A Career Mum

I’ve been back at work since July 10 and I still haven’t figured out how to do both well. I anticipated that I would find it hard to be a good mom while working, but I had no idea the emotions that would accompany my career side. It appears that you can’t ‘win’ on either side.

Before becoming a mom, I was pretty proud of my work abilities. I was good at what I did and loved doing it. Now each day is filled with guilt and self-doubt. I feel guilty leaving at 5pm (even though I’ve put in my eight hours). I feel guilty that I think about A during the day. I question myself on my abilities now: did I forget to do that because I’m not as good as I used to be; does my boss wish I wasn’t coming back and my mat leave replacement was staying? Everyday is plagued with these thoughts. Mother co-workers tell me to stop doubting myself and to just do what I can. But I’ve never just stopped at what I can manage. I’ve always put in the extra time and effort. I was okay with not identifying myself through my career during my maternity leave because I wasn’t working and I had a new medium to identify myself through: I was a mom. Now I seem to be falling short of both.

During my maternity leave, I went to playgroups; I played games with A; I went on outings; I shopped at farmer’s markets and cooked meals. I wasn’t perfect but I felt like I was doing well. I also had time to do things for me. Now I rush to pack a lunch for A in the morning, wondering if daycare questions my food choices. For dinner, I throw something together that isn’t hitting anyone’s top meal choices. And when I do go to the gym I feel guilty that I’m again dropping A off only two hours after I picked her up from daycare. The house is a mess and slowly I’m purchasing my own lunch from a drive-thru more and more.

I’ve only been working for 7 weeks but I feel like I need a week off to catch up and re-group. How do people do this? My hormones are all over the place and I could sleep for days. Clearly as a single mom, choosing not to work is not an option.

I’m hoping slowly I’ll acquire more tips and learn how to manage. My first win was to hire a house cleaner. The first day I came home after she’d cleaned I wanted to cry. My mood jumped and my shoulders felt lighter. My second smart move was to make little containers of meals that A likes for lunch to allow for quick packing in the morning. Next on my list is to pre-prepare the ingredients for meals so I just have to add them together (cut up veggies, cook meat, etc).

Anymore tips out there? I’ll take any. Leave them below.


Waste Free Parties

I recently celebrated my daughter’s first birthday; a big event in any parent’s life. Like most things, I tried to give the party a green focus. I knew I wanted to achieve a green status, but I wasn’t totally sure how I could get there. I was aiming for the title of Waste Free, but I’d had little exposure to the idea in the party environment . I decided I would tackle some of the major offenders and soon become excited at how it was going to turn out. However, it was more difficult than I thought! Here is my attempt:

Paper Invitations: I went the Facebook route to invite people. But I was stumped with some friends that aren’t online or that I had just made through the mom world and hadn’t linked up on FB yet. I managed to get away with just four paper invites. In the future I might try the evite method as well so I can send emails to those that I’m not ‘friends’ with.

Paper Plates: I knew I didn’t want a garbage bag full of plastic cups, cutlery, and paper plates. My idea was to ask everyone to bring their own plate and cutlery. No one replied that they thought it would be a problem so I thought my goal would be achieved. So I was a bit defeated (and laughing inside) when many of my guests showed up with their own paper plates or plastic cutlery (my bad for not specifying). Next year I’ll provide all of the plates I think.

Non-packaged foods: ambitiously I planned to cook or prepare all the food. I was going to make natural juice with fruit and water and have pitchers of juice and water. I was going to buy all my veggies at the farmers market, cut it up, and have my own veggie trays. We also planned on doing burritos where all the stuffings were handmade and non-packaged.
Mental note for next year, this takes A LOT of pre-planning and work. We ended up with store bought juice and water (I cried inside when I saw all the plastic). A friend volunteered to bring the veggie tray and, knowing how little time I had, I accepted gratefully but had to bite my tongue and not request that it came plastic free. Thankfully she knows me well and it did! Our burritos were the only item that came close to my vision (minus the store bought salsa). And those only happened due to my mom cutting veggies, cooking beans, and grating cheese for two days straight.

Cake: I proudly stated that my daughter’s first cake would be homemade, suager-free, all natural, and without dyes. The night before at 9pm I still hadn’t started baking. We ordered cupcakes. I had to play blind to all the dye, sugar, and wrappers that came off the cupcakes. Although they looked beautiful and my daught loved them.

Presents: I protested the need for presents. A had so much stuff already. Instead, I suggested a loonie for her piggy bank. I thought we would avoid both excessive packaged toys, wrapping paper, and plastic toys. Everyone came with gifts. But almost all were in gift bags and presents were amazing. We were so overwhelmed with people’s generosity.

Goody Bags: I knew I wanted to avoid plastic bags and toys that would just be thrown out. I wanted to give something people could use and that would promote green living. I decided to make reusable snack bags for everyone. (PS – start making those more than 2 days in advance) I was making my last one as my dad was loading the car with all our stuff. But everyone loved them! I filled them with kid snacks and accompanied them with a book.

Essentially, I didn’t completely meet my waste-free goal. But I learned a lot of lessons, most importantly that parties (green or otherwise) take planning and preparation. Thank goodness for grandparents!


I am Spartan

Why is it that it takes the deadline of going back to work soon to force me into action?! Two months before I return to work, I realize I need to finally lose the baby weight.

I’ve spent this last month kicking my butt into action. It was pretty humbling to start. I’ve always known I was overweight. But in the back of my mind, I would justify it with the fact that I am active and fit. So when I went for my first run with a girlfriend, I was very dismayed to discover that I couldn’t run for more than a few minutes at a time and when I was running I was very slow. It was the biggest wake up call. But thank goodness I had it.

During the month of May, I ran twice a week; I worked with a personal trainer twice a week; and I went to bootcamp twice a week. A lot of it was preparation for a race, but the underlying goal was to finally shed the weight and get fit.

Well I haven’t lost a damn pound! Its been super discouraging. There were a few days where I just wanted to cry. Mostly I thought, ‘it’s not fair’. I want to be one of those naturally skinny girls!

However, participating in the Spartan Sprint on the weekend (a 5km obstacle race) gave me some pride that losing a pound could never provide. The race was way beyond my comfort zone. I desperately wanted to back out. It was beyond hard. But wow do I feel amazing for finishing it. In fact, my inspiration to continue working towards fitness and health has grown. Today I started meal planning and looking at what else I can do to improve. I feel so good about the future now.

It’s funny, when I started this post, I thought it would be more about procrastination. But when I started writing, I realized how good I was feeling about myself! Forget the scale. Instead of focusing on losing weight, I’m going to focus on gaining health!

Ps. The picture is the start of the race, running uphill in the snow. Sadly I didn’t get one of myself covered in mud at the end because I was too focused on getting out of the wet clothes!

The truth about being truthful

I find the statement, ‘just be yourself’, an odd one. Is anyone really totally honest and completely themselves with others? Or am I the only one that keeps an awful lot to myself?

I’ve avoided posting for a while because I was starting to feel like some of my posts were contrived or fake. (Oh and I got a taste of what it will be like when I go back to work and been insanely busy.)

Honesty is hard. I assume so much judgement will accompany honesty. Maybe it won’t. Maybe I’m just overly self-conscious. But I have tough days, tough emotions, dumb self-questioning thoughts, and negativity along with my other days of positivity, joy, energy, and fun. Other people must experience this too right? Why then do I feel the need to hold up this facade that I’m totally okay all the time?

I’ve recently seen people’s reactions to a friend’s honesty. Everyone was shocked at the level of truth and a lot felt it shouldn’t have been revealed. But to be able to shake off the mask and just be honest; to lose the wonder of what others would think and to just be you. That must feel great.

So maybe I’m only half there. I have a lot of areas to work on to be happy and healthy. And I can honestly admit that. I think I’m still going to stick with only sharing the struggles to those who are closest to me rather than the entire internet. What I do enjoy sharing is what I’m doing to continue my journey on the path to being happy and healthy.

This week is a take charge week. I’m dropping the excuses and facing the plan to get back in shape head on.
Wish me luck.

Failed Dieter

I recently tried to complete a three day smoothie detox featured on Dr. Oz. I was positive it was the ticket to get me on track and make it easy to fall into the 17 Day Diet (a book a friend had given me). I was wrong.

I hate doing things the hard way. I’ve always searched for that quick fix that will give me instant results. You think I would learn that the quick fixes have never proven successful (for me anyways) and its only when I’ve put in hard work that I’ve seen results.

Even worse still, I set myself up for a major mood dive. I failed at my diet so what does it make me automatically want to do? Eat everything in sight. Thankfully, since I’m staying with my parents, I didn’t fall into that trap today (minus the ice cream cone). But the feeling of failure is still there.

I could have made it. It was three days of smoothies. Even though they didn’t taste that great, it wasn’t awful. But poor planning and the look of my parents’ dinner made me want to cave. I started looking for excuses to get out. A reason to justify breaking the diet. As soon as I had one, I jumped at the chance.

But it bums me out that I can’t stick with a plan. It adds to my feeling of inability to do anything. Why try losing the weight if I can’t.

I need to try this diet again. Not because I think it will do wonders. But because I know I can do it. I want to feel proud of myself. I want to prove my negative voice wrong!

Yeah me! I can really do it

So tonight I got all ready to go the gym: made a bottle, got dressed, fed and changed A, got us all loaded up in the car and drove there. Only to be told the daycare was full and I would need to come back in an hour. Yeah right! I would get home sit down and never make it back up. But I reserved the daycare spot and drove home.

I was determined to go back. I didn’t even allow myself the consideration that I could stay home. Usually, I would convince myself that I could just workout at home after A had gone to bed (and wouldn’t).

One hour later, I was driving back and in the gym! I felt so proud of myself. And that is why I workout.