Six Weeks In

We’re six weeks into the diet. It continues to be a challenge, but for different reasons than when we started. It’s hard to stay motivated. One day I’m sure it’s making a huge difference. Other days I’m sure it’s not. Most days I’m not sure of anything.

It’s hard to commit to something when you don’t know for sure that what kind of impact it’s having. It’s even harder when it affects someone who can’t really understand what you’re doing or why you’re doing it. It’s harder still when your partner is not 100% on board. And when it costs more money and require more time and becomes this massive psychological stressor, hanging over every day with noxious clouds of doubt, anxiety and apathy.

It’s hard to commit to something that makes you different and isolates you and your child, something that nobody you know has ever heard of, let alone does themselves. It’s hard to stay motivated when the gains are so nebulous, when you’re constantly wondering what can be attributed to your efforts and what can’t.

Things with my daughter may be better than they ever have been, but I spend as much, if not more, time thinking about her behavior than I did before. It’s so hard to turn my mind off these days. I long for the times when my daughter’s meltdowns were just that, meltdowns, and not possible reactions to something I have to identify and remove from her diet.

What it comes down to is I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing, and I HATE not knowing what the fuck I’m doing. I hate feeling uncertain. I hate not being sure.

So I keep trudging along, because the only thing that scares me more than doing this forever is to stop doing this, at least for now.

We’re six weeks into this diet, but we’re also six weeks into so many other transitions. They are all so wrapped up in each other, I sometimes wonder if I don’t attribute some of the stress I feel about the diet to stress that really belongs to this crazy transition to Kindergarten. Everything is so new this year, for all of us. I’m trying to remember to be patient, with myself. With my daughter. With my husband. With life.

Things will get better. They always do. I’ll learn to live with the uncertainty. I’ll learn to navigate within the nebulous clouds of doubt. This will become my new normal and some day it won’t be so hard. Until then I can manage. Until then I can make it work.

After all, we’re only six weeks in.

13 Comments

  1. The transition to kindergarten is so hard! I feel like we had a few months of pure hellish behavior. It’s possible that yours is going more smoothly than it would’ve without the diet. Who knows? It may be awhile before you can sort all that out. The biggest question for me would be, how does your daughter feel about the diet? Also, how much is it stressing you out (or is it making you less stressed)? If you & she feel you can keep it up, might as well try. But if it’s becoming another stressor, maybe not.

    1. It’s hard to determine how my daughter feels about the diet. She is so fixated on “treats” right now, it all comes down to that. So if she suspects someone else got a treat that is better than the treat she got she doesn’t like it, but if she thinks the treat she got is better than what someone else got, she does. At this point I don’t think she cares that much about being different she only cares about what sugary crap food she gets to eat. Like when they did cooking at her after care program and she couldn’t eat the cookie she was sad, because those cookies looked better than the cookies she could have. But then when she got an ice cream sandwich instead of the hot chocolate everyone was eating she was stoked. And when they made apple, celery and peanut butter “snails” for cooking (which she could eat) she didn’t want to participate because she doesn’t like celery (and it was touching the other foods). The next time they bake something I’m going to bring the ingredients so she can eat what they make. I am trying to help her feel included whenever possible, but it’s really hard to determine how she feels about it, because most of the time she’s just saying things to get a candy or marshmallow out of us. But I’ve told her she can always tell me how it makes her feel and I’ll never be upset about it and we can always talk about whether or not we want to keep doing it. I hope she believes that, because it really is true. If she absolutely hated it, I’d back off, although I do think she’d be more isolated socially if going off it really did send her back to her old ways. Most kids didn’t want to be around her when she was like that. 🙁

  2. I can’t imagine how hard it is to try to figure out cause-effect with a kid her age. I agree that this transition to KG is a tough one, and more time might be the answer? (scientifically speaking, the best experimental design here would be a cross-over, where you keep everything else the same & then you take her OFF the diet for a couple of weeks and see how her behavior changes and then put her back ON for a few weeks…but obviously you don’t want to do that!) I’m still pretty impressed by your resolve to keep this up and do what you think is best for her, despite lack of support from the family.

  3. Living with uncertainty. Always hard. I have done this my whole life and as an adult have tried to learn techniques for doing it better, for not falling back into fear habits and patterns from my childhood. And, I continue to fall back into old habits and try to remember to use new ones.
    What I really do understand now is the desire to think someone else, some authority, some leader does have The Answer. But the reality is that No One Has The Answer. And, probably those who most proclaim that They Have The Answer are most unsure of their own self.
    So. You do not have an answer. But you are seeing many questions and different contributors to the current situation. This really is cool. And, you are not giving up and tossing your hands in the air. And, you are moving forward and trying to have objectivity about what is happening around you. This really is heroic. Furthermore, you are sharing this with others and gives all of us hope and reduces our insecurities and fears. Because: OH, I am not alone. In fact, I am in good company. HUGE RELIEF.
    May be the biggest help I can offer is to remind you that today more and more people (SCIENTISTS) are seeing that all the HFCS that has been dumped into our foods for the past 40 years may not be healthy for our bodies and minds. And, Europe and European scientists are saying the genetic material we are adding willy nilly into our foods without fully understanding the long term impacts may have impacts we do not understand or see now. And European countries are looking at science and banning GMO crops!!! Wow. So maybe, just as today we are seeing some of the results of pouring our garbage into our fresh water systems and our oceans are major, significant, and negative…. maybe we should choose caution not profit as our decision point. Which is what you are doing.
    I remember vividly when not long ago people were told to flush medicines down the toilet… where it was not removed and became part of our drinking water. And today we see major decreasing in the past 65 years in healthy sperm counts and more and more severely diminished ovarian reserves in women in their early 20s.
    So taking control of your children’s diets makes huge sense to me even with questions about the impact on your daughter’s behaviors. Behaviors do change with growing, but chemicals also have impacts. Look at research on FODMAPS coming out of Australia and Stanford research.
    You are fighting a good fight. It is very hard. You have more support than you know and on behalf of the generations yet to come, that are going to live with our consequences, thank you.

  4. I’ve been dying to hear how you are doing on it! I’ve been doing it for 8 years and I think about my kids behavior still all the time. Is it food? Are they just 5? (which is a brutal age). Is it their temperament? It’s a constant struggle to understand these little people. Which is our burden and our privilege. Your kids are lucky enough to have parents that care enough to experiment and try things, and make their lives better. One day at a time, one meal at a time, one tantrum at a time. It’s all we can do!

  5. Thanks for this update – i’ve been wondering how this was going. I can only imagine how much fortitude it is taking to stick with it. You are doing so well. I’m hoping that ‘until then’ will come soon for you all.

  6. Library book came in. I had promised to report. Have read first 68 pages. Reporting:~~
    OVERWHELMED by Brigid Schulte
    Only 3 chapters in. So more to come.
    She starts by describing what she is doing in her life with job, spouse, children. Chaos. And she is overwhelmed like Not W.Word. She has kept a time diary and goes to expert who claims to find about 28 hours of leisure in her weeks. BUT he is pulling exercise, listening to radio while driving to obligation place, time spent helping a friend whose husband has cancer, waiting for 2 hours for a tow truck when car broke down on side of the road, reading the newspaper (she works in the industry which is sort of like calling attending PTO meeting at the school where you teach leisure), taking the whole family to the zoo, and much of this ‘leisure’ often comes in 10 minute fragments. a different, female, time study expert said she often finds mothers with NO leisure time.
    Women today all over the world are overwhelmed. Especially mothers.
    Some young fathers are stepping up and being overwhelmed too but even these dads are doing 1/2 as much as the moms At Best. The average father in the past several years has increased his ‘childcare activities from 2.5 hours to 7 hours a week. Which is less than half the hours per week a mother spends on ‘childcare”.
    There is discussion of ‘contaminated time’ which is time mentally processing to do lists and needs while doing other things. The ‘to do’ list is always scrolling.
    Talk of fragmented time and lack of time serenity and lack of ‘me time’ even when the mother works part time. This reminded me of the first 6 weeks of a baby’s life when the one parent is home and ‘free’ versus the other parent going to an outside job and wondering why the one at home isn’t getting much accomplished other than keeping the baby alive.
    Men get long stretches of time to focus on jobs, women are running on lots of short time changes and interruptions. Discussion of hourly versus salaried pay with today’s technology meaning well educated salaried with no overtime pay never really get to leave work behind. Checking emails/phones when not at work place.
    Mention that educated 1st world countries are facing serious decreases in birthrates because it is
    On average fathers are now doing 9 hours of weekly ‘housework’ but they are selectively doing primarily jobs they like which may be cooking or going shopping by themselves. Fathers remain the “fun” parent. AND, most of what they do is done with the mother present/involved so they are ‘helping’ and being ‘delegated to’ leaving the organization and follow up to mothers. (When dad went to the grocery store, who wrote the list, who had the kids, who put away the groceries. And we have all heard dad in the store aisles calling mom to verify the brand or size or …)
    Mothers, world wide, are giving up their sleep to keep things functioning.
    Men are the leisure gender. Verblen 1899 in The Theory of the Leisure Class: Women do manual labor which is the everyday work of livelihood and the exclusive occupation of the inferior class which is made up of slaves, and other dependents and ordinarily also all the women.
    Chapter 3 is titled “too busy to live” the thesis is that today being crazy busy is competitive and good; the alternative is lazy, idle and bad. Lots of examples that we are killing ourselves for consumer goods and living in the present, that even the recreation is magic ads have moved from week long vacation trips (completely away from the office) to focusing on taking 15 minutes at lunch to go on a walk.
    Chapter 4 “the incredible shrinking brain” starts with research showing that when we are stressed and pressed for time our prefrontal cortex shrinks. Then it says children exposed to their parents stress can experience neurological, hormonal and DNA changes. Cheerful, not. And it heightens the risk of addiction and destructive behaviors. Being in overload also makes us sick and ages us significantly. Overwhelmed weakens will power. Multitasking happens and men and women are equal in their ability to multitask and in their ability to refocus after interruptions. But women have more short interruptions in their days and their days have a larger variety of interruptions which increases their time contamination more than men’s (women have 5 interruptions in the same time men get 1.5).

    So far this says you are accurately reporting reality of mothers today in our society and this world. It is depressing. The next set of chapter hopefully will get to answers.

    So, do you want me to continue?

  7. Library book came in. I had promised to report. Have read first 68 pages. Reporting:~~
    OVERWHELMED by Brigid Schulte
    Only 3 chapters in. So more to come.
    She starts by describing what she is doing in her life with job, spouse, children. Chaos. And she is overwhelmed like Not W.Word. She has kept a time diary and goes to expert who claims to find about 28 hours of leisure in her weeks. BUT he is pulling exercise, listening to radio while driving to obligation place, time spent helping a friend whose husband has cancer, waiting for 2 hours for a tow truck when car broke down on side of the road, reading the newspaper (she works in the industry which is sort of like calling attending PTO meeting at the school where you teach leisure), taking the whole family to the zoo, and much of this ‘leisure’ often comes in 10 minute fragments. a different, female, time study expert said she often finds mothers with NO leisure time.
    Women today all over the world are overwhelmed. Especially mothers.
    Some young fathers are stepping up and being overwhelmed too but even these dads are doing 1/2 as much as the moms At Best. The average father in the past several years has increased his ‘childcare activities from 2.5 hours to 7 hours a week. Which is less than half the hours per week a mother spends on ‘childcare”.
    There is discussion of ‘contaminated time’ which is time mentally processing to do lists and needs while doing other things. The ‘to do’ list is always scrolling.
    Talk of fragmented time and lack of time serenity and lack of ‘me time’ even when the mother works part time. This reminded me of the first 6 weeks of a baby’s life when the one parent is home and ‘free’ versus the other parent going to an outside job and wondering why the one at home isn’t getting much accomplished other than keeping the baby alive.
    Men get long stretches of time to focus on jobs, women are running on lots of short time changes and interruptions. Discussion of hourly versus salaried pay with today’s technology meaning well educated salaried with no overtime pay never really get to leave work behind. Checking emails/phones when not at work place.
    Mention that educated 1st world countries are facing serious decreases in birthrates because it is
    On average fathers are now doing 9 hours of weekly ‘housework’ but they are selectively doing primarily jobs they like which may be cooking or going shopping by themselves. Fathers remain the “fun” parent. AND, most of what they do is done with the mother present/involved so they are ‘helping’ and being ‘delegated to’ leaving the organization and follow up to mothers. (When dad went to the grocery store, who wrote the list, who had the kids, who put away the groceries. And we have all heard dad in the store aisles calling mom to verify the brand or size or …)
    Mothers, world wide, are giving up their sleep to keep things functioning.
    Men are the leisure gender. Verblen 1899 in The Theory of the Leisure Class: Women do manual labor which is the everyday work of livelihood and the exclusive occupation of the inferior class which is made up of slaves, and other dependents and ordinarily also all the women.
    Chapter 3 is titled “too busy to live” the thesis is that today being crazy busy is competitive and good; the alternative is lazy, idle and bad. Lots of examples that we are killing ourselves for consumer goods and living in the present, that even the recreation is magic ads have moved from week long vacation trips (completely away from the office) to focusing on taking 15 minutes at lunch to go on a walk.
    Chapter 4 “the incredible shrinking brain” starts with research showing that when we are stressed and pressed for time our prefrontal cortex shrinks. Then it says children exposed to their parents stress can experience neurological, hormonal and DNA changes. Cheerful, not. And it heightens the risk of addiction and destructive behaviors. Being in overload also makes us sick and ages us significantly. Overwhelmed weakens will power. Multitasking happens and men and women are equal in their ability to multitask and in their ability to refocus after interruptions. But women have more short interruptions in their days and their days have a larger variety of interruptions which increases their time contamination more than men’s (women have 5 interruptions in the same time men get 1.5).

    So far this says you are accurately reporting reality of mothers today in our society and this world. It is depressing. The next set of chapter hopefully will get to answers.

    Should I keep on?

  8. Chapter 5: the ideal American employee is a worker who is “on” 20 out of 24 hrs with a spouse at home who handles every non-employment aspect of life. The non-working spouse is important so the worker cannot leave. We know this already. no news.
    Chapter 6: the American workplace does not like the mess and interruptions that come with parents and children as employees and politically there is no support around childcare for anyone who becomes a parent. Again, no news.
    Discouraged but moving on to chapter 7. page 123. At least you all are not using your too scant ‘leisure’ time on reading this.

  9. Chapter 7. There are some companies that are more progressive and believe balanced lives are more productive and happier lives lead to better products. Flexibility is good at work. But really lots of her examples do not apply well to nurses at hospitals or check out clerks in the grocery store etc. AND, I remember this being touted in the 70’s as the future and it sure never arrived and it does nothing to undo the overwhelm being discussed. Saying the new Millennium generation will make it happen….. well, I remember when the baby boomers were supposed to reach those stars.
    You are saving time so far not reading this book. Take a walk for now instead.

  10. Part 3 Love
    Chapter 8: The stalled Gender Revolution
    Things are better IF they are equal. This does imply equal financial contributions of course, as well as equal household shares and equal participation in child rearing. The later two which have already been shown to be uncommon still. Though improved over the past 50 years. Gay couples do not fall back on gender roles for normative expectations so they lead in equality of responsibilities. Unless one person stays home and takes the cultural female role. The stereotype of equality in gay families is based on both parents to have worked for almost 20 years prior to becoming parents which changes the finances, and if both still work at ‘male traditional paying jobs’ they are more able to throw money at lots of tasks like house cleaning and nanny care and maybe pre-cooked meals or eating out. So perhaps not a fully accurate statement re equality in gay couples.
    The book advocates talking with one’s spouse into equality of household and child responsibilities. This CAN work for a few but I’ve paid attention to the author of this blog and her commentators and in reality this isn’t achieving true equality. Both men and women fall into stereotypical thinking about who does what and there isn’t a lot of motivation for men to pick up additional work on the home front when they have spent their lives thinking their career/work defines them and is their most important contribution. “Be like ideal daddy” or “Be like the ideal mommy” … right back to the Brady Bunch as role model.
    While I support reexamining these role assumptions I do not think there is an answer presented for the woman in overwhelm.
    Chapter 9: The cult of Intensive Motherhood
    Mothers today are competing against a false standard of perfect motherhood to create perfect and competitive children who can hold their own in an increasingly difficult economic society. There is a current pressure about Standards that must be met and not meeting this unwritten undocumented Standard means failure for both mother and child. Social media and press push this competition. Today’s mothers feel pressured to spend lots of time interacting with and providing perfect experiences to maximize each child’s development while holding a full time job. Mothers in the 50’s sent the kids outdoors to play in the neighborhood without constant supervision and sports were pickup events at parks or school… no soccer camps or 20 hrs weekly of gymnastics training after school in 3rd grade.
    Mothers are trying to do it all without enough support from fathers and extended communities/family members. So if your extended family doesn’t live near by, or are in their 50‘s and working full time themselves ???… no answers.
    I feel this book is documenting problems we are familiar with, not providing realistic answers to counter overwhelm.
    Chapter 10: New Dads
    Men are biologically capable of caring for and raising children. Some dads are doing more child care. But often it is the mother’s fault reinforced by culture that fathers aren’t doing more. Then it devolves into how parents need to foster grit and happiness in their children. WAY off point. More pressure applied to meeting a perfection Standard in your parenting actions.
    Now have finished page 210. Going on despite little faith.

  11. so there I am saying I don’t think, based on your commentary that the answer realistically happens in getting your spouse to do more…. And here comes Carolyn Hax the advice writer for the Washington Post on this subject: http://wpo.st/ftPg0 Getting a spouse to handle a fair share of the chores from The Washington Post.
    I am putting the book down for a day and will see if that improves my take on the book.

  12. Honestly the rest of the book was TOOO Depressing. Marry a Dane, Live in Denmark. Equality of pay, opportunity, and childcare, and housework. No easier solutions. And, changing mind sets about who does what and opportunities in the U.S. …. Well. Do vote. Good luck.

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