My Simply Complicated Life

Welcome to the blog of an ordinary mother who sometimes just might have something extraordinary to say

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly!

This afternoon, as my 10 month old napped on my chest and my three year old entertained herself in the playroom doing who knows what (don't worry, I know what you're thinking, "Mother of the Year"), I was able to have some "me" time.  How did I spend the "me" time, you ask?  As much as I would have enjoyed a run on the treadmill at the gym, a mani/pedi or other spa service or heck, even a nap, I had a sleeping baby on my bosom which stranded me in the La-Z-Boy much to my displeasure.  I shuffled through the guide to see what was on the tube and discovered why I typically get out of the house on Saturdays - there is nothing on TV worth a second blink.  I thought of purchasing a movie On-Demand - something that had piqued my interest with a titillating preview that I never got around to seeing because let's face it, that requires a sitter and about a hundred bucks these days.  Instead, I opted to watch something I had recorded months ago that I kept putting on the back-burner - a movie called "Motherhood" starring Uma Thurman and that geeky doctor from "E.R." (a.k.a. Goose from "Top Gun").  In retrospect, I should have kept it on the back-burner until it auto-deleted from the DVR.

The movie follows a frustrated Manhattan mom (former book author) who just wants ten minutes to write a blog to submit for a contest with hopes of winning a job as a contributing writer.  She finds herself getting caught up in chores, grocery shopping, dropping off something to her daughter's class - you know, being a mom!  Of course, it's a movie so other not so everyday real life things occur but overall, I can't find myself sympathizing with this woman who misses her pre-stretch mark and sippy cup days.  Welcome to "motherhood!"  I was, however, inspired to write this blog so I guess that hour and a half wasn't a complete loss.  When this movie came out in theaters for five minutes last year (surprisingly enough it was not straight to DVD), Parenting magazine ran their own writing contest.  Naturally, I wanted to enter being the passionate writer that I am.  I'm sure you're wondering where I miraculously found five minutes to write an essay considering that I'm a M-O-M (gasp).  Well, for one thing, I wrote the essay when I was in possession of one less child and I likely wrote it with a sleeping child in my lap.  The contest stipulated a 300 word essay describing what motherhood means to you (me).  Easy enough, right?  I had a harder time figuring out an appropriate picture to include (also a requirement) to portray your theme. 

In relation to the title of this blog, here is the good (in fact, great) part of motherhood as described in the piece that I sent to Parenting for the contest.

R’s mom.  Suddenly, it seemed I was no longer Jessica but rather mother of R.  Although it may appear I had lost my identity, the truth was that becoming a mother to this extraordinary girl helped me to find myself more than I could’ve imagined.  Motherhood to me equals fulfillment, growth and purpose.  As early as I can recall, being a mommy was all that mattered.  I had other aspirations but soon determined becoming a parent would be the most rewarding and worthwhile accomplishment that I could make in my life. 
Since her birth, seeing R reach daily milestones has brought an enriching fulfillment to my soul.  Each day I witness discovery and exploration through her innocent eyes and it reminds me to appreciate the little things and life’s precious moments. 
Watching R blossom before me inspires me to grow into the woman and mother she deserves – one that she can respect, admire and aspire to be like someday.  My heart has expanded to make room for the overwhelming amount of love that I feel.
Many believe their purpose is to change the world.  I believe being a parent can change the world, maybe not everyone’s world but certainly your own and that of your child.  I have the opportunity to shape R in both significant and insignificant ways whether teaching her a lesson on inner beauty or showing her how to apply makeup (someday).  Being her mother and making even a small impact on who she becomes gives me reason.
Motherhood means everything to me and has not changed my individuality.  Instead, R is an extension of me; in fact, she is truly the best part of who I am.  Now expecting my second daughter, I am excited to start the cycle again while still evolving as R’s mom. 
There you have it - the joys and blessings of being a mother.  Now, of course, I have two beautiful girls who are my all and bring such definition to my being.  That does not mean that there aren't bad moments when I too reminisce on those days when I could sleep until noon or hop in the car to take a road trip on a whim.  The "bad" (and it's not really bad - more so hard and less than enlightening) means picking up toys over and over and over again, wiping tushies over and over and over again, saying "no...NOOOOOO" over and over and over again after each breath when the three year old wants candy for dinner or when the 10 month old repeatedly tries to pull a cord out of the electrical socket.  Not to mention the way your heart stops when you hear your 10 month old gagging on a Puff or when you lose sight of your three year old in Target for two minutes.  Times like that certainly put into question the wonder and amazement of parenting.  Thankfully, the good certainly outweighs the bad.  Love certainly conquers all in relation to motherhood - that's why they call it unconditional.  The moment you hear the breathtaking, melodic sounds of your baby's cries as they enter the world - your life changes for the better and although you may at times question what you got yourself into, there are no regrets.

Well, that's not completely true.  I have one regret.  I totally should have used that 90 minutes today to do something more constructive today versus suffering through the bad acting that is Uma Thurman, ergo the ugly part of this blog.  The day wasn't a complete waste - I spent one on one time with kids and that is (in the words of Miley Cyrus) pretty cool!

By the way, in case you were wondering what the picture looked like that I submitted for the Parenting contest (and shockingly I know, I didn't win) - here it is:

By the way, R's name is on the blanket in the background so that explains the heart (blocking it out).  Unfortunately, I don't have any fancy photo editing software - just Paint, ha!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Swim in Denial

Where to begin?  I started thinking of this blog last week.  It's a little all over the place so bear with me please!

I was reflecting on the relationships in my life, some of which have thrived and flourished and others that have slowly started to wither.  Like a flower which takes water and sunshine to grow, a friendship takes work from both parties.  You can water a plant everyday but if you keep it in a dark closet, what's the point?  Likewise, you can set a plant on the windowsill with the sun shining upon it daily but without nourishment from water, how will your precious plant blossom?  Enough comparing people to botanics.  What I am trying to say is that I have found it quite disheartening to put in so much effort when it is not being reciprocated.  A successful relationship is not one-sided yet I continue to find myself making excuses for the other person's absence in the friendship.  What can I say, I'm knee deep in denial.

I then started thinking about how uncomfortable I am when someone compliments me.  Why?  Your guess is as good as mine.  It's not that I would prefer to be criticized, as that certainly doesn't feel any better but receiving kudos is about as easy to bear as a root canal (for me, at least).  My husband will often tell me how attracted to me he is and all I can do is casually laugh it off with a roll of my eyes.  If it weren't just us in the room, I might just turn around to see if he were talking to someone directly behind me.  But why?  I look in the mirror everyday - it's not like I'm a grotesque beast or anything so I'm unsure of the reason for a lack of self confidence.  I really have no explanation but do know that it is something I need to work on.  I've taken steps to improve my esteem including eating better, exercising regularly and thinking more positively.  I know it will take time before I see results and ultimately agree with any compliments I receive.  So here I am now, waist deep in denial and potentially treading into deeper waters. 

But thankfully, my two daughters are both an anchor to keep me from sinking (or drowning) and also lifesavers to bring me back to shore (reality).  They are two of my best friends who always give back towards the efforts I put forth.  Their love will never be fruitless or in vain.  And when they tell me they think I'm pretty, I believe them because I know their eyes are nonjudgmental and pure.  I truly hope that they will always believe me when I tell them how proud of them I am, how beautiful I think they are (and not just because they are my spawn), how much I love them and how much they have enriched and changed (for the better) MY life!  I never want them to be in denial about my unconditional feelings for them so I will make every effort to tell them how I feel - showering them with praise and shining my love on these two delicate flowers everyday so that they can never deny the value they have in my world and in my heart!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Taste of My Own Medicine

I have recently been diagnosed with a serious condition.  The condition is called Obsessive Impulsive Disorder and yes, I diagnosed myself.  Obsessive Impulsive Disorder is a hybrid of OCD, as it incorporates obsession.  As I'm typing this, I've rewinded the TV several times to watch the same song on Glee over and over again.  See, obsessive!

The impulsive part is my incessant habit of buying something, saying something, becoming obsessed with something without any forethought.  This disorder of mine explains why I can't walk out of a Target without having shelled out at least a Benjamin or two.  Naturally, I have spent my fair share of time at the return counter after having come home and taken the time to determine whether I really needed that Playstation 3 game that was on sale.  Mind you, I do not own a Playstation 3 but a deal is a deal - right?!?

To go off on a side tangent, I also have a condition in which I buy things that I may not need right now (or ever) because it was on sale.  An example of this was last night when I bought a bag of coffee for the hubby that was on sale even though we probably have enough coffee to open our own cafe.  I'll have to come up with a witty name for this other disorder.

Back to the topic of the evening - my OID.  It has become a serious problem.  When I find something that garners my interest, I obsess over it and impetuously do whatever it takes to obtain it.  Past impulsive obsessions include a DSLR camera (even though I knew I would never pursue photography professionally), taking a family vacation, the iPhone 4, family photos (and what we were going to wear), starting my blog (yay!), a bicycle - just to name a few. 

Most recently, I have become consumed with getting into shape.  As soon as the idea entered into my mind, I began recklessly running online searches for gym membership specials, nutritional information on my favorite foods, fitness class schedules, you name it - anything to do with losing weight and becoming fit!  Last week, my preoccupation with taking better care of myself came to a head when I went to get some more information on LA Fitness.  I stopped in on my lunch break expecting to bring home some pamphlets and walked out with an agreement, a key ring and an appointment with a personal trainer.  If anyone is available, I might need help washing "SUCKER" off my forehead...

However, I am proud to say that I am sticking with my new obsession (not throwing it to the wayside and moving on to something newer and more exciting like usual).  Instead of buying those cupcakes that were staring me in the face at Publix last night - begging for residency in my kitchen, I opted to walk to the seafood counter to buy some fresh mahi mahi as well as the poultry aisle for some lean turkey breast.  This is an obsession that will prove to be good for me and I couldn't be more excited or proud of myself!

Before I finish my blog, I want to add one more example of my ailment.  When I met my husband, I liked him but nothing more.  It wasn't until someone else expressed interest in him that I realized just how much I liked him.  The thought of losing him made it that much more important for me to have him.  I aggressively pursued him (ok, I threatened him - you caught me) until he was mine.  Here we are almost ten years later, happily married for five years with two of the world's most beautiful children.  Sometimes those instinctive urges pay off.  In this case, I would say that I have hit the jackpot.  It's a diagnosis I can easily live with!

Monday, January 10, 2011

I Always Feel Like...Somebody's Watching Meeeee

I'm sure my kids feel that way.  They probably always have an eerie feeling that someone is staring them down.  You know, that feeling where you just know someone is watching your every move or that their eyes could burn a hole in your skin.  That person staring my kids down is me

What can I say?  I can't help but stare at my beautiful girls - especially when they sleep.  I thought about this blog topic as I was laying down with my 10-month old this afternoon trying to put her down for a nap.  I was overwhelmed by just how precious she is.  I could have laid next to her all afternoon just counting every golden hair on her head or watching her rosebud lips quiver as if sucking on an invisible pacifier.  When my three year old sleeps, I love the tenderness of her pink cheeks and the way her eyelashes curl.  I am in such awe of these beautiful creatures, I really could stare at them every second of the day.  It's just too bad gawking at the kiddies doesn't pay the bills, am I right!? 

Riley has caught me gazing over at her with misty eyes, a crinkled forehead and pout and asked me "Mommy, what are you looking at?!"  It's too hard to explain to her that I am mentally begging and pleading with the hands of time to stop where they are, somberly watching their childhood go by at super speed with no pause or slow-motion button or that I am looking at her trying to freeze and capture that moment or the look on her face to store it in my memory bank.  I simply tell her that mommy is looking at her with love.  It depresses me deeply knowing that they will not remember much about this time in their life and more so that I will not remember much about this time either.  Pictures and videos can only do so much - they don't capture the way your baby's breath smells, the softness of their sweet skin, the way your heart flutters when they smile at you or tell you they love you (whether with words or with the way they embrace you). 

Of course, there are many other reasons for watching them like a hawk other than for the sheer pleasure of it.  I have to constantly keep a watchful eye to ensure my three year old isn't using our white walls as a canvas for her latest artistic rendering or to prevent my 10-month old from sticking every object under the sun into her mouth in her own game of "Is This Edible?  Let's Find Out!" 

It's a special treat seeing their little personalities develop.  My three year old is extremely considerate, sensitive and creative.  I just love watching her nurture her sister, show emotion when she sees something that brings her joy or draw a picture of a turtle or our family at the beach.  She reminds me so much of me when she dances around while singing "we're always, gonna be together" (her own version of "We Go Together" from Grease) or when she plays waitress and jots down my dinner order on a notepad.  My 10-month old is playful, curious and strong.  I smile ear to ear when I see her devilish grin as we play our own little game of "I'm gonna get you" (my version of a tag/hide-n-seek hybrid), when she cruises around seeking something new to discover and get her hands into or when she tumbles like it was nothing and gets right back to whatever she was doing (which was probably something mischievous).  I see my passion and stubbornness in her when she continues to try something over and over again (until she gets the hang of it or until she gets her way). 

No matter the reason for my intense stare down, nothing gives me greater joy than having the privilege of watching these girls grow.  Although I'm not thrilled about the growing bigger or older part, I am certainly enjoying their growth as individuals.  Their unique intricacies combined with their stunning similarities is visually (and emotionally) stimulating.  Clearly, I am in love with my girls.  I just hope my love is as transparent to them - now and always!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Friends are like a box of chocolates...

You never know what you're gonna get!  Well that's not entirely true - with some friends, you know exactly what you're gonna get because you can practically finish each other's sentences.  They are the friends that are like a classic favorite, one you can always count on and grab in the grocery store checkout line.  However, there are also those friends that continue to surprise you like biting into a candybar with multi-layers.  At first bite, you may think they are filled with one thing when really they are covered with another. 

With my friends, I love the variety I get when I open my "box of chocolates."  Some are nutty, some are filled with warmy goodness, some are harder to swallow but the aftertaste is delicious.  My friends are addictive.  Just one taste is not enough.  Life (and my appetite) is so much more fulfilling with these pieces of chocolate I call my friends. 

To all of my delectably delightful friends, I say thank you.  Whether in small doses or stuffing my face, you always hit the spot! 

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Usual

My name is Jessica and I'm a Frapaholic.  It has been five and half hours since my last frappucino (yes, I realize that sounds more like confession than an AA introduction).  That’s right, I am a member (potentially the founder) of Starbucks Addicts Anonymous although I don’t know how “anonymous” it can be when all of the baristas at your local Starbucks know you by name and drink order.  Even my three year old daughter knows my complicated order down to the double blending.  I can’t help but chuckle (and cringe at how far this addiction has gone) when I hear her little voice fire off my drink of choice – “decaf white mocha frappucino double blended with whip.”  Pretty soon, I’ll be her sponsor. 
She recently had a meltdown when we stopped for a fix and found the doors locked and drive-thru blocked.  They had closed early on Christmas Eve which certainly didn’t help with our withdrawals.  Needless to say, we weren’t feeling very merry at all! 
How did it get to this, you may be asking?  And how could I have dragged my daughter with me?  I ask myself the same question daily.  Never a coffee drinker, I used to treat myself to a Cookies and Cream Freezer at the Barnie's in the Florida Mall during shopping trips.  Barnie's was soon replaced gradually by a twice a week visit to Dunkin Donuts for a Cappucino Blast.  Before I knew it, I was introduced to a new "dealer" who had the most potent stuff on the streets - Starbucks and my drink of choice was the Cafe Vanilla Frappucino.  I was hooked!  What began as a multi-week visit became a daily necessity.  There were times, I admit, I would hit up my "dealer" for seconds.  I was a junkie but I didn't care, each sip of that liquid gold made it's effects on me worthwhile.  I suppose it isn't the worst addiction to have.  In fact, I have even watched in horror, individuals addicted to eating toilet paper or sleeping with their hair dryer.  I have heard Starbucks coffee being compared to drugs but in reality, my addiction is far less harmful.
Still, no more!  I stand (ok, you caught me), I sit here today, to say that I am quitting cold turkey.  Wait, let me be honest and realistic, I quit going EVERYDAY cold turkey but altogether is just plain cruel.  It will be a weaning process, where I allow myself one a week not only to satisfy my craving but to reward myself for my progress.  I tried this before and it worked for about a week before I fell off the wagon.  That is why I am enlisting YOU (yes, YOU) - all of my followers/readers - to keep me in check.  Do whatever it takes - send me texts, post on my Facebook wall, take away my car keys (you get the drift) - to encourage me to keep up with my mission.  My habit has come at a great cost - both financially and physically.  Instead of losing money and adding pounds, I want to drop weight and gain self-confidence! 
There's so much more I would rather be increasing than calories including healthier eating habits, an exercise routine, a better self-image - you get the picture.  This is not a resolution, this is a lifestyle change.  I do not want to turn back or relapse.  I want to do this for my girls and for my husband of course but most importantly, I want to do this for myself.  I miss looking in the mirror and liking the girl looking back at me. 
Sometime this week, I plan on hopping in my car and taking a drive to make a purchase towards something that I am hoping to turn into my new addiction: a bicycle.  I haven't had a bicycle since I was a teenager so I hope when I start riding, it comes back to me just like riding a...(uh, you get it).  I am also hoping to either join a gym or regularly attend a yoga, zumba, pilates or other aerobic/dance class.  It would be great to have a partner in crime as nothing is more motivating than someone to hold your hand (as they pull my lazy butt off the couch).  
I'm really excited about the new Jess.  Hoping by the end of the year, riding my bike, snacking on carrot sticks or apples and smiling about how great I look and feel will be the new usual for me!