I cancelled my membership to Weight Watchers. I was not having the kind of success this go around as I did the first time I joined and it was senseless for me to pay $42.95 just for the accountability of weighing-in once a week.
Paradoxically, the focus on getting to a goal weight was stressing me out. While it is true that my weight loss has plateaued, being reminded of that every week by another person (the WW person wo-manning the scale on Fridays), made me feel bad about myself. I’m already hard on myself when it comes to my weight and overall body image. Having to answer to someone else was counterproductive. Yes, I need to accountability, but not to the almighty WW weigh-in. Which is SO odd as that is exactly what propelled my weight loss the first time.
I’m older now. I’m beyond family building and into family being. I am no longer cycling and my body will never again be a vessel to carry a baby into this world. There is SO much relief that comes with that. Sadness, too, as the scars of infertility and all it robbed me of continue to heal, but there is another kind of relief that is associated with my weight loss now: there doesn’t have to be an end goal. I want to look and feel better. I want to fit back into my pre-pregnancy clothes. While I’d like my BMI to be in the normal range for my height, I will settle for being ‘overweight’ vs. obese. I am within 10 pounds of my pre-pregnancy weight. I did my body measurements this weekend and my neck, chest, biceps, thighs and calves are the same or smaller than they were before I got pregnant with Baby G. What has hung around is an additional 2.50″ around my waist and my hips.
For a decade of my life, a full one quarter of it, all of my mental energy was focused on having a family. And, because we needed ART, it was also focused on research and planning and timing and the pursuit. Always, the pursuit. And when I’d finally made peace with never being pregnant again, I was able to shift the same focus to my weight loss. But, then, WHAM, it turned out that my body would be the vessel for completing our family.
Only this time, age and post partum depression have made it that much more difficult to lose the weight. And, you know what? I am DONE imposing deadlines on my body. I just can’t do it any longer. The journey I am on now is going to be lifelong. My relationship with food, eating and exercising, is part of who I am. It is a journey, not a destination. And, in cancelling my WW membership, I freed myself from the shackles of my weight loss being on someone elses time table.
It has revolutionized how I feel about myself, my body, my spirit, and my ability to lose and maintain weight loss. It is freeing, getting out of THE plan and settling into making daily choices that are going to fuel and strengthen my body. Yes, it is STILL a battle over hunger and indulging and eating too much of any one thing, but there is so much relief to settling in, giving into this as a journey than I ever got from being handcuffed to a weight loss plan.
The myfitnesspal app is my friend. It not only tracks what I eat and how many calories I burn from exercising, but it allows me to connect with other women who are on a weight loss journey, too. And, frankly, checking in with my friend, Jen, and my friend, Toni every week is a much better form of accountability for me. They have no expectation of how much I should be losing and they are supportive and offer tips and tricks.
But, you know what else? I am going to be 48. I have carried two pregnancies to term. I have hypothyroidism. I have depression for which I now take anti-depressants. These things alone make it harder for me to lose weight. Add to it that I am responsible for feeding 1 man and 2 boys (which is not to say that they should eat poorly but is to say that their metabolisms allow them to eat things that I can/should/not) and it is harder still.
It is going to take however long it is going to take. I am mindful every time I eat something. I work-out as hard as I can when I can. Perfection in any thing is no longer my goal. I am living my life, trying to figure out what is next for me, and as I’ve gotten older, hating my body or how I look is an exercise in futility. It does nothing to motivate me. What does motivate me is seeing consistent losses on the scale, seeing inches gone from my body, fitting comfortably into smaller clothes, and having enough energy for myself, my marriage, and my sons. I’m closer now than when I started last July and will be closer still come this July. In the meantime, my life is unfolding every hour of every day. I’m making a choice to just be the me that I am in THIS body right now. I am doing my best and I will no longer beat myself up for that.
“Free your mind and the rest will follow.” ~En Vogue
My husband and I have been together for 14 years. We met at work when I was a VP in California and he worked in IT at our HQ in New Jersey. Our early relationship was long distance with him coming out to visit and staying with me for long 3, 4 and 5 day weekends. Four months in, he quit his job, packed up and moved west.
I worked a lot in those days, typically 60 hour or more weeks. One of the ways we bonded was over our shared interest in some TV shows. We marked our early relationship watching the Sopranos, Survivor, the Amazing Race, and Six Feet Under together. It was what we did. I’d either make dinner of we’d order in and we’d snuggle up and watch things together. We were unencumbered by children and there wasn’t DVR or binge watching back then, so many of our “dates” revolved around when one of our shows was on.
We continued this throughout our relationship and our marriage. We watched all of the Sopranos. We watched every season of Survivor through season 24, and still watch every season of the Amazing Race. However, when the Sopranos and Six Feet Under ended, our tastes began to diverge, with me watching more reality TV and my husband watching more suspense/horror shows (Dexter (although we did watch the first two seasons together), Deadwood, Walking Dead, Game of Thrones). Other than the Amazing Race, we watched almost no TV together.
I like being with my husband and especially watching TV together. It has always felt nice, warm, loving, us. So, when I wrote this post, it occurred to me that one of the ways we used to connect (that often led to intimate moments) was by enjoying each others company over our shared interest in a TV show and that that, too, had been missing for some time.
It probably dates back to after our older son was born. My tolerance for violence and suspense plummeted. The love I had for my son and for being a mother broke me wide open and my emotions, from then on, ran just below the surface. I could no longer stomach to watch what once didn’t bother me. And, after becoming a mother, my sleeping habits changed significantly and I was hard-pressed to still be awake at 9 (when most of our shows came on), much less 10 PM. Add to that the dearth of series to fill the void left by exiting shows like the Sopranos and Six Feet Under and it was a recipe for little joint TV watching in our house.
I’d been wondering how to bridge the gap, to begin to repair the lack of intimacy in our relationship and I knew we had to start watching TV together again if only to put us both in our bed at the same time, awake. Enter True Detective and House of Cards. We started seeing trailers for True Detective independent of each other, both thinking it was something we might enjoy watching together. Easily, Sunday nights once again became a date night at home.
But, what really cemented things was subscribing to Netflix again so that we could jump on the critically and socially acclaimed House of Cards wagon to see what all the hub-bub was all about. And, we were NOT disappointed. We LOVE HoC. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. So much so, that we binge watched both seasons, back-to-back, all 26 episodes, in six days. We watched well into the wee hours of the morning (1-2 AM), and during Baby G’s naps when our older son was otherwise occupied.
I credit House of Cards with reestablishing our romantic relationship. Not only were we spending a LOT of time together (more uninterrupted time than since before we had kids), but we were cuddling and talking and dissecting the plot and sub-plots and character development and playing scenarios out in the ‘no way it would have gone down like that’ kind of way. Being together and engaged, well, riveted really, so much has brought us full circle, back to who we are as a couple andthat we enjoy each others company.
We are eagerly anticipating season 3 of HoC as well as the wrap-up, this Sunday, of True Detective. A new season of Amazing Race is underway and we’re talking about whether to watch Breaking Bad, Orange is the New Black, or Scandal on Netflix.
It makes me so happy to spend time together, without the stresses and responsibilities of parenting and bill paying and making family plans and scheduling activities for our kids and shuttling them here and there or running myriad errands. Without the benefit of family nearby to watch the kids, we rarely get out together alone. This really is the next best thing (notice I said next).
House of Cards almost single-handedly, revitalized our relationship.
I planned to return to work by now, in some capacity, outside of the home. Between our older son’s private school tuition (and for those who wonder what that is, it is $1,300/mo and that does not include fundraisers or annual fund or uniforms), our mortgage, and the 1.25% we pay in property taxes on two properties, we can’t afford our monthly expenses on my husband’s salary alone.
In my former career, I was a high income earner. I could command the same if I returned to my former profession/industry. However, unless my former boss goes back to work in the industry (he has set up his own shop, working from home), I don’t see that happening. After the successful and rewarding career I had (that was also challenging, frustrating, and taxing), I cannot see doing it in any capacity for another staffing firm.
The truth? Because my long undiagnosed post partum depression robbed me of the joy of early motherhood, I have no desire to return to work out of the house just yet. Read: I cannot imagine not being home with G, not being able to pick my older son up from school every day. It has created a sort of paralysis, this inability to conceive of working outside of the home. As in, under no circumstance have I even looked at or for gainful employment.
What is clear to me now that wasn’t clear to me at the end of last year is that I need to seek, in earnest, a way to generate income from home. I know what my strengths are but I in no way know how to parlay them into a work from home venture. If we continue our austerity measures (eating in almost all the time, only buying things on sale, at a discount, or with a coupon and only when necessary, not traveling, etc), and all things being equal, I need to clear an additional $2,000/mo in order to afford to stay home the rest of this year (and that would allow us not to continue to dip into our dwindling savings to meet our monthly expenses but would not allow us to save).
Here’s the other thing, we never ever knew we would spend so much of our savings on creating our family. The financial line continued to move with each failure. We never set a budget or a max amount and we spent more than either one of us thought we would. We managed to buy our home with the help of my parents and for me to be out of work for coming up on four years. I GET that this is a high class problem. My career was lucrative and I saved which allowed us to continue family building beyond where we probably should have and to be home with Baby G as long as I have. But, it can’t continue ad infinitum and we’re already past the point where I committed (if only in my mind) to returning to work.
My ability to work from home, no matter how organized I am, is greatly impacted by how G naps on a given day. On average, he naps for an hour in the morning and two hours in the afternoon. As he is 14 mos, I expect this two naps/day schedule to continue until he’s between 18 mos and two years old. Once my older son gets home from school by 3:30, there would be no way for me to accomplish anything as attending to both boys, takes all my attention. My husband gets home by 6, so, by 7 we’ve eaten and he’s able to tend to both boys until he puts them to bed at 7 and 8 respectively. So, I have G’s nap times, evening hours, and weekend time when my husband is home to work.
As resourceful as I am I can’t seem to see the forest for the trees. I’m not even sure where to look for work from home opportunities. I am not crafty, in the least, so I can’t make/sell anything. Many people have encouraged me to become an infertility concierge either at my clinic or on my own, as a resource to infertile women and couples navigating their family creating/building options (something I have done for free for at least 3 dozen people) but I cannot image charging couples who are already most likely paying out of pocket for ART and certainly for adoption, a fee. I just can’t. As good a resource and support as I know I am and as valuable as I know that has been to others, I just can’t imagine charging for it.
I would also consider part-time mornings, work outside of the home and having a sitter come. Of course, that would eat into my earnings, but it is a possibility.
As I have done with so many things since starting the blog over 4 years ago (yes, I didn’t even post on my 4 year blogoversary but it was on 1/17/14), I have come here to try to sort things out and ask the universe for help. I’m not sure where to start but I have to start somewhere. And this space is a good place.
PS For those wondering how my weight-loss efforts are coming along, I am down 22#. The last six weeks have been a lose 2, gain 2 pattern but I decided to quite WW in favor of tracking using myfitnesspal and holding myself to under 1,500 calories/day which has been far more successful for me than returning to WW ever was. My membership officially expires at the end of March so I will continue to weigh-in weekly.
PPS For those wondering about sex and my marriage, look for another post on that subject soon.
It is natural to have preconceived notions of what parenting will be like prior to having children. The reality of actually parenting little beings with their own desires/talents/wills/limitations is another story altogether. Add to that the conflicting information posted on the web, in parenting books, and on social media and it can be downright confusing.
What adds to the complexity of parenting are the ‘shoulds’ that inevitably permeate the landscape of parenting whether from some ingrained ideas from ones own childhood, from the news or other research, or from what other parents are doing.
I feel no compulsion to keep up with the Joneses and I do not see parenting as a competition. I have a live and let live mentality which extends to parenting decisions as well. I suspect I want what a lot of parents want for their children which is for them to be healthy, happy, well rounded, well-adjusted, decent contributors to society.
I’ve been witnessing some friends’ frazzled lives where between both parents working full-time and their kids being enrolled in myriad extra-curricular activities (tae kwon do, karate, hapkido, gymastics, Chinese, swim, ballet, piano, drums, guitar, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Brownies, Girl Scouts, chess, tennis, golf, soccer, football, basketball, baseball, chorale, pottery, etc) there is no time to just ‘be’. There is the never ending shuttling of kids from activity to activity and the complaint from their parents that they are stressed and exhausted.
My older son takes one after school, once/week Lego building class and is involved in Adventure Guides (which has a very laissez faire schedule). While at school he takes French, music, science, PE, computers, and art. As a family, we spend a lot of time together. He has play dates, goes to birthday parties, attends summer and winter camp and that’s about it.
I don’t feel like he is missing out on anything. We expose him to a lot and encourage him to try new things but unless and until he shows an interest in something (as he has with Lego and he has taken classes for 3 yrs now), I just don’t feel the need to push him into anything or make sure all his after school time is scheduled.
Yet, and even without intention or malice, I feel a degree of ‘don’t you think you should’ from other moms. It isn’t done directly but is usually a reaction to learning how little we schedule him in. Don’t get me wrong, we do push him, to read, to explore, to play, to challenge himself but we just don’t accomplish that by scheduling him in a variety of activities. Just today, in trying to arrange a play date with one of his friends from school, the mom responded that between soccer, basketball and baseball there was no time this weekend. No time for kids to play with each other just seems odd to me.
I feel like I am supposed to (or should) be more driven to get him involved in all sorts of things, but for who? For his sake? Maybe to make others feel better about their own decisions? That is part of it, isn’t it? Showing others the great things we are doing for our kids? Only, I just do not see it that way. My kids are going to have their whole adult lives to be stressed out, why would I want to start that now? And, it IS stressful for kids to not have enough down time. Sure, my older son sometimes complains that he is bored, but that is part of being a kid. Not knowing how to be bored (or, better, not knowing how NOT to be bored) is a life skill.
I am not frazzled or stressed or overwhelmed by his (and, soon to be, their) activities. Our life together feels very manageable and I both cherish and relish this time. I know it won’t always be this way. They already grow up too fast, and I don’t want to speed that up by having him (and soon to be, them) spend more time away from me, away from home than with me at home or out and about. I’m not sure that that is how to raise well-adjusted, independent beings.
As a child, my parents didn’t enroll us in anything. I didn’t participate in sports, I didn’t take dance, I wasn’t a Girl Scout. I did take piano lessons. I did learn how to ride a horse and spent many summers doing so. I did go to cotillion. I was a debutante. But almost all of my after school time was either spent at home or at one of the neighbors or with my grandparents, aunts/uncles, cousins.
I think about how I want my sons to remember their childhood because I know that how they perceive it will, in part, shape who they become. Yes, I want them exposed to a variety of activities, which I think happens as they go to birthday parties and school events and as we schedule outings with friends. He’s expressed an interest in golf, so his dad will take him golfing and we’ll enroll him in a golf camp or arrange lessons to see what he thinks. But, he doesn’t have the temperament for team sports, something we’ve discussed with him a number of times, and while I know I could sign him up for soccer or basketball or baseball, my gut tells me that it would be a struggle and another cause for battling with him (to go to practice, to go to games, to not be frustrated with himself). I have friends who say their kids hate this or that activity but they seem to continue on regardless.
I have no judgement on those who believe in enrolling their kids in many activities, I really don’t. I do wonder, sometimes, why they do and what we’re missing, but their life is not my life so I don’t care what they do. Maybe I should
I have been thinking about writing this post for some time, however, given that some IRL friends (who know both my husband and I) read this, I’ve struggled with what and how much to share. I am who I am, which means I am direct and honest. This isn’t only about me, so I’ll try to be sensitive and share my experience. I believe this is an important topic, one that doesn’t get discussed nearly often enough among infertile, perimenopausal mothers of young children.
For me, intimacy with my husband takes many forms, ranging from affectionate kisses, hand holding, hugging, cuddling, and talking about our relationship/parenting/personal/family goals to sex. Being mired in infertility treatment for the better part of a decade, plus two precarious pregnancies with a shortened cervix (one with bed rest, both with pelvic rest), plus two c-sections, plus three additional surgeries, plus too-numerous-to-count out-patient procedures, plus breast feeding two babies, plus post partum depression, plus anti-depressants, plus perimenopause, plus multiple 40# weight swings have wreaked havoc not only on our sex life but on my libido in particular.
However long you might think an otherwise happily married couple can go without actual sex while still loving and being in love with each other add a year to that to get a better picture of what kind of sexual drought I mean. And, I’m not only talking about with my husband, I’m talking about with myself, too.
Someone I once knew had a license plate frame that said, “If you don’t use it, you’re going to lose it” and boy was that spot on. And, it has been so long now and something that has gone without discussion (which in itself is odd for us), that I wonder how we’ll get back on the horse, so to speak.
I don’t intend and didn’t set out to have a sexless marriage. And, I think about having sex every day, multiple times a day. Push just never seems to come to shove. Sleep, glorious sleep, is my drug of choice. I am go-go-go all day, a whirling dervish of sorts, that when I finally stop moving, I almost immediately fall asleep. And, that is not an overstatement. It is not uncommon for me to fall asleep before our older son goes to bed (his bedtime is 8:00) or to be asleep by 9. I get my best, most uninterrupted, restorative sleep from 9-1 AM. From then on it’s a myriad of getting up to pee, having to let the dog out to pee, hearing the baby cry and waking long enough to see whether he’ll soothe himself back to sleep, etc. Last night, I was awake from 2 – 4 AM and up before 6 for the day.
It’s no excuse but it does explain a lot. I feel so maxed out (in fact we are increasing the Prozac again) caring for our family, taking care of our finances and household, and making all the plans for my sons and our family, that what little time/energy I have left over, I put into writing, or reading, or maybe decompressing by watching something on DVR.
I wonder what this sexual doldrum means long term. It is so hard to ferret out what is at the crux. Given my prior sexual appetite, I think that the PPD, anti-depressants, and perimenopause combined are having the biggest negative net effect of my libido. And, since this is something that none of my friends talk about openly, I’m actually not sure what women in my position do. Do I need to be on some sort of female viagra? Do we need a sex therapist? Or marriage therapy? Will things improve when I wean off the Prozac? Should I start watching porn? Get a vibrator?
Add to this that we have no help with our sons, so it is impossible to even have an in-town romantic interlude to jump start things or even one at home with the boys away.
I don’t really want any kind of 3rd party intervention but neither do I want things to continue as they have. I clearly don’t have an answer other than DO IT ALREADY. So, here I am writing about it. And, I wonder if writing about it will make the resolution closer at hand, a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts.
My husband and older son are out seeing the Lego Movie and the baby is resisting his afternoon nap. During this alone time, other than write this post, my own thoughts are on a nap. See?
I can’t not act. For reasons well documented (and commented on) by both Stirrup Queen’s post and Lavender Luz’s post, it hurts and infuriates me to see adoption portrayed so cavalierly by Kay Jewelers.
As consumers, one of the ways we can make our displeasure known is to write to the company. Kay Jewelers is owned by Sterling Jewelers which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Signet Jewelers. The president & CEO of Sterling is Mark Light. In chatting with a very friendly Kay Jewelers rep, correspondence can be directed to:
Mr. Mark Light
President & CEO
PO Box 3680
Akron, Ohio 44309
I also found this email address for him: mlight[at]jewels[dot]com.
And, frankly, Jane Seymour should know how her branded piece is being marketed and those can be directed to her publicist:
118 S Beverly Drive #201
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
310.246.4601 – fax
Oh.my.word! This has been THE worst season of sick in all my time as a mother. It started with the stomach flu (possibly norovirus) that hit the baby, my older son, and my husband. We’d barely recovered from that when my older son got the actual flu, spiked a 104 degree fever (the highest in his young life) necessitating a trip to the ER. Even with alternating Motrin and Tylenol consistently, his temperature hovered around 102 for four days. I have never seen him that sick, that listless, that unlike himself. It didn’t help that California has had 95 confirmed flu related deaths this season, three of which were children under age 10 and all of which were people under 65 and that there are 60 deaths under investigation. While I haven’t historically believed in the flu vaccine, my older son was the only one of us that didn’t get vaccinated this year and I can’t bear to ever see him that sick again if the vaccine might lessen the symptoms or duration.
He hadn’t even been recovered from the flu for a week when he was hit with another stomach bug. He threw up 4 times between 2-3 AM Sunday. That was followed by diarrhea, another first for him. He had a number of accidents yesterday, not knowing how quickly he needed to get to the bathroom, something that has never happened since he was potty trained at age 3. Then, overnight, he had an ‘episode’ in his sleep, slept in it for several hours, woke up horrified at 2 this morning and it took my husband and I an hour to clean him up, his clothes, his bed, the bathroom. I kept him home from school today so that he wouldn’t suffer the embarrassment of having an accident at school even though he otherwise seems fine.
The weather here has been beautiful, in the high 70s with sunny, clear blue skies. This is NOT what we need, not by a long shot, we need sustained rain, but since that is not within my control, I will gladly take the sunshine as it helps my mood in measurable ways.
My weight loss has plateaued. Given the many weeks of sick, I haven’t had the time to track what I’m eating much less plan and prepare meals. Meals have mostly been catch as catch can. I think I’ve gained one pound and it makes me miserable, but I can only do what I can do. I’m not binge eating or eating poorly, just eating too much when I do eat or not enough of the right things. I am very mindful though which I think has gone a long way toward me not packing the weight back on. And, I am working out which is my salvation.
I am still trying to make headway on finding my birth father. A friend (whose mother placed her sister for adoption) hooked me up with someone who suggested posting my information to a site that then broadcasts it to Search Angels (volunteers in states across the country who help reunite folks for free). It seems daunting to me and I feel very vulnerable and exposed. As Sarah commented on my prior post, I do need someone to act as an intermediary and titrate the information and act as a buffer so I can feel protected as I process it. I’m leery of the whole ‘search angel’ concept but think it might be a good first step.
I’m trying to do some consulting work for my former employer. I finished one project and am on to the next but the second is the recruitment of a manager for one of their branches and I only get paid if I surface the candidate. It has been very hard to find time to work in between all the sick and even though I’ve reached out to about 50 prospective candidates, I haven’t had one bite.
I want to write an entire post dedicated to the subtle shift I see happening in life, the shift from weddings and baby showers to funerals. I want to write a post on ‘should’ parenting. I want to write a post on the metallic taste I started having in my mouth a week ago and how its morphed into this sweetish-medicinal taste that is driving me nuts and I am sure is indicative of some dreaded disease. I want to write on having no libido, none, and the lack of sex in my marriage and what to do about it. I want to and hopefully I will. I would like to return to my regularly scheduled programming.