Breastfeeding, that is. I spent ten days away from Mac this summer, and had no real plan or agenda about how that would affect our breastfeeding. Over those ten days my body gave a few last gasps of production, and then with a last sigh of resignation it relapsed into pre-pregnancy, pre-breastfeeding state.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t sad about the end of our time together. Breastfeeding was hard and painful at first, and it was frustrating and inconvenient any time I dared to step beyond a certain radius of my child, but it was also rewarding, to the tune of an extra 1,000 calories a day to blow on brownies and triple cream yogurt and as a form of bonding unmatched on this earth.
Mac is sad, too. She still nurses, a few times a day, and it’s a soothing transition mechanism for both of us and discomfort for me and frustration for her. There have been so many big changes recently, so much upheaval in routines and places and people, that I’m hesitant to counter with a hard NO when she asks. So she supplicates at the dry well and I squint with occasional twinges and we get along.
And, speaking of new worlds opening up, that box of clothes I put aside as too small are back in play, and the bras once in regular rotation are officially benched. This pre-baby body is here-ish, forever altered by the expansion and service to a life more important than its own.
And I find myself in need of new bras. Which, by the way, I have foresworn along with makeup. My apotheosis into first-wave feminist is nearly complete, if only I could reject razors and dresses as thoroughly as I have eyeliner and underwires.
So to justify my shopping, I bought a Gap gift card with ShopWithScrip, and then went to town on smaller sizes in the only kind of bras I’ll tolerate these days: bralettes free from wires, hooks, clasps, and all other mechanical fixtures.
And while I wait for my wardrobe updates to arrive, I’m embracing how thoroughly motherhood has, through hormones or hocus pocus, expanded my emotional repertoire enough that I’m missing being at the beck and call of an irrational tiny human.
I remember so well my mom routinely sending me to elementary school with a check, which I’d trade in for Safeway Scrip. I didn’t really understand what it was; I just knew that my mom always bought groceries with scrip, and that $100 seemed like a staggering fortune compared to my 50 cent allowance.
I’d guard that stack of $20 paper gift certificates so carefully, tucking them into my otherwise chaotic, disorganized backpack, and rush right home to deliver the goods before something could happen to that precious pile of cash. And then, grocery shopping with my mom, which was a treat because we always got to each french bread while we shopped. And sometimes it was warm, fresh out of the bakery. Is there anything better than fresh hot bread?
So it came with all sorts of warm fuzzies when ShopWithScrip reached out about partnering with the Sweat Pink community. Back in the 90s, ShopWithScrip kept our family flush with our standard chicken, rice, and steamed broccoli dinners, and also helped my elementary school get supplies and other things public schools are so starved for.
Since then, the program has come a long, long away. #ThanksInternet. You can now get e gift cards for everything, like Target, Amazon, Whole Foods … basically all the places my money goes anyway. But with Shop with Scrip I can justify my spending by sending some of that money back to an organization of my choice. (Watch out, Whole Foods mochi bar: I’m coming for you. IT’S FOR THE CHILDREN).
It’s a way easier to fundraise then, ahem, buying a bunch of cookie dough or wrapping paper. Which I always say yes to, because it’s for the children.
I’ve been doing all my grocery shopping with Scrip, loaded up my Amazon account with a gift card that will vanish tomorrow (gah, Prime, why do I need so many things from you??) and even used Scrip for a little wardrobe update.
If you want to join me on my spending spree for the good of humanity, Fit Approach is using ShopWithScrip to fundraise for Girls on The Run. There are a few steps you involved in getting set up, but once you do, you’re all set to purchase gift cards—even reload your Starbucks card—and give back at the same time.
If you want to give back, join our program benefiting Girls on the Run! Just email me (alyse AT fitapproach.com) if you’d like to join and I’ll give you our super secret access code to participate.
Or, if you are involved in an organization that needs to fundraise, this is your answer for how how to can scrap bake sales and pancake breakfasts: start fundraising an easier way.
That way, next time you spend your #wholepaycheck at Whole Foods or Amazon, you’re giving a percentage back to helping young girls chase their dreams. And if there’s a right reason to go shopping, it’s gotta be that one.
In partnership with ShopWithScrip. Thank you for supporting organizations who do great work!
Hi friends, it’s been forever. I’ve written about a bazillion blog posts in my head this summer, especially on the way to or from an airport. It’s been a magnificent summer for travel and an abysmal one for routines and getting the regular stuff done. Like writing here.
Speaking of travel, I’m headed to Vancouver this weekend for a friend’s Still a Bachelorette Party, and the timing couldn’t be more desirable. Here are my top reasons for fleeing for the border:
The Still A Bachelorette is one of my besties
We’ve been friends for, gulp, 17 years. Half my life. She’s the life of the party and the creator of genius kitchen creations like bacon baskets and ramen pizza. I can’t wait to celebrate with her!
In Canada. Where people are wonderful.
We thought sleep was fixed… until it wasn’t.
The first night home from my solo trip to Europe Mac slept for TEN HOURS IN A ROW. The next night was pretty solid too. Then… back to normal. Talk about a bait’n’switch.
Time to run away again. To Canada, where no doubt toddlers sleep like sweet little silent angels.
I’m outraged and mute with horror, but I’m also trying to speak up, because the decent humans among us can’t afford to remain silent anymore. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to use my voice. I don’t usually talk about serious things on the internet, but this post helped me think through how, and why, to use my voice in my industry.
In the meantime, I’ll be in Canada.
We’re hosting a retreat in Vancouver next month with Lorna Jane. There are, as of this writing, a couple spots left if you want to join us. It’ll be community-building, sweat, and swag, just like in Sonoma. 🙂
Sleep has been our constant struggle, as I’ve shared over and over again. There are so many times I’ve reached the end of my rope with sleep deprivation, so many mornings when I was sure I could not keep going like this.
Each time, I’ve bounced back, always through the help of my husband or my mom or my village, all of whom are so gracious in taking a night or two and forgiving whatever nasty things I say when I’m at my sleepy craziest.
The last time I hit my edge, I finally called a number that I’d saved several breaking points ago: the number for a sleep coach that several of my mom friends had recommended to me, promising that she was a baby whisperer, and that there was virtually no crying involved in her bag of tricks.
It’s at those desperate moments that the yearning for a magic bullet overpowers your judgment and your critical thinking. There’s no choice but to just dial the number, and groggily ask the questions you’ve been formulating in the small dark hours of the night, night after night.
What is your method.
How much crying do you allow.
What are your success rates.
In which category of the baby product industrial complex should we purchase two of everything to adequately prepare for this process?
Can you come today.
This time, the answers to those questions didn’t turn me off, as they had with previous phone calls I’d made. Most notably: 2 minutes crying max. And, specifically, only the fussing kind of crying, not the hysterical, soul-shredding crying that I am biologically incompatible with.
Two weeks and too much cautious optimism later, my would-be savior showed up, and she took charge of the night shift.
Nathan installed himself in front of his phone so he could monitor the proceedings, with every intention of staying up all night.
I hid in my room and pretended like nothing was happening, except that I anxiously scrolled Facebook and drank a beer and couldn’t fall asleep.
Nathan came in a couple hours into it, and said, I know you don’t want to see this, but I think you should see this. This has been going on for over an hour.
And there, on the video monitor, was my toddler, hysterically screaming bloody murder while frantically trying to open the door to her room.
The coach came in, laid Mac back down in her bed, then left, and immediately, Mac was scrambling out of bed, face and body contorted with rage, twisting and tripping over her sleep sack as she charged the door again.
I marched upstairs and ended it.
Over the next hour, her breathing finally slowed back to its normal rhythm, and she spent the full night sleeping on my chest, like she was brand new to this world. My sweaty barnacle didn’t even want to nurse. She just wanted full body contact.
I realize I am on perhaps the extreme end of the sensitive spectrum when it comes to my baby crying. Maybe with the second one I’ll have developed better coping mechanisms. But I would so much rather drink a lot of coffee and pull in backup support (husbands & grandmas FTW!) than have my child experience that kind of emotional intensity in the service of my convenience.
Sleep training for us lasted less than three hours, all said and done. If anything, our brief flirtation with it set us back, sleep-wise. And I’ve said it before, but I really mean it this time: I’m done with treating this like a problem to be solved.
There’s no magic bullet. And that’s something I just need to keep remembering, every time I think I’ve hit rock bottom.
PSA: Hopefully this is redundant, but it bears repeating since sleep is such a polarizing topic: I have ZERO judgment for—and have zero place to judge—however you are parenting, sleep related or otherwise. This is where I’m at. End of story.
In the last few months, I’ve basically stopped wearing makeup. It was a gradual decline into naked face; first I’d just skip the mascara because omg taking off mascara after a long day is the worst possible chore (yes, I’m super lazy. So what?), then I realized skipping eyeliner was a really good idea and then it was just some blush and foundation and now … maybe concealer, maybe on the worst of the worst mornings after the worst of the worst nights.
My progression into the natural look has unfortunately resulted in some serious self-side-eye on particular mornings. Sometimes it’s WOAH, haggard, up in here. You can tell I have a baby who doesn’t sleep and that self care is way, way down the priority list, right behind cleaning crusted spaghetti puree off the parts of my upper arms I can’t see and scavenging stray Cheerios for my own dinner.
Let me give you some more fodder: my ace in the hole.
I have family on Maui.
BOOM. There it is. I see your jealousy.
Pretty cool, right? Also, there’s a family reunion every summer that is TOTALLY REQUIRED.
Every year my husband makes some noise about how far away it is and how that flight with a baby will be really tough and I convince him we should really, actually, 100% go. You know, FOR THE FAMILY. (Hi, family, I love you. XOXO).
So, now that you’re seething in jealousy, let me get back to my story about my non-glamorous no-makeup look. I had a little come to jesus moment about skincare, partly due to some blunt comments from an aesthetician and partly due to the escalating puffiness I have to witness in my bathroom mirror every single day.
Ahhhhh. Why did nobody tell me that “having it all” included so many dark circles and bloodshot corneas?
So, I took matters into my own hands. Or, rather, someone reached out at just the right moment when I was READY. Ready to make a change.
Specifically, the founder of FRÉ Skincare, a line for women who sweat, reached out, and (disclosure, they are now a Fit Approach client, but that does not change this story one bit), and I said, YES, please send me all the things that will save my skin, it needs all the help it can get. But not if it’s too complicated, because half the time I wash my hair I put conditioner on first because I can’t tell the bottles apart. #TrueStory.
So, they kindly agreed to help a sister out and sent me the whole kit and caboodle, and I diligently set aside my lazy tendencies and put the product to the test.
In Maui (see, it’s all coming together. I promise). Well, I actually started using it here in Austin, and put it through the wringer with suffocating swamp humidity during the Athlete Inside challenge, which made me do more burpees than any human should ever have to do. (Thank you, Ben Zorn, I love to hate burpees).
Then I took it to Maui and tested the sweat- and water-resistant properties in the pool, ocean, and sun. (full story, plus tropical photos, here).
I’ve been using it for a month now, and the bottom line: I have way fewer reasons to side-eye myself in the mornings now. I am actually comfortable going out makeup-free, and not just because I’m lazy, but because my skin actually looks nicer on its own than it does with makeup. There is a legitimate, empirical reduction in redness and dryness and puffiness. It was also serious sun protection (it was the only SPF I used on my face in Hawaii, and look, ma, no sunburn!).
I feel like a whole new woman. I do not catch glimpses of myself in mirrors out in public and shudder or think, ugh, you really should work on *that*.
So, now, you can be jealous of me for not feeling like a train wreck when I leave the house every morning.
Also, and probably more relevant to you, dear reader, is that the line is anti-aging, sweat- and water-resistant, and doesn’t drip into your eyes and viciously burn them while you’re innocently running or laying on the beach. It’s good. It’s real good.
Lastly, if you want to give it a go yourself, FRÉ was kind enough to share a discount code for you. Use code SUMMERSWEAT for 15% off. You’re welcome.
Disclosure: Like I said, FRÉ is a Fit Approach client. The ranting, opinions, and jealousy-inspiring traits in this post are 100% mine. 🙂
Oh, and, speaking of discount codes that expire on Friday, join us for the EMPOWER Race & Yoga weekend, won’t you? SWEAT gets you 40% off. Yes, FORTY PERCENT. There’s a virtual option, too.