An Experiement In Patience, Motherhood, and Sobriety.

Perspective

This has not been that productive of a parenting week for me. I had one day where I covered the table with paper and let the kids go wild (pictured alongside a cute diaper butt above) coloring – but other than that I’ve been trying to do probate, estate, and tax stuff for Dad and for my family. It’s been day after day of struggling to complete paperwork while simultaneously trying to keep the kids from eating poison. In other words, not the best parenting week, even though I was productive in other areas.

So, today? I’m doing an experiment. Or a torture session, depends on how you look at it. I’m going to focus just on the kids today. No housework (plenty of time to do that this weekend), no paperwork, no TV as a babysitter, and no escape via the solitaire game on my iPhone. I don’t have anything crazy exciting planned, I’m just going to see what a day looks like when I just focus on being a Mom. Not a bookkeeper, not a maid, not a cook, and not a super-stylish trendsetter.

(I have no idea why I threw that last one in there. It just seemed completely opposite of the picture in my head and sometimes opposites make me laugh! You should see me around light switches. The On/Off concept gets me giggling for hours.)

Have you ever done this one day? Or are you the kind of Mom that has enough patience and takes the Motherhood job so seriously that you dedicate yourself to days like this every day? If you are that type of Mom, can you come show me how to be more like you? Because I’m worried this day may kill me. Or them. I’ll keep you posted.

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I Would Like To Damn McDonald’s To Hell For It’s Irresistable Breakfast Menu.

Concentration

While I’ll never been so overweight that my health is at risk, I’ve been constantly trying to lose that last [insert random number between 10 and 40 here] pounds for the last five years. I actually had lost 20lbs right before Christmas and then immediately gained back 10 of it. So I’ve been trying to re-lose that 10lbs ever since. Re-losing weight you’ve already lost recently is emotionally taxing because you spend a lot of time kicking yourself in the head for gaining it to begin with. It’s also unhealthy. There are studies out there that say losing and gaining the same 10lbs over and over again is worse for your body than just keeping it on to begin with. I’d link to the study but it’s cold in my house right now and I’m just trying to whip this entry out before my fingers freeze off.

Yesterday was a Bad Day. If you’ve ever tried to lose weight or change your lifestyle at all – you know the Bad Day. It’s the day where, somewhere a long the way, your eating program goes out the window and you find yourself giving up on the entire day ending in a fit of binging that sometimes sees you falling asleep at 10pm with your face in a bowl of Cheese Puffs. My Bad Days are not always about junk food, mainly because we rarely keep junk food in the house. Sometimes I’ll make a Bad Day worse by hitting a fast food joint, but most of my Bad Days just involve me eating too much good stuff. I like a lot of healthy foods – like yogurt and granola. So, a Bad Day might see me binging on that throughout the day. That fact is probably the only thing keeping me ballooning to a greater size – that when I binge it is usually on healthy food. However, calories are calories so when you eat double what you should – whether it’s in yogurt or french fries – you’re going to gain back weight you’ve lost. Which is where I am right now. Where I was yesterday.

I sat in bed last night thinking about my relationship with food. It is such an emotional relationship. A Bad Day for me never involves just food. It’s always bad for emotional reasons as well. Some days I can easily say: I binged because I was stressed. Or: I binged because I missed my Dad. Or: I binged because I yelled at my kids unnecessarily and I felt really guilty about that. Many days food is my therapy. It helps ease my anxiety or depression. It’s my friend to call when I’m stressed or angry.

But it also goes the other way. My food started out bad yesterday when I allowed myself an unhealthy splurge for breakfast: An Egg McMuffin. I used to eat those all the time and I just allowed myself to have one yesterday. I thought, the calorie count isn’t too much more than what I usually eat for breakfast, I can get away with it. Except that something inside of me recognized the inherent badness of the food and you know what? My emotional well-being paid the price. I feel like my depression and anxiety shifted after eating that and the day just got worse. In other words – the bad food? Put me in a bad mood. I’ve often seen this as a predictable relationship in my life: If I eat shitty? I feel shitty. And then, I feel shitty – so I eat more shittily. (Dude. I totally just made up a word.) It’s an unhealthy cycle involving my emotions and food.

I guess I’ve always know this – that food and my emotions are connected. I just don’t think I realized how clearly they’re connected until yesterday when I honestly watched my productivity decline and my stress and anxiety level rise as the grease from the breakfast sandwich permeated my bloodstream. And since it was breakfast? The day went downhill from there. By the time I went to bed last night I had cried more in that day than I had in the weeks prior. And I had also eaten about 3500 calories of granola, yogurt, and also some pizza. (Because, let’s face it, if you’ve trashed your diet by dinner time? Why waste the energy cooking something healthy?)

It’s a weird thing to recognize something concretely that I’ve been vaguely hinting at for years. I’ve always known I had an unhealthy relationship with food, turning to it when I’m not feeling 100%. But I don’t think I ever realized how clearly it works the other way as well: That splurging on something bad for me can also so distinctly shift my mood in the bad direction. Starting the horrible cycle of eating and crying that inevitably defines my Bad Day.

I’m hoping this really clear evidence will help me reshape my relationship with food. Really look at it as fuel for my emotions and trying to make decisions with a better understanding of how it really can affect my mental state. I mean, the Sausage McGriddle tastes amazing (Why must McDonald’s have such an enticing breakfast menu?) – but what’s it going to do to my emotions? Is it worth the tears it may cause later? Is it worth the lack of patience I’ll show with my children? Is it worth the sacrifice my family will have to make as I cry all night? NO. I can honestly tell you that no food, no matter how delicious, is worth all of that. My family deserves better from me…but more importantly? I deserve better. I deserve to feel good, and if that greasy breakfast sandwich is going to make me feel like crap? Then why do I eat it? Hopefully – I won’t. I’m really going to try to examine how foods make me feel. And maybe even try to examine how my feelings affect my cravings. I know I head straight to the pantry when I get stressed…maybe if I recognize that it will be easier to battle it?

(Please don’t tell me to go for a run instead. My husband tells me that and it makes me want to punch him in the face. It’s probably the best advice anyone could give someone who eats when they’re stressed/depressed; but it doesn’t mean we actually enjoy hearing it.)

I’m curious if any of you have had any of these realizations with your relationship with food. Have you noticed any relationships between your mood and how you eat? Does one affect the other? We all know that certain foods help or hinder our energy level – but what about our depression or anxiety? Have you noticed certain foods having a positive or negative effect on those emotional states?

So: Today? I’m going to focus more on eating for my mind. For my heart. Not the organ beating in my chest, but the heart of my emotions. I want to eat in a way that helps me smile, that doesn’t block my inspirations, and that allows me to be productive in the ways I want to be productive. Maybe this is the first step in me breaking up with unhealthy eating habits. I’ve realized the relationship is bad for me, now I just have to take the key back and burn all the love letters. That’s the hard part. Too bad I don’t have my old Milli Vanilli tape. A little bit of Blame It On The Rain might help with the healing.

Nice smile, kid
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Nevermind. Let Me Start Over.

Don't Fall In

I sit down many times and compose entire entries for the blog…only to delete them and start over. This morning I did one discussing whether other SAHMs feel guilty complaining about their job as a Mom for fear that their spouse may think, “Hey…you CHOSE this. If you don’t like it…get a REAL job.” Then I deleted it because I just didn’t feel like the words really conveyed what I was saying and I worried I sounded like a spoiled bitch. Other times I delete things because I just think: OMG. That is so boring. Then rarely, and I mean rarely because I’m not controversial by nature, I delete something because I don’t want to…start anything.

These are all moments when I realize, Hey. I obviously don’t write this blog just for myself.

I don’t check stats. I don’t look at numbers. I stopped doing that several years ago because I found myself trying to curb my writing in the direction of more traffic. I didn’t like that at all. I keep this blog as a way for me to make friends, and document my family’s history. It’s my cathartic outlet and my social circle. It’s my scrapbook. When I focus too much on numbers, or even focus at all on numbers, I lose the organic feeling of this environment.

Yet still…I delete entries. I think that’s because this is my social circle. I don’t want to disrupt it with something that has the wrong voice, or the wrong message. You are all my friends and if I can’t get my thoughts out in a way that makes sense without boring you to death…then I delete it. And I’m okay with that. It’s just something interesting I thought about this morning. Some entries I just stick in draft mode because I do want to write them some day. But often? I just delete. I feel like the message is off from the first word to the last. Or, I feel like it’s something I wont feel in a few days so why stir the pot now?

But – it got me thinking – so many of you are bloggers. Do you ever delete entries? I’ve even been known to publish something and then take it down a few hours later after letting it sink in because, Crap. That entry does not actually say what I was trying to say. I’m betting hardly anyone goes that far. I just find it funny that I don’t look at my stats, my referrals, my visitor numbers: Yet I censor myself. In my head, the only people reading this are the dozen or so that comment. Why do I worry so much about what you guys think? Most of you know me well enough to read between the lines anyway. Or to just skip over a really boring topic and come back tomorrow. Yet still? I delete. And I’m wondering if you do that. Do you get something written and then delete it, or take it down later? Why? Is there anyone who truly writes their blog just for themselves? Because even if you all stopped reading I would be writing for my family. And I don’t want to bore them either. (Although I often do, they’ll attest to that.)

So: What is your DELETE policy on blog entries? Do you ever delete something you’ve finished writing (or come very close)? Or do you just stick it in your draft folder? Do you publish everything you put even a portion of effort into?

31 Comments

Flashback Movie Day At MissZoot.Com

movies

I’ve been stuck in my childhood this week with MamaPop reminding me about The Last Unicorn and Metalia reminding me of The Watcher In The Woods. Those are two movies I know I watched more than once from my childhood, which was unusual for me. My Dad didn’t get a VCR until I was almost in high school, but my Mom had one. So on the weekends I was at her house, I remember picking out The Last Unicorn at the movie rental place to watch several times. I don’t know what it was about that movie that I loved so much, but my affection for it is so deep I’ve been scared to re-watch it as an adult. I’m afraid the magic will be ruined.

The daycare I went to after school and during the summer for most of my childhood had a staple of movies we could watch. Every afternoon we chose an “activity” to do. There was a movie room, a homework room, the gym and roller skating. (I know! I went to an awesome daycare.) When the movie choice was The Watcher in the Woods? I always chose it. I have no idea why, as I’ve never really liked scary movies. But something about that movie freaked me out in AN AWESOME WAY. I couldn’t get enough of it.

Ghostbusters also played a big part in my childhood as it was one of the few VHS tapes my Dad’s office/shop kept around to test VCRs. He worked in a hospital as a biomedical engineer for my childhood, and while many of the guys repaired hospital equipment, there was also the periodic VCR that needed attention. Because of this, they kept a few tapes around to test with. Ghostbusters was one of them, so if my brother and I had to go to work with my Dad? We inevitably ended up watching that movie as there’s very little else to do in a shop full of broken EKG machines. There was also The Neverending Story and Goonies as two others I remember watching and truly adoring. But didn’t everyone love those movies? If not, you’re dead to me.

(JUST KIDDING.)

When most of us were kids movies were still a rare treat, not something airing on every channel, on ever DVR, in every cell phone in every home. Movies are now so ubiquitous that I doubt any of our kids will have standouts from their childhood. I remember a few standouts from when LilZ was little: Jungle 2 Jungle, Wild America, and Mary Poppins were a few of his favorites. As he got older Matilda became a staple as well. But NikkiZ and AndyZ? They’ll have seen so many movies by the time they’re 5 I just don’t see any of them sticking out in their mind or mine.

(Although NikkiZ is oddly attached to Avatar and can’t quite wait for it to come out on DVD. She’s a weird kid.)

What movies stand out from your childhood? Do you have older kids? Do you remember any of their faves?

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Seasonably Unseasonable

Teamwork

This winter has been rough on a lot of people for serious reasons: Feet of snow, lack of power, sickness from being trapped inside with looming treacherous weather outdoors. We’ve had none of those things here. However, that’s why I like to live in the South. I can NOT handle extreme cold or clouds or snow. I like my winters mild and dry. And that’s usually how they are. But this winter? Has been rough for Alabama. While we’ve not had the feet of snow, we’ve had enough cold and ice that our state has been shut down on several occasions. Our kids have already missed so much school that the big talk around town is how far the year will now have to be extended to make up for it. And the extended school year aside? My mood has been CRAPPY. I hate gray skies and I hate jackets. I hate cold muddy ground or frozen pavement. It all makes me beyond grumpy as I’ll take the hot, humid summers of Alabama and day of the week over any sort of cold or snow. MISERABLE. That has been me. With a capital MISERABLE.

(Yes. I know. You with the real winters are rolling your eyes. Just like I do when you say that 85 degrees is hot.)

This weekend, however, was BEAUTIFUL. With a capital BEAUTIFUL. Sunny and 70. I did as much outside between Friday morning and Sunday afternoon as humanly possible. We went to parks, we played with chalk, we dug in the dirt and we hung out at the Botanical Gardens. I feel rejuvenated. I feel like I can handle weeks of gray and cold now. Which is a good thing because the forecast for this week? GRAY AND COLD.

How about you? What type of climate is the best for your emotional state? The South is really great for me, but Tucson would probably be perfect. I love being hot and sweaty. I love the sun. I hate the rain and the clouds. And the winter? Can totally kiss my booty. What about you? What’s your perfect climate? Are you living in it? If you’re not…how much does this affect your mood?

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