Monday, September 5, 2011

Momma is feeling her age and needing some self-preservation

When N was a baby and toddler and even as a young preschooler, it absolutely pained me to be away from her for any length of time.  I waited until the eleventh hour to enroll her in 3-year-old preschool because I feared it was too much change at once (her going to school and having a new baby brother, G within a month's time).  

But by the time she started kindergarten two years later, I was out to THERE with a pregnant belly (fully of M) and had an almost 2-year-old G to manage, so I was levitating with excitement at the prospect of her going to all-day school.  

Tomorrow, G goes for his 3-year-old preschool orientation at the same school N attended, and I am thrilled at the prospect of having one less child underfoot for 5 hours a week.  

It remains to be seen how I will react when M starts preschool in two years, but my guess is that I won't  be welling up with tears.  

With my birthday coming up in a few weeks, I also told D that what I really, really want is a gym membership so I can take M (when G is at school) or take both boys and workout for 45 minutes or so in the morning, leaving them in childcare so I can have "Mommy mental health" time.  

It is absolutely impossible to walk on the treadmill or do an exercise video with two little boys at my heels.  I have tried at least a couple times and failed.

It is also impossible for me to wake up at 5:30 to exercise.  G continues to wake me up at least once or twice a night every night, and his morning wake-up call for me is 6:00.  I'll be damned if I am going to get up even earlier to exercise.

By the time the kids go to bed at night, I am in no condition to exercise.  That is my time to either 1.) get things done that I didn't get done during the day or 2.) decompress by blogging or reading or screwing around on Facebook.

When G does nap, if I don't end up napping with him (because of the interrupted nights and early mornings), I use that time to make phone calls and do things that simply cannot be done when he and M are awake.  

But I need and want to exercise more than just 1 day a week in my boot-camp session.  (And at that boot-camp the boys are with me in the same room, so I often have to stop what I am doing to tend to them in some fashion.  I can't tell you how often I have M climbing on my back as I do push-ups or tackling my abdomen as I'm doing crunches or yanking on my shorts as I'm doing monster walks.)

Since I started this boot-camp, my legs have gotten more muscular and I am much more fit, and I like the way that makes me feel.  I want to continue feeling that way mostly because this summer I have really started feeling my age.  Feeling tight upon getting out of bed, needing to stretch. Hearing things creak as I make my way out of the bedroom into the dawn.  At one boot-camp session, I did something to my knee and it has never quite gotten back to "normal."  

Finally, I have reached a point where I am simply tired of feeling like a martyr to my children and my life as a full-time mom.  Life just continues to get busier.....planning things for N's Girl Scout troop, taking G to speech therapy, running my normal errands.  I rarely make it to book club or bunco, so these aren't outlets I can rely on every week or even every month to relax, find myself, decompress, socialize with other people.  

While blogging helps keep me sane, I am still in the confines of my house when I write.  With sleeping children upstairs or children in the other room.  The walls of my house that needs to be cleaned about to cave in on me as I type.  

I need a regular, healthy reprieve from my children and my house that allows me to take care of myself and possibly have a conversation with another grown-up.  I am tired of feeling guilty about needing and wanting this.  

After 7.5 years of mothering children without regularly-scheduled "Take care of mom time," a change is in order.  


Keri said...

I'm so glad you're finally at the point where you're ready to take some time for yourself. I know you've gotten better about it over the years, but I can't tell you how much I worried about you when N was little and you felt guilty just going out to grab a cup of coffee without her.

It's great that you would consider gym time as "me time" because you're killing two birds with one stone. Myself, I don't count it as "me time" if sweat is involved. And if food or drink is NOT involved. And water from a plastic bottle while on an elliptical trainer doesn't count in that category.

I vaguely recall how wonderful I felt back in my late twenties/early thirties when I was doing weights and cardio and felt really strong and healthy. That's a distant memory. And I'm waiting for the day when something clicks inside me to say, "I NEED to feel that way again!!!" Right now, it's an appealing idea, but not yet a need.

Oh yeah, and I can relate to the working out with toddler-types in the room. I used to try to do Walk Away the Pounds videos at home and was constantly either shaking a kid off my leg, or giving in and holding a 30-pound child while I walked (thereby increasing both my calorie burn rate AND my risk of death by cardiac arrest).

Shelby said...

Good for you! I know that I have let my own health and wellness slide because I am always taking care of someone else's needs, so it's not hard to imagine that all other mothers do too. I am also going to try and get back into working out more often and on a regular basis. Although, I can't do a gym because I homeschool and I have a zillion kids. :) Keep me posted on how you are enjoying it.

Bethany said...

Good for you!! I want a gym membership, too. Yes, please. I don't want to leave my kids in the grody child care area though. I am not fed up to that point yet. I did just get a double stroller for some ME TIME with an ipod and hopefully kids who are quietly enjoying my run. I would urge you to try water aerobics. Its wonderful. I like sweating as much as the the next girl doesn't, but I do love not getting hot in a work out! The heavy duty pool work is really great, too. I def. relate to you about not taking time out and also not being able to get up with exercise at 5:30 AM. You need rest!