Hey everyone. Saturday sort of slipped by me and I didn't do my usual blogging routine. But today, oh man, have I got something to say.
Now, to be fair, I will try to avoid generalizations, although it's very easy. I remember "The Big Chill" when Jeff Goldblum's character (the reporter) was talking about generalizations. Something to the tune of it being not such a big deal when people proclaim they're going without sex or whatever, but the real trick is to try to go a week without making a generalization. I'm not aiming for a week, but I am going to aim for an entire post, ok?
It was a bumpy weekend. In BFL, I got plenty of warning to expect life to come at me. My family, my job, my hair, my car weren't going to go on pause and wait patiently while I did 84 days of self-transformation. I was going to have to be ready for obstacles, and to turn it into something positive, or at least to not let it derail me. So this Saturday was one of those times. Without going into too much detail, it was made somewhat plain to me that my whole little "routine", getting out for a few short hours on Saturday night, was inconvenient because...well, because it just was, I guess. It would have been preferred if I could have put Andrew to bed by myself (again) and stayed home (again) in case someone needed something (again). And this time, I had a breakthrough.
In the past, I might have just stuffed my feelings and stayed home, burning with resentment and anger, and even have tamped the feelings down with a supply of Dove Bars and the boob tube. This time, though, I turned and asked what in particular could I do at that moment that would make things better. I asked how I could be "of service", as they put it in my favorite 12-step program. When no answer was forthcoming, I just said, as neutrally as possible:
"This doesn't sound like my problem. This doesn't sound like my stuff. And it is not a crime for me to leave the house."
No, nothing went flying, no one got smacked, but it fell like a bowling ball off of a skyscraper for me. I finally said what I'd been thinking in calmer moments, when this situation would come up, time and again. I didn't elaborate, I just continued on my way out. I was very nice about the whole thing. Dinner was made and served up for the two men in my life. The pots and pans were already washed and drying. Laundry was going, and everything was as ready for bedtime as I could make it. I admit I was angry and took advantage of some chairs being moved around where I went in order to get out some frustration (PS: I can lift two folding chairs in each hand now--ka-ching!), and I have been muttering to myself a little bit, but in all, this was a real moment for me.
I had read in the BFL for Women book about taking the time for yourself, for your self care, and it really got driven home for me this weekend. Pamela Peeke, the author, has a charming little bit about "someone" taking the hard-working woman aside and saying, "oh honey, you've worked so hard, let me go to the store for you and buy that chicken breast. I'll cook it up for you, too. Why don't you go to a matinee or something?" If I wait for that to happen--well, it just won't happen. So I have to take the time, steal it, hold it up at gunpoint, whatever, to get what I need. I'm not looking for an unreasonable amount of time for myself. Two evenings a week, one where I get to be gone until late, if I want to, and time, when needed (like once a week), to have Andrew be watched so I can work out for 45 minutes, tops. I'm not asking for human sacrifice, I'm not asking for anyone to miss out on their needs so that mine can be met, and I'm starting to not be so shy about asking, either. It is only fair. And yeah, I know life's not fair, but screw that, parenting should be. Or at least somewhat close.
So, that's my big breakthrough. I'm sure people have opinions on that sort of thing, and I'm interested in hearing yours...though, to be honest, if it is along the lines that I should be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen and proud of it...maybe you should tell it to someone else.
In other news, I am proud to say that I worked out this evening, even though I was so close to calling it off and going to bed early. I knew that I would be more bothered by missing the workout than by actually doing it, so I just put in my little iPod (I love you, Pearl) and gritted my teeth and, soon enough, the endorphins were going and I was feeling pretty glad about myself. I am at the start of Week Six, and I have to say, how the hell did six weeks go by already? Well, five weeks, but still! I am almost to the halfway mark, and I am really enjoying the strength I have, the discipline I am building, and the mental clarity and sense of self that is getting dusted off after three years of being pregnant/being a new mom/being a working mom/being a working mom of a toddler. It's nice to be Erin again, rather than just Andrew's Mommy, although that is a pretty sweet gig, too.
It is very late, and I will have to cut this short, but I just want to say this to you. If there is something you really want to do, and you feel like it would just inconvenience others or rock the boat or whatever...well, they're grown-ups too, just like you, and if you've been sucking it up for this long, then they can start sucking it up while you go grab what you need. Go get 'em! I'll see you tomorrow!