To piggy back on the “I’m a failure” post I thought I would talk about a phrase that has helped me really over come my need for doing it all and doing it all well.
A little earlier this year I found an amazing Facebook group called Healthy Habits Happy Moms. I forget exactly how I happened to come across this group but I did and I’m so grateful for it. The words of the women in this group including the three leaders: Jennifer, Annie and Lauren (JAL for short) have been instrumental in me letting go and developing some healthier habits while also not beating myself up for All.The.Failures.
After spending some time in the HHHM Facebook Group, I jumped on the Balance365Life bandwagon which is the program designed and run by JAL in regards to healthy habit formation. I started back in May and haven’t really made a whole lot of progress physically but I’ve definitely made progress emotionally.
I have routinely been someone who says eff it to expectations or “norms” and done my own thing. This is thanks to the strength given to me by my parents who let me be who I am and never really question it. Although Babci did try to put me in dresses or do my hair in curls more often than I would have preferred when I was little for the most part I was left to my tomboy-ish and dirt magnet ways. But sometimes even someone who doesn’t mind marching to her own drum needs a back up band and that’s what I’ve found through Balance 365 and worked on cultivating.
I have been struggling to find myself again as a mother. To be fair, I’ve really just been trying to find myself as an almost 40 year old woman with a toddler. I am at an stage in my life where there are expectations of who I am or what I’m doing. I’m now a mom; it means something in completely amazing and profound ways (OMG I have a tiny human whom I am responsible for) but then it also has it’s own set of societal norms attached to it about what a mother is SUPPOSED to be. Add into the mix a partner and an individuality I’m still craving to hold on to. I have to somehow juggle being a good woman, wife, and mom. On one hand I love the fact that I had my daughter later but on the other hand I had way more time to be me with no strings attached so some old habits die hard.
When you’re juggling these major responsibilities while also trying to hold down a job it makes for a very demanding life. Who am I as a person now? Who am I as a wife? Who am I as a mom? I have 3 equally important but competitive sides clamoring for attention and control of me on a daily basis.
Sure I had the woman and wife part before I became a mom but the Mr. is a fully functioning adult. If I wanted to make plans I did not need to ensure that he was taken care of, but now as a mom I have to make sure the Munchkin is accounted for which makes plans harder.
Enter Balance 365 and JAL. I routinely drop some of the balls I have juggling in the air but I remind myself that “all or something” is the important part. This term was coined by one of their members and it just resonates with me especially when it comes to taking care of my three major roles on any given day. All or something is way better than the nothing I could do instead.
For instance I’ve been working on getting back to the gym. I don’t carpool with Mr. EarlGreyandYellow two days a week so I can drive straight to the gym instead of having to go to his house first but this school year has been particularly draining for many reasons and I’ve figured out every excuse in the book to just avoid going on Mondays and Wednesdays. I’ve even ridden around with a packed gym bag in my car, driven past the gym to get home; everything to ensure that I do it but I’ve still come up with plenty of excuses to make my attendance sporadic at best.
During the month of December I decided to bite the bullet and just go. I am trying to remember that consistency is greater than intensity so if I just show up a few times a week it’s better than not showing up at all. A few times during this month I’ve basically walked in the door and rode the stationary bike for a little while reading a book. Was that a great workout? No. Did it burn a ton of calories? No of course it didn’t. Did it burn more calories than if I had just gone home and sat on the couch? Yes. And that is the important part.
Going consistently for the past few weeks but knowing I just have to show up and do “something” for 5 minutes has been completely liberating. Riding the bike for 5 minutes has led to riding the bike for 20 minutes which in turn led to getting back into lifting and going to a HIIT (high intensity interval training) class that has kicked my butt on more than one occasion but it was the idea that I just had to walk in the door that released the pressure from going to the gym and giving it my “all” that allowed me to do what I could instead of what I should.
Giving myself, the Mr. or the Munchkin something is way better than giving them nothing. I have learned through the course of 2018 that moving forward isn’t always a straight line. I KNEW this intellectually but I’ve finally been able to see what it means in real life by not giving up and allowing myself the grace to practice “all or something”.