. I never attended a sleep away camp myself and as an adult my idea of camping is staying at the Holiday Inn. I have told him in the past that if the kids ever want to go camping he is taking them, so I can understand why he laughed at me! I didn’t have anything camp related to bring on this trip, I had to borrow from family.
For whatever reason I didn’t care, I was excited and so was Mr K. I was shocked he was so into the idea, he didn’t even hesitate for a second about it. Must have been the idea that he and I were going together. After I told him about the bus he was counting down the hours until we left. I remember the night before having huge hesitations about not driving myself, not having control, but I knew that it would crush him to not take the bus. He spent the night before we left so excited that he couldn’t sleep so he instead drew a picture of a coach bus for our driver.
We enjoyed the bus ride and arrived at Muskoka Woods in amazing time, everyone was so excited when we pulled in. Greeted by the amazing staff and taken to our cabins to settle in for a few minutes. I joined a cabin with 2 wonderful moms and their boys, it was perfect as one boy was the same age as Mr K. We received a tour of the facilities and learned so many amazing things, it had me instantly wishing that I had attended sleep away camp when I was a kid. Everyone met up for lunch where they told us a little bit more about what life was like there for the kids. We enjoyed what camp director, Chris said was the favourite staff meal – chicken burgers. I remember being scared of what it would be, I pictured a day old McChicken sandwich. I was so pleasantly surprised, it was actually really good! Even Mr K ate his entire sandwich. Kids were asked to pick what group they wanted to go in and without hesitation Mr K headed over to Brillo.
We were told what our afternoon activities would be. Ours were the giant swing, tennis and B3 (inline and skate boarding). Mr K surprised me when he was excited to try the giant swing and offered to go first! Without hesitation he got himself harnessed up and up he went. I was so focused on making sure my phone was ready to take video that I wasn’t noticing how scary it really was, the other moms screams as he released the cable said it all! He loved it so much he was the only one in our group to go again.
As the afternoon progressed I started to notice how confident he was and how he seemed willing to try anything. This was a side of him that I had never witnessed before.
He jumped on a skateboard and although he wasn’t Tony Hawk he kept at it. It really helped that Muskoka Woods has the most amazing instructors who specialize in the area they work and are so encouraging to the kids. They seemed to really love what they did and working with the kids. Never once did I feel like they thought my cutely awkward boy wasn’t cut out for this, they kept at it and he had so much fun. The day was finished with another great meal where Mr K decided where we sat (again showing this confident side that made me so proud and melted my heart). The group then enjoyed s’mores, campfire songs and stories with the staff.
Day 2 was filled with more activities and more opportunities for me to be blown away by boy that he had become. I remember this shy little guy who wouldn’t try anything new and always had to have Mom or Dad by his side. He has grown up and I couldn’t be more proud of him. By this time we had gotten to know our amazing counsellor, Brillo. He is actually in charge of the WILD (age 7-9) group and took his weekend to spend with us. You can tell instantly that all of the staff at Muskoka Woods love what they do and making it the most amazing experience for the kids who attend.
I sat back with a smile on my face as he would take off on his own to the meeting spot. As he would sit himself at a table full of kids that he didn’t really know well. That he would try something he wasn’t sure of, and give it his all. Our short 24 hours at camp taught me that I can jump outside my comfort zone and survive and it taught him that camp isn’t all that bad.
He was sad to leave, as the bus pulled away he told me he wanted to stay. I asked him if he would like to go back for a week and he said yes. He said YES! This is the kid who was unsure about day camp. He was sad to say goodbye to the Muskoka Woods friends he had met, especially Brillo.
So we will continue to talk about camp, the friends we met and the possibilities for next summer. We might actually try their Test Drive program. I know that I will be comfortable with him heading off to camp knowing that he will be alright!
I’ve noticed a trend lately at the park. Lots and lots of dads bring their kids to the park and I see very few moms. So it leads me to ask, where are the moms?
Are they home cleaning?
Are they relaxing alone, maybe reading a good book? Like 50 Shades of Grey!
Are they at the spa?
Are they shopping?
Maybe they are working?
I think it is amazing seeing so many active dads here alone with their kids but I do stop and wonder. What are these moms doing, and why am I missing out?!
Have you noticed a trend of more dads out with their kids? Does your husband take your kids to the park on his own?
Being stuck in bed while sick with pneumonia has allowed for lots of thinking, and lots of boredom. There are a few things that I have realized and wanted to share as a reminder to myself just in case I am here again.
1. TV sucks! Rogers Whole Home PVR is only good if it works. Investing in the movie channels for the sick period is a smart idea.
2. No matter what people say having a tv in your bedroom is a good thing!
3. Make sure you always have a hidden supply of saltines and red Gaterade for when you need it but can’t get yourself to the store. But be sure it is hidden cause if your house is like mine your kids and husband will eat and drink it if they know you have it.
4. Having someone change your sheets daily and fluff your pillows without disturbing you seems like a dream. Maybe hospitals aren’t so bad.
5. Take your robe off before you go to the bathroom. It is long and there is a very good chance it could end up where you don’t want it to go.
6. Be thankful you have 2 robes in case the above happens.
7. When you finally do start feeling like you want to eat watching the Food Network isn’t the best idea. stock to boring shows that won’t make you wanting to get into your car and drive 30 minutes to your closest deli for a smoked meat sandwich!
8. Don’t get out of bed, and if you do, close your eyes so you don’t see the mess that your house has become.
9. Forget about how your kids look going to school, most likely they know you are down for the count and won’t hold it against you if your kids have messy clothes or crazy hair. Just be happy they got there.
10. When you finally feel well enough to get up, stop. Hire someone to come and clean the house so you don’t feel the need to do the sink full of dishes.
11. Thank your wonderful husband who has been doing it all for you. Taking care of you and the kids is work. But don’t allow them a day off until you are 110% better or else you might end up right back in bed.
EDITED TO ADD:
12. A mini kitchen in your bedroom isn’t a crazy idea. Being able to get a cold beverage or heat your tea when stuck in bed is a luxury.
13. Be thankful for the stack of magazines that you haven’t had a chance to read but have recycled yet. 6 days in bed requires lots of excitement!
14. Having an iPad and iPhone is a positive. Because you will spend a lot of time on them and they will need charging. Always make sure one is fully charged while on the other.
15. Kittens think that you moving in bed is a game of attack. Wiggling your toes can keep them and you amused for at least 10 minutes!
16. Commercials that automatically turn the volume up really loud aren’t enjoyable. Why do companies do that?
Note: I am lucky to get the words out without falling asleep. Please excuse any bad spelling and grammar!
So my husband travels for work, a lot. He travels all over the world which is really amazing for him (yes I am a bit envious!) but not so much for the kids and I.
This is a new job for him, while he travelled in the past it was nothing more than a night away a couple times a year. Now he is gone for weeks at a time and seems to be traveling at least once a month. It is hard because I am not use to this. I am happy for him and his amazing job doing something he loves. He really does have a cool job!
It is hard on the kids and I. For 7+ years we have had daddy around and now we might go days or for the kids a week without talking to daddy. He goes away for a night or two and the miss him dearly. Although it isn’t as hard for me I do still miss him.
I miss not being able to pick up the phone and call him during the day. Sending him a text message about something I need his input for. Or seeing him at the dinner table with us. We have been together for 17 years and this is the first time I have had to really have to do it on my own.
Don’t get me wrong, I already got huge flack on Facebook for posting about how taking care of my kids on my own is hard. I understand I am lucky to have him even if he might not be around. But he is such a big part of our family and a huge help for me with my business that after he is gone for a couple of days I am exhausted and stressed. We don’t have a nanny, a babysitter or family close that is there to help when he goes away. It is all me 24/7. There is no girls night out, taking a trip to the mall at the end of a long weekend. I don’t have my late nights working as I am so exhausted I go to bed when the kids do.
So yes I still have a husband and partner to help me raise the kids. He brings home the bacon. But when he is on the other side of the world I am not able to just pick up the phone and call him. If something happened I can’t call him and he hops on a plane and is home in a couple of hours.
The first time he went away to China I had someone take a personal attack on me online. It was 10:30pm and I sat down at my computer to find it unfolding in front of my eyes. I was hurt, scared and angry. But worse I was alone. He was on a plane and had been for the entire day. His flight still had another 5 hours before he landed.
He was my go to person. He was the head of reason and saw things clearly when I had emotion wrapped up in it. I remember sending him an email hopeful that he would turn his phone on the second his plane landed. I didn’t sleep that night, I was worried what else could happen while I slept. I was worried for my kids and my safety while we were alone. I was hopeful he would get my email in the middle of the night and call me.
I waited all night and I never got a response to my panicked call for help. How could I fault him, he was on the other side of the world on business. He had just flown 15 hours, hopped on a train for hours and whisked right into working. I did finally hear from him the next evening.
I was lucky that the next day after I safely dropped my kids at school that my mom came and took me to the mall as a distraction. She stayed that night. Still I wish I had him.
So yes he is still there but if something really serious happened and I needed him right away. It would take a day at least for him to get home.
I don’t feel bad saying that it is hard parenting by myself when he is gone. What it really is, is hard not having him around. If we didn’t have kids and he left me for a week I would still miss him.
Now don’t get me wrong, there are some nice benefits to him being gone. The kids and I get nice one on one time. We go out to dinner and do fun things. We try to make the best of it however we can. We enjoy cuddling on the couch and watching movies together. We make a big mess of Lego and leave it all over the living room for days at a time. There is less laundry, less food to cook, less mess to clean!
I hope that one day I will have the opportunity to travel the world with him. But for now I fear the next trip where he goes to the other side of the world and the kids and I will have to miss him.
At times I think about how I didn’t sign up for being the wife of a husband who travels like he does. But he loves what he does and he gets to experience these amazing adventures that without this he wouldn’t experience. And that makes it all worth it!
Does your spouse travel? How do you get through? Do you have any tricks or tips? Please share as it looks like it is only going to happen more.
My wordless Wednesday post is dedicated to my baby girl who was my early Valentine’s gift 5 years ago!
I have been sick just like any other mom, we push through still doing what we have to and don’t often get a “sick day”. But last fall was something I have never experienced before, not even the winter of strep was anything like this.
At the end of October my husband went to China for work for a couple weeks. The kids and I actually did really well, we were excited to pick him up at the airport when I got the call from the airline asking me to come alone. My husband had a blood clot and they were worried that something might happen to him. He arrived home safely but had a hard time adjusting back to our time and he became sick. So although he was home he really wasn’t.
Within a couple of days I started with a nagging cough that just came on out of the blue. I wasn’t sick before so I just figured something has irritated me as I’ve become sensitive to some irritants. After a couple weeks it was getting worse and sounded horrible. One afternoon I started coughing up blood so I made an appointment to see my doctor, something that I barely do. He said my lungs sounded fine but put me on an antibiotic anyways. Something I would soon learn was a good thing.
I finished the antibiotic and was still coughing, not as bad during the day but the nights became horrible. I woke up one night gasping for air. I started to panic. I coughed and coughed and no matter what I did I couldn’t breathe. I got out of bed and headed right outside into the middle of cold night in hopes that the fresh air would help. This went on for weeks.
My husband threatened to take me to the hospital as seeing his wife struggle like that over and over every night was “too much” as he said. I refused but after 2 weeks of no sleep I was becoming desperate and went back to my doctor. He said that it just seemed viral so there wasn’t anything we could do.
After 3 weeks of no sleep I started to research in the middle of the night coughs and came across pertussis also known as the whooping cough. The symptoms sounded just like mine and I listened to an audio file of what the cough sounded like and my husband immediately said that was exactly me.
Desperate I went back to my doctor who gave me a little information. He said that the antibiotic he gave me weeks prior was would be prescribed for pertussis but that it has to be given within the 1st week to be helpful or else the patient suffers from what is called the “120 day cough”. He did the swab test to see if I was still carrying the bacteria as it is highly contageuos and sent me for an X-ray as he knew I was really suffering by this point.
Immediately we got the X-ray which showed I had pneumonia in my left lung. I told him I wanted more drugs, crazy coming from me the homeopathic queen, but I was getting really tired of it. The middle of the night attacks were waring on me. I was told I needed to take it easy and get lots of rest. Something easy for someone who cant sleep because of the coughing and a workaholic who was in her busiest season.
I went home and my husband forced me into bed where I spent 4 days. I received a message from my doctor telling me that the swab didn’t work and did I want to do another, but also that the radiologist saw that my left lung with the pneumonia had partially collapsed. So the pertussis coughing cause my lung to collapse which cause the pneumonia.
So here I sat very sick and forced into bed in what was my busiest season. I am so thankful that i have some really amazing people working for me who took care of everything for me. My husband drive the kids to school, came home from work and made dinner (something big from the guy who doesn’t cook) took care of the kids. He did runs to the printer, packaged up orders and shipped them for me. He wouldn’t let me do anything which was a good thing as just going downstairs caused me such difficulty breathing.
My poor kids missed me, but they understood that mommy was sick and needed to rest. they thought that I was funny because I had the whopping cough. Daddy explained to them that when I had an attack I would start singing “whoop there it is” which always got them laughing. Love him for making the bad turn into something good for them!
The second round of antibiotics and strict regimin of homeopathic remedies started to finally help. I was no longer having these horrible attacks all night long. It was once or twice a night and for the most part I was able to control them.
By the end of January I was finally feeling almost normal. This mom who always puts herself last was forced to put herself first for once which I think was the universes way of smacking me upside the head! I spent the holidays with my family and reminding myself of how I was never going to put me last again.
I learned many valuable lessons over those months. One of the most important is that sometimes mommy had to take a sick day and that the rest of family will survive just fine!
The one promise I made to myself for 2012 was that I was going to get my priorities in check.
I think one of the biggest challenges of any mom and mompreneur is that we feel like we can do it all. I know I could for the most part do it all, well do it all for everyone else. I would make sure all work was done and gave it 110%. I cared too much about what others thought so I would go above and beyond to keep my friends and people around me happy. I would try to keep my kids happy and healthy. Make sure my husband was okay and last and sometimes never was myself.
By putting myself last I was also putting my family last. At the end of the day there wasn’t much left, so when they needed me most I was sometimes already shut down.
As you know the end of 2011 taught me that I could not continue like this any longer.
So like anything I set forth with my plan. Spend more time on me, work more effectively so that I can focus on spending more time with my family and not be worried about what work I need to do. The biggest plan was to disconnect myself from my computer, email and phone while I am with my kids to allow them 100% of me.
One of the main reasons I started my business was to allow me to be there for my kids and I started to realize while I was there physically I wasn’t there emotionally and that is what they needed. My two aren’t babies anymore, my youngest turned 5 last week (insert tears here) and I have realized that I have missed lots of fun family time. I know that soon enough they will be older and need me a lot less. I want to be there now and enjoy them now.
I don’t want more regrets about how my kids grew up while my head was tucked in my computer working on making my business into something big.
So like all plans I have my idea of what I want to do and I don’t always follow through properly. I get sidetracked by something exciting to do like working on new products or designs, or some new web site sucker like the fun known as Pinterest.
Just as I seem to lose focus something reminds me of the plan and I get put back on track.
For me my family comes first. If my kids need me I will be there for them. My kids are both in school from 8:45am to 3:45pm so I have a good solid time that I am able to work. I might have a week where I have things that pull me away from my perfectly scheduled time for working. I try not to put anything else in this time because it isn’t easy to makeup the missed “work time” because I went to the doctor, did some shopping or met a friend for lunch.
If it is for my kids I am now okay with taking the time. So maybe this month I take extra time taking one of my kids to some very important appointments. We take a short trip as a family to celebrate a birthday and I tag along with my husband on a business trip to California.
At the end of the day working myself into a ball of stress won’t do anything for me when I am no longer here.
Focus on enjoying life is my plan and doing it while enjoying running my business just seems like a bonus. I do love what I do after all. As long as I do it under my terms all is good!
- Lindsay Brewda is a graphic designer, owner of GraceAnnouncements.com, wife and mother of two. A chocolate lover and Pearl Jam fan, Lindsay also loves to blog about her crazy life - raising kids while running a business!