Letting Go and Landing

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I registered my baby for kindergarten this week. I sat in the school lobby, the familiar smell of school lunch, waxed gym floors, and tempera paint in the air, and waited for my turn. I had my file of forms and all of our residency documents in a folder on my lap. I looked down and realized I had a death grip on the folder.
Letting Go
I knew I was next in line to go to the registration desk and I didn’t want to let go of that folder. Once I let go, everything would change. My son would be officially a big kid and I’d be the mother of two elementary school children.

Their identities are changing. My identity is changing and I’m having a harder time accepting my changes than theirs. I love that they’re getting older. It means we’re able to do things we couldn’t do when they were little. There are more places to go, more things to see, I can show them more of my favorite movies, we can stay up later, they can start to leave me alone when I’m in the bathroom (maybe.) It still feels like a gut punch when I realize how big they are, and I’ll be crying through my baby’s “graduation” show next month, but I’m not lamenting the time that’s passed.

It’s harder to come to terms with how much my role has changed the past few months and it’s going to continue changing and evolving. I was laid off in March, and while I still freelance for the company a little here and there, I’m essentially unemployed. I’m now a “stay at home mom” and it’s taking some getting used to. My most important to-do list items have gone from preparing reports to picking up the dry cleaning.

I told myself I’d make the most of not having a job. We couldn’t afford daycare over the summer and we’re transferring next year, so I’d just keep looking for another telecommuting job and we’d take any “outside the home” jobs off of the table. I’d enjoy not having deadlines and task lists. I’d play with the kids more. I’d keep up with the cleaning and laundry. I’d go back to planning meals. I’d run more. And for the first month, I did. I would come home from school drop-off and do laundry or read or run. It was like a little vacation, I told myself. Enjoy it. Enjoy your kids.

And here I am, almost two months later and I’m getting restless. I don’t feel like myself anymore. I feel like I’m contributing less to my family, both financially and emotionally. A piece of my identity I was proud of is no longer there.

I should take a moment here to say that I know how incredibly lucky I am to be able to stay home with my kids, but please don’t make assumptions about our finances or situation.

Work gives me something that is mine. It doesn’t belong to my children or my family. I don’t have to share it. I can shut off my brain and focus on a list of tasks that have nothing to do with my family. Work allows me to converse with other adults about things other than school issues or soccer practice. It makes me feel like I’m contributing to my family in a tangible manner. I love the adrenaline rush of finishing a project at the last hour. I crave the workout my brain gets when trying to solve problems or come up with new ideas. I’m a better mother and wife when I’m working.

Without work in my life, I feel a little lost.

And when I was sitting in that school hallway, it hit me: come September, my house will be empty from 7-2, Monday through Friday. And it scared me. How will I fill those hours if I don’t go back to work before then? Will I find another job before then? Am I losing a piece of who I am by not working? Am I less of a mother because I need to work in order to be completely happy?

It’s so easy for others to throw the cliches at you “Your kids are only little once! Enjoy it! I wish I could stay home with mine! I’d give anything to go back and stay home with my kids!”, but it’s not as easy as all that.

Letting go is never easy.

But I had to let go. I had to turn in those forms. I had to let my son grow up and I had to let myself be ok with my life right now. My dream job may be right around the corner, or I may find myself still unemployed come September. Either way, I will be ok with wanting more, with needing more.

That’s the beauty of letting go: you just have to do it, fall back, and be ok with where you land.

Childhood Nostalgia on Netflix

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As a child of the eighnineties (isn’t that way better than “millennial” for those of us born in the very early 80’s? I think so. I am not the same as someone born in 1992, thankyouverymuch), so many of my memories revolve around television. We were still a generation of “go outside and play until the street lights come on”, but we were also the kids who got that new thing called the Disney Channel. We got the original TNBC and TGIF. We got “Goonies” and “ET” even if some of us were too young to see it them in the theaters. We just watched them repeatedly on tapes we rented from Blockbuster Video instead. We got to see “The Breakfast Club” because our older siblings had no choice but to let us hang out with them while they watched movies with their friends.

TV and movie life was awesome in the eighnineties.

Flash forward an obscene number of years and I constantly wish my kids were able to see some of the gems of my generation. I can’t help but watch an episode of “Jessie” and wish we were watching “Clarissa Explains it All” instead.

This is why I go all fangirl crazy when Netflix adds a show from my younger life. Here are some of my favorites available on Netflix now. (PS: I don’t work for or with Netflix.) (PPS: yes, I watch these shows on my own and without my children. You want to make something of it?)

1. Bill Nye: The Science Guy:

I can’t say the name of this show without busting into the theme song. Bill Nye was THE Science Guy. Yes, we had Beakman, too, but sometimes you wanted less of the large rat-man sidekick and more of Bill. He’s the teacher you always wished you had. SCIENCE!

2. The Wonder Years:

I’m pretty sure every girl wanted to be Winnie Cooper. I know I did. And then Kevin kissed her and we all REALLY wanted to be Winnie Cooper. I watch the reruns of “The Wonder Years” now and wonder why my parents let me watch the show at a young age when the storylines contained war, sex, drugs, and death, but somehow they did it in a way that kept the show family-friendly and wholesome. It’s impossible to make a show like this anymore.

3. Dinosaurs

You know what I loved most about this show? Annoying the ever-loving daylights out of my parents by repeating “I’m the baby! Gotta love me!” whenever I had the chance. My grandma even bought me the pull-string Baby Sinclair for Christmas one year. I loved her so much for buying me the most annoying toy EVER. Also, can we discuss the episode entitled “A New Leaf” where the family basically gets high together? This is family television at it’s best, people!

4. Saved by the Bell:

I’m not even going to elaborate here. The gif says it all.

5. Spiderman and His Amazing Friends

Yes, I saw repeats of this show as a kid, not the original airings, but it was amazing nonetheless. Firestar was my hero. Girl superheros were few and far between (and still are) and she was gorgeous and saved both Spiderman and Ice-Man more than once. I’m still bummed she never panned out as a cartoon regular (although she still appeared in comic books.)

6. Pee-Wee’s Playhouse:

Today’s secret word is: AMAZING. Because that’s what Pee-wee is. Amazing. Forget all of the weird stuff he did outside of the Playhouse. Let’s just focus on all of the magical, bizarre things that the show brought into our lives. Like Penny cartoons and snack time and Cowboy Curtis and The King of Cartoon. And the Christmas special, which is the single most underrated holiday special to ever grace our televisions.

7. Jem and the Holograms:

Because children should know the TRUE Jem and not the nonsense that’s coming out in theaters later this year (so much NSFW language in that link, btw, but Jessica Chobat speaks the truth.) It’s going to be awful, you guys. If you love your children, you’ll show them this version of Jem and this version only. SYNERGY!

What’s your favorite throwback show on Netflix? Is anyone else making a list of shows they wish were on Netflix now? Because I’m looking at you SQUARE ONE TELEVISION.

Today’s 3 Miler 

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I have a 5k on Saturday. 

I can count on both  hands the number of times I’ve run in the past month. Needless to say, I’m not exactly prepared for a race. I can run three (point one) miles without a problem, but I’m not trained to race. No speedwork, no cross-training. Just simple 3 milers. Today, I was going to go out for a run. Get my easy three miles in. Do it again on Wednesday and then a mile or two on Friday, just to stay loose. That was the game plan to get me to the race on Saturday. 

I woke up, got everyone else off to work and school, and came home to run. Except I sat on my steps, unable to move. The weather was perfect, I had the time, I was somewhat properly fueld. I had a backlog of Nerdist podcasts to listen to. What on earth was stopping me from going out the door? I couldn’t figure it out. It’s not like me to just sit there and not want to move when I have he chance. 

I finally willed myself downstairs to the spin bike. If I wasn’t going to run, I was going to do something. Anything. I popped on a movie and started pedaling away. Thirty minutes in, I realized I’d rather be outside instead of stuck on the bike in the basement, so I headed out. 

I wanted to switch things up a little so I picked a different route and, for the first time in a long time, I set my interval timer.  I had been running “by feel” when it came to intervals and I wanted to see if I could go back to timed intervals again in the hopes it would help my pace issues. I tend to start out too fast and end too slow. So I set my watch for run 1min/walk 30 secs, put my headphones on (XM Lithium was today’s music selection), and set out for a three mile run. 

And, wouldn’t you know it, I kept the intervals for the entire run. And I even did a couple of laps on my street to get to 3.0 because I completely misjudged the distance of my route. 

  

Go figure. 

I’ve been really discouraged with my running lately because my body doesn’t want to get faster. I went into the doctor again last week and had a whole new slew of blood tests done to see if it’s really the Hashimoto’s making me feel like I have two lead anchors for legs or if it’s something else. It was refreshing to see my pace back into the 11’s (a big accomplishment for me lately) and I think I’ll easily be able to stick with these intervals for the race on Saturday. If I can get a little speedier (thanks to race-day adrenaline), I may even PR and it’s been a loooooong time since I set a 5k PR. 

I’m not planning on the PR, but it would be a nice bonus at the end. Just like I wasn’t planning on nailing my run today. It definitely gave me the boost I needed and now I can actually say I’m excited for Saturday.