2.27.2012

What is it about birthdays and baby fever?

Somehow, our family of three works. Really, really well.
With little P's SECOND birthday looming just around the corner (did I say looming ... I meant something more airy and positive sounding, like flirting), the crazies have officially come out. We are less than three months shy of B-Day.

Once this is known, I can't get through a conversation with friend, foe, family or stranger alike, without being asked "so, are you trying for a second?"

Note to new moms, moms-to-be or those of you "thinking" about getting knocked up, once you successfully birth your first child, you basically lose ownership over your uterus. You no longer get to decide when you are or are not going to utilize it's magical baby-making powers again, but rather, you must adhere to a strict timeline set by who knows, the pregnancy police.

Since May 10, 2011, the day Pearyn turned one, we've been haunted by this really heavy, really big, really, really suffocating urge to have another child. The weird part? I'm not sure where it's coming from, because somewhere along the way, this Chubby Vegan Clan got really, really set in their chubby vegan ways.

I'll admit to a touch of baby fever between the six-nine month mark ... I know, crazy right? My daughter wasn't even off the boob and I was aching to toss another one up there next to her (they could duke it out). I blame this on being a first-time mom and the fact that I didn't know how to cope with my daughter growing up.

That's back when I thought the independence Pearyn was discovering was something to mourn, a sign that my little girl was growing up. Now, a year later, I've truly embraced just how celebrated this maturing process should be. I no longer feel like an alien when my daughter picks up a fork and feeds herself; instead, I rejoice in the extra 10 minutes she'll be distracted shoveling food into her own mouth that I'll be able to do the same.

I no longer get weepy because she isn't small enough to comfortably fit in a baby carrier and be worn around like the sweet little prize she was; instead, I enjoy the feeling I get when her tiny little hand reaches up for my index finger and drags me along on whatever adventure she's setting out on. I'm proud of her independence. My body, my sanity and my stress level NEEDS her independence.

So now, nearly 31 months since embarking on this pregnancy, baby-having-and-raising whirlwind of a carpet ride, I'm starting to wonder how I'm going to convince myself to have another one now.

Don't get me wrong. We've always discussed having a second child, mainly because we want our child(ren) to know the sense of camaraderie that can come from a sibling (or at the very least, that it's possible, whether they achieve it or not will be up to them). Despite being six years apart and less-than-close while growing up, I feel a little less alone in this world just knowing my brother exists. It doesn't matter that he's four states and six hours away, he's alive, he's there and no one else in this world knows my parents or what our family really was all about like he does. A sibling is like a built in best friend, punching bag and voice of reason. I want that for Pearyn. I want that for chubby vegan baby number two, too.

Me in my third-trimester glory.
But I'm not going to lie. Regardless of Pearyn being one of the cutest, most parent-spoiling babies EVER (she was sleeping seven hours through the night at seven weeks old and 12 hours through the night from three months old through now), I still get a little queasy at the idea of going through the 10 months of pregnancy again.

And my pregnancy, it was a piece-of-cake. That's the worst part. My health was perfect, blood work was A+, Pearyn measured right on track and despite a few weeks of morning sickness in the beginning, it was seriously smooth. I only gained 17 pounds and was back in my jeans four days after giving birth. I didn't suffer from crazy back spazms, didn't have to buy an entire new wardrobe (I didn't really "pop" until about 34-36 weeks, so I got away with my long winter sweaters) and despite the 18-hour-labor and third-degree tears (in places no one should tear), I healed and bounced back quickly. So really, I can't even blame my lack of desire to be pregnant again on a really difficult pregnancy, really, I'm just a big selfish meanie.

Pearyn was a beautiful baby, with big, blue, cow eyes that all the other moms oohhed and aaaahed over. She had an infectious grin, a bubbly giggle and was so alert and nosey her personality showed through from week one. But she was a BABY. A crying, couldn't latch-on-to-my-boob-for-the-life-of-her (let alone digest it properly), helpless, BABY. And I was a frazzled, expected-way-too-much-of-herself, crappy mom to my beautiful baby. And I'm not being hard on myself here folks, it's the truth. I am a FAR better mother to my toddler (and eventually my "kid," "tween," "teen" and "young adult") than I ever was or will be to an infant. It's like I'm missing that googley-eyed mommy gene in me.

That, and I'm just really, really happy with the family-of-three dynamic we're rocking. It's no secret that I'm a complete and utter control freak, so the idea of birthing another beautiful little creature that will completely engulf my schedule, not to mention tear away every shred of control I have, is beyond frightening to me. I know I've got to learn to give in, but after 26 years of being this way, it's a hard habit to break.

So to answer your question, stranger on the street, curious reader, nosey family member and beaming mom-to-be friend, I don't know when we'll start trying for our second child. Maybe tomorrow, maybe next week or maybe next year. All I know is I'm not going to try and put a timeline on it. Just because Pearyn reaches 18, 24 or 30 months old, doesn't make me any more equipped to handle a second child. Instead of planning any future children around the age of my current one(s), I think I'm just going to wait and go with my gut. And if that doesn't work, I'm just going to wait until I'm ready to turn in my control and just accept the absolute calamity that comes with multiple children.

2.24.2012

Just say 'no' to the mommy guilt

I've had several careers since giving birth to my daughter a little under two years ago. Careers which have allowed me to be nearly every type of working or non-working mother you can be.
Once upon a time I had a
seriously kick-ass job.

I've been the traditional working mother; the kind that had to get up in the morning and make herself presentable, had to put on business clothes (ones that couldn't be covered in spit up or whatever bodily fluid the baby managed to project), the kind that packed up her daughter's life into a diaper bag and then carted her off to a sitter (who luckily enough was my parents or my close friend), the kind that cried all the way to work because of the guilt I felt from leaving my daughter, the kind that got home, made dinner and tried to soak in every drop of my daughter that I could because I had missed so much at work. I was the kind of working mom who pushed all of her needs aside, until the wee hours of the night, because she couldn't stand to waste any of the time earlier on herself when her daughter was around to be snuggled.

Being that kind of mom, was hard. It was really, really hard. I felt like I was letting stay-at-home mothers down by wanting a career, having a career and enjoying it. I felt guilty about not being guilty enough. I was being a bad mom, because I was choosing to let someone else be a mother to my child so I could work.

It was a difficult feeling.

And so then, in between jobs, I decided to take some time while job-searching and enjoy the perks of being a stay-at-home mom. I wanted to see what exactly I was missing out on. It turns out, a lot. And, at the same time, not so much. When I was a traditional working mother, I missed a lot of dirty diapers, a lot of smiles, tears, frowns and realizations. I probably missed the first time my daughter uttered a word without knowing it was a word and I probably missed the first time she rolled over. But there were things I missed that were OK to miss, that the Amanda in me, needed to miss. Like the tantrums, the excessive crying, the fit-throwing and the constant need to be rocked for sometimes hours on end to be put to sleep.

Don't get me wrong, I realize those things come with motherhood, I'm just woman enough to admit that the type of woman I am, needs a little help when it comes to some of those things. And my way of getting help from those stressful moments of "oh God why did I think I was ready for a child," was by going to work. It was having a career. It was allowing myself to be something other than a mother for eight hours a day. I'm not saying that one is better than the other, but I am saying that in my case, being strictly a stay-at-home mother made me a worse one. I lost myself. I got sucked into milestones, a tiny person's bowel movements and how many calories she was or wasn't taking in a day. I forgot that I was an actual person with actual needs before my daughter. And it took me a really, really long time to figure out what and who I was before I had a child; in fact, I'm still trying to figure it all out. So for me, being a stay-at-home mom just isn't an option.

So what was a mom to do? I felt guilt for not feeling guilty while being a career woman, spent commutes crying for being a terrible mom that wanted to get away from her baby, but couldn't find a way to stay at home with her daughter all day, every day without losing herself and her mind.

I found my middle ground.

Thanks to an amazing job opportunity, I'm now a work-from-home mother. The juggling act is grueling. Despite having extra hands here to help with my daughter so I can lock myself away in the office and slave over articles and stories that need editing, it's still hard. I hear my daughter's laughs from my office and want to know what she's giggling about. I hear all her cries and freak outs and find myself crawling out of my skin because I can't drive to a regular office like regular people and work. But it's worth it. I get to feel good about myself for being something other than someone's mother (which is something I need because even on good days, I still feel like I'm a terrible mother), I get to set goals and I've found a way to separate myself from my child, without really being separate from her.

Sure, there are some days I can't take the constant "where's mommy" questions my daughter asks over and over again in the mornings when I'm not there. There are days I wish I had a real reason to change out of my pajamas and put on my make up. There are days I feel like I have two faces - the working mom face who spends her hours holed up in front of a laptop - and the stay at home mother, the one who is still around her child and still hears every laugh, whimper and tantrum. I'm finding ways to balance these two out though, so that I don't lose myself or time with my daughter. I wake up at 5 a.m. so that I can work out and not think about things for a change. I exhaust my body because for one hour a day, I'm completely unaware of the mountain of tasks that await me.

I spend lunch hours with my daughter. I take her in, hug her, love her and enjoy the short amount of time I get to be with her. I appreciate the extra hour I'm saved in the day by not having a commute and I love being able to rock her to sleep now just because I have the extra 15 minutes on my lunch break to do so. I enjoy rocking my toddler, because even though she doesn't need it anymore, I now do.

I go out with my friends and allow myself to have a dinner every once and a while and not feel bad about it. I make myself shave my legs, put on make up, a dress and some too-high heels and go out with my friends. I make myself get dressed up so that I can feel like my old self, so that I don't lose everything about the woman I used to be.

I watch movies with my husband and lay on the couch. We lay low over the weekend and take in exactly what being a mother and father does to a marriage; and better yet, what it does to a man and a woman. And sometimes, when we're feeling brave, we go out with our daughter, just to practice exactly what having a family is and what family nights are going to be like.

So if you asked me to pick a side, to settle the debate on who has it harder, working moms or stay-at-home moms, I can tell you without a doubt that the hardest thing I've ever done in my life was to be a stay-at-home mom.

But even knowing that, it doesn't make the guilt I feel for enjoying my career so much (and not as many hours a day with my daughter) any less.

2.17.2012

I am not a runner ... I'm just someone who flails really fast

Well friends, it's time to weigh in, literally.

I'm ecstatic to say that after two weeks of getting my butt out of bed and on the track, bike or wherever else my morning exercise classes have taken me, I'm down a whopping five pounds.

I know, I don't sound nearly as thrilled as I should, right? I mean five pounds is 1/6th of my goal. I have a whole sixth of my target weight loss met in just two weeks. Wooooooooooooo hoooooooooo.

I actually was feeling really good about this, mainly since I hadn't really changed my diet yet, just my habit of sitting on my butt.

This is what 5 a.m., sweaty, just finished a
cardio kick boxing class, Chubby Vegan Mom
looks like. Be jealous of the stringy hair.
And then I saw my husband getting ready for work one morning. The same husband who doesn't work out. Ever. The same husband who was sleeping while I got my tired butt out of bed and went to the gym at the crack of dawn. Yeah, that husband? The one who has started drinking smoothies every morning for breakfast and limiting his coffee intake, well, he's miraculously down five pounds as well.

Did I mention I hate men right now?

It's just not fair. I strap my body in spandex and five bras to keep the ladies at bay while I run myself to the point of exhaustion, meanwhile he starts drinking smoothies and loses the exact.same.amount.of.weight. I've been losing sleep for.

I made a point to throw a hissy fit in front of him before he went to work. Exclaiming that if I just started drinking smoothies one day and not working out I'd probably gain five pounds. He tried to console me by pointing out that I was in fact a woman and had to have babies.

I didn't really give him much room to expand on that thought as I was ready to hand in the female card.

All I could think was "great, now you're reminding me about the whole child birth thing I have to go through, awesome. Just keep piling it on. Not only do you get to be fat, you get to go through one of the most painful things in the world, too!"

Just when I was about to disown him, he made up for his baby statement by getting to his point. Women have to have babies, you know, internally keep another human being alive, our bodies can't afford to drastically lose weight. I mean, it kind of makes sense, but that doesn't mean I think it's fair.

I don't want to be skinny, in fact, I know that's not a possibility for me. I'm a girl with a wide frame, big bones whatever you want to call it, even when I was at my thinnest I didn't drop below a size 9. Damn my mother and those large hips she blessed me with. I just want to feel good about myself again. I want to feel healthy. I want to be a good example for my daughter and right now, I don't think a couch potato is, so something's gotta give.

Something has got to change.

I've got to change.

Because my husband, daughter and heart are all counting on me to.

Well, that, and liposuction just really isn't in my budget right now.

2.13.2012

I've resorted to living in the dark ages ...


Well friends, something awful has happened.

My HTC Evo Shift, is dead.

Again.

For the third time ... in six months.

I know, you're all "Wow, this girl has broken a expensive piece of technology three times in six months, she should probably get a Jitterbug and call it a day."

But it's not my fault this time, not really, anyway.

The first time I completely admit to leaving it on the roof of my car and then maybe, possibly, running it over a tiny bit. Who knew that could break a phone?

But the times following, nothing catastrophic really happened to the phone. It wasn't run over with something weighing more than 1,000 pounds and I didn't take it swimming with me. I just sort of dropped it and the inside screen cracked or I dropped it and the outside screen cracked, or, it just fried itself because technology hates me.

Thank goodness for insurance, even if it only covers up to three phones over a 12-month span.

Truthfully though, I've never broken a phone. Ever. I've always made it to the two-year contract renewal time with said phone not only in place, but functioning completely properly.

So finally, with the passing of my fourth phone, my husband and I made the decision that I shouldn't have that one anymore. Luckily I was eligible for an early upgrade, but now I have to sit around and wait for that upgrade to take effect, in 24-48 hours. I haven't had a functioning phone since Saturday.

Do you even remember what life was like pre-phone? Because I didn't.

It must have been really, really peaceful and dull though.

So here's what I've learned during my two, going on three-day vacation from my phone (AKA my third hand or 11th finger because I seriously used it that much).

For starters, the peace and quiet are nice, for like 11 seconds, and then, you want to look something up really quick while you're in the car and you can't. Or when you're in the kitchen and too lazy to go to the laptop. Or when you're at your parents house and don't want to rely on their dinosaur-speed internet. Or when you're laying in bed and again, just don't want to move.

Yeah, it's nice to have a break from the eight million texts and emails I get in a day (not to mention the 42 calls my mother makes to me to make sure I know it's going to rain, snow, be warm, foggy or that she had a feeling I might be dead -- thanks mom). But it's really, really hard to stalk all my Facebook friends without my little handheld monitoring system.

And seriously, how do people without phones know what the temperature is going to be? Do you watch the news or something? Because while I get up early enough to watch the news, I'd rather dedicate my mornings to watching reruns of "Boy Meets World" and "Winx Club." I'd rather just give my phone a little tap and find out whether I need to warm the car up before I have to drop my child off somewhere.

Most importantly though, how am I going to upload photos of all the stupid things my child does in a day to my blog? I mean, sure, I have a big fancy camera now that captures gorgeous images, but if I want to upload those to my computer I've got to take out the SD card and put it in the laptop slot and THEN upload it.
That's just absolute nonsense when my phone could just upload them to whatever in two seconds.

There are a plethora of other reasons I miss having my phone, responsible ones even, like what happens if I get stranded in the mile-long drive to my parents house, how will I call them to let them know I'm alive, not to mention the need to actually be able to contact someone when I need to.

I guess the valuable lesson I've learned is this: either buy an indestructible phone, have a back up or remember and embrace exactly what life was like pre-cell phone.

Who am I kidding, I think I'll just get a backup.

2.10.2012

Just keep swimming ... just keep swimming

I bet you're thinking I forgot about you again.

I didn't.

I've just had a super busy week making all those super fabulous changes to my life that I wanted. In case you missed out, I set A LOT of goals for myself in my last post, mainly ones that involved juggling bowling balls, pins, elephants, trucks and teeny tiny marbles all at the same time.

Basically, I'm trying to get my butt off the couch and start doing all the things I talk about doing.

This week, I did a lot of them. I didn't get to blog as much as I wanted and I didn't really find as much time for the little things I'd still like to include (like knitting and baking and reading hoards upon hoards of books), but I'll find time to squeeze them in, just you wait and see.

So what exactly did I accomplish?

For starters, I took a little "me" time. Working from home with a toddler is a blessing and a curse. It's wonderful to have Pearyn nearby, but there are only so many pant leg tugs I can take before I need a little space. Don't get me wrong, I still get breaks here and there. Pear visits my parents a few days during the week so I can actually accomplish work and my cousin watches her on the days they don't, but still, there's just something about your toddler's tantrum-throwing, piercing screech that rattles on your nerves ... even if you're not in the same room.

So I got my hair did. That's what girls do with our free time; we get manicures, pedicures and we drink fruiffy Cosmos and talk about the men in our lives. So I got mine hacked (only partially), lots of layers and still a lot of length. Basically, if my hair isn't actually done now, I look like a homeless man. It's pretty hot.

Speaking of getting my nails did, I didn't. I actually just painted them myself, mainly because I have this weird thing about people touching my nails and cuticles and all that jazz. They were kind of wild, but if you're going to paint them then you might as well have fun with it, right?

When I wasn't having me time, I was getting my ass into shape. You'll be proud of me. Not only did I wake up once for a 5:45 a.m. exercise class with a friend, I did it twice. AND I ran on the track during the days I didn't get up at the crack of down to work out. It's pretty much safe to assume that lots of spandex was worn this week. Let's say a moment of silence for that poor spandex that was abused in the shaping of my ass.

And then there were cookies. Lots and lots of cookies. Most of them were for Pearyn though, so I don't feel so bad about it. Although I figure if I'm waking myself up in the morning to torture all my body parts, I can reward myself with a damn cookie if I want. But I resisted ... for the most part.

Pearyn on the other hand, didn't.

There were lots and lots of other things in between. There was work, articles to be edited, web links to be redirected and kisses to be had. Pearyn had lots of kisses on her plate.

And when there weren't kisses, work and spandex, there was shoes, tall, hot, red polka dot shoes.

Where did your week go?

2.03.2012

To keep your balance, you must keep moving

First, let me start by saying this.

I'm so flipping sorry.

I went all "got a new job, working 40 hours a week and now I'm too cool for school" on all my readers. I am a total flake.

But now I'm going to be better, because all the sudden I have this new zest for life. Yes, I just said zest and life and went all vegan cheeseball on everyone but it's true.

Sure, I'm still in the honeymoon period of my new job, but let me just say one thing: It kicks ass.

I mean it. My job totally rocks and aside from my stint as a copy editor (which had an awesome bunch of people but really atrocious pay), I haven't been able to say that about a job ever. Even during the first week.


Between the conference in San Antonio I had last week and my first official week coming to a close today, I feel so ridiculously honored to be apart of this company. A company that rewards its employees, recognizes their talents and gives them more than the tools we need to complete our tasks. So this is what being invested in feels like ...

OK, so I'll totally quit gushing about my job now before you completely run out on me forever.

Along with the new job came more hours, 40 hours a week to be exact (my previous job was part-time), so I'm still getting used to the 7:30-4:30 days. They schedule really isn't bad, but because I finally feel like I'm doing something I love for a company I love, I want to start doing lots of other things I love. You'd be so proud of me readers. This Chubby Vegan Mom even set up a work-out date for a cardio kick boxing class with another momma friend ... at 5:45 in the morning! Have I mentioned between a decent sleep schedule, some yoga and a good cup of coffee I'm really starting to embrace this whole morning person thing.

While I don't mind being the Chubby Vegan Mom, I want to be the Chubby Vegan Mom with a healthy heart at the very least, dropping a few (er, the good 30 I need to be 'healthy,' seriously, 30 lbs, can you believe that?) pounds certainly wouldn't hurt. Heart disease runs rampant in my family so I've got to jump on top of this situation as soon as possible.


So between starting the new job, trying to evoke healthy habits and a good 10-12 hours of softball lessons a week (yeah I pitched for my college team and give lessons now, what what?), I'm having a hard time balancing all these new and improved areas of my life. I keep telling myself it's OK, softball season will be underway soon and everything will slow down, but to be honest, for once, I kind of like the chaos. I kind of like being busy. I kind of like having an urgency to do things and I kind of like having a reason to feel absolutely exhausted at the end of the day. And most of all, I kind of really like liking all of this stuff. I'm starting to feel more like myself than I have in a while, which is probably going to bring a lot of positives and maybe some whiplash, but it's going to be OK.

I'm going to do a better job of balancing though, a better job of not neglecting my daughter, my husband, my family and friends, my house (and the cleanliness of it!), my blog, my newspaper column and everything else my crazy, neurotic brain is passionate about.

Instead of living life laying around on the couch I'm going to get out and do more, see more and be more. As Albert Einstein once said, “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”

What better way to live?

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