Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Less Fat/More Happy

     My quest to lose the 50 lbs I've accumulated during my various pregnancies has been a frustrating and disappointing exercise in feeling terrible about myself and failing to shed any weight. Not a damn pound.

(^ that's me...before my waxing appointment)

 I obviously (painfully so) have no idea what I'm doing. I give up! I give up making excuses. I give up eating food that's poisoning my body and feebly justifying it. I give up being too tired to work out. I give up doing it in my own; I stopped feeling bad about my physical shell and joined a gym.

Now, it's been a good decade since I've set foot in a gym- and when I used to go to the gym I was a young athlete with a bangin' bod. So needless to say, I was intimidated and leery of making the necessary first step. What do I even wear to the gym now? When I was in my late teens and early twenties, anything I wore looked great on me. Now I require a little more...ah...strategic planning for my wardrobe. Alas, there was no cool looking fat girl workout garb to be found- so I went all out in retro gear. And by retro, I mean head to frigging toe Olivia Newton John "Lets Get Physical, Physical!"

Apparently the leg warmers were too much...

3.8 seconds after setting foot through the  door, I realized that I couldn't bluff my way through this- I needed someone who: 
(a) knew how to use the machines.
(b) could tell me what to eat.(fortheluvofgodpleasesayicandrinkpepsi)
(C) would keep me accountable.

I chose this gym because I had a specific trainer in mind; I attended a "Healthy Eating" seminar he gave and it sparked something in me- a tiny ember that was waiting patiently for just the right time.
This is Jason, my trainer.

...No, you're right, this picture did not help dispel the intimidation I felt on Day One. And no, I do not stare at him non-stop: I'm too busy concentrating on breathing and not having a heart attack and dying. Because that would be super embarrassing.

30 days later, I have no idea what I weigh; and for the first time in years, I don't care. I stopped using that as a gauge to measure my health. I do know that I am stronger, I have more energy, my skin looks fantastic, and I feel great. The small changes have become catalysts for big changes- the tiny ember has become a full blown flame, and I have no intentions of putting it out.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Wise Man


       Yesterday, after supper I noticed that my little Tassimo carousel was devoid of all coffee. I had a moment of sheer panic in which I yelled something along the lines of, "holy shit we have no more coffee how did I let this happen tomorrow morning is going to suck so bad!" I turned around and saw that Nick and the three kids were staring at me funny. I pulled myself together (barely) and said casually, "never mind, it's not the end of the world. I can do without- no big deal."

That's when my husband turned to face me and said seriously: "Rachel, you just quit smoking, gave up Pepsi cold turkey, are on a diet...and started your period. I cannot, in good conscience, go to work tomorrow and leave you without coffee. It's too dangerous for the kids."

So this morning, I raise an enormous mug of steaming hot coffee in recognition of one smart husband (and three small children who will more than likely survive the day.)


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day

Today is for the women who get up every night to change a diaper, breast feed a wailing baby, expel a monster from under a bed, clean up a puddle of vomit, or sooth the aftermath of a nightmare without complaining.

Today is for the creative moms who stay up until midnight decorating the perfect Sponge Bob birthday cake, DIY coordinating accessories for new outfits for school, make up songs their kids find funny, and who sacrifice their spotless living room for couch cushion forts on a rainy day.

Today is definitely for the women who pull their hair out trying to put a different, delicious, nutritious meal on the table that everyone will eat every night. For the moms who cut the crust off sandwiches, make sculptures out of veggies, who hide flax and chai seeds in everything, who try every day to fuel their kids with enough good food to energize them to conquer the world...or at least the monkey bars.

Today is obviously for the moms who spend their weekends freezing in rinks in every godforsaken corner of the frozen Tundra, for the moms who shuttle between swimming and dance and piano lessons, who remember to bring snacks to T-ball practice, who's ears bleed throughout Junior's first violin recital, who talks to virtual strangers in order to arrange play dates.

Today is the day for single moms to bask in a tiny bit of recognition for the mountains they move with sheer will and stubbornness. Today is recognition for the sacrifice, exhaustion, and sometimes, loneliness they must feel; but its also for the resilience, independence, organization, and determination they exude every day.

Today is for the working mom- who leaves the house every day to earn a living, leave her mark on the world, contribute to the infrastructure of society...and then returns home to make supper, do the dishes, help with homework, pick up cars and trucks, and read bedtime stories.

Today is for those blessed saints currently living with the dreaded teenager. For the moms negotiating curfew, struggling with the balance between protecting them and allowing them freedom to bloom, for the sideways dirty looks they ignore, for the technology they have to endure/pay for, for the time and genuine effort they spend moulding individuals who hopefully won't become assholes.

Today is for moms of special needs kids. For the countless hours spent with doctors, therapists, and specialist, for the hoops they are forced to jump through for funding, for help, for hope. For the sleepless nights that will never end, for the stress and anxiety that comes with every day situations, for the daily struggle to communicate with their child, for the stares and ignorant comments they are assaulted with while out in public, for the family and friends who just don't "get it", for the uncertainty the future holds.

Today is for Moms; for every woman who struggles to do her best, day in and day out, who makes it up as she goes, who sometimes receives little thanks or encouragement. Today is for Moms who won't trade that title for anything.

Happy Mothers Day Moms! 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Rachel: The Hockey Feminist

Today a guy that my husband associates with informed him -in a public forum- that I am not entitled to an opinion and that I should stick to things I know best, like "my little blog about being a mom." That this man -whom I've known and liked for almost ten years- proceeded to continue disrespecting me in response to a single comment I made against his preferred NHL team on Face Book, was disquieting to say the least. To insinuate that because I am a female, I incontestably have no idea what I'm talking about is a sexist position that, incredibly, still subtly permeates our society and every day situations. I am, at my core, a natural born feminist. I see no merit or value in the default position of discarding an opinion, or an idea for that matter, based on the person's gender.

I am also not the least bit surprised that this fellow has utterly missed the point of my blog: that my identity and knowledge base is not limited solely to being a stay at home mom. I am, quite obviously, so much more. My "little blog" could easily be about a variety of topics and interests that combine to create the foundation that is 'Rachel'. The fact that he intentionally tried to turn my blogging about being a parent into a disparaging remark speaks volumes on the lack of respect, as well as the value and importance that he, and many in society, place on women who choose to remain at home with their children. My role is viewed as trivial, and not really a contributing position in our communities- large and small.

It is these intentional and off handed comments and jokes about a woman's lack of worth/importance/intelligence that becomes the examples for our children and sets the standard of what we find acceptable and true to our family, friends, and co-workers; they clearly say to those surrounding us that we do not care enough to speak out against outdated, chauvinistic opinions, that we condone the systematic oppression of female growth, development, and prosperity. Overkill?? Try telling your daughters that they will never earn as much money as their male colleagues, that their athletic accolades will never be as celebrated as boys', that they should never dress to provoke boy's uncontrollable urges, that regardless of their esteemed education, their opinions and ideas will be openly scoffed and sneered at by their peers. How well does that sit in your stomach? Simply put: it shouldn't.

So the next time I comment on your hockey team's performance - save your verbal diarrhea, put your Big Boy pants on, and get over it. Yes, I have a vagina. And yes, I also know a lot about hockey. I am a woman, a wealth of information.