Living with Leftovers

I’ve been in a bit of a mood lately. After skipping my morning run last week to drop off an emergency cheque at the accountant’s because somebody at the CRA noticed a missed tax instalment, I came to a startling realization – I’m living in my family’s leftovers.

Looking at our family’s time as a (delicious chicken pot) pie, I noticed that my husband get first dibs on time – he has to go to work in the morning and he comes home around 6 for dinner. He has to go on business trips, networking functions and conferences. He goes to the gym in the evening and sometimes he works late. The kids get second dibs, they have to be at school by 9 and then picked up at 3 and chauffeured to various lessons, birthday parties, swim meets and playdates. And then there’s me – a stay-at home mom who gets just 5.5 hours each day to clean, cook, shop for groceries, do laundry, pay the bills, volunteer, organize, shower and write. I do have my book club and dinners out with girlfriends, but these too have to fit among the leftovers or its up to me to find a babysitter. This realization even makes me wonder if my new career – writing – has been chosen because it fits so well among the leftovers. Except when it doesn’t. Like when I’m working on a particularly moving scene in my novel in between life’s interruptions and I end up with a sentiment that could only dream of gracing a Hallmark greeting card.

So it’s time to step up and take the first piece of the (mmm, apple) pie for me. Not all the time, mind you but definitely some of the time. As a good friend reminded me, I am not the glue holding my family together. They would survive without me. I am not irreplaceable. And as brutally honest a statement that may be, it’s incredibly freeing to give myself permission to choose my own adventure. I encourage my kids to live up to their potential, why shouldn’t I?

Love Lucie

Looking Good, Feeling Better

Remember Billy Crystal’s legendary Fernando Lamas skit, “It’s better to look good than to feel good”? I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I believe that Fernando was onto something.

As a teenager, looking good was everything. I used to get up 3 hours early for school to wash, blow dry and curl my bone straight hair into Farrah Fawcett’s signature waves. I wanted to be like Farrah, and have men and women undress me with their eyes. But alas, I loathed my small boobs, thick waist and stumpy thighs. Since I was 14, I have believed that I could do with 10 less pounds. But now that I’ve lost the last 10 pregnancy pounds, I’m still not satisfied with my body.

As a woman in my mid-life crisis, I loathe my stretch mark marbled belly and that my freckles are turning in age spots. I slave away at the gym almost daily so that I can eat and drink and still fit into my clothes. However, the more I eat and drink, the more I have to work out. And so the vicious (peri-menopausal) cycle goes. Lately, my kids think that all I do is grocery shop and go to the gym, which unfortunately isn’t too far away from the truth. They don’t know that I used to be a highly paid executive carrying 10 extra pounds, flying around the world to share my expertise. Oh how I loved the power and the prestige! It felt so good, I didn’t notice the pounds as much. But since I stepped away from the accolades and the air miles after the birth of our 2nd son, and filled my days with cooking gourmet meals out of Bon Appetit only to have my 4 year old wrinkle his nose in disgust, I sometimes wonder if I’ve made the wrong decision.

So Mr. Lamas, what comes first? Looking good? Or feeling good? Is this the proverbial chicken and the egg? I know that when I look good, I feel good. And I also know that when I feel happy it shows, so I probably look better/taller/thinner too. My husband thinks my obsession with the gym and food (Atkins, South Beach, no sugar, no wheat, etc) is flat-out maniacal and I’m not sure that I would disagree with him. I know kisses, cuddles, and my children’s laughter far outweigh the satisfaction of fitting into my skinny jeans. I do not need a Psych degree to know that how I feel on the inside should have no relation to how well my clothes on fitting on the outside, and yet somehow, knee-deep in my 41st year, it still does. Not a week goes by without thinking about a tummy tuck to erase the toll the three pregnancies have taken on my midriff. Only fear of dying on the table and having my children know the extent of my vanity stops me from going for a consult. Plus, with good abdominoplasty results, how far behind can armpit liposuction and a boob job be?

I’m not done with this topic yet, but I have to get to bed so I can go to the gym early tomorrow 🙂 I know its a little late for a New Year resolution, so how about a toast? Here’s to Looking Good, and Feeling Better! Because maybe, with a little bit of both I can finally get off this merry-go-round.

Love Lucie.