Preface: When you’re a working parent with young kids, there’s no such thing as free time. I’m moving every single moment of the day from the time that I wake up at 4:30AM (to run) to the time that I finally sit down at about 10:30 – after I’ve finished cleaning up, making lunches, preparing tomorrow’s dinner, doing laundry, housework. Most days, I forget to eat dinner until I realize (at 10:30) that I’m kinda hungry. When this happens, I usually eat a giant bowl of cereal while watching the news, then brush my teeth, sit down to catch up on email and am in bed by 11:00, only to start over again at 4:30AM. Weekends are equally as busy because they’re spent doing the things that never get done during the week – grocery shopping, errands, more housework and yardwork and (most importantly) spending time with the kids. My husband and I outsource nothing, and do it all ourselves.
This afternoon, in lieu of eating lunch, I made one last-ditch attempt to find a swimsuit for our upcoming beach vacation. I don’t have time before we leave to go to Sears/Lands End (which EVERY mom I’ve talked to has recommended), and needed to target stores that I could hit within my lunch hour. This brought me to a sports superstore with a decent selection. I tried on at least a half-dozen swimsuits but was mentally beaten down when I came to the conclusion that all swimsuits in existence are not designed for women shaped like the post-baby me – short, soft and round.
As I was driving back to the office, I was on the verge of tears – not tears of self-pity in the form of woe is me, but tears of pure anger. I was angry that I’m at a point where three years later, I’m still struggling to find a f*cking swimsuit that doesn’t squeeze my doughy rolls into something it wasn’t meant to be squeezed. As I was driving, that little Devil on my shoulder was screaming, “Viv, WTF is wrong with you?? You’re not doing enough. Your kids are almost 3. YOU HAVE NO MORE EXCUSES. Get your sh*t together!”
I’m not one of those genetically lucky women who easily drops weight or was back to my pre-pregnancy clothes within a few short months – I STILL have about 20 pounds of pregnancy weight to lose in addition to the 35+ I’ve already lost. I’m the type that eats one wrong thing and all hell breaks loose. I was never really excessively overweight before only because I ran…a lot. Before kids, I would put in 30+ miles/week plus have time to do other fitness-related activities – now, I’m lucky if I get to do half of that. It’s not that being this shape is bad; it’s that I am not comfortable where I am and this affects EVERYTHING about me.
As I was bathing my kids tonight and pretending to drink their bathwater tea while they pretended to sprinkle sugar into my toy teacup, it all kind of hit me. I need to accept myself for who I am now. Maybe this is the wrong mindset to have but the sooner I embrace it, the less angry I will be. I need to accept that I am overweight. I need to accept that I’m exhausted to the point of looking haggard. I need to accept that my house is not spotless (in fact, it’s kinda dirty). I need to accept that unless something else gives, THIS will be my new normal for a little while longer because I AM AT CAPACITY.
I also need to accept that all of these things make me a great mom because everything I do, I do for my kids. There really isn’t much room for “me time” at the moment and you know what? I’m ok with it because they, in turn, are happy, healthy, and well-adjusted. When I see their bright smiles, hear their high-pitched giggles and am the recipient of their warm hugs, dealing with the body frustrations, dirty house, and exhaustion are worth it. I know too well that this time will be gone in a few years and by then, I will have MY time back again; probably more time than I would like. These are the sacrifices that we moms make for our kids, and it’s worth every bit of pain.
So, until further notice, this is the new me – an overweight, haggard, sarcastic, foul-mouthed Weeble-Wobble of a woman (because at 5 ft tall and 20 pounds overweight, that is pretty much what I look like – a Weeble Wobble) who has the awesomest kids in my tiny little universe.