There are a lot of things I would like to do in order to better myself both mentally and physically. I would love to start practicing meditation and maintain a regular exercise program. The one thing that keeps getting in the way of beginning a new routine is my expectation that it be perfect and consistent. I don’t claim to be a complete perfectionist but there are certainly patterns I see in myself. On one hand this makes me good at completing projects on time with every detail thought out. On the other hand I’m afraid to start something I can’t realistically throw all my energy and attention into.
In the past I could juggle a full-time job, social and family obligations and still work on my “pet projects”. As a result I am constantly belittling myself for not being able to achieve the same results when I have far less obligations than I used to. Namely my full time job is being a parent to our 4 year old daughter. This guilt I feel is only intensified by social media. I vividly remember holding my newborn while looking around the house and wondering where the day went. It was 4 o’clock and other women were posting their most recent stroller jogging club pictures on Facebook and I hadn’t even brushed my teeth yet.
As our daughter has grown I have infrequently made goals and while I achieved some of them, many fell flat for lack of energy, passion or motivation on my part. The one constant is the guilt. I feel like I should always be doing more and doing it better. I have a Couch to 5K app on my phone right now. After our daughter was born I used that app to try and fit into my prepregnancy clothes and it was exhilarating to see and feel changes in my body that had become so unfamiliar to me during pregnancy. We moved and life shifted and I never got back into running even though it is literally the easiest form of exercise for me to do. I did yoga during my entire pregnancy and loved the way it made me feel. Challenging myself and becoming stronger coupled with quieting my brain was truly therapeutic for me. Yet I didn’t take it back up again after she was born.
I have a supportive partner who would never stand in my way of taking time for myself. My daughter can easily sit in her stroller while I start running again. So why am I procrastinating?
For one thing no one is holding me accountable. I am my own boss and while I make sure the family’s needs are met and take pride in caring for our daughter it is time to shift some of that focus back onto myself. It isn’t selfish to practice self care yet women and mothers in particular are the queens of doing for others yet neglecting themselves. I don’t want to fall into that trap. A healthy and fulfilled person makes a far better parent and partner.
If I can’t run every day it doesn’t mean the days I do are for nothing. Practicing meditation and yoga in my living room still counts. Feeding myself healthy meals shouldn’t take any more effort than feeding my daughter or my husband healthy meals. Rather than compare myself to other people I am going to try to use them as inspiration. I’m also going to remind myself that no two situations are alike so comparison is rarely helpful anyway. Guilt is wasted energy and I won’t let it smother the joy I get out of being home with our daughter. Finally, this may be how I’m feeling right now but it isn’t who I am. This is a stage in my life where I am caring for a little human sponge. She needs to see that taking care of yourself is a priority, doing it perfectly is not.