Thursday, December 09, 2010
... outside my kitchen window right now.
I already blogged today, but couldn't resist.
Thursday, December 09, 2010
A vacation from my kids, that is!! From my life as a housewife, from all of this cooking, cleaning, and wiping little butts all day long.... So, my hubby and I had a long, much-needed discussion about all of this, and about all of my feelings. Really it comes down to this:
I am lonely. I was ALWAYS a VERY out-going person, love to be with friends and laugh and have a good time, I always find something to laugh or joke about. And being a SAHM, I just have NO social life, AT ALL. Being bogged down with all of my responsibilities at home makes me feel like I just have NO time to even make friends. (Being in Germany, it really takes a while for people to really open up to you too, which doesn't help me make friends easily.)
So, my husband is my sole source of adult social interaction. And when he left this past weekend, together with the fact that we have been super busy lately and haven't done anything "fun" together in a while, the loneliness and solitude really set in.
The truth is, I would rather have a job, even if it's part-time, but I feel guilty about wanting to have a job, and putting my girls in day care. I just get so much enjoyment out of working a job, I always have. In addition to just doing something fulfilling (I DO NOT find cleaning fulfilling!!!), I would have contact with other adults on a regular basis, which to me, it a HUGE benefit. I was working a job up until last June, teaching English to kids: I ABSOLUTELY HATED IT!! Sounds fun, right? NO! It was total stress, I had to prepare all my lesson plans ahead of time, and there was ABSOLUTELY NO adult contact, which is what I REALLY longed for. PLUS, I had to put up with other people's bratty kids! I have my own kids, and I have enough stress with them. I don't want to deal with other people's. And I feel that if I had more social contact through a job, I would be less stressed with my kids when I am here at home. It would just be a matter of balancing my household duties and a job, plus my fitness lifestyle.... i.e. MARATHON TRAINING!
Last night, my sweet hubby even brainstormed for me, and wrote down a list of ideas to help me, while I was at the gym. Here is what we came up with:
1. We will look into day care for the kids - try to find the girls a spot and see how much it costs. It is not as easy finding a space in daycare here as it is in the US.
2. I will look for a job in an area of business that I REALLY want to work, not just anything. Preferrably at a gym, or fitness center, or a cafe.*** I will comment on this below. My husband has a couple of customers who actually own cafes, so he will be asking them about work. I'm currently checking into working for another cafe in my little tiny town, but they are only open on weekends. I have also talked to my gym about working there, but they don't have anything at the moment. There is another ladies gym in my area where I will ask too.
3. My hubby has a few customers who are marathon runners, or have done marathons in the past, and he will ask around about a running club, something I can get involved in, and meet other runners.
4. He will try to be there more for me, and will avoid weekend things like this as much as possible. He is even willing to take the kids and let me run off to go meet a friend if I want (I just have a HORRIBLE time leaving him on a Saturday, since he works such long hours and we hardly get time together as it is!!).
In addition to what he came up with, I have already talked to my neighbor girl (who is 20 and loves kids) about babysitting on a regular basis, and how much she wants per hour, so I know. And I am planning on using her every other week or so in the afternoon, so I can run off and go do something alone, or with a friend. She has watched my kids in the past, and she is absolutely SUPER! Plus, I have a good relationship with her and her family.
So, things are looking up for me. It felt so good to really talk things out with my husband and tell him how I really felt. He was super understanding, and came up with some great ideas!! I LOVE HIM!!
*** About the cafe, my dream is to have a whole-foods/organic cafe, focused on healthy eating, where I would like to provide information on my eating philosphy, and nutrition counseling for people who want to lose weight. I am currently doing a study program at a German school (something I have written about in past blogs) toward "Home Economics", if you translate it directly, but it involves working in a professional kitchen as well, so I am working toward the whole cafe-owning dream as we speak. I also want to couple this together, and become a personal trainer (something I have wanted to do for years.) I am currently waiting for my sister to send me my self-study materials from ACE Fitness, so I can get my certification as a personal trainer. I LOVE cooking, and I love fitness, and somehow, I want to couple it all together into one business. But I need the experience of working in a cafe, so that is why I would like to do that.
Tuesday, December 07, 2010
Unfortunately, I do not have a suitable bathing suit, so I am posting pictures in my..... underwear!! AAAAHHHH! Please don't laugh.
Finding a camera was a bit of a pain, so these were taken with my iPhone. I used an older dig-cam this weekend to take pics, but for the life of me, cannot find the cable to hook it up to the computer and download the pics. And our "real" camera, our Nikon DSLR, has an MIA battery at the moment... Hmmm.... Hubby's tech-mayhem!!
So, here goes:
Just for fun, I included a picture of my guns. My goals with this are really to work on toning up my tummy and butt more. I have very muscular arms, really without trying very much, and shoulders too. They are almost too skinny. But my tummy has still a lot of loose skin. It was massively stretched out in my pregnancy with my twins. I have this stubborn pooch that doesn't want to leave, even though I am at my lowest weight ever as an adult, and didn't have that before... Ugghhh.
Monday, December 06, 2010
It ain't gonna be pretty or positive... just so ya know. I really hesitate writing this blog, because I know some people will read this, and think, "why is she whining? she has so much to be thankful for!" That is true, I know.
Here's the deal: I am a SAHM of 4 kids. I always wanted to be a mom, and stay at home. I love my kids, I do. But I hate staying home all the time. I loathe cleaning, and constantly picking up the same messes over and over. It's like I am caught in the endless cycle of doing the same menial tasks over and over and over.... and over... But I can clean, even though it isn't my favorite. I always try to do my best, and keep things up.
Let me just add a little side note here: I moved to Germany with my German husband 4 years ago. His mom, a typical middle-aged German lady, i.e. CLEAN FREAK, criticized my house cleaning to my husband for the first several months we were here (which then blew up into this huge situation... yeah, that's a whole different story). This was a long time ago, and she doesn't do this anymore, but as much as I try to tell myself that it really shouldn't matter what she thinks, IT HAS SCARRED ME FOR LIFE! And I am CONSTANTLY on edge about how my house looks. I put a lot of pressure on myself to meet the German standard, and not be the dirty American who can't keep her house straight.
Ok, so really, I can live with the cleaning-everyday bit. But what bothers me most of all, is being strapped to the house. When my twins arrived 2 years ago, I felt like it was impossible to leave the house. I seriously didn't go ANYWHERE with my infants twins until they were more than 2 months old. Aiden, my special-needs son, was only 2 at the time, and still very dependent on us. Even though he's 4, he STILL doesn't like to walk through stores. He is totally out of his comfort zone when he is not in the cart, and goes into screaming fits sometimes. When the girls were babies, that meant, I had to have their MAMMOTH-SIZED infant twin stroller, plus a shopping cart for Aiden... Can you just see me trying to get through the store? Now, Aiden goes to a wonderful kindergarten for special-needs kids, which is just GREAT for him, plus it gives me a little bit of a break. But when I go shopping with just the girls, and have to buy a lot of stuff, I STILL have to get 2 shopping carts!
So, even now, with just the girls, going anywhere is a hassle for me. The getting everyone out of the car, and packing all the stuff along with.... to the packing everyone back into the car, and dealing with tired, cranky, hungry girls (no matter how many snacks I pack).... It just isn't worth it.
So, I don't go. I go once a week to go grocery shopping - I make a weekly meal plan, and grocery list of all the things I need. Everything is well-planned. I get in, get out. Done. I do NOT go luxury shopping. First of all we have NO money, and secondly, I have NO time or patience. If I do go somewhere to buy something that isn't a necessity, I ALWAYS have a guilty conscience that I am leaving behind unfinished work at home, that I am not working on one of the projects on my never-ending list of projects that NEVER get done...
But I look forward to the weekends when I get a little bit of help from the hubby. Usually we try to do something fun, and go somewhere, go "fun" shopping (which still doesn't get me far, because we have NO money!!). But at least getting out is fun.
This past weekend, however, my husband left on a "business" trip. His aunt, who he works for, and who is a total witch, planned the company Christmas party (no family is typically invited to these unless you work for the biz) OVERNIGHT on a SATURDAY NIGHT!! WTF!?!?! But to justify that everyone come, they were holding some kind of motivational seminar on Sunday morning... Yada, yada, blah, blah, blah. I am sorry, but I blew my top to begin with, with this stupid idea, and thought that was totally wrong that she plan something like that on the weekend! We have so precious, precious little family time to begin with!! My husband works like 70 hours a week, and is WWWWWAAAAAYYYYY underpaid by his stingy aunt and uncle. We are so far in the hole financially, I don't know if we will ever get out, and his aunt and uncle went on a CRUISE TO DUBAI this past year!!! Livin' the high life, while we struggle. And my poor husband works so hard, and RARELY even gets a pat on the back. All he deals with is criticism and beatings from them. They are the most horrible employers, seriously. That would never fly in the States. People would leave and go somewhere else to work.
Anyway, in spite of me being against it, my husband felt differently. He felt obligated to go... He is supposed to be the "heir" of the business, and supposed to take it over. But they said he would "take it over in 3-5 years" 4 years ago when we got here... And they are no where closer than they were 4 years ago to giving it over to him. That's fine, we are making other plans for our future already, and don't want to take that junk over anyway (car business.)
So, he went. And I was here, stuck at the house with the kids all weekend. The kids had all been sick with stuff last week - colds, stomach-bug type symptoms too, weird stuff. So, I decided not to go to church. Church is quite a drive for me (45 min- 1 hr, and sometimes longer on the way back if there's a traffic jam on the Autobahn), we had a bunch of new snow, sick kids, me not feeling well, me having to take my somewhat-sick-though-recovering kids to church all by myself... I felt it was better just to stay home.
But part of it, too, was that I was really down. Not only did I not get time with my husband, but he disregarded how I felt about that whole thing, and I felt angry. But not just that, I feel like I am stuck in this endless cycle of taking care of my kids and family, and I can never get off this thing. I never get a break. I never get time to just go out without the kids, except for VERY rare occasions. And to make it worse, I don't really have any real close friendships with anyone in my area. I have some good friends here in Germany, but they all live a little further away, not like I can visit them when my older 2 kids are at school, or anything. Germans tend to be quite closed-off often times, its part of their culture, which is ok. But its hard finding warm and friendly, open Germans. And I am the warm and friendly, very sociable type. And there is ALWAYS the financial stress hanging over our heads!
So, on top of the loneliness of not having close friends I can go out with regularly and talk girl talk, I haven't been home to the US in over 3 years to visit my family. We have NO money for that. I have no idea when I will be able to visit my family. My sister has come once, my mom has come 3 times, and my dad twice to visit. But they all have it tight financially too, which makes it tough for them to just come whenever. But whenever I do get to hang out with my sisters, it doesn't ever matter how long its been, there's never any weirdness or nervousness... It's always just like old times, and we talk for hours and laugh... I really miss that. I find it hard to even find the time to call my family, because of the time change, and how busy I am in the afternoons (which is when I would call them).
Anyway, I am just down about all of this... I feel like I am totally stuck. Stuck at home. Stuck in Germany. Stuck financially. Stuck not being able to help my family financially (i.e. getting a job... that's a whole other blog), Stuck in this rut with no social life outside of my home. Stuck. Stuck. Stuck.
I'm sorry, I don't mean to be so negative, but I'm just having a very hard time right now....
Afterthoughts and notes:
Just thought I would write a few additional things after thinking about this, and in regards to the first comment I received about integrating myself.
I LOVE Germany, and don't plan or wish to move from here. I am not complaining about being here. I really feel like this is a dream come true for me. I have always been very open to and fascinated by people from other countries and cultures! LOVE IT! Which is probably why I fell in love with my husband! And as far as speaking German, I speak fluently now. Not perfectly, but fluently. With my German friends who speak English too, I usually try to have a "German-Only" policy, so I practice my German. And I am going through a schooling program at a German trade school, with all other Germans in my class. I think I am doing pretty good at integrating myself, and welcoming the new culture and lifestyle.
But as far as having meaningful friendships with people, and contact with those people on a regular basis... that is lacking. The people I want to hang out with live long distances away (an hour at least), and the people in my community who I have reached out to and welcomed into my home, have never really returned the invite. But that is ok, I am not offended. Here's something that bites about the German culture: NONE of my son's friends' parents are my age. NONE. They are ALL at LEAST 10 years older than me. When I lived in the States, I had a HUGE circle of wonderful friends, we were all the same age, and had kids the same age, and we would get together at one couple's house almost every weekend with our kids, and hang out! PURE YOUNG FAMILY AWESOMENESS! But I don't have that here.
And the frustration with not getting more time with my husband. And dealing with his endless work hours. And dealing with his negativity that eeks from his job. And the lack of finances... always being strapped. Missing my family and my friends back home. And to be honest, I don't want time away ALONE, I want some SOCIAL time with other people (and/or with my husband).
I was so down about this, I cried myself to sleep last night (a very rare occurance), and also wrote this original blog through many tears....
Saturday, December 04, 2010
All this week, I was feeling super good. I dropped all of my biking sessions due to snow, and focused more just on running. The extra rest days had me feeling good, and I felt like I was rocking my runs and having fun! I wanted to write a blog about it on Thursday... and then, I started feeling really sick to my stomach. And weak, dizzy a little, and a little out of it.... I felt like I was gonna throw up so badly, but didn't. Since that was all I could think about on Thursday afternoon, I decided to blog about something else. And yesterday, I felt better, although I still had some tummy upset (I'll spare the details...).
And then, there was my run this morning.... Don't even ask. My "shorter" 13-mile run I had planned was supposed to be easier and fun, Fast-Finish if possible. Sort of a taper this week, from my 16 and 17 I have done the last couple of weeks. But a Fast-Finish run, it was NOT! Horrible. And not just how slow I ran, just how I felt. And how I feel now - queasy and a bit sick to my stomach. Maybe its just post-long-run blah, but I think my body is still fighting something.
But all I know, is that I didn't want to cancel my run, especially since I wasn't feeling bad yesterday. It's weird: I usually notice it in my running when I am coming down with something even without displaying any other physical symptoms. In this case, I think that my body is fighting whatever it was that came over me the last couple of days... I have learned, that you just gotta get out there and try sometimes. Sometimes, I feel perfectly fine, and have this horrible, slow, wipe-out run... Then other times, I feel exhausted, and feel like I can't even run, then I get out there and totally rock, and several times under these conditions, ran a PR. Weird. So, I totally wanted to at least try.
Toward the end, I was just trying to keep putting one foot in front of the other.... Oh, and I do need to add, there was 2-3 inches of snow on the trail, which does slow ya down a bit. I wasn't too worried about the snow, and just took it easy and went by how I felt. But how slow I was running had to do with something more than just the snow. It was a weak finish, to say the least. But at least I finished what I set out for, and I am happy with that. Tomorrow I will definitely be soaking up my rest day.
So, here's what I had planned last week, and then my actual:
Sunday: Rest (Check!)
Monday: Run 6-8 miles FF, ST (BodyPump) and BodyCombat
Actual: Ran 6.2 miles (10K), BodyPump (ST) and Combat
Tuesday: Probably rest, but biking only if weather permits
Wednesday: Run 4 miles with 5x 20 sec Strides, ST, biking to/from gym if weather permits
Actual: 4-mile TR, and BodyPump (ST class)
Thursday: Run 6.25 miles with intervals
Actual: Ran 7 mi
Friday: Rest (Check!)
Saturday: Run 13-14 miles
Actual: Yeah, my 13.2 miles that I just ranted about.
Plan for Wk 7:
Monday: 6-8 mile run, BodyPump and Combat
Wednesday: 6-8 mile run, BodyPump
Thursday: 4 mile TR
Saturday: 10K race in Hamburg
I just wanted to get some moderately long runs in earlier in the week, since I won't do a long run. We will see how it goes. I am not looking to run a PR at the race, since my tempos are no where near where they were last year, or even 6 months ago. I am just going to have fun!! Looking forward to it, too, since this is the first race I have done since June!
So, Happy Running, Everyone!! And wishing all racers a GREAT weekend race!!
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