My youngest turns 5 a week from today which set me to thinking – not about her, but about ME. You see, I’m realizing right as she’s turning five, that I’ve finally gotten back to a decent place. Not amazing. I mean amazing is rarely possible for any Mom, or any living human being, right? But decent. Less insane. Most always happy. Sometimes even balanced. Sometimes even amazing!
Five years later, I’ve gotten back to a decent place for both my mind and my body. And I wondered if I’m not so alone, if this is actually fairly normal: that it takes years – sometimes half a decade!!! – after you finish your “birthing of babies” – to get yourself back.
For my mind, this is a really recent thing, as in over this Summer. I joked with people, but I wasn’t joking, that since my youngest was born, August 2008, I’d read exactly one book. Blink. By Malcolm Gladwell. Because it was really short. Truth.
But I had a goal this summer to get back to reading. I started slow, literally reading my 8 year old’s books, first Waiting for the Magic (darling), then Wonder (hugely moving). Then I moved on to one that had been collecting dust on my nightstand for years – Memory Keeper’s Daughter. Good, but so depressing it kind of ticked me off I picked it to get me back in the reading game. I am proud to say I just finished Gone Girl, which was awesome, but unsettling. And I have Lean In up next, so I too can get irritated by Sheryl Sandberg and complain that yes, you can have it all, if you have a big bank account and nannies. We’ll see what I think!
So I feel like my mind is finally turned back on beyond what I *have* to think about each day with family and work. I’ve found time for recreational reading, critical to my mind being back!
As for my body, I’ve been working harder and longer at this, guilted into it by my Mom who pointed out that, after 40, your bones degrade, etc., etc. But it’s still been a slow trudge back. Last year, 2012, I was so very proud to complete 80 Jazzercise classes, really not even twice a week, but huge for someone who’d previously done nothing.
This year, it’s still August and I’m about to top 100 classes!
Jazzercise was a very doable, welcoming environment for me to get back in shape. See my post on Confessions of a 40 year old Jazzerciser. I’m in the best shape I’ve been since Spring Break senior year in college when I lived on pretzels and diet coke to prepare for a week in a bikini in the Bahamas. (other than, of course, as you other mother’s remember, those rare fleeting months after losing the baby weight, but before you stop nursing when you still stretch out your bra, but not the backseat of your jeans – ohhhh to be in a perpetual state of breastfeeding calorie burn……but I digress……….)
So again, with my baby on the brink of her 5th birthday, I realized my body is back in decent shape and my mind is back to reading once and awhile, and I feel pretty good! Happy 5th birthday to ME! I’m BACK!
……Now, if only I could eat more vegetables, kick diet coke, stop swearing, learn to speak Spanish, sell more stripedshirts and get rid of the weird outer layer of fuzz in my hair I’ve had since my oldest was born in 2004 (seriously, anyone else with the halo of fuzz?), this decent place would become an amazing place most of the time. For now, I’ll happily take decent.
How about you, how long after kids did it take you to be back?