Try, try again

Well, well, well. Here we go again. A new year, the same resolution to blog more. I should know better, especially given the 2012 experiment, but clearly I just get older, not wiser.

I could take a glass half empty approach as to why I didn’t blog more in 2012. Let’s see: it started with a 6 month old who got RSV, which then morphed into me having sinus infection after sinus infection and strep throat after strep throat for months on end (up to and including this very moment in 2013) and having trouble managing my hypothyroidism. On top of being a mom and being sick and way low energy, I still worked full-time and though I aspired to get other things done, I rarely did. See: being sick. It doesn’t help that my computer at home died and has remained unreplaced. Hey, iPod touch? You’re awesome for most everything. Just not writing extensively.

But let’s look at the glass half full version of 2012’s resolution: I wrote more than I had in previous years, including much more long-form stuff that’s still in progress offline (along with all the half-formed blog posts I have still rattling about in draft). I started another blog co-written with a friend of mine, and I reconnected with how writing helps me work sh*t out in my own head. So take that, 2012 resolution!

So, since I’m trying on 2013 for size, how’s it measure up so far? Not good. I think part of it is I have a tendency this time of year to look back on the previous year, and in comparing right now to 2012 at the same time, I was much more settled and content then than I am now. I was confident in my abilities to parent a 6 month old. Now I’m facing new toddler-sized issues (no impulse control, limited ability for us to understand what she’s trying so desperately to communicate, chasing her down at the most inopportune times because running away is FUN!, and trying to determine how to make meals out of the 3 things she’ll eat) that make me less sure I know what the hell I’m doing. A year ago, I had an awesome boss and felt, for the first time in a long time, that my work was a good match for my skills and background. Now? A reorg at work has left me working in the same place but with a new, totally absentee boss, and a new role in a new career path that does NOT suit me at all, leaving me utterly dissatisfied. A year ago I was much healthier. I was working out habitually, I felt good, had high energy, and then having drifted off that course from being so sick, I now find myself still on steroids and antibiotics, feeling pretty gross. And a year ago, I wasn’t faced with the prospect of our nearly 13-year old dog’s final weeks. That part, I’m not prepared to talk about or deal with yet. But it’s there, lurking in the shadows of the weeks to come.

I know myself. I know that I have a tendency at this time of year to feel the post-holiday blues. The trips to look forward to have come and gone. Regardless of whether the job sucks or is awesome, coming back to my cubicle after a few days away is always a let down as it means the end of hanging out in pajamas, playing with the girl, and taking naps. So I’m trying to be extra-cautious right now not to let my feelings of unrest cascade over into other areas and color the otherwise excellent things that I’m sure are to come in 2013. I’m trying to compartmentalize – not in some unhealthy way but to try to prevent my general anxiety disorder from trampling all over everything and mixing it all up so that all of my worries won’t get inextricably tied up together until they’re one giant sinkhole of suckitude. Trying to deal with one thing at a time, and then putting it back up on the shelf when something else needs to be dealt with instead.

Trying. Maybe that’s my guiding word for 2013. I will try. I will keep trying. If I fail, maybe I will learn something. If I succeed, who knows what could happen?

My Greatest Fears Realized

I have this irrational fear that I will blurt out something that is appallingly inappropriate for the context. Or just plain unspeakably unsuitable for any context. Like if I were in a meeting at work and found the words “I like little boys” falling out of my mouth. Or turn to my in-laws and ask if they want a bong hit. Just completely, utterly inappropriate.

I thought this was just one of the millions of my irrational worries and anxieties. That is, until My Better Half™ told me this anecdote. His friends had a party last night, and the wife went to bed early. But when she retired to her bedroom, she left her phone in the living room, in plain sight. Her husband turned around just in time to see a mischievous friend setting her phone down on the table.

“Um, what’d you just do with my wife’s phone?” he asked the friend, knowing full well that the practical joker was up to no good. The friend explained that he had scrolled through her contacts looking for the ‘girliest name’ he could find and texted that person “Why haven’t we made out in public?”

The woman he had texted? Her boss.

See? I have reason to fear the scenario of having something completely socially inappropriate spilling out of my mouth, or my phone-as-mouthpiece, and being incapable of stopping it. See also: reason to lock my phone. Which I am doing. Right. Now.

Babies are not just tiny adults

Today, my girl had her 6-month checkup, and now that she’s 6 months, of course the favorite question for everyone to ask is, “Is she sleeping through the night yet?”

The yet part is, by far, the most annoying part of that inquiry. And when I say no, it’s always followed by unsolicited advice that frequently leads to a discussion of her “schedule.” As in, “what’s her nap schedule?”

This question used to make me feel like an inexperienced and unqualified parent. It initially made me rack my brain, but the only entry I ever found under “schedule, baby” was a blank page. Now that I’m much more at ease and confident with my own parenting skills and talents, it just makes me react with “schedule? WTF schedule are you talking about?!” When I can’t even nail down a routine for myself, how about we just roll with life, as it presents itself? Maybe that’s just the meditation practice talking, and I’m getting better at staying in the moment (ha!) or, more likely, maybe it’s just that I firmly believe that babies are not just tiny adults.

If I know anything about myself, it’s that I think it’s time I stop spending so much energy alternating between ruminating about what has happened and worrying about what’s yet to come and start focusing more and more on the moment. Every day is new, every moment is different. And that’s how I’ve spent the past 6 months. As a result, her “schedule” is as follows: she eats when she’s hungry. She sleeps when she’s tired. I know baby experts say again and again how important a routine is for baby. But, following my own parenting logic of “do whatever works,” our “routine” of addressing needs as they arise, is working just fine. She’s doing very well, growing and developing. Right on schedule.