This year has been a roller coaster of emotions for me. A year ago I was a full time stay-at-home mom to my three rambunctious boys under the age of 4. I had a burning desire to whip my life (and butt) into shape—get my home in order, establish discipline rules, make personal boundaries, and just GET WITH THE PROGRAM.
I had just weaned the last baby and made the huge life changing decision to join Anytime Fitness, a gym that can be found in many different states. Two things convinced me to sign up: the multiple locations at my disposal and the fact that I could go ANYTIME I wanted to. Hence, their name. Honestly, the amazing staff had a lot to do with me joining too, but they weren’t the ones getting me to the gym. No excuses now, right?!
So, in October of 2012 I started frequenting the gym (thanks to my mom, close friends and my husband) three to four times a week, often not getting there until after 8 p.m. but still maintaining a good workout schedule and slowly started seeing results and most importantly FEELING my body strengthening over time.
In my personal life I felt constantly taken over by STUFF: kids toys, dishes, projects that never had time to be completed, attempts to homeschool the munchkins I was simultaneously feeling very drawn to constantly calm the chaos of my life. Some days I took it too far, and I’ll admit to unhealthy attachments to keeping my home tidy and clean at the same time. For example, I started cleaning my car EVERY week. I sometimes didn’t know if I was doing it because I felt like I HAD to, or because it was just so therapeutic to have a home life that functioned seamlessly I couldn’t stop even if I tried!
My inner OCD came out more this spring when a friend offered to pay me to go clean/organize HER home for her once a week! It actually was something I looked forward to, even though it meant keeping two homes in order…was I crazy? I’m not going say I was a perfect stay-at-home wife during all this. I complained about the kids and was on edge during dinner because sometimes all I could see was the mess being created and not the meal being shared.
Moms dread eating with their children because they have allowed themselves to hate everything about it, or rather, haven’t put in the necessary work to enjoy it.
But I ask you. If your own mother doesn’t want to eat with you, who will?
Will there be messes? Of course!
If you didn’t want messes you should have stayed single!
I’m talking about reasonably clean here. As in, messes you can handle, and at some point, however briefly, things are okay. As in, you could have company over without needing therapy.
As in, this motherhood thing is doable.
Since dinnertime at my house includes Ninja moves, too many empty cups, not enough actual eating, or plates on the floor all while competitive story time’s happening with the oldest two boys…yes, I admit to dreading dinner in the past.
Now that I work 20 hours a week and the kids are in daycare/preschool/kindergarten for part of the day I have slowly eased into a more realistic expectation of what dinnertime IS.
Ideally, it is a time to get SOME form of food into their bodies. My middle brainy child spilled his spaghetti last night on his shorts and chair and he was all “Oh, no!” and without even skipping a beat the words, “Just brush that food onto the floor buddy,” came out of my mouth. The old me would have freaked, cleaned it up, and muttered things under my breath at him. Yikes. In the end, I swept the floor an hour later and no one knew the difference!
I feel like motherhood has totally brought out my inner dirty secrets and makes me confront them EVERY DAY. Perspective, I have learned, is golden. Today, I realized how my personal life and physical training goal have been growing slowly towards very different outcomes.
My home has finally found its own harmony and routine (NOT that it is perfect!) and this weekend I have prepared myself for a 12 mile obstacle course challenge called the Tough Mudder. If you have never heard of it, check out this video:
Tough Mudder in a nutshell: hardcore course with 29 obstacles designed to test your all around strength, stamina, and mental grit. This is done all while totally covered in mud, climbing multi-story walls, jumping into a huge vat of ice cubes, leaping over fire, or running through electric charged wires. I kid you not.
Tough Mudder team: Annette, Laura, Lauren, and Luke
As I prepare myself mentally for this race (because the physical training is done!) I realize just this week how DIRTY I will get as my team and I push through each challenge. Even my kids saw videos and said, “Mom, you are gonna get mud in your ears and eyes! Gross!”
But all that dirt and grime will eventually get wiped away, just like my kitchen floor eventually got swept. The race will be my defining moment, a chance for me to show the world what I am capable of. I am fulfilling the goal I set for myself a year ago to GET WITH THE PROGRAM. And I did!
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