Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Time outs.

I interrupt these posts about Thunder Thighs Felix and Sticky Fingers Miles to take 1 night and 1 post to just riff on the status of Mommy.

It's like a toddler time out (or quiet pillow in our house). Short and to the point. Please don't worry--and don't leave the blog for good! We'll be back to cute pictures and a huge recap on our trip to Boston soon. I just kind of felt like being selfish and taking the spotlight for one night.

If you haven't noticed, my posts have been rather thin and anemic lately.

Fitting. Just like me.

I'm mired in my corporate gig these days, and slowly finding myself consumed by my Big Girl job more than my Mommy job. And the blog has suffered, too. I have made a concerted effort to avoid talking about that part of my life in specifics on this blog, and will continue to maintain that privacy. But let's just say that I'm getting burned out...

My deal with the time space continuum from a few weeks ago fell through, and it appears that time ticks on at the normal break neck speed it always has since having children.

And I feel like I am missing out on my children's lives working so much and don't know how to fix it. It's so much harder with 2 kids, and also my actual job's demands are growing like kudzu.

At the same time, I've been plagued with GI ailments for the past month. Convinced it was my subconscious telling me that eliminating ice cream from my personal menu was a crime against humanity, I indulged a few times in hopes it would coat my stomach's epithelium with a creamy blanket of peace. Unfortunately, nothing changed. Just peeved Felix's stomach more.  

Salmonella from cutting chicken?
Viral bug from my children?
Too many cruciferous veggies?

I haven't felt his kind of sickness since my first trimester with Miles. Pause. Pick up your jaw. A) It still isn't nearly as bad as that was, and b) it would be a true Christmas miracle if I were pregnant again. I won't say it hasn't crossed my mind. I think one night I even thought I felt phantom uterine contractions. No joke. Eric laughed. And then followed with, "I better look into getting a paternity test." Hasn't TLC or Discovery done some sort of expose on women who convince themselves they are pregnant and even get a belly and have uterine contractions? Maybe that's me...

Problem. I'm not getting a belly. And I'm not having contractions. Like my first trimester with Miles, I am dropping weight like the Tongan cousins from The Biggest Loser and looking at similar numbers. Although, it's not so much 20 week hormone induced nausea as it is general GI gurgly-ness, and immediate distress upon eating.

I went into Miles's toy chest, donned his pretend doctor's stethoscope, took my temperature with his play thermometer (I'm happy to report my temp came back a lovely plastic smiley face), and figured out my diagnosis. (I'm pretty certain my Mommy degree gives me this authority.)

Breastfeeding + breastfeeding diet + stress.

Boo hoo. Poor you; losing weight without trying. Aren't you the envy of most post-partum women.

Listen, don't make me go postal on you about how it is just as hard for some of us to keep weight on as it is for a good portion of America to keep it off (and besides, my rant will probably cause me to lose another pound). I hate it. And for the most part, no one really wants to hear another woman talk about how she cannot keep weight on. Especially because everyone will look at you through a cloud of suspicion--attention seeking? Eating disorder? I've dealt with it my entire life and now just know to keep it to myself. Unless you are my blog. And then I take moments like these to vent.

Luckily, I feel like my body does a good job at hiding the loss, and I won't be gracing the cover of tabloids as Tori Spelling's body doppelganger, but the scale (which I hadn't visited for months), is not so polite. I knew that if I could use Atlanta's 5 day forecast's temperatures in place of my weight that things weren't so great (okay, so I still would need to add 10lbs), and have found myself on nightly dates with M&Ms and granola.

What's the prescription? Well, I certainly am not going to stop breastfeeding. And with the stress, it just makes me need to breastfeed and pump MORE because my supply dips. And the breastfeeding diet (i.e. no dairy) seems to be helping Felix, so I'll keep with the diet restrictions. That leaves stress. I cannot quit my job, and I cannot even really make any modifications to my schedule without compromising things like, say, my family's health insurance. And we already discussed my declined request with God to do something about time and space so I could spend more time with my boys.

More running? Hmmm...not sure that will help in the weight department.
More hot tea?

This past weekend up in Boston I was surrounded by family: parents, grandparents, great grandparents, uncles/aunts, cousins, brothers/sisters...and I felt great. I still had some GI distress (but I also had some looming deadlines to meet while on my time off), but I was nourished--in mind, spirit and body. It was like an escape from the shackles of my everyday stress.

Surely the answer is not quitting my job and moving my family into my old bedroom at my parents' house--tempting as it is (I am sure my mom just had a heart attack in panic), but what I think this weekend reminded me is that I need to be better at addressing my work stress, and maybe even make difficult decisions regarding my limits at work. It's just a matter of how to execute changes without compromising the quality (and security) of my job. I'm still not convinced it is entirely possible. But this post isn't about a plan; it's first about identifying a problem. As they say, you can't fix what you don't acknowledge.

Tonight, I requested a quick "I love you" from Miles (and in the process, got a mole check. Gotta love my future dermatologist), and then tippity tapped away at my work while I listened to Daddy read bedtime stories without me. Again.

I may have given up dairy, cable TV, haircuts, styling my hair, ironing clothes, housework, applying make-up daily...but I am no longer willing to give up story time.

"Hey work? You're killin' me. I'm taking my bony little arms and placing you in time out. Don't even think of getting up until I'm done enjoying my family."

And now...back to work.


  1. I'm so sorry about your GI ailments. Do you take probiotics? They might be worth exploring (refrigerated strains, kefir, etc., not the CVS garbage).

    Ultimately if the problems persist, see your doctor! Take it from someone who knows.

  2. Ali--I SOOOO hear you! When I figure it out, I will let you know. Ha! :) I know there are no easy answers on this one. Take care and know you are in my prayers.

  3. This breaks my heart (and no, not from hearing you all may take up residence in your old bedroom...). Like Seth, I urge you to seek medical attention just to rule out physical causes. Take a break for story time or whatever makes you feel human. I hope to help with the stress level when I come down, but I realize it's only a temporary fix to a more intractable problem. I think you should get a haircut, massage or whatever helps to alleviate the stress - and - again, make you feel human. I love you and I worry about you!

  4. I hope you get some answers/solutions soon! My mom is a dietician, so if you want to call or email her, I'm sure she'd be happy to give you any feedback on food ideas, etc... I know that's only one piece of the puzzle, but I don't have any massage therapist or job fixing family members. Anyway, as always, if there is anything I could do that would give you more time with the kids, Eric, or take some stress away PLEASE let me know!!!

  5. Ali-I am so sorry you are not feeling well. I agree with trying to see a doctor or nutritionist to get some advice. For the work part, I know how hard life is as a working mom. I try to remember that what I don't get through today, will always be there tomorrow. Do what has to be done and make sure to take breaks for storytime. It's the only way to keep your head above water. During extra busy times, Matthew and I just try to make it to the weekends. We're thinking about you guys.

  6. "an escape from the shackles of my everyday stress"...

    wow, Ali. That sums up so much for so many people. You have no idea how much you validate other working moms. I wish I could don a black trench coat and offer you a series of colorful pills to either take away your work stress or add more hours to your day...but we know that pills aren't the answer...probably not good for the tummy either :0)

    You are thin because you just are. You are healthy because that's the lifestyle you are committed to. You are a good mommy and wife. Period.
    Read on!

  7. You have very eloquently described life. It is so hard w/ kids to balance it all; something always suffers. As moms, we beat ourselves up mercilessly, for what? To get stomach issues daily?
    You are doing a great job - recognizing the problem and trying to come up w/ a solution that benefits all.

    Take that deep breath, read that story, and eat some peanuts.

    It will be ok, I promise you!
    Love Sara