Project Reverb – Day 11

14 Jan

Day 11 Prompt:

FAIL: What just didn’t work out this year?  Is that okay with you?  Or are you going to try, try again?

I had to think long and hard about this one.  Actually over a couple days to figure out what to write about.  I don’t really like the idea of failure.   Maybe I’d do a few things differently.  Maybe I learned a few lessons.  But as long as I gave my 100% effort…… insert face palm splat against my forehead!   That’s it!   What’s been irking me, not as a complete failure, but definitely not a success, is my inability to give 100% of myself to… well anything.

I knew that life pre-baby was not going to be sustainable after-baby.   Something would have to give, and it was likely going to be my committment to not just teaching gym classes, but growing them, marketing them, being the champion for that program, etc.  I’m still teaching classes and loving it.  I come prepared and give everything I have during that timeslot.  But compared to where I was a few years ago, I just feel like I’m having to HALF-ASS it.

Case in point, I was given a few opportunities to launch new programs/class formats at gyms.  I was leading the way, trying to entice members to try them out, creating a community of participants and instructors, and giving my all to ensure the success of these programs.   And then… I got pregnant, couldn’t keep up with 5 programs, 4 gyms and all the work that goes into it.  Then I went on maternity leave.   Then I came back and… poof!   All that momentum, gone.   Those classes/programs were not a success.   Not to say that I’m the only reason… it truly takes a village.  But I feel a bit like a failure, like I wish I could have worked harder, that it wouldn’t have happened on my watch.  That I could finish what I started.

Would I have done things differently?   Ha, no I wouldn’t trade my baby girl for anything!

Am I going to try again?   Sure.  But I’m going to have to be very choosy.  Focus my energy on one or two programs, and build a team to support me.  While I would like to be Wonder Woman, I’m not.   The time will eventually come where I can devote more time or re-visit a few things.   In the meantime, I need to pick my battles and censor my eagerness a bit.  Because in the end, I’d rather not do something at all than do it halfway.

Project Reverb – Day 10

8 Jan

Day 10 Prompt:

 Inspiration: What inspired you this year?  How do you think this inspiration will impact the year to come?

Okay, let me vent about what did NOT inspire me this year.  Given that I’m part of the Les Mills tribe and have great friends all over that are fitness instructors, personal trainers, nutritionists, etc., my Facebook news feed is constantly inundated with posts about people working out, paleo this, CrossFit that, Metabolic Effect, Shakeology, photos from classes, trainings, quarterlies…. you get the point.

For many, this should be inspiring.  These posts should be motivating.   But for a pregnant woman and then a new mom who would give anything to just go to the gym and prepare a fat-loss friendly meal (I’m talking about me here…), the fact that these posts make up 90% of my news feed is just annoying.

Maybe it’s envy that I’m missing out on things that have been such a huge part of my life.  Maybe it’s that I’ve just gotten a hefty dose of perspective that the world does not revolve around gym/Les Mills/group fitness.

For the record, I am still proud of all of your accomplishments folks.  I really am! But over the past year, I just wanted to make your domination of my News Feed go away!

Crap – maybe you’re equally sick of all my posts about babies.

Project Reverb – Day 9

8 Jan

Day 9 Prompt:

Surprise: What surprised you the most this year?

Hmmm.  This is a hard one.  There wasn’t really a moment that surprised me.  Which is kind of disappointing!  I am very much a planner and like things to happen the way that I planned them.  But wouldn’t it be fun to just have a total fun surprise that I didn’t plan?!?

But I digress.   Probably what surprised me most this year was what shouldn’t have surprised me at all.   Everyone I talked to while I was pregnant felt the need to tell me how hard it is being new parents.   They shared all their horror stories of no sleep, exploding diapers, terrible childcare experiences, colic, acid reflux, not eating, etc.  The told me it was going to be REALLY HARD those first few months.   And I just shrugged it off and thought “yeah, yeah, yeah I get it.”

Well you know what??  They were RIGHT!   But not for any of the reasons they told me.  We’ve been very fortunate to not experience those pitfalls I mentioned previously.  Emma is a happy baby, great sleeper, good eater, perfectly healthy.   So here are a few of the things that no one warned me about (aka, what surprised me) regarding being a parent:

1)  No matter how much you love to cook (like I do), your dinners will mostly consist of PB&J, whatever you can warm up from your freezer, pizza delivery, or anything you can pick up at the drive-thru or carryout.  You must be able to eat this food with one hand.  You will never eat hot food again.

2) You will freak out when you realize you’re out of any of the following: paper plates (see #1), paper towels, diapers, cold beer, wine.  Side Note: Honest Company diapers are the shiz for many reasons.  But my favorite is that they deliver a whole month supply to your door.  You will never run out of diapers again.

3) Related to #2, going to the grocery store is so much harder until they are big enough to sit in the shopping cart.  I’ve tried to slice it many ways… Note: it is not possible to push a stroller and a shopping cart at the same time.   It is also not possible to have room for any actual groceries if you put the carseat in the cart.  Best solution I’ve come up with: wear Emma in a sling or carrier so that I can have hands free and an empty cart.

4) You don’t have time to shower.   If you can actually time it right to get your shower in before the baby wakes up, it’s just not enjoyable.  You’re always hurrying, trying to squeeze in time to towel off, maybe dry your hair, get dressed, etc.   So when you actually have the benefit of your partner around to watch the baby while you shower, treat it like the most luxurious experience ever.  Use the most expensive shampoo and soap you can find.  Stay in until you are all pruny.

5) It makes you kinda bitchy.  My poor hubby gets snapped at a lot more often these days.  I’m sorry, Kev.   I blame the general lack of sleep, the brain drain, and the fact that I’m trying to rule the world (or just work full-time, teach part time, and be a mom overtime).  You have to learn to be more patient with each other.

6) Breastfeeding is not a cakewalk.  I heard this in vague terms before I had Emma, but no one really gives you the full picture.  Balancing work while nursing, pumping and all that is a challenge.  If you ever have to travel without baby, that’s a whole ‘nother challenge involving storing enough milk in the freezer, learning creative places to pump in airports, cars, etc.  So my advice: Make a lactation consultant your new best friend.  Give it time.. you’re both new to it.  And regularly read up on all the reasons why giving your baby breastmilk is so important.  The proofs and benefits behind it are so convincing that it will keep you from giving up.

7) Despite the best efforts of grandparents and friends, Emma is always happiest with mom.  So while many can try to help out by watching her, if the baby is upset and you have to listen to them cry (and you will even hear phantom crying when you’re away), you’d rather just suck it up and hold the baby while you deal with #1-6 above.

Yes, parenting a baby is hard.  It’s also amazingly rewarding.  But that part was no surprise to me.

Project Reverb – Day 8

1 Jan

Day 8 Prompt:

Adventure: Did you go on an adventure in 2013?  What sort?

I did!  In February 2013, I made my first trip to Africa!  I had the amazing opportunity to take a work-sponsored trip to South Africa to visit one of our ongoing project sites.  This was a challenging trip for many reasons:

1) I was traveling alone to a somewhat dangerous location.  My work took me to South Africa’s capital city, Pretoria.  While I did not encounter any problems during my travel, the region is known as a high-crime area with most common threats being burglary and sexual assault.  This meant I was advised not to go anywhere alone, not to take any taxis or public transportation, etc.  Anytime you’re traveling abroad you should be mindful of your surroundings, but I was particularly on alert during this trip!  Also, my work was within the U.S. Embassy, which is seemingly the safest place I could be, but there’s always a risk of being a target while in an embassy in a foreign country.

2) I was 6 months pregnant.  On a 15-17 hour flight.  Adapting to an 8 hour time difference.  Enough said.

3) I picked up the worst cold of my life on the plane ride there and was sick the whole time.

But despite all those detractors, it was an amazing trip.  I learned so much, about my job, about myself, about a new culture.  I would love to return, taking the time to explore the country a bit more, with my husband or friends, and not 6 months preggers (though I can’t wait to tell Emma how she went to Africa with me while she was still in my belly).

A huge shout out to my co-worked Mike, who was the project manager at the site, and his wife Monetta, who looked after me the whole trip and helped make it the memorable experience that is was.   It was one of the few activities this year that I got to do just for me, and I’ll always remember it!

Project Reverb – Day 7

1 Jan

Day 7 Prompt:

Victory Laps: What was your biggest accomplishment of 2013?

Among all the exciting milestones this year, the accomplishment that I am most proud of is making my transition back to the workforce.  Now, I know that there are many successful working moms out there, and there are just as many stay-at-home moms. Both should be celebrated, revered, and respected.  I thought going back to work was going to be a really difficult decision for me.  While I am fortunate to even have the option to work or stay home, buying our first home and taking on a large mortage certainly helped with the decision.  But ultimately, I have to admit that I was relieved to return to the workforce. 

Spending time with my baby girl is amazing, but man, it’s hard being a mom all day, all night, all weekend.  Even finding the time to shower, get ready, go to the store, etc., is such a difficult chore with a newborn.   And after 11 weeks of doing nothing but being a mom, going back to work actually felt like a break.

So why do I feel like it was such an accomplishment?  Because I didn’t miss a beat.  I came back during our busiest season of the year.  There was no transition, no getting Danielle up to speed.  From Day 1 back at work, it’s been guns blazing.  I’ve loved it. 

It hasn’t been easy though.  Emotionally it went much better than expected, as we have absolutely the most amazing nanny in the world and I didn’t worry about Emma at home during day.  Physically and logistically though, it takes a whole other lot of planning and juggling, as I am continuing to breastfeed and have to pump 2-3 times a day at the office, in between meetings, calls and more.  I have to ensure I leave enough milk at home each day for Emma, have to remember to pack, store and clean all my milk and breastpump parts.  I have to time out our scheduled perfectly in the morning so that I can hopefully shower and get ready before she wakes up, and then allow enough time to feed her before handing her off to the nanny.  And let’s face it, while Em is a really good sleeper, she sets her own alarm clock and occasionally foils my best laid plans.

I have to stick to an 8-5 schedule, which isn’t always enough hours to get my work done, and so many nights after I put Emma to bed, it’s back to the computer to make up those hours.  I’ve taken my fair share of early morning conference calls with Emma in my arms, or while nursing, praising God for the mute button!

Like I said, it hasn’t been easy.  But beyond the paycheck, it’s paid off in terms of satisfying my intellectual curiousity, adult interaction, and need to be fulfilled by something besides being a mom.  I have MAD respect for stay-at-home moms.  It has to be so hard.  But for my family, I know returning to work was the best decision, and the flair in which I did marks my biggest accomplishment of 2013.

Project Reverb – Day 6

29 Dec

Day 6 Prompt:

Blowing Out the Candles: You’re another year older!  How did you celebrate the passage of another year?  Did it turn out the way you had hoped?

I used to always round up when telling people how old I was.  I’d say, “almost 28″ or “29 in 2 months,” to give an example.   Now, when people ask me how old I am, I have to think about it really hard and sometimes I forget (I’m 32, for the record).  Call it mommy-brain, call it just getting older, I dunno.   But really I think I just care less about the number.  I used to get really hung up being married by a certain age, or having a baby by a certain age.  While these activities took a lot longer than I wanted them to at the time, I’m so happy that they occured when they did.

Now that I’ve actually given birth, I have a renewed appreciation for celebrating someone’s birthday (or birth day).  What an incredible miracle that is worth comemmorating!

This year I spent my actual birthday with some of my favorite gals!  Kim and Ginny and I indulged in breakfast and lots of great convo on their way out of town, and I ended my day snuggling with my littlest gal pal Emma.  Kevin was out of town on a work trip, but I won’t hold it against him.  :)

There was so much worth celebrating since my last birthday.  It was an incredible year.  I may still forget how old I am, but I will ALWAYS remember the year 2013.

Project Reverb – Day 5

29 Dec

Day 5 Prompt:

Challenge: Did you take on a new challenge?  What was it?  Is there are challenge you deliberately avoided?  What do you want to do to challenge yourself in 2014?

I’m usually all about a challenge.  I can look back at past years and note a number of challenges that I took on, be it fitness related or work related.  In fact, there are very few things that I would say “no” to if the idea excited me.   I’m all about self-improvement and being the best I can be.

But 2014 was the year of saying NO to personal challenges.

That’s not to say that it’s been easy.  There are A LOT of things that I would have liked to do this year that were all about me.  But now that I have a mini-me, I’ve had to re-evaluate my priorities and put my role as a mother and wife first.   I knew and vocalized to many that there was really no way I could keep up the pace of my lifestyle before the baby.  Working full-time, working out and teaching 4-5 times a week , being a mom… something would have to get pushed to the back-burner, and take a guess which one!  Am I really content with it?  No.  Do I sometimes resent it a bit?  Sure (Note: I do not ever resent my baby girl.  Just the idea that my life is no longer my own).  It has taken some adjustment and I’m sure over time I’ll find a balance that I’m more comfortable with, but for now, I’m getting really good at saying “no.”  Or at least, “maybe next year.”




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