Finding My Balance With Self Care
The date I had been dreading since losing my mom in September.
March 8th would have been her 60th birthday and my first without her.
My battle with grief is actually pretty comparable to most journeys in life, including motherhood. Some days are full of small victories, some days seem like too much to bear, while others seem to have a reassuring rhythm that rolls right into the next one. Sadly, after losing my mom, I poured myself into taking care of my daughter and completely neglected myself.
On January 1st, I knew I was ready to make some changes. My tightening pants were proof that eating and drinking my feelings wasn’t my best look. Changes in my diet came first, gone were the bacon cheeseburgers- hello to all the veggies and lean protein. Gone was the nightly ice cold glass(es) of Sauvignon Blanc- hello to water. So. Much. Water. Okay confession: I (obviously) still drink wine, just not *quite* nearly as frequently as I would like.
After just a week of cleaner eating and less drinking I already felt more energized. It was then that a dear friend once again invited me to join her at Stroller Strides. She had invited me back in the fall when I was completely drowning in my grief, when getting out of bed to take care of my one year old was tough enough- let alone leaving the house and working out in a social environment. I politely declined then but I am so glad she didn’t give up on me and extended another invite.
My first workout at Fit4Mom was a doozy. I’m talking, could barely walk for 36 hours after without cringing and yet I was hooked. My overly active toddler was able to play and make friends, while I did something beneficial for myself. It is such a simple concept that just makes sense. I make a point to never miss a workout as they are good not just for my body (I’m down 15 pounds and counting) but also boosted my over all well being.
So back to March 8th. I had been sitting on a gift card to a local salon for months so I figured a massage on the day could be therapeutic. The 8th also fell on a Thursday, a day I normally workout with Stroller Strides. I made the decision that I would try to go and if I didn’t feel up to it, that was okay too. Thats the thing with self care- sometimes the best way to care for yourself is being kind to yourself.
So on the day, the dreaded day, I woke up and felt oddly peaceful. I grabbed the stroller, my toddler, and a bounty of snacks and headed to our morning Stroller Strides workout. I didn’t mention the significance of the day but did mention to the group that I was dropping my daughter off at daycare for the afternoon. A statement which was met with a chorus of “Good for you Momma!” And then I worked out, and crazily enough I laughed, a lot. I still thought about my mom but I also thought how proud she has been that 4 days a week, every week I take an hour out of my day and get my butt kicked by Amber, our fierce leader and badass trainer.
That afternoon I enjoyed an hour long hot stone massage. I confided in the masseuse my reason for being there. She held my hand and said “It’s okay to cry, we can cry together.” And I did shed a few tears, but all the tension I physically held in my body seemed to melt away. I walked out of the room feeling 10 pounds lighter. That evening a dear childhood friend of mine was in town so we did what we do best, we drank ice cold Sauvignon Blanc and ate bacon cheeseburgers. We talked and laughed about memories of growing up together in Pittsburgh. There were a few tears, but they were overpowered by belly laughs.
Later that evening I received the following text from Amber: “I saw your post about your mother’s birthday. I just wanted to let you know that I think you’re amazing. The fact that you set up a day to take care of yourself on your mother’s birthday just shows how smart of a woman you are. Self care is so important. It’s what keeps you sane and healthy. Good for you. Your mother raised you to be a good mother. She nailed it!”
All in all, March 8th ended up being a pretty good day. My intense morning workout allowed me to enjoy every last bite of junk food and every sip of wine. Thats the thing with self care, its a balancing act. You learn to take the good with the bad, the healthy with the fattening. It’s okay to cry during the happiest moments, and it’s okay to laugh even when things are difficult. Get your workout in if you’re going to slam some greasy goodness later knowing its back to chicken and broccoli tomorrow.
Ironically it was my mom who had told me about Fit4Mom, a fact that I didn’t remember until I was chatting with Amber one day after class. My mom’s workout buddy in their small town in Pennsylvania had a daughter who also owned a franchise in Columbus. Right before my mom’s health took a turn, she had offered to pay for a few month’s worth of classes if I wanted to give it a try. She was still trying to take care of me even though she could no longer take care of herself. The memory blindsided me in the moment but now reassures me that this group is the right fit for me. My mom may physically not be here anymore to see my health transformation but I know she’s always with me every step of the way. Thank you Fit4Mom Dublin for blazing the path of my journey.