Monday, July 27, 2015

Turning Things Around

A good friend recently told me that sometimes my blog posts make her sad.  The thought that I had become a sad person really bothered me and it has really stuck with me over the last week or so.

I have never been one to be down all the time.  I usually have my moments and then I generally bounce back quickly.  Honest to god, the most depressed I ever was was the 2 months when I couldn't run and was stuck in a boot.  Wearing men's sweatpants for two months would depress anyone, right?

That said, I took her words to heart and I really started to evaluate everything.  It is really important to be happy every day.  Life is hard enough on its own and you need those good vibes to pull you through the rough patches.

So I am making changes.....

I started a new diet because I am really bothered by those extra 15 lbs I gained TRYING to get pregnant with Max.  Don't get me started on the pregnancy weight too.  Shamu called and he wants his tank back!  I am on day 4 and I already feel better.  Don't get things twisted, I am freaking hungry and I want a donut.  But my pants aren't tight so its a good fucking day!

I also attempted a technology free day yesterday with Max.  When I am glued to my phone, he doesn't get attention.  So then he acts get attention.  I recently read a New York Times article about adult screen time and how it effects children and it kind of opened my eyes.  I am in no way judging peeps who hand their kid an iPad so you can get a moment of peace.  I live by that some days!  But it is a little hard to tell him no when I can barely detach from my phone.

So I tried really hard yesterday to put the phones, ipads, kindles, computers, etc away and just spend the day with him.  And we had a REALLY good day.  (Side note- I spent an hour in bed last night "catching up" on everything I missed yesterday)  It can't be an every day thing.  I work a lot at night and I need to answer calls and emails.  But it clearly doesn't have to be a 24/7 committed relationship either.

Every day can't be amazing, that isn't reality.  But you can't allow everything bad thing that happens to derail your life.  You have to take joy in the little things, laugh at the meltdowns and take every day with a grain of salt!

That's my story and I am sticking to it!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Holding Ourselves Back

I have never been a fearful person.  I have a tendency to run full force into everything and then suffer the consequences after the fact.  I think cutting bangs sounds like a great idea, especially after a couple of glasses of wine.  Maybe I should start striping wallpaper, at 10pm.  Go on an all vegan diet, without doing any research about what I can eat.

Which is why I was so shocked this year to realize that I am holding Max back.  And the cause is fear.....

He acted up a couple of times when we were out with friends.  My immediate solution was to stop doing things with other kids.  If it is just the two of us, no one can see him be bad or judge me as a bad parent.

When we go to stores, I am so fearful of being unable to control him, that I force him to sit in a shopping cart.  Then he yells the entire shopping trip because he wants to be a big boy and walk beside me.  At the end of each shopping trip, I am exhausted and usually pretty angry.

When we left the first daycare, I refused to contact any of his friend's parents.  Because I didn't want to explain what had happened.  I didn't want people to think he was a bad kid.  I didn't want anyone to judge us.

First truth- Max is not a bad kid.
Second truth- He will never remember this shit.
Third truth- I am not a bad parent
Fourth truth- I have to let shit go

I have to stop being such a control freak.  You heard it hear folks, I am a raging control freak.  My child doesn't have to do everything in the order than makes me happy.  Some days we can brush our teeth first.  Some days we get dressed first.  Letting these little battles go make my day better.

I can't always control his actions.  He is going to have good days and bad days.  I have to keep putting us out there and see what happens.  Maybe one day he will shock me with his stellar behavior.  I won't hold my breath, but what the hell, it could happen.

I have to let him grow up.  He isn't my little baby anymore.  He needs to spread his wings and do things on his own.  It means there will be spills and there will be accidents but that is part of the growing process.  And if I have to buy a lot more paper towels, then that is just too bad.

I really felt like I was protecting him by doing these things.  But in the end, I was just protecting myself from more heartache and sadness.  I used to be a really social person.  Max may be really social too.  But I have to give him the opportunity to find out.

We have to stop holding ourselves back.  You have to believe that every time you put yourself out there and try something new, that something great will happen.  You will meet a new friend.  Find a new food you love.  Find out your kid is pretty stellar (even though you really knew that all along!)

Monday, July 13, 2015

Finding a Balance

Finding balance in my life is incredibly hard.  I don't care what all those feel good websites tell you.  There is only so much time in each day.  And there is a constant to-do list that never goes away.  You do the math.

If I don't wash the dishes tonight, so I can sit down and watch TV (me time), those dishes are still waiting for me the next morning.  If I spend my whole Sunday playing with Max, then we have no clean clothes, no lunches and a dirty house.

So how do you find balance that is right for YOU.....

For me it has been really hard to find and I am still working on it everyday.  But I feel like I am too frustrated and too angry lately, so I know I have to make some changes.  I need a couple of minutes each day where no one is hanging on my leg, screaming mommy!  A couple of moments of peace and happiness.

So what did I do?

I pushed my work hours back.  This actually happened because of Max's new school but it has been an amazing change for me too.

I used to be at work at 7am.  If I wanted to workout in the morning, I had to get up at 5am.  I am constantly exhausted so that rarely happened.  That meant I had to come home and fit in the workout before dinner.  But Max would want my attention so it would be a complete shit show.  Then because I woke up so early, I was asleep by 9-9:30 most nights.

Now I get to work between 8:30-9 each day.  What did this do for me?  So much!  I am able to work out each morning before Max gets up.  I can stay up later because I am not waking with the birds, so I have time at night to relax, watch tv or read a book.  Plus Max is great in the am, so our time together is really nice.  A lot less screaming and crying which is always a bonus.

This morning, the school bus was early, so I rode my bike to work.  I was a sweaty mess when I got there but it was so nice.  Another little moment of me time.

I know this afternoon when it is 90 degrees I will regret the bike ride home but it doesn't matter.  I will have the wind in my sweaty bangs, the sun on my arms and my head will be free of all the garbage.

No day is ever perfect.  There is always going to be some meltdown, some yelling or some crying.  Max is an active toddler and that just goes with the territory.  But if you balance the rough patches, with a lot of good, you can make it all work!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

When Life Derails

I didn't really plan on ever sharing this story but I feel like my life derailed this past winter and I can't seem to get us back on track.  This is really Max's story and I didn't feel it was right to share it.  But I never had any idea how much this would effect me.  So here it is...

This past winter, the shit hit the fan.

In December, Max's two daycare teacher abruptly left the school.  He doesn't always accept change well so I was worried but I thought we would muscle through.  In January, I could tell things weren't exactly kosher all the time but no major drama, so I left well enough alone.  Then at the end of January, things got bad.

The last week of January, I received calls from Max's daycare every day.  Max was rough, Max was aggressive.  I needed to pick Max up right away.  Finally, the last Friday in January, the daycare director called and told me that Max had hurt a teacher and they were done.  Max had been kicked out of daycare.

My son is big for his age and he can be aggressive.  But he is a lover and I really find it hard to believe that he that bad.  Trust me, I am well aware of my sons faults.  There are no blinders here.  But I strongly believe things at this school were exaggerated.

I was so in shock when I drove to the school.  I honestly didn't know this situation was possible.  But weirdly the night before, I didn't sleep all night, like I knew something bad was going to happen.  I got to the school and his belongings were sitting by the front door in trash bags.  I begged the director to give me a couple of weeks to find another solution but she was adamant.  It was over.

I remember sobbing the whole way home that day.  I literally didn't know what to do.  Around lunch time, I came out of the fog and got down to action.  I called my ex and first the first time in a long time, he stepped up to the plate and agreed to take Max for the next week.  Then I started hammering the phones.  I called every daycare in Fairfield and the neighboring towns.

By the end of the day, I had six appointments for the next week.  I dropped Max off that Sunday, determined to find a solution.  After a long and exhausting week, I thought I had found a solution.  A local daycare, that was less expensive, on my way to work and provided diapers..... cue the hallelujah chorus.

That daycare couldn't take him for two weeks so I managed to find a temporary nanny and then took some days off from work to supplement.  Add in snowstorms every Monday and this was a really depressing time period and I know Max could feel the strain.

Daycare number two was bad from the beginning.  I wanted to throw up every morning when I dropped him off and every day my stomach would start to hurt right before I picked him up.  He sobbed when I left him every day.  It was so awful that I would cry on my way to work.  The teachers were emotionless.  Every day when I picked him up they never had anything good to say about him.  It was so frustrating but I was determined to make it work.

That first Friday the director called me and said she thought Max might not be a good fit for the school but we would give it a couple of more weeks.  I was so discouraged.  How can you make that decision in just three days?  Why doesn't my son deserve a valid chance?

By the end of March, it was official.  School number two was a bust.

The last week of that daycare I posted ads on, interviewed nannies, called references, etc.  It was exhausting.  Every lunch hour and every night was poured into this.  I couldn't go to a third daycare and fail again.  Finally, I found A.  She seemed really great.  Early to work every day, house was spotless, etc.  She wasn't warm and fuzzy but neither am I.

Mid May, Max was offered a spot at the ECC.  It is a special preschool run by our town.  The best way to describe it, is a program for kids who need a little extra help.  Max needs that and I was ecstatic to get a spot... until they told me it was only three hours a day.  Who does that work for??

I kept A on to supplement his time at the ECC but she was starting to become problematic.  He was always in diapers (even though we are up to our eyeballs in potty training) and then he told me that she spanked him.  Before I had the chance to talk to her about it, she quit.  No need to rehash that story, but as you can see, I was once again in a bind.

I pieced together the past couple of weeks by using family members, other babysitters and vacation time.  Tomorrow the new nanny starts.  Then in the fall I hope to place him in his third daycare.  He will go there after his mornings at the ECC each day.

Where am I going with all this drama?

Basically, when this stuff happened with Max, my life derailed too.  The stress of managing his care eats away at me.  I don't sleep well any longer because my mind is constantly spinning.  I had to quit my gym because I didn't have time to go.  I haven't been on a date since December.  I haven't been out with friends since February.  The cost of the nanny hindered any extra money to be spent on fun things like weekend babysitters or new clothes.  In addition, the ex stopped paying child support.

Side note- this is not a bitch fest.  I will admit that my plate is very full.  I own an older house, I have a wild Indian for a child and I also own my own business.  But my life is not horrible.  There are people out there who have much greater challenges than I have.  But some days all of these moving parts do feel like they are about to bury me.  Those are the days, like today, when I am so sad about all of this.

What I am trying to say, is that when I got divorced, all I wanted to do was rebuild me.  Lose the baby weight that won't go away.  Make new friends.  Buy a house.  Finally meet someone I can share my life with.  But the basis of all of those things is that I want to be happy.  And that is not too much to ask for.

But then this stuff with Max happened and I had to scrap all of that.  The bottom line is that your child comes first.  No matter what.  He has to come first.  I am his care giver, his provider, his advocate, his protector.  I am everything.  There isn't a B team to pick up the slack.

Everyone likes to talk about Me time.  But what do you do when there physically isn't any more time left in the day.  When there is no money to spend, no more energy to give.  What do you do then?  How do I put our lives back on track?