To say that the last five days have been stressful would be an understatement. All of my plans for the next two months got thrown for a loop when O got hurt on Saturday and for someone who plans things weeks to months in advance (by necessity, due to my work) this has been a bit chaotic! The last few days have been a flurry of making plans for daycare, doctors visits, shopping for supplies, adjusting travel plans and cancelling swim lessons, kids races, etc. Thankfully, things are settling down a bit. Oliver doesn’t appear to be having any pain and is adjusting reasonably well to the cast. Darrell and I are figuring out the logistics of daycare and potty breaks and clothes and all of those other little things you never imagine until faced with a full leg cast. Overall, we’re dealing with this fairly well.
This is not how we expected our Easter to look.
Do I feel a little raw and on edge? Absolutely. My baby is broken. My life, that requires pretty careful time management like we discussed yesterday, is a little up-ended. My sleep is shot thanks to a kid who can’t sleep with the cast unless Mommy is on the floor next to him to help him move around (so much for that goal for this month). We are definitely going to do some remedial sleep training after this is over. I’m already tense about his first real day back at daycare today and hoping it goes well for him while selfishly hoping it goes well because I have to be at work today, not running back across town to get him out early. But you know what? I have two giant chocolate chip muffins and a load of Easter candy in the house and I haven’t been tempted to touch them. That is a huge success. I don’t know that I could have said that a year ago and I know two years ago, this would have completely derailed me. I’d be up after everyone went to bed, inhaling those things in the dark kitchen and hating myself in the morning.
What has changed? I’m allowing a selfish corner of mind to think about and plan for what I need to handle the stress of this at the same time I’m thinking about all of the Oliver stuff. I confess that on some level that makes me feel like a horrible person and a horrible mother. So what if I don’t work out and eat badly for a while? My leg isn’t broken. I’m not hurting or limited in my activities with no real understanding of what is going on and the temporary nature of it all (O doesn’t understand that his leg is going to be normal again soon). Really, would it be the end of the world if I fell of the wagon?
Of course not. When life gets stressful, it’s easy and perfectly okay to let your food and exercise goals go for a while so that you can focus on more important things. However, it’s also okay to make a little mental space for those things in the midst of everything else. That doesn’t make you (or me in this case) a bad person. I keep reminding myself that on airplanes, they always tell you to put on your own oxygen mask before helping those around and that’s true in life as well. Even in stressful situations, you have to take care of yourself.
In my case, I know that falling off the food and exercise wagon would add a whole new layer of stress because I’d feel like a failure and feel ashamed of the inevitable binges that would come along with that. To keep myself sane and better able to take care of my family during this mess, not only is it okay that I devote a tiny sliver of my mental space to my own food and exercise needs, it’s actually better for all of us. Practically, for me that has meant:
– Sticking to my training plan. Yes, my plans for the next month have changed and I definitely won’t be getting all of that high quality sleep I was hoping for, but I can still run and I can still do my strength training. My race day won’t look like I expected (odds are good we won’t be dragging a 3 year old in a cast to a hotel room out of town and to a busy race, so I’ll likely be traveling solo for this) but it can still look good without my cute support crew. More importantly, getting out to run is great for the mental monkeys.
– Stock the house with my favorite healthy foods. This is no time to be cheap with the healthy food budget. I’m more likely to eat good stuff, which is good for my body, my sense of self and my running, if my favorites are readily available. That’s going to make a lot easier to ignore the pizza O wants to eat every night.
I’ll probably be treating myself to loads of lovely berries. They can be expensive, but worth it nutritionally for that feeling of splurging.
– Find a place to vent. I’m trying not to vent much to my husband, because I know this is stressful for both of us and it is easy to get into a “who is more put out by this” kind of attitude. Instead, we’re focusing on trouble shooting things and checking his progress. I’ll probably use this space and have definitely used both my real life and virtual girlfriends (love the Lovely Ladies Losing It Facebook group!) for support when I need it.
– Find some non-food treats for myself. I confess, I’m drawn to buying food treats for Oliver & Darrell to help them deal with this. I’m a food is love person. For me, I got flowers. I also got myself an air mattress so that I’m not laying on the hard floor when O wants me in his room at night and I’ve treated myself to a couple of new Kindle books so I can read on the iPad when I can’t get myself back sleep while I’m in there with him. It’s the little things that help. 🙂
Oliver & Darrell picked these out. They both loved that they were splatter painted.
– Remind myself that the scale is likely to go up, thanks to stress and poor sleep, no matter how well I’m eating and moving. I’m not going to give up weigh ins because knowing I have to weigh in on Tuesday mornings (177.8 yesterday after 3 weeks at 178 – I’ll take it, tiny though it is!) keeps me on track in a lot of ways. However, I will have a little talk with myself before I step on it about interpreting that number with caution. I know from my gestational diabetes days just how much stress and poor sleep screw me up hormonally, so I have to remind myself of that often. This too shall pass.
I’ll be honest – there’s a still of part of me that is embarrassed to admit that I’ve spent any time at all thinking about myself and my own needs over the last few days. It’s okay though – it’s okay to let ourselves be part of our priority list, even during the busy and stressful times. It might even be especially important during the busy and stressful times.
Do you have a hard time making yourself a priority when things get chaotic?