I have the tendency to be an all or nothing gal. I also thrive on routine, and feel more free to be spontaneous and mix it up when I have a consistent routine in place. None of this is a bad thing-it’s good, because kids need structure and routine too. BUT- the flip side is that I struggle when I can’t get the routine going, and as I mentioned earlier I’m an all or nothing girl by nature. So, for the past couple years as I’ve struggled to create and sustain routine, I’ve fallen into a “nothing hole” when I can’t do it all. The cycle has looked like this:
1: decide that starting on Monday (always and only Monday, amirite?) I’m gonna get up at six, eat, have devotions, work out, get dressed, get the kids dressed, feed them, have school, do Housework and go for a walk, all before lunch.
2. Do that successfully for somewhere between a day and 2 weeks, then burn out completely, leading to
3. Do absolutely none of the above out of complete depression and hopelessness at what a failure I am, for probably at least a week, and become just disgusted with myself and we are back to step 1.
I told E all this in our session last week, and she listened, then gave me the single goal of being gracious with myself over the next week. Try to get up at six if I wanted, try to get that workout done, but if not, be okay with that.no guilt, no sense of failure. Try, but let God lead. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. I bristled a bit at this internally at first- NO! What I NEED is someone to tell me to suck it up and make it happen! Don’t I? Then I heard her tell me I have all the right intentions, but I need to be gracious with myself. Also, My friend C has been telling me this for at least D’s whole life. Hmm.
So that was Monday night. I realized that I HAD actually gotten my workout done that day, though I beat myself up because I hadn’t started till 4pm. But I had done it. So in the spirit of giving myself grace, I decided to take this one step, one day at a time. I didn’t set my alarm that night. I think I woke up at 930 the next morning when Declan did. I got up, got the kids downstairs, decided priority one was devotions. So I had them pick a learning show and stationed them in front of it while I spent some time with God. Then, I let them free, did a little school with each of them, and I eventually managed to do my workout-before starting dinner that day! And when Scott got home I got on my bike! Success! Wednesday I had the same general plan, but rest instead of a workout, and I went for a long walk alone in the evening, taking Lexi with me for the first part. Thursday, same as Tuesday, but I got the workout done before nap time! And, since Scott worked from home in the afternoon, I got on my bike by 4pm while Lexi played outside. Friday I got my workout done again before nap time and felt really accomplished and fulfilled. I did no housework that I can remember all week, the house was an absolute disaster, actually, and I didn’t ever get up before 8am. But my mood was completely different, and i really enjoyed my time with my kids.
All week I was telling myself “this is ok. It’s a bridge between where you were and where you’re trying to get to. It’s a big chasm and you can’t jump it. Just focus right now on doing what matters most.” What matters most is my spiritual and physical health, and those feed my emotional health, which allows me to enjoy and be present with my babies, instead of needing to retreat into my phone to escape all the negative thoughts that feed my depression and anxiety. All week I was rediscovering myself and getting a peek at the mama and wife I want to be. Scott and I also found ourselves having more quality time and less time of him talking me down from panic. All this from loosening the reins on myself a bit.
I also found myself starting to enjoy working out again- after at least 6-8 months of “don’t wanna” and “I’m getting nowhere what’s the point” thoughts before, during, and after workouts, I started to feel like myself again and that is SO cool and encouraging.
My body image is somewhere I need this new attitude, perspective, whatever it is, to take hold, and maybe it already has. I don’t find myself obsessing as much about “is my body changing yet” since this shift. I have just been getting it in, being mostly intentional about food but not a slave to the calorie count, and living my life. I am trying to apply the same grace. You’re not where you wanna be, but you are taking all the right steps. * Focus on the steps you’re taking and know each one is getting you closer and let yourself enjoy the journey. The only one judging you is you. *
I feel like this shift in thinking could be life changing if I let it stick. I feel like as mamas especially, so many of us need to embrace this. I am so encouraged and looking forward to what comes next.