I’d be lying if I said that I was at the point in my life where I fully and completely embrace my body.  I totally get that it must be freeing to unconditionally accept yourself, I’m just not quite there yet.    But I can say that I’ve come a very long way.  My teenage years were a period of self-loathing, constantly feeling inadequate in comparison to others. I oozed insecurity.

My harsh inner-critic was so loud, so cruel, so self-deprecating…..it was deafening.  It has taken some growing up and some major work on my self-esteem to get to a place where I can genuinely say that I am enough.

logan_onlySometimes, things don’t always work out the way you thought they would.  I never necessarily envisioned myself having a huge family, but after having my son and experiencing that ridiculous, unique love that seems to be inherent to becoming a mother, I had always imagined I would have another.  But after my painful struggle with infertility, I have finally come to terms with the fact that my son will be an only child and essentially, I will be a mom to one, single, extraordinary little boy.

Twenty Eight days ago, I decided to embark on a somewhat terrifying journey.  I committed myself to a month-long detox which included eliminating caffeine, refined sugar, gluten, alcohol, dairy, soy and corn.  Essentially, I very abruptly cut out foods from my life that reliably brought me comfort and pleasure.  No Starbucks. No cheesecake. No nothing (insert frown face).

I ADORE food.  I love to cook.  I’m not much of a baker, but sweets are definitely my weakness. For me, food represents more than just fuel for my body; it seems to play a significant role in my life. Not only do I eat when I’m hungry, I eat when I’m stressed, I eat when I’m sad.  I reward myself with food after a long day.  Sometimes food soothes me, while other times it fills me with a tremendous sense of guilt.  I’ve gained a bit of insight into my relationship with food over the past two years as I have struggled with infertility.  In a lot of ways, food has been my coping mechanism; chocolate peanut butter ice cream has gotten me through some of my darkest days. Food has comforted me, has distracted me, has cured my boredom.
But after I’ve put on about 20 lbs of emotional weight over the past two years, I feel I can no longer ignore this somewhat toxic relationship that I have developed with food.

A few weeks ago, my husband and I took our son for his very first visit to the dentist.  I was bracing myself for complete and utter disaster; protest, tears, uncooperativeness, utter mayhem.  I was certain that the scary mask, the loud tools and the bright light would be too much for my sensitive three-year-old to handle. So when the visit went off without a hitch and involved lots of smiles, giggles dentist_logan2and a fluoride treatment to boot, I was in utter shock!

So….I am proud to say that I survived the “terrible twos” that everyone seems to rant and rave about.  To be perfectly honest, the twos weren’t so terrible after all; a few short-lived tantrums here and there, a handful of embarrassing moments at the mall, a little sprinkle of defiance.  But nothing outrageous. Nothing as heinous or gory as I expected.  I have to say, I spent most of my son’s second year waiting for impending doom, thinking, any day now, I’ll be living with the kid from the exorcist.  But it just didn’t happen. I thought to myself, how lucky am I to have gotten away scot-free, avoiding that dreadful, bratty phase that makes you want to gauge your eyes out.

Currently, my family is in full-on potty training mode and I have come to terms with the fact that for now, our lives must inevitably revolve around my son’s unpredictable peeing and pooping schedule.  I have been patiently waiting for this time to come, dreaming of a day where I would no longer have to add diapers to my shopping list.  But now that it’s here, I am realizing that helping him achieve this momentous milestone is a TON of work involving patience, creativity, perseverance and many pairs of underwear.

Three years into this motherhood gig and I feel I have finally mastered the art of “me time”.  I get my nails done religiously. I have fairly regular nights out with friends. I even find moments to sip my Starbucks alone, uninterrupted.
I do all of these indulgent things with a clear conscience.  I feel zero guilt. It has become crystal clear to me that in order to be the best mom I can be, in order to sustain my sanity, I’ve got to set aside moments in the week to prioritize myself.

logan_self_esteem1When I look at my son, I see a lot of myself in him.  And for the most part, that fills me with an immense sense of pride.   He’s got my eyes.  He’s shy around strangers, but is a serious show-man/entertainer around the people he trusts.  He’s gentle and a bit passive. He’s super smart and retains everything. He’s an observer.  I love that he has inherited these parts of me.  These are things I didn’t necessarily teach him, they are just an inevitable part of his DNA, of who he is.

Daycare….. On the one hand, it’s a wonderful place for my son to interact with his peers, do all kinds of funsick_3 activities and learn new skills.  But on the other hand, daycare is also an environment infested with NASTY, DIRTY, toddler germs. After a few months of being in the daycare scene, I finally came to the realization that there is just no way of getting around the fact that if your kid is in daycare and exposed to other children, he is going to get sick….ALOT!

Six months ago, I was completely consumed with my son’s picky eating habits.  His diet consisted of Cheerios and toast and despite everyone’s efforts to reassure me that this was a phase he would eventually grow out of, I was convinced that my son was somehow the exception, that his stubborn refusal to try new things would last FOREVER.

Today is my birthday.  I’m 36 years old.
I was woken up with a warm kiss from my husband followe20140320_162804d by wet kisses and big hugs from my son.  He looked at me with his big beautiful eyes full of excitement and screamed “Happy Birthday Mama!!!”. His enthusiasm was genuine and palpable.  And it touched my heart.  The warm wishes were followed by the presentation of a card that he had proudly made accompanied by a song as he strummed his toy guitar.

I HATE winter.  Actually, DESPISE would be a more accurate description. You’d think that after living my entire life in Montreal, I would have developed a certain level of acceptance and simply surrender to the frigid cold, the ridiculous amount of snow and the wind chill.  But unfortunately this is not the case. And now that I have an active two-and-a-half- year-old toddler,  I’ve been forced to confront winter head-on, instead of avoiding it like the plague as I had done in the past, hiding under blankets in my warm socks.

I have been going back and forth in my mind as to whether or not I should write this…..whether this is too revealing…..whether I should take the lid off this box of emotions that I have been desperately trying to keep under control for so long. But I’m tired of keeping it together, of pretending that I’m strong, when on the inside, I feel like I’m crumbling.

The other day, I was talking to my very pregnant friend.  She was telling me that if she hears the words, “Sleep now while you can, cause once you have kids, you’ll never sleep again” uttered by one more parent wanting to offer her advice, she was going to scream. I totally understood where she was coming from.  I remember before having my son, getting that same warning time and time again.

When my husband and I met and fell in love, our cultural and religious differences had a definite impact on the evolution of our relationship.
I was a non-practicing Jew.  He was a semi-practicing Catholic, Filipino.  We realized family_blogreally early on that in order for us to thrive and grow as a couple, compromise would have to be at the root of what defined us.    It took lots of practice, several fights and a tremendous amount of effort, but I feel that we’ve really mastered this art and compromise now plays a HUGE role in how we are raising our son.

One of my very best friends is having her first baby in a few months and I cannot be more thrilled for her.
She is a wonderful person who is patient, kind and loving....all the components necessary for becoming an amazing mama.  Soon, she will have the honor of wearing her well-deserved motherhood badge and will plunge into the ever-so-glamorous world of poop, spit-up, mommy-guilt and exhaustion.

Let’s be honest, the first few months of mommy-hood are ROUGH!!!
The sleepless nights….the physical and emotional fatigue….the zombie-like state of functioning….the unkempt hair….the Lululemon uniform…    Although this period seems like forever ago, for the past 3 months, I have been experiencing a similar but milder form of sleep deprivation c/o my wonderful son who seems to think he no longer needs an afternoon nap and that 4:30 AM  is a suitable time to start his day.

When my husband and I entered into this crazy world of parenthood together, I had no doubt in my mind that he was going to be an excellent father.  I vividly remember him changing my son’s first diaper as I helplessly recuperated from my C-section and anxiously watched over his shoulder.  He was calm and gentle and he handled my son’s little bum with such ease and confidence. 

Every evening around 5:30 pm, I get ready to enter into battle.  I arm myself with a smorgasbord of food:  Main meal…..check.  Back-up meal….check.  Last-resort-meal…..check.  My kitchen resembles a cross between a buffet restaurant and a war zone and I look like a frazzled waitress trying to unsuccessfully please her VERY demanding customer. I am stressed.  I am desperate.  I feel defeated.