I think its fair to say all women have or do struggle with body confidence. We're surrounded by magazines, the boob-tube, & social media outlets that are constantly flooding our mind with the image of society thinks is beautiful, we end up comparing ourselves to other women EVERY SINGLE DAY. It's hard to feel good about ourselves when we can easily and quickly find a source showing us that we don't fit the ideal mold of what others think is beautiful.
Looking back I can’t really put my finger on a specific day that I started to feel self-conscious about my body, but I can tell you the constant pressure to look a certain way started to feel really strong when I was in high school. However, at that point, I was such an introvert that I knew regardless of what I wore or how I looked I would never fit in with the kids my age, but I also didn’t want to stand out. I didn’t want to make myself a target. I flew under the radar; I was invisible and being invisible in high school can be a blessing and a curse.
How we carry ourselves not only impacts how others see us, but how we see ourselves. I envy the girls that can slink into a two-piece bikini and head to the beach without a care in the world. I cram my mom-bod into a one piece and still feel self-conscious about swimming in my own pool...in my backyard...that's surrounded by trees with little vantage points for neighborhood stalkers to get a peek. I know these views of my body will need to change soon, or at least appear to change because my daughter is going to take note of her mother's insecurities and could turn my issues into her own.
My daughter may only be 20-months-old, but she is a sponge when it comes to speech patterns and body language. She used the word “b*tch” in the right context, twice. No, I have no idea where she learned the word, but I was pretty impressed that she used it properly. I know she is watching me and though I may not be conscious of how my insecurities are presented outwardly, I need to learn and correct those behaviors before my daughter learns to be self-conscious of her body in the same way her mommy is self-conscious of hers.
There was a meme I saw floating around Facebook a few weeks ago, something like “do you ever look back at old photos remembering how you thought you were fat, but really weren’t, and now you actually are fat and wish you were fat like the first time you thought you were?” I laughed when I read it, and I still think it’s pretty funny...and accurate. I think we’re so fixated on the things we dislike about our bodies that we fail to notice the things that are actually pretty awesome about it.
I know this is a subject that’s talked about frequently, and maybe there needs to be less talking and more action. The point is you will never make everyone happy so the only person you should worry about pleasing is yourself. If you want to lose ten pounds to make yourself feel better about your appearance, go for it! If you want to gain 10 pounds so you can stop altering your already size zero pants, power to ya sister! If blue hair and a nose piercing bring you happiness, rock on you beautiful unicorn.
Beauty is subjective, and we are all beautiful in our own ways.
When you think about being a mom, you picture all the cute moments you'll have with your child(ren). The cute clothes you'll dress them in, and the cuddle sessions you'll receive on cold winter nights. No one ever dreams of the nightmares that motherhood also entails, like having to help your daughter birth a turd the size of a small orange. ಠ_ಠ
The past few days Shelby hasn't quite been herself. She's been quiet, kind of mopey and asking to watch a lot of the boob-tube which isn't at all like her. There were a few periods yesterday where she didn't want to bend her legs or sit on her bottom. My mom mentioned to me that she thought Shelby might be the big C; constipated.
I dread that word because I had a lot of moon-pie issues when I was younger & I was hoping we would skip that phase with Shelby. Well, luck wasn't on our side because baby beau is, or rather was, most-definitely constipated.
Shortly after we got home from MeMaw's house, Shelby burst into big-ole-crocodile tears in the middle of the living room. She was looking up at me, her wittle face turning fire-engine red while her cheeks shook from the effort of pushing so hard. This went on for a few minutes before I just couldn't watch her struggle anymore. I took her in her bedroom, grabbed a q-tip & some coconut oil, there was going to be an epic battle...
At first, she didn't want to cooperate. She laid like a stiff board on the changing table. Eventually, she let me bend her knees. The alien I saw trying to crawl out such a teeny tiny whole was every bit as ugly as the alien from the movie "The Predator." I won't go into detail, just picture a delivery room in a hospital and you'll have a pretty close representation of what took place; lots of pep-talking & some crying.
I don't know how such big turds could manifest themselves in such a tiny person. I think I may have been more traumatized than Shelby."Tank you, mommy," as she got off the changing table and ran to the living room to find Skye & Marshall as if nothing had happened. I, on the other hand, stood in her bedroom trying to recover from the nightmare that just took place.
Of course, I sent MeMaw a picture of the moon-pie because there was blood in it. MeMaw is an RN, and this mommy needed to hear that it was likely just from pushing & nothing to run to the emergency room with.
Needless to say, she was the recipient of extra snuggles last night, as well as a half a cap-full of Miralax per the Peds and a close friend who, sadly, has experience with a little who constantly fights with Mr. Cornholio (reference from my high-school years, look it up if you need to) I'll be starting her on probiotics ASAP, and monitoring her diet a little bit more closely.
These are the things no one talks about when you get pregnant or talk about the possibility of getting pregnant. Motherhood is glorious, I love every second, but there are definitely a few moments that I would gladly do with out. I'll just add last nights adventure to the list of things I never thought I'd do. ツ
So, I had a bit of a rough weekend with my babe. She seems to turn into a post-nap monster lately. Before naps shes her sweet, happy-go-lucky self. We went to a few local parks, played on the playgrounds and hunted for painted rocks. We watched Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, played with her dollies and visited with MeMaw & Papa. After naps, that was a different story. The whiney, attached to mommy's hip monster was born.
For only being roughly 20 months old, she has pretty good dictation and is easy to understand when she asks for something but if you can't figure out what she's asking for you can tell her to show you and she will. This weekend, if I didn't get it right on the first attempt at translation, she LOST HER FREAKIN MIND. The boogers would flood out, as the crocodile tears covered the floor.
"NO, MOMMY!" enter the floor stomping and flailing of the arms, "NO CHEESE!"
"Do you want white Cheese, but not orange?"
"O-TAY!!!!!!" Sniffle, sniffle.
I felt like a big-ole-mommy-failure.
I felt even worse Saturday night when the husband ended up staying overnight at a friends trailer at Lancaster Speedway. I'm having a flare in pain (happens almost routinely with the change of season) so I had taken a muscle relaxer thinking all was going to go smoothly and I'd be able to get some restful sleep. Boy, was I wrong!
Shelby was up at midnight with zero interest in going back to sleep. Our lab, Milo, started singing me the song of his people, asking to go out shortly after Shelby got up. He had stolen a saran wrapped chocolate chip cookie off the kitchen counter earlier in the day. He has Exocrine Pancreatic insufficiency so he can't digest food if we don't first put a digestive enzyme on it. Needless to say, the cookie monster came to visit him in the middle of the night, he wanted his cookie back.
Between trying to get Shelby to go back to "night-night," and getting up several times to let the dog in and back out, again, sleep wasn't on the agenda. Patience was also not easily found that night.
"YES! Shelby, mommy ty-ty, go back to sleep!!!!
"NO! GO TO SLEEP!"
I didn't yell per say, but it wasn't said sweetly either. My patience had run dry probably around the second time I had to get up to let the dog out to visit with the cookie monster.
I try not to lose my patience with Shelby because I know she will only be this little once and one day, probably sooner than I would like, I will crave the days when all she wanted was her mommy. Hence the guilt train that rolled in on Sunday morning.
I was reminded, via a fellow insta-mommy, that we are allowed to feel frustrated. We all have our good days & our bad days, but the goal is to have far more good days than bad. I love my Shell Bell, and she knows it because I show her every day (and tell her probably too many times a day) but thankfully she won't remember the snippiness I spat at her on Saturday night.
Anyways, mom guilt is definitely a thing so I took her to the playground to make for my lack of patience Saturday night.
I can count on one hand the number of close girlfriends I've had in my twenty-nine years. In fact, in my adult years, I've had only one. Most times the friendship ends in a catastrophic disagreement about something trivial or otherwise petty in the grand scheme of things, but it's prevented me from jumping into other deep friendships with women.
I'm the chick that passes the booth collecting donations for those affected by the most recent hurricane and tosses in a twenty dollar bill even though it's excessive. Then I spend the duration of my visit to the store thinking about what the families are going through, and how measly my twenty-dollars seems. I'll buy two bags of dog food and a gift card to a restaurant for the homeless man with two dogs in Williamsville, and I'll fill your gas tank when you approach me in Southgate Plaza in tears because you don't have the money to get yourself home. The point I'm trying to make is that when I befriend someone, I love with my whole heart. I'll drive six hours by myself to help you if you ask me too. I'll come to your house in the wee hours of the morning to take you to school only to turn around and go home because I'm sick. I'll write a letter to your landlord begging them to allow you to have a cat even though your lease says 'no animals' because I know how much you wanted a furry friend. I am by no means perfect, not even close, but I do the best I can.
I'm not bitter. I'm not. I'm just excessively cautious now-and-days. I don't let many people in, not like I used to. I have friends, but I don't have a "person" (Grays Anatomy reference for those that don't understand), and I'm okay with that.
The point of all this rambling: I have an ex-friend who lives in North Carolina. I haven't talked to her in close to a year, but I couldn't help but wonder how she and her husband were fairing with hurricane Florence. I finally gave in and sent a message on Facebook. She replied letting me know they now live in Connecticut and asked how I was doing. My reply was brief, a picture of Shelby and a few words letting her know we're all doing great and I finally got out of the office that was causing me such misery. She informed me that both she and her husband received promotions and that's why they relocated to Connecticut. All I could think was, "here we go with the pissing contest, again." I ended the conversation right there by saying I was happy they were doing well, that I would always care about her but that as friends we are too toxic for each other. No response, which is aye-okay-with me.
I spent the next day or so thinking about our short conversation, and I got to feeling a bit guilty. Whether or not she was trying to make me feel like I was failing at life, or not, I was the one who interpreted her comment as a means to start an "I'm better than you war," and that's on me. She genuinely could have been trying to start fresh, but I'm not at a point where I think that's a good idea. We've had an on-again, off-again friendship since we graduated high school and I'm over the drama. But looking back on our conversation got me thinking about where I am in my life and where she is in hers. We've both reached a point where our goals are more attainable than they were just a few short years ago. She loves the fast-paced, business world whereas I preferred a career that's more relaxed, laid-back and allows me to spend as much time as possible with my daughter. We crave two very different worlds, and that's perfectly okay.
Our interpretation of others success is based, in part, on what our views of success are. Sure, someone who's a CEO of a fortune 500 company is likely considered successful by the majority of people, but that can't be everyone's definition of success. I for sure would not enjoy that life. I envy the well published, well-read author who lives a quiet life working when they please and riding horses whenever they want.
My short, two-minute conversation with an ex-best friend led me to the "ah-ha" moment that I may not be everyone's version of a success story, but I am MY version of success. Do I still have work to do, absolutely, but I'm okay with where I am right now and I feel good about the decision to reach out and make sure she was okay.
So I got a bit annoyed last night putting my daughter to bed. I had just washed her bedding & was changing the case on her pillow. MeMaw had made her a few pillowcases, Paw Patrol themed, but I noticed that Everest & Skye were on one pillowcase & Marshall, Rubble, Chase, Zuma, & Tracker were on the other.
I called my mom, “Hey how come you just didn’t make one pillowcase with material with all the Paw Patrol characters on it?”
“Because I couldn’t find one with all the characters on it. They’re all Skye & Everest, or the boys.”
I did a quick Google search & sure as shit there wasn’t a single fabric choice that had all the characters EXCEPT one that had the whole team in the center with a solid color for the background.
Why? Why does everything have to be segregated boys & girls? Why can’t we just let our kids be kids, like what they like, & let life sort out the rest?
I think it was a “What Would You Do” episode where they put a little girl in a toy store with her mother. The young girl gravitated towards a toy truck which sent her mother into a frenzy. She began trying to persuade her daughter that trucks were boy toys, that she should want a doll or something pink & frilly.
As a parent, I believe it’s my job to encourage my daughter to be herself, whoever that may be, regardless of others opinions. If she wants to play with toy trucks so be it. If she wants to wear camo, go for it girlie! I would never dream of telling her to avoid playing with certain toys or wearing something for fear of what others may think. They can go fly a kite.
In a society where we are fighting for equality for all regardless of gender, race or ethnic diversity I don't understand why we would teach our youngsters that some toys are only for certain people. Nope, just not going to do it.
Being the true nerd that I am, I started doing a little research on kids toys and how they differ between boys and girls. I found this article by Natasha Daly who’s an editor at National Geographic, it's an interesting read for sure.
A 2015 study found that boys are more likely to play with toys that develop spatial (the ability to comprehend three-dimensional images and shapes) intelligence such as K’nex, puzzles, Lego bricks, etc. which build skills that are later utilized in fields like design & engineering. Girls toys were noted to be geared towards playacting (pretending) rather than building. This could help to explain the under-representation of women in fields such as the sciences and technology.
I mean, you walk into a toy store, and it’s blatantly obvious where the “girl” toys are versus the “boys.” There are labels on Legos to make sure you know which are for which gender. They’re Legos for crying out loud, why can’t they just be for everyone!
If Shelby naturally gravitates towards dolls & pink with frills than fine, but if she wants to play with Tonka trucks & action figures, I'm perfectly content to let her. If she wants to go to bed wearing Cinderall pajamas with a Thomas the Train sheets, girls gonna be a princess dreaming of trains. Just sayin.
This is not an original post. This article was written and published by Marc Chernoff, and I couldn't have written it any better if I tried...because I did. The words and phrases he used are exactly the thoughts I tried to get out onto paper without success.
As humans, we are hardwired to judge. As much as we tell ourselves and try to convince others that we aren't judgemental, the truth is we all are. We judge others the moment we meet them we even judge those who are closest to us.
Are their clothes clean or dirty? Do they look pulled together or like they just rolled out of bed and headed for the door? What kind of shoes are they wearing? Do they bite their nails? Or when a co-worker walks in wearing an outfit that's less than flattering and your first thought is "wow, I can't believe she's wearing that." It happens to all of us we are all guilty.
The difference is the thought process, and the actions that take place after the judgment is made. Insert the below article. Such a good read.
Have you ever just stopped?
What I mean is, have you ever just taken a moment to be in the moment? Stopped worrying about what was to come next, or thinking about things that you can't control?
A few days ago it was drizzling, but my flower child insisted on being outside. "Mommy, outside?" It wasn't raining too hard, so outside is where we went. No shoes, no shirt, just a diaper. After a few minutes, it started to rain a lot harder. MeMaw and I were taking cover in the garage, but Shelby wanted company. She thought it was a fabulous idea to yank my flip-flops off and pull me out into the rain. She giggled and smiled while yelling "naining!" It's hard to say "no" when you see the joy and pure happiness your kiddo gets from something as simple as playing in the rain on a hot summer day.
The impact of the moment didn't really capture my attention until later on that night when I had a few minutes to digest my day. At what age do the simple things stop making us happy? I feel like it happens to everyone. Like adulthood sucks the life out of little moments that were so simple, involved little effort but made us immensely happy as kids.
As you know, back in November I left a job I had been with for almost five years. I walked in on a Tuesday morning, packed up my desk, sent a lengthy email to my direct supervisors, took my desk plant and walked out. It was a defining moment in my life. I finally decided to stop complaining about my job, about my displeasure with my day to day life, and instead, I did something about it. I turned my bitching into an action that ended up impacting my life more than I knew it could or would, at the time. Now, I spend three day weekends with my baby girl every week. I enjoy a work environment where not only am I appreciated by my employees but by my employer as well.
I know we all have to grow up-especially now that Geoffery the giraffe has retired and Toys-R-Us is no more- but do we really have to lose all the joy that little moments used to bring us? I think we all need to try a little harder to find joy in the simple things.
If you're an introvert, is it possible to become less introverted?
We were in the car on the way home from a barbecue at a friends house when Tim told me that I seemed to be less introverted since Shelby came into our lives. It got me thinking.
My daughter, even at just seventeen months old, is so much an extrovert, especially when compared to her mother, but there's no doubt I've been forced out of my comfort zone a lot more in recent months. Shelby is a chatterbox. She says hello to strangers and thrives off interaction with others. She's forced me into a lot of random, nonsensical conversations about things like her shoes, with complete strangers. Her outgoingness has forced open a door inside myself that I didn't know existed.
Don't get me wrong there's no doubt I still struggle with social situations. The difference is I don't seclude myself to a corner for the entire duration of an event. I'm still hyper-aware of what everyone else is doing or saying, but Shelby forces me out of my safe little corner and tosses me into the middle of the party. When you have a toddler who thinks the ladder into the pool looks like an awesome place to play, or that the rocks in someone's pond need relocating, you're forced to your feet to patrol the tiny person.
I'll always be an introvert, but there's no doubt that Shelby has helped to expand my horizons to be a little be less exclusive. I knew when we decided to have a baby that becoming a parent was going to change my life, but I didn't realize just how much my child would end up teaching me, even at just seventeen months old. I love deeper, move faster, and have a zest for life I didn't always have before.
It's summer, so we've been busy swimming, hiking and trying to beat the Buffalo heat. In all the hustle and bustle of being on the move, I have found myself chuckling quite a few times when I think about all the times I was told, "when you are older, you will understand," or "just wait until you have kids of your own." I remember explicitly thinking to my [naive] self, "I already understand, and my opinion wouldn't change when I'm older."
I remember waking up in the morning, while in High School, and being completely mortified by the red monster that decided to take up residence on my face overnight. Being fair skinned, I would try and cover the little bugger up with multiple shades (and brands) of concealer. I must have looked ridiculous because I'm POSITIVE none of the concealers I used were the right shade for my ghostly white skin, nor did I apply them the right way. Sitting on the floor in my dark bedroom, in front of the full-length mirror, with the closet light on is most certainly not the ideal way to apply make-up. I was better off leaving the red bump for the whole world to see rather than having my face look like a two-year-olds paint pallet.
At one point I did ask my mom to take me to a dermatologist to which she told me no. The one or two red mounds on my face were nothing in comparison to the skin issues other people were facing. Suck it up butter-cup.
As an adult, a pimple friend pops up and the most attention it gets is an internal thought of "oh, that's just lovely," but life goes on without 10 pounds of concealer or a panic attack.
I used to wear makeup because I was afraid of what others would think of me without it. Now I wear makeup because I like the way I feel when I add a little spruce to my face, but there are far more weekends spent without makeup than there used to be.
That age-old saying, "you'll understand when you're older" applies to so many aspects of life, but it most recently applies to my desire, or lack thereof, to please other people.
I have one life to live, and I'll be damned if I'm going to live it according to the wants and desires of other people. Hell to the NOPE! If I want to rock shorts with my pasty, ghostly white legs, I'm gonna do it without a care in the world. If I want to run to the grocery store with a messy bun on my head, and absolutely zero makeup on this gloriously plain face of mine I'm gonna run, run, run to the store! If I want to wear what some might consider an obnoxious "I love my Pitbull" t-shirt, I'm gonna wear it with a HUGE smile on my face!
I'm older now, and I'm beginning to understand all the things my parents told me I would understand when I was older. I'm beginning to understand all the things that seemed like ENORMOUS roadblocks, or ginormous hurtles where actually molehills and ant dwellings compared to the BS we have to deal with as adults.
I've been thinking about it for quite some time, unpublishing my author/writer's account on Facebook. Thursday night I made the decision, and by Friday it was unpublished.
As much as I would love to call myself a 'writer,' I can't. To be a writer you have to write and write consistently, of which I do not. At this point in my life, I think I need to settle for mom, wife, office manager, fur mom, and friend. As much as I wish I could scooch things over just a tad and make room for at least one more title, I can't. Not without sacrificing time with my little and she's already growing up so fast.
In a strange way, I am relieved. I think I went about writing this book in all the wrong ways. I sought a publisher and hooked one with interest. I announced to my friends and family that I was pursuing this dream and created a Facebook page. Unintentionally, I had placed an enormous amount of pressure on myself to achieve a long-time goal during one of the busiest times of my life. Looking back, I wish I had kept my venture to myself. Then I wouldn't be writing this blog entry to explain the sudden disappearance of my author page.