I'm moving. Since this blog is hosted by the OnSugar folks, I feel like I have to keep it PG. Or at least PG-13.
I don't have to tell you that we all lead hectic lives. Between the chaos, the commutes, the meetings, the meals, the appointments, I get tired just thinking about how much I tackle in a typical day, let alone a week. To make life a little easier, experts will tell you that it's often helpful to organize your week around common themes for each day.
Oh yeah? Nothing against the author of that article (or the millions of other ones out there), but the sky is also blue, and the kettle is black. In other words, easier said than done.
I thought I'd share with you how I organize my week. It's around a theme for each day, keeping it motivational and fun.
A week in the life of Bulldog Mama:
MONDAY - Don't Be an A$*hole Monday: Because Mondays are bad enough as it is. You know that guy in the right hand lane driving 45 mph during morning rush hour? DONT BE HIM. Dude with the giant truck who parks so you can't get in or out of your car? PARK NICELY. Gal in the lane next to you desperately trying to merge into traffic? COME ON, LET HER IN. Drama brewing at work and tempted to send an all-points-blast email? TUESDAY. Tempted to schedule a meeting for 8AM? That's just ridiculous.
TUESDAY - TiVo Tuesday: Typically, Mondays aren't that bad, but Tuesday really pack sa punch. As such, I really motivate myself by thinking of all the crappy TV shows I can catch up with on my DVR with my bulldog and a nice glass of wine. (This used to be LOST Tuesday....*sigh.*)
WEDNESDAY - Wonderful Wednesday: the day on which I telework :)
THURSDAY - What Day Is It? Thursday : Because by this point in the week I am tired, and I usually think it's Friday. Mentally, I'm already ready for Friday already anyway. So, basically, it might as well be Friday. And the office is very empty on Fridays, so for many of my coworkers it really is their Friday. Wait, what day is it, again?
FRIDAY - Falafel Friday: Congrats! You made it through the workweek. Celebrate by noshing on falafel and hummus with a little tabouleh thrown in for good measure. I like to have a wrap with all three.
As soon as I read that, a thought bubble popped up...
...Just imagine...winning that cold hard cash...taking a luxurious spa day, followed by a fabulous night on the town with my hubby at a delicious restaurant (for which I'll need a new dress and shoes!)...ahhhhhhh.
And then I heard my husband's voice reminding me, "Um, we are building a house. This is THE BIGGEST PROJECT EVER, and we have have so much stuff that we need to buy - fixtures, doors, tiles, sheets (because my neurotic dog ate them), paint, a bed, blah blah blah Home Depot".
He has a point. But then...
...Just imagine...winning $1000 would be nice, but it would be even better to win that big PowerBall drawing tonight! Oooooh! Just think of all the upgrading we can do to the house...the kitchen...the bathroom...the furniture...the pool...the closet...OMG... the Housekeeper! The Nanny! More BULLDOGS! All the possibilities!
And then I remembered. I never win anything. Bit of a buzzkill.
So naturally, I began to overthink things and overanalyze the idea of "joy". What IS joy? Do I have JOY in my life? I'm not talking about happiness, or contentment, not about peace, or even pride, but that feeling of "joy" that is barely describable. That pure, smile-so-big-your-cheeks-hurt, heart-bursting-at-the-seams, overwhelmed-with-emotion feeling that washes completely over you, and makes life sparkle.
Am I really lucky enough to experience this kind of joy in my life? Yes. But, I think true joy comes most easily when we are still young. Which is why, to me, there is no purer joy than that sweet moment of reunion with my son after a hard day of work. The smile on his face, the open arms, the giant hug, holding on to me so tightly as he says "mama". It's overwhelming. It dissipates any remaining negative residue from my day, and in that instant, the world makes sense, and it all becomes so clear. For me, there is no purer joy than my son.
What brings you joy? Whether or not you are a mama, may you reconnect with that joy soon, and relish in the moment.
Two things happened this week:
1) My husband the creative director/brand strategist/designer, pointed out that Bulldog Mama is a terrible blog name. "People will think this is a blog about bulldogs". At the time, I said "First of all, no one is reading this, and secondly, poo." But he has a point.
2) I stumbled upcon here another Bulldog Mama out there, and she's been doing this much longer than my one week of blogging (and yes, her blog is actually about bulldogs).
So, either I do nothing and stick with bulldogmama, actually figure out my blog identity and rename my blog something good, or give up and stop blogging because it's hard enough to be bloggy without having to rethink the whole mess.
In the event that I keep going, I've started to brainstorm blog names. This has also made me think about what I have to offer the mommy blogging community other than being "just" a mama. What makes me a mom + something interesting? If I could figure that out I'd have a name right?
WRONG. It turns out that a) I'm not that interesting, and b) EVERY formulation of " - mom" is already taken as a clever and sassy mommy blogging moniker. Modern Mom, Yoga Mom, The Mommy Underground, Messy Mommy, Sleepy New Mommy, Wabi Sabi Mommy? ALL TAKEN. Plus a bizillion more that don't have mom in the title that are more clever than anything I can come up with.
Ok, so I have to get reeeeeallllly creative. Something that says, "I'm a modern, vegetarian, working, newbie, down to earth mom who is learning on the go, madly in love with my son, can't cook to save my life, loves sleep, ice cream, Sesame Street, taking my son to the playground, drinking vodka tonics and doing yoga."
Suffice it to say, brainstorming isn't going well. My list so far (courtesy of my hubby's collaboration):
Charles and Ray Screams
Queen of Farts
Diapers and Downdogs
Boring Mommy (OMG...Not taken!)
Mom jeans and Minivans
Confessions of a Ferber Dropout
Sleep is for Wimps
Dude, where's my lovey?
Mommy wants Takeout
But in all seriousness, I got nothing. Stay tuned...
Oliver, from katkarp72
Now that my baby is 16 months old, I've recently begun having a new feeling. One that feels like I finally have my feet under me when it comes to this mommy thing. Like (maybe) I finally know what the hell I'm doing. On a good day, there is the sense of relief? accomplishment? I'm not sure.
It feels gooooood at the end of the day to feel like I met most of MJ's needs: he laughed, we played, naps were taken and meals were eaten, and better yet, we escaped with no fevers/tears/minimal stomping. On a really good day, hubby and I manage to parent as a team - agreeing with each other and relating to the ups and downs in this whole parenting thing.
But I realized something the last time I felt this feeling. Sure, MJ was a happy baby, and hubby was feeling like a great parent...but who was meeting my needs?
Did I get to laugh/play/nap/eat? What about my fevers/tears/stomping? I was meeting the needs of everyone else first - MJ, hubby, dogs, work, family, and completing neglecting my own. Not just some of my needs, virtually ALL of them.
I'm not talking about my *wants* (about which I'm quite clear: morning yoga, a day at the spa followed by 2 hours of shopping, a square meal with good champagne, a hot fudge sundae and a night of uninterrupted sleep at the Four Seasons. In a King Sized bed...by myself!)
I'm talking about BASIC NEEDS: sleep, showers, meals, hugs, rest. Those are the inner circle of things I must do to survive. And I'm not doing them regularly! How can I be a good mother if my basic needs aren't met? How can I focus on those extended needs: yoga, a clean house, clean and happy dogs, a happy husband, bills that are paid on time?
So, I'm making a dedicated effort to trying to meet these BASIC needs first. I wanted to start with sleep (not another sleep rant, I promise!) but decided to start on eating. So far, so good...I'll keep you posted.
Other mommies - I wonder if this is something we all do? What are your most basic needs? Have you been neglecting anything in your inner circle of needs?
Initially, we were terrified to let him sleep with us. But as the night waking became more frequent, our resolve fizzled, and eventually we discovered he'd stop screaming if he was in bed with us, usually breastfeeding. Picture this: two blanket-less and pillow-less parents clinging to each side of the bed, each squeezed in a tiny strip of space, limbs dangling off the edge, cautiously sleeping with one eye open, watching for any signs of rolling over, face in the sheets, or sheets over the head. Meanwhile, he laid spread-eagle the middle of our bed, making little baby snow angels in the sheets and smiling as he peacefully slept.
As I've blogged about previously, we initially got to Sleeping Through The Night this way (I can't really remember how it happened). What little I do remember is that I just can't bring myself to straight up let him cry it out. It goes against every instinct I have as a new mama, and I decided that even if it works, even if it has no lasting effects, even if my pediatrician says I must do it, and even if I am getting no sleep - if it traumatizes me and feels wrong, I can't do it.
What worked for us initially was an adaptation of the Ferber method, using a graduated extinction with breastfeeding while co-sleeping. He figured it out and it was quite painless. I have no idea how we got his crib into his room, and got him into the room the whole night. But we did. And ever since then, I've adopted the parenting motto to follow my own instinct. Read the blogs, articles, research, books, opinions - and then go with my parenting gut, to do what's right for my family.
I'm still a newbie at this, so I don't *initially* know what my instinct is. Figuring it out usually involves a process of trial and error, clinging to a method that I'm sure will work, only to have it fail. Praying and crying and being a little terrified, some panicking and usually alot of feeling guilty - throwing around the mental "shoulds" and "should nots". Picturing children's services showing up at my door, possibly with media reporters in tow. "Mother paints toenails while baby screams in room, diaper unchanged. Headline at 11". After a requisite amount of time beating myself up for being so clueless, I end up deciding to take a chance based on a little tiny voice in my head, usually trying to tell me to do the opposite of what everything says I should do. And having it work.
But here's the thing: Now that MJ is much older (not a baby, not breastfeeding), we've created a double-headed monster of baby and mama who love to co-sleep. How long are you supposed to co-sleep? I can't send him off to college co-sleeping. But we enjoy it so much. And how in the world am I supposed to find the "middle way", the compromise between Ferbering and co-sleeping to transition him to the crib? Mama needs sleep too...
I can see the gauntlet coming from my hubby, so I better figure it out fast. And then there's the growing fatigue that grips me so tightly every day. I've gotta figure out something to get us sleeping again...I just don't know yet what that something is going to be.