Just Relax!

I can rarely sit still. I have a hard time relaxing and just doing nothing. To me relaxation is something that I need to plan. I need to carve out time to do nothing–typically I have already thought of ideas about how I am going to spend my down time, and have a schedule for how long it will last, what types of relaxing events I intend to partake in, etc. If I have unscheduled downtime, I get bored and feel unproductive, and lazy.

To many people this way of relaxing is anything but. In fact it is often considered counter intuitive to what you would think of as downtime. I have a constant need to be busy, entertained, and stimulated. I often attribute this to being a cocaine baby (which I have no evidence as to if this is true or false, but it gives me a funny excuse for my neurotic behaviour) or to OCD (Which again I have no proof of, but like to deflect my craziness on something ‘out of my control’).

My relaxing (read: planned downtime) weekend without the hubby was peaceful, and I wasn’t lonely. Of course it goes without saying that I missed my husband, and longed for him to be home. But, moreover, I knew we both needed this little break, and it was enjoyable for both of us. I did feel and experience a few things that I want to share.

On Saturday morning, as I said in my previous post, I scheduled a coffee date and a massage. The 2 gals I met for coffee, are 2 of the best, most supportive, intelligent, wonderful women I know. I love being in their company and often feel lucky (and shocked) that they like me as much as I like them. I wonder sometimes (in my crazy brain) too, what they see in me (being as great as they are, and me just being me). I admire these gals for so many reasons. To name just a few-their honesty, humor, intelligence, commitment to their families, and overall amazing attitude about life’s speed bumps and obstacles. All in all, just good strong women, that I very much admire and look up to.

Anyway, I was sad that we only had a limited time to meet, but appreciative that we had anytime at all. I was also very much looking forward to my massage, and a relaxing day. My massage was wonderful, as I expected. Several times during the massage, I had an overwhelming feeling of gratitude sweep over me. The kind that makes your brain tingle with recognition, and make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. I felt grateful for the massage-it was nice to have someone touch me in a sensual way, a way that is designed to elicit a positive response. But, I also felt grateful to have such a good life.

The rest of the day was equally relaxing. I didn’t have a game plan beyond the massage, which is rare for me. So, I forced myself to take advantage of the free time to catch up on some reading, and finished reading 2 books that I had previously started. I went to our local coffee house, and brought my bookclub with me. I spent a couple hours reading and sipping a half caff vanilla latte. It felt good to ‘do nothing”.

After that I walked around the hood, and purchased a few items for the many special events that are celebrated in our family in May (Birthday’s include-my Aunt, 3 nieces, and my sister in law, plus Mothers Day). Then I went home, and tooled around the house for a while. I wanted to go to the grocery store or to Costco, but I just didn’t have the energy.

Sunday, I slept in, and by our normal standards woke up late (8:00am). I did some filing, meet my girlfriend for breakfast, and then went to the Dinner Studio for the first time. The experience was interesting, and hopefully the food is good. I was the only customer for my time slot, so it felt like everyone was watching me, but all in all it was easy and fun. By the time I was done though, I was having a major hot flash (sweating like crazy, although it wasn’t more than 70 degrees) and was exhausted. I am starting to fatigue more easily, and that is confusing to me. I am used to be able to push myself and just get things done, even when I am tired.

My back was also starting to hurt (I have been super lucky so far, and haven’t been subject to many back aches or pains in that regard), but I was determined and desperate to make it to Whole Foods, since our cupboard is bare. I also keep getting these cramps in my stomach (mostly after a walk –if its at to fast of a pace). I don’t think they are BH because they last for a while and aren’t rhythmic (20 minutes or more, if I don’t rest), but they start to get draining after a while. So, I made it to Whole Foods, and spent the paycheck. Brought everything in, unloaded, put away, prepped a few things, cut some fruit, etc. By the end of the day, I was REALLY in pain. I was physically tired and aching. But I got it all done (almost). I finally had to talk myself into sitting down, and force myself to rest.

My point for recanting this whole story is two fold. First I need to realize and remember that I am creating a life inside of my body, and that along with being an amazingly wonderful process, it is also tiring. I need to listen to my body, and not get bossed around by my mind in these last few weeks. I feel like I have the energy to do all of these things, but I just don’t have the physical strength to get them all done. And the second reason is that I need to learn how to relax, and just let things go sometimes. I am not going to be able to get it all done (especially after the baby is here). I am reminded of this by friends, and family, and now my body is not so subtly reminding me.

I really need to listen more, and talk/write less.

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Is this my last weekend alone…ever?

Hubby is going out of town this weekend to visit his friends in Santa Fe. I am excited for him to spend some time one-on-one with his BF. They are going to camp, hike, drink (way to much if I know these two), likely not shower, brush their teeth or cook. I am grateful that hubby gets to spend this time with BF before Elliott is born. I know that hubby is in need of some R&R, and away from my incessant nesting.

On the other side of the coin, I realized that not only is this likely Jeff’s last weekend alone before our son is born, but this is my last weekend alone too. I am flying solo this weekend, and moving forward will probably not have the house to myself for a long time to come.

As such, I have been planning to the minute what I am going to do, and how I am going to enjoy my alone time.

1. Friday night-girls night out
2. Saturday early morning-girls coffee date
3. Saturday afternoon-a needed massage, and lunch with a girlfriend
4. Saturday night-a movie, perhaps the gym with my book, or the bookstore
5. Sunday-sleeping in as late as a I like, on the entire bed (whoohoo!)
6. Sunday-coffee and a walk with the dog, maybe a breakfast date with a girlfriend

Notice, that no where in this description is there anything about chores, responsibilities, or anyone but me, me, me!!! Boy, am I selfish or what!

3 visuals

Me and the hubby last weekend. This picture is of great significance, since it was my last (self-proclaimed) late night out on the town. We were on our way to the KCRW Concert in LA.

This is the adorable door plaque that hubby and I made for Elliott’s bedroom door.

This is our cat’s nose. Kinda cool, and cute.

Pirate Truck Driver

Hubby and I were at the dog park yesterday, letting the bup-scout run around. I had a verbal exchange with another couple at the dog park, and I said something like, oh don’t worry about our dog, he is a pussy. My hubby said, that I shouldn’t cuss so early in the morning (a long standing inside joke we have, since I have the mouth of a pirate truck driver).

I got to thinking about my statement, and what the word pussy means, and where it comes from and how I used it that early Sunday morning. I was disappointed in myself for using such a word, as I consider myself educated. I then got to thinking about other words in my vernacular that connote similar meaning-bitch, bastard, slut, etc.

I have vowed today to use more descriptive language for my feelings, and less slang that could and often does have negative, sexist, and oppressive meanings. Should you hear me use such language, I challenge you to call me on it. Make me think about what I mean, and come up with a better way to describe the situation.

On a separate note, check this article out. I found it interesting.

My hands must be broken

My husband says to me.

We were laying (or is it lying?) in bed this morning, snuggling, talking softly and just waiting to start our day. We were both lying on our sides, face to face, or more appropriately-belly to belly.

I have been saddened by the fact that hubby can rarely feel Elliott move. I feel like he is missing out on some of the action, missing part of the experience and the fun. I often place his hands on my belly hoping he will be able to feel the monstrous kicks and jabs. Other friends can easily feel him move, and I can often see him moving in my stomach.

This morning Elliott wasn’t terribly active, but he was tossing and turning (probably hungry for some chocolate soy milk). It was this morning (finally!) that hubby could feel him. It wasn’t with his hands though, it was while we were lying-bellzer to bellzer. Hubby could feel him with his belly.

So he says, Huh-my hands must be broken…because I can feel him with other body parts but not with my hands. Who woulda thunk?

Maternity Leave

I am struggling with my feelings about Maternity Leave. I submitted a plan to my employer 5 weeks ago, at their request. Included in the plan was the following requests:

  • 2 weeks off prior to my delivery date
  • 12 weeks off after my delivery date
  • 1 day off a week for at least 12 weeks for baby bonding
  • A lock on my office door so I can pump during work hours after my return

Hubby and spent many hours talking the plan over, thinking about what would be best for the baby, what we could afford, reading up on PDL, CFRA, and FMLA. As well as considering what would be fair to a small company, that I will have worked at for exactly 1 year on my due date.

I submitted the plan, like I said 5 weeks ago. Last Friday, I sent a 4 week follow up email to my boss asking for a status, since he hasn’t provided me with any details or information yet.

Today, he called me and said he reviewed it with the big dogs, and they came back with this:

  • they will give me whatever I am legally allowed to have (his opening statement)
  • I must provide a doctors note for the 2 weeks prior to my delivery date (otherwise it is declined)
  • I must take my sick days prior to any state or federal leave
  • I can work from home 1 day a week after I return from maternity leave, but I have to take vacation hours to do so, and once they run out–I need to come back to work
  • And they will not put a lock on my office door, and instead suggest that I alert the other office employees to not enter my office while I am pumping, and also suggested that I lock the main office door to prevent other people from entering the suite unannounced

I don’t know what I was expecting, but I feel disappointed and slighted. And as much as I am trying not to take it personally, I am. I can see now why women don’t return to work after their leave. I am not sure how other women I know navigated their leave, but I would interested to hear about it.

Looking back over my life, I think this is the most difficult decision I have ever had to make (second would be not inviting my mom to our wedding-that one took weeks of therapy). I know that I have to put my son’s well being above mine, and that this time in both of our lives is only temporary, and so short in the grand scheme of things. My career should not be this important to me when juxtaposed with the wonderful human life inside of me.

I feel guilty for wanting it all, and thinking I can have it, even more guilty for thinking that I deserve it. I have a bad taste in my mouth with regards to the company knowing that it is all men in positions of power, and feeling like they don’t understand the choices a professional woman has to make when she decides to bring a life into this world. I feel angry at a society that doesn’t value the contribution of women, that doesn’t acknowledge the sacrifice we have to make-personally, professionally, emotionally, and willingly for our children. I also feel sad. I do not want my son to be in day care from birth (starting at 3 months!). I want to be there for him during this critical development and growth period. I don’t want someone else to raise him, to show him life’s daily lessons, or to feed him from a bottle. I want to be that person.

Now, the logical side of me says-you will be there for him. For 12 weeks every day you will be there for him. Then when he is 3 months old (just barely older than a kitten when its eligible for adoption…**sigh**), I will hand him off to a nanny who will tend to his daily needs 3 days a week. Hubby will be with him 1 work day a week, and I will be with him one work day a week for 7 weeks. Then after that time well, …we will have to wait and see. Maybe the company will allow me to take the time unpaid.

I should be grateful that I have a great job, at an awesome company, making a good salary. I should feel appreciative that I don’t have to go back to work right away, and that I can take 12 wonderful weeks off after his birth. I am lucky to have a husband who is willing to take a day off a week to parent his son. I guess I need some time to let it digest. Maybe I am just bitter that I didn’t get everyone I wanted…or maybe I feel like I deserved it somehow.

Thoughts, suggestions, or opinions are welcome-as always.

Habit One-Be Proactive

I would like to adopt some of my fellow bloggers remarkable strength and discipline. He has managed to give up caffeine, material possessions, a chair for his desk, and tee-vee. Just to name a few of the things I admire about his iron-clad willfulness.

He mentions the book 7 habits of highly effective people, and upon additional research it seems like a pretty good ‘idea’. Now, ideas are always great in theory. But practice is different.

So, I wiki’ed it, and decided I would like to try the first habit–“Be Proactive” on for size. My recent bout of depression, and emotional state could use some proactive thinking, that is certain. Being proactive is in direct opposition to being reactive, which is an emotional way of thinking. According to the wiki definition, being proactive means to take responsibility for everything in my life and that when you are reactive, you blame other people for problems.

I like this habit for several reasons.

  1. it forces personal accountability
  2. it forces me to look at where and how I am responsible for the outcomes in my life
  3. it makes me look at obstacles and problems, as situations that CAN be resolved and not just road blocks
  4. not being able to blame other people requires a deep sense of introspection and self analysis as to my role in situations and issues
  5. being proactive means that I have to critically think about things, and not (re)act emotionally (this one is a real bummer because its so fun to be a drama queen and victim sometimes-thanks Mom!!!!)
  6. I have a decision and choice with it comes to everything in my life
  7. I am the only one responsible for my life, its outcome and its circumstances

Phew, I feel better already. I feel empowered knowing that I am in control again! Yes, back to being the control freak that I am. Now, hopefully there will be no more pregnancy based mood swings or emotional breakdowns. Since I am pregnant can I still blame it hormones? I mean those are real, and I take responsibility for them taking over… LOL.

7 months and some perspective!

I think I found my perspective this weekend, thanks to some R&R with friends, and a long conversation with my hubby.

I realized that I can only make decisions based on what I think will happen after Elliott is born. I don’t know what will happen (yikes!), never having experienced child birth, motherhood, or working full-time post delivery. I can only ask questions from those people I trust, think things through to the best of my ability, talk them over with my hubby, and then make the best decision all things considered.

I was getting so worried about making the wrong choices, and about everything being so difficult, and unfair (I am still now totally over this one) that I forgot about human limitations. I need to trust my choices (each of us has to make our own, they are all based on different factors (all equally important to that person)), and I need to know that whatever I/we decide is the best choice for that time. No guilt.

Phew, I feel a lot better about myself. My expectations are back in line, and I don’t feel resentful towards hubby anymore. Its amazing how I can work myself into a frenzy.

In this post I also wanted to list things that I am feeling now that I am officially in the 7th month, at the start of the third trimester. I talk with a lot of Mommy’s who forget about how it felt to be pregnant, and I want to remember (even if that means referring back to what I wrote to jog my peon and apparently shrinking brain).

1. I feel pregnant! My belly is getting larger by the day it seems. My abdomen aches, and I can feel it growing, stretching, and starting to itch.

2. I have round ligament pain. I didn’t realize what this was, when my friend asked if I was experiencing it, so I said no. But, after my last Dr. appt. I asked why my groin muscles were aching like crazy for going on 4 weeks. Now, I know.

3. Standing or walking for long periods is becoming more challenging, and painful. My back hurts at the end of the day, but is manageable for now.

4. I get tired more easily, even while I am exerting less effort.

5. I don’t get up in the middle of the night as often to pee, but I have to pee all day long (like 20 times a day).

6. I am frantic about nesting. Everything is ‘dirty’, the room isn’t ‘ready’, and I haven’t read enough about parenting, birth, or whatever decision I am struggling to make.

7. It is difficult to get up from a seated position.

8. I am THIRSTY!

9. Clothes are uncomfortable, but being naked with my round, plump body is worse! LOL.

10. I am excited about the birth of our son, and vacillate between wanting him to get here faster and having major anxiety about his eminent arrival.