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jannica merrit

humor. honesty. sometimes both.

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Self Help

Earning My Pants

Namaste.

I inhale, deeply breathing in the essence of life, of Mother Earth, of all humanity.  My mind and body become completely still.  I lean into Garland Pose and a small scent of patchouli surrounds my lean, strong body in size small, stain-free yoga pants, the bottom edges sitting just above my perfectly manicured toenails.

(The above was not actually me, just how I pictured myself practicing yoga before my first class).

I am a Type A person, who rarely makes or takes the time to relax.  That caught up with me finally and my doctor recently recommended meditation.

I have a history with meditation, however.  When I meditate, I either mentally redo a room in our house, make an unworkably complicated plan for world peace, or fall asleep.

He suggested I try yoga instead.

So, there I was, in the midst of all the nearly immobilized, calm-seeming folk on their personalized yoga mats with their cool-looking yoga sloganed tank tops and yoga pants (finally, I am official!  I must admit, I have been wearing their pants under false pretences since childbirth…).

I want to share a bit of my internal conversation during my sixty minutes of calm, peaceful time “practicing” my yoga.

This is my brain on yoga:

–Where is there a space in the back?  It is only open up front? Shoot! I have to get here on time next time, whatever the kids pull.

–Downward Dog! Ha! I won’t even make fun of that name, I won’t make a barking noise…and look how good I am at it.  Yoga. I got this!

–I think we are out of almond milk. I better put that on my list. Wait, what is everyone else doing?

–Put my right hand on the mat. Easy! Right elbow to left knee, now do what?  Do people even bend that way?  Oh, look, all those people in the front row do…

–Is that lady looking in the room from the childcare center? I hope it wasn’t one of mine!  If I ignore her, maybe she will leave.

–Why is no one else sweating?  Seriously,  I would love a fan or preferably a Blackberry Mojito right about now!

–I wonder what time it is?  Are we close to an hour yet? I think the clock is on the back wall; I will take a quick peak at it.  Wait!  Where is it?  Oh, no, on the front wall…and, busted! (As the instructor smiles at me).

–How are all these other people not only standing on one leg without jumping around to catch their balance, but some are sticking a leg straight out.  I missed those muscles at birth!

–Oh my goodness! The lady over there just farted loudly! Thank God my sinuses are clogged and, mostly,  THANK GOD it wasn’t me!

–Thanks for giving me the other version of this pose I am already trembling in, and hoping to do a reasonable facsimile of, until we can return to Downward Dog, my new home.

Namaste!

 

My Little Secret*

*Post is geared for the ladies.  Men read at your own risk.

 

 

I am seriously not kidding…female TMI alert!

 

 

 

 

 

I have a little secret.  I don’t share this with very many people, so let’s just keep this between us, okay?

Because before writing this, I think I have shared this with possibly two friends.

Sharing this here is a big deal for me.  But it is important.  And, I suspect, a big deal for a lot of ladies.  So, I am going to risk the judging I worry about and start.

Ever since my lady parts pushed a human out of them, when I sneeze, when I jump, when I cough, when I try to do Zumba, when I twist the wrong way…I pee on myself a little.  Colds are hell.  Trampolines…I can’t get within five feet of them without a little anticipatory trickle.

How many of you ladies have this little secret, too?

It is a shameful feeling, buying Poise pads and not looking the cashier in the eye, as I try to get out of the store as quickly as possible, or make a loud comment about how, “Yes, I think this is Mom’s brand.” *wink, wink* (Sorry, Mom).

My heart aches for the child brides in third world countries, who don’t have access to what we have in developed countries and have to suffer in isolation and shame.

What is so sad is that if this is as common in developed countries as I think it may be, and yet…we are (I am) so embarrassed to talk about it here.  “Not me,” I like to pretend, “must be horrible.”

A recent Facebook  post in one of my “Moms Groups” someone posted about this under, “asking for a friend.”  The post was flooded with an almost unheard of number of responses.

Yes, I have been too embarrassed to talk about it, so I will never judge anyone else for keeping silent.  I worry a bit as I write this about, well,  anyone reading this.

But that is why I am writing this.  Because it needs to be said.  Because it needs to be out of the closet.  Because it isn’t just what happens to women “of a certain age’ or mothers.

There are treatments, and I finally pushed my gynecologist to help me with it.  And she hemmed and hawed, and ordered a test.  It was an embarrassing test, because, what else would we do in this situation?  And the test came back that mine was bad, but not the worst, and she looked at me and shrugged.   And I looked at her and said that I wanted Pelvic Floor Therapy because I am tired of living with my little secret…that, well, isn’t so secret anymore.

And, I had my first therapy session today.  And it was…intrusive but professionally done.  And I was able to speak freely and get some exercises to do at home.

And, it may take some time to strengthen my pelvic floor muscles, but there is hope!  And, I hope the more we talk about it, the less embarrassing and shameful it will become.

Mini Golf Lessons in Love

I am rule follower, with few exceptions. I have a bit of a lead foot, but still generally won’t go more than nine miles per hour over the posted speed limit.  I recycle, and force my kids and the people around me to do the same (as much as I am able).  I color between the lines.  There is the way you are supposed to do things, and that is how you do them.

And now I am a Mom…

We took the kids to mini golf last night.  At two and a half, my poor sleepy daughter was regulated into her umbrella stoller and only able to give coaching (“hit the ball!”) advice from there.  She took her restrictions fairly amicably for once, probably due to the help of all the sights and sounds on the course.

But my son, my beautiful, athletic, smart five and a half year old son, who had never played putt putt golf before in his life…

We stood at the first hole with him and demonstrated standing to the side of the ball, practicing a swing before hitting, and which direction to aim the bottom of the putter.  He did as directed, and we celebrated each other’s successful shots, and played without keeping score…when we were playing below Jack Nicholson levels, we looked the other way.

On the second hole, he stood to the side as we had showed him, but held the putter backwards. I gently corrected him.  And, at each hole, that putter was somehow always facing the wrong direction, and I corrected him each time.

By the fifth hole, he was standing diagonally to the ball, so his back leg would block an effective swing, holding the putter backwards.  We showed him proper stance and putter placement again.  And again.

But somewhere around the ninth hole, it hit me: he was having fun doing it his way.  Fun! Wasn’t that why we were there?  What difference really did it make if he did it “right”, especially after what was almost turning into nagging?  Who else (that I see in the mirror every day) does it her way even though sometimes it is slower or not the norm sometimes (as long as it doesn’t break too many rules!)?

I took a breath. The most important thing, loving and accepting my son and letting him do what comes naturally for him–have fun!  And, he did! He hit the ball with every imaginable club angle, from many creative positions, and we celebrated every time it eventually went in a hole (with or without our help).

Lessons in Mini Golf and loving my son just where he is…because he is my son.

How My Kids Build My Self-Esteem

 

It would be nice to be a Hollywood star, with a personal trainer, a personal chef, and maybe a plastic surgeon on staff to help me get my body back in shape after two pregnancies, but that is far beyond the constraints of my budget. I don’t have the same amount of free time for self-care.  All the personal development courses I used to take have fallen by the wayside.  My post-baby body hasn’t rebounded as quickly or as well as I had hoped, either.  Fortunately, however, I have my children to help me rebuild my self-esteem.

My five year old son likes to have contests, which produce one winner, one loser, and no one in between.  While I am not a big proponent of Participation Trophies or always praising everything they do, getting his seat belt buckled before I can buckle his little sister in and get around  to his side of my car does not feel like a win-lose type of contest.  Or worthy of his “You Lose!” song, which doesn’t contain many more lyrics than repeated statements about me losing and him winning and a ton of finger pointing.

“Mommy, I am little, my sister is little, and you are big!”  Thanks, son.  I know, at five, “big” is not an insult, but it hits on the pregnancy weight I never lost.  Weight which would have been appropriate had my daughter’s birth weight been twenty pounds, the amniotic fluid five, and her placenta another five.

Also, he is thoroughly convinced that he is much stronger than I am.  No, at five, he is not yet stronger than I am.  One day, he will be.  But not today. And when that day comes I will be the mother looking at her son towering over her and I will be repeating the famous phrase, “I brought you into this world, and I can take you out!”

Then, there is my two-year-old daughter.  She recently followed me into my bathroom, as she does most days, fascinated by what I was doing sitting on the toilet.

“A poop?’ she enquired, with genuine excitement, trying to peer behind me into the bowl.

For some reason, channeling a Hugh Grantish British tinge to my voice, “No, sorry.  Just pee.”

“No poop?” she repeated, clearly disappointed that I had led her on, obviously a cruel parental bait and switch situation.

“No, sorry.”

With a small growl of disappointment, she walked in front of me, and stared at my crotch.  “Ah, YUCK!” she exclaimed, pointing in case I was unsure of her reference, and stomped out.

No need for self-help books, therapy, or a visit to Dr. Phil; my children are all over building their Mom up!

 

 

 

Photo Credit Jamiesrabbits on Flickr.  Thank you for the use of your awesome image!

Holiday Blues

I have started my Christmas blog a couple times this week and gotten nowhere.  I wanted to write something cheery or funny about the season.  But, when it comes down to it, I can’t lie.  This has been one of my hardest posts to write, and even harder to share.

Because here’s the truth: I fight depression most Christmases.  I am fine the other eleven and a half months of the year, but when Christmas rolls around, it comes back like that credit card balance you thought you’d paid off before you saw something awesome on Amazon.

I think it started young, with my dysfunctional, disconnected small family, Christmas Eve screaming fight semi-tradition all the while surrounded by media images of large loving families and warm celebrations.   And when I was older, returning to school after Winter’s Break to all my peers recounting their amazing holidays and toy hauls when I was the child then of a single Mom who couldn’t afford to get me much.

I try harder for my kids’ sake than I ever did for myself.  I bought decorations, a fake tree, tons of presents and hung our stockings with care.  I sent a cheerful card to family and friends of the kids looking adorable.  I drove around looking at lights for the benefit of my preschooler, and he loved it, and I enjoyed his excitement and my toddler slept through it. We have been singing Christmas Carols in the car and around the house.  We will even try to go to a Christmas Eve church service. 

So hopefully they will not feel the impact because I never know how hard it will hit…anywhere from slight melancholy that is almost unnoticeable to nearly paralyzing depression that leaves me unable to reach out, and canceling plans with friends at the last minute because I literally cannot leave the house.

I am hoping for my kids’ sake that I can cover it.  At least be cheerful enough not to ruin their holiday.  If it doesn’t hit hard this year, it should be relatively easy.  If it does, well, I don’t have a plan for that yet even though I should.  I will get us through it somehow; I always do.  It just isn’t pretty.

 

#firstworldKIDproblems

 

There is a wonderful thread on Twitter where one can share some of the troubling things in life, that just possibly are tied to us being spoiled and privileged called #firstworldproblems.  I love to share some of my many struggles on there, and sympathize with others doing the same as  we all trudge long in  this life.  It’s kind of like an online support group!

But at #firstworldKIDproblems there is a similar thread where my kids could share some of their most troubling problems as well—if only they knew how to type.  I imagine they would go something like this…

  1. Mom didn’t believe me when I said “My sister want ice cream” so I don’t have any.  #firstworldKIDproblems  #helpforhungrychildren.
  2. Mom won’t let me watch Power Rangers on her phone and I have to use my tablet. #firstworldKIDproblems #crummytabletresolution.
  3. Mom is making me wear pants today.  #firstworldKIDproblems  #soOCD.
  4. Mom yelled at me for clamping down on her nipple to catch myself with my teeth when I fell off the couch.  #firstworldKIDproblems  #whosenursinghereanyway.
  5. My individual pizza with my favorite toppings was cut wrong and she expected me to eat it anyway.  No way! #firstworldKIDproblems  #Ijustcantdoit.
  6. Mom made me get down from the top perch on the cat tree.  #firstworldKIDproblems  #slowingmyroll.
  7. Mom brushes both of our teeth. every. single. day.  #firstworldKIDproblems  #itsjusttoomuch.
  8. A box came from Amazon Prime and there was no Rescue Bot Action Figure in it.  What? #firstworldKIDproblems  #wherescustomerserviceAmazon.
  9. We have strawberries, raspberries, bananas, and pineapple.  But I want blueberries now.  #firstworldKIDproblems  #IcanteatTHAT.
  10. Going to my Godmom’s house to get spoiled, but I want Grandma to spoil me.  #firstworldKIDproblems  #nobodycareswhatIwant.
  11. The TV show Mom wants me to watch is educational. No robots. #firstworldKIDproblems #boring.
  12. Two kids.  One tablet. You do the math.  #firstworldKIDproblems  #Iwasherefirst  #itsmyturnnow.
  13. My toothbrush isn’t any type of Power Ranger or Rescue Bot. #firstworldKIDproblems #endchildhoodsuffering
  14. Mom won’t let me drink her Diet Coke.  #firstworldKIDproblems  #ifitisntgoodforyouwhydoYOUdrinkit.
  15. Despite the decorations, it isn’t Christmas today.  Decorations, but no presents.  What?  #firstworldKIDproblems  #OhcomeonitsChristmas.
  16. I sang “Happy Birthday” to Mom, and she seemed happy but wouldn’t cough up any cake.  Come on, it’s your birthday!  #firstworldKIDproblems.  #itisnttoday.
  17. The cat won’t give me horseyback rides.  #firstworldKIDproblems  #kidwhatdoyouweighanyway.
  18. Mom still won’t let me drive.  #firstworldKIDproblems  #IcanreachthepedalsifIslidewaydown.
  19. We have to leave the playground when Mom says, NOT when we are ready.  #firstworldKIDproblems. #hecknowewontgo
  20. Mom wants to sing with me and I want to sing solo.  #firstworldKIDproblems  #myturnnowandalways.

And so on and so on goes the list of trials and tribulations my children face on a daily basis.  It’s a wonder, a testament to their resiliency that they even can continue on in life.

Inspiration for the Days You Want to Quit

Some days nothing—absolutely nothing—goes right.  The days you desperately need things to go smoothly…and they don’t.  Every single thing you try to do is like swimming upstream through maple syrup with zip ties holding your ankles together.  Wide-open doors are suddenly slammed shut in your face.  Friends mean well, but don’t understand or are busy with their own lives.

A good self-help book could provide comfort; if you could still your mind long enough to read it.  Because really, there is no one but you with boots on the ground.

How do you keep going when doors are slammed in your face at every turn?  It isn’t always easy, but I have assembled a guide of my most helpful strategies and resources for when times are toughest.  I hope at least one can help!

Chocolate, pizza, or any other high calorie, low nutrition food of your choice.  The key is to take a bite every time you feel stressed or depressed.  The next part—and this is crucial–do not stop if you feel full or bloated!  If you are one of “those” people, I want to affirm that celery or carrot sticks don’t count!  A “food coma” marks success here.

Alcohol.  Like the first recommendation, excess is the key here, as well.  Because if there is any hint of that pesky sobriety then drinking your way to happiness may not work, so keep drinking until it goes away.  Until everything goes away!

Gambling.  Preferably this is done at a casino, though online can be substituted in an emergency.   High stakes games are the best; nothing takes your mind off your problems as much as new problems—such as how will you now pay the mortgage after gambling away the paycheck that was earmarked for it.

Shopping.  Even if you aren’t up to leaving the house for a little “shop therapy” can still be achieved as long as you Wi Fi is still up and running.

Computer Games.  Pick your poison on this one.  Something old school like Centipede or Space Invaders or something new and like Pokemon or Call of Duty.  One million computer nerds can’t be wrong!

Chain smoking.  Pick a pack of cigarettes, any brand, invest in the forty-or-so dollars they cost after taxes, and light one up one after another.  The cloud of smoke will surround your troubles and help you choke them out of your life.

Jerry Springer.  Whatever is going on in your life, you will be hard-pressed to beat the over-the-top drama of a Springer guest.  You will also probably have a much lower fistfight to conflict ratio than any of their guests.  Take a couple episodes and call me in the morning.

You can get through the tough times in life!  You can do it!  And my handy guide will stock your resiliency toolbox for just such tough times.

 

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