We all know having kids is tough; this is not breaking news. We also know that having a toddler is like a having a miniature dictator who lives off cheerios and boob milk. At least in my experience.
I am sure a large quantity of moms also know how intense raising small kids can be when you have anxiety. This is also not breaking news.
I never anticipated how much having Charlotte would trigger my anxiety. Or maybe it amplifies it and exposes me to my triggers on a more regular basis. Whatever. It isn’t a picnic most days of the week.
I am not a fan of hanging out with strangers making small talk in mommy groups. I don’t enjoy small talk as it is but talking to strangers in general causes me anxiety. I take Charlotte places often, so there are a fair amount of times that I am thrust into situations that trigger that social anxiety I am prone to experience.
So I have to do things to care for myself, and protect myself and my family from the ugly anxiety fueled crazy bitch that can manifest herself from time to time. Lessen the frequency.
I do things like work out. Yoga and running, to be specific. I love a good long run that ends in a sweaty shirt and messed up hair. It is like my trophy. A pat on the back, or a ‘that a girl’. And yoga helps me not only handle the pain from my herniated disc, it also allows me to stop and breathe.
I take baths. I love them. The hotter, the more bubbles, the better. Set that music on a relaxing station and leave me the fuck alone for a couple of hours. I also use this as my Pinterest time. A good long soak is also therapy for my back.
I also do things like get massages. I can use the back pain reason here too. Hard, deep massages help relieve the pain caused by the disc and caused by toting my 22 lb baby around as well as other babies of various size around all day. It gets difficult, let alone with back issues before hand. So massages help me feel better. I love a great massage. I cannot stress this enough. My massage therapist went to town on my ass last time and I drooled it felt so fucking good.
The list doesn’t stop there people. I get waxed. I get manicures and pedicures too. I don’t always get to do all these things on what you would describe as a regular basis, but I get them done enough that it helps maintain my sanity and makes me feel pretty.
I am a person who is low maintainance on the day-to-day but high maintainance in general. I have come to grips with this. My husband has come to grips with this. I won’t put us debt to get these things done. I won’t charge multiple massages in the sake of my ‘maintaining my mental and physical health’. I will however work for it and sure the hell enjoy it when the opportunity strikes.
Perhaps it shows that I am little defensive about this. I am sure it is from the guilt I used to carry every time I went out and did something for myself. I felt guilty spending money on myself. I would feel so selfish leaving the house and my leaving my husband in charge to figure things out. Even though he is more than capable, and her FATHER, I would feel like I was putting him out. I would hide behind the notion that I deserved it, but inside I was battling my own thoughts. I would certainly not be relaxing at all when I supposed to be. Wasting my time and my money.
Why did I view these things as “selfish”? I didn’t think of them before as such before I get married and had a baby. Spending time doing things like running and yoga and spending money doing things like getting pedicures and massages, all things I did before charlotte arrived, just left me feeling guilty now. I quit doing stuff for a while to save money and lost my interest in working out. The stress was getting to be too much. The anxiety was weighing me down. I thought I was handling it all pretty well, but the balancing act with little to no outlet for the stress and no privacy in the new apartment was starting to reflect in weight loss, over agitation and trouble sleeping. Which then started teetering on depression.
I saw my doctor, had a good chat and got some new tools to work with. Starting a new medicine helped me regain focus.
I started to realize that if mommy wasn’t happy, nobody was happy. I know this old saying is just that, old. But here in my house, in my world, this statement holds water. I am sort of the glue that holds that shit together. I know this, Chris knows it, our toddler knows it. This is not arrogance, this is a mom of a young toddler, in her thirties talking. I keep it together around here. So investing in myself and taking some time to do things that make me happy is a good thing.
I am setting a good example for my daughter. I am teaching her that doing the things that keep you afloat in life doesn’t make you a bad person, or selfish. At least not in my book. It’s call preventative health, it’s called self-preservation, it’s called therapy, it’s called me-time, a hobby… label it what you want, it’s a vital part of life.
Life creates stress, no way around it. You have to manage that in a healthy way. The running, yoga, nail and hair maintenance and massages from Sarah keep this anxiety-filled, back-pain having mom’s head above water. And my nails looks good, too.
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