Friday, October 12, 2007

Pregnant Women Should Have Warning Labels

I have been grumpy and depressed and depressed and grumpy for over a week now. I think it is starting to take its toll on the German. He is at a total loss about how to improve my mood. I wish I could help him.

First, although business is doing okay, money is very tight at the moment. My mom asked me the other day if I liked being self-employed. For the most part I do. I like being able to set my own hours and pursuing the projects I find interesting. I DO NOT enjoy the fact that some of my customers take their sweet time about paying. After a few discussions with a few friends (I know a lot of self-employed people / business owners), I began to realize that this is the biggest problem we know. Unfortunately, when you work in the service industry, there is no way to repossess the knowledge gained once it has been taught. Sometimes I wish I had a magic ray gun to suck the brains out of some of my non-paying students.

Not getting paid is starting to impact my attitude during my lessons. When a student gets a bit argumentative with me, I begin to wonder, "Why am I doing this?" (For the record, I have taught 100 hours over the past 6 weeks and have been paid for 10.)

Also, the physical strain of teaching is taking its toll on my body. When I teach, I am "on." It is like performing. The energy of the teacher can impact the entire lesson, so I try to keep my energy up and positive. Try doing this for hours on end with an extra 12 pounds strapped to your stomach, which starts kicking you in the bladder when you write on the board. Not fun.

Also not fun is climbing the stairs at one company, which does not have an elevator but lessons on the fourth floor. When I emerged out of breath on Thursday, I mentioned to the receptionist that they should get an elevator. She smiled and said that I should join a fitness class. I was soooo offended. "Sometimes when you are 6 months pregnant, you have no choice. You tend to get out of breath." I later saw the receptionist smoking a cigarette at her desk. No fun at all.

Pregnancy is starting to take its toll on my body. I only wanted to gain 25 pounds. I have already gained 18 and I have 3 months to go. My doctor told me this week to lay off the cake. Let me tell you, it did nothing for my mood. So, this week instead of cake I opted for cottage cheese.

Today I did not have to teach, so I went to the hair dresser (thanks for the gift certificate, Chad!!). Usually this brightens my mood, but I just sat there feeling ugly and fat. I went and bought a skirt at H&M that I could not afford. I bought it because I have a meeting with my most important customer on Monday morning and did not want to go in one of the only two pair of pants that I have.

While I was trying on clothes, I bent over and got a look of the back of my legs in the mirror. I almost sat down and started crying. The back of my knees are unrecognizable to me. I do not consider myself a "beautiful woman," but I was always pretty proud of my legs. They were my best asset. I put on my clothes and looked in the mirror and my grumpy, depressed mood filled the room.

So, here I sit on a Friday night. The German is playing soccer to release the stress of his equally crappy week and I am working. That's right. I am preparing lessons for the class I have to teach tomorrow and editing something a professor asked me to look at. And how was your week?


Carol said...

Claire, Claire, Claire (I thought I had your e-mail address because I want to "connect directly," but alas, I don't) --

I know it doesn't really need to be said, but: YOU'RE PREGNANT. Your body is preparing to bring an entire, complete, miraculous new life into the world and part of that IS gaining weight... most of the time ALL OVER! (Wanna feel better? I gained 40 50 pounds with my singletons and over 80 with my twins!) This is purposeful weight, not "ugly fat"! And I can guarantee you that you are BEAUTIFUL. You have the beauty of a new mother and there is nothing (nothing!) like that in the world.

I know the baby kicking is bothersome, but you know what I miss the most about my early mothering years? Exactly that (and nursing) -- the most maternal of all feelings and activities.

Hang in there! Hugs to you.


Maria said...

I'm sorry Claire. I thought I was only going to gain around 20-25 pounds. I ate right. I did step-aerobics until seven months or so...and I gained over 20 kg. Seriously. I felt fat and ugly the entire time, but thankfully Kevin reminded me about why I was looking like a beached wale (my term).

I am sure you look beautiful with your baby bump.


J said...

Sorry to hear that you've been down, and I hope next week is better for you. I do agree that teaching requires one to be 'on' at all times and that can definitely affect the lesson. It's not easy to do all the time either.

Getting people to pay is one of the reasons I never want to own my own school. I don't need the added stress.

How has my week been? Lousy. I've been off work with quite bad bronchitis all week.

PapaScott said...

One advantage of our business is that our customers all pay cash in advance. On the other language, with a language school you don't have to deal with drunks at 3 in the morning.

If it's any consolation, at 9 months pregnant my wife was the most beautiful woman in the world. I'm sure you will be too.

PapaScott said...

(That should be "on the other hand", not "on the other language". I need coffee!)

Anonymous said...

I want to come and smack the heads of your students! Having spent literally years in language school in Munich, the deal was no pay no sit there and learn German. I think you must be just way too nice.
Hope your next week is better and I'm sure you are beautiful too.

Caffienated Cowgirl said...

Trust me, it will pass. I remember when my feet disappeared...both because I couldn't see them and because they had swollen to something that resembled a sausage gone bad. And you know what? They are back to normal now! Just keep the faith!

ChristinaG said...

Hi Claire, just wanted to add that you ARE a beautiful woman, although I know pregnancy can get you down. I had horrible chest, shoulder and back acne when I was preggers (thankfully it's cleared up, except for some scarring). I felt so ugly, and only wanted to wear high-neck shirts. The back of your knees thing is funny. I was horrified when I got varicose veins back there, but they're gone now. My thighs and upper arms almost doubled in size though, and that has not really improved any! My feet also grew two sizes, and still are, so none of my closetful of shoes fit. And my feet hurt if I'm up too much, so I can't wear any pretty shoes anymore!

About the school, can't you have them pay in advance? I'm pretty sure I had to at the Goethe Institute (although it was my company paying, so I'm not certain).

One more thing (I know I'm droning on), I taught stats to undergrads when I was in grad school and that was a nightmare. Nobody wanted to be there and most of them hated mathematics. I am totally in wonder at people who can teach. It's so often a thankless job - so, you ROCK girl!

christina said...

Aww, Claire honey, it's the hormones. I felt like crap when I was pregnant too and was definitely NOT glowing all the time. It gets a LOT better afterwards. Some of the changes your body is going through will be permanent, the other stuff will go back to the way it was. My feet grew two sizes and stayed there.

And please *try* to take it easy and not overtax yourself. You need your strength.

christina said...

Oh yeah, I just checked my Mutterpass and I gained 16 kg with the first kid and 20 with the second. DO NOT worry about how much you're gaining. As long as you're eating a healthy, well-balanced diet it's fine.

Carrie said...

Think of the payment thing this least you don't have to pull any corporate type crap about using the internet too much, or speaing too loudly on the phone or dressing in a way that may be offensive to someone. It does suck to have to pull money out of people, but once you realize there will be some uncollectable debts, the better you will handle this stuation. I can't give you advice on German laws, but we have everyone sign a promissory note before we get their person out of jail. It has saved our butt a couple times, so maybe you could look into something like that. Another thing would be a wall of know for bad checks, nonpayment, etc...even if you just put it up in your office, it will remind you who not to allow to sign up again.