What in the world did I do with all my time before I had Graham? I’m so busy being a working mama all of the time now; it seems I must have had endless hours of luxurious downtime before motherhood. Between working, being a mom, trying to keep my house at least at a nontoxic level of clean, and everything else I’m trying to juggle, it is so very easy to lose sight of myself in this whirlwind of life.
Sometimes I feel guilty that I’m working outside of the home; I wonder if somehow Graham’s emotional development will be stunted because his mother is away so much. When I’m away I feel bad and try to make up for it when I’m home by spending every second with him, even when I’m exhausted. I find myself avoiding fun outings that would require me to be away from Graham. For instance, I received a gift certificate for a mani-pedi at my favorite spa for Mother’s Day; it sits collecting dust on my dresser because I’ve felt that it would be selfish to take the time for myself away from my baby when I’m already gone so much. The same thing has happened with my “mama bounce back” workout packages that I purchased long ago in hopes of getting back in shape after baby.
I realized the other day that it’s all wearing on me; as I looked at my unsightly cuticles, poked at my soft belly and thighs, and saw my stressed out reflection in the mirror, I realized that taking a little time for me is going to have to happen soon and regularly.
Today I asked Matthew if he would watch Graham while I went to one of my favorite cycling classes. He seemed happy to do so, and I decisively brushed away the mommy guilt as I changed into my workout clothes, which had been unused for the past couple of months. The hour long cycling class was amazing; just a few minutes into it I could feel the beads of sweat on my body melting my stress away. As my heart rate climbed and my muscles burned, I felt a sense of relief coursing through my veins. When I left I had a smile on my face and felt rejuvenated.
During my drive home, I began to understand that taking a little time for me—whether it’s doing something to make me feel healthy or to feel pretty or to de-stress—is not selfish at all. Working out today made me a happier person, which in turn will make me a happier mama to Graham and a happier wife for Matthew. It’s not only not selfish for me to start doing things for myself, but I also think it’s really my responsibility to take better care of myself—for the sake of my family.
I think, and I’m sure Matthew agrees, that the adage “happy wife, happy life” has a lot of truth to it. But the part that can be too easily misunderstood is that being a happy wife is my own responsibility as no one else is truly in control of my happiness or lack thereof. So, I’m making it my goal from here on out to try to do at least one thing for myself every week. Whether it’s a manicure or a workout class or a glass of wine with a girlfriend, I’m going to make sure that I take a little time for me. Here’s to being a happier mama!