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A few thoughts about breastfeeding…

 

I knew that I was going to breastfeed my baby.  Check that. I planned on breastfeeding my baby.  Of course, I also planned on an all natural birth without interventions and ended up having a C-section after over a full day of labor.  Plans! Isn’t there a saying about plans?

I had friends that breast fed, but I had no idea what I was starting. In hindsight my best advice was from a friend who said she struggled with breastfeeding for 3 weeks.  She said she was determined not to give up. I still haven’t given up, but I do have some thoughts.

  1. It is unfair that childbirth is so grueling and then is immediately followed by breastfeeding.  If you have the honor of completing either, they are two of the most challenging activities of your entire life. Childbirth is no walk in the park, but it’s relatively short when you consider your breastfeeding journey. I’m 8 months in and I’ve been tracking my stats.  I started out the first month at nearly 90 hours of breastfeeding.  That’s every two hours or so for the last 8 months. Let that sink in. The kiddo won’t wait longer than that unless it’s night time.  The kiddo is also in the 99% percentile for height and weight.  I suspect this has something to do with it. I’ve been in beast mode since August.
  2. Breastfeeding moms don’t care what you think.  This includes, but is not limited to: your opinion on breastfeeding, if you think my kiddo is too big or that I shouldn’t be feeding him in public or whatever, then just keep it to yourself. I do not need your approval and I couldn’t care less if you support me. I’m doing it anyway.
  3. Random nutritional fun facts. I get hungry. I need snacks. I don’t care what time it is or if my snack is cheese slices from the back of the fridge. I have also been known to eat that nasty Betty Crocker frosting in a tub when I want something sweet (just a few spoon fulls). I’m really trying to eat healthy, but I get hungry.  Rumor has it breastfeeding burns roughly 500 calories a day. Did I mention that I run as well? I’m training for a 10k. Some days, when I run, I’m guessing I need to take in an extra 1,000 calories a day.  
  4. Tucking in my shirt. Please!

 

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There should be an award for that

We joke that we live at time when everyone gets a participation trophy. There is even a commercial about it

I grew up before this current trend and if I had my say we…wait, that’s not what I wanted to write about. There are two things that we, as adults, don’t get awards for that we should.

First, I would like to institute the “I went to bed early” award. This would go to people who genuinely tried to get at least 8 hours of sleep. They left the gathering early, turned off the game and/or computer, and went to sleep. If you need inspiration to qualify for this award, you can watch this not for kids bedtime story. Sadly, this won’t ever be a real award. If you get a good night of sleep you have a clearer head and it’s a bit easier to deal with stressful situations.  Please, consider going the f*** to sleep.  Luckily, going to sleep early is it’s own reward.

Second, I would like to create an “I left work” award.  This award would be for people who put in their 8 hours of work and then go home. Award winners will probably leave some work on their desks, but hey, there’s always tomorrow. If you are an hourly worker or rely on commission then this award won’t be for you. Grind on. But for those that make a salary remember “the man” only pays you for 40 hours.  Your ridiculously high hourly rate is significantly smaller if you add in all the emails and phone calls you field on evenings or weekends or all those times you need to take a quick peek at a project and then get sucked into an 8 hour work day on your day off…and if you end up pulling an all nighter for work then you’re losing out on the first award as well. If you’re at all like me, you prefer to do the majority of living outside of the workplace.  That’s where my family is and that’s where many of the things I like to do are as well.  Get in, get out safely, and get paid.

What would you like to see awards for?

Resolutions or goals?

We’re just into the new year and I’ve been giving serious thought as to whether or not I should bother writing New Year’s resolutions. Last year I did and I used an online template. The basic format was this: a word or phrase for the year, something I want, something I need, something I will share, and a way I will succeed. I liked it because it wasn’t just a laundry list and it required a great deal of thought. I looked over it just before year end and I was successful. I could check everything off the list. However, I only wrote things on the list that I was sure I would be able to complete because no one wants to look back and feel like a failure, right? So if I’m only going to write an easy list, then why bother? And if I do some serious soul searching and write a more complicated list it may keep me on track, but I might look back at 2017 and be disappointed with the results. You see my conundrum.

I think that I have found a compromise. This year I’ve settled on choosing a word/phrase to motivate me throughout the year. It will guide my thoughts and actions as well as something that I can mutter to myself when I’m feeling a bit down. I even have one in mind, though I won’t share it here. I feel it’s sort of like a birthday wish in that regard.

But I do have a goal that I will share. I just got some new running shoes after wearing mine to death during pregnancy and then walking them to death afterward. I feel like I got my money’s worth out of those shoes. Most of my running shoes still look pretty enough for casual wear when I’m through with them. These are headed back to the manufacturer for donation. The woman who sold me my new shoes in a half size larger (thanks kiddo) asked if I had any training goals. I’ve never thought of training goals other than run this race or that race. This year I’m putting thought into training goals. I’ve found three 10k races to run and another 10 mile one. The half marathon (that I’ve run a bunch) takes more time than I’m willing to sacrifice this year and 10k is fast and happy. That is the plan. Hopefully I won’t get to that point in the race where I think “Why am I doing this? I want to go home.” I’m thinking I can do a 10k in an hour….wait that doesn’t sound like a goal. I want to do a 10k in an hour. It seems doable with a bit of work (I may not have mentioned previously, but I’m not all that speedy) just as a goal should be. Bring on the 10k because I’m (__insert motivational phrase here____).

 

Post Election Blues

Recently there was a presidential election in the USA. Pre-election I tried to speak up for what I feel is right in person and online. Online is far tougher.  I will continue to do so, but it is difficult because I  believe people type things that they would never say to their so called friends.  I was in a funk, but now I’m back.

I’m less than excited about a Trump presidency for many reasons.  I’m not going to list them here. I’m not asking for opinions today.  To begin to cure my disappointment I have found comfort in friendships and comedy.  For me those two are truly a winning combination. There are so many satirists that have made me chuckle with material that is on point, but my favorite was Dave Chapelle’s opening monolouge   on SNL on November 12.   He outlines some current events in the USA: Mass shootings, Black Lives Matter, and Trump as president.  My friends listen.

I’ve never been big at looking backward. There is so much “should have” that “would have” in these past weeks that I’m about to scream. And while there are lessons to be learned from the past, they do not mean anything unless you apply them to current situations or to the future.  When I was in church one Sunday as a kid, the pastor pointed out that you can’t drive a car looking out the rear view mirror.  He was right.

I was talking with one friend who was feeling particularly discouraged about election results and she asked me how I remain upbeat.  First, I am not always that upbeat. But what keeps me sane is remembering that I have the power to change my world.  For me, I focus on what I can do right now and I get out there and do it. There is garbage on the street, so I pick it up.  Teenagers acting a fool at the gym. I point out that I can hear them and so can many others. In addition, I have also started volunteering with an organization that closely matches my values. On the Saturday after the general election I talked with nearly 500 girls about being a fire captain and answered their questions before they ran their first 5k race ever. Some of them got their hair done at a booth and some of them wore tutus and capes. And some of those girls also tried on my fire coat.  I looked yesterday and my fire coat has a fine coat of glitter on the collar. I don’t think I’m going to wash it off.  

Desiderata – by Max Ehrmann

My grandma had this poem in her kitchen, so does my mother, and now so do I. We’ve got an election coming up tomorrow.  I think we could all use a bit of this today.  Be well.

Desiderata by Max Ehrmann

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass.

Take kindly to the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann c.1920

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Is your costume wrong?

I went to the gym and stopped to get a donut (do not judge) and I was almost run over by clown.  I was shocked and then I remembered that it’s Halloween.

Halloween is fun here in the frozen north. I spent many years dressed as a princess in a winter coat, a cowboy in a winter coat, and Yoda… in a winter coat.  But this year it’s supposed to be lovely and I’m excited to see all the costumes in the neighborhood while I pass out candy.

I know it’s a bit late in the game, but I’d encourage you to re-think your costume.  I was out for dinner at a bar last night and I saw a server dressed as an Disneyesque  “Indian.” Once again, I was shocked. Isn’t it 2016? Aren’t we done with ethnicities as costumes?  I know I am. I would also discourage costumes for women that include the prefix “sexy” such as sexy nurse, sexy firefighter, sexy witch. Nursing is hard work and not much about is sexy.  If you look sexy in scrubs, then you’re doing it wrong. Firefighting isn’t sexy either.  When I’m working hard at a fire I am a sweaty stinking mess.  It isn’t sexy.  Witch? Honestly I don’t know anything about witching.  Maybe it is sexy?

Instead I would encourage you to, as my grandfather used to say, use your head for something other than a hat rack.  Pick a non-trampy looking respectful costume. Don’t dress up as an ethnicity.  It’s offensive and rude. Eat tons of candy and hand out more and have a few drinks if that’s what makes you happy.  Happy Halloween!

Check yourself before you wreck yourself

Partly because it’s election season but mostly because it’s true. I’d advise everyone using the internet to

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Yes, I am aware that wreck is spelled with the letter W, but here I’d like to give credit where credit is due.  The person that brought this phrase into the mainstream did so many years ago and he was right. Ice Cube was right.  

You can find proof for anything on the internet and to top that you can find memes for any “proof” whether or not it is true.  The internet is a wondrous and scary thing. I know this is true because at our house we have been reading parenting information like it’s no one’s business.  One person says that babies should learn the art of self soothing by letting them cry themselves to sleep and another will say that same practice will scar your child  leading to a possible life of crime.  Like in most contentious issues the truth is probably somewhere in between those two answers. In this case, what has helped us is considering the source of the information. Is it a blog written by Sheila? No offense Sheila, you may be a wonderful parent or even call yourself a parenting expert, but you don’t have any credentials (I’m not saying that you need credentials to be correct. Stick with me here).  Was the article posted by an author with credentials selling her self-proclaimed top rated sleep book for only $19.99? Again, I may be skeptical as she is probably just trying to promote her method, her book, and herself.  You go girl, but it still might not be for me! Was the article published by a professor of infant psychology? It may be more reliable unless the study was funded by Pampers and the whole article is about how Pampers help your child sleep the entire night. The point I’m trying to make here is that just because someone states something online doesn’t necessarily make it the truth. Be skeptical and spend some time fact checking.

Let’s take this a bit further, presumably you get to vote shortly and I’ve seen some ridiculous posts online Facebook people. Yes, you are entitled to an opinion, but pretty please “Check yourself before you wreck yourself.” If you’re going to post an article, then I think you should do some fact checking rather than posting “Is this true?” and inserting controversial article from questionable source. It saves those people you presumably care about (those that you call friends) from calling you out and it helps you to save face.  Just because Joe Pundit says something does not make it true and just because it was on Fox News doesn’t make it false. You have access to the internet in the palm of your hand or maybe it’s far away like in your purse or pocket.  Use it to inform yourself.  In other words: Check yourself before you wreck yourself.