Friday, July 07, 2006

My Unabashed Life as a Drama Queen

I've been wanting to write a post about this for awhile, but it didn't all come together in my head until last night.
My entire life I have had the title drma queen. I don't know who first said it, quite possibly my mother when I was a toddler. But the name, or some version of it, has stuck with me. Last night I was out with some colleagues, and after a particularly dramatic week in the world of office gossip, I got given this name ... again.
It was well deserved. I admit.
But that's not exactly what this post is about.
This post is more about me, and how I realized this week that I live in the drama of life. I do. I relish it - and I push for it. And, then I go out and live in all the highs and lows that this drama brings. I wish I could figure out why.
On the one hand I would love it if I could be like so many people who are content - who go to work every day and take their coffee breaks at 10 am and their lunch at noon and go home at five. I envy that desire for the constant and the serene. But I don't have that desire.
And, I think I'm struggling with that right now.
I mean, how can you be a good mom and a good wife and also thrive on the drama of life?
I've often thought about the post-partum, pre-blogging days when I was going through post-partum depression - not my favourite topic. I have been really trying to figure out where that came from and why. If you do research, or talk to your doctor (which of course I did) you know there are many sources. It's chemical but it's also situational. For me it was a combo.
But, I wonder if a huge part of it is all about this thing about me - that I live between the highs and the lows.
Before I had Matt, I was so excited. And, then you have this baby and it really sucks. I'm sorry, but it does. And, something that I am learning about my personality is that if I build something up and get really excited about it, I create almost a euphoric high for myself. And then, if the situation doesn't pan out it is a disastrous low. Hence the title drama queen. But, also hence the ppd. I think I completely fell apart because I was expecting a high - and I think I truly thought in my deepest of thoughts, that I would be one of those aforementioned serenity seeking people who cherished the role of motherhood, the joys of the everyday, quiet walks with my baby in his stroller, etc etc. And, when that didn't happen ...
I fell to pieces.
And, I am still gathering those pieces two years later. So, as for my life as a drama queen ...
Well, I don't know.
Do I continue to live in the highs and the lows? I think so. Because I don't think that my personality will allow me to do anything but.
But, really, sometimes that really sucks.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

A Reflection on Someone Else's Post

Today I read a post about the battle between staying at home and working and the conflict that arises. I'm putting a link here because I honestly could never say all that Her Bad Mother says in such an eloquent and educated way.
Read it. It's amazing.
It made me want to say a lot.
It made me re-visit my decision to go back to work, the motivation behind it, and really how I am feeling now.
I have been at my current job for a year. This week I had my "anniversary". To me it's a big deal. Not so much the one-year thing, but just that I survived. I didn't think I had it in me. I didn't think I had one week in me.
Last July I sat on the GO train crying, waving goodbye to my baby and my husband, praying that I would make it through the first scary day at work without bursting into tears.
My friend Stef rode her bike down and got me through lunch (her words "you can cry or laugh - I'll do either with you. Which would you prefer" were the best).
And here I am a year later.
I've survived. And I'm happy. And so is Mike and so is Matty.
Matthew is no longer a baby. He is a toddler. He runs and plays and sings and talks and goes full time to daycare and he loves it.
But, this working thing is also really stressful. It it sucks to get up at 5:22 each morning to be out the door by 7. It sucks to sometimes have to deal with the crap that work can throw at you, to decide whether or not to partake in office gossip (and trust me, there is some good office gossip!!!). But, for me the decision was a good one.
Because I didn't feel fulfilled when I stayed at home. I was me, but a different version of me. I was the me who didn't feel like she fit in with the other moms, who was constantlly comparing herself with the others and who was floundering. The days were so long and I wasn't treasuring motherhood. I was counting the minutes till nap time and then counting the minutes till Mike was done working. My eye was always on the clock and I just wasn't dealing with it. And, believe me, Matt didn't have a happy mom. He had an aggravated, annoyed and tired mom, who was annoyed a lot.
On a visit to my doctor (I love her) she asked me about my work plans. I basically told her all of the stuff I was dealing with and she told me exactly what I needed to hear. It's okay to do what I want, that I will still be a good mom if I work and that everyone is happier when the mom is happier.
And I listened because she really is smart. And she is cool. And, if she weren't my doctor I would probably want to have a couple of drinks with her - that cool.
Oh - and there was also the financial issue that we were going broke!!
So I went back to work.
It was hard, but it was also good. I had my name restored. I was Laural Adams, not Mom or Mommy all day every day. When I said something it meant something (well, kind of ) and people actually let me fit in.
In the past year I've made friends and gotten to know some great people. I've done some bizarre activities (like riding a 20 person bike around Toronto, building stuff out of food, focus groups ...). I have laughed till I cried and I've learned to stand up for myself on issues. I've been acknowledged for hard work, and I've been rewarded for doing a good job.
I know - it's not always peachy. Work is still work. But, at the end of the day I think it's been the right thing for me to do.
My favourite part of the day is when I pick Matt up at daycare and he comes running over and gives me a huge hug. In his own way he gets it. Kids know when you are happy and when you aren't. And, I think he knows I'm pretty happy.
So, yep, Bad Mother is right. It's not about whether it's better to be a stay at home mom or a working mom. It's not really an issue of being a feminist. It's about doing what is right for you and accepting that what your choice is is what it is. And, if someone doesn't get it, or if someone thinks you are wrong well then they can deal with it.
My guess - they are still trying to figure out what they really want in life.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

We have Found Nemo!

Throughout the last two years of Matthew's life, little has held his interest in the way of television.
He has his favourite shows, and Treehouse is a constant in our life, I will admit. But, there's never been a show that he just sits and watches.
We tried Baby Einstein. This started around the crawling days, when we were attempting to sell our condo and I would madly clean while Matt sat in the exersaucer (jumped in the exersaucer), ate his baby mum mums and bounced around to the music.
Never in a million years would I have left him alone with Baby Einstein sans mum mums and exersaucer because he was not that enthralled.
As he got older he developed a bit of a crush on Dora. He still loves Dora. But, again, this is not a sitting show. He likes to catch the stars, dance with her and tell Swiper not to swipe, but this is not a show he'll sit still for.
Same with Bob the Builder and Thomas. Loves them. Knows the names of all the characters, but they are mere background noise - something to talk about and play about.
But this weekend we discovered Nemo.
I'm not sure if this is an age thing (now that he has reached 2.25 years) or whether it's just the Disney geniuses, but Matty Matt is completely enthralled by Nemo.
We watch it every day. Three days in a row Nemo has come on.
We have laughed, we have cried, we have cuddled.
Never before have I seen my child so enthralled by a character on television. When the sharks try to eat Marlin and Dory Matt screams "uh oh - Nemo" (he doesn't understand that Nemo and his dad are 2 different fish). When they show Darla holding a dead goldfish he shrieks in horror.
But, he loves it.
The second time we played it - we turned it off before bedtime. (He doesn't sit for the full length of the movie). And, then once we thought he was asleep I turned it back on to watch the ending. Matt came running out of his room screaming "I hear Nemo".
He was right. He did.
How could I deprive my child? I let him sit up till 9:00 watching the end of the movie. It was good. I think we both cried. And there was lots of cuddling. It was a long weekend. Who cares.
And so I think we have a new friend.
His name is Nemo.

Monday, July 03, 2006

I did it!!!

I started trying to lose weight the Monday after Mother's Day.
I decided to set both long and short term goals. My short term goal - to lose 20 pounds before our trip to Vermont in July. I had a couple of reasons for this. The first was because I really wanted something achievable. The second ws because last time we went to Vermont I was so unhappy with my weight. I hated how I looked and I hate all the picture with me in them. I felt so out of control food wise. I wanted this year to be different.
And I did it!
I weighed myself today I have actually lost 21.5 pounds.
I did something else pretty cool today. I set my goal weight. This is something I've been avoiding, but I realized that if I put my mind to it I can hit that weight I have in my head. I have done it before, so screw my fears that I can't because I've had a baby. I've put my mind to it and I am doing it!!
As for another 20 pound goal ...
I'm not sure.
We're looking ahead to an extremely busy month of travelling, staying in Oakville for a bit and having alternate babysitters while our daycare is closed (a whole other post all of its own). I think my main goal - and my doctor would LOVE this one - is to stick with it and to not let stress ruin what I am doing. Because according to her the reason that I do overeat is, all thyroid issues aside, because I eat when I am stressed.
So, here we go again.
So, cheers to me and feeling better about myself :)