Best Laid Plans and a Dastardly Double Standard

If you’re a mom … whether your baby is 5 months or 25 years old, you’ve likely heard the gentle reassurance … “it took you nine months to put all that weight on. You can’t expect it to just drop off when the baby is born.” I typically need this pep talk around week 3 or 4 … when I’ve started to feel like a normal human again but my little ones keep asking me if there’s another baby “in there.” Ah, kids, so wonderfully honest 😦

And you know what, that’s completely true. It takes time to nurture and grow a baby and to put on 20, 40 or 80 pounds of “baby weight.” And rightly so, it takes months, and some times years, to return to “normal.” And by “normal,” I mean your new post-baby normal which may be bigger or smaller than you were before that bundle of joy entered the picture.

Now, if the pregnancy weight gain standard is true (which we’ve agreed is the case), that the inverse situation is entirely different … How is it that you can take months and months to build up your training and exercise, adding a mile a week to your walk/run schedule, adding cross-training and recovery, until you get up to a place where you feel pretty good, can run (walk or bike) the distance and/or time you’re shooting for. It’s all falling into place. You’re more than cautiously optimistic that the race you’d planned on tackling will not be the worst experience since … well … the last time you raced and weren’t at all prepared.

Then, out of nowhere, insert a couple weeks of craziness … maybe work is ridiculous, your little one comes down with a cold and doesn’t sleep a few nights in a row, maybe you catch the cold (naturally it’s worse for you!) next and literally can’t function without a tissue in your hand. Your workouts drop off considerably (but only for maybe 2 weeks … no biggie, right?!?)

Nope … BAM! Just like that, you’re back to square one. Ugh, a double standard I say. The days of having all of these “base miles” stored up in your body are gone, friend (which used to be the only thing that would convince we to take a rest week when I was a spritely athlete of 18 years of age).

I spend my work-life managing things, planning ahead, preparing so that we can be efficient and hit our deadlines … whatever they are. But in the “real world” of life, it seems that the best laid plans are usually blown up one or two times before things actually happen … or likewise, don’t happen. And that almost always … ALWAYS … applies to exercise-related plans. Naturally, working out often takes a back seat to a whole lot of other, more important things. But that doesn’t make it any less annoying and frustrating.

On a brighter nPerfect Shotote, SuperDad pulled out the bow and arrows today and managed to make an impossible shot within the first five minutes, despite upwards of 7 years without shooting it once. The picture doesn’t do it justice, but he basically pulled a “Robinhood” and shot an arrow perfectly into another arrow. Whaat?!?!

He could literally lie down for three years, eat three donuts and a half pound of bacon and still destroy me in any athletic endeavor and then take me down in a game of chess. The Bugger!

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Not My First Rodeo

So, I used to travel for work … I flew somewhere just about every other week … a different city, airport, hotel … I was “Silver” on USAir, had a card for a few different hotel groups and was Avis Preferred so I could just hop off that rental car bus and into my compact SUV and hit the streets … no dealing with those pesky “other less-travel-savvy humans.” I know, impressive. I had a “spot” in the parking deck at my airport and had the security rigamarole down. Boom.

Cut to now, seven+ years later and I travel a fraction of that amount for work (or at all.) And frankly, that “now” is the cat’s meow. I don’t need to add the unpredictability of the travel world to my often-too-long work week. I’ll work all damn night as long as I can make my son’s lunch and talk about which eagle has the biggest wingspan and what the educational path is to becoming a Ninja with my boys for five minutes in the morning on the way to school (in person and not over Facetime).

It might be important for you to know that my motto (or one of them because I have a few) in life is to “never be a tourist.” I like to know (or at least look like I know) what I’m doing. Perhaps that’s why I’m not a great actual tourist. My dad always told me that he travelled with a “sport coat” on because he felt like he was treated better … by airport people, security, vendors, flight attendants, etc. I of course, haven’t figured out the “Sport Coat” equivalent for women (and don’t tell me it’s heels because that isn’t fair and my other motto is that I “hate fake people” so I’m not going to be “fake” and wear heels that clearly aren’t at all “me.”)To cut to the chase, the thing that sucks is that even though I used to travel all the freaking time, now I feel like people think I’m REALLY a tourist or, even worse, a BEGINNER. UNACCEPTABLE I SAY!

Last night, by some weird stroke of luck or computer glitch, my flight back (on business of course) to North Carolina was spent in the first class cabin. As I mentioned in my previous post, I was TIRED … like eyes hurt to be open tired. So when we pushed back from the gate, I was out … dozed off before we left the ground. (I’m not gonna lie, it’s because I took my “very professional” pony tail down so I could really nestle into those plush seats on the (please flight attendant don’t ever say this out loud again) “really old plane.”  Insert slightly nervous laugh here.

I’m pretty sure my seat mate was about 12 … no, possibly 20 … looked like he may be on his way back from accepting a Nobel Prize in mechanical physics or something. He was dressed to the nines in a nice suit and looking professional and worthy of that plush super old seat. I of course was in three shirts (I had to put on the last shirt I’d packed as extra when I woke up in the lobby of that hotel because I was freezing and who brings a jacket when they go to New England in October, a pair of wooly lined leggings, a black skirt and gray slip-ons that are so old there isn’t any liner on the inside/sole of the shoe. I’d like to think the other folks were thinking, man that Vice President looks young, hip and cool, but judging by the reaction from the flight attendant when I woke up, they probably thought I was just a lame thirty-something who’s coming back from a gal-pal-visit to her old college haunt. “You’re not as young as you used to be, lady.”

“Good morning,” the flight attendant chuckled, “you took quite a little nap.”

Yeah, yeah lady. Just get me my VERY PROFESSIONAL ginger ale and bring that snack basket back toot sweet so I can grab another packet of Milano Cookies.

Add to that, as I was laughing on the inside at the fact they use real glasses for drinks in First Class (hey germ-a-phobes, it’s like a hotel room – give me the pre-packaged plastic cup please), my “very adult” and “worthy” glass stuck to the napkin and I spilled ginger ale all over my lap. Then I got the pitty napkin stack from the wonderful flight attendant and a judging eye glance from my pal next door.

Ugh, I can only hope that they enjoyed my snoring and maybe my head was tilted just far enough back that my mouth was open all ugly style … and the fact that if you were to crouch down to grab your bag from under the seat pocket in front of you, you might just smell my feet. You’re all welcome!

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Sleepiness, Cheesy Chicken and a Hotel Lobby

I mean, I got 5 hours of sleep last night … and nearly 3 the night before. And I’ve been on antibiotics for a cool five days so my body’s pretty used to it and the “issue” is pretty much gone … I didn’t run much last week with a stomach thing (see “issue” above) and this week I’ve already clocked about 65 hours at work and it’s mid-day on Friday … so I’m not sure WHY I felt like total crappola when I ducked out of the hotel for a short run. Craziness.

Oh well, thankfully I was reassured that my “jog” was lame by the nice woman in the hotel lobby on my return in the doors about 20 minutes after I’d left when she kindly jabbed, “That was quick.” Yeah lady, I know. Hopefully she saw me doze off in the business center for about 25 minutes. Nope, I’m not homeless, just tired, waiting for my ride to the airport and past the late checkout deadline!

My boss said that Mercury is in retrograde so perhaps that’s the problem. Odds that I’ll snore in the backseat of my boss’ rental car on the 2 hour ride to the airport? Pretty good, I’d say!

And true fact … a gigantic chicken quesadilla won’t fix a sore throat and such extreme hunger that nausea has set in. It felt promising when I ordered it but I was wrong. Oh well, it was only $13.

What I need right now, besides a sweater because the A/C where I’m at is going bananas despite the chilly temperatures outside, is to talk ridiculous life moments with one of my sisters.  And of course, to start rearranging my weekend now that I likely won’t be knocking out a 20-miler tomorrow.

On the docket so far: laundry that hasn’t been folded ALL week, a birthday party which we have not yet RSVP’d to despite getting called by the kid’s mom to make sure we’d received the evite (yeah lady, my week’s been a total biatch!) and then it’s time to figure out how the heck to turn my sweet little boys into The Hulk, Legolas, and either a ninja (that’s different from the ninja costume my son wears about every other day) or a “Minecraft character” (which I have no freaking idea how to create without cardboard boxes and lots of my own frustrated tears).

 

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No Simple Meals

“It’s as easy as boiling water.” Whatever. I may be able to bake a mean chocolate chip cookie but there are just some simple things I CANNOT MAKE in the kitchen. Oatmeal is not a difficult request (we’ve all handled tougher asks in our daily routines). In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s one of those tried-and-true things you teach your youngsters to make when they’re heading out on a boy scout sleepover. Oatmeal over a campfire? Sure. And it certainly wasn’t my first time making it for pete’s sake … but of course, as things go oftentimes when I’m manning the griddle, I botched it. And sadly, it was just plain old, from-scratch oatmeal. It was a “salt thing,” that’s all I’m going to say. I made a second pot and all was right with the world.

“Mommy, why are you taking my bowl away?” Asked one pouting little man in my life. 
“Because,” I replied. That was all I could say.
When we tucked back into the table for take-two, SuperDad simply asked,
“No salt this time?”

“Nope, not gonna make that mistake again,” I replied. I could hear the snicker, under his breath. Warranted.

To my defense, I was able to whip together a pretty tasty dinner the night before, as SuperDad  has been under the weather. But no, it wasn’t a delectable culinary masterpiece. It was baked beans and hot dogs. A little mustard, and ketchup. A pickle for each plate to add some green and we were done. Yummy … and I would say “foolproof,’ but as you’ve now heard, when I’m cooking, there is no such thing.

Oatmeal Part Two

 

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Early Mornings

I read a blog of an old friend who I likely haven’t talked to in-person since my junior year of high school (if even then). She, like me, is the mama to three little boys. As a native of the tiny island I  called home as a kid, she has many of the same memories that I have. It was a simple place … where you played outside and ran to the beach with your mere childhood friends. There was man hunt in the woods at the school up the road and endless hours of imaginative play in our back yards, along streams, in the tidal estuaries that surrounded us. As a grown up now, I marvel in the peace she finds and the reflection she gives to nature and the simple joys of life with her little ones. I envy the view out her window, of the mountains, her nearness to our hometown (4 hours versus 14) and of the quiet she finds to write her blog, knit and bake what appear to be heavenly vitals. And a garden that not only grows but yields diverse vegetables and fruits, herbs and flowers? I can’t even comprehend how that would be incorporated into a day. But she does it all with vigor.

It’s difficult in life to not compare yourself to others … especially those who have a somewhat similar beginning. To hear the stories of other professionals, mothers, women… it is impressive how seemingly similar and different we all are. As I was taking a read through her wonderfully refreshing site, and feeling the calm of her daily morning walk through her garden, coffee in hand, I thought of my own early  morning routine … Yes, mine also includes a steaming cup of hot coffee (my first of MANY), it’s in the wee hours of the day as well. However my view is slightly different. I strangely DO find calm in perusing what needs to happen that day in my planner … and what happened over email in the late hours of the night before. A sickness? Perhaps. But as I mentally tackle the meetings that have likely stacked up in my calendar for the day I can take a breath and prepare … and then, most likely before I’m completely ready, I’ll hear the first sounds of a tiny person waking up above and then the craziness of the day officially begins.

Morning View

 

 

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August Resolutions Fueled by a Potential Challenge

How many of us start “new year’s resolutions” NOT on January 1st? I don’t know about you but I start one every couple of weeks. In fact, back in April of 2013, I started a blog post about kicking off some resolutions as I was getting ready to head back to work from maternity leave. I never finished the post so you can be pretty sure I didn’t achieve those resolutions. I’ve also heard that it takes about 2 weeks of a new routine to successfully implement a change (2 weeks seems like a lifetime!) … and on top of that, I’m the type who needs something completely overwhelming and seemingly impossible to motivate me … marathon in 12 weeks with no base training? Bring it on!

So I went ahead and did something I said I’d never do again … I signed up for the Shut In. It’s a race that fills it’s start list via lottery so I figure if I get in then it’s kind of like fate … I was meant to do it. Nevermind that I swore after the first time I ran it grossly unprepared, that there was no way I’d do it again.  Yep, I’m one of those types of people.

So Saturday morning, like I always (try to) do, I laced up my sneaks with the help of my youngest, and set out for a baker’s dozen. It wasn’t horrible. It wasn’t anything like the race is going to be (terrain-wise) but it was mileage and that is something. 13 weeks and counting.

Starting a Run

 

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A Day “Rightly” Started

There’s a saying, that I cannot precisely remember of course, about waking up on the right and wrong side of the bed … there is certainly a difference, even though our feet most likely fall to the floor within a few inches of where they landed the day before and the day before that, etc.

In my opinion, it is absolutely fabulous, refreshing, invigorating, motivating … you get the idea … when a day starts off on the right foot. Last week I had a GREAT morning … My littlest woke up for a quick milk break, I snoozed my alarm twice and hit the treadmill. It was a short run but nobody needs to know the actual time, right?!?! After a quick shower (everyone’s still asleep mind you) I found a pair of my favorite underwear that I am pretty sure I’ve only worn once. (Momtaz introduced me to some fabulous underwear … the kind that actually covers your butt but doesn’t really show underwear lines … at least not giving away the full-coverage magic of the drawers.) I’m not gonna lie, I teared up a bit at the thought of a basically-new-to-me pair! Before you know it, I’m downstairs, lunch packed for my oldest, coffee cooking on the stove, my way-to-many bags packed for work and still, I’m the lone ranger downstairs. Just as I’m zipping the last bag, I hear the unmistakable calling of my middle monster and the day gets started. Ah, perfection!

Of course we can all harken back to a day that starts absolutely imperfectly … like two days after that great morning in my case! I slept through my alarm, oh wait, it was never even set! I threw together an outfit that was thankfully only half-dirty and slopped together a lunch for my school-aged kidlet. Just as I’m whisking him out the door counting to three endlessly in the hopes that he’ll  “Get your shoes on,” “Where’s your jacket,” “No, you cannot bring Legos to school,” my littlest projectile vomits a mixture of milk and whatever he found on the floor that morning while I wrenched my 3-year-old into some pants that are most likely his brothers, all over my shirt … “what the heck am I going to wear now?!”
As I wearily (it’s only 8AM mind you) dropped him off at Kindergarten I am pretty sure I said out loud to myself (and perhaps the newspaper man who always makes conversation at the traffic light), “Man, today is going to be a great day.” And you know what, in the most sarcastic way, it will be a great day.

I’m not sure if it’s really just the satisfaction of getting a workout done and in the books first thing or not, but for this Momster, that always is a good sign. And in a sick way, each day is excitingly ridiculously complex that by the time I got home that night I wasn’t even sure if I had gotten my run in that morning or not. Awesome.

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