Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Remember the feeling

Memories come in lots of different packaging. Most of the time we see them with our inner eye, they are a visual experience. According to science the sense of smell is the most powerful in regard to conjuring up memories. The smell of a person, a certain food or a certain environment can take you back to one powerful moment in time or help you relive a whole childhood. It is amazing how our mind works.

I sometimes use this to my advantage. My favorite way to travel to my happy place is to open a bottle of Coppertone Baby Sun Screen and take in a few deep breathes. Instantly I am transported to The Jersey Shore, surrounded by my family, cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. I loved/love it there. I never remember being sad in that place, which is why I choose it as my memory of choice when I need a pick me up.

This weekend I had a dream. In it I was with a man, nobody to me in real life, just a dream guy. I can’t quite remember what was going on in the dream, just one moment when the man came over to me, wrapped a blanket over my shoulders and hugged me. Then I was wrapped in no just a blanket, but a familiar feeling, and emotion I had almost forgotten. It was love, the feeling of being loved. I felt it so clearly. It has been a long time since that sensation has come over me. A distant memory that I now can’t ever even say was totally and completely genuine. The man I loved the most in this world was just a cover for a sicko, but my emotions were always real. Yes, I dated a great guy after my divorce and I loved him, but it wasn’t the same. I still don’t know if this was because he was the wrong guy or if I was, maybe still am, damaged.

All I know is, I keep thinking about that dream. How it felt when the man’s arms went around me. How easy, calming and natural it all was. This memory came from my heart. It was a reminder that love can be a beautiful thing. That it doesn’t have to be complicated. Remembering this is important, and it took more than words or visuals to really drive this point home for me. I had to feel it. The memory that came wrapped in a blanket.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

How To... Pack a Car

This post will hopefully be helpful to any new parents or even some veterans! I have realized that over the past 2 years I have learned to be prepared. I was reminded of this yesterday when I had to pick Nugget up from school because she was sick.

I will take this opportunity to go over how I pack my car. Now my car can be quite a dumping ground… I know some parents know how this can happen, BUT there is a method to at least SOME of my madness.

Every person, parent or not should have an emergency kit in their car:
-Emergency blanket
-First aid kit (remember to include a dose of any medications you or your child may need)
-Gas Card (I think it is a good idea to have at least a $10 gas card on hand IN my glove compartment because I have left home without my wallet and an almost empty tank)
-I also have a tiny one use jumper box, given to me as a Christmas gift. It fits in the glove box and plugs into the cigarette lighter. Pretty cool, huh?? I will share an image below.

Emergency food:
-For everyday circumstances you should carry some basic snacks for you and your child. A long day running errands or just a spontaneous case of the munchies can make anyone cranky. Remember to consider the weather. You don’t want your applesauce to freeze or your cheese snacks to melt. Here are some ideas:
-Trail mix
-String cheese
-Fruit/dried fruit

I am also a fan of keeping at least a small “emergency” store of food, food that you can use if you for any reason become stranded away from expedient help. Maybe I watch too much Survivor Man, but you never know!! This stuff doesn’t spoil easily or often.
-Beef Jerky
-Meal replacement bars (i.e. - Cliff or Luna)

Most parents carry an extra outfit for small children. I think it is best to always have a seasonally appropriate outfit for any child you have in your car regularly AND yourself. Remember socks, shoes and undergarments! You may never need them, but there may come a day when you get caught by the rain/snow/mud/mother nature ::wink:: and you will be SOOOO thankful for that stuff! Another example: I was at work and wearing cute, but uncomfortable work clothing when my grandpa was admitted to the hospital. It was a blessing to have some casual and comfortable clothing to change into as we sat in the hospital waiting room.
-I suggest an older or cheaper pair of jeans (Old navy or Target have decent jeans under $20)
-T-shirt (I recommend a plain, solid color)
-1 piece of outerwear (jacket, fleece, hoodie)
-Old sneakers or other comfortable flats
-Cheap gloves (for winter)
-1 full outfit for your child (Wal-mart and Target have cheap and cute baby/toddler clothing for about $5 a piece. They even have cheap sneakers for under $10)

Toiletry kit:
For some of the same reasons listed above you should carry a travel size grooming kit.
-Cleansing wipes
-Hair ties
-Bobby pins

Basic make up. Single ladies, we are human! Sometimes, especially on a Friday, we may actually be invited out with friends or ::gasp:: on a date! Never be caught without at least the basics. This is also good for those days when we are running late and may forget to finish our beauty routine before heading to work:
-Lip color
-Subtle/neutral eye shadow

Baby Basics:
-Diapers (5 of them in the car somewhere) For those times when you open your diaper bag away from home to find it without any diapers.
-Toys (Keep it to a minimum, 2-3 items, and try to make at least 1 item something like a etch-a-sketch or magnadoodle)
-Books (again 2-3)
-Plastic shopping bags (for dirty diapers or soiled clothing)
-Re-usable shopping bags for the random stuff that accumulates (children’s toys, books, artwork..) having a bag on hand can help you get everything into the house in one trip.

I hope this has been at least a little helpful! Getting my car packed in a way I am now happy with took a lot of trial and error. I am very happy to have these things on hand now and I feel a lot more prepared for almost any situation.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Loving myself on the outside

I love myself more today than I ever have in the past. From the day in 5th grade when I realized that I had start wearing a bra, much to my chagrin, all the way through high school and college when I wished for those once hated boobs to grow and thought I was fat. I was never completely at home in my own skin. I was also uncomfortable with my personality. I filled silences with jokes or funny stories. Yes, I love being funny and enjoy my ability to make people laugh, but I admit it was mostly a way to try to get people to like me… I wanted them to like me in a way I could not bring myself to. Maybe in their eyes, smiles and enthusiastic laughter I would see a Becca that I could love. These insecurities lead to a life as a people pleaser. I would say yes, when other friends would say no, I would listen when others would cut a person off and I would stay when a more confident person would walk away. I thank my lucky stars that I was smart enough not to fall for come-ons from sleazy guys who only wanted one thing… BUT though I had few boyfriends I found it hard to see the end of a relationship. I wanted to hold on to the love I had felt from them. I let them get away with not calling me for days, name calling, ignoring me and other things that should have been red flags. Well, that time in my life is over.

After everything that happened with my X I found strength in myself that I could truly be proud of. I was proud of myself and respected myself. I spent time in therapy working through my old issues and getting a better grasp on who I really was. I rejoined my soccer team, took a new class and spent time with my family and friends. The whole time I was me and much to my surprise people still liked me even when I didn’t fill the silences, even when I wasn’t joking around. Over the past 2 years I have built up my self-confidence. They always tell you it is what on the inside that counts and so that was my focus.

It was successful. I love myself on the inside. I respect myself and I feel comfortable being Becca. The one area that I am still lacking is love for my physical appearance. I am still 10 lbs heavier than I was pre-baby and 15 lbs heavier than my “happy” weight. Beyond that my body is just not the same. There are stretch marks, scars, dimples and discolorations where they once did not exist. I see my hips stretched out and slightly hanging over my size 12 pants and I long for the days of milky white, smooth skin, unmarked by the pull of a pregnant belly. How could I have thought I was fat before? I would die to be my old size 10. Only one size away, but my body was tight, toned and even. No muffin top. No need for spanx or complicated shapers. I have to learn to accept what I cannot change and find the strength to work on the things that I do have power over. I can eat better. I can exercise more. That I can do.

Ladies, I know I am not alone. We give over our whole self, physical appearance included to bring our children into this world. The problem is we usually look at ourselves through the eyes of others. We see our scars with the perception we believe others will have. My goal is to see my body through nobody’s eyes but my own. I will appreciate and honor my health. I will look in the mirror and see the beauty before me. I will praise myself for being strong enough to be a mother. I will dress my body in clothing that will highlight my majesty rather than a bunch of material that will hide me flaws. I will take pride in myself, even if I am wear sweatpants after a long day I will try to radiate the confidence that I feel inside. I hope all of my followers will do the same.

As this journey continues I will keep you all updated. Hopefully this will end up being a love story about how I fell head over heels for myself.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Free time: WTF

When parents find themselves with free time it can be a great thing. When a single/only parent finds themselves with free time it can be confusing and kind of scary. It comes so rarely that we feel guilty about embracing it because we could be cleaning, cooking, playing with our children, catching up with friends or organizing bills. There is always something to do. I am here to tell all of you that you should have a night where you stay home and do nothing!

Going out with friends is fun, but you usually stay up too late and possibly drink too much. I know many parents who get a night off and spend it making up for lost time… this will only leave you more tired than you were before and possibly physically ill. It is fun to party hard once in a blue moon, but my suggestion is to keep yourself in check and restore yourself instead.

This past weekend I had a “night off”. My parents took Nugget for a full 24 hours! I didn’t know what to do with myself! I did spend the morning cleaning and organizing, because damn my house needed it. Cleaning without a child hanging on your leg or messing things up in the next room was actually relaxing. Around 3pm I made an executive decision not to do anything else that day. I got myself some take out, revved up my DVR and busted out my bubble bath. After relaxing in a sweet smelling, hot tub I snuggled in for a veg session. I have not been able to watch tv uninterrupted in this fashion for almost 2 years. I went to bed at a decent hour and SLEPT IN!!! Yes, it was only 8:30am when I woke up, but that is 3 hours of extra sleep in my world. I was thankful for it.

So, my suggestion for all of you parents out there, especially you ONLY PARENTS is to find a night that some family can take your little angel and do nothing but relax. It is so tempting to do chores or go out and hit the town… DON’T!!! For God’s sake get some sleep and enjoy the quiet. That is an order.