I started my 2017 off on a very positive note…an appointment with a new doctor! I had grown frustrated with my constant fatigue and frequent illnesses in 2016, so I put an appointment on the books for January 3rd with a functional medicine doctor. There were the obvious things that I knew were necessary: drink more water, get more fresh air, take some vitamins, etc. But there was more to puzzle that needed to be solved, so I went outside the box.
As she took my comprehensive history, she threw out several medical buzz words that I had heard before….leaky gut…adrenal fatigue…irritable bowel….(yes, motherhood is glamorous).
But about 45 minutes into our appointment, she looked at me and very directly said: “You need to get more sleep.” And I instantly dissolved into sobs on the poor lady. I literally lost it. Sleep. It had never occurred to me to get more sleep.
My children get enough sleep, I make darn sure of it. And then I stay up until midnight watching trash television or trolling the internet because I enjoy the quiet time so much. Oh the precious quiet time when no one is yelling at me, demanding anything, or climbing on me…
The doctor also asked me when was the last time that I felt well. I paused a long time before replying, “Well, I feel okay most of the time….” She shook her head and responded, “I’m not asking when you feel okay. I’m asking when you last felt WELL.” 2009. I last felt well in 2009. Before I got pregnant.
I’m okay with admitting that pregnancy and motherhood rocked my world. I am not the same person, either physically or mentally. But along the journey of keeping tiny people alive, my physical and mental needs have gone by the wayside. I’ve turned into your textbook case of Mommy Martyr. To be fair, my husband commented that no one asked me to put everyone else first. It’s true. The Mommy Martyr role just evolved over time, both as a working Mom and a stay at home Mom.
Is it ironic that my wake up call was to go to sleep?
So 2017 has turned into the year that, in addition to taking care of the family, I’m taking care of ME. I’m not going to “lose weight” or “get healthy.” I’m simply taking back my body AND my mind. I love my family, but they can’t have it anymore.
What does this mean for me, you ask? I have given myself a hard 10pm bedtime, with one cheat night per week. I have started taking a boatload of supplements to help my (many) gut issues. I’ve made some necessary diet changes while *thinking* about going dairy free. I put the little guy in babysitting at the Y for the first time and went to my first yoga class in 6 months…in other words, I laid dormant on the cold floor for an hour and it was amazing. I used to go to yoga religiously, but I allowed the kids’ extracurriculars to bump it from the schedule. PS – the little guy ate Cheerios the entire time, so he’s totally sold on this whole babysitting deal. I’m also getting back into my old habit of weekly meal planning so that dinner will be either in the crock pot or oven and I can do something active in between lunch and school pick-up time a few days a week. I used to be good at this.
Regarding the children, I cut back on the morning Mommy & Me enrollments. We did NOT need to be doing a scheduled activity every weekday morning, I was insane. I also cut back on the afternoon classes for the big kids. I was running myself ragged getting everyone everywhere. I’ve come to the sane realization that if it does not bring us joy (i.e. the people whine and complain), it does NOT need to be done. Some activities can be tabled for later or given up completely.
One of the best analogies that the doctor gave me was, “You are withdrawing from an empty bank account.” YES! Yes, I was. I ended 2016 with an absolutely negative emotional bank account. I was over-tired, over-stressed, and over-worked. The interesting part is that I was over-working myself. It was all coming from ME. So I’m making changes. I’m putting it in writing. I’m involving my husband and I’m telling friends who will hold me accountable.
And I have to say, so far so good in 2017. This was a good breaking point.