Sunday, October 7, 2012

On Frustration, Fitness, and Identity

Update on fitness;

I'm sure you have noticed I stopped posting about my fitness goals.  Or maybe not =p  Anyways, in mid August when I managed to give myself a concussion while gardening in my front yard (who does that?  Seriously), I killed my fitness thing.  I could barely walk down the block to collect the mail.  I had to stop running and biking.

We went to Oregon for our final camping trip (I'm still needing to post about that, but it's my last summer post and will come soon!) and Brent packed.  I would lie down for about half an hour, get up and do a task like laundry or feeding the kids a snack, and then lie down again for another half hour.  I felt terrible, but I couldn't do ANYTHING to prepare for our big trip.  Brent is amazing.  It is rare for me to be laid flat like that, but when I am ~including when I give birth, when I had a hard time adjusting after adopting, when I had major post partum anxiety after Riley was born, and when I am really badly SICK~ Brent really steps up.  He is always a generous and patient guy, but he is remarkable when I'm sick.  Or INJURED by my front garden.

Traveling to Fort Stevens in Oregon was a five hour trip that wiped me out.  You would think that sitting in a vehicle would be the perfect activity for a recovery but you would be wrong.  The first thing I did when we got to Oregon was lie down and go to sleep.  That's the thing about concussions: you have to sleep a lot.

So at the beginning of the week I could not walk down the beach further than about 50 feet.  Forget hiking.  Forget balancing on a bike.  Forget everything.
By the end of the week I had healed remarkably, which I attribute to my amazing hubs and all the rest I got, and my amazing naturopath and all the anti inflammatory supplements she gave me.  However, I still couldn't ride my bike or even think of running.  So rather than torture myself, I stopped stepping on the scale.  I gave myself a break, and although I've been SUPREMELY frustrated that my slow start after Amarys' birth was truncated by my knee injury and then yet again by my concussion, I've been being kind to myself.  Fitness will come.

A nice side effect of needing copious amounts of rest for my concussion is that my knee finally healed!  It was getting angry with me for my fitness challenge workouts over the summer, and I was having to cross train a ton because of it.  But the rest was just what it needed.  I guess it figures for a bone injury, but I was having a hard time with how LONG it was taking for it to heal and was getting worried.  It just needed more time.  Finally, I can actually touch it without hitting the ceiling.  And just yesterday I kneeled on it, and didn't die.  In fact, I can poke it and it doesn't hurt at all.  I'm suspicious that I did in fact break something in there initially, but by the time I got an x-ray nine weeks later, it had healed.  Stupid me.  But the part that took forever to heal was the medial miniscus injury.  Woah nelly, did that hurt.

So, summary?  I fell off the fitness wagon.  For legitimate reasons.  I have gone on 2 bike rides and felt excellent, so I may even be up to running sometime soon, and I will get back on the fitness wagon again.

Since I decided to go back to work and have been searching and applying (and turned down one opportunity which was lovely but not the best fit for either of us), I've been relishing preparing to re enter the non parenting saturated world.  Most of the people I will work with, likely, will be parents.  I will still BE as much a parent as I was before.  And most of my life will be occupied with caring for my lovely kids.  But it is nice to look forward to something beyond parenting, in a way.  And suddenly, lots of women I know are saying the same thing.

Is it a case of noticing when others go through similar things you yourself are going through?  Like when you get pregnant and all you see everywhere you go is pregnant women?  Yeah, that.  My cousin said it at literal mama recently.  Theresa said it at HHWHMommy.  Lots of times recently I've been finding myself impatient at navel gazing parenting.  Because there's more to life.  But then I really need my parent friends because it's a tough slog, this parenting thing.  We have a groove, Brent and I, but it's always getting shaken up.  By things like nine year olds who don't eat.  ADHD.  Babies who don't sleep.  Injuries.  Shift work.  Violence amongst our children.  Anxiety.  Showers that leak into garages.  A forever string of financial difficulties.  Anyways, I need my navelgazing parenting sources so much, for wisdom and support.  But I think I also need to remember who I was before.  And working and expanding my life in necessary ways beyond the parenting joy/slog trenches might just do that.

I'm going to have to subtract a LOT from my life, to work the amount of hours that I need to work to make a difference in our income.  Childcare for four kids is going to cost me between $45 and $90 per day, so I have to work full time (or close to)  in order to make it worthwhile to work at all.  I will probably have to give up Mothers of Change.  NPN.  Making bread.  (That's okay, I hate making bread anyways).  Facebook?  Maybe.  Never the blog.  Possibly book club.  Maybe etsy.  But in return?  I will step back into a role I have always supremely valued; helping provide for my family financially in a significant way, and I will be able to be who I was before, again.

I was always more than a mom.  But this will help me to maintain that role.  And oh, my gosh, will it be freeing to be able to buy milk AND gas without subtracting from some imperative part of the budget.  And go on a date?  Wow.

You know what I'm hugely looking forward to?  Getting pretty again.  Man it has been years, but I LOVE to express my personality through my clothes, hair, shoes, and style.  We haven't had money for that in eons.  And when we had more?  Who did I have to dress up for?

I want to get my eyebrows threaded.  I want to get my nails done.  I want to get my hair cut every 10 weeks.  I want to have more than one pair of shoes.  I want to own more than two pairs of pants.  I need a new bathing suit.  I want to paint my toenails again.  I want to wear makeup to work, which will mean buying actual makeup.  On our anniversary I pulled out my mascara and it was all dried up.  BOO.

Is this all selfish?  It feels incredibly so.

I want to parent.  I want to work.  I want to paint incredible life changing art.

If I do these things?  I will have no regrets at the end of it all.  Oddly, adding work to my life will help me pare down and focus my energy on these three things, rather than scattered every which way and LOVING every one of the many things I'm involved in but spread thin nonetheless.

Wish me luck.


Cori Kay said...

I am at the opposite side of the scale. I would give anything to be a parent. I get to do all those things, thread my eyebrows, paint my nails, I have way too many shoes and clothes, and yet, I feel like I would give it all up to have a child. But God calls each of us to different things at different times in our lives and I know my life as well as yours has a purpose. And you have done an INCREDIBLE job being a mom! So let's pray that God will give us what we need and provide for us His desires. They will be good, that I know for sure!

Rachel @ Lautaret Bohemiet said...

I think you will kick ass as a workin woman, and you will ALWAYS kick ass at being a mom.

Your excitement and enthusiasm is awesome!


tamie marie said...

Well, lots to explore and say here. First of all, I know how frustrating it is to not be able to exercise like you want to, and I think it's remarkable that you haven't let it keep you down. Honestly, sometimes when I read your posts I feel like, how in the HELL does Mel do it all????? I'm excited that you get to exercise more now...I wish we could go running or bike riding together!

Secondly, you know, I think that women in all kinds of circumstances all over the world want to look beautiful. You know? It doesn't make you entitled or privileged or ridiculous. It makes you human and female and alive.

And now....working. Yay! I think it actually makes a lot of sense that adding work will help you pare down and focus. That makes sense to me.

Btw, where are you looking for jobs? Like, I mean, do you look on the internet or what? (I'm looking for ideas.) And what kinds of jobs are you looking for?

lori said...

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Losing track of a person's blog for a period of sucky internet and house renovation projects is NO GOOD. Injuries, major life decisions, children who apparently aged by 2 years since I "saw" them last (though it has only been some months).... okay, now my brain is going to be spinning while I try to fall asleep.

Yeah, I'm curious about what kind of work you're looking for (big step! I'll have to read back and find out all the catalysts...) and what the heck threading one's eyebrows is.