Two days ago, after a complete meltdown, I decided that even though everybody says that after a baby you should rest, give up having a routine, and just let things go until you are feeling like getting around to it, that there are a few things that I need to get in place as soon as possible to keep my emotions and a healthy sense of self in a safe place.
That was an incredibly long sentence. I will try and avoid that in the future.
Let me back up a bit.
After Jack (albeit, a year after) I was in the best shape I have ever been. Since having Joey, and assessing the "damage" my body sustained through pregnancy, I have been more self conscious and spiteful toward my body than I have in a very long time.
It got to the point that I actually canceled a few get-togethers and have dreaded social gatherings (usually my lifeblood!) because I haven't wanted to be seen. I fear scrutiny and feel as if I have failed the universe because I am not back in my single-digit size six weeks postpartum.
Besides feeling disappointed in my body, I struggle with disappointment in my parenting. I loose my patience a lot more often. I forget to feed Jack meals and instead let him survive on spoonfuls of peanut butter and pretzels. I criticize myself each time I have to make a choice of which child's needs to attend to first. At several points in each day, somebody just has to cry for a little bit because I can only do so many things at once.
Combine a crushing sense of discouragement when I look in the mirror, with the brutal realization that I am not as "good" at parenting two kids as I imagined I would be. And you have a recipe for disaster.
In a wave of emotion, Andy sat on the bed with me and listened to me lament all the things I disliked about myself in this season. The way I summed up my emotions to him was to say, "I miss feeling like I have it all together." His response was so insightful and honest and wise that it totally redirected those dark emotions. He said, "You never feel like that. You think you did, but let's be honest, you never do."
I look back and paint a picture of myself and my life and the timeline of Jack's infancy with bright and cheery colors. I remember the good and even add a little shimmer to make it sound better... but the reality is, there is and always has been something I am adjusting or fearing or looking forward to.
That truth released me from the trap of all the things that I am not, or thought I should be, or thought that I was. It moved me to look at the things that are draining me and decide which of those things are simple realities of this season that I will wait out, and which of those things I can change.
My first step was to get back to the gym.
This morning I took both boys to the gym. I felt so accomplished! After a few hiccups with getting the boys settled, I ran on the treadmill and then did some ab work and lunges and all those work-outy things.
I did it.
I made it to the gym... in the morning even.
And tomorrow I will go again.
And the day after that, I will go again.
Over the past several years I have learned a few things about myself. And one of those things is that my physical health has an enormous impact on my emotional self, and my emotional self has a profound impact on my spiritual health, and then it circles back to my physical self...
So, after a day of working out, I was motivated to try a few other things that I have been trying to figure out how to mange with two kids. Tonight Jack and Joey had their first bath together! It was terrifying and I was afraid Jack was going to dump water all over his wee brother, but he didn't! We made it!
And THEN, after both boys were bathed, they were both IN BED at the same time. Understandably, Joey will wake up in a few hours and need to be fed again, but still, both boys are in bed at the same time!
Each of these moments combine to make me see that yes, indeed, at some point, either three weeks or three months, or three years from now, order will be restored.
And in three weeks or three months or three years, there will be another set of challenges that I am sorting out and fears that I am facing and accomplishments that I am celebrating.
So friends, let me end by encouraging you. Whatever you are trying to sort-out or fix, or are just wallowing in, it will end at some point. Decide what you can do to make it better and recognize what will need to be endured. Take a moment to be real with yourself and make sure you aren't looking behind and painting a picture that is a little more glittery than it was when you were living it. If you are wishing for what was or what should be, stop. Look at and enjoy and live what is right now.
You can do it.
I will celebrate each moment with you!