Thursday, January 31, 2013

mom guilt and the fear of failure.

I've been listening to Taylor Swift's Red album pretty much on repeat... so be prepared for a lot of TSwift songs.  Had this album come out 5-6 years ago, I would probably be listening to it while bawling my eyes out, lol - but thankfully I've come along way since then :)

I forgot my snack this morning, so I'm going to have to buy some yogurt, not really a big deal, but I'm not always a fan of the flavor options.  I also wish the little shop sold raw veggies in addition to the raw fruit they sell.  I'm sure that option is somewhere on campus, but I'm hanging out in the library and it's cold outside, haha :)     

Our van has a maintenance plan up to 36,000 miles that includes free oil changes.  The van currently has 35,810 miles (or somewhere close to that).  I just google maps'ed everywhere I have to go from now until my appointment on Friday, and it's 142 miles - so I should be good!  It would stink if I got there with 36,002 miles on the van! 

I had a pretty good day home with the kids yesterday.  Elliot requested a dance party while I was cooking lunch and we listened to Call Me Maybe and Beauty and a Beat on repeat for 20 minutes while dancing around the kitchen.  Then he wanted to do it again after nap, and while I was making dinner.  It was a lot of fun, and quite a work out since Caroline insisted that I hold her all day long, including while dancing.  This morning I woke up and my lower back is killing me.  It took me a while to realize it's because I was dancing while holding Caroline on my hip.  She's a good 20lbs.  I probably should have stretched out afterwards, lol.  I also shoveled for about an hour, so that probably added to my back issues.  I'm taking an Aleve as I type!  

Well, if you look to the right of the screen, you'll see that I gained some weight this past week.  Honestly, it was my birthday weekend and we ate out a ton.  I was expecting this.  The problem with such derailment is getting back into the groove.  Monday and Tuesday were okay, but I didn't work out.  Wednesday I was home all day with the kids (snow day) and even though I did some unstructured exercising, I didn't eat really well.  I just kind of snacked all day long.  Nothing was really what I wanted to eat though, so I just kept eating.  I got rid of all of the chips in our house last week, and that was probably a good thing because that was really what I wanted to eat!  I had a few girl scout cookies, but I am more of a salty snacker than a sweet snacker, so I didn't over indulge in them - but it's not like their healthy, lol.  I settled for saltine crackers.   

I find myself getting totally bummed out as I see other people succeeding with losing weight - don't read that as I'm not happy for them, but more of a reflection of how I feel about myself.  Like, ugh, Bekah, get you're shit together.  I was overweight when I got pregnant with Elliot, and I gained a crap ton of weight while pregnant.  Part of that was what I ate, part of it was not staying active, and part of it was the pregnancy itself (hello 20 lbs of water weight).  When Elliot ended up in the hospital, and until he was about 7 months old and starting to actually seem better, I couldn't focus on myself at all.  I only cared about taking care of him and making sure that he was progressing with his health.  I think a lot of people, including myself, forget what that first six months was like with him.  Having a new baby is stressful enough, having a new baby that has something wrong is even harder.  Thankfully Elliot had a successful surgery and was off medication after a year, and then I felt like I could finally breath a little.

I don't want to seem like I'm just making excuses, but when I look back, I barely remember those early months.  I was really just trying to hold on for the first three months.  I couldn't control anything.  Elliot would eat, seem fine, then due to acid reflux from his CDH, he would throw it all up.  I felt think I couldn't take care of my child, and there wasn't anything I could do.  Also, we lived in an area where we knew no one.  Closest family was 2.5 hours away.  Until you have kids (healthy or not), you don't really know what that type of stress feels like (assuming you like your family, lol).  I had lost a ton of weight right away due to breastfeeding, and when I stopped I gain some back, but I just didn't have it in me to focus on me.  Maybe I was trying to avoid the reality of my weight, or maybe I already felt guilty enough, that focusing on me would just make me feel selfish that I wasn't giving everything to Elliot.  Like, if I had the energy to work out, then I must have not given him my all that day (trust me, I understand this is backwards thinking because being healthy is giving you're child so much, and trickles down to affect so many areas of their life). 

I lost all the baby weight, then kind of stayed there for awhile.  I think I was just comfortable, and glad that I hit my goal of losing the baby weight, that I didn't want to focus on the rest of the weight I had to lose.  And then I got pregnant with Caroline.  Through this pregnancy I ate WAY better and was more active - part of that was due to running after Elliot!  I was also in school again, and felt like I was moving forward and progressing personally.  I gained 35 lbs with Caroline, and am still working on the last 10 lbs.  

Don't get me wrong, being a parent is awesome!  My kids are amazing and I could talk about them all day long (btw, Caroline said, "one, two, three!" this morning!), but there are some days that I just feel like a complete failure.  I bring this guilt on myself for every decision that I make now, will make in the future, and those I've made in the past.  Being in school.  Putting them in daycare.  Taking certain classes.  Not breastfeeding long enough.  Getting an epidural.  Having c-sections (even though they were medically necessary).  Not buying organic fruit.  Letting them eat chicken nuggets and pizza.  Not cooking enough.  The fact that Elliot LOVES fruit, but hates vegetables.  Feeling like we don't read to them enough.  Letting them watch TV.  I could go on an on, and it may seem like stuff that doesn't really matter, but I think sometimes we (as parents) just need to be honest and say that these worries and concerns and guilty feelings are real.  Some of the things are also irrational.  We do read to the kids, quite a bit, and they are smart.  Really, they're fine, happy, and healthy. 

Sometimes I consider leaving Facebook just so I stop the social comparisons.  Studies have been done showing that people tend to put status's that reflect more positively on them than negatively (except everyone seems to know at least one person who does the complete opposite of this), and I know this, but I still feel like I can't live up to what everyone else is doing.  - I'll admit to doing this.  I'll update when the kids do something cute and smart, but I don't write a status about how pissed of I was when Elliot ran upstairs making a ton of noise and woke up Caroline.  I definitely don't post when I lose it and yell at him instead of doing any of the other parenting techniques that I know and believe in. 

What this all comes around to, is I think I'm afraid of failing at something else.  Not that I would fail overall, but ending the day feeling like a failure.  I don't think this fear of failure only effects moms, I think it's something a lot of people have, and it was a fear I had before I became a parent.  It's easy to say, well, make good choices, so you don't have that feeling.  But every choice has a response cost of something else I could have done, and finding a balance is tough and full of guilt some days.  H.L. Makin (a 19th century writer), put it perfectly, "For every complex problem, there's an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong."  Not that eating healthy and exercising is the simple and wrong answer to losing weight (because I believe it's the very right answer), but sometimes it's easy to look at others lives and think, "Well, they obviously just need to do X instead of Y, and then their problem will be solved."  And that's so not the case.  Every decision has consequences, good or bad, big or small.  

What this all comes down to, is just me, needing to let myself off the hook.  This constant guilt is getting me nowhere.  And what others are doing for themselves and their families may work for them, and it's okay that I'm not doing or haven't done the same things.  Our kids are going to turn out fine, I'm going to do well in school, and I will lose the weight eventually, no matter how long it takes. 

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