Tuesday, January 12, 2010

My new inspiration....

When I was working outside of the home, I was inspired (or so I thought) to be successful in a variety of areas such as: Have better people skills, Focus more and make the sale or fill the job, Be the most productive, Earn a higher salary, Bring in the highest commission, Be certified in my area of expertise, Come in early/leave late and take calls after hours and on weekends or in other words do whatever it took even if that meant sacrificing my personal life.

At the time, I was fine with this and I truly thought that I was inspired. I did love what I was doing and as a Recruiter, I got to assist others in finding great jobs as quickly as possibly that were the "perfect" fit for them. However this was not without benefit to me from a financial perspective and I have to say is one that at times I did tend to focus on. Had I not got pregnant and then lost my job, I would probably be back there now continuing to do all of these things all the while sacrificing my personal life which now would have been far more busy than it as just a few short months ago.

They say that "hindsight is 20/20" and I believe this to be true. For one thing, I no longer look at what I do professionally as defining me (should I return to work) and am 100% positive that the career path I was on is not one that was really inspirational or making me a better person at all.

I came to this realization today, as I was sitting on the floor playing with my daughter. She has just learned how to clap and wave and as far as she is concerned having the ability to do this, is just about the best thing in the world...apart from her bottle, of course! Seeing these accomplishments in life bring so much joy to one so small tend to (at least in my case) make one re-evaluate what it is that is truly important in life. Sitting there, I began to think about what it is that is really important to me personally and while I would like to go back to work at some point, I believe that I need to find something completely different from what it is that I did before and this is in part for my daughter.

It is funny how having a child makes one reconsider your own wants and needs. We all hear this before the baby arrives that, "it is no longer about just you" but coming to that realization is very different as it doesn't necessarily happen overnight. With me, it started slowly and as corny as it sounds, I honestly feel like certain things are beginning to become clearer to me. I feel like I have been going through my life looking through a sheer curtain and having my daughter has lifted that and made me see just how many opportunities there are out there for me and if there is something new that I want to do...that I shouldn't be afraid to go after it.

First and foremost on my list at the moment is to get healthy, once and for all. Weight has been an ongoing issue in my life for years and is one that I am completely sick and tired of. Therefore, I have re-joined Weight Watchers and this time, will meet my goal. I was halfway there before when I hit a plateau 2 years ago and let work and working extra hours get in the way. I then got pregnant, gained weight and while I have lost all but 3lbs I am back to where I was when I hit this bump in the road. So, with the support of my family I am back on this journey and as my sister reminded me the other night on the phone...this time I am starting at what was the halfway point for me last time so I am already ahead of the game! (I really need to start listening to my little sister!)

I was a bit hesitant walking back in to Weight Watchers yesterday for my first weigh-in and meeting but what I found as I sat there and listened, is that I was comfortable and actually relieved to be back. I tried it on my own...it didn't work for me, and having this sort of support makes me feel like I am lifting some sort of burden off of my shoulders. In a way I have finally admitted to myself and those that I love "okay, I stumbled a bit and might not be right where I want to be just yet, but I can do this and will". It was as if, I had to come to those terms myself but what held me back was the fear of admitting that not only to myself but to my family. For some reason, I thought that they would think less of me (which they would not have) but this didn't happen and nor did my world come crashing down or anyone laugh at me. As a child, I was made fun of because I was heavier and taking ownership of this in my life is one thing that I have always struggled with....I feel like I finally have.

I also thought about what it is that I want to be doing professionally that will bring me joy and as I sat on the floor watching my daughter giggle at her talking puppy (who by this point was singing "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes for the 40th time today) I found that I kept coming back to the thought that it has be creative. I have always loved reading, writing and art and in fact get a certain charge out of putting together a well thought out paragraph, reading a book that makes me think and stays with me long after the last page has been turned and looking at a painting for the first time that literally "speaks" to me and makes my heart skip a bea> Hence why the reprint of Vetriano's "The Butlers Dance" hangs on my kitchen wall.

I know that I was not cut out to go and work in a cubicle or a stuffy office where I have someone looming over me and watching my every move or telling me what I "need" to do and when etc. Been there..done that! I am still not sure what this will be exactly but I believe that I have been given this time that I have and that my old job ended in the way that it did for a very specific reason. I believe that this was so that I would be able to have this particular time with my daughter but also so that I can decide what it is that I want to putting my other energies in to. I want my daughter to look at me when she is older and think to herself "Mom went after what she really wanted and I know that I can do the same".

I used to think that having a great job had to do with making the most money, having really good health care and moving up the ladder as quickly as possibly but now, I don't feel that way. While money is great and as we all know is a necessity in life, I don't want my life to be about that and I don't want her to grow up believing that she has to keep "going, going, going" in order to have it all. That term "have it all" is one that as a woman I have heard over and over and over again and now, I am not sure that I want it all especially if the only reward in the end is a larger bank account. I want to really enjoy what I do and feel that it is beneficial to not only me but also to my family as it makes me a happier person and not someone who is tired and stressed out all of the time. I know that if I were back in my old job right now that I would be this way and I can only imagine how this would negatively impact my daughter and I sometimes wonder if she would be anywhere near as happy a baby.....

The long and short of it is, is that my new inspiration IS my daughter. She makes me want to be a better person and to really go after my dreams. My husband always encouraged me to do this but having this new little person in my life who is experiencing so many firsts at the moment and getting so much joy out of them that it makes me want to experience this for myself on a personal level again instead of just watching it. In the next year, I would like to be at my goal weight for the first time in a very long time to be doing what it is that I would love to be doing professionally for the first time ever and not just settling or taking the first thing that comes along.

As I continue to ponder what this is, I know that I will continue to be inspired by my little smiley girl and in the meantime let her make my heart skip a beat on a daily basis.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Welcome 2010!

2009 has officially come and gone and I have to say that apart from the birth of our daughter that I am thrilled for it to be over. It just seemed to be a tough year for everyone that I know in some way or other and I think that we are all looking forward to not only this next year but also the next decade and are hopeful of what it will bring.

One of the things that I realized this year when asked what my new years resolution was is that it didn't focus on myself. Yes, there are things that I want to work on in the new year such as continuing to lose the extra baby weight (I can get into my pre-pregnancy jeans (woo hoo!) I just can't sit down in them), working out more, eating healthier and deleting the "toxic" personalities from my life but there were also those that I didn't expect such as:

Meet other first time Moms (or those with young children)
Have playdates for my daughter so she begins to make friends
Spend more time appreciating the little things in life that my daughter is so fascinated by
Trust my instincts as a Mom more

One of the things that I have found it very tough to do since being home is to meet other first time Moms or even stay at home Moms and have found myself having to seek out those resources. Thank God for my girlfriend who recommended my MOPS group or I might just have actually lost my mind come mid-September of 09. It is an amazing resource of women with kids of all ages who are able to really learn from each other, share "war" stories and also socialize without the kiddos and even our husbands on occasion - therefore we really get time away :-)

Along with this, our daughter has now reached her 7 month milestone and I am realizing how important it is for her to begin to interact with other little ones of her age. We joined a couples with kids group in our area and have met a couple with a little girl who is about 3 weeks older than ours. We met up with them today at Borders for coffee and playtime and it was a hoot just to watch the girls interact with each other. It took our daughter a little bit of time to warm up to the situation as she tends to be a bit more like me and check out things before she participates but in the end, they seemed to be getting along with each other and I think had naptime not ensued that they would have been perfectly happy to giggle at each other for the better part of the afternoon. These are the sorts of things that she needs more of to develop her own social skills but it is also great for all of us (even the Dads) as since the girls are so close in age we are able to share a lot of similar experiences going on in our lives right now.

This is how I have begun to notice how important it is to really appreciate the little things in life that this time last year, I know I would have taken for granted since I would not have been sitting down on the floor playing as much as I do now. The wonder that I see in my daughter's eyes as she picks up a toy for the first time or in watching the shadows move across the carpet or how one can be entertained merely by sitting across from another and smiling and giggling makes me see how much we miss as we get older. Our lives are so fast that we never really stop, look around and actually take it all in...something I truly hope I am able to do more of.

Trusting my instincts as a new Mom is one that I grappled with at the beginning when I thought I needed to be reading all the books, going off of what the pediatrician said verbatim and comparing my child to everyone else's. Now, I still do sometimes compare my daughter's milestones to those of others who I know or what I have read but I don't stress out over it like I once did since there are some areas where she has been ahead of the curve and others where she has been a bit behind but they say that in the end we all get there and if it takes a little bit longer not to worry.

I have begun to take on the mindset that the best person to tell me when my daughter is ready to eat new foods (i.e. move up to the next level), begin crawling, walking etc is my daughter and that she does do things in her own time. She has never been a child who will "do tricks on command" and reminds me of that quite frequently when I want her to do something at that particular moment as she looks at me as if to say "Mommy, that isn't happening and the more you want it to the less likely it will". She is definitely teaching me a thing or two about patience...something anyone who knows me will tell you I lack.

Over the past few days, I have heard it mentioned on more than one occasion by one person or another that they are wishing the holidays weren't over as it means no more time off work and that they are counting the days until the next day off or their vacation. This time last year, I was in their shoes and I remember feeling exactly the same way but due to one thing and another I am not in that position at this particular time and for the first time in many years, I am looking forward to attempting to keep the resolutions that I have made. I am sure that some will take more work than others and I will stumble and fall in some areas but if I believe (as I do with my daughter) that in time I will get there....then hopefully by this time next year, I will be able to say that I have successfully accomplished some of those goals and kept my resolutions.

On a side note though, I do have one more personal resolution - carve out more one on one time with the girlfriends. It is great to get together with the kids and husbands etc but I am learning (especially this past year) how important that relationship with other women is for us as Moms and in general...something I know I have taken for granted and I intend not to any further. It is amazing how just sitting down for a couple of hours over a good cup of tea and talking about anything can be cleansing for the soul...something I was reminded of yesterday as I truly believe that it benefits every aspect of our lives and makes us better and stronger women and in turn..Moms.