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For Me, After the Baby, Part Two

It was a year ago that I declared I’d be taking care of myself more.

I’d do more things For Me.

Remember this photo I took at the Y above the treadmill? I’ve been taking care better care of me in fits and spurts since then. Since it’s my birthday, the momentousness of the event made me want to share my progress.

Returning From the Trenches

When you have a baby, there is a sucking vortex that drags you into a gauntlet of physical and emotional challenges much worse than those Japanese obstacle course shows. Seen those? Where they’re jumping onto giant bobbing floats in huge pools of water dressed in costumes and you know there’s no possible way they can gain enough speed to jump and land on them and actually stay on top. But they’re trying so hard because there’s a huge prize. And they will fall and make you cringe every time.

It's alive!!! on Shalavee.com

In Momland, the huge prize is just keeping the baby alive. Aspire to nothing else and you are still an overachiever. You do this at all costs and eventually you have completely forgotten that you are a person who needs sleep or showers or a day off. No one can understand why you are so weepy or jumpy or crazed except other Mothers or people who’ve been on the front line and in the trenches. And people’s pity only helps so much and then you’re alone again.

I am not a victim or a martyr of my circumstances.

Instagram pedicure via For Me Two on Shalavee.com

So many people have stories of coming out of this with a realization that to be the happy present Mommy you want to be, you have to take care of yourself and your basic needs at least. After being in the trenches, a pedicure may seem fluffy and frivolous but it is necessary. Since Fiona was born, I have gotten more of those than ever before. I just treated myself to one this week. But it’s also taking care of your body in the serious ways too.

And in taking care of myself, my alone time needs, my exercise needs, and my mental and physical “indulgences”, I am not a victim or a martyr of my circumstances. I do not ask anyone to take care of me. It is up to me.

Which brings me to the fact that this is the first year that we have had healthcare in a very long time. In fact since we moved to the Shore 14 years ago. Remember, I didn’t even want to have the baby knowing the only way we’d be able to afford it was to be on the government dole? Read about my middle class and medically assisted challenge here. But in the end, I thought I’d better go ahead and try before it was too late. Thanks to the US Government, at the age of 46, I had a baby. I refused the free cheese but took the rest.

me on shalavee

My healthcare and well-being have always been up to me.

Yes, Obamacare forced us to get healthcare. And thanks to my husband for being persistent, we got a monthly discount and we have gone ahead and started taking care of all the little, and big, body problems we have, which are many. This past week alone, I had the first round of allergy shots after having, and paying $40 for all the Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor and allergist appointments to get to that point. Same day, I had my first Mammogram in 7 years. And then yesterday, I had a filling filled that thankfully I did not feel yet. Dentistry is not covered under healthcare but we have a discount insurance through Aetna.

The message I’m sending myself is that I deserve Self Care.

The more you take care of those body parts, the more you know you are worth it. I spoke about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in this post and the impact all of this will have on your quality of life, creativity, and productivity.

sacroiliac-joint-pain on Shalavee.com

My biggest current pending problem is a horrible pain in what appears to be in the hip bone connected to the backbone, aka the S I joint. The Orthopedist I saw last week said he does hip joints but doesn’t deal with that area. See the guy downstairs. It’s interesting to note that, since I was on steroids for my nose, the hip pain subsided considerably. And in the knowing that it could feel better and I didn’t have to eat the pain and endure, I feel more entitled to taking care of myself and addressing the pain.

I fully expect the next Doctor to tell me that I’m going to need arthroscopic surgery like I needed on my shoulder 15 years ago. Something wonky on my left side has left every joint and passage a little crowded with bones. But the good news? We have our deductible paid for. The point that I’d like stop and make here ? My healthcare and well-being has always been up to me. Even when I didn’t have healthcare, I still went to the doctor’s office for treatment. The fabulous turn is that now, instead of being reactive with these issues, I’m allowed to be proactive. I can do further tests and procedures and head the reoccurring sinus infections off at the pass. And take care of horrible pains in my hip. Fiona on the Courthouse sidewalk in Denton, Md from Fro Me 2 on Shalavee.com

I ran yesterday out on the street. It is the first time in over two years I have been able to do that. I have been either pregnant or baby bound for this long. That is also the reason the pain subsided and has now come back. Happy pregnancy hormone help with pains and loosen joints. And while I am still on the steroid for a little longer, I wanted to taste the freedom of what the running felt like again. And it felt mighty fine.

Maybe you now know more than you want to know but I’d tell you about all of this to your face when we got together. Now that’s out-of-the-way. My point is that going into my 48th year, I want to be telling myself that I’m worth the effort, I can do whatever I put my mind to, and I am a mighty talented super swell gal. I can feel the wisdom trying to balance me out as long as I quiet the other noise in my head. Taking care of me is my present to myself and my loved ones. It’s For Me and for everyone who cares about me too.

Baked Bacon Hack

I definitely have a thing for pork breakfast products. And where I can eat me some sausage with gravy and biscuits, I enjoy a good piece of simple bacon. But here’s my twist, I do not want the bacon that’s cooked crispy and nearly burned bacon you get from a frying pan. I want my bacon roasted in the oven until the fat solidifies into that melt-in-your-mouth goodness and the ham part retains a little chewiness. I am a bacon snob.

When I used to work in restaurants, the wait staff would get in immense trouble when caught snitching bacon off those great big baking trays as they were prepped for lunch’s BLTs. It was like candy waiting for a passersby. And these was done in the oven. Hmmm.

Here’s how my bacon hack is done.

raw bacon

A hot oven, maybe 400 – 425 degrees.

Line a baking sheet in parchment paper and fold the edges so that the grease doesn’t necessarily have to seep all over the pan.

raw bacon stovetop on Shalavee.com

Line up your bacon on the paper and put on the middle rack of the oven.

Start checking for doneness at 10 minutes.

cooked bacon stovetop on Shalavee.com

It needs to be dark enough and cooked solid enough to hold straight when drained. If you take it out and drain it and it seems too limp, stick it back in for another couple of minutes.

Simple, no spatters, and it melts in your mouth.

Baked bacon on Shalavee.com

 

Baked bacon, it’s what’s for breakfast.

 

Our Weekend In Pictures

I thought I’d leave the blog this week with snapshots from our busy busy weekend past.

We had Library appreciation Day and a birthday party nearly two hours away for my friend Claudia’s miracle baby Noah. 

And the first day of 8 weeks of Soccer “lessons”.

bouncy ride at library appreciation day from Shalavee.com

bouncy ride at library appreciation day from Shalavee.com

Hanging out with Ivory in the bouncy thing

Library appreciation Day on Shalavee.com

This guy playing with Fiona almost broke my heart

clean and ready on Shalavee.com

Freshly bathed for the party

Mommy's vanity on Shalavee.com

Mommy’s vanity, scene to these crimes

Fiona at the Little Gym Birthday party for Noah

Baby calisthenics

Happy Birthday Noah on Shalavee.com

The Birthday boy is the one with the binky in his mouth

Mama Claudia , Happy Birthday Noah on Shalavee.com

Noah’s mamacita Claudia

courthouse green playing on Shalavee.com

Playing on the Courthouse Green

peek a boo at the courthouse in Denton, MD on Shalavee.com

Peek A Boo at the courthouse in Denton

She's ready for her close up on Shalavee.com

She ready for her close up

Boy shoptime on Shalavee.com

 Shop time with the boys

Pooped from the weekend on Shalavee.com Fiona’s tuckered out while Eamon plays soccer

I may have thrown a few in from a previous weekend. But what seems mundane as you live it becomes more interesting later.

So there you go.

Hope your weekend is just as you want it.

Either filled with fun or really boring and relaxing.

Too Many Aspirations and Expectations

My numerous aspirations and expectations and absolutes are a few of my favorite weapons of self-destruction adding to the slow but certain loss of my mind. What’s left is now being eaten away slowly by my toddler and 9-year-old. I am left to spin in circles with the one foot nailed down, drooling like some captured Mommy Zombie groaning, “Brains, brains”. Because these brains are what I seem to be lacking and in need of replacement these days.

My arsenal of self defeat is well stocked with a life time of my weapons of self-destruction. The over used expectometer seems to have me thinking that many things are doable when in fact they really aren’t. Like my recent vacation that wasn’t relaxing because kids + vacation time may not equal that relaxation you equate with a vacation. The booby trap I fall for every time is the concept that I’m super Mom and I’ll be able to accomplish all my household and blog tasks, or those thrown at me by my husband (“Can you go get, go mail, or call blank?”), fulfill the instantaneous needs of my children (she’s fallen and is crying again for the tenth time TODAY), aaannndd take on a DIY project that involves a sewing machine. The expectometer will self destruct in five…four…three…two… Kablewie.

water guns from Shalavee.com

The regular imbibing of tonic water and my Absolutes gets me thinking that before I get to do/enjoy A, I must first be done with B. I can’t… read a book…redecorate that room…or go out with a friend…until I’ve…cleaned the house…balanced the checkbook… or decided what my purpose in life is. There’s contingencies I’m tripping over everywhere. If you did this to a kid, you’d be the meanest parent ever. For real, you would be. You can’t have this until you do that. Eventually the kid concedes he’ll just never get anything because the bar keeps getting moved. And he gives up on him/herself, figuring he/she is no longer worth the struggle.

And then there’s my many many many numerous aspirations. Nothing is wrong with wanting more in one’s life. But when everything you want to do is constantly piled high as the sky on this platter, you end up feeling overwhelmed and under-capable. I’ve got people, projects, and changes that need to happen in my To-Do line up. And my system for scheduling and delegation to even handle the daily tasks sucks. So imagine when you throw all the other ‘change the world’ stuff on top. Then it becomes me who sucks. Dispersed and frustrated, I can never feel like I am getting anywhere. How Ya' Doin' from Shalavee.com

Lastly, there’s my lack of boundaries. This inability to decide when to say no, who to say no to, and what to toss out of my antiquated lifestyle and system management, leaves me raw. Because there’s just not enough time or energy in the day for all of it. And I fear Mommy’s zombie brain will begin taking others out with her.

I am going to focus on systems now, writing it all down, practice saying no to everyone including myself, and figure out a way to be OK with not being on top of it all always. And if things are unfinished or screwed up, I’m going to practice letting go. Practice makes perfect. And dismantling a well established arsenal takes time.

Crossing the Transition Bridge

I wonder how it is possible that people all over the world can really know themselves and their talents well enough to do work that satisfies them. And also ask for the right payment. I wonder how people are making such an impact knowing their gifts and sharing them to help the world, themselves, and so many others at the same time. Because I struggle every day to get just the right angle, the right understanding of what it is I’m here to do.

selfie from below on Shalavee.com

I stepped back recently and reminded myself that when I need perspective on my gifts, I need to go to the kudos file I have and remember all the really kick butt awesome things people, often strangers even, have said to me that have made such a difference to my esteem.

I'm an artist selfie from Shalavee.com

Andrea was the one who told me that I really am a good enough a writer to be published in magazines. Mr. Jerry, a former magazine guy had already told me this. Linda at the drugstore said that my hair always looks good. Amanda said my writing is just as good as anything on Huff Post. Over our dinner at the brew pub, Jill sweetly gushed in telling me what a good writer I was. My Christmas tree for the church last year garnered such enthusiastic responses from people I admired and don’t usually hear from. I have felt pretty good about myself this year on several occasions.

Mark and I driving over the bridge on Shalavee.com

I forget who I am. As soon as I’ve felt the compliment goodness for a day, it begins to fade and I forget who I am and what it is I give to the world. If your internal image doesn’t fit the outside world’s, nothing sticks in there. There is an exchange of energy that I’m paying attention to now. I’ve gotta build up the bottom of the pit so stuff like compliments and esteem stay in it.

It's not you but who you think you're not fromtruthinmotherhoodblog via Shalavee.com

What purpose does it serve to have a self-esteem sieve? No risks and no change means no failure I suppose. But eventually it’s too painful to stay. A transition bridge is there for me to cross and it’s a hard one. As if I’m crossing it in the dark built on foundations of faith I’ve never had before. But I”m taking it one step at a time and adding the cross boards from the compliments of the lovely people given to me daily. The nails keeping it together are made from gratitude. Keep it coming Universe, keep it coming.

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