Friday, September 16, 2011
Exactly 9 years ago!
That's how long it has been. Since this morning that I felt the most overwhelming feeling in the world which just can't be described. It doesn't have a name. It's what you feel when, for the first time, you look at your own child. It's a mixture of happiness, responsibility, love, confusion, awe, relief - just to name a few. And it's just the beginning.
They say that if someone acquires a plane, that doesn't make him a pilot. In the same way, having a baby doesn't make you a mother. Motherhood is one of the most difficult "jobs" in the world. Because you can't be given any kind of training. You learn every day by trial and error. There's no other way. You take a small baby into your hands and your job is to make a man or a woman. And the feelings become more and more. Anxiety, worries, agony, fears...
You watch them grow every single day. Time flies but you don't even realize it. Your children discover the world inch by inch through your guidance. And your heart fills with joy, pride, happiness.
You help them discover themselves and they create a character. A strong one that sometimes is not in agreement with you. And, as a human being, you react. Where did I go wrong? Questions, doubts, more worries come knocking on your door.
And throughout all these years you can't help but wondering: "Does my child love me?" Surely, you've heard many "I love you, mom" from their lips but do they really feel it? Especially when they are past the childhood phase and they are almost pre-teens or teenagers. That's when a simple word or phrase can make a mother cry like a baby...
Yesterday, I was talking with my daughter about the basketball team that she wants to join and she was telling me how much she likes this sport. Then she asked me what I really liked when I was at her age. I told her that I've always loved dancing and I still do and that back then my dream was to become a dancer. She said "Why don't you go to a dance school then?" And when I told her that it's a bit late for me now she looked deep into my eyes and said: "But, mom, this was your dream and I want you to be happy."....
Nothing more to say. Just " thank you". Thank you, God, for giving me the privilege to be a mother.
Happy 9th birthday, sweetheart! I love you with all my heart!
Monday, September 05, 2011
And I don't mean the decade, of course. I mean the weight number.
Almost 4 years ago, when I had managed to lose a lot of weight, I had gone from 90 kilos to 72. I had promised my self back then that whatever happened I would never let myself cross 79 again and would never allow the number 8 to be seen again on my scale.
Promise not kept.
About a year later, I was somewhere in between 86 and 88. And stayed there.
In September 2009 I joined SP but no matter what I did I would never fall below 85! Maybe I wasn't trying hard enough.
About two and a half months ago I decided I had to do something serious about it. I knew the problem wasn't exercise as I consistently worked out since I joined SP. The problem was food.
I kept losing throughout all summer. Some weeks slowly, some others a bit faster. The key? The food tracker! I had tried in the past to use it but it was too difficult for me as in my country the foods we eat are different, the brands are different and I had to input everything from scratch. And this time I did. It wasn't easy for me. I never liked the idea of measuring every little bit of ingredient that I used in my recipes. To tell you the truth I still don't like it as it seems kind of an obsession to me. But it worked! And that's what matters.
So, this morning at the weekly weigh-in the scale smiled at me. 79.1 kilos! The 8 was gone! I'm back into the seventies again! A total loss of 7 kilos - that's 15 pounds I think!
This time I'm going to make a different promise to myself. I promise that I'm going to keep living this healthy way all my life. No, I won't be tracking what I eat for the rest of my life - that would be insane! - but I'll keep making the same wise food choices and control my portions. Always!
And who knows? I may go into the sixties this time!
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
I finally found time to blog about this year's vacation. It was divided in three parts, all close to nature and away from big cities and crowded places.
First, we spend some time near the sea. And since the weather was still cold and we were brave enough to swim in cold waters, we were lucky to enjoy empty beaches!
As you can see, the weather was not completely on our side!
There were some old castle ruins nearby, so we decided to explore them.
We even found a pyramid - which was actually the roof of a house!
We also visited an area called "Polylimnio" which in Greek means "area with many lakes". And that's exactly what it is! Many small lakes in different layers of the ground, with the one pouring into the other creating small or bigger waterfalls! It was amazing! The pictures can't describe the beauty of this place. Have a look:
Then it was time for mountains! We visited our favorite place, my mountain village. We actually went there twice, in July and in August, but it was on the second time that we decided to go hiking! The top of the mountain overlooking my village was waiting for us! We set off by car, as the children wouldn't be able to walk all this distance! We drove until the end of the road and then we followed the path. Unfortunately, we didn't make it to the top because it was a very hot day and the girls got really tired. But we enjoyed the view from under the top!Can you make out the village in the distance?
We were so close to the top!
We also visited a monastery which was literally "hanging" among the mountains!
On the way there, we discovered amazing facts about nature. We found this beautiful lake among the mountains and we learnt from local people that when the water level in the lake falls, you can see the ruins of an old village which came down the mountain and was buried in the lake after a huge earthquake in the past! Amazing!
We also crossed a rocky river.
And found out that trees can grow on rocks! Nature always finds a way!
Well, that was all. A nice, relaxing summer has come to an end. We enjoyed the gifts of nature once again. Feelings are mixed, as autumn is my most favorite season. But I know that the long, carefree, summer days will soon be missed!
Tuesday, August 02, 2011
Yesterday, I came across an article with some statitistics from England about children and eating disorders. The numbers were hard to believe, so I searched for the full article to make sure. Here is the link in case someone is interested:
I just couldn't believe it! Almost 600 children under the age of 13 have been treated in hospitals for eating disorders! What's even more shocking is the actual ages of the children. 197 of them were between 5 and 9!!!
Children at this age were hospitalized for eating disorders!!! I remember a discussion I had some years ago with our pediatrician about my daughter being a picky eater. She advised me not to worry too much and, most importantly, not to push her about food all the time because eating disorders are just around the corner. And she mentioned having a 10-year-old patient who was suffering from anorexia. At that time, I thought it was just an exaggerated diagnosis of another picky eater. But, since then, I've come across many other cases of children refusing to eat. Well, if you're a parent, I'm sure you find all these a bit scary. Or should I say terrifying?
Unfortunately our world is full of wrong messages for our children or, at least, messages we don't approve of. We keep trying everyday to be good parents and teach our children according to our own beliefs and principles. But when we, ourselves, are in the middle of a journey which is kind of a battle against food addiction and body weight, it makes you wonder: what if my children get the wrong message? What if they think that cutting out food is good since mommy is doing it? Even if it is all based on genes, as experts say, can you imagine being the trigger for your own child?
In my opinion, this subject requires extreme caution! And lots of discussion with our children, especially if they're girls and especially if they're in their pre-teens. We must teach them that human bodies are meant to be different. We're not robots which come out of a factory line, all in the same shape and size. Our children must realize early that the right food is our fuel and our tool to make a healthy body. They must understand that mommy or daddy is trying to eat the right foods in order to be healthy and strong. That anything given to us by nature is good for us. But so is sugar, right? Is sugar good for our health? Of course it is! And that's where we teach our children about moderation. There are foods that we really like but we'd better have them once in a while and not every day.
Most importantly, and I know all parents know this, we must love them unconditionally. It doesn't matter if they are a little overweight or a little thinner compared to their friends or schoolmates. Unless of course our children are really in need of help with losing or gaining weight, in which case our doctor is the one who should give the advice.
Children have a unique ability of spotting differences right away. I'm sure most of you have had to answer a question about a person with special needs who just looked "different" in your child's eyes. It's the same with body weight. One of the things I always tell my daughters about appearance is that the real beauty of a person is in their soul. And this is reflected in their eyes, so that's where we should judge people from.
I really hope all parents try to teach their children the importance of good nutrition and moderation. This way, even if they are influenced by images of skinny models in magazines or the internet, they will try to look better the healthy way. By eating right and exercising. Even if the trigger is pulled, the gun won't be loaded.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
This is one of my mottos throughout my adult life. Whenever I look at other people's lives and I feel that they're lucky, I always say to myself: Don't just look at the greener grass, look beyond it. Things are not always what they look like. Unfortunately, not all people realise that.
Ever since I became a mother and I quit my job in order to stay home and raise my children, I heard comments from other people that were really hurtful. Friends would talk in front of me about their jobs and their difficulties and they would turn to me with comments like: "You're lucky, you just sit at home all day and have nothing to worry about." In the same, thoughtless way a relative said to me yesterday when I said to him that spending summer days at home with the children is not always easy: "You shouldn't be complaining. I wish I could spend summer without work!"
First of all, I DO work. And I don't get paid for it. I care for a house and a family of four and I do everything myself. I do all the housework and cook every day. I don't sit around doing nothing as some people may think. But that's not the only way they're mistaken. They think it's easy. They don't know how difficult a day in an apartment with two children can be. They can't imagine how hard you have to try sometimes to find ways to entertain them. They don't know that as an adult you sometimes need other adults to talk to and you are in no mood to play with children. But you have to. They think that because it was your choice, you like staying at home. They can't imagine that you may be happy being a real mom to your children but you desperately miss work. Because sometimes in life the choices which look so easy are the hardest to make.
On the other hand, I understand them. I've been there. I know how it feels to have worked for a whole year hard and wait for your summer vacation to get some rest. And when it comes and goes, it just wasn't enough. I know how it feels to miss your home and being able to relax and see your family after work. And that's why I never answer to those people. But inside me I hurt. Because they make me feel useless, lazy and thoughtless. I wish those people could think for a while and realize that I have difficulty finding some time for myself. That being all day at home with two children is not always easy. That I don't have the extra money they may have to take my children out because only one works in the family. I wish they could just look beyond the grass. The grass isn't always greener on the other side. It just looks greener.
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