Category Archives: Thoughts

The Pregnancy Filter

Has anyone else noticed that when you’re pregnant it’s like you are treated the best and worst you’ve ever been treated?

On one hand people fawn over you, always asking, “How are you feeling?”

On the other, some people don’t seem to hold back topics that would otherwise be seen as quite rude.

For instance, my 87 year old grandmother thinks nothing of asking, “How’s your weight?” during our phone calls.

Because I live in a small town, I can’t tell you all the fun tid-bits I’ve experienced thus far, for fear that some people may be identifiable. Perhaps, they’ve remarked similar things to you while you were carrying another human being?

 

kickboxing

Don't make me smack you.

 

Pregnancy is full of enough ups and downs without the fun comments from family, friends, and strangers alike. So for the more dense I’m providing the following filter. I would like you (and by you, I mean the percentage of this universe that has a hard time with their internal filter) to stop and think of these things before speaking. I may print these on a t-shirt and wear it every day.

  • My size. Yeah, I’m getting bigger by the second. I’m almost six months pregnant and that’s what is supposed to be happening. Thank. You. Very. Much.
  • Your horrifying birth story. Don’t really need to hear that. Birth will be a reality before I know it. Let me keep my rose-colored glasses on for a bit longer.
  • The size of my baby. I’m 5’8″ and not small, but that doesn’t mean I’m a morbidly obese giant. By no means does my stature allow you to guess that my baby will be 15 lbs. Yes, that happened.
  • And finally, if you’ve never been pregnant, try and refrain from commenting on what I’m going through or how the rest of my pregnancy will go. When you are pregnant, every day, week and month is different. If you caught me on a bad day, you might not get to see beautiful, glowing pregnant woman. Instead, you may see the exhausted, starving, slightly bitchy one. They both exist.

Please share with me how the Pregnancy Filter has affected you. What fun tid-bits have folks shared/spat at you while you were preggo?

And yes, maybe you are catching me on a bitchy day.

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The Name Debate

How do you feel about changing your name after getting married? Did you change your name? Did you hyphenate? Did you keep your maiden name? If you are a man (ahem, Dad, brother – my only male readers) how do you feel about your surname?

I had never really thought about it until Travis and I got serious. My initial thought was I would hyphenate. This sparked a serious debate between Travis and I. It turns out he was passionate about me taking his name. He actually said during one of our discussions, “If you don’t change your name then what is the point of getting married.”

Huh. That got me thinking. Why did he feel so passionately one way while I felt conflicted?

It turns out that the root of the conflict for me is a kind of grieving, a sadness over leaving my last name behind. I love my last name.

It’s the name of my ancestors. The ancestors who left Ireland on a coffin ship, crossed the Atlantic, and ended up in Boston. They were Catholics who faced persecution, who worked as engineers, oyster shuckers, coal miners. They worked hard, had dozens of kids, farmed, became educated, worked so their children would be educated.  Their sacrifice and perseverance have given me the opportunities I have now. I’m eternally grateful.

To this day I have family members who still refer to us as a clan. We celebrate and mourn like only the Irish can. Whiskey, beer, bag pipes, laughter, a sense of humor that only we get. A perpetual inside joke that we famine beaters have made something out of ourselves despite our fondness of drink, our tendency towards melancholy, the ability to hold a grudge for eons (hello, British), and our fiery tempers.

I don’t care that most of the time people can’t pronounce my last name. For the record, it’s not Duman, Duran, Duncan, Durman.

So despite my strong, nostalgic feelings about my surname I had to be open to the way Travis feels. He thinks it is a real honor to him if I take his name, that it unites us more completely as a couple, a cohesive front for the family we are becoming.

I can respect that. Which is what ultimately swayed my decision to change my name after we are married. It’s not like his last name is Wiener, Farfanugen, Butts or something. I can get on board with his last name. I might even grow to like it (no offense babe, I like the way it looks on you).

The other day one of my newly married co-workers said how strange it is that his wife now has his name. He said he is still getting used to it. While we were chatting I mentioned my initial resistance to changing my name. He said, “Well, it’s kind of emasculating to a guy if your wife doesn’t change her name.”

I finally got it.

In a world where women are increasingly getting closer to complete equality it is still important to protect that male ego. Sure we may make more money, change our own oil, use power tools and drink beer with the best of them, but at the heart of it, men still want to be respected as men. As providers, protectors, as the head of the household.

And I respect that. Men need to be allowed to be men.  Women have a unique ability to provide them with that comfort. Even if we are saving the world and paying the bills at the same time.

I am a frequent reader of  The Frisky. In fact, I adore that site. I adore the content. I adore the writers. I adore the way it let’s me escape at the end of the day and take in the world’s happenings, in a unique Gen X-Y kind of way. I’m all for reading through a nice pair of pop-culture, fashion, gossip, feminist rose tinted glasses.

If you’re looking for a different perspective on the name debate check out this post in the Dear Wendy advice column from The FriskyMy Girlfriend Refuses to Take My Name If We Marry

I can’t say I agree with the response from the advice columnist. Seems kind of one-sided, but it does represent how many modern women feel.

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Dear Weight Watchers

I open my inbox today and what is wating for me? A little note that begins, “Jennifer, come back to Weight Watchers and save $25.”

Hmmmp. Weight Watchers you hardly know me at all. I have not gone by Jennifer since first grade (ok, except for that short year after college when I thought it sounded more professional). And also, WW, you completely let me down and left me feeling completely disillusioned by the weight loss game and your GD points system made me obsess over every freaking thing I put in my mouth for six months.

So, no, I decline your invitation to come back or to save $25. No thanks.

I guess you figured out that I quit Weight Watchers. A while ago. Like almost 6 months. And guess what has happened? I gained back the 6 pounds that I lost while on that program. I can also still fit in all my clothes.

I didn’t become a morbidly obese person who sits in a closet and eats Twinkies in the dark. Yeah, I actually eat vegetables because I like them.

Here’s the thing: I followed the WW program. I tracked every little itty, bitty point. I went to my weekly meetings.

I DID EVERYTHING THEY TOLD ME TO!

And I lost 6 pounds in 6 months. Not cool. So not cool.

It was a lot of effort (and money) for a very small pay off.

I finally hit my breaking point when I went to a meeting and the leader said everyone was going to lose 10 pounds in 6 weeks. I wanted to throw my hands in the air and yell, “Are you freaking kidding me? What makes you think that is even possible for me after doing this program for 6 months and losing a pound a month?”

And that’s when it hit me. They count on you having failures. It is far easier to keep someone coming to meetings if you tell them over and over again that they must not be following the program, eating too much, or not working out enough (or too much).

Their business model has to bank on people coming back over and over again, creating a cycle of people who obsess over food, berate themselves for not losing, and then return with eyes full of hope that this time it will be different.

I don’t want to harp too much on WW because I did find their materials to be really helpful and the meetings, for the most part, were motivating. I think they have the right idea and for a lot of people WW is a savior that they desperately need.

Now I’ve tried WW three times and I can say positively, without a doubt, that this is not the solution for me. It just didn’t work for my body or my mind. What I’m doing now is trying to make good decisions every day and trying to eat the right amount of food for my body. I haven’t lost any weight, but I feel like a giant weight has been lifted from my mind.

I may not lose 50 pounds before the wedding, but I’m tired of worrying about looking perfect.The man who is in love with me likes me just the way I am. And it’s about time that I do the same.

The Nature to Nurture

Over the past month or so I’ve been thinking about my role as a woman and soon-to-be wife. With a demanding job, freelance work, putting the condo on the market, planning the wedding and having Trav’s sister move in with us things are moving at an exceedingly fast pace and I was reaching burn out. I’m not special – all of my girlfriends seem to be stretched and stressed to the same levels that I am. C’est la vie I suppose.

nurtureI spend a lot of time and effort giving to other people and nurturing their needs. You see it’s my nature to nurture. It always has been, but recently I started asking the question, “Who is going to nurture me?”

I really struggled with this until I came to the conclusion that I would just need to nurture myself. So I made a vow to say no more often, to treat myself to a monthly massage, to get to bed early, go back to the gym regularly, and to spend more time doing the things that I truly enjoy and not just the things I  feel obligated to do.

Then last Friday I had breakfast with some of my besties and I realized that they are the people who nurture me in a way that no one else can (myself included). Their friendship provides me with peace, support, understanding, laughter, fashion advice, and so much more.

So as women do we have a responsibility to nurture each other as much as we nurture our husbands, children, bosses, coworkers, and family?

My gut feeling is that we have an innate ability to give each other the emotional support that no one else can. After all, no one in this world can relate to the pressure, joy, happiness and challenges that we uniquely face as modern working women.

I walked away from breakfast feeling refreshed and happy. While we don’t all face the same challenges, we certainly can relate to each other in a way that other people can’t.

So here’s to the amazing women in  my life who nurture me. Mwah!

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Where you been all my life?

I’ve been busy. Busy and tired. And my blog has suffered because of it.

So here’s my updates:

Went to Weight Watchers on Friday and was up 1 pound. I’ve been see-sawing over the last couple of weeks. Not sure why, but have a sneaking suspicion that I’m going to talk about later in the post. Saw my nutritionist today and shared my concerns with her. She is so helpful and really gets my predicament.

I started the new job. It is good, but like any new venture in life it’s a little stressful. Lots of names and faces to remember, lots of stupid questions to ask, and lots of web work to get done. Last week flew by.

Memorial Day weekend was fantastic. Saturday my friend Amy and I went to Soak and had awesome pedicures (and some tasty cocktails). I got my haircut on Saturday afternoon, nice and short in time for summer.

Sunday we took a drive up to Loyalton, CA, ran some errands and then went to Tropical Penguins Scuba so Travis could get some dive/snorkel gear. While we were there we signed up for our Scuba certification. It is something that we have been planning on doing for awhile and we want to get certified and dive a few times before our trip to St. Croix for the wedding. We should be diving in Tahoe by August and will keep you posted.

Monday we headed up to Chimney Beach so Travis could test out his new gear in the frigid Lake Tahoe waters. He even caught a few crawfish in the lake!

Travis and Paul wade into the water

Travis and Paul wade into the water

Daisy taking a swim to catch her tennis ball.

Daisy taking a swim to catch her tennis ball.

Travis and the catch of the day

Travis and the catch of the day

Yummy - Tahoe crawfish

Yummy - Tahoe crawfish

Beautiful Tahoe day

Beautiful Tahoe day

So, in a nutshell, that was our weekend. I’ll try and keep updating more frequently, but between the new job and a sneaking suspicion that my thyroid is out of whack again, I just don’t have a whole lot of energy at the end of the day.I’m going to be making an appt. with my doc sooner than later because the fatigue is back and I’ve been pretty stagnant with the weight loss over the last few weeks.

The hard thing about having Hashimotos is I never know if my thyroid is really acting wacky or if I’m maintaining such a busy schedule that my body and mind call uncle and demand that I sleep. What I’ve learned over these last few years is that I have to be aggressive with my treatment. If I suspect that my body is off then it probably is.

Here’s to a four day work week!

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