11.22.2006

The KFC Mutiny

The posting has been fewer and farther between. Do not confuse this lack of posting as mental stability. Oh, no. There have been tears, breakdowns, panic attacks, questions of getting back on the anti-depressants. But did I log in to blog about any of that? No. I'm here to vent about KFC slaw. Yes, KFC slaw.

I am an excellent cook. Sometimes my creations could even be considered gourmet. The only person who is a better cook than I am is my father in-law, but in some areas I consider myself to be even better than he is. And my tarts and souffles? World renowned, they are.

So, great cooking skills, not afraid to use them... guess what I'm bringing to Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. The feast of all feasts. Just guess.

KFC slaw.

Yes, KFC slaw. Not homemade slaw and certainly not upscale grocer slaw. KFC slaw. Because that is what my family has come to expect and we wouldn't want there to be a mutiny of any kind. Over, you know, slaw.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and may your bellies be full with something much more creative and tantalizing than KFC slaw.

7.25.2006

Reader Beware!

Right now I'm busy googling words like antidepressant, Wellbutrin, side effects. I've always tinkered with the glass half empty view of the world, but lately I've been feeling downright drab. I haven't been feeling like myself. I've been zoning out a lot more. Plopping down on the couch more. Resisting anything I normally love to do. I've also been a little negligent with keeping up with my friends, too. It doesn't help when one friend had the nerve to state that she told one of her close friends to call her when things start looking up again. "When I'm having the best time of my life I don't want to be bothered with someone else's problems, you know?" she asked as I smiled politely. It got me thinking, why bother talking to a friend about it when all you have to say is gloom and doom, but you feel obligated to pretend to be Sally Sunshine?

And I knew that the pounds were finding their way to my tummy, upper arms, and thighs, but like a naive parent leaving to go out of town with their teen alone at home for the weekend, I had no idea that a full-blown pound-party was taking place at my own body. I thought it was just a pound or two and a few friends. But 30 friends?

I guess I should have suspected it when I had to start shopping at the big girl store so that clothes would look good on me again. Sure, I can fit into clothing at other stores still, but they just aren't cut for me right now. My first trip to the big girl store was when I returned to work after maternity leave and while I was 30 pounds thinner than I am now, I had post-baby tummy and they had the high-rise pants I needed. You see, these days all the kids are wearing those low-rise pants. Low-rise makes my tummy hang over no matter what size it is, so high-rise it is for me.

During that first trip I was told by another customer at the big girl store, "Wow, this store was made for you. You have the perfect body to shop here." I was mortified. Completely. Instead of shrinking behind my red face I went on some nasty diatribe about how, "I'm not normally -this- fat and I just had a baby and I won't be shopping here long." Defensive and rude? Considering that she must have weighed near 300 pounds and had meant it as a compliment, yes. However, nothing in my life deflated my pride like that comment did. After all, my sister is the one who manages one of those big-girl stores. That's who SHE is. My identity is the thinner sister. Well, with me having made my second trip to the big girl store this weekend and my sister scheduled to have gastric bypass surgery next month, I could be in for an identity crisis right quickly.

Today I took a step in the right direction and went to the doctor. Actually, the nurse practitioner. I told her I'm always exhausted and my son sleeps through the night. I'm always a little depressed. I've gained 30 pounds since May. I have a whole list of other issues I'm having right now, too, but I spared her and provided her only with the most relevant and problematic ones. She immediately suggested Wellbutrin because I was crying telling her all of this, plus it is the only antidepressant that doesn't work against the weight issue. I'm really wary of getting my chemical balance involved with an antidepressant at this point. I worry that it could do more harm than good. Of course, this is not a professional opinion, but an opinion of someone who feels like she can't give away any more corners of her life to more health issues.

So, I'm stuck here wondering why I'm so depressed. Why? I have no clue. I'm alive, we're finally doing well financially, I'm strangely positive about many things right now, and my son is the greatest joy I've ever known. How can I be feeling so rotten? How did I get so fat? When can I go to sleep? Why couldn't I breastfeed? Who put me in this hamster wheel?

I feel like the answers to these questions all point to the same thing. Me.

5.25.2006

Cold Shoulder

When something upsets or displeases me I tend to have a knee-jerk reaction, do my flipping out, eat a ton and then, well, after a little sleep I'm completely over it. In fact, when looking at the scale the next morning and seeing the extra pound or two from my binge-fest I'm really not sure what I did to pack the pounds. That's how moved on I am already.

So, when I called my mom this morning to ask about what time everyone is gathering for my grandparents' anniversary next, I was shocked to find I was -still- getting the cold shoulder over the whole babysitting issue. There was no warmth coming over that phone line. In fact, I'm pretty sure that even her breath was cold. She did ask how my son was doing and when we are leaving for vacation. But when I told her about all of the neat-o things he is doing she responded with a flat, "Oh." When I stated that he had been unusually cranky this morning, she began pontificating about his teeth and how at this age babies are just going to be cranky about their teeth. I couldn't resist but to cut her off and tell her that it wasn't his teeth. He was feeling clingy.

Why did it drive me so nuts that she was so decided that it had been his teeth? I think it boils down to me not making great attempts to assume much about anyone and my skin turning bright red and then peeling off all on its own when people assume things about me or my family. I find that when you do that, you are not only pretending to speak for them, but you are also cutting yourself off from them and who they really are. So, just because my son is cranky, I try not to assume it is his teeth. I look at how he acts, I try to engage him. And someone else assuming and then going into semi-lite-lecture mode about it irks me. Just a bit.

Some people I know are able to just let someone go on and on and on and just nod and smile and think, yeah, ok. Why I couldn't just let her go on in expert advice mode is beyond me. I'm just wired this way and it's all my DNA's fault.

I wish that my mom could get past the babysitting issue. I wish that I could gently remind her that when we were kids we had babysitters who were not related, too. I wish that instead of using it as a wall and feeling like I've cut her out of my son's life that she would just offer to hang out with us sometime. But, then again, when someone has an idea of how things should be in their head, you really cannot do much, especially with wishes, to change it. But the images of me, my son, life, etc. that my mother has in her head are all for another post. I have a feeling that while things may die down in the baby-mom-grandmother triangle for a bit, they are not over and gone.

5.22.2006

Invisible Arguing

A coworker/friend stopped by my desk and, what did I feel the need to discuss? My mother, of course. Right now I find that all I can talk about is my mother. Even I'm getting sick of the topic, so I can't imagine how others feel.

I need an intervention. Fast.

Right now my mom and I are in an invisible argument. This particular stretch of arguing started when I had to pack up husband and kiddo to go to FOUR different places on mother's day to celebrate other mothers. By the time we reached place three my son was cranky and screaming and we nixed place four.

The next time I talked to my mom I gently told her that she could not expect a repeat performance for Father's Day. We're only going to see my dad and my husband's dad. That's it. I also mentioned that this year for Christmas we are not going FIVE different places either. I wanted to give her plenty of notice so as not to bring it up too late. Then came the guilt. Oh, the grandparents. Oh, the people who bear gifts for your son.

Yes, I am so grateful to have all four of my grandparents, but it doesn't mean that I want to see them and all of my extended family all in the same day. Well, this caused some displeasure with my mom. She brought up two road trips that we have planned and stated that "some people" (meaning HER) may not understand how it is that we can drive for hours and hours to see our friends when we cannot drive for two hours in one day to see family.

This family, might I add, does not like me. Other than my grandparents, everyone else clears the room when I arrive. Maybe there's not much to like, that's fine. But why would I drive all over the continental U.S. to hang with people who dislike me? And, frankly, they aren't really my cup of tea either. I would help my extended family if they needed it, but we really have nothing in common other than blood.

All of the above was politely discussed. We had come to an understanding after 45 minutes on the phone.

Then, 10 minutes later, I published my latest blog entry. In that entry I talked about how stressed I was. Also, I casually mentioned getting a sitter from my son's school so that I could have a night out with my husband.

Literally 3 minutes after publishing the blog I received another phone call from my mother. She was upfront in telling me that her feelings had been hurt. She felt like we were cutting her out of my son's life by not offering the babysitting to her first. She also stated that she doesn't see him nearly enough. I tried to explain that if we go out for the night we did not want to drive 30 minutes to pick up our son and then another 30 to come home. How unromantic is it to drive for an hour after a good date? Uh, very and I can tell you with that drive at that hour, someone's not putting out. And then what is the point of the date anyway? I was then told that if it was her only choice she would babysit at our house. At the same house that she didn't want to sit in on our anniversary to babysit, leaving us without a sitter and spending our anniversary at home.

Well, I must not have made my case for being able to choose whomever I want to babysit my son very well because she started crying. I tried to clear things up and thought that we were fine when I finished on the phone, but I received word from my sister and apparently my mom is still upset about it all.

I'm sick of what my mom is upset about. Here's what I'm upset about- just two sentences before writing about finding a babysitter I had written that I felt like a balloon whose air was seeping out. Did she ask me about how I feel or what was wrong? Uh, no. She just went into how wounded she was because I mentioned, in a freaking blog, that I might get another babysitter for a one-time date.

So, right now, I have several issues going on, obviously. Am I a horrible daughter for not wanting to drive over 2 hours in one day to celebrate any holiday? Am I abnormal for wanting to find a babysitter who lives nearby in case of emergency or for a fun night out?

I am just tired of my decisions coming under scrutiny because it is not the path she would like me to take. Being myself has meant always going against the grain in my family and it is so exhausting. When will they just understand that I am my own person?

Recently I was reading about how at this stage of development my son is realizing that he is a separate entity from me. When will my mom hit the stage of development where she realizes that she is separate from me, too?

5.19.2006

Smotherhood

Have you ever felt so smothered by someone that, at some point, every single freaking thing he or she does makes you explosively irate?

As a child I dreamed of living far, far away from here. I dreamed of making my own decisions, living my own life, owning my mistakes. With every insult my mother tossed my way, I sat with hope, thinking of a time when I would do as I wish. I'm not foolish enough to think that I lived my life in some faraway dreamland all because my mother felt the need to control every corner of my life, but that is the only way I can put it into words.

We have never had a good relationship. Sometimes I truly felt like she hated me. Now I know that she didn't hate -me- because she doesn't know me. But what she hated was what I stood for- opportunity, independence, choice. All of those things that she could never have due to circumstance, the era of when she grew up, and social/financial status. At a time when she felt confined to her home and the spare change my father gave her every week, I was her outlet. Her life. She had to know exactly to whom I spoke at school. Whom they were dating. What they wore. I never felt like I had my very own safe place. Hell, I didn't even know that a safe place was possible until I met my husband. And today, I started this blog because I can no longer feel open to say what I feel on my other blog because my mom checks that blog at least 6 times per day. She takes innocent comments out of context and has her feelings hurt. Just like in high school, she hangs on every word I utter.

I do love my mom, though there are many times I really do not like her. I have always wanted her to be happy and to find her own way in life. Now that I have my own child I have realized that this is not going to happen. She prides herself on the fact that she was a stay at home mom and that is where her expertise is. You can see her wince every time I tell her that things have changed and now babies sleep on their backs or you do not bundle them up to break a fever. With every advancement in knowledge, she feels like her expertise has been whittled. I can understand how it might feel to spend 20 years of your life doing something 24/7 only to find out that what you were doing has zero credibility with today's babes. And due to this, I have been understanding. However, since I've been pregnant she has worked her way back into my life and this makes me very uncomfortable. Previously we had been friendly, but not too close or involved in each others' lives. Now she is constantly throwing advice my way and telling me what I need to do in issues outside of raising my son. I need her to back off because I feel like I am going to explode sometimes.

Actually, I just need her to take two steps back. I still want her around and I want her to know my son, but I cannot handle seeing her several times per month. I cannot handle the comments about how I am raising my son. I cannot handle her sticking her nose into my business any further. But how do you tell someone to take two steps back? In my experience, telling someone to take two steps back is just as bad as telling them to back the fuck away from this ever-ticking time bomb. The risk is high.

So, how is it that now that I am in my 30's, have a husband and a son that I feel like my relationship with my mother is like it was in high school? When do I get to be the control freak? Oh, wait, that's my biggest fear, so hopefully never.