I did it friends! This last year I took care of ME!
A year ago, one of my most circulated posts to date began making the rounds on the interwebs. Before my first coffee warm up that morning, it was obvious that I had struck some small chord. And it’s not that my fellow momrades, having all just survived the holiday season, were particularly interested in the fact that I was wearing holy socks, milk-stained bras, or frequently counting half a floor banana as breakfast.
It was that the truism ‘mom usually comes last’ appears to be our common yoke to bear. And let’s be honest; after a while, it gets real heavy.
There I was tearing up in the middle of my bedroom floor on the first week of 2017 coming to the sadly sobering realization that I was taking pretty poor care of myself. Refer here to see the full picture of my pitiful state of being.
I had had enough and declared 2017 as the year I would be taking care of me.
As predicted after that post, gifts from friends and family throughout the year were almost exclusively a combination of new socks and gift cards for the purpose of buying new lifting, yet comfy underthings (which I did, in plenty). Over this past year, I’ve donated every article of clothing in my closet that was never again going to fit my post baby hip spread, and slowly began to build a capsule wardrobe*. It’s been great fun, and I confess to an absurd feeling of sophistication as, at long last, I’m beginning to dress like a real life grown up person. Holding true to the eternal hope that perhaps if I continue to look like an adult, one of these days I’ll successfully convince myself that I am one.
Then after much ado about blood work and a breast exam, I did finally go see a general practitioner for the first time this decade and got a complete physical. It was kinda nice and only slightly disarming talking to a doctor about how I was doing, rather than a squirmy alien being growing inside me. I might even go back someday despite the shocking lack of stickers and coupons for free ice cream at the front desk.
Sometime early last spring, a neighbor friend casually mentioned wanting to do a 5k happening a few months from then and asked if I wanted to join. Historically, I have been a self-avowed enemy number one of all things involving running. Well, it was the running mostly — I hated the running. But 2017 was my year, and I was winning at life. So I thought why not and went out and bought my first pair of legit running shoes. And what began as an embarrassingly slow and sometimes bloody road, saw me complete my first 5k in under half an hour and training for my first 10k in a couple months. Never in a hundred lifetimes would you ever have convinced me that I would look forward to going for a run, but that’s where I have found a meditative space that is all my own.
So at this point I was feeling on fire, and not just because it was late August in the great sate of Tennessee.
One muggy afternoon, after a particularly contentious few days in the national headlines, a few friends and I were commiserating over the madness in group text, this being our usual habit after whatever dumpster fire was happening that particular week. It struck me during this session of group text rage that perhaps we could take all that energy and turn it into something real. We tossed the idea around, got insanely excited, and had our first organizing meeting a few days later. We knew we could spend months planning and perfecting only to endlessly spin our wheels, or we could choose to not let the perfect be the enemy of the good, and get to work. There in my living room over a cheap bottle of wine, the four of us began a social activist organization for moms in our community that is growing by the day! Now in its sixth month of existence, this organization has been one of the greatest sources of pride and passion in my life, other than the two beautiful boys for which I do it in the first place.
As silly as it may sound and probably is, writing that little post a year ago and putting it out publicly was the catalyst to making some significant life changes that have proven to be pretty great. And you know what’s crazy? My family doesn’t seem to be suffering too badly from the decision to take better care of my body and mind. A few adjustments and designated take out nights, we’re finding a better balance and everyone is happier for it. I could go on about how I believe a year of designated self-care and working on something outside of motherhood have made me a better mother, wife, and human being that you might want to be around sometimes, but more on that later.
So what does 2018 look like you might ask?
Well, this year is when the hard work begins. This is the year when I want to begin the beautifully difficult work of becoming my best self, and that’s going to involve some brutally real introspection. This is the year that I closely examine my motivations and work to ensure my actions almost always match my words. 2018 is the year I want to kindly say what I mean and stop using sorry as a conversation filler. It’s the year I want to be honest with myself about my screen time, and more intentional with the time I spend with my boys. I want this to be the year I learn to say yes to things and the people who fill me, and no thank you to those that don’t. Floating through simply won’t do; I want to be present. It’s going to a good year friends, I can feel it.