When we first got married, one of the ways that I could reliably frustrate my husband was by being overly optimistic about timing. For example, if I was out to dinner with friends and our food hadn’t arrived yet, I’d tell him I’d be home in about 30 minutes. That estimate totally covered time to eat, pay the bill, get another drink (or two?) and of course the one hour plus commute home from San Francisco.
In other words, I was 100% dishonest. It came from a well-intentioned place of not wanting to let him down in the moment: saying “I’ll be home in 30 minutes” sounds so much better than “at least 3 hours from now, and that’s if the after dinner cocktails aren’t super delicious, and if the train schedule improbably works in my favor.” Of course my lie would come back to bite me in the ass when it was inevitably revealed, but that was a future problem that I could avoid for, well, another 30 minutes.
It’s not a respectful way to treat your partner, consistently and knowingly offering alternative facts about your plans.
My habitual tardiness may be a silly example of how well our culture teaches us to fudge or obscure any news that we fear might be poorly received. (Just look at how many women intensely identified with Cat Person). I know I’m guilty of dissembling to maintain (an imagined?) social good all the time, for matters mundane and trivial.
In recent years, that unwillingness to put others out has manifested more in form of not asking for what I need, because the idea of either inconveniencing someone, or feeling as though I’m asking permission, feels alternately uncomfortable or stifling. And since I’m at a life stage when I need help more than ever—toddler mom, knocked up, full time job—not asking for support means I’m not showing up for myself. I’m putting up walls and limits where they don’t belong. I’m sacrificing my own health and well-being for … what, exactly?
This year, even though all the cool kids agree that resolutions are dumb, I’m using the new year as an opportunity to reflect and reset. This year, I want to reassert myself. To make space for me without guilt or excuses. To ask for the support I need instead of hoping it will be offered.
In 2018, I recognize that the limits I saw on what I could achieve and who I could be were self-inflicted. In 2018 I choose to leave behind those restrictions. I choose to be limitless. The decisions and sacrifices I will make this year will be thoughtful and proactive, not reactionary or fear-driven.
I’m going into this a realist. I know my toddler and my unborn child’s needs will ultimately come first, but from here on out, that’s an approach I choose instead of a condition I submit to.
In 2018 I show up for myself, without reservation. Without apology. Without regret. With honesty. With full presence. With an eye to the big picture.
Also, I’m going to stop reading the news so damn much. Not helpful.
This year, in partnership with Gixo, we choose to leave behind all that doesn’t serve us, and to declare #IAmLimitless. Join us for community support in achieving your goals this year, and doing more than you ever dreamed possible.
Her birthday is prompting a lot of self-reflection, as birthdays tend to do. In those early, hazy postpartum days, and in the ragged months that followed, the refrain I heard most consistently was that it gets better. Specifically, by the time she turns one, all the extremes of new motherhood will soften and erode. Sleep deprivation. Mourning for past lifestyle. (Ir)rational resentment of husbands. Shattered resilience, broken body.
Y’all know—or at least, I haven’t been hiding—that this first year has been a doozy for me. I’m used to being in control and making shit happen and having my own fucking agenda.
So I’m pleased to report that one of the walls I keep running up against—finding time to take care of myself, or, more specifically, exercise—is starting to crumble. This is happening just this week, so, early results, and all. But still.
In the last week, I made to a class or the gym four times. FOUR TIMES.
For all y’all I know through fitness, this probably sounds like a pretty weak week. Or, in more gracious terms, a recovery week. Some of you regularly do that in a single day.
But this, for me, right now, is major progress. Here’s how I’m making it happen:
In the simplest way possible. I’m not trying to work out in the morning, because I don’t like mornings, and having a baby has not changed that about me.
I’m not trying to go to mommy & me fitness classes because, fun and kill-two-birds notwithstanding, the baby’s nap schedule rules all and often overrules our ability to attend.
Nope, I’m doing what comes most naturally to me, and what makes the most sense for our new lives.
I’m doing it after she goes to bed.
Stupid simple, right?
So simple I feel kind of silly writing a blog post about it.
But it’s working. And, bonus points, it eliminates a lot of decision fatigue: there are limited options for yoga or dance classes that start after 8pm, so those are the ones I go to.
That means, this week, I’ve taken lyrical contemporary, candlelight vinyasa, and jazz funk, all three of which were new to me, and all three of which I liked.
I also went to the gym once, which is not exactly new to me but is pretty rare for me.
Is this new routine making me happier? YES. More productive at work? YOU BET. A better mother? 100%. Nicer to my husband? In progress …
I’m doing my best to appreciate what’s working right now without getting too attached. If there’s anything the last year has taught me, it’s that once you think you have something figured out, everything changes again.
2016 wound down to a devastating close. It was the year that showed us that the glass ceiling is disinclined to break, but will take advantage of your proximity by stabbing you in the back and grabbing your lady parts.
I took a break from the internet, from the news and social media, for a few weeks in December. I had to break free of the masochistic tendency to open up the comments section on any news article (why? WHY?) and to step away from the trolls that sank me into a major depression about how much our country hates women.
Anyway, I digress. The whole point of this was to step away, to recenter, to come back with renewed energy.
To stop feeding the trolls with my attention.
The last week of the year is typically easy on my inbox—thank god for small mercies—and it’s a time I typically use to step back and plan and power through some projects that hadn’t been given the attention they deserved earlier in the year. This year, this week, I’ve been focused on how to change my mindset from this dark shitstorm that closed out 2016 to one of empowerment and action.
Our theme for 2017 is #IAmEmpowered. The community will be rallying around positive action, and I’m so eager to see my community lift up inspiration and inclusiveness after a hateful, divisive year.
I’m tacking on to that my word for 2017, which is actually two words, because #IAmEmpowered to make it so, dammit.
Did I mention this has been a brittle, tough year? My resilience is beaten down. It’s saggier, less springy, and it has dark circles under its eyes. In the moments when bouncing back feels too fucking hard, I repeat these words to myself, again and again, until they lose their meaning and become pure sound.
Begin again. Begin again. Begin again. Begin again. Begin again.
In 2017, I refuse to let anyone strip me of my power. I refuse to give up. I will make change and I will stand up for what I believe is right and I will keep hammering at that fucking ceiling.
In 2017, I will not let little setbacks add up and become insurmountable. I will begin again.
When it comes to tracking my goals, I’m a big picture kind of person. All I really want to know is: did I exercise today? Yes or no. I don’t care how long, how many calories, if I went with friends or if I was thirsty or if I loved my playlist. I want the 10,000 foot view. Yes or no.
For years, I’ve been using basically a grown up version of a gold star chart (yes, like you had in kindergarten) to track activities I wanted to do on a daily basis. And by grown up, I mean when I ran out of stickers, I used a highlighter to give myself props for the day.
However… I found myself adding more and more rows to my chart, and it stopped being so visually compelling. When you start adding gold stars for exercising, flossing, hydrating, tummy time (for Mackenzie, duh), pumping, (I’m really invested in building up my freezer supply. Milk in the freezer = freedom for mama), and about 10 other things, it turns into too much data. It’s too hard to spot trends, like “bam, lady, you exercised 6 times this week! Let’s get some ice cream!”
And honestly, seeing those trends is what I’m really interested in. I don’t want to think too hard or crunch too many numbers; I just want to see the gold stars piling up. GIVE ME THE REWARDS, PEOPLE.
So. Long story short, I found an app that gives me exactly what I want. Except the stickers, but I’ll give them a pass on that. I’m totally obsessed with Strides after one week, so much so that I upgraded to their premium version within a few days of using it.
Each day, I check off my accomplishments, and it shows me high level trends and data if I want to see it … but I also don’t have to look if I don’t want to.
I get pretty obsessed with earning my gold stars. One day I flossed twice in a row just so I could cross off my goal for the day.
The last few weeks have been very much a time of transition. I’m watching my body shape shift before my eyes, and Moonshine has been kicking up a storm. She wakes me up in the morning with her ferocious little jabs, then celebrates with a happy dance after every meal and in every savasana. (She’s clearly my and Nathan’s daughter; eating is already her favorite activity).
All this movement, and the increasing proportion of clothes in my closet that just don’t work anymore, is making this whole baby business a hell of a lot more real.
I had a moment, last week, while I was walking the dog. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, wearing what had become my uniform for the last two weeks or so: branded cotton tank, wrinkled maternity shorts, and birkenstocks.
I have this rule for myself. Basically, the ONLY real rule I have for myself: don’t go outside looking like a homeless person. Just because pajamas are my default state of being doesn’t mean the rest of the world has to experience my tattered sweats, sleep creased face, and crazy hair.
I had drifted really, really close to breaking my cardinal rule. It’s a slippery slope, y’all. And while I could push the boundaries while we were in Tahoe—where dusty outdoor gear is the universal uniform—it doesn’t blend in so well in downtown Austin.
More than that, my clothing complacency was just an index for what was happening in the rest of my life: I was slipping. Meal planning and grocery shopping was basically nonexistent. Planning for the baby (and maternity leave?) was something I had been avoiding. My exercise was getting haphazard (and occasionally offensive).
Something had to change. Many things had to change. I had to get my butt in gear and start owning this big thing creeping up on me and my waist size.
I started with the clothes: I went and got myself some maternity-friendly tops so I could pretend to be more put together when I left the house. I even invested in a maternity LBD that will carry me through a couple fall weddings and the holiday season.
I started grocery shopping, and actually making myself delicious, nutritious things to eat. Moonshine is doing all sorts of happy dances.
I’m also diversifying my snacking opportunities (since I find myself needing to eat every couple of hours, I was in a serious snacking rut). My Bulu Box provided just that opportunity to change it up without having to commit to new products at the grocery store.
The chicken jerky, especially, is rocking my damn world. I haven’t been much on the meat train, for whatever reason, but for some reason this salty savory jerky is the exception to my meat aversion rule. Probably because I fall immediately in love with anything that involves basil. Hooray for lean protein! (Happy dances are happening).
My Hemp Heart Bites are making a regular appearance in my purse, too. I love having little protein rich snacks handy at all times, and these are chock full of omegas (so good for Moonshine’s brain development!).
Then I tackled the work thing (or at least, started to). After reading a ton on the internets, trying to find other moms-to-be who run their own businesses, and trying to figure out just how they managed TWO babies without letting either one suffer, I decided I just need to create my own reality.* I made myself a Do-or-Die-Before-Baby list so I can make my absence easier for my team, and I’m actively trying to make myself dispensable so that as few people as possible are depending on me.
I’m feeling so much better already. So much more in control of my life, my health, my career. There’s still a lot of opportunity to improve – but all trends are pointing in the right direction.
p.s. You can get 50% off a 3-month subscription to Bulu Box with the code SWEATPINK.
p.p.s. You can get 15% off Hemp Heart Bites with the code HHBitesLaunch15. You can also enter to win a case of Hemp Hearts by sharing a photo of how you and your family stay active and tagging @manitobaharvest #hhbites!
* That said, if you’re someone who had a baby and runs her own business, and wants to keep running her own business, I would LOVE to hear how you did it. I’m really struggling with this, and my online searching was pretty unfruitful.
I received the BOSU, Hemp Heart Bites, and the Bulu Box for free. All opinions and life plans are my own. 🙂 Thanks for supporting the brands who support the Sweat Pink Community.