And for once I was SuperMom

Friday, April 26, 2013

Food Fight

            Most mornings I eat a breakfast of whole wheat toast with peanut butter and a banana.
            Most mornings I feel guilty.
            I like the toast with peanut butter, it tastes good with my coffee, but if I was really a good person I would eat something healthier.  Oatmeal with flaxseeds.  Yogurt with bran and fruit.  Those don’t taste as good with my coffee…so I eat the toast and I try not to think about it.  If I was a better person I would something more whole grain, something with more micronutrients, something that perhaps I didn’t like so well.
            Because if you don’t like the food, it has to be good for you, right?  Actually the more you hate it, the better.  Or the weirder, the better, right?  Remember when eggs were bad for you?  Now, they’re good.  Carbohydrates used to be not that bad for you, a necessary part of your diet, now they seem to be the grim reaper in a bread bag.  Once a food is deemed ‘bad’ it seems to make a shadow in your conscious, every time you eat that food you are sinning.  Even if it has been acquitted of it’s nutritional crimes, you still wonder if you should eat it.
            Women have a relationship with food, it’s not just something that we put in our bodies for fuel, it’s our friend or our foe.  A secret lover that we go to when we are stressed.  A personal trainer that makes us feel better about ourselves when we do well.  A friend we go to when we need comfort. 
            We feel self righteous and good about ourselves when we eat what we think is ‘good.’  A ‘good’ that can be based on lots of misplaced notions.  A salad is good, but a sandwich is bad because it has bread (because bread is evil).   A salad is good, but pasta is bad (because carbohydrates are bad).  A salad is good, but pizza is bad (because pizza is just evil incarnate, I mean it has bread and cheese).  Are you noticing a theme here?  If you eat the healthy food you are good, almost even holy.  If you eat the bad food you are bad, guilt ridden.  You feel the ultimate sin of ‘fat.’ 
            Woman cannot live on salad alone.  Literally.  That would actually be bad for you.
            So what’s a girl to do?  How can you eat without all the emotions tied up to it? 
            I mean, food is just food, right?  Can’t you just eat whatever you want and be happy? 
`           Lately I’ve been trying to make sure that everything I put in my mouth has a significant amount of nutritional value.  An easy goal, to eat good whole food.  Sounds good, right?  Then there’s that handful of corn chips, not much value there.  After that comes the junk food hang over.  Not a belly ache, but guilt.  You shouldn’t have eaten that, you’ve wasted valuable calories on just fat and salt, sure it’s ‘whole grain,’ but what does it really do for you?
            Then if you never eat them the times you actually do you find yourself pigging out on them.  Case in point?  An unholy occurrence a few days ago between me and a bag of Fritos. 
            With everything there is balance.  Somewhere in the middle is the sweet spot.  The place where you can eat a handful of tortilla chips just because you want them and then not feel bad about it.  Some days I can find that place.  Some days I find myself hiding in the pantry spooning mouthfuls of Nutella into my maw because my three year old just threw a face melting tantrum on the playground.  If only I just didn’t feel so much about it all.  If only it was just food.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Women in Combat

“Shoot, I forgot something,” I turned on my heel and jogged up the last flight of stairs, Carys was tucked securely in the pack on my back.  All twenty pounds of her.  It occurred to me as I achieved this physical feat of parenthood that this is something that soldiers do all the time.
            I read an article recently discussing whether or not women should be allowed in combat.  I had thought that debate was over, but I guess in some situations women are still not allowed on the front lines.  I suppose there is still discussion as to whether or not women are capable of handling the rigors of combat, I thought about this for the rest of the day. 
            I have heard that in training Navy Seals are deprived of sleep and made to listen to tapes of infants crying, because that is the most stressful sound that a human can hear.  Does this sound familiar?  Apparently elite military training is the same as parenting a newborn.  Then I thought to myself, ‘why would you induce that? Just send them to babysit for me.’
            One thing that soldiers must do is carrying large burdens far.  Have you ever carried a thirty pound car seat across a parking lot and up several flights of stairs?  Because I do.  Then there is the Ergobaby, the device that straps your child to your back, emulating that pack that I am sure soldiers carry. 
Another point to the debate is that women cannot handle the physical rigors of soldiering.  After Carys was born I was complaining that my bottom was no longer in the same shape that it had been before, in the typical male fashion of trying to fix my problems rather than just sympathize, my husband suggested that I do more squats.  What does he think I do with that baby on my hip or on my back?  Squat to pick up things they drop, toys they have spread across the room, etc.  I should’ve just punched him in the neck.
Bringing us to violence; I have also heard people debate whether or not women are fierce and violent enough to take on combat.  I want to find the creators of Yo Gabba Gabba, and I want them awake and alive so I can make them feel the pain that they have caused me. 
Logistical planning is another skill that is required of men in the field.  Every time I go to a store I have to strategically plan where to park, (close to the carts) and how to get everyone in and out of the car in a manner that leaves no child unattended and no baggage unattended.  I remember the first time I pulled into the parking lot of a particular craft store after having my second child.  This store has notoriously small carts, and those carts are never in the parking lot where you can get them, I sat for a moment with my hands on the wheel and under my breathe hissed,
            “How are we going to do this?”  I heard from the backseat,
            “We’re stopped,” I hear Emma whisper, equally as quiet.  After I recovered from a giggle fit I solved the task and got everyone in the store and out of the store without crying. 
            I imagine that often soldiers find themselves having to function and make decisions when they are in a compromised physical state.  Say in pain from injury or fatigued from lack of sleep (maybe that is why they call them fatigues), or with lots of distractions and noise around them.  I feel like that sounds familiar….pain from perhaps birthing a child or having a c-section.  Lack of sleep from the baby that wakes you up every up every two hours or the preschooler who has night terrors.  Perhaps trying to make a decision in Target with a crying baby and a toddler who keeps asking for toys. 
            I suppose before women get discounted and it is assumed that we can't do something you might look at what we do on a daily basis.  
            I hate to admit it but I have become a fan of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, because they are everywhere in New England, and they often have drive thrus.  Any port in a storm.  My life is a perpetual storm…and some days there just isn’t enough caffeine in the world.