When I look in the mirror, I don’t recognize myself these days. I look dull, shabby, tired. Maybe it’s being spit up on daily by an 8-month-old, non-napping, not interested in solids, teething baby, but I feel like I need a change. I’m in a rut and I need to get back to the me that I used to be!
I get a little green with envy when I’m on facebook and see a mom friend that seems to have it all together. I mean, I know she doesn’t, because none of us do, no matter how much we’re willing to admit it. But I still see traits in them that I admire: Other stay at home mom friends that have a sitter come for x number of hours once a week, so they can get out and do their own thing. Moms that go on vacations with just their partners (even with young kiddos) at least once a year. Moms with glowing faces. Moms that are dressed in clothes that fit them. Moms that take care of themselves… sigh.
Now, before kids, I used to be a bad-a$$ project manager, who GOT. (snap) IT. (snap) DONE! (snap) Not to toot my own horn or anything, but yeah, I knew what I was doing. So I thought, “Hey! I’ll use my awesome project management skills to project manage MYSELF!” Now, I’m not going to go too crazy and crate myself a scrum board or anything. Just a simple project plan should do it…
Okay, let’s see…
To improve my overall sense of self and get back to feeling like me again, because DAMN, this mom business is hard (Adele, we hear ya girl). Focuses will include mind, body, and soul. Improvements will be made on the inside and out. Partner relationship will also see some key improvements.
The following tasks/steps will be taken to help improve “me.”
- Take care of myself in the morning first! My husband recently started working from home, but decided that he would still get up and do his normal routine before starting his day. He shaves, fixes his hair, wears real clothes both on the top AND on the bottom (even though they wouldn’t see if he had on his comfy pants in his video conferences…). I should do this, too. I always get the kids squared away first. Often, by the time we’ve all eaten and I’ve gotten the boys set up with an activity, and gotten the girl down for her morning nap, it’s time to start lunch. Then, once we’ve all eaten AGAIN, it’s nap time (which I sometimes take advantage of), and then it’s like 2 or 3pm before I’ve actually really looked at myself in the mirror! (shudder!) What’s the harm in addressing myself first? Our girl cries for a few minutes? She’ll be fine. The boys have to watch 15 minutes of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse? I’m sure they’ll be devastated (huge eyeroll).
- Find a therapist! I’ve been thinking for awhile about talking to a therapist about these feelings and the struggles I’ve been having about my “loss of self.” Thankfully my fellow contributor, Kristina, has made my ability to search for a post-partum therapist super easy!
- Face – my face looks dull and sun damaged – I’m going to give a new skin care regimen a try and see if it will improve my overall appearance.
- I’m the girl who’s usually got the “different” colored hair. I started working in a professional environment at a young age and couldn’t color because of it, so I had been making up for lost time when I started staying home with my boys. (Showing this fun side of me was especially important when we bought our minivan; I decided that, even though I was driving a minivan, I was still going to be the girl with the windows down, blasting Sleigh Bell’s “Infinity Guitars!”) Before my girl was born, I had purplish hair with chunks of pink, but colored it back to my normal brown, as I didn’t know when I was going to be able to get back in for some up keep. I also color my hair to cover the grey. Yes, at 35 I have A LOT of grey. Lately I had been wondering, “should I just let it all go grey?” No! Why? I like my crazy colored hair! It’s fun. My boys like it. My husband likes it. Now to decide what color to change it to…
- Did I mention I get spit up on regularly? The result of which is a lot of laundry. Many of my clothes have gotten quite shabby because of repeated washes and it’s time to replace some of these items. While I hate shopping and have a difficult time spending money on myself, I’m desperate. I’d used Trunk Club in the past, but put it on hold when I became pregnant. Time to call my stylist!
- Breastfeeding is hard on the body! At least it’s hard on my body – I can’t speak for everyone else. I’m kind of a tall woman, so those Boppy pillows are a joke. They don’t help and I have to hold my baby up to eat anyway (again, spit up!). I’ve had some back pain from doing this and hunching a little to meet her mouth. I need to start working on strengthening my body again. Get out for a yoga class, do some exercises at home, get out for walks a bit more, play more soccer in the backyard with the boys (if only I could get that baby to take a nap longer then 20 minutes…)
- Explore the outdoors. I enjoy hiking and would like to do it more. We have a camping trip scheduled this summer, but we all need to get out and do a bit more activity in the mountains, because, umm, they’re right there!
- I’ve decided to take on gardening… I have no idea what I’m doing. NONE. But I’m excited about it. I think it’ll be great to get outside. Do a little work in the yard and have it produce some yummy food that’s good for our family. I hate sunscreen though – the way it smells, the way it feels – so this might be a little interesting. I need to get one of those big, wide-brimmed hats. The boys say they want strawberries. Sounds great!
- Writing is cathartic. I’ve been writing for this blog, but I’ve let my own go by the wayside. I should pick that back up and start writing some smaller posts about the day-to-day. Maybe a journal of my progress during my Action Plan!
- There was some click-baity post going around Facebook the other day that was something like, “If your husband does these 10 things, then you’ve hit the relationship lottery.” I didn’t even click on it. I know that my husband probably does all those “10 things” (whatever they may be) and more! I’d like to get out of the house with him more. Go on some dates. Maybe at least once a month to start – more if we can manage it. And maybe go on a little getaway, just me and him. We’ll have to sit down and put together a plan.
Well, this is difficult. As I briefly mentioned above, I have this weird issue about spending money on myself – I get this weird guilty feeling whenever I think about it. Like “if I don’t NEED it, then I shouldn’t get it.” Let’s see, a therapist (I have no idea what that might cost), skin care, new clothes, a new hair style… This could start to add up. I’m feeling a little queasy thinking about this. Let’s move on for now…
We are very fortunate to have family in town and I need to be better about asking for help. I don’t do that enough (anyone else out there fiercely independent – to a fault?). I guess it’s its own kind of guilt, also. But if I need to go spend 2 hours getting my hair done, that’s okay! I just need to ask! It’s okay to ask! People can say “no” and I’ll just have to figure something else out. I’m not putting them out – the grandmas in particular really like their grandchildren… My niece – she’s 13 and a licensed babysitter! And I have several friends that use a sitter from time to time! I can get some recommendations from them! Lots of options here.
Will this solve my issues? Who knows? Maybe after all of this, I’ll still feel the same, but it’s worth a try. Something is bound to improve, even in small ways and that makes this action plan worth a try.
Good luck, Sara! This really resonated with me. When Sophie was born, the #1 piece of advice I got was to sleep while she slept. While sleep is important, I think it was even more important that I did something every day that made me feel like myself (reading, writing, working out, etc.). It’s a tough balance, being a mom and maintaining a sense of self, something I’m still working on 🙂