Stretched thin

A colleague of mine (single female with no children, I must point out) asked me why women are so bad at staying in touch with their girlfriends once they have kids. I realize she was making a generalization based on the fact that she was frustrated with one friend who hadn’t returned her calls, but I still felt the need to defend the friend a bit. 

As I thought about my own life and my relationships with my girlfriends since becoming a mom, I realized how tough it can be. 

Right now, I’m still trying to get settled into some sort of a routine as a working mom of two. In doing so, I’ve come to realize how many roles I have and how many different (and sometimes conflicting) expectations people have of me and, quite frankly, that I have of myself.  When I examine those roles and expectations, I discover that I’m doing a whole lot of things, but not really doing any of them terribly well. 

I’m trying the best I can to be a good mom to my kids, but often I feel like I’m rushing around and getting impatient with them. I’m trying to be a good employee and manager, but it feels like I’m always playing catch-up as my to-do list grows. I’m trying to be a good wife, but it feels like my husband and I barely get to say hello to each other, let alone have a real conversation or spend any meaningful time together. 

So, where does that leave girlfriends?  My two closest girlfriends are my best friend from high school and my roommate from university. They are both single. On the one hand, their schedules are a little more flexible and they are always willing to come to me for a visit. But I’m sure they’d prefer to spend time with me in a non-kid setting (and I would like that too!)

And then there are all the other people in my life that I wish I had more time for: extended family, family friends, work friends…

I feel like I’m being pulled in all different directions and getting stretched out of shape.  In an attempt to do everything, I feel like I manage to do nothing. 

I know the advice I would give someone else in my shoes: “go easy on yourself.”  “It will get better.” And, “you are doing a much better job than you think.”  So I’m trying to remind myself of that. 

Monday is a holiday here in Canada and I’m taking tomorrow off work to give myself an extra-long weekend. I know this will cause me some extra stress on the work front, but some family time is something I really need right now. Then, maybe, I can tackle the girlfriends!

Run #4 and #5: digging my fitbit one

This week was tricky because of D’s work schedule, but I managed to squeeze in my fourth and fifth runs.  I tried taking an antihistamine before the runs to combat the itch I’ve been experiencing.  The first time, about 5 minutes into my run, I started feeling the itch around my mid-back.  It was as intense as the time before and I was able to ignore it.  My legs never got itchy, so that was a relief.  The second time, I didn’t experience any itchiness at all.  I’ll keep taking the antihistamines on run days to see if it’s actually helping or just a fluke.

My new favourite thing these days is my fitbit one!  I used the fitbit flex (the wrist version) from May until the end of August.  I really enjoyed it until I realized how many steps it wasn’t counting.  When I would go out for walks with my mom, who also had a flex, our step counts would be hugely different.  I realized pretty quickly that it was pushing the stroller that was interfering with the accuracy.

D finally convinced me to replace my flex with the fitbit one.  He was curious about the number of steps he was taking everyday, so he took my flex.  After a week of use, I can say that it is making a huge difference for me!  I used to struggle to hit 10,000 steps, even with walking a couple of hours a day.  Last week, on my third day of using it, I got 19,000.  And one day this week I got more than 21,000 steps!!  Both those days consisted of more than one walk and a run, but even on a “slow” day, I’m seeing many more steps captured.  I also really enjoy the fact that it counts stairs because I run up and down our stairs many times a day.

It’s funny how competitive I get with myself now that I have it.  I also get competitive with my (very few) friends who are also using fitbits.  (Haha, I had to type that word five times before it stopped autocorrecting to “titbits!”)  I love seeing myself at the top of the leaderboard and I get extra-annoyed when my husband starts catching up to me.  It’s funny how much this little gadget can push me to move more.

So, it appears that I’ve pretty much survived my first two weeks of running training.  Aside from some minor muscle aches, I’m feeling pretty good.  My next goal is to work harder at stretching.  I’m a terrible stretcher and my muscles are always tight.  My flexibility sucks.  I know that stretching is super important and I don’t want to end up injuring myself so I need to commit to doing this.  Starting tomorrow, I swear.

Home again

Bo and I arrived home after a couple of days out of town visiting my sister and my university roommate. Turns out, Bo was a champion road-tripper.

My best friend and I hit the road, with Bo in tow, and had a wonderful time. Some highlights of our time away include:

– cuddling with my adorable niece
– spending time with the girls
– visiting the beach
– chocolate dipped butter tarts (yes, that’s right!)
– time in the car without having to listen to a Bubble Guppies DVD
– chocolate covered Double Stuff Oreos
– sleeping by myself in a king-sized bed

My best friend and I have been friends for 22 years. She is a huge part of my children’s lives but lately it seems that everything we do revolves around them. I know she loves them (and she is so amazingly helpful) but I wish we could spend more time together in a kid-free environment. Although we had Bo with us for this little getaway, we were still able to talk, catch up and just enjoy each other’s company without answering “why?” every two seconds.

All in all, it was a lovely time. I missed Littleman and D, but I really needed something for myself.

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Road trip

This morning, Bo and I are hitting the road. My best friend and I are taking him on a little road trip.

First stop: my sister’s house, two-hours away. We’ll spend some time with my sister and my niece. It will be nice to hang out with them without all the craziness of having a three-year-old around.

Then, we’ll carry on to our other girlfriend’s cottage. It’s in a little town that we’ve never been to and it should be nice to spend some time by the lake.

Although Bo is coming with us, I’m still really looking forward to some time away with the girls. Any time that I spend with my sister or my girlfriends is usually dominated by my kids (I’m so lucky that they all love my kids so much) so I’m grateful for the chance to get away and (hopefully!) squeeze in a couple glasses of wine, some delicious food and some adult conversation.

Littleman will be staying with my mom while I’m away because D has to work. I’m guessing he’ll barely notice I’m gone because he’ll be so excited to spend time with Nana.

So far we’ve had no issues with the car, so hopefully Bo will be a good passenger and enjoy his first road trip.

My kids’ friends or my friends’ kids?

When Littleman was a baby, I never really thought about who he would play with. When I wanted to socialize, we’d often spend time with friends who had kids that were a similar age. He was too young to choose his own friends, so we chose for him.

Now that he’s three years old, things are starting to change. He’s in daycare during the week and it’s so interesting to hear him talk about who he plays with.

Recently, his daycare teachers approached D and I to say that there is one little boy in particular, Jackson, who Littleman is great friends with. We were told that they play really well together and are best buds. They do everything together.  The teachers suggested that we consider arranging a play date outside of school.

This sounds fine in theory, but it’s kind of weird in practice. First, I don’t know this kid. I had to ask the teachers to point him out to me. Second, I don’t know his parents. I’m certainly not going to send my three-year-old to their house alone for a play date and I imagine they feel the same. So that automatically means that we, as the parents, have to choose to hang out together if we want our kids to play together.

With a newborn baby at home, I didn’t get my act together to reach out to Jackson’s parents. Turns out that they were getting the same message from the teachers and left us a note in Littleman’s cubby with their contact information.

So, I bit the bullet and texted Jackson’s mom to invite them to our place last weekend. D was working so I figured it would be a good activity to keep Littleman busy. I thought that Jackson’s mom (who, incidentally, is expecting her second baby in September) and I could chat and hang out with Bo while the kiddies played.

I’m not gonna lie – I was kind of dreading it.  I hate trying to make small talk with people I don’t know and it felt weird to invite strangers to my house.  But, since Littleman is usually forced to spend time with my friends’ kids, the least I could do is spend time with the parents of his friends, right?

On the day of the play date, Jackson arrived with both of his parents.  They had offered to bring lunch for the boys, but ended up bringing enough for us adults too.  They turned out to be very nice and normal people.  And the boys had an absolute ball.  They really do get along amazingly well.  It was one of the first times I’ve noticed Littleman play with another kid his age where they actually interact consistently with each other as opposed to just playing beside each other.  They clearly really like each other and had so much fun.

So, I guess this is something I’m going to have to get used to as the boys get older: my kids having their own friends instead of always playing with my friends’ kids.  As difficult as it is for me to reach out to people I don’t know, it’s important to me that I get to know the kids that Littleman spends most of his time with.  And, I suppose it doesn’t hurt for me to meet new people.  Maybe someday they’ll actually become my friends too.

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Visiting the office

It seems that I have a knack for having babies just in time to avoid major changes at my workplace.  During my last maternity leave, my company merged with another company.  When I returned to work, my office was in a different building and my team had doubled in size.  It made the back-to-work adjustment a bit harder because I had to get used to a new place and new people.  But, I was quite happy to have missed the majority of the stress and drama that went on during the transition.

This time, it appears that there will some changes once again.  My VP got a new job and left the company.  We’re getting a new boss, who is moving over from a different department within the company.  A couple of weeks ago, a rep from HR contacted me to let me know (of course, I’d already heard through the office grapevine!) and said that our new boss would like to chat with me if I was up for it.  He offered a phone call but said I could come in person if I’d prefer.

I decided that it would be a good idea to go in person.  I’ve never worked with him before and figured it would be better to meet him face-to-face.

So, today, I dragged Bo and D downtown with me to the office.  While I had my meeting with my new boss, D walked around the shopping mall attached to my office with Bo in the stroller.  Then, the three of us went to visit my colleagues.

It felt pretty weird to be there.  The meeting with the new boss was fine… he told me that he’d heard good things about me and wanted me to know that there would always be a place for me on our team.  He also made it clear that there would be some changes and that he saw this as an opportunity for a “restart” of our team.  Not sure what that means for sure, but I expect a bit of restructuring and perhaps some changes in personnel.  We’ll see.  Happily, I don’t go back to work until next February so I will be able to watch from the sidelines as things shake out.

It was nice to see my friends, though.  Bo cooperated and was happy to give some snuggles to my colleagues.

In the end, I’m glad I decided to go to the meeting in person.  It reminded me how lucky I am to have this time away from work with my boys!

One highlight of my day was the couple of times I fed Bo while we were there.  My office is attached to a major downtown shopping mall, where D and Bo hung out during my meeting.  Before and after the meeting, I nursed Bo in the mall’s nursing room.  Wow, I was totally impressed!  It was a huge room with two big, comfy leather chairs.  There was a long counter with a great change area.  And, attached to the room was a family washroom, so I could bring the stroller with me when I had to pee.  You had to use an intercom to ask security to open the room, so I didn’t have any random people walking in while I was nursing.   I was very pleasantly surprised and actually snapped a pic to show my friends!

 

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All showered out

I survived the baby shower that my mom and I threw for my sister on Saturday.  I’m not gonna lie, there were moments that were challenging, but overall it went really well.

I love my mom.  We are very close and we get along well.  But, she can be a bit hard to deal with at times.  She is the epitome of a perfectionist.  I’m a planner and I like things to be done well, but I can never, ever keep up with her standards.  Nothing ever feels good enough, so trying to throw a party together (especially in my hormonal pregnant state) was almost more than I could tolerate.

I may have mentioned that I am not a fan of showers.  As much as I appreciated my own (both for my wedding and my first baby) I really struggled with being the centre of attention.  I don’t really enjoy attending showers either.  I’m not into games and I’m not great at making idle chit-chat with ladies that I don’t know very well.

My sister, on the other hand, LOVES this sort of thing.  Whenever she gets invited to something (shower, wedding, party, etc.), she get so excited.  She genuinely enjoys them.  She thinks the games are fun.  She’s just that sort of person.

So, against everything that comes naturally to me, I made sure that her shower was something that she would love.  Regardless of the frustrations, the shower went off without a hitch and my sister was very happy.  The cake was adorable, the food was good, she got tons of amazing gifts and got to enjoy time with her friends and family.

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The cake!

Yummy virgin punch.

Yummy virgin punch.

Party favours.

Party favours.

You can tell by the colour of everything that my sister is having a baby girl.  I am thrilled to be expecting another little boy, but there were definitely some moments during her shower that I felt some pangs of sadness that I would never have a little girl.  The clothes she got were absolutely adorable and all the pink stuff just made my heart melt.  I don’t want anyone to think I am ungrateful for what I have.  I know this little boy is exactly what our family needs.  Littleman and his brother-to-be are the best things that have ever happened to me.  But, wow, all that pink…

After the craziness of the day, my sister and I finally got a chance to shed our party clothes for something more comfy and compare our bellies.  At just over 33 weeks, it’s interesting to see how we both look.  She had an ultrasound this past week and was told her baby was transverse (lying sideways).  At my last appointment two weeks ago, mine was breech.  You could definitely see a difference in the shapes of our bumps.

33 week bumps!

33 week bumps – I’m on the left!

Anyway, I’m glad that the shower is over and that I survived it relatively unscathed.  Now that it’s over, I can turn my attention back to the final preparations I need to do before my own little guy arrives in a few weeks!