The Pleasure Principle

There are times in your life when you regret certain financial decisions.  Perhaps you shouldn’t have purchased that luxury car, or maybe that flat panel 60″ tv wasn’t such a good idea.   Of course, there’s those $500 Manolo Blahniks you convince you’re husband you’ll wear everyday and with every outfit, only to find out that they hurt your feet so much, that you’re spending the same amount of money on daily foot massages.   And then there are days like today, when you realize that perhaps you jumped the gun just a bit when you decided that it was ok to finally have your hair colored, obliterating that mocking gray hair that has begun showing it’s nasty claws.

Last month, I thought it was high time I should color this gray hair.   I felt the gray had worn out its welcome, as if I’d ever willingly hold open the door and allow it into my life.  I thought it was a wonderful time for a fresh start.   Henry’s two years old, I’m fixed, so there won’t be anymore little Dosers to grace this world, and I’ve begun triathlon training again, which means I’m FINALLY getting my pre-baby (more like pre-Henry, since I lost all of it I gained with Davey) weight back.     Why not get a whole new look?   Why not spend that money to get the good salon job, not the $10 “wash that gray right outta my hair” drugstore purchase?   Why not?   Let me tell you “why not”.  One word, or should I say “one name”…HENRY!

This afternoon, my darling second child decided that I needed more excitement in my life.   Apparently, he felt that either a.) he wasn’t getting his fair share of attention, b.) that I had become much too relaxed in my parenting, or c.) his pleasure principle was in overload and was taking over any and all ration thought.

This afternoon, while walking into my office, I came through our 20 foot foyer, our staircase climbing along the right side of the wall.  My idea???  I hadn’t written a blog in a while, and although I had no clue what I wanted to write it on, I knew I needed to write, if not for my followers (thank you to all of you), then at least for me.   I continued to contemplate, “what will I write about, have there been any firsts with the kids or with me?” And that, my friends, is when my darling, sweet little Henry seemed to call out to me with my latest blog post.   Yes, yes, as I walked into the foyer I heard, “Hey, Mom,” calling out from right above my head.  Was I imagining this?   He seemed so close and right above my head, surely I was wrong.  Or was I?

As I turned around and began looking upward, I saw my two year old, his feet along the outer parts of the staircase railing, his one hand grasped tightly on the spindles, and his other hand extended out waving to me.   I nearly crapped myself!  My stomach dropped, my voice rain away deep within the confines of my throat, and my mind completely went blank.   With no thoughts of what was happening, no screams of fear or worry, I jumped the gate, which was strategically placed at the bottom of the staircase, and bounded up the stairs, 5 at a time (thank God I have long legs!).   12 feet in the air was my baby, my second born, my flesh and blood, precariously climbing up the outer parts of the staircase by holding onto the railing.   There was nothing to protect him should he lose his grip.  The only thing to break his fall?   A plant and wooden table.   And God help me if he were to accidentally hit the mirror hanging on the wall above the plant.   If the fall alone didn’t break his neck and kill him, then the cut from the mirror may well do it.

It took a split second for me to reach him, a huge smile upon his face, and pull him back over to the “safe” side of the staircase.   He was smiling the entire time, until he looked into my eyes and seemed to register the fear he had forced into my life.

“Henry, what were you thinking?” I asked as I tried to prevent myself from going hysterical, the continuous thoughts of him falling playing over and over in my brain.

“I wanna go upstairs, mom,” he said so nonchalantly.

“But, you can’t climb like that.  You could get hurt,” I said as I carried him down the stairs.   He just looked at me, as if not registering what I was saying.

My boys are so different.   I try not to compare, but it’s hard when you’ve raised one who is cautious, thoughtful, and a thinker.   Davey is a “look before you leap” sort of kid.   Henry?   His pleasure principle seems to be in overload and he’s not grasping the consequences.  Not only did he stop my heart, turn all of my hair white, and age me another 40 years, but he also reminded me of how grateful I am that he is my last, otherwise I may not be alive to see my oldest graduate from kindergarten much less college.


Henry's daredevil
Picture my 2 year old, holding on directly above the mirror. Picture it for a moment and let it settle.



I Do Want To Love Myself

I don’t enjoy feeling this way. I really loathe it. I want to be happy and I know I can be, I’m just not really sure how to get there. You see, I’m my own worst critic. I have probably the world’s greatest self-deprecating personality. I am NEVER good enough for myself, and I really want to move past this. I just don’t know how.

Perhaps I put too much into my physical appearance, but it’s been almost a year since Henry’s birth and I can’t seem to get my body back into shape. I have a gut, hips, and thighs that are larger than they’ve ever been. I have a butt! When I was younger (high school) and was 120 pounds (70 pounds lighter than I am now), I would have killed for some curves. At 6 feet tall, I was the butt (pun intended) of every joke around for being such a stick. Now? I would just love to lose 20 pounds.

I’ve never had an issue with losing weight or being thin, so I suppose this is why I’m angered so much. I envy my younger self. I envy those on television and in magazines who are older than me, are not stick thin, but can own it and be the most beautiful women in the world. I envy their abilities to let it go and embrace themselves. I’m 8 months shy of hitting that 40 year old mark and I don’t want to go into my 40s being sad and depressed.

Tuesday night, I had a Christmas party to attend. I spent an hour trying on clothes, before finally settling on what I felt to be the frumpiest outfit ever created. I started crying and of course my husband tells me I’m not fat and that I’m beautiful. He’s suppose to say that so how can I really trust him? “Who are you?” I thought as I looked at myself in the mirror. I was once the envy of so many others, and now? Well, now, I’m just average, and my personality has never allowed me to settle with average.

I told my husband it was great that I didn’t work because it would cost us too much money for me to go back to work. All of my old clothing from my Corporate America days no longer fit! I would need to buy a whole new wardrobe and that would pretty much negate the reasons for returning to work…needing more money.

I genuinely wish that I could happily look at myself in the mirror and be proud of how I look. These curves and stretch marks are thanks to two of the greatest gifts in this world…my sons. If I had my old body, then it’s likely I wouldn’t have them. They are totally worth it and I’m grateful that at least they’re the reason for my body metamorphosis. I work hard to try to relieve myself of some of this added weight, but nothing is working.

I trained for two triathlons and a half marathon over the past year! I can do more than I did before having kids, but I can’t seem to get rid of the weight. I actually shaved 20 minutes off my overall time on my last half marathon, and yet I’m still 20 pounds heavier than I was from the first one. It’s not muscle, folks, so don’t start down that path.

I know what my issue is, at least within the weight loss arena, and it’s my inability to get rid of the sugar and flour in my diet. I wrote a post a few weeks back about the harmful effects of sugar, and no matter how hard I try, I cannot expunge it from my life. I want to have my cups of coffee. I want to have the occasional treat. I don’t buy any sort of candies or cookies because I don’t want to deal with that temptation, but I can’t give up my coffee. I just can’t.

Five years ago, when I was at my thinnest and healthiest since high school, I was working at a corporation that provided lunches and snacks on a daily basis. These snacks consisted of ice cream, chips and dip, and even some of the yummiest cupcakes I’ve ever had. I only ran 3 miles a day back then (way less than I do now) and I was a size 10! Perfect for my 6 foot frame. I was even drinking a Starbucks venti mocha TWICE a day. These days? I treat myself once a week to a mocha and I ask for it to be skinny, and my coffee no longer has sugar, but instead splenda and I drink way less of it now than I did back then. I don’t drink sodas (which I did then) and I drink more water. So what gives? Really, what gives?

I would love to be one of those women who is able to name her stretch marks and rolls of fat. I’d love to be able to say, “Regina Roll,” while pointing at my belly, “you’re here because of Davey and for that I love you.” It’s just not going to happen and I don’t know what to do.

Part of me says it’s a losing battle especially around the holidays, but I can’t give in. I can’t let all the yummy and unhealthy foods readily available right now push me over the edge.

Maybe one of these days, I’ll be happy with how I look. Maybe one of these days I won’t “believe” I’m feeling the stares of other people around me for being fat. Maybe one of these days I’ll just accept that this is a part of life. Maybe one of these days, I’ll just destroy every mirror in my house. Or maybe one of these days, I’ll learn to love myself the way God does.

The Not So Patient Mommy

I think it’s getting worse, either the older he gets or the older I get, or perhaps just both! Shortly after I made the life changing decision to become a stay at home mom, I truly thought I was developing that virtue that had eluded me my entire life…PATIENCE. For a while, I actually believed that I was turning a new page and becoming the patient person I had always hoped I’d be. Then one day it was no longer just the two of us at home. Henry had come along and I was now forced to find a way to split my time between the two. Not an easy feat, but one I thought I was accomplishing.

Now that Henry has become more mobile (I always envision myself saying that in a British accent, not sure why), he’s started impeding my progress with Davey. This, of course, is infuriating to Davey as he’d truly like to have me all to himself. And since I am a stay at home mom, I believe it is not just my duty, but also my responsibility and obligation to mold my children. I am accountable to their character and integrity, their strengths and weaknesses, their emphatic abilities, and their learning and intelligence. This is mine. It falls squarely on my shoulders.

I do send Davey to preschool, which my husband really refers to as “glorified daycare”, and truly I can’t really argue with him, but I don’t do that in order to wash my hands clean of my responsibilities. Davey goes to preschool, 2 days a week, 3 hours a day, 6 hours a week. It’s a minor amount of time, but one that is vital not just to my sanity, but to his, Henry’s, and really my husband’s.

Sending him to preschool does not alleviate my role as his primary teacher, nurturer, guardian, and confidant. It’s just a little added padding to what I’m already doing with him. Unfortunately, I’m finding it harder and harder to teach Davey anything the older he becomes. He suffers from the horrible Doser/Bruce trifecta of being independent, strong-willed, and hard-headed. It’s becoming virtually impossible for me to teach him anything as he refuses to sit still for more than 3 minutes and listen to me explain something. How can I explain to him how to tell time when he won’t look at the cards or me?

He’s still young, albeit a few weeks from three, but I can’t believe that he’s not capable of learning more than he’s willing to at this point. Problem is how do I teach him that something more, when I have a 9 month old screaming and crying, pulling on my leg, a dog whining because the 9 month old’s crying is driving her bonkers and she won’t go outside because it’s raining, and a nearly 3 year old who tells me he already knows everything? How do I teach in that environment? This is why I never chose a career path as a teacher.

So, while once upon a time, my patience was finally starting to blossom, all it really took was the Terrible Twos and Trying Threes, to really stomp it out of existence. And people wonder why I “torture” myself with training for Triathlons and Marathons. If I didn’t have that outlet, I would literally go insane.

You Go, Girl!

There was an overwhelming sensation that came over me. I wanted to flee. I wanted to say, “screw this” and just walk away. I wanted to vomit. I wanted to do everything except the task that was staring right back at me, the one thing I’d worked hard for over the past few months, the one thing that only a day before I was so excited about. I glanced over at the clock, hearing the seconds tick away even though there were waves of voices all around me. Should I pray? What for? It seemed almost selfish, after all I was the one who gotten myself into this. I was the one who thought it would be a wonderful idea to compete in a triathlon. Now as the minutes faded and I watched the minute hand hit the “12”, all I wanted was for this insipid thing to be over, and just as I thought that I might sneak out the back, I heard the whistle blow and the sound of the first swimmer jumping into the water. It was too late.

I’m guilty of having grand ideas, of seeing wonderful events in the future, things I know I can participate in, but then immediately second-guessing my mental state once the day of arrival is here. I often wonder what I was thinking. I fear that I’ll fail and people will be laughing at me. I fear that I’ll injure myself (physically, mentally, or emotionally) and never recover. I fear that I will be just average, and that’s not what I want.

After almost 20 years of running (not from my fears, although that thought has crossed my mind), I decided to up the ante a bit and compete in my first ever triathlon. I wasn’t completely naïve as to what I had decided to take on. I knew it would be difficult, but I knew I could handle it. The only true worry I had was swimming especially considering that the older I’ve become the more I seem to have a developed a case of claustrophobia. Once my head is under the water, I can’t swim. I panic. I think, “what if I need to breathe and I can’t?” Truly, drowning is my worst way of dying. Don’t confuse my fear of swimming with the fact that I can swim. I’m an average swimmer, not too fast, but thanks to my long body, I can reach the other end of the pool a lot faster than the average swimmer. I can keep myself alive, which is the true point of swimming, at least for me.

Sunday morning, I tossed out those fears even as I stood surrounded by 140+ other women, and conquered any doubt I may have about my ability to complete a triathlon (and NOT be last). It really wasn’t until I completed the bike portion, when I saw the greatest cheering section a girl could ever have, that I knew this wasn’t just a great thing for me, it was also a wonderful and encouraging experience for my boys. I finished the 2.5 mile run with my almost 3 year old screaming, “go, mama, go” as he ran across the finish line with me. And when I thought I had not an ounce of energy still left in me, I was able to pick him while still running and laugh along with him.

Crossing the finish line with Davey!
Crossing the finish line with Davey!

My husband has always been my encouragement with any endeavor I partake. He maintains faith and confidence in me, and tells me how great I’m doing. When I have an “I can’t” moment, he immediately counters it with a slew of “you cans”. I am blessed.

I’ve run a lot of races in my life and my husband has been at 90% of them, waiting for me at the finish line, yelling for me to push myself, but this race was different. This race was the first I’d ever competed in with all three of my boys cheering me on. I felt like a super hero. I truly felt that Davey saw me as Super Mom, and my heart just exploded with the excitement.

My parents never participated in events like this. Athletic events were never really their forte and it’s not something they made the time for. I don’t want that for my boys. I want them to see that Mama is more than just the one who takes care of them, and perhaps seeing me in this arena will encourage them to participate as well.

And while I was sick at my stomach, miserable and unable to sleep the night before my first ever triathlon, I’ve decided to do another one. That’s right. I have a masochistic nature, a desire to torture myself. What can I say? As long as I have that same cheering squad as this past weekend, I’ll be alright. I can conquer anything.

My cheering squad!
My cheering squad!