Dare to Not Compare

There is another mom at Rex’s daycare who has a baby in the room next to his. She arrives with said baby around the same time that I am leaving from dropping Rex off.  Her baby can’t be more than six months old, at the most and yet the woman looks like she stepped out of a magazine.  When Rex was six months old, the bags under my eyes were entrenched, I was still wearing cotton tops because spit up washed out of those and the general public was lucky if I wore mascara, let alone full make up.

Her? Flawless face, perfect figure with a tiny waist and really high heels.  Everyday. (Although, she wears hot pink fuzzy slippers when she goes into the infant room, yet she rocks them at the same time. WTF?!)

Via Creative Commons by last-light.com

Seeing her always puts me in a bad mood.  Mind you I’ve never talked to her, I don’t know her name – hell, I don’t even know her kid’s name which at daycare is tantamount to admitting that this person is a complete stranger.  And yet, I let her make me feel like crap every single time.  I always notice how well her clothes fit (helps with that tiny waist!) and they are completely free of animal hair (dog, cat or other) and spit up stains. Her gorgeous long hair is beautifully done like she had 30 minutes just to spend on it alone whereas mine, well, I’m lucky some days to get a hot iron on the wings that stick out.

Then, there’s the shoes.  I am particularly envious because due to Gimpy Knee, high heel shoes have just been too painful to wear.  My gorgeous Coach peep toes? Sitting on the shelf.  Same for my lime green suede numbers.  Just the thought of standing in them makes my knee ache.  Yet, there are her super-trendy and super high heels sitting out in the hallway, alternating between mocking me and waiting for their mistress to return to once again elevate her above all other mortal beings.

The thing is that no matter how hard I try, I can’t stop comparing myself to her.  A little voice pops up saying, “you have a 14 month old who sleeps until 6:45am and you can’t look as good as the woman with a 6 month old who was probably up multiple times through the night? What is wrong with you woman?”  And I have no answer.  Well, no answer that doesn’t sound totally lame.  Because to me, being well put together is the hallmark of a woman who cares about herself.  She is saying, I know my worth and it is sky high, bitches!  I feel like that maybe one day out ten.  Her? She looks it ten days out of ten.

So what’s a girl to do? I see two choices: 1) I can put in that extra effort, run the lint roller over my entire closet, and gimp up my knee even more by wearing high heels or 2) I can be happy with how I look now. I know what the magazine-quiz right answer is.  We all know what it is.  Yet I’m still drawn to the answer that most women would probably choose if they were being really honest with themselves.

I present the question then to you fine people.  How have you come to accept your appearance and been comfortable even when you’re standing next to a super model? Or, did you gimp your knee up just to wear the high heels?

In No Particular Order

Some random thoughts, just because.

I’m having a terrible time with writer’s block for this blog.  I have so many things swirling in my head, but every time I write something, I think it’s lame.  My delete key hasn’t seen this much action since I was in law school.  Anyone have some topics they’d like to share? Questions you’ve been dying to pose to me? I swear, the rut is making my head hurt. Even reading really good literature isn’t helping!

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I love listening to the dog snore, a pleasant rumble coming from behind the couch.  I’d like to think it means that he is content and feels safe enough to snooze as oppose to him snoozing just anywhere.  It’s also a nice contrast from when he barks.  Which to his credit is not as much as it used to be, but I’m sure the plumbers at the neighbor’s house were quaking in their workboots just the same this morning.

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Is the universe trying to tell me something? It took me three phone calls to request my refill for birth control pills.  The first time the system couldn’t validate my birth date.  Now, I admit that I’ve given Rex’s birthdate to the pharmacy so much now that I have to remind myself just who’s they’re asking for, but once I remember who’s it is, I know the date.  So, I don’t understand why my birthdate didn’t match Mr. Automaton’s records.  That was last night. This morning, it was my drunk dialing fingers even though I wasn’t drunk, I was just trying to do two things at once.  I got locked out the system because I couldn’t accurately type in my six digit prescription number. Really.  Once I finally did get it and Mr. Automaton was thrilled to confirm my phone number with my prescription number, he told me that the pharmacy is so damn lazy, they won’t have it ready until tomorrow morning.  I still haven’t decided if I will actually start taking the pills on Sunday.

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I mailed off the paperwork for our embryo donation yesterday.  Mr. X and I had our blood drawn last week as required.  I hope that we can make another infertile couple very happy.

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I am currently sporting at least two band-aids and will likely add a third here soon. First, last week I managed to get a second degree burn on my hand from pulling out a pizza from the oven.  Then, I got some random scratch on my arm that’s not looking very good. And, then this morning, I had a cortisone shot in my elbow – yes, my elbow – which hurt like a *(&^%$.  I swear, my epidural wasn’t that uncomfortable.  Has it helped?  Mmm. Jury’s still out while the elbow is on ice.  There were ominous discussions of arthritis (WTF? I’m 35!) and the possibility of having to have the offending joint ‘scoped’.  That’s in addition to my right knee which has decided to be gimpy again and has earned me an MRI.  I don’t even run anymore, so why is everything breaking now? I don’t exactly put a lot of strain on the system, you know? Ugh.

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Rex celebrated his 14 month birthday today by taking 5 steps! Of course, they were at daycare, but the twinge of sadness that I feel that he had this momentous occasion without me is more than made up for by the fact that he was with his Ladies at day care who showered him in praise for his achievement.  And, when he’s ready to walk for Mama, it will still be a first – for me at least.

Grace in Small Things 5/8/2011

A special Mother’s Day edition:

1) This Mother’s Day, unlike last year’s, I feel so good about the mom I am to Rex. I feel all of the gratitude and appreciation for having him that I was beating myself up last year for not having.  I’m glad I gave myself the time to get to this place where I can be a good mom to Rex.I enjoy being a mom now.  What a concept.

2) Rex had his first taste of peanut butter this morning.  As a lifelong peanut-butter-holic, I would be thrilled if he too could develop a loving relationship with one of the world’s most perfect foods.  From his first tentative tastes off of the edge of a knife to the devouring of his toast slathered with the divine stuff, he was hooked.  One day we’ll work him up to my level of addiction: super chunky.

3) Mr. X got me the most awesome Mother’s Day present ever: the entire Beatles collection on iTunes.

4) Eco-Geek-Cheap-Alert: our local water system is very much into conservation which I fully support.  I support it even more now that they are offering FREE low flow, dual flushing toilets for houses that are old (mine), have “water wasting toilets” (mine) and have cheap-ass owners (mine).  Add to that the $50 gift card I have from the plumbers to go towards the installation, and it looks like we’re getting two new porcelain gods for a very low overall price.  I hope this means the days of misbehaving toilets are behind us.

5) Destination for this year’s Girls Weekend has been set: Newport, Rhode Island! I plan to pick up some decorating tips and have some authentic New England seafood such as Lahb-stah, and more lahb-stah.

Planning My Parenthood

Six weeks after Rex was born, I got a prescription from my OB for birth control pills.  I asked for the prescription because I was not going to allow my husband to touch me unless I had that heddy concoction of hormones swirling around my bloodstream fearlessly defending my fort of womanhood.  I was so damn paranoid that my body, which up until very recently had refused to play along with the whole pregnancy thing, had finally gotten the message and was ready to be a baby-making factory. And I was not.

Photo Via Creative Commons M. Markus

Because for as many stories I heard before we had Rex about women getting pregnant after adopting or swimming in magical waters, I heard just as many after we had Rex of former infertiles who poo-pahd the warning to use birth control after having their babies because hellooooo, they were infertile, and then they got pregnant merely months after having their first baby.  I was in over my head with one infant and so I was not going to play the male factor infertility card for birth control. I was going to get the 100% Grade A effective birth control*.

Fast forward one year.  Rex is still a handful – why are children required to teethe at night? – but we’ve got the hang of the baby thing (just in time for the steep learning curve of the toddler thing) and we’re in a pretty good place.

And, I’ve been thinking about ditching the birth control pills.  Part of it is because I’m cheap. Part of it is that I’m tired of being the responsible one and having to remember to take a pill every night and then pick up a new pack each month.  Part of it is that I’m now 35, the age about which birth control pill commercials start writing warnings in tiny letters on the screen.  Part of it is that this particular birth control pill seems to be wanting to stretch things out longer and longer each month which is a real d(rag).

But, what about birth control? Mr. X has told me on multiple occasions that he wouldn’t mind an oops.  There is not an insignificant part of me that would be so thrilled to be able to spontaneously get pregnant. Just the two of us! No doctors! No drugs! But, what if the pregnancy worked and we actually had another child? The pregnancy lasts nine months, the parenting lasts a lifetime.  I can do another pregnancy, but another baby? That’s a totally different matter.

Via Creative Commons by IIGS

I know that while Mr. X would like another child, I would not.  So, I’m looking into other methods of birth control that don’t require much thought on either of our parts.  I’m really intrigued with Essure.  I actually saw posters for it at my OB’s office when I was visiting her pretty regularly while pregnant with Rex.  At the time, I didn’t pay much attention – birth control was so far from my mind – but once I did find out what exactly it did, I thought it was pretty interesting … and ironic.

Basically, they insert little pieces of plastic in your fallopian tubes and get the body to envelope them in scar tissue to prevent egg and sperm from meeting.  In other words, I would be getting back the blocked tubes I had before when I was diagnosed as infertile and for which I had surgery to correct. I wonder if my insurance company would be bright enough to figure out that I am asking them to pay to re-do what they paid to fix.

Essure seems like it would be ideal for me.  I would have reliable, hormone-free birth control without having something stuck in my uterus and without making Mr. X get snipped (seriously, what happened if I died and he wanted to have more children with another woman? I couldn’t cheat him out of that).  It would also allow me to still carry a child if I wanted to be a gestational surrogate (which I’ve thought about) or even through IVF again, if we decided that we had to have another one.

I haven’t made any decisions yet.  But, I really want to get off the hamster wheel of daily birth control and I don’t want to rely on Mr. X maintaining a low sperm count to keep Rex an only child.  And yet, this just seems so existentially wrong to be seeking out the very built-in birth control I worked really hard to get rid of. What to do?

*when taken properly, natch.