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When Mommies Need “Me Time”

Back in January, I was the lucky recipient of the dreaded jury duty summons. Don’t get me wrong, I get it. It’s an American right and responsibility and so on. But to be honest, jury duty feels more like a major inconvenience than an important civic duty. From having to drive downtown at the crack of dawn, to having to pay for my own parking, and the sad $40 per day pay rate, it’s all pretty annoying. But honestly, when I received the summons, I looked at my number and I was pretty sure I had a good chance of not even being called in.

And I was wrong.

Sure enough, on the morning of my call to duty, I was told to report to the court house by 7:30am. I called in to work, got the baby off to daycare, and headed downtown. In true pregnant lady style, I showed up toting around a bag full of snacks and several bottles of water, knowing I had a long day of sitting around and doing nothing ahead of me. Since it’s not often that I have a full day of nothing to do, I also packed my iPad and a book I’d been attempting to read for the last year (or two).

After waiting in a very long security line and getting settled into a room full of 400 other people who were equally as thrilled to be there as I was, I decided to make the best of an annoying situation. I poured myself a decaf coffee and grabbed my book. To my surprise, I looked up at the clock some time later only to realize I had been busy reading for over an hour and a half. It occurred to me then that maybe jury duty wasn’t so bad after all. I mean, I couldn’t remember the last time I had an uninterrupted hour and a half to myself to just sit and read a book. And not only that, but I was actually getting paid $40 to sit there and enjoy some alone time (alone, besides the 400 other people in the room, of course).

By the fourth or fifth hour of the day, I had not only read half my book, but I had made some friends, enjoyed some adult time, and caught up on e-mails.

And around this time, I realized that I had been in desperate need of some time away from work and parenting. I mean – seriously – if you are enjoying yourself at jury duty, you probably need to get out more often. I couldn’t recall the last time I had taken some time to hang out with adults and do something that didn’t revolve around motherhood and career related responsibilities.

mom e card vacation

So last week, when a fellow pregnant friend invited me to join her at a prenatal yoga class, I jumped at the chance. Now let me preface this by saying, I am definitely not a yoga junkie by any means. I’ve taken a handful of classes in the past, but that’s about it. I’m not a granola eating, meditating, natural birthing kind of person. I’m typically the person who looks awkward in the back row attempting to bend myself into bizarre poses and trying not to laugh as the instructor tells me to take deep breaths and release my fears and worries through my fingertips (and other yoga nonsense that makes me giggle). They are constantly telling you to let your mind relax, not to think about anything except being in the moment, but c’mon. We’re moms, ladies. I’m making a mental grocery list and planning my son’s birthday party as I’m standing in warrior pose. But I digress.

So although I’m not yoga master, I really wanted to go. I mean, jury duty was thrilling and all, but I needed some legit “me time.” I trudged through the frozen tundra after work last Monday night and made it to class with a few minutes to spare. I was the first mom to arrive, and I have to admit, I was nervous. The studio was very small – there wasn’t going to be any hiding in the background. The class was going to be taught by a doula and I was slightly nervous she’d spend the entire time trying to convince me why I should attempt natural child birth and how to breathe through contractions sans epidural. And even more, there were a variety of props set up at each person’s spot – blankets, yoga blocks, a few fancy pillows. I had a feeling I was going to be in over my head with this class.

As the women arrived and we settled into the start of class, the doula welcomed everyone and spoke to each pregnant mom individually, asking us how we were feeling. I know what you are thinking – last week I was totally bitching about people asking the obligatory, “How are you feeling?” when they don’t really want or care to hear my answer. But this was different. She actually wanted to know how we were feeling. She asked what parts of our body were hurting, how we were sleeping. She offered some stretches and sleeping positions that might help our aching backs. It was amazing. It was so nice to spend 10-15 minutes talking about the physical challenges of pregnancy with other women and have them actually listen and understand. Maybe this wasn’t going to be as yoga-meditation-crazy as I had expected.

The rest of the class was just as amazing as the first few minutes. It was extremely relaxing, not at all strenuous, and really enjoyable. The instructor was helpful and showed us how to use all the props to modify poses without making me feel like I had no idea what the hell I was supposed to be doing. I still had trouble shutting off my mind and not making mental lists, but I have admit, there were a few minutes that I was able to actually “be in the moment.” LOL. That yoga-dialogue will always make me laugh.

During the last fifteen minutes of class, the instructor shut off the lights and played some quiet music. She gave each mom a short massage, complete with lavender oil and a killer neck rub. While I would normally feel SO awkward accepting a massage from a random doula I had just met an hour earlier, I didn’t hesitate at all. What pregnant mom is going to turn down massage?! Certainly not this tired Mama. And it was wonderful.

After all, I guess what I came to realize is this. Every parent – pregnant or not – needs some time away. I learned this fact back when my son was born, but between play dates and bedtimes, time can easily get away. Rule of thumb: If jury duty feels like a fucking vacation, then you need a vacation.

So if you find yourself relaxing during your latest dental cleaning, or you actually enjoyed waiting for two hours in your doctor’s office solely because you haven’t had two hours to put your feet up in months, then you are in desperate need of some “me time.” Schedule yourself a massage, go grocery shopping without your children, or plan a night out with hubby. You deserve it, ladies.

Top 5 Ways to Piss Off a Pregnant Lady

For a lot of women, pregnancy is a miraculous, joyful experience spent planning and preparing to welcome a tiny life into the world. Some women adore their growing baby bumps and revel in the attention that is sure to come their way by practically every stranger on the street. They read the breastfeeding books, attend all the baby care classes, and decorate beautiful nurseries all while sporting that gorgeous pregnancy glow. And then there are people like me – who are pretty much uncomfortable, awkward, and irritated for the majority of the nine months. I want to be one of those perfect pregnant ladies, but I can’t help but think that having another human inside my body is slightly strange and frankly, planning for a new baby is nothing short of seriously stressful in my book. Between trying not to pee my pants every time I sneeze and not being able to pour myself a glass of wine after a long ass day, I’m pretty much just annoyed the majority of the time.

And as if simply being pregnant isn’t challenging enough on its own, I’ve realized that the people around me are only adding to my annoyed attitude. So today, I want to share with you the five most annoying things that people say and do that only further piss off an already annoyed pregnant woman. Here goes.

belly

1.) People who comment on my growing belly. At least a handful of people this week have commented on the fact that my baby bump is growing noticeably bigger. Thanks for stating the obvious, people. I’m six months along….. so… yeah, I’d say it’d be a major problem if I wasn’t getting bigger. But seriously, it makes me feel really awkward when people say shit like, “Oh, your baby bump is getting bigger!!!” Whether you’re my co-worker, my OBGYN at my latest monthly appointment, or some random ass stranger, I’d rather you didn’t share your opinions on my massive midsection.

2.) Random people who rub my belly. The only thing worse than people mentioning my expanding waistline is people who feel the need to actually touch it. I’m not walking around rubbing people’s beer guts, so I’m not sure why you feel the need to pat my belly because I’m pregnant. Not appropriate.

3.) People who share their labor horror stories. Listen, ladies. Let’s all make a pact to stop sharing the disastrous delivery stories. First of all, I’ve been through labor once before and I survived, so I don’t need to know the dirty details of how your own personal delivery when down. And secondly, if you can’t help yourself from discussing your own experience, then just fucking lie to me and tell me it was amazing. Let’s keep it positive and talk about how amazing epidurals are rather than comparing how many hours we all spent suffering through contractions before the anesthesiologist showed up. Am I right??

4.) People who ask me how I’m feeling. I know, I’m being a bitch here – and I know you mean well when you ask how I’m feeling. But most of the time, people who ask this question don’t actually want to know the answer. They ask it because they think it’s the polite thing to do. But do you really want to know how I’m feeling?? I mean, I guess I could be honest and start telling the entire world that I’m exhausted, sweaty, sore, cramping, achy, huge, and nauseous. Other than that, I’m fucking great.

5.) People who ask if we are going to try for a girl. For god’s sake people, let me push out baby boy number two before you start asking if we are going to have baby number three. I’m not even 100% convinced I’m capable of handling two children, so the fact that people are already asking if we are going to have another one is laughable. And even if we have a third child, the answer is NO – we are not “trying” for a girl. We are going to thank our lucky stars that so far, we will never have to face dealing with an emotional, hormone driven, drama-filled teenage daughter.

So there you have it. And while I’m sure there are many other things that I could continually add to this list of shit people do to piss me off on a regular basis, I’m going to stop there for the moment. And please, if you know someone who is pregnant, escape adding to her daily annoyance levels by avoiding the items on this list.