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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
I am judging you right now. I’m being honest. Shouldn’t you be working? Those people who say they aren’t judging you? They are judging you and they are liars too and I prefer to tell the truth.
Seriously I have to judge. First, it’s so easy and second, it’s what keeps me out of harm’s way in both professional and personal life. And, it doesn’t switch off too quickly when I leave work. I take in information and make quick decisions. Part of it is my job training and the other part is for my sanity. I judge emergency scenes to see if I should call the police. I judge your website to see if I want to hire your company. I judge your actions to see if we should continue the conversation or if I am talking to a wall. I judge your behavior to determine if I should cross the street or keep walking in your direction. These judgements happen quickly because I’ve had lots of practice. In fact, I’ve had so much practice that even watching a video of an emergency scene I will see different things than someone without my training and experience. I will elect to call the police and you may not know what I’m talking about….until it’s too late.
On the flip side, In my personal life I noticed that as I get older I’m judging you less… out loud. If I think your outfit looks stupid, then that’s your business and you won’t hear it from me unless you ask. I realize that I probably think it’s stupid because I most likely wore/owned the very same thing in the early 90s. What’s it to me if I think you look stupid? Nothing. Also I don’t know your story. I may think you’re making a pathetic attempt at something when really you’re giving it the best that you’ve got. Again, I wouldn’t say these things unless asked. If you ask me, then I’m going to give you my opinion.
I’ve also begun to realize that, honestly, life is short. Why worry about you? I’ve already got lots on my plate. Besides, very shortly you will be judging me walking through Target like a zombie with a screaming infant. I wonder what you’ll be thinking? Nah, won’t really care.
Our current technology allows us to do so much. You can text with friends a world away or view those cute kids in Seattle that you may never see in person. You can keep up with your cousins (sort of) and you think “I should email them” every time you see and read informative articles they post. More importantly, you can also solve petty arguments over drinks with friends (FYI no one likes the smug person who looks up the answer to the question that was more fun to debate than to know the answer to. I know because I am sometimes that person.) Or you can just show your partner the shelves you want for the basement rather than trying to draw them on a post it note. You get the idea. That’s a lot of information at the touch of your fingertips, in your pocket, or in your purse. But for cripes sake, it’s your technology. OWN IT.
Here’s what I mean by own it. Just because someone calls or texts don’t feel that you have to answer immediately. Your phone should be for your convenience. For example, don’t answer your phone at the gym. You went there to work out, not chat about what you’re wearing to dinner tomorrow. I answered my phone at the gym last week. The call would have easily waited until I was finished.
Here are some other rules to help you own your technology:
Don’t bring your phone out during meetings. You can’t be concentrating on the conversation (maybe you weren’t anyway, but now everyone will know you don’t care and aren’t listening).
Put your phone on do not disturb when you go to bed or when you don’t want to be disturbed. I’ve got my do not disturb set automatically from 10pm to 6am to help me get a good night’s sleep.
Don’t answer your phone when you don’t want to or don’t have time to talk. They can leave a voicemail.
Don’t text at the table or when you’re supposed to be enjoying the company of friends and family who are right in front of you. Similarly please don’t leave your phone out on the table at dinner. It’s too tempting, you aren’t that strong.
Don’t text and drive.
Similarly, enter the directions of the place you want to go before you’re driving down the road. The same goes for music or podcasts. Que it up ahead of time. Find them first, then drive. It’s safer for everyone.
How to do you control technology so it doesn’t own your life?
There are so many messages that we recieve every single day. The online world has become a huge source of these messages. You can read Facebook for hours and get a tweet about anything right freaking now! These sources are vast including e-zines, websites, and millions of blogs (thanks for reading this one). Some of this world is girl friendly and a lot of it is not. In the midst of all this chatter what would I tell my younger self to help me be successful?
Life is not fair. My mom told me this regularly. I didn’t believe her, but she was right. If you tell a girl that life is fair, then you are setting her up for failure. No one needs to be set up like that! It’s total B.S. and it’s 100% not true. Equity is different than fairness. That is a lesson worth teaching and learning.
Work hard and be proud of yourself. Work hard so you can be intrinsically happy and know that you did everything you could in any given situation. Be proud, because as an adult, no one may cheer for you and/or give you a certificate or ribbon every time you tick off an accomplishment. It is unfortunate, but also true. You have to learn how to become your own advocate and “toot your own horn.”
As you grow up it’s likely that no one will notice you. This isn’t because you aren’t special. You are special. It’s just that everyone else is busy noticing themselves.
Celebrate yourself without the context and company of men. Girls turn into women. They will be your best friends and there are many times in life when you will need them more than a hot date.
I know these things because my mom said so. She is always right. Even when that drives me crazy. Thanks Mom.
“Your job must be scary. You run into burning buildings.” people say when they hear my job title of firefighter. I try to explain that I drill and work as part of a solid team where everyone has a job to do and that if everyone does their job, my job isn’t all that scary. Dangerous, maybe, but scary no. But there are things that scare firefighters.
Powerpoint presentations: I believe that everyone hates these. Right? But firefighters hate them extra bad. We know that we are about to be bombarded with important information. However, I have never met a firefighter that isn’t a hands on learner. If you want us to remember something let us touch it and do it. Showing us prepared slideshows isn’t going to cut it.
Dogs: Your dog may be a 100% happy angel with you, but we don’t know your dog. Please lock up “Princess” right after you call 911. She doesn’t know me and when we walk in with our bulky gear on and start touching her owner she gets concerned. She may show that concern by biting.
Computer work (paperwork): Holy crap man. I got promoted to Captain and I’ve got tons of paperwork! I write down every call in one book and type up every report in the computer. I also write down and type in my line up every day (and whenever during that day that it changes) as well as our training and activities. I do daily and monthly reports on my probationary firefighter and driver and semi-annual and annual appraisals on my firefighters and drivers. So when the Chief asks me to type up an extra letter about what happened on a certain call I cringe and write it.
Station chores: Waxing the floors, shoveling, and mowing the lawn are the top ones that come to mind. I’m pretty sure we don’t care for shoveling and mowing the lawn because these are things that we do at home as well. At least that’s why I hate it. Frequently I shovel to get ready for work and then shovel at work. And I swear every time it’s our shift’s turn to mow the lawn it is either hotter than the surface of the sun OR raining. There is no in-between. Waxing the floor is a day long production no matter how you do it. Honestly, the hardest thing is locating the floor machine and the accessories to accomplish the job. By the time you actually do the job you have been thinking about it for weeks and just want to cross it off the list.
Cancer: Our job is to keep you safe, but historically this means that we neglect to do the same for ourselves. I have seen a culture shift and we are keeping our air tanks on longer to breathe clean air while working and overhauling. No one wants cancer and no one wants to think about it much less talk about it. In Minnesota firefighters are helping to lobby against flame retardants that can cause cancer. You can read more about that here http://www.startribune.com/minnesota-firefighters-seek-action-on-stalled-flame-retardant-bill/302031251/
Back injuries: We want to do our jobs for a long time, but more than that no one wants to be 35 (or any age for that matter) and disabled because they were lifting an extremely heavy person. It’s the reason why I’ve started trying to master the dead lift.
I’m know that I don’t speak for everyone, but those are the top 6 things I’m scared of in-between running into burning buildings.