Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Getting Back Up From Getting Knocked Down

I have a new item to add to the list of "Things That Happen Postpartum That No One Ever Talks About". Seriously, people, there is an entire list of things that happen postpartum that simply do not get discussed by most people, most of the time. Since these things do not get discussed, they take you completely by surprise when they happen and some of them are even intense enough to knock you on your fanny for a couple of days.

How do I know this? I know this because I am currently working my way through one of them, and I am just beginning to understand it. Oh, how I wish that someone had given me the lowdown on postpartum periods at some point before mine snuck up on me ninja - style and knocked me on my fanny. Hard. Shouldn't I have known about postpartum menstrual cycles already? I mean, come on, I have more than one kid - this is not my first postpartum period rodeo. All I can say to that is that after my first son was born, it took about fifteen months for my period to return. When it came back, all that I really noticed was that it was extremely irregular. In fact, I distinctly remember that I felt less PMS when my period came back after D was born than I had experienced prior to becoming pregnant.

Because of my previous experience with an uneventful return of menstrual periods after my first son was born, I was blissfully unaware of the possibility that this time around, things could be much, much different. Not in a good way, either. It basically snuck up on me and since I did not know that it was coming (i.e. that I was experiencing extreme PMS), I thought that I was losing my sanity. Seriously. I thought that I was hitting rock bottom emotionally, that I had been trying to do too much for too long, and that I had finally cracked.

It started last Thursday, when I discovered that our septic system had backed up into our basement. I was able to keep my wits about me for much of the day, taking the kids to the park as promised and mopping up the water in the basement later that afternoon as the kids played nearby. The madness started when I realized that it was time to start making dinner. The very thought of cooking yet another nutritious, home - cooked meal sent me over the edge. I thought that perhaps I was simply overwhelmed, you know, with cleaning up a basement flooded with poopy water, taking care of two little guys 24/7, and keeping to a very strict Paleo diet.

I finished mopping the basement and went upstairs to the kitchen, with the kids following close behind. As I caught sight of my kitchen sink, which was overflowing with dirty dishes that I could not wash without flooding the basement again, I started to cry. I was in agony. I wanted so badly to cook the simple and nutritious meal that I had planned for that evening, but I could not bear to dirty another dish that I could not wash. Then, it occurred to me that I could order a pizza. A local pizzeria just started offering delivery, and I could take care of dinner without making any dishes. I started going round and round in my head and making myself crazier by debating Whole30 compliant dinner vs Al's Pizza for almost a half hour. In the depths of my despair, I dialed the phone and ordered a pizza.

As I ate that pizza, thirteen days of Whole30 compliant eating went out the window. The pizza tasted good, but I felt so disappointed with myself for eating it. I was an emotional wreck for the rest of the night, and I could not even bring myself to think about restarting my Whole30 the next day. The next day, I ate a few more things that were not Whole30 compliant. I felt okay, but not as good as I had been feeling while eating Whole30 - compliant. My moods went up and down and all over the place. I thought that I was just going through a rough patch, that I was just overloaded with stress. I had no idea that I was in the throes of extreme PMS.

On Saturday, I felt horribly grumpy all day long for no real reason. Again, I thought that it was just from too much stress and not enough sleep. I continued to eat whatever I pleased. That night, I felt as if I had hit rock bottom. I cried and cried and cried. I felt like a horrible mother and a horrible person. I felt the worst that I had felt in a long, long time. I even went to bed early. Sunday was okay, and then Monday I woke up and realized that my period had returned. It makes sense - B is now 15 months old, and even though he is still nursing, he eats a lot of solid food, too. I breathed a sigh of relief - perhaps I am not losing my sanity, after all. Perhaps that is the reason that I was a wreck since the middle of last week. Since my period is back, the PMS should go away, right?

Wrong. Monday, Tuesday, and today were awful, mood - wise, and just as awful with food cravings and with indulging those food cravings. Today, I decided to read what little information I could find online about postpartum menstrual cycles. Guess what I learned? One thing that I learned is that there's not much information out there about the topic. Another thing that I learned is that they can be AWFUL. I really wish I had known about that so I could have anticipated it in advance and maybe even avoided the mood swings by taking preventative action. Supposedly, things like eating plenty of leafy green vegetables and cutting out caffeine and sugar can help women to avoid the extreme PMS symptoms that can accompany the return of the menstrual cycle postpartum. That's right - if I had been able to tough it out and stay Whole30 Strong instead of caving in and ordering a pizza, I may have been able to manage my moods more effectively as my period returned. Since the Whole30 way of eating promotes a healthy hormonal balance, I think that it's time to restart my Whole30, and see whether I can avoid nearly thinking myself into a nervous breakdown next month!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Sometimes Rage is a Call For Change

For the past couple of nights, bedtime has been more frustrating than it has been in months. Perhaps frustrating is too mild of a word to describe what it has felt like, now that I think of it. I have actually been feeling enraged. Yes, I realize that enraged is a strong word, but it is an accurate description of what I have been feeling lately.

The two hours in between dinner time and the time that the boys actually fall asleep have somehow morphed into three hours. It's not the length of the time that is getting to me, although it is a contributing factor because my "me time" does not happen until the kids are asleep. The issue has been more about what goes on during those three hours. At our house, we call the time in between dinner and bed time "quiet time". During "quiet time", we do relaxing, quiet things that get everybody ready for bed. Things like brushing teeth, putting on fresh diapers and pajamas, and cuddling up to read some books or watch a movie. Normally, I love "quiet time" because it give me a chance to be close with my little guys, who are usually running at full tilt all day long and far too busy to bestow many hugs upon their mommma.

Lately, "quiet time" has not been very quiet, nor has it been relaxing. There has been much running around and around the living room, D asking me for one thing after another, after another, wild jumping on the bed, and all kinds of other activities that just scream "We're fighting off sleep with everything we've got". Parents everywhere dread bedtimes like this, and I'm no different. My response to all of these shenanigans has been to get more and more and more irritated as the time passes. By the time that they finally get to sleep, I feel wiped out because getting them to sleep has been a battle of epic proportions.

This evening as I served dinner, I had an idea that was inspired by a discussion that I had with a friend yesterday. We had been discussing how rage is often a signal that something needs changing. Cue light bulb illuminating over my head, complete with a "ding" sound effect. I decided that instead of playing another round of Angry Momma vs Cheeky Monkey D and Cheeky Monkey B during "quiet time", I would do something different. I decided that this evening, "quiet time" would take place outdoors. Not only that, but I decided that we would go for a nice, hour - long walk.

The result of my little experiment was that the boys still got to bed about two and a half hours after dinner instead of two. That is not the important part, though. The important part is that during those two and a half hours of "quiet time", I did not yell, nor did I get snippy or snappy. I was not even frustrated, not even for a minute. I was happy. The boys were happy. We walked, we talked, and D even sang to me. B fell asleep in the stroller about halfway through our walk, which was about when D decided to stop walking and climb into his seat to ride the rest of the way. We saw trees, cows, neighbors, and the evening sky.

Once we got home, D climbed right into bed without any argument. As I carefully lifted B out of the stroller, he woke up and fussed a little. Fortunately, as I snuggled next to him in bed, he fell asleep easily. I cuddled with D for a few minutes, and he also fell asleep. It was the best "quiet time" that we have had for quite some time. I have not checked the weather forecast for tomorrow evening yet, but I predict another walk after dinner unless there is a thunderstorm or a downpour.

Friday, June 14, 2013

What Happens When The Poop Hits The Floor?

That photo just about sums up my attitude today, and that is not a good thing. I have really been trying to stay calm and peaceful lately because I feel that it is better for my kids, myself, my husband, and everyone around me if I am calm and pleasant instead of anxious, angry, and snappy. For the past few days I had been doing pretty well, and I was having more fun, too. This morning, though, the poop hit the floor and it threw me off course.

I know, the saying says that the poop hit the fan, but in my case, our septic system backed up into the basement and there was yucky water all over the floor. So, the poop hit the floor. I discovered the mess when I was getting the kids ready to go to the park. I went downstairs to get a pair of pants that I knew were in the dryer from a few days ago, and as soon as I opened the door to the basement and saw water at the bottom of the stairs, my heart sank.

As my heart sank, I realized that I had two options for what to do next. One option was to tell the kids that we were not going anywhere until I could clean up the mess in the basement, which would take about an hour or two. You can pretty much imagine how well that option would sit with two little boys who are 15 months old and three and a half years old. The other option was to set the mess aside for a while, and take the kids to get lunch and go to the park as we had planned. Who am I kidding, not only was the second option more appealing for the kids, it was more appealing for me, too.

Now that I am sitting here writing this, I can say that although I occasionally thought about the messy basement and the messy house that we had left behind, I was largely able to enjoy myself. When we left the house, it was just about time for B to nap. He was sleeping peacefully when we got to our lunch spot, which is just ten minutes up the road. It's one of those places that you would love to randomly stumble upon if you were driving along, a little food truck that sells fantastic barbecue and hand cut fries. Oh, and hot dogs, too. That's what D gets when we go there, he calls the place "The Hot Dog Man". Anyways, since it is a food truck and the parking area is literally two feet away from the order window, B was able to keep on dreaming as D and I ordered our food. We enjoyed our lunch in the trunk of the car, which is D's favorite place to eat. He says that he likes my new car so much more than the old one, because we can sit in the trunk and eat.

B slept through lunch, but we saved him some food. He woke up when we got to the park, and he was all smiles and ready to play. We had a great time for a couple of hours, and then I decided that it was time to go back to reality. When we got home, I was instantly reminded of how difficult it is to clean yucky water out of a basement while caring for small children.Of course, the boys were really not being all that bad, they were just being kids, doing what kids do. I, on the other hand was stressed to the max and unhappy about cleaning up a wet, yucky mess. Unfortunately, I allowed my poopy situation to get the best of me, and I snapped at the kids a few times. When I was not snapping directly at them, I was muttering and sputtering about the situation.

At one point, I noticed that it was about time to get started on dinner. That sent me even further over the edge than I already was. I simply could not bear the thought of creating more dishes that I would not be able to wash, due to the water situation. I also could not bear the thought of cooking a meal with all of the cleaning that I still had left to do both in the basement and in the rest of the house. If you read my post yesterday, you know that I was working on my second Whole30. Today would have been my day 14, but the lunchtime trip to hot dog man was definitely not on - plan. I went even further off track, and ordered pizza for dinner. It was delicious, and I think it may have saved my sanity. That said, I nearly worked myself into a mental breakdown by thinking about how hard I had just worked to eat well for thirteen whole days and how terribly I felt about going off track today.

It is night time, and the kids are in bed. I have cleaned up all of the messes, and my husband has fixed the water situation. Tomorrow is a new day, and I can use my favorite stay - positive and stay healthy tools (The Orange Rhino Challenge and Whole9, respectively) to make it a better day than today was. Even if more poop hits the floor. Even if something else happens that I don't like. I have navigated challenging situations during the past few days, and I was able to remain positive throughout them. I can do it again, and I will do it again. I will know that I am getting really good at staying positive when poop hits the floor and I am able to keep calm and mop on instead of getting caught up in my own tirades and tantrums.

Photo courtesy of JulesInKY on

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Whole 30, Day 11 - If It's Not Sweet, Is It SWYPO?

Today is Day 11 of my second Whole 30. As I dug in to my dinner this evening, I realized two things. One was that it tasted sooooo gooood. The other was that it tasted like something that I used to enjoy pre - Whole30. I could not believe how much the taste of my grass - fed ground beef in Price Chopper Sicilian Gravy with chopped black olives tasted like a Subway Meatball Marinara sub, minus the pasty white sub roll and the cheese. As I proceeded to savor the deliciousness of it all, panic set in. I started to wonder whether this newly discovered taste sensation would qualify as SWYPO, for the purposes of my Whole 30.

If I had been eating dinner by myself, I would simply have put down my fork, picked up my smartphone, and looked up an answer in the Whole 30 forum. I was not eating dinner by myself, though, I never do. My two dining companions are always right there with me, B in his high chair, and D on my lap. When you are dining with a 15 month old and a three and a half year old, you can not easily pick up your smartphone during dinner. Not only that, you can't really tell the wee folk that "Mommy just needs to check whether she just had sex with her pants on".

After the kids went to bed, I visited the Whole30 forum and the 9 Blog, in search of an answer to my question. Of course the answer was there, it always is! As I read the forum, as well as the recent blog post on this topic, I breathed a sigh of relief. It turns out that my yummy dinner was not SWYPO because it fit within the protein/fat/vegetable requirements of the Whole 30 meal template and, perhaps more importantly, it was not an attempt to paleo - ify an old favorite or support an unhealthy habit. It truly was an accident that it happened to taste sort of like a Subway sub, only much, much yummier. If I had to choose my dinner or the sub, my dinner would win every time, even though there were other veggies (carrots) on the plate to fill it up.

As for the kids, that little guy in the picture is B. He's my paleo pal. Seriously. I am pretty sure that his favorite food is either ground beef or home made breakfast sausage. He usually eats a good amount of veggies, too. Then, there's D. D did not find our dinner to be quite as delicious as I did. He ate a few carrots and decided that he was done. Of course, he asked for a bowl of oatmeal about a half hour before bed. I made it for him, despite being upset that he has developed a habit of not eating at dinner and then asking for something different right before bed. At some time in the near future, I will have to figure out what to do about that because it's driving me bonkers. I'm not sure whether it is because I'm sticking strictly to my Whole30 and trying to keep the kids as close to it as I can without food becoming a constant battleground, or what, but I'm really frustrated. I know that it's not oatmeal envy, because I don't miss oatmeal at all. Whatever it is, I am sure that I will figure it out, some way, somehow. For now, I can remind myself that giving D some grain and dairy is less important than trying to use power and control to manage his food choices.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

There's No Time Like The Present

It started as a feeling, a feeling that I have had more than once before. A feeling that I really, really wanted to start my own blog. A feeling that built up over days, weeks, months while I did absolutely nothing about it. I don't have much time for my own pursuits, but if starting my blog was really that important to me I would have made time for it, right? Wrong.

You see, I am just as busy now as I was during the days, weeks, and months that I hid behind the excuse of being "too busy" to start my blog. Over the past few days, I have been recieving anonymous tips from none other than the Universe itself that are practically hitting me over the head (with a pillow, in a joking manner) as if to say, "Just start the blog already, enough with the excuses". For example, on Monday, I went to the park with my two boys. There was no one there when we arrived, so I suggested to D, who is three and a half, that we might as well get our grocery shopping out of the way and come back to the park later. He told me in no uncertain terms that he wanted to play at the park, even if no other children were there. He then told me that there would be other children there very soon. Smart kid. As we were getting out of the car, two other vehicles pulled in to the parking lot. Now, there were other kids for the boys to play with. As an added bonus, one of the moms was someone whom I have known for a long time, and the other was someone whom I had recently met. Of course, we all got to talking while we watched/cheered on/assisted the kiddos on the play structures. Anyways, my point is that at points during the conversation, my friend mentioned that I really should start a blog. That was a very meaningful compliment, and I am not quite so sure that she knows just how much it means to hear someone say that.

Anyways, we were sharing funny mommy stories and eventually all of the kids wanted to go down to the river and throw rocks into it. We obliged, and followed the kiddos down to the water. While we were down there, I noticed that one of my other friends was arriving at the park with her son. One family left, and the rest of us went around to the other side of the bridge to a beach so that the boys could play with squirt guns. As they played, I chatted with the other two moms and we had some great philosophical discussions regarding parenting. I came away from that conversation feeling like we all have a lot in common, and even more importantly that I truly do have some very strong beliefs and values that guide my parenting.

Later that evening, I was reading my favorite blogs. I love to read blogs for the information, and more importantly for the inspiration. As I read some of the older posts from The Orange Rhino Challenge, one of the posts tugged at my heartstrings so much that I started to cry. There it was, in words, a description of the fear that has been holding me back from starting my blog. The fear of not being good enough. I have struggled with "not good enough" since childhood, and it has probably been holding me back from being all kinds of awesome. Identifying the fear and seeing that I am not the only one who sometimes feels "not good enough" was a step in the right direction. However, it was not until about a half hour later that I had that defining moment where I realized that I could not put off starting my blog any longer. I was reading Momastery, another one of my favorite blogs, and as I read Glennon's post, "What's Your Thing", the Universe just about knocked me off of my chair with the aforementioned pillow. My THING is writing. My THING is being me. More importantly, my THING is being me while writing. Blogging. It does not matter whether anyone likes the things that I write, or even likes me, for that matter. What I write is my truth, and through the process of writing it I set myself free. Free of that fear of being "not good enough", and free from the countless other things that try to drag me down.

It took more than a couple of blatantly obvious "signs" from the Universe to get me to where I am right now, seated at my dining room table, writing my first blog post as Green Mountain Momma.Please join me as I continue to do my THING, blogging about my passions - parenting, nature, and following a paleo diet and lifestyle. Oh, and funny stuff. Did I mention the funny stuff? I am sure that there will be plenty of funny stuff on here, because life has a sense of humor. Thank you so much for stopping by!