I started writing this post back in March, over five months ago. I’ve let the ideas sit and stew, and I’m still not sure why I feel compelled to write about these things. But I’ve written them. Maybe I hope that some other mom out there will find this post and be encouraged by what I’ve experienced.
March 29, 2012
If you could see me right now, I have a clay masque on my face, and I feel ridiculous. But my sebaceous glands are blowing up this week, so a masque it is.
Run More Awesome is primarily about running, and I have not written much about my personal life here. But I feel compelled to write this “Live More Awesome” post — and maybe one day it will be a regular blog feature — about how I am making efforts to live more awesome. Because living more awesome and running more awesome are inextricably linked in my mind.
Running is part of my life, but it isn’t my whole life. In fact, truth be told, I haven’t gone running since February.* But I still think of myself as a runner; I’m just doing other fitness activities right now. Here’s why:
At the end of 2011, over Christmas vacation, I was plagued with an awful migraine that ruined some valuable time with loved ones that I don’t get to see very often. In the weeks before, I wasn’t sleeping well, I didn’t have much energy, I didn’t feel like myself, I was grouchy, I hated my body, I wasn’t motivated, and I was having periodic anxiety attacks. And I didn’t feel much like being a wife to my husband or a mom to my son. Not good.
I thought back to the last time I felt better, to the last time when I felt like myself. It had been over a year. In fact, I hadn’t felt like myself since before E was born. Turns out motherhood was taking a serious toll on my psyche.
August 22, 2012
Motherhood was taking a serious toll on my psyche. Yes, there were the external factors: crying baby, sleepless nights (and days), erratic and unhealthy eating, work responsibilities, home chores. No parent will disagree with me when I reiterate that these things will wear you down. Every parent will tell you that raising a child is the hardest thing you will ever do.** But no one tells expectant new mothers that some days — in fact, a lot of days — suck the big one. That some days, you will
cry throw a tantrum because you want to do nothing else but unload and load the dishwasher by yourself, thankyouverymuch. And then you will sob quietly to yourself wondering when you became the woman who wants to do the dishes. Who takes joy in doing the dishes. Oy. Who am I?
In my little life, the solution came down to a handful of fixes. In January, after I had the epiphany that I needed to make some changes, my husband suggested we join the Y. At the time, we lived just three blocks from it, and a family membership allowed me to drop off E while I worked out. So the Y membership fixed three things: It got E and me out of the apartment, gave us a break from one another, and gave me time to work out. This time — even just an hour and a half every day — to feel like more than *just a mom* did great things for me. Turns out that E and I need time away from each other. And I learned how much my body craves physical activity.
We made other fixes, too. Hubs and I made the decision for me to go off hormonal birth control because I am convinced that it was accounting for much of my headaches and my weight gain***. And even though my test readings from my GP and OB/GYN came in clear, I knew that I needed to get off this medicine. This is a whole other soap box, but I just can’t get behind staying on a medicine for most of my adult life if I have no medical reason for it.
We decided to move. Again. The loft was not working out even though we both loved being downtown and so close to Hubs’ work. It was too expensive, which meant that I felt pressure to keep a high load of classes every semester. It was too noisy; our neighbors fought all the time, and they really grated on our nerves. So we moved in June to a little neighborhood close to the university, close to encouraging friends, close to an awesome park, and still close to work that is $320 a month less expensive than the loft. That’s the kind of math I like to do.
I sit here today, two days after my 30th birthday, and reflect about everything that has happened over the past two years. I am thankful that God and Chris and E did not give up on me because I sure felt like giving up on myself. Even though life is still not perfect — it never will be, and that’s OK — I am happier than I’ve been in a long time. I’m making new friends, chasing new opportunities, rekindling old friendships, and content with where life is right now****.
What about you? What are you struggling with today? What changes do you need to make to get yourself to a better place?
* In fact, I would not run again until May when I was a Girls on the Run running buddy. Then followed another two month hiatus before I started running with any regularity.
** I would argue that staying married to one person as long as you both shall live is harder than raising a child.
*** I’ll own it: Thirty pounds in six years. I am not blaming birth control for my weight gain; other factors — many of which were my decisions — played into this. The stress of graduate school, long commutes, sedentary jobs, eating out too much, et al were all affecting my weight.
**** But I’m still in the market for a new job. Positive as I try to be about online teaching, its only redeeming quality is that it allows me to stay home with E every day.