How Do I Make 37 Better?

I just turned 37 this past weekend.

Honestly, I think I never thought about my life past kids. I had a plan to go through school, get married, get a graduate degree, and have kids. Now that I’ve accomplished all of that, I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do.

I want to make 37 good. I lived 36 in this weird state of not sure where I was. I wasn’t happy with what I was doing. I was set in my priorities for everyone else around me.

I don’t want 37 to be like that. I want it to be filled with things that I can make memories out of. I want to feel like I accomplished something big. I know it seems like a weird thing to want considering in the past year, I’ve been raising 2 kids, managing their schedules, managing a household, and starting a new business.

Part of what I’m feeling is that a lot of that isn’t for me personally. I want to feel good about myself which I definitely have not been lately. I need to do something for me.

So I’ve decided to start a “bucket list”. The next step is trying to figure out what I really want. My feelings have been so jumbled up that I have to wade through all of those feelings to really understand what will make me happy. I also want to be able to commit to something. I usually push back if the thing I want to do takes up too much time or energy. I give up and walk away. I don’t know if that shows lack of interest or lack of follow-through.

I know it doesn’t seem like a big deal but I don’t want to spend the rest of my life in a routine where I have a hard time finding what makes me happy. I want to be proactive and really jump in and take the chances I need to be taking.

If you have any bucket list suggestions, I would love to hear them. I’ve been having a hard time figuring this out and the only way I know to expand my thoughts is to hear what others are thinking.

The Itch To Change

I’ve gotten comfortable. I have now fallen into my stay-at-home mom schedule with a set of responsibilities and I’ve become comfortable. My biggest challenge is literally just to find a way to get dinner done before I have to leave for the gym since the time I go is dinner time for the kids.

I know I should be proud of raising children and taking care of my family and etc etc etc. But I can’t shake this feeling that I’m meant for more.

The last time I had this feeling, I changed around my whole life. I left the relationship I was in, my job had just laid me off, and I had just finished my MBA. That’s when I met someone who became my business partner and together, we developed a really great dance show. It was great. It was exactly what I needed at the time and it brought me a sense of fulfillment and contentment.

I have that feeling again. This time, I don’t think I need to make any major changes. I love my husband and my kids and the life we have created. My husband and I have also started teaching dance as a side business and are loving it.

That itch is still there though. I’m not sure what it means or what I should also be doing. I know things I’ve dreamt of but I’m not sure which ones are meant to come true and which ones I really want to pursue. I don’t know if I have the motivation to really figure out what it is that I need. I don’t even know which ones are realistic.

Have you ever sat on the edge of something you know will change you? I don’t know how to quite describe it. I’ll know it when I see it. And afterwards, I’ll be like “Remember when I was talking about this? This is how it happened. “.

To quote The Little Mermaid “I don’t know when, I don’t know how, but I know something is starting right now.” (It’s stuck in my head. Thank you, children of mine.)

 

I Hate The Way I Look Post-Baby

I hate the way I look right now.

Granted, I had a baby 6 weeks ago. I was literally only cleared by the doctor to start working out yesterday. I don’t have as much time to do my hair or makeup with 2 kids running around.

But, in this world of social media, I see these women (and I’m talking about women I know or that are friends of friends) who look awesome and thin and wear the prettiest dresses. (Side note: I don’t compare myself to actresses or models. Their jobs required them to look good all the time so they have to make the time to work out.)

And it makes me feel really bad about myself.

I know it’ll take time before I feel good about myself physically again. It takes time, patience, and dedication, all of which I had and will commit to because my self-esteem relies a lot on how I look as well as who I am.

I know that I can’t be the only mom who feels this way. Our bodies go through so much to bring a life in this world and our most of our time afterwards goes into taking care of that life. It would be nice if we could feel great about ourselves after right away.

Normally, I’d try to find a solution to the problem in my post, solutions such as write in a journal or try to find ways to boost your self-esteem emotionally and mentally to make up for the physical for the moment. But it’s hard right now because sometimes, when you feel bad about how you look, you just feel bad about how you look.

It’ll just take time (and exercise) to change that feeling.

All we can do is be patient and work hard to achieve our goals.

Having a Family: Commitment or Sacrifice

– By Anonymous

Continuity gives us roots; change gives us branches, letting us stretch and grow and reach new heights – Pauline R Kezer

In reflecting on my life in the last 5 years, I see myself as a different person than I had envisioned. I knew children would change me and change my lifestyle, but not in the way it has. 5 years ago, I drew my energy from being around others, from being in social situations, and from conversations with my family of friends. I swore that this wouldn’t change by having children. Fast forward to now and I re-energize by having moments of quiet time those late hours when I’m awake because my 4-year-old is having nightmares, those wee early morning hours when not a soul is yet awake in my house, or those minutes when my office door is closed and no one comes knocking. When did I change from being an extrovert to an introvert?

Recently, it has been brought to my attention that I’ve been hiding in a cave of sorts. Whether it was a conscious or unconscious decision to limit my interactions with others is unclear; what is clear is that I’ve made some lifestyle changes and am re-evaluating and prioritizing those important things in my life.

I talked to several people during this enlightening time and have come to the conclusion that some people perceive the time spent with young children and limiting “mommy time” – time away from the children – as a sacrifice: a sacrifice of the self. Others perceive this time as a commitment. I count myself in the camp of those who consider it a commitment. Growing up, I saw my cousins allow their parents raise their children, giving more of themselves to their social lives and career ambitions. I never wanted to be the parent who relied so heavily on grandparents. I firmly believe that my children should know me as their mom. I am also an ambitious career woman (which also adds guilt because I spend so much time away from my kids) so when I am home with my family, everything else gets shut off. No text messages, no phone calls, no tv. I am committed to being “mommy” which means I get to have dance parties with my kids before bed, read stories, and enjoys tickles and giggles. Please don’t misunderstand. There are also moments of frustration but I’m committed to helping my children work through tantrums, fights, and experiencing such intense emotions.

Did I forget to mention my role as wife? I also have a firm belief that without a solid foundation, whether that is as a single parent or as a two parent household, parenting can go south real quick. So when the kids are asleep or entertaining themselves, I work on making that foundation as solid as possible (in addition to completing chores such as dishes, general cleaning and laundry).

So commitment or sacrifice? I suppose that is in how one perceives the various roles a woman plays when she becomes a mother (or the roles a man plays when he becomes a father) and also depends on how one chooses to prioritize the different aspects and responsibilities in his or her life.

I have changed and I am committed to my family. I’m not here to judge those who choose a different way, I’m just asking to not be judged for choosing my way.

Something Not Many Indians Talk About….Breastfeeding

Man, I wish I would have known more about this just so I’d be ready for how difficult it would be, how much it’d affect me as a new mother, and how my emotional self and rational self would battle. 

It’s definitely not something a lot of people talk about, at least in terms of what it would take from me to get to the point where I could do it. Here’s the thing: Breast milk is supposed to be the best thing for your baby. However, there are circumstances that can arise that don’t always allow you to be able to give your baby breast milk or maybe not give it to them in the conventional way.

Let’s start at the beginning. I had done the research to find out if my epilepsy medication would affect my breast milk. After getting cleared from the ob, the neurologist, and the pediatrician, I just assumed that I would breastfeed my baby as soon as she came out the door. Yeah, so much for that.

The first problem that hit us that affects a lot of people is that getting a baby that knows nothing about eating via their mouth to actually latch on and start eating. While it’s supposed to be natural to both of you in some sense, it’s not. The lactation consultants at the hospital try to help but in all honesty, they weren’t that helpful to me. We couldn’t get my baby to latch and she wasn’t eating much. The nurse scared us when we told her the baby would be latched on for maybe 5 minutes. She said that she couldn’t release us from the hospital if that’s all the baby was eating. 

Then came my blood tests. Somehow, without anyone realizing it, I had lost a lot of blood. My blood count dropped the two days following the day I gave birth. The funny thing was I showed no signs of it. My doctor wouldn’t discharge me. The nurse told us that if I had to stay one more day past the 4th day, my baby would have to go home and I would have to stay. So, in order to prepare for that, we started giving the baby formula just in case I wasn’t able to go home and feed her. Luckily, I was discharged at the same time but we had lost a whole day of trying to breastfeed since I was getting a blood transfusion in order to raise my blood count. 

The first week with a new baby is hard enough. I tried to breastfeed but giving her formula was the only way we knew she was getting fed enough. I must have cried 100 times in this first week. It was so hard. I felt like a horrible mother. Rationally, I knew that as long as my baby was getting fed, that’s all that mattered. But I wanted to do it on my terms and I hadn’t gotten a choice in the matter. 

Next came pumping. I tried that the first day I was home. Nothing much came out. Which meant we stayed on formula for a bit. I knew I had to see a lactation consultant. I tried one recommended but she just made me feel guilty for not breastfeeding right away and for not starving my baby until she learned how to latch hon correctly. I don’t care what anyone says. Starving my baby was NEVER an option. We found another lactation consultant who really was much more compassionate and understanding and knew that it took work to get there. She is the one who finally showed us what we were doing wrong so I could get my baby to latch. I also started pumping regularly after I saw her. 

So I learned how to breastfeed but another thing no one tells you is that it hurts like hell. Who is used to that kind of pain? I tried and tried but it hurt so I kept pumping because that didn’t hurt as much. Another 9 weeks went by. I was pumping every 3 hours. I was planning my life around pumping. I knew at least my baby was getting breast milk. But it’s hard. Pumping is a serious commitment. You have to keep doing it every 3 hours because otherwise your body will think you don’t need the milk and will reduce the amount you produce. It got to a point where my baby was sleeping at least 6 hours through the night and I was still waking up every 3 hours. 

This lack of sleep is one of the factors that convinced me to try breastfeeding again. I needed to sleep. I got tired of waking up all the time. So I decided to give it another go. And I’m happy to say that we have finally got it down. Somehow, all of a sudden, at 10 weeks, my baby and I both seem to have figured it out. 

It’s been a rough road. And I’ve learned that the end goal is that your baby is healthy and well-fed. I did know this but I had to really learn it, if you know what I mean. Not any one of those feeding options is the only right one. You have to do what’s best for you and your child. Do whichever makes you the best mother possible for your child. If it’s formula or pumping or breastfeeding, be proud and know you’re doing the best you can.