Saturday I celebrated the beginning of my 31st year. Tim was very sweet and surprised me every day last week with something unexpected. Kait and Oliver and Mary Kay and Roger came to help us ring in the festivities. As always, I spent much of August taking an authentic look at our life and settled on some goals for the next year. I try to keep it to three. Let’s not set ourselves up for failure, right?
I wear a lot of black and gray. It started when I lived in Italy and it never really went away. It’s stuck around for so long because it’s what I had, it all matched, and it was slimming (and god knows I could use that). It’s time to breathe some life into my very small, very dark wardrobe. Wishing I weighed 20 pounds less isn’t a good excuse to look like a morbid, tired, thirty-something mom.
Speaking of monochrome, let’s talk about our house. When we moved in, I was so frazzled from buying and selling a house at the same time that I couldn’t commit to a decor scheme for our house. I wanted light and airy and blank canvas vibes, so I painted the whole downstairs white. It’s been nice, but I can’t wait to get my hands on our next house so I can create a rich, colorful backdrop for our memories. White walls. Blegh. You bet your tukkus I already have paint colors picked out for the next abode.
2. Self love
It seems like self love is always part of a goal for me. Why is it so hard? This year’s is a two part commitment. The first part is accepting my baby belly/butt/crows feet exactly the way they are. Then it’s finding a way to love and appreciate my comfy body for doing such hard work these last few years and giving me my two beautiful babies. This means diligently resisting the small, belittling voice that pipes up with every tv show, Pinterest outfit, and encounter with my adorable sister. I want to choose to see beauty in the lines in my face and the tiny stretch marks on my belly, and I want to make myself remember how beautiful the human body is when it isn’t airbrushed. It’s beautiful because it works perfectly and because I am healthy and that should be more than enough. But we all know sometimes it isn’t.
The other side of this goal is the health and wellness side. When I feel yucky about my body, I feel yucky about most other things in my life. Welcome to America. I don’t want to weigh five pounds, I just want to feel strong and lean and attractive. I loved teaching pilates when I was in grad school, but more than that I loved walking a mile or two a day. That never happens anymore, and my mental and physical health are equally thirsty for a return of the habit. I don’t know if I want to teach pilates again because my social anxiety usurps most of the joy.
Don’t freak out, but I’m considering doing a Couch to 5K program. I vehemently despise running unless it’s in the form of fleeing a rabid animal. I ran cross country in eighth grade. I was the weird Catholic school kid running at the public school, and I was pretty sure I was going to die every single practice. Misery. I’m not nearly as adventurous as Kendra doing a half marathon, but if I did a 5K I would be downright giddy with myself. Tim is excited that I’m even considering it (he’s a runner at heart) and we swapped jogger strollers for one with a fixed front wheel in preparation. It might actually happen. In any case, I went public with it just now so there’s a bit of pressure, I’ll admit. I’m sure my old jeans would appreciate it.
3. Setting Mom Limits
In my type A, baby mama, domineering ways, I tend to put myself last on the list. I’m so ok with it that it’s hard for me to see. But it seems to be taking a toll now more than ever because the time I need to stay mentally healthy is still on the “if I have time” section of my to do list. It’s not ok. And it’s my own fault.
When I was struggling with depression after Maren was born, my midwife said to take an hour a day, 5 days a week for myself. Blog, shave my legs, take a walk, go have coffee, read a book… do whatever I needed in that moment. That was about 2 months ago and I am (still) not making it happen. It really has to happen and I really have to commit to it. The problem lies in the fact that Tim also has to commit to it since he would have to keep our children, and he isn’t known for committing to a routine. And so I will ask for some back up in making this goal a reality this year.
Tim is good about asking for what he needs. He will say “hey, I want to go to therapy” or “hey, I’d like to hang out with Jared one night this week” and we make that happen. I don’t even consider what I need most weeks, let alone feel like I can actually leave and do it. It feels…selfish. The line between selfish and self preservation is a fine one, methinks.
An hour a day sounds like vacation at this point. I think I’ll start with 30 minutes a day; baby steps. Our days start at 7am, give or take, and Maren is colicky most nights until 10pm on the nose. She is asleep at 8 if the stars align just right. This is a hectic season and she will be moving out of the colic phase soon, so the evenings will become more relaxing and meaningful for me.
What kinds of things do I hope to do with an hour a day, you ask? Paint my toenails. Blog more. Try new recipes. Stock the freezer to make mornings easier (so I can actually drink my entire coffee, which hasn’t happened in months). Use my literary inclinations to get involved in something that has nothing to do with raising babies. Actually fold laundry when it comes out of the dryer. Maybe (and it’s a big maybe) go running. Gulp. Create photo books from the last four years that I never got around to doing. Read a murder mystery! Alone! The sky’s the limit. This will be the hardest goal for me this year, but that tells me that it’s probably also the most important one.
Cheers to 31.