Not So Namaste

i-knowz-yoga-funny-kitten-picture

I recently started doing yoga.  I also recently stopped doing yoga.

I suck. Athletically, that is.  Sports, exercising, working out– I basically find anything that requires sneakers and a sports bra to be highly repellent.  Thankfully, I’m one of those people with a decent enough metabolism to keep myself cruising along at a fairly satisfactory weight, without ever doing too much dieting or working out (and by “too much” I mean none at all whatsoever).  Sure, I could benefit from some salad and crunches as much as the next lazyass, but I’m not totally unhappy with the way I look.

Still I know the whole “good metabolism” thing typically wears off sometime around your mid-thirties, so I figured I might as well start doing something about it now, before I become one of those moms telling people they’re “still trying to lose the baby weight”– as they cart their youngest off to the first day of middle school.

I chose yoga because it’s pretty low-impact and I’ve heard you get to nap afterward or something like that.  Meditation, napping, same difference. I’m also fairly flexible, so I thought that would help. I can really do a mean Indian-style.  Sorry, that’s wasn’t very PC of me.  I can do a mean “criss-cross apple sauce”. That’s right, criss-cross apple sauce. That’s what the preschools are calling it these days, folks.

So I started the yoga thing. I found a class, signed up, and started yoga-ing or whatever you call it. And it went great.  I downward-facing dogged. I upward-facing dogged. I planked.  I posed like a tree, a child, a bird, a warrior. You name it, I posed like it. I really kicked ass in there. I walked out of that yoga class like a freaking boss.

I guess it didn’t exactly hurt that the class was composed entirely of post-menopausal middle-aged women, but whatever.  They were all very nice and didn’t seem to mind my ass in their face. I didn’t mind theirs either.  The ass-in-face phenomenon is apparently unavoidable in a yoga class.

So I left there pretty psyched. I did way better than I thought I would, and I actually even kind of enjoyed it.  I could have done without all that incense-burning, inner-peace, namaste bullshit, but I guess that’s part of the whole experience.  Maybe it’ll grow on me.  Or maybe not. Either way, I was still a total yogi.

Well, I was a total yogi until I woke up two weeks later with back problems.

With the exception of that time I was carrying seven-pounds of human in my uterus (and 40 pounds of pizza and chocolate bars everywhere else), I’ve never had back pain in my life.

I aged like 15 years in two days.  I couldn’t sit, I couldn’t stand. I was hunched over. I was huffing and puffing around like my 93-year old grandfather when he gets all worked up looking for the remote to put on The Price is Right.  When I almost couldn’t reach the top shelf to grab a wine glass (had to wash all that Aleve down with something), I finally drew the line.  No more yoga for me.

I think I’m just not meant to do the whole exercise thing.  And it’s so damn unfair. Some people are so  awesome at it. Why can’t I be one of those people who get addicted to endorphins? Like those people who run five miles a day and literally enjoy it. I can’t even be a person who purchases a two-year gym membership and uses it for longer than a week (true story).

Addicted to endorphins, sheesh. Sure, I have a few addictions. Coffee, Amazon.com, Big Brother (the TV show, not the conspiracy). These are things I simply cannot live without. But endorphins? I’m not even sure what these “endorphin” things even feel like.  Is it anything like a percocet before the nausea sets in? Because if so, then I can see what all the addiction is about. And if so, then maybe I need to buy me a shiny new treadmill. But I’m guessing not.

I don’t know, maybe I threw in the workout towel too soon.  Maybe when I realized I could actually work up a sweat without hurling on my yoga mat, I started to overdo it– which is what screwed up my back.  Maybe I just need to scale it back a little on all the crazy posing.

What is that cliche workout saying? No pain, no gain? Just do it? No hustle, no muscle? (I might have actually just made that last one up. I’m not sure. But it’s pretty clever, if I do say so myself.)

I think I’ll make up another one.  How about “you’re 32 and you haven’t worked out in ten years, you lazy piece of crap. Get off the damn couch, shut off Big Brother, put the bag of Fritos away, and go for a fucking walk”.

Nailed it.

Anyone up for some yoga?

10 Mommy Mantras: The First Year

Today we’re making Highchairs & Headaches history with my very first guest blog post.  How freaking big time am I, having guest bloggers and stuff?? And it’s an awesome post from a really talented writer, too!  Fellow mommy and humor blogger Marcia Rosenberg is sharing her no-fail secrets for coping with the craziness of baby’s first year.   Don’t forget to check out her hilarious blog, My Own Decade.

10 Mommy Mantras: The First Year

My kid freely rolls around in the dirt and chews on TV remotes, all while I’m writing a book. Here are some coping mechanisms that I discovered to chill out, get shit done, and be the happiest mommy-baby duo on the block.        By Marcia Rosenberg

Mommy's room: playtime aftermath

Mommy’s room: playtime aftermath

Affirmation #1: I Will Embrace the Id in Kid. Kids are funny little creatures. They possess the most sincere intentions and act purely out of impulse. My friend’s kid eats dinner naked, on the couch, with a lap tray. Every night. She doesn’t reprimand or judge. It’s part of her child’s everyday routine. My daughter has had an ear-splitting, tongue-rolling Mexican trill since she was four months old. Every time she cries in public, we get a lot of disturbed looks. I just laugh about it.

Affirmation #2: I Will Have a Common Sense Approach to the Question, “Is This Actually Dangerous?” My daughter hates baby toys. How astute of her. Her favorite activities are: crinkling and punching plastic bags, eating TV remotes and cell phones, licking the tops of beer bottles,  knocking over kitchen chairs, and emptying the refrigerator. Granted, some of these baby pastimes are more precarious than others. If she has a curiosity about something that could potentially present a danger, I’m on her like a shadow. Spending time hovering over her is a concession that I make so that she can learn and have fun exploring. It also helps with our bonding. Of course, even I have limits. Meat cleavers, blind strings, and nails aren’t allowed for play. She loves romping around in my liquor cabinet, though. Is that a bad sign?

Affirmation #3: A Messy Baby is a Happy Baby. I’ve observed that most babies love crud. I always let my daughter’s curiosity be her guide, even though she has some pretty funky habits (see Affirmation #1). Highlights: licking the sweat off of my leg after I go for a run, slapping the toilet seat, and gnawing on the sole of my shoes just after I’ve just been outside. To all this I say: here’s to a healthy immune system! My cousin was in the park with her child on one of the last temperate days of fall. He was mucking it up before bath time, rolling around in the dirt and having a blast, and other toddlers took note. I saw several kids run up to my cousin’s child, wanting in on the action. Yet their mommies whisked them away, cautioning them “not to get dirty.” I felt bad for these kids. Parks are for playing, and small children don’t play neatly. Aside: I don’t go crazy about hand sanitizer either. I do use it, but sparingly. My dirty ways are substantiated by the hygiene hypothesis people!

Affirmation #4: A Messy House is a Happy House. Compulsive cleaning used to be my form of procrastination. I’d put off writing if the glass table had a spot on it. One day, I realized that I Windex-ed my table 6 times in 24 hours. That’s insane. Now I let my dishes stack up in my sink, and I only allow myself to clean up once at the end of the day. During waking hours, my habitat looks chaotic- toys are everywhere, beds are unmade, baby food is all over the kitchen. I try not to think about it, and now I have more time with my daughter (and for myself). Daytime visitors always understand- it’s the power of the Best Excuse Ever.

Affirmation #5: I Will Exercise. Sorry- can’t use the Best Excuse Ever (see Affirmation #4) on this one! I run between 30-40 miles on average per week, whether I’m with my baby or without her. I did NOT do this before I was pregnant. I was motivated to start distance running after checking out my post-pregnancy body in the mirror when I got home from the hospital. It was… shocking. The postpartum blues served to intensify the voice in my head that shouted, “What the hell happened to you, Muffintop?!” As soon as my doctor gave me the go-ahead to start running, I took off. I can now run a half-marathon in a pinch. I lost all my baby weight (35 pounds- plus an additional 15 pounds) in just 7 months. I also found that having a need to incorporate exercise into my routine actually helps me to create a general schedule for the entire day. PS- although I try my best to eat clean, I also indulge (usually daily) in some kind of caloric chocolatey dessert, like this. Being a runner allows you to do stuff like that.

Affirmation #6: I Will Never Look At WebMD. If you’re a self-diagnosed hypochondriac (like me), WebMD is a nightmare. A quick search using the phrase “hives children” produces a page that at first reads CALL 911.  I always ask this to myself at the onset of concerning symptoms:“Has her temperament changed?” Recently she had a rash that was worrying to me, but she was bouncing around as usual. I opted not to call the doctor- and the rash disappeared the next day. I also like this symptom analyzer from the American Academy of Pediatrics. And I no longer consult WebMD for myself.  I used the site to research the cause of my migraines I suffered from during my first trimester, and I became convinced that I had either a malignant brain tumor or an aneurism that was moments away from rupturing inside my skull. I’m fine.

Affirmation #7: I Will Raise My Daughter to be Independent. I am not a believer in attachment parenting, or whatever this is- even if my daughter still doesn’t have any teeth at almost 13 months. My weaning target was 12 months, but I stopped nursing at the 7 month mark when I noticed that she was regularly holding my boob like a bottle. She still has pretty bad separation anxiety, but one big bear hug and a pat on the tush is usually enough to get her to crawl off and explore on her own. I’m never happier than when she does things by herself for the first time- not only because it will free me up in the future, but because it’s another sign that she’s beginning to feel secure.

Affirmation #8: I Will Continue (Or Start) to be Awesome. I refuse to toss my professional and personal strivings to the wind just because I have a baby. Despite having no hired steady help, I’ve managed to create time for myself. (You can too. You might be arguing with me in your mind, but you can). My momspiration (my cousin) managed to get a masters degree from a top tier school, change careers, travel to at least one third world country, become fluent in a fourth language, and move across the globe within two years from the time she got pregnant. She’s not rich, and she did this stuff mostly on her own. She is a genius with her brain, ambition, and time management skills though.

Affirmation #9: I Will Drink With My Husband (And Whoever Else Wants to Join Us). My parents came to visit us from the East Coast. I handed my daughter over to them, said buh-bye, and went to Napa with my husband for a long weekend. I always make a point to take a boozy break once or twice a week- whether it’s at home sipping some wine and watching Netflix after my daughter’s asleep, or knocking back a few with tranny friends in West Hollywood. For the latter type of occasion, since I have no family where I live, I hired a go-to babysitter whom I trust. It’s nothing new, but she told me that the parents she works with who go on date nights regularly appear to be happier. Amen.

Affirmation #10: I Will Stay Away from Neurotic Moms. I don’t shmooze with other women who give me agita in general, or who make me feel bad about my parenting style. For me, this means that I don’t hang out at Lululemon, or with my own mother. I had the misfortune of crossing paths with a shrew of a woman the other week. She was frantic because her daughter didn’t have the right hair accessory for her Christmas photos that day- it was early October. She asked me for some guidance (“What do you do for your son’s pictures?”) to which I replied, “You’re asking the wrong person. My daughter wears the same stained Carter’s onesie every day, and she doesn’t have a Halloween costume yet.” She grimaced, I giggled. Life is better when you surround yourself with people who make you feel at ease. Relaxation breeds comfort which in turn breeds happiness. If you’re feeling good about the way you parent, your own little breed will feel the same.

About the author: 

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Marcia Rosenberg is a freelance writer and blogger based in Los Angeles. She really does love her mom. Read more at http://myowndecade.blogspot.com/ and on Twitter: @MyOwnDecade.