If you compare the photos of me from last September to this one, it's not that crazy. Like many of us, I'm probably the only one that notices the weight gain. People are always paying less attention to us than we think, amaright?
Last year was my year to get my body back, and I ran a marathon.
This year, as the ball dropped on New Year's Eve, I kissed my husband and said, "My New Year's Resolution is to be kinder to you." But, I knew that "being kinder" was too vague; it wasn't a measurable goal.
So I started working backwards: What makes me edgy? When do I feel resentment?
Two of the biggest culprits were not getting enough sleep and fitting too much in. Sound familiar?
We moms, especially, feel like we need to do it all. And be, like, really good at it all. When I was a teacher, I learned that there's always something more you can do for your students. It's the same for your children when you become a mom.
But do you know who I become when I squeeze it all in? MEAN MOMMY.
Mean Mommy looks awesome on Facebook. She's logged in as various aliases: Pinterest Mom, PTO Mom, Marathon Mom, CEO Mom. I'm not saying that if you're one of these moms, then you're also Mean Mommy. I'm saying that I was...and sometimes still am.
Last October, my friend Emily texted me, calling me "Supermom."
My heart sank.
When Emily looked at Facebook she saw Supermom: running the marathon, planning my youngest's first birthday, creating Halloween costumes with Grandma, and hosting our annual Barndance. What she wasn't seeing was all the rushing, all the snippy answers, all the healthy food and sleep skipped so I could fit in all the other stuff.
It hit me: was all this stuff worth it if I was Mean Mommy while doing it?
In his book, "Amplify Your Career and Life," Peter C. Diamond writes (heavy paraphrasing, here) that our priorities are like a pendulum.
One season, you'll be really in shape, eating all the right foods and working out consistently. But maybe you haven't volunteered in awhile or read a book. So, you join a book club and decide to volunteer once a week. The thing is, these activities happen later in the evening, so you sleep in and miss your workout. Then a second. Then a third. Suddenly, you're a little "squishier" from the workouts missed and the wine you drank at book club...your season has changed.
Unlike the weather, we choose our seasons. I don't buy the "I'm so busy" or "I don't have time" responses. We all have choices. There's a character in "Game of Thrones" who says, "Even slaves have a choice: live as a slave or die."
Anyone reading a trivial blog post such as this one has choices. We don't HAVE to do anything that we don't want to do. It took many months of 2016 for me to realize that all of my "have-to's" were just self imposed.
This year, I chose sleep over working out. Not all the time, but enough to make a difference. I take heart in the knowledge that I can get back to how I looked when I ran a marathon...I just have to run a marathon again. And I don't want to do that right now.
I want to slow down. I want to enjoy my oldest's last year before he's in school full time. I want to cook healthy meals for my family; some that take two hours of my day. I want to have an Old Fashioned with my husband while binge watching "Game of Thrones", and sleep in the next morning. (And by "sleep in," all the parents know that I mean 8 a.m. at the VERY latest.)
So, I find myself a little "squishier." But I'm more playful with my kids. I'm laughing more with my husband. I've made so many new friends this year (shout out to Northbrook Community Nursery School)!
I'm heavier, but I'm so much happier.
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