How being a Mom for a year taught me moderation
Do it all.
Struggle to stay above water.
This cycle is one that I have gotten lost on time and time again. In fitness, food, relationships, business...in life.The desire to Do-All-The-Things comes from a good place in my heart. One that cares deeply for all of the people around me. The one that wants to help, to support and to experience the high of conquering goals. The one who wants to feel in control.
But that is not sustainable.
I have experienced this too many times to count. Yet, I continued to struggle. Forgetting how hard it was once I had “recovered” from the last bout. Then I had a baby.
A sweet little girl full of adventure; Her innocence and ability to live in the moment was refreshing and enlightening. What I wouldn’t give to be so carefree. And I was a Mama now! The weight of the world felt like nothing on my shoulders.
Immediately postpartum I felt like superwoman. Adrenaline flowing, Mommy hormones raging. It was an energy I had never previously experienced. I felt good. Maybe too good…
Exercising at four in the morning because I was awake anyways - why not? Start running classes at 2 months postpartum - great idea! Doing homework while Olivia naps - win! Or not.
I don’t think I need to tell you that it didn’t last.
But, quick! We have to hurry. We’re going to be late. Gosh, I hate being late. Where are the diapers? Shit, the baby only has one shoe on. Meh, forget the shoes! Barefeet it is. Rush out the door. Run errands. Drive home singing loudly in the car to keep the baby awake. Put the baby down for a nap. Quick - I have to get a workout in.
But I haven’t ate. Or showered. Or cleaned the house. Or slept for more than 2 hours at a time in MONTHS.
Fuck. I am failing. I can’t do this. How do all the Mom’s do this?!
A deep breath.
Enter that moment when you are sitting on the floor thinking how in the hell did I get here? Or several moments. It took me quite a few in my year “off” before I resigned to the fact that I don’t have to Do-All-The-Things. And quite frankly, I don’t want to.
Enter moderation. A simple concept. A change in mindset. A sense of freedom. Thanks to a woman who is humble and real - Mama Lion Strong and her FB group - Healthy Habits Happy Moms (check it out!) - I felt confident that I could ditch the extremes. Olivia is my priority, right now because she needs me for EVERYTHING. This will change. But for now, I am her world. She watches me, learns and is molded by my actions. Seeing me feeling anxious and overwhelmed was directly reflected in my sweet girl.
I re-thought the idea of “balance” which I had never been able to achieve and adopted the thought of HARMONY. My priorities dictate my actions, and these change, sometimes daily. This realization has allowed me to leave guilt out of mindful decisions to not train one day, to take a break from answering E-mails, to have that second cup of coffee, to get in ten extra minutes of snuggles with Olivia, to turn down an evening out because sleep is essential. And the hardest one for me: To ask for help.
It hasn’t been easy and it takes constant work and reminders. The changes are less apparent on the outside as they are on the inside, how I feel emotionally. More relaxed, happier with more love and energy to share. I am making a switch from being frantically busy to being productive;
From being annoyed when everyone (read: my husband) wanted some of my time, to looking forward to time alone with loved ones;
From being rattled that the baby won’t sleep, to enjoying every minute of snuggles because one day she won’t want to;
From being anxious, to the point of being sick, when attending social events, to being excited to interact and learn from people;
From being empathetic towards all others, to extending that same empathy to myself;
From being paralyzed out of fear of failure, to taking action and conquering goals;
From thinking I will never be enough, to knowing that I ALREADY AM.
Overall I have learned that consistency wins the race. In health, in love, in life. Onwards.