My New Year’s Resolution: Put My Air Mask On First.
I feel like there have been so very many articles and blogs lately about self care. Particularly for moms, because we are the best at spreading ourselves too thin. But frankly, I’m tired of hearing that all I need is a bubble bath and a glass of wine to magically undo the complete devastation stress and lack of sleep is causing my body and life.
(Aside: This article by Brianna West at Thought Catalogue is actually a really fantastic summary of what self care REALLY means. #PREACH girl, PREACH!)
I will be the first to admit, adjusting to parenthood is not something that has come easy for me. For two years now, I’ve stubbornly kept on the same path and pace I had before I became a mom. Although I don’t like to see myself this way, I am ambitious and competitive to a fault. I never pass up an opportunity for advancement or success or achievement. For almost ten years now, I’ve always had jobs that require me to work nights and weekends relatively frequently, and I volunteer a lot of my “free” time to a handful of nonprofits in town. I have always loved these things – they never felt like a burden, but an extension of my passions.
But then that tiny creature I love more than anything ruined it all and changed up everything I knew about love and passions in life.
I started my career with no kids and a husband whose schedule was almost completely consumed by law school. (Not to mention the stamina and metabolism of a 23 year old.) I never felt neglected – I luxuriated in the freedom of schedule and choice, and let’s admit – the solitude as a born introvert.
If I think now about the massive quantities of free time I had to recharge and pursue interests then, I’m not sure I would ever stop crying. Because now I have a toddler, two dogs, a mortgage, a 32-year old’s appetite for sleep. Case in point, this photo: Seriously, just look at all the critters vying for my attention on Christmas morning. It’s out of control.
(The other way to look at this photo? My life is full, and full of love, and I need to do a better job of appreciating it.)
But I am worn. OUT. And the feminist in me wants to boldly limp on, ignoring all wounds and fatigue, claiming boldly that we CAN have it all, but the equal partner to my husband wants to be PRESENT – be there to care for our child together on week nights, have a real conversation, and maybe even make a real dinner for once.
So I’ve decided that in 2018, I’m getting surgical with it. I’m cutting out all nonessentials and rebuilding a foundation for a healthier me.
Goals For 2018:
When The Plane Is Going Down, Put My Air Mask On First.
In other words, learn to say NO. I’ve been trying to teach myself this for years – but it’s now become a matter of self preservation. As flight crews remind us on every journey, you can’t help others when you can’t breathe. One of my core values, something that my parents said repeatedly, ad nauseam to me as a child is that “you always follow through on your commitments.” You want to quit soccer? Fine. But finish out the season, because your team is counting on you. So in 2018? NO NEW COMMITMENTS!
Not Use Volunteer Work As My Only Social Outlet.
I seriously can’t remember the last time I did anything with friends that didn’t involve planning some nonprofit event or fundraising or marketing strategy or networking. It makes me sad. This needs to be changed. I’d like my friends to know they are a priority to me, not just people I only see when I HAVE to be somewhere I already committed to be.
Find “Me” Time That Matters.
Remember that little blog post I shared months and months ago about my new healthy approach to life? Yeah, THAT. For the record, I’ve only lost a whopping four pounds since I made that oh-so bold proclamation. Way to go me. But maybe if I wasn’t always so busy, I could actually find time to improve my health?
I remembered last week that one thing I really miss and loved when I was younger is swimming. It’s simple, but what if I spent an hour of that volunteering time away from my family doing some laps in a pool instead? The fact that a toddler can’t whine at you from under water is alluring enough, but the combination of peace and exercise would do me good. (NOTE: I hear the YMCA downtown has an indoor pool – has anyone been? Does anywhere else in town have one?) Now, to find the world’s most conservative swimsuit…
Focus With Enthusiasm.
I’ve always believed enthusiasm is one of the best things I bring to the table in any endeavor. If I’m in, I’m in 100%, I’m excited and happy to be there and full of ideas. And I never want to lose that. And maybe it’s the overwhelm of the New Year, but I feel myself numbing from the sensory overload of it all. So maybe if I make more conscious decisions about when and where to be, I can save it for what matters and still be ME.
What do you think of my list? Planning something similar for 2018? Anyone else feel like they’re still experiencing a rough adjustment to parenthood, even now that their kid is a toddler? Do you ever REALLY adjust? I’d really like to know I’m not the only one going quietly insane around here.