Sunday, March 25, 2007

Zen Living in a Toxic World

My daughter went with my parents to a family reunion today. I chose not to go. Why? Because I am antisocial? Not really.

I am so tired of the fight to be healthy and eat healthy. It seems that my daughter and I are not just dancing to a different drummer but are dancing to a monkey and an accordion.

I know this family reunion will consist of cakes, cookies, ice cream, and M&Ms. Of course the main course will be something like roast beef and who knows what else. Do we eat any of that? No. Nothing.

I would have to bring my own food if we want to eat. Normally I just sit there and watch other people eat while they eye me up and down like I am some kind of weirdo outsider. I mean seriously, who doesn't eat meat, dairy, & desserts in the Midwest?

Please do not get me wrong. My extended family is very nice. I am sure they feel they are serving the finest cuisine. I just do not eat it. I go to great lengths to only feed myself and my daughter items that originated from the ground (for the most part).

Its truly like pushing a boulder uphill. I am tired of it. So I decided not to attend. I have the pressures at work of avoiding cake and ice cream every time someone has a birthday. Again, they look at me like I am not a team player if I do not show up for the "party" or if I sneak out of the room when they start passing out the garbage.

I truly believe that the standard American diet is total garbage. Its poison. It is no more a "treat" than if they passed out a cigarette or some heroin for every birthday party.

Today I gave up a little bit. I have never been away from my daughter other than to go to work since the day she was born but today I do not even care. I just do not want to fight today quite frankly I am not happy about it but what can I do? I am going to let my parents shovel poison into my daughters mouth all day....she will miss her nap....and I don't have to deal with it until she gets home.

Yes, yes there is a point to all of this rambling. I get depressed. I get sick of fighting. I think that sometimes it would be so much easier to go with the flow and just eat McNuggets or some other toxic garbage and let my daughter drink soda and just smile and laugh and forget the battle.

Does it matter if we die at 60 or 90? Does our quality of life matter? Yes it does. So then I get angry. Its really quite stressful. I don't have one single solitary friend in the town where I live because I have absolutely nothing in common with anyone here (that I can find) so I am going this battle alone. It is a daily battle and I have no support whatsoever.

Again...whats my point? My point is that I have to find a balance so I can smile and laugh and still try to dance to my monkey with the accordion. I have to get to the point where I just don't care what other people think, while simultaneously refusing to judge others for their decisions. I have to resign myself to hunting and gathering for organic fresh produce just like caveman days. I might even have to grow my own. In resigning myself to this way of life hopefully I can lose the stress and happily announce to the world that "this is the way we live and if you don't like it, you can go..(fill in whatever you like here).

Peace out.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Day Care Conundrum

Today was my daughters first day of day care. Any one that has visited my site or read anything about me knows that I am a firm believer in attachment parenting. I think babies belong with their relatives, especially when they are young.

Is that realistic in today's world? No, of course not. That as we know is the theme of this blog. It doesn't make it any less depressing for me however. My daughter is 22 months old and spent almost 24 hours a day with me for the first 18 months of her life.

The last couple of months she has spent with grandpa and grandma after I went back to work full time. We both made that adjustment better than expected although she is still not sleeping during the day without me. (what kind of toddler cant take naps)

Needless to say, it has been relatively painless until today. Now I have more of the guilt that working mothers (and fathers?) are supposed to feel. My poor baby was stuck with strangers for five hours which is a pretty big chunk of time for a two year old.

She clung to her little stuffed kitty the entire time. According to the day care providers she was crying most of the day. She was sobbing all by herself in a room when I walked up. Nice. It totally breaks my heart.

To add insult to injury it is apparently going to take a lightning bolt to get these people to give her the food I send along. They think their food is good enough (and for them I am sure it is) and they don't want the other kids to want my daughters food. They feed these kids everything I am opposed to. Milk and cookies. Green jello with marshmallows. Is it too much to ask to feed them something that grew out of the ground? Unless you can show me a cracker tree I would rather not feed that to my daughter for a zillion reasons.

They wont allow me to send along a fruit and a vegetable. That is apparently an unacceptable snack by government standards. You have just got to be kidding me. And I think pasteurized, homogenized cows milk is nothing short of poison and in order to keep it away from my daughter I have to sign forms stating that she is allergic to it.

In addition, the facility is blatantly Christian. Fun. Its not that I am opposed to teaching my baby about religion.......Different people believe in different things just like different people speak different languages...nothing better or worse about one or the other kind of thing. But I am adamantly opposed to teaching her that one religion is the right one.

So I have to teach her that the food they feed her is wrong, the songs they sing are wrong, and the way they believe is wrong?? All that on top of the fact that she feels abandoned and alone except for her stuffed kitty.

Do I have a choice? Believe it or not it is a large, clean facility with a ton of happy kids and it is an excellent learning environment with wooden toys, small animals, pretend toys, and much more. They do not allow violent or sexist toys, they have daily outdoor time, and they do not exercise corporal punishment of any kind whatsoever. It is actually a wonderful facility by day care standards adequately staffed with what appear to be kind and concerned ladies.

So no, I actually do not have a choice with regard to a different facility because the other ones pale in comparison. Do I have a choice about day care at all? Not really. I cant afford a nanny and even if I could I don't think it would be fair to deprive my only child of the playmates she craves.

My only choice is to work part time or not at all. Like the title of the blog says, its the day care conundrum. Choose to be a poor stay at home mom or make a reasonable living and pay strangers to raise your child. What a great direction for my family's life to be taking.

Peace out.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

On being naughty

One of the first items I crossed of The List was getting a good nights sleep. This was incredibly difficult because I have always been a night owl. I have found the evening hours to be my most productive time and I have always enjoyed the night whether out partying in South Beach, working on my site, or just watching CSI.

I was forced to become even more of a night owl after the birth of my daughter. I found that even though I was not working a "traditional day job" and I was home all day, I was getting absolulely nothing done. In retrospect maybe I did not manage my time with my newborn too well and maybe I could have done some things differently to buy some more time but at the time it was easiest to wait until she was asleep to get anything done. I would then stay up until 2am and wake up with her at 6 or 7 and be a zombie all day long.

I always felt like total crap but on the bright side I really managed to accomplish an awful lot in those wee hours. I totally designed and built my website from scratch (with no prior web design knowlege). I also managed to eke out a living doing a bit of freelance work and selling products on ebay.

Fast forward to today and I am working a "traditional job". I probably have about the same amount of free time since watching a baby or toddler is a full time job. I cant spend my days in a trance however since I am doing a bit more "brain work" than keeping a toddler from shoving a fork in a light socket.

That realization combined with the fact that getting a good nights sleep doesnt cost anything out of pocket are the reasons that I knocked that off the list in short order. Like I mentioned, it was very very difficult at first to hit the lights at 10pm. It seemed almost ridiculous. In fact my whole life I have avoided a normal bedtime because I felt like I was getting away with something or being naughty. Even as a young girl I would stay up with a tiny light by my bed reading books until 1 or 2 and believe that I really pulled one over on my parents.

As an adult I have done enough reading to know the value of a good nights sleep. I was even further convinced upon exploring Dr. Mercola's website and reading all of his arguments as well as his helpful tips. Lastly while writing an article about sleep and fertility for my site I discovered that poor sleep habits will actually affect a womans fertility and her cycles. I am not planning on getting pregnant immediately but if everything works out according to my plan I would like to try by the end of 2007 so it made sense to me to get my cycle in sync sooner rather than later.

So a couple of months ago, despite realizing that I couldnt be naughty any more and stay up late I finally started turning in at 10pm. Within a week getting 8 hours of sleep became non-negotiable to me. I felt so good. I continue to feel so good. Its just wonderful. It is in my head more than anything. Now I know what I used to blame on a hangover was actually lack of sleep. I had been suffering needlessly for about 20 years or so. Granted I had an awful lot of fun and I accomplished an awful lot but now I wonder at what cost?

The interesting thing for me is my own psychology. Now I actually feel "naughty" in a guilty pleasure kind of way when I turn in at 10. I have such an incredibly huge list of things to do and of course no one to help me with my list so I have to be almost rigid in my daily and weekly to do lists. It is just amusing to me that staying up late used to be naughty because I ingnored the "should" go to bed early, but now going to bed early is being naugty because I "should" be getting so many things done.

Suffice it to say that if i have a choice to just be naughty or be naughty and feel great doing it, I will pick the feel great naughty every time.