Monday, June 20, 2016

The Bitch Slap I Needed

My mom delivered the ultimate bitch slap this week and it was much deserved and really needed.

Tuesday morning exploded all over me when the nanny quit.  I can't even say unexpectedly because I should have seen this coming.  I took Max to her house, she took Max to school and then called me and quit.  We had some issues last week, she said some not nice things, then she apologized and I tried to work thru it with her.  Lesson learned on that one.  You really can't come back from some things.

In her defense, I don't believe we were a good fit for her.  She was trying to fit in watching Max with taking care of her three kids and caring for her sick mother.  Max is a handful and whenever she wasn't paying attention to him, he got into trouble.  Her house was smaller and a little chaotic and it wasn't a great scene for him.  On the flip side, the way she quit was entirely unprofessional.  Either way, we are done.

So I am having dinner with my parents on Tuesday night and I am talking about what happened with her.  I am basically whining about how "Unfair it is" "My life sucks" wah wah wah.  You know the routine.  

My mother calmly turns to me and says, "You have become a victim.  And that is not you."  She then went on to say that everything bad happens "Because I got divorced."  "Because my job sucks."  "Because Max is a lot of work."  And I had no recourse but to agree with her.  I have become a professional whiner this year and I am even annoyed with myself.

Basically I am not taking ownership of the bad shit in my life and taking actions to make it better.  I am living in a constant cycle of suffering and the madness must stop!

I knew the Nanny wasn't a good for us this winter.  She would text me all day long telling me what he was doing and a couple of times she even made me pick him up early.  She also canceled a lot and I really don't have the patience for that.  I should have cut it off then but finding a nanny is really hard and I honestly just didn't want to go thru it again.  Max doesn't deal with change well and I thought it was better for him to push thru this.  So I did what I had to do to make it work.  Long story short, I really shouldn't be surprised when this blew up in my face.

The same is true with my personal life.  I am dissatisfied with the way I look, yet I stuff my face all weekend and expect to look like Gisele Bundchen.  I say that I don't have a lot of friends but I never make plans.  You get where this is going.

So like a recovered addict, "My name is Alex and I haven't whined in one day."  Let's see how this recovery goes!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Are You Even Paying Attention?

On Friday I drove to Philly for some meetings.  While I was in the car, I decided to listen to a podcast instead of music.  I know I am super behind on these technological advances but this is the first time I have ever listed to a podcast.

I decided to check out Running on Om's podcast, especially the episodes where she interviews Lauren Fleshman who is a professional runner.  I really like Lauren Fleshman's vibe.  She is a runner, a writer and basically takes no bullshit.  During one of the podcasts, she was talking about her son and how she really tries to be present in the moment.

If she is playing with her son, then that is what she focuses on.  If she is having coffee with a friend, then that is what she focuses on.  You get the idea, right?

I have been chewing on this idea for months now.  I know I mentioned it this winter but I have really noticed how Max acts out when I am playing with him, but also on my cell phone.  Or if he is eating dinner and I am washing dishes.  Basically when I am doing anything but hanging out with him.  It used to drive me insane but when I realized he just wanted my attention, I felt really guilty.

As a single mom (not an excuse, but a fact) there is a lot of multi tasking.  There is no one else to walk the dog, do the laundry, cut up 4,987 hot dogs, put snacks in labeled bags and clean all of the fucking glitter (THANK YOU PRESCHOOL) out of his back pack.  I also want some time to myself each night, so I try to get all of this done before he goes to bed.

But when I only see him for 4ish hours a day, that time together is really special and it is important that I am focusing on him during most of that time.  The last thing in the world I will ever do is shell out parental guilt.  We get enough of that from Facebook, school, the world, etc.  But they are only little for such a short period of time and very soon he won't want to be with me.  So I should really treasure this time now.

Given all of that, I am trying to focus on being present.  If we are in the car, I don't turn on the music, I just talk to him or sing to him.  I can't spend all night playing legos or matchbox cars, but I try really hard to sit down for a solid 30 minutes.  Even if I am not playing too, I sit next to him and talk to him.  

This is just one example of being present but it expands over my entire life.  As the queen of multitasking, I started to think that if I am doing three things at once, am I really doing any of them well?  So now I try to do just one thing at a time and finish the task before I move onto something else.  I make endless to do lists so I don't forget but so far no one has died, so I guess I am doing ok.

Do you have the same problem?

Monday, June 13, 2016

Where Did She Go?

Did you miss me?  I took the blog offline this weekend.  You may have noticed or maybe you didn't.
Last week my ex-husband started following me, under a new account, on Instagram.  When I first separated from him, I deleted my old personal blog about my super cool running journey (insert sarcasm here), deleted my twitter (no more snark?) and blocked him and his family on Facebook and Instagram.  At the time, I didn't want him to know anything about me.

So when he told me he did it, to see pictures of our son, my first reaction was "Fuck No!"  This blog is clearly linked in my Instagram profile so I immediately took this offline too.

Then I mulled over it during the weekend and decided I really don't care.  I don't care what he reads or what he sees because all of that drama is in the past.  I truly wish him well and I hope he feels the same for me. 

My life is different now and if he wants to see endless pictures of yoga mats, coffee cups and a crazy 4 year old, more power to him.  It was weirdly freeing to come to that decision.  Maybe that is the benefit of being older (cough) and wiser (cough cough) but I really don't care what people think of me any longer.

I know I am doing my best and that is all that matters!

Monday, June 6, 2016

It Takes a Village

I know you have heard this phrase before but I never really gave it much thought until a couple of years ago.  When Max left his first daycare and I had to switch to babysitters and nannies, this thought basically slapped me in the face.  Now that I have seen both sides of the situation, I can tell you that Daycares are amazing.  They cost a fortune but you can drop your child off each morning and never think about them again until you pick them up.  You know they are happy, busy and well cared for.  Nannies are the complete opposite of that.

As a single mother, but really for any mother out there, you know that it takes a village or a team to raise a child.  There are family members like grandparents and aunts & uncles.  There are teachers.  There are babysitters, nannies, coaches, etc.  All of these people are part of your team or your village. 

If there is a weak link on your team, it makes it impossible for you to get things done.  That is where I have been for the last couple of years.  I have a couple of weak links and I can't seem to make them stronger.

I in no way mean to generalize but I have found that most nannies/babysitters are highly unreliable.  I know there are some really amazing nannies out there but I have yet to find one for myself.  They cancel when they feel like it.  They quit without notice.  They go on vacation and never tell you.  It boggles the mind how they can be so unreliable.  

My parents are retired now and spend most of the winter in Florida.  So unfortunately I can't beg/force/make them watch Max.  Because of that I have to rely very heavily on babysitters.  I would give any amount of money to have my parents live nearby.  I have actually even considered moving to Florida to be near them!

The first nanny seemed ok.  She had almost no spark but she showed up every day and my house was clean when I got home.  Then one day she never came back.  No email, text or phone call explaining.  So I hired another babysitter for the summer.  She was great.  Showed up every day and was lots of fun.  Max absolutely loved her.  Then August came and she needed two weeks to get ready for school....with one day's notice.  Now I have our third nanny.  As I write this, she has canceled for today, tomorrow, Friday and next Thursday.  She has a lot of really good qualities but I can never count on her.  I don't know of any job where you can cancel at the last minute like that but here I am.

With this weak link in my "team" it is almost impossible for me to work every day.  I have to constantly go to work late or leave early.  I work from home when I can but it is really hard to swing that more than once a week.  I hate being that person, constantly using my child as an excuse but I have no other choice most days.

I have spent a lot of time looking for new nannies but they all seem to be like this.  So how do you continue to get your job done, when you can't count on someone to watch your child?  I have seriously considered requesting to work at home again.  But I know there will still be days when I need someone to care for Max.

I have years of babysitters ahead of me, so what is the solution?

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Time to Recharge

I took off last Friday making my Memorial Day weekend a nice four day break from work.  The little dude and I headed down to the Jersey Shore with endless amounts of toys, books and gym shorts.  I don't believe in wearing real clothes when on vacation and my love affair with gym shorts is deep and true.  Add in some old t-shirts and flip flops and you have a true beach wardrobe.

We were blessed by some gorgeous weather for three of the four days.  I ate, drank and read trashy books.  I went for walks, did some yoga and finally washed my disgusting car.  And it was all so relaxing because I made the choice to disconnect.  

Let me paint you a picture of how it all started.  It is Friday afternoon, the first day of my mini vacation.  It is that glorious time of day known as nap time.  The dude is resting and I decided to do a little yoga to relax.  I boot up the old laptop and start to get my downward dog on.  

BING BING BING.  I can hear the emails blowing up in my inbox.

BEEP BEEP BEEP.  The text messages on my phone.

On top of that the fucking landscapers next door started mowing the lawn!

All of the sudden I found myself in warrior two, typing an email.  And that is when I realized that I had finally reached my breaking point.  Enough is enough.  What is the point of doing yoga if you aren't going to relax and enjoy it.  

I finished up my yoga and turned off my laptop.  I put my iPad into night mode so I couldn't hear the alerts from my emails.  And I turned off my phone.  I decided that I am reclaiming my vacation days.  And that is impossible to do when everyone and their mother wants to talk to you about something that can clearly wait till Tuesday when I am back at work.

Part of this is my own fault.  For years, I have worked thru every vacation I take.  I answered emails and phone calls.  I put together proposals and sign off on forms.  But I am always doing these things on the fly, when I should be relaxing and spending time with my family.  I would like to say that I come back from my vacations relaxed but that isn't always the case.  

Given the fact that my stress levels are at an all time high, I clearly need some time removed from my devices!  Four days with no social media, no email and no phone calls was amazing.  I didn't check Instagram or Facebook.  I didn't Tweet.  I barely responded to text messages.  And it was the best!

It is really hard to disconnect.  You are so afraid that something is going to happen and you are going to miss it.  But sometimes it is really important to take that time for yourself.  So let me be the first one to tell you how amazing it was!