Being a Grandma Doesn’t Mean You Were a Good Mom

The other night on my way home, I found myself behind a minivan with a license plate frame that read ‘Only the Best Moms Get Promoted to Grandma’. The implication that my choice to be child-free would reflect badly on my mom or her parenting skills really made me angry, and sad too.

Now really, the statement that only the best moms become grandmothers is ridiculous. I have plenty of friends with children whose moms were an absolute nightmare. There are plenty of parents out there who were raised by a single father, no mother around whatsoever. You can be a shitty mom and still end up having grandchildren. A narcissistic, controlling, angry, or crazy mom does not rise to sainthood just because her children decide to have kids of their own.

I had a great childhood. My parents loved my siblings and I fiercely and did everything they could to give us a good life. They gave up a lot for us and I have mad respect for them for it. I do know that just as I am interrogated about when my husband and I are having kids, my mom is asked on the regular when her kids are going to give her some grandbabies. Mom takes it in stride and replies that she has furry grandchildren, but I know she gets as tired of the questions as I do.

My parents have never pressured me to have kids or expressed anything but support for the kind of life I want to have. I am incredibly grateful to them for respecting my decision and not pushing me to make a different choice. My dad has even gone so far as to tell me that if he had known the world would be the way that it is today, he might have reconsidered having children himself. It is so much harder to make a decent living and build a comfortable life now than it was thirty years ago. When he said it, it made me feel so validated in my own choice to remain child-free. My mom has told me “I don’t like kids anymore!”, usually after being subjected to misbehaving kids in stores.

It does make me sad to think of my parents being put on the spot about my decision not to have children, a choice that has absolutely nothing to do with my relationship with them but that ultimately I realize does impact them. When an adult makes virtually any other decision in life, it falls on them and it’s generally considered unacceptable to ask their parents for justification – why is procreating an “open season” topic then?

I like to think that my parents are living a happy and fulfilled life, blissfully retired and free to enjoy their days. They worked hard for that. If there’s a hole in their lives because my siblings and I don’t have kids, they’ve never said as much.

I just hope the driver of that minivan was actually a good parent, and that her grandchildren are also being raised by good parents who wanted the responsibility rather than people who were pushed into parenthood by the woman now celebrating her life as grandma with bumper stickers.

Week 1 Check-in

It’s been a week since I made new health and fitness goals for myself, and to be honest the first week didn’t go as well as I had hoped. I met some of my goals but fell short of others,

Work out at least three days a week, including two dance classes. I had unexpected appointments which kept me from making it to dance last week, so I didn’t hit that goal. BUT I logged four workouts, so I’m proud of myself for being more active! Hopefully this week will be a little easier to navigate and I’ll be able to get to my dance classes.

Bring my lunch to work every day. I was able to succeed at this one, without much trouble. I do feel like I should admit that I only worked three days last week, so this goal wasn’t exactly challenging.

Make dinner at home at least five nights a week. I did have home-cooked meals five nights last week, and so far this is my favorite new habit. I’m surprised at just how much I enjoy planning out and preparing meals at home.

No drinking alcohol on school nights. I achieved this one too, but again I only worked three days last week so there were only three “school nights” to contend with.

Track all my meals and snacks. Eh, I mostly did this. There were a couple of meals I missed; I’ll do better this week!

Log an average of 10,000 steps per day. To my surprise, this one was HARD! My average was 5,835 steps last week.

Overall I lost a pound, which made me happy even though I have a long way to go. Slow and steady, right?

2018 Health and Fitness Goals

It’s the second day of a brand new year, and like so many others I’m setting goals for myself. I have decided to use the word goal rather than resolution this year, because a goal to me seems more tangible and allows me to make a specific plan to achieve what I want.

And what I want is to fit into my favorite blue dress.

I bought The Dress back in 2012 to wear to a friend’s birthday dinner. It’s dark blue, figure-hugging, and perfect for a nice evening out. I love that dress and would love to wear it out for my first wedding anniversary. But if I’m going to make that dream come true, I have to be able to zip the thing up – which is currently not happening.

I need to lose weight so that I can realize my dream of wearing that dress again, but I’ve got to do it in a way that doesn’t make me crazy or lead to re-gaining any pounds later on. When I bought my dress, I hadn’t been on a diet in over a year. I was managing my weight with a (mostly) sensible diet and an exercise routine that I was quite happy to stick to.

I know that I will need specific guidelines to help me reach my goal. I’ve worked out five habits that I want to stick to in 2018, that I think will help get me where I want to be.

1. Work out at least three days a week, including two dance classes per week. There are dance classes I can attend on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, so even if I miss one during the week, I can make it up on the weekend. I also have at-home workouts I can do to get in that third workout, and hopefully I’ll find the motivation to do more than three workouts a week!

2. Bring my lunch to work every day. Working in downtown Bellevue means that there is easy access to a ton of delicious food and restaurants, but both my wallet and my waistline will be happier if I bring my food from home.

3. Make dinner at home at least five nights a week. My husband and I love to go out to eat, and we both work long hours. Making food at home instead of eating out or picking up takeout may be a challenge at first, but I know that home cooked meals contributed to my lower weight years ago. Over the weekend, we planned out what we would have for dinner each night and bought everything we’ll need, so there’s no reason not to prepare what we already have.

4. No drinking alcohol on school nights. I have fallen into the habit of enjoying a glass of red wine after dinner, telling myself that it’s healthier than dessert. The truth is that, although I may be saving calories, I’m still having more sugar than I need to. There nothing stopping me from enjoying a nice cocktail or two on Friday and Saturday evenings, but on nights when I have to be up for work in the morning I’m going to opt for a LaCroix water instead.

4. Track all of my meals and snacks in MyFitnessPal. When I was maintaining a lower weight before, I used an app called Lose It to track what I ate. While I still like the app, I’ve found I prefer MyFitnessPal. Most of the time, entering a food into a tracker before I eat it will make me more aware of what I’m putting in my mouth, and this habit helps me avoid mindless snacking.

5. Log an average of 10,000 steps per day. Fitness trackers are super popular right now. I decided I wanted one a couple of years ago, and after researching different options I selected a Garmin vivofit. Most days I’m good about remembering to wear it, and it really does help me remember to get up and move around during the day.

These goals should be enough to get me started; if I add or change them later, I’ll update them here too. Hopefully I’ll find that these guidelines to be flexible enough that I can follow them consistently.