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Thursday, February 7, 2013

A four muffin day

Lately I have been measuring my moods in muffins.  A good day would be a zero muffin day, a semi stressful day would be a one muffin day, but anything above two, be warned.  This would be considered a code orange. High terrorism alert, but its not terrorists that are a threat, its baked goods.
Muffins are my weakness. There is just something about cake for breakfast.  When I worked at a trendy coffee shop we sold the mega fat free muffins which were the size of a cantaloupe and I would have one or two in the course of my shift.  Back then I thought they were a green light food, but since then I have become wise of their evil ways.
One delicious crumbly muffin is like, 1500 calories or something ridunkulous like that. The reason I didn't see the effects of it back then was because that was all I was eating. I was poor.
Somehow the nutrition or diet industry has turned against all baked goods.  Especially muffins.
My best friend has sworn off dairy because she is certain it causes her skin to break out.  The great folks that I work out with only eat what cavemen ate, and a girl in my book club is a vegan.  A guy I work with is a vegetarian. I won't name any names but a certain woman who gave birth to me tried Sensa; I should link that just so you can read how farcical that concept is. A fellow mom- friend swore off caffeine and said she has never felt better. BTW- I'm not her friend anymore.
What my friends eating habits all have in common is they don't eat muffins, at least not in public. If I listened to everyone I wouldn't be able to eat anything but kale and although I like kale, its not something I turn to when I have a bad day. In fact up until recently I thought Kale was a fish.

Somehow muffins have become the objects of my affection. I miss the days when I could eat one without feeling the guilt, but I'm too far gone now.
Life is too short,  my inner voice tells me, but my mind knows my life will be even shorter if I gave into every craving I had. (Nachos, ice cream sandwiches, big huge burritos, stout beer) just to name a few.
Today I woke up at 2:30, 3:10, 4, and 5 a.m..  Not because I have insomnia but because my son has serious issues staying in his room.   We put an air mattress next to our bed but when he comes in he does a belly flop and it sounds like a seal flopping down on a giant balloon. 
Every time I wake up I look at the clock and think, "ok one more hour, think of it as a nap, an hour nap is pretty good"  I spend 10 minutes trying to convince myself of this and before I know the alarm is going off or the seal is jumping again.
I recognize that my exhaustion increases the stress I feel and more then likely my tolerance to resist muffins. But it is not just that.
I allow things to really get to me.  For example, when I dropped off my son and his childcare his teacher seemed a bit...distant.  I immediately start to wonder if I said something wrong. I have a tendency to offend people inadvertently. In fact I almost lost a friendship over a comment I made about plaid and a biscotti.  Anyway, I started to wonder if that comment I made about the snowman looking like Oprah, rubbed her the wrong way. In my defense, it did. It had a necklace, and its eyes were spaced far apart.  It is no secret I love Oprah. If that wasn't it, maybe it is my son? Is he the only one in the 2's classroom that still isn't potty trained? Do they think I'm a bad mom? Do they make him sit in a corner soon as I leave???
Following this inner dialogue I realize that I can't find a decent parking spot and its freezing outside.  As I start the mile walk from my car to my office I notice that my bra strap hurts and wonder if its because my boobs are getting bigger, or I'm getting fluffy. If my boobs are getting bigger I must be pregnant, (but that is impossible) or so I think.
I then start to wonder if it IS possible and I'm secretly happy that maybe I will get that little girl after all.  By the time I reach the half way point of my journey, I have convinced myself that I will never have a little girl and I am super depressed about it because it was all my fault to stop having children after my fourth boy.
Then the smell hits me.  I pass an eatery that has muffins in all their glory in a glass case.
For me it is like a muffin peep show and I am tempted.  I remember that I promised Don that I would stop buying food at work in an effort to bring down the $100 I spend each month in coffee.
Damn it! I resist temptation and wonder why a college educated couple has to pinch pennies so closely that I can't afford to buy the only thing I want in this world, a damn muffin.
 I haven't even reached my office yet, and I have already convinced myself, that I'm a bad mom, a bad friend, a bad wife, spade, chubby and of course, a loser.
I hate to admit this, but this is a familiar thought loop that plays in my head..sometimes louder than other times. This recording can drown out any compliment and usually does.  It is a remix of the above thoughts and sometimes I start to believe it.
If I ever heard someone talk to another person the way I talk to myself I would be appalled.  But because it is to myself it is somehow acceptable.
I realize that the reason I was having a four muffin day was completely self induced.  But why muffins? Was it because they were delicious and wonderful? Maybe it takes me to a place of comfort.
When I was working in the little coffee shop eating my muffins I didn't have a care in the world. I didn't worry about kids, I didn't worry about being an adequate wife or my future career path.  I should have been worried that I had less than $5 in my bank account, but I didn't because I knew that the tip jar would always be full at the end of my shift.  I was confident in what I was doing and I knew I could make a mean mocha. What happened? Life happened. And in my case kids. I have taken on the role as the family empatherian. This is a self elected position that absorbs all the worry, fears, anger and sadness that any particular family member feels.  I choose to be the bearer of everyone's pain so that it gives them reprieve. By the time my nine year old has sorted out his friend issues at school, I'm already conspiring  how to make a microwave muffin I saw on Pinterest just to suppress my feelings..
The paradox is that my 0 muffin stress level days were when I was actually EATING muffins.   Was I deserving of those muffins then? Yes. Am I deserving of them now? Hell yes, and then some.
Its funny that a tip jar that would have about $15 dollars in extra change is what built my confidence. Actually birthing another human didn't.  By all appearances I have grown so much since my coffee house days but in regards to my belief in my abilites, I have somehow regressed to measuring my self worth in muffins.
By this time I was about to walk in to my building.  I passed a woman who has just returned to work after having a baby and without hearing it, I could see she was attacking herself in her head.  I know I'm not alone in this, I just have a weird way of measuring it.
I asked her how she was doing.  She gave the canned answer that all new mothers do.  I said I was happy for her, but I decided to go a bit further an added that she was a good mom. For all I know, she may leave her baby with the dog, but because I sensed her worry she must be a good mom.  Just like that her eyes welled up and she said thanks.  I had instantly filled her tip jar.
Hearing myself say that to another woman I was able to reflect it back to myself and somehow, I heard it.  
I liked the way it sounded. What I hear in my head are just thoughts,that I have manifested into fact, facts that no one believes, except me... (At least I hope nobody believes them or hears them for that matter. )
If its that easy, I'm going to try and do it more often.  I decided to make a detour and get a muffin. Not a huge one, just one that was large enough to fill me up.
I have earned the right to have my cake and eat it too.

1 comment:

  1. I try to tell myself we're all our own worst critics. And I should give myself a break, and then I don't. I'll keep trying to get it thought my thick head, and I'll keep telling everyone else what a great job they're doing at this thing we call life. And maybe that piece of chocolate I ate this morning won't make me an awful woman, wife, mom, or friend...