I’m not down with OPPC: Other People’s Parenting Choices

I wish that wasn’t true. I wish I was very zen about other people’s parenting choices (OPPC). But I’m not. And it’s probably the biggest surprise to me since I became a parent.

Understand when I say that  “I wish I was very zen” I don’t mean that I’m out there berating parents who make parenting decisions I wouldn’t make or that I think my choices are the gold standard of parenting or that I’m perfect. Just the other day, I decided to keep Stella out of the dogs’ water bowl by giving her her own bowl of water. Shockingly, SHOCKINGLY, I ended up with a mad wet baby and a puddle of water on the floor.

What I mean, and what’s been a huge surprise to me, is how much seeing other parents make choices I wouldn’t bothers me. I suspect OPPC upset me because I just don’t understand. 95% of the parenting choices I’ve made (and Sean has agreed with), I made because my instinct told me to do it that way. Stella slept on my chest for the first three weeks of her life because it felt like the right thing to do. We practice baby led weaning because my instinct told me she didn’t need purees at 4 months old. I wear her a lot because keeping her close feels right. I think because my parenting “book” is just my instinct, I don’t understand how or why people make other choices.

A lot of parenting choices I make aren’t exactly mainstream. I know the way Sean and I parent isn’t for everyone and that all parents do what they think is best for their child. Hell, other parents probably even have different instincts. But. That doesn’t make me feel less sad when I find out a friend gave up on breastfeeding two weeks in because they didn’t have family support.  I hope that the intense… feelings I have about OPPC will fade with time. Or that at least I’ll get so used to it being there that I can ignore it. Right now though it’s raw. I know I’m not the first mom in the history of the world to have this problem, so any suggestions for dealing with this?

Unbelievable

So, I went to the doctor a couple of weeks ago for my physical and a couple of vaccinations (the flu and whopping cough–both only because of the baby). Yesterday, I got the results from the bazillion (not an exaggeration) tests they did. Slightly unsurprisingly, I’m super healthy. Except. I have high cholesterol.

At first, I couldn’t believe it. I mean, if you know me or have been reading ye olde bloge for any amount of time, you know I’m pretty healthy. I run (sometimes), I do yoga, I weight train (less often than I should these days), I’m a  vegetarian, I don’t eat processed foods (very much). I’m generally speaking pretty super healthy. In fact, I think this is the first time, I’ve ever had a slightly abnormal test result. So what did I do? That’s right. I turned to the interwebz.

Here’s what I found: Having high cholesterol when you’re breastfeeding is pretty normal and common. Which is weird, but makes me feel a little bit better and talked me off the OH-MY-GOD-I’M-GOING-TO-DIE-A-PREMATURE-HEART-DISEASE-RELATED-DEATH cliff I had been on. I mean, if the results don’t change after Stella weans I’m sure I’ll be back on the cliff, but for now I’m good. Has anyone else had this experience?

There’s always a but…

I’m going back to work on Monday, five short days from today. In a country with no legal requirement for maternity leave (the FMLA doesn’t really count), paid or otherwise, I’ve been lucky to work for an employer willing to give me almost nine weeks of leave, the majority of which has been paid. I know that. BUT. It doesn’t make going back any easier.

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I’m having a much harder time with this than I expected. I really like my job and I miss it. Especially the part where I see and interact with other adults. BUT. I also love love love staying home with Stella. Our days have fallen into a rhythm–there’s no real schedule, but there is a definite rhythm these days–and I’m going to miss that. In a perfect world (or any other first world country), I wouldn’t have to consider leaving my baby for at least 6 months. But I digress. The point isn’t that the US needs a complete overhaul of its basically nonexistent support system for new mothers. No, the point is that on Monday I’m going to take my not quite nine week old baby and leave her in the care of strangers while I go to work. And I’m not ready for that.

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Intellectually I know that she’ll be fine. I know that the strangers I’m going to leave her with are trained and that the daycare/preschool she’s going to is state registered and complaint free. I know that she’ll be well taken care of. BUT. I worry anyway. What if she thinks I’ve abandoned her? What if she likes her caretakers more than me? What if she won’t eat for them? What if pumping doesn’t work out and I start having milk supply issues? Or, worst of all, what if I forget all the things she likes?

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In the end, I know this worries are unfounded. I know that she’ll always like me better than her caretakers (at least until she’s a teenager), that she wont think I’ve abandoned her, that pumping wont affect my milk supply, and that I won’t forget all the little things she likes doing. I know all that. BUT. Knowing that doesn’t mean there won’t be a lot of tears on Monday morning (mine, of course).

Any advice for dealing with the first day of daycare?

Off balance

At times, I think everyone is a little a off-balance. Of course, that’s what this blog is all about. Finding balance. I wish I could say that I have it all figured out, but I don’t.

For the last couple of weeks, I have just been swamped with work. It has definitely gotten in the way of the rest of my life. And, now, I’m definitely feeling off-balance. I know what I need is to have a day or two alone to recharge my introvert self. Unfortunately, that day wasn’t today and it’s not going to be tomorrow.

Luckily, I have a developed introvert survival skills for over programmed times like this.  Well, it’s really only one skill. And that one skill is to make sure I have at least an hour to myself with no planned activities everyday in which I just do whatever I feel like doing. For the last week, that one hour has been pretty much exclusively yoga-related. I think that’s really a very good indication of the state of mind I’ve been in lately.

I’ve been stressed. I’ve been frazzled. I’ve just been… out of sorts.

Even though those few yoga hours I’ve had the last week haven’t been quite enough, they’ve definitely helped. I can feel myself slowly coming back to my equilibrium.

Getting my balance back.

I’m not there yet, but  it’s coming.

 

This is not a real post…

Happy weekend, everyone!

If you’ve been following me on twitter, you know that I’ve been in the midst of what can only be described as hell week. If you haven’t been following me on twitter… well, that’s about all you need to know. The week was hellish and now its over!

Anyway, I was planning to celebrate this glorious Saturday by doing a pumpkin spice creamer recipe post (because, apparently, I love all things pumpkin these days). BUT when I got home last night (after a four hour long road trip in the rain and 5 hours of meetings), I found this:

Let me explain. We got a new-to-us fridge yesterday (Thanks, Mom!) and my husband decided to go ahead and run a water line to said new fridge so the ice maker would work. Apparently to do that he had to empty every single cabinet in the kitchen. And then he left to go to a bachelor party without putting it away.

Now. I’m not trying to be ungrateful here because the new fridge and ice-maker and the cold filtered water is awesome. BUT. C’mon, man. Seriously?

So, instead of writing a super-awesome-amazing blog post, I’ll be embarking on Kitchen Reorganization 2012 today. Yay.

Anyway. The point of all of that explanation is this: Since I now have plans other than making and blogging my new pumpkin spice creamer recipe, check out this pumpkin spice latte recipe I made about this time last year. It’s fantastic!

Working on my fitness: Pregnancy Edition

You might remember, if you follow me on twitter or have been reading the blog for a while, that I like to run. You might also have noticed that I haven’t been talking about it lately. There’s one reason and one reason only for that.

I stopped.

It’s a shame really. I really really enjoyed it, it was cheap, and it was definitely improving my fitness. So, you might be wondering, why did I stop? Well friends, I got pregnant. Before you say anything (or stop reading), let me say this: I know that there’s no reason you can’t run while pregnant. No reason whatsoever. In fact, everything I’ve read and been told says you should continue running while pregnant as long as you did it before.

So, you’re probably wondering, knowing all that why did I stop? Because not long after I realized I was pregnant, it got really, mind-blowingly, ridiculously hot here in Kentucky. And you know what’s not fun when you feel really nauseated all the time? Being really hot, too. I tried running in the mornings, but, you know what, it was really hot then, too. I tried running on the treadmill and, yep, you guessed it; that was really hot too. After a few weeks, I just gave it up.

When the full-time nausea passed, I wanted to start again but wasn’t sure if I should run in the heat (which, for those of you not in Kentucky, lasted approximately forever). So, I held off again. Now that it’s finally starting to cool down, I’ve been eager to start up again. But, I held off. I was afraid that since I hadn’t run in like 3 months that I wouldn’t be able to because it would be like starting a new exercise program while pregnant (apparently, this is a no-no).

Please note: This is not me. I just think this is a super cute shirt and I want it. 

Last week at my first appointment with the new midwife (who I love, btw), I asked if it was okay to start running again. After some preliminary questions and strict instructions to stay hydrated, keep my heart rate under 140, and, for the love of god, not to fall, I got cleared to run again. Yesterday, to celebrate the fall-ish weather we’ve had this weekend, I went on my first run in several months. And  you know what?

It was hard.

Really hard. I’m not sure if the pregnancy part or the not running in three months part was the culprit, but that was rough. I only did about 2.5 miles and it took at least 35 minutes. Even though it was really hard, I’m glad I did it. I felt great afterward and I plan to continue.

I guess running while pregnant is like everything else while pregnant. It’s different.  I’m slowly learning to not beat myself up when I can’t do the things I could do before. To accept that sometimes it’s just going to take me a little bit longer than normal. And to know that that’s perfectly okay.

Don’t judge me because I’m a vegetarian

Today I came across this NPR blog post: Do Vegetarians and Vegans Think They Are Better Than Everyone Else?  The post was interesting, but nothing earth shattering to me. The basic premise is this: No. Vegetarians and vegans don’t think they’re better than everyone else, but others think they think they’re better than everyone else.

I agree wholeheartedly with this premise.

I’ve been a vegetarian for a little over three years now and before that I ate very little meat. I’m an ovo-lacto vegetarian, which, for me, means I eat eggs and dairy, but no animal flesh or products that actually require the death of an animal to make (no broths or gelatin or fish oil).  Because I didn’t eat that much meat before I stopped all together, my diet isn’t actually that different than it was three years ago. So, I was a little surprised, no, shocked when people began treating me differently because I was a vegetarian.

Once I decided to quit eating meat, I didn’t make a big announcement. I just stopped. In fact, I’m not sure that my husband even noticed until several months after the fact. But, as people started noticing, their attitudes toward me at mealtimes started changing. Suddenly, the fact that I ordered “pasta with no chicken, please” became a topic of dinner-time conversation. At first, this wasn’t so bad. After three years, though, its gotten a little tedious to explain, at a large portion of the social gatherings I go to, why I’m a vegetarian and then debate the pros and cons of the choice with everyone in earshot.

That’s not the worst part, though. The worst part is that people get defensive and attack me and my diet choice. At first, I didn’t understand why this happened. As time has passed, though, I think I’ve got it figured out: People seem to think that because I’m a vegetarian, I think I’m better than they are and that I’m judging them.

Now, maybe you think I’m jumping to conclusions, that the NPR post-influenced me. Not the case. I’ve been in what feels like a million situations where people–friends, family, acquaintances, co-workers–have made comments like what I really need to knock me off my high horse is a ham sandwich (actual quote), or how I must not be healthy because I can’t possibly be getting all the nutrition I need, or that it must really upset me to see everyone enjoying the ribs because so many animals had to die to make that smorgasbord.

To be clear: I’m not judging you for not being a vegetarian. I don’t think I’m better than you because I decided not to eat meat.

In fact, it seems to me that any belief others have that I am judging them or that I do think I’m better than them because I eat my pasta meatless is actually a projection of how they feel  themselves. In my interactions with the carnivores of the world, they have, at least at first, judged me for being a vegetarian and thought that they were better than me because they eat meat. Maybe others have had different experiences, but that’s mine. Maybe the judging I’m subjected to comes because people think I’m judging them.

What’s the solution to all the misunderstanding? Really, the only solution is to not judge a person by their diet. But, just like not judging a book by its cover, that probably won’t happen.  So, looks like I’ll keep using my “Why I’m a vegetarian” speech for most social occasions.