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Month: October, 2021

It’s not even Halloween and I am already so tired of all the things

Photo by Sarah Chai on Pexels.com

We are less than two months into the school year, and I gotta tell you, I am already over everything.

I’m over the 50-60 hours work weeks. I am over managing that with the needs of the kids and their activities. I am over packing lunches and early mornings and running for the school bus and arguing about bedtime. Especially bedtime. Bedtime can go fuck itself. The End.

Mostly, I am over feeling like I am stretched so thin that I suck at everything I do. Maybe it is leftover trauma from all the lockdowns and a feeling of being so permanently overwhelmed that doesn’t want to let up.

Or MAYBE the last 18 months have enlightened us to the fact that we (in particular working mothers) have lost sense of a life balance that is even remotely reasonable and sustainable. I can’t help but feel like this was something we always knew was a problem but didn’t want to admit to ourselves, to our employers, to our spouses or to each other.

Seriously, who the fuck decided that working full time, plus commuting while raising children was really going to be good for us? Who decided that starting every day at 6am, rushing around to get everyone ready for the day, sending off the kids, working our asses off all day, rushing home to do pick ups, feed the people, rush to get to the next thing, rush home to bathe and go to bed -was a good idea? God forbid you don’t work a regular schedule either, because who really does anymore anyway?

I honestly don’t know what the answer is. I mean, obviously as a fairly *successful* working mom, I fully advocate for women to have meaningful and fulfilling careers WHILE being able to raise a family. So why does it feel like these issues of balancing family and career are so heavily skewed towards women? I don’t want to discount all the dads and their efforts, but it certainly feels like the assumption to this day is that the mother is the primary caregiver and it is us that make the bulk of the sacrifices and carry the heaviest part of the emotional load.

At the risk of sounding like I just want to bitch because I am tired and burnt the fuck out ( I am) I am also truly wondering how to better support families and working parents.

Can work days be tailored to accommodate school hours? Can employers be mandated to offer on site childcare options for employees? Can we job share more commonly? In light of what we learned during the pandemic can we offer a hybrid model of working remotely and on site to reduce commute times?

What about restructuring societal norms? How do we normalize fathers taking paternity leave? How do we normalize it being ok for women to ask for help and admitting that they are struggling? Multigenerational homes? Cooperative living communities where childcare duties are shared?

I certainly can’t wave a magic wand and solve all of my own problems, so I won’t pretend like I have all the answers about this most challenging season in life. All I know is that I am tired, so I will share what I think might help in the meantime:

Bitches, give yourselves a fucking break. Stop making the gold standard so fucking hard. Give yourself permission to heat a store bought, frozen lasagna for dinner. Feed them hotdogs and pre-made subs from the deli. Hire a house cleaner. Skip the gym without guilt when you feel like you can’t add another thing to your plate. Build a village and take turns with the kids. Have your groceries delivered. Do the things that make all the bullshit easier however that looks like for you, and focus on spending time on the things that matter more.

And don’t forget to do a shot of tequila. Wash, rinse, repeat.

True gratitude includes being thankful for the stuff that sucks too.

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We all know the things we are supposed to be thankful for. We celebrate them as often as we can- having food, shelter, family, love, good health etc. That’s the easy part.

True gratitude and insight, I believe, comes from being thankful for all the things that suck too. Without the dark there is no light, so to speak. After a three year stretch of navigating rough seas, I am trying to find light in the darkness, and understand how to be grateful for the things that haven’t been easy.

Today, I am thankful for suffering multiple losses in a short period of time. The grief was a testament to the fact that I am a well loved human. I had grief to wade through because I knew love. I knew companionship and support and joy through others, both human and animal. I loved sincerely. I am grateful that even though the loss is painful, it is there to remind me of love, and not everyone has that.

I am thankful for the lessons that the stress and uncertainty of this pandemic has offered. It showed me that we are capable of doing hard things together for the sake of others. I am grateful for the people who disappointed me during all of this, because it helped me reevaluate relationships that were draining me and helped me to better appreciate the ones that filled me up. It allowed me to learn how to say no. It gave me strength to stand up for the things that I think are important to stand for, and the tenacity to see them through.

I am thankful for pants that are too tight, or feeling guilty for not exercising enough because it means that I always have enough to eat. It means that my children don’t know what it is to be hungry. It means that my dogs eat better than some humans.

I am thankful for balances on credit cards and lines of credit and sometimes having to wait until next payday to make a purchase, because it means that I have appreciation for the things we have. It means that I understand the value of hard work and the value of privileges we enjoy. It means that I value the time of others, and don’t take them for granted. I am thankful for the lesson it teaches my children of having to work for what you have instead of expecting it to be handed to you.

I am thankful for illness and injury because it gives me empathy for others who are suffering.

I am thankful for mistakes because without them we would never learn anything new. I am thankful for doing it wrong a million times before getting it right because it teaches us perseverance and hope and determination.

Today, I want to be thankful for the things we usually wouldn’t want to acknowledge, because it’s been a rough few years, and I think the next few are likely to be challenging, and finding the calm among the storms fills me with hope.

Happy Thanksgiving.

It’s ok to butter the toast too.

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This morning my youngest asked me to make him eggs and toast. Since the frying pan was already out I decided to also have an egg. I popped two pieces of fresh french bread in the toaster, fried an egg, buttered my toast and added a drop of ketchup.

It probably doesn’t seem like a big deal, but if you have a history of disordered eating, or any type of unhealthy control issues surrounding food or body image, it really kinda is.

The simple act of just eating what you feel like eating without allowing yourself to negatively self talk is a huge deal for anyone who has historically or presently associated their self worth with what they put in their mouths, while trying to conform to a societal beauty standard that is unattainable or unsustainable for them.

The simple act of buttering my toast without feeling guilty about those “unnecessary calories” was, in fact, a really big deal for me.

Body positivity isn’t about celebrating fatness. It isn’t about giving up on taking good care of your body. For me, it’s recognizing that taking good care of my body begins with loving myself exactly where I am at and understanding that it is ok to be living in whatever skin I am currently in. It’s about not having to to justify the fact that I have soft spots and round spots by killing myself at the gym and constantly injuring myself by trying to push my body to places it doesn’t want to go.

It’s about taking part in things that make me feel good and strong and not feeling like changing the shape of my body is the ultimate accomplishment. I’m 43 years old, and am really, really tired of that narrative.

Since childhood, I have lived a life of restrictions around food. It came from doctors, coaches, parents, teachers. And I know that they all felt like they were doing what was in my best interest, but in reality, it damaged me. It made me feel like it didn’t matter what else I was good at, or even brilliant at, unless I could just not be fat. Their comments became my inner voice and it turned into a life long torment that made me feel like I was never really in control of anything unless I could control my body through deprivation or obsessive habits, and created the inability to ever feel like I was enough unless the number on the scale was deemed acceptable. It lead to avoiding doctors appointments because I didn’t want to see what the number on the scale was or hear the speech about healthy eating and exercising. It meant that running 5km 4 times a week still wasn’t enough. It meant not wanting to go out for dinner with my husband or friends because it wasn’t my “cheat day”. It damaged me.

Fast forward to the pandemic where we are all living some variation of our former selves. Like many of us, I wanted to find ways to “work on myself”. I dieted again. I ironically felt in control of things during a time where we didn’t have control over much, but realistically, food was controlling me yet again. Social media showed me pictures of weight loss programs and people who were celebrating their accomplishments and it just felt like an affirmation that I was unlovable unless I also attained such changes. But it made me finally decide that all of this bullshit was just enough.

I honestly don’t know who decided that thin was in, or that it was the ultimate goal for everyone, but I’ve honestly fucking had enough of it. People come in all shapes and sizes and I don’t know why we can’t just fucking accept that.

If there is part of the population who don’t fit into a “standard” airplane seat, change the standard, or make different sizes available. In the clothing store, we don’t need “plus” sections or “regular” sections. Just make the fucking clothes available to every body. Stop pretending that you did keto or weight watchers to “feel better and get healthy” because I’ve done them all too and that is a fucking lie.We did it because the world told us we were fat, and less than and we didn’t want to feel that way anymore. We wanted to shop in the same part of the store as all the pretty people do. And I get it. It feels GOOD for everyone to tell you how amazing you look- but why didn’t they see how beautiful we were before? Why can’t we see that our beauty exists in every shape?

So, yes, take care of yourself. Run the miles, take your vitamins, eat your vegetables to make sure you can poop, walk your dogs, swim the laps and pump the iron. But for the love of fucking GAWD, butter your toast too and remember that you are pretty anyway.

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