Monday, August 10

On taking care of yourself, and the six-month wake-up call.

Noah hit the 6 month mark the other week. And that's HUGE for a mother. I did it! I survived the hardest part. Hooray, hoorah.
He can sit, he can eat, he can sleep, he can be entertained by his brother. It's great. Honestly, it's great.

and how cute, right?!

But, on the other hand, this 6 month mark came as a slap to the face.

I have no more excuses.

I've been on maternity leave for six whole months now. Six months!
I should probably be taking better care of myself by now.
I still spend most of the day in my pyjamas. Most days I shower, but not all.

And my body. Ugh! my poor, exhausted body - how I've neglected you. Two pregnancies and two deliveries later, things aren't the way they used to be.
It's funny how you can slim down to your pre-pregnancy clothes size, but nothing's the same at all. It's all loose skin and stretched out muscles. It's permanently hunched shoulders from midnight breastfeeding, and odd-looking gigantic arm muscles from carrying oversized babies all day long. It's skipped meals and too much late night snacking.
And why oh why can't I get my shit together and finally do some real exercise?!

And my brain. My poor, depreciated brain! I was a doctor once, right? Wasn't I?
I can't go back to work! Not like this. I don't remember anything!
And why oh why can't I get my shit together and finally pick up a medical journal from that mile-high dusty pile at my bedside?!

It's not like I don't have any free time.
I waste plenty of time zoned out on the computer. And I bake pies, for crying out loud! I definitely do not need to be baking pies. Or cakes, or cookies... ok I admit it, I'm a compulsive baking procrastinator.

But being a mother of two is insanely hard. And utterly exhausting. It is. It's true.
And it's the excuse I tell myself every day for not picking up that medical journal and for not exercising.

But the reality is that this is the life I chose for myself (I didn't exactly have two kids by accident). And so, this is the life I have to continue living.
And if I'm not taking care of myself now, when is that supposed to change?
I mean, it's not really going to get all that easier any time soon (maybe it gets easier when your kids are school-aged, but that's still years away. And then there will be new challenges, and new excuses).
I know deep down that I just need to get my priorities straight.

I'm not berating myself here. I've accomplished a lot in these past 6 months. I have a wonderfully chubby adorable baby to show for it, and a sharply intelligent, well-adjusted two-and-a-half year old. I still manage to cook great meals for my family on most days. I bake pies and fresh bread! I find time to play individually with both of my boys and to teach them all about this world and this life.
These are all very important things, and as a mother, I am proud of my accomplishments.

But I also know that there are other parts of me, parts of me that pre-dated motherhood. Parts that are being severely ignored. And it's time I started taking better care of myself, the individual, again.
Because if not now, then when?

So this is my 6-month wake up call.

I am halfway done my luxurious year-long maternity leave. This leaves me the next 6 months to whip my brain back into shape before I have to function as a doctor again. And it's high time I  got physically back in shape again too. I'm not talking about being skinny (because apparently you can be skinny and still be terribly out of shape). It's about being fit and leading an active lifestyle. Because being active every day is the single most important thing you can do for your health.
And while I realize this is thinking way in the future, but I have two incredibly beautiful boys now, and I want to be a witness to their evolving lives for as long as I possibly can!


Natalie said...

You know when it got easier for me? When I went back to work. Hahaha counterintuitive but the truth! Didn't/doesn't matter that Lola is such a good sleeper - during a work day I'm less tired, I fit in working out, my brain functions. During a home day, I'm completely exhausted, overwhelmed, working out is the biggest chore, no studying gets done, and I wonder why I can flip through facebook but can't do anything remotely productive. Some days I can leave work early to do stuff from there but I don't simply because I know the minute I walk through the door, I'm back to being mommy Natalie which is the least efficient of my selves. The sweet cuddles and QT are certainly fulfilling and irreplaceable and the very very best but it doesn't change that I'm just not able to fully be my functional self at the same time. Anyway, everyone is different of course but thought you'd like to know you aren't alone.
And also, I think you are fantastic.

Lady Grey said...

Thanks, Natalie. You're the best :)

Em said...

Living alone and with no children, I can't say that I have any idea what you are going through!

However, personally I feel that I am just someone who needs a strict schedule to keep me on track and motivated. So maybe scheduling workouts or brain time for the week ahead (and rewarding yourself) could help!

Lady Grey said...

You're definitely right, Em. I'm the type of person who works best with a schedule. I really should do exactly that :)

Anna of The Analog House said...

I'm a mom of two as well, so I feel your pain! My son is a year old now and my daughter 4. It's bittersweet. On the one hand I'm celebrating but on the other, I'm missing the cuddly newborn days. My son loves to explore so I don't get to hold him much these days. On the other hand it's so wonderful to see my two kids start playing and interacting together. My daughter keeps asking me when her brother is going to start talking!

Lady Grey said...

I'm so excited for my two boys to start interacting more together - it must be such a sweet sight to see as a mama.

Patricia Venkatesh said...

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