21 years ago I was about to give birth to my second child, and I completely lost all hope for myself physically. Of COURSE I’ll say that I adored being a mom, and loved my children more than anything in the world... but I also was officially the oldest 20 year old that ever lived.
Activating my “stay-at-home mom mode” meant buying dumpy jeans, control top panties hose and a ton of little people treats and crap in my cupboards for “them”, even though I ate 90% of it, and then my rapid weight gain in my (still) youth, I had developed severe back issues, knee problems, sugary food addiction and zero self esteem. I was very blessed to be able to stay home and raise my family, and all I gave was for them... reserving nothing for myself.
Through the next few years I had every excuse in the book not to exercise. They were mostly excuses about having kids, which is funny because they were so active and I could have chosen to join them at any point instead of sitting on the front step. It wasn’t until 4 years after Riley was born that I hit my rock bottom. It was a slow decent...one that was only realized with the changing seasonal clothing options. I was growing out of my closet diminished along with the chronic paint that I stuffed into those clothes. I had grown from a size 6 to a 16 and basically I just accepted it, as who I was, I guess.
For any of you that think the most important thing in the world is taking care of everyone else first.. you are dead wrong. My poor health in my 20’s is the biggest testament to that. I let myself spiral into a lazy state of napping, eating and sitting around at home when my kids were little. I didn’t even have the energy to play with my kids, do laundry, or take proper care of our small home. I became insanely lazy, and my depression was hidden from my family and my mind was as big of a mess as my body.
I couldn’t WAIT to put on Barney, grab the kids a Nutrigrain bar and nap in the couch beside them while they watched. Sadly, this was a repeated event all day, every day because I was always so tired. Forget about the house work I neglected, I just stuffed the laundry into my closets and pretended I would get to it later. But I wouldn’t get to it until it was a mountain... and it was so depressing that I hated doing it. So, I just continued not to For YEARS. Laziness does breed laziness...I can speak from the heart when I say that one.
One evening, while alone and scrambling around to get my toddlers ready for a family dinner, I bent down at the waist to pick one of them up... and heard a mushy snap sound, while a sharp pain shot across my lower back. I freaked out, and decided to lower myself to the floor as I couldn’t stand up.
I realized very quickly, with two little people running around that it was the dumbest thing I could do. I lied sprawled out on the floor, far away from my wall mounted phone and I begged my kids to tap into their inner genius and bring me the receiver, and magically dial a phone number. Sadly, all they could do with the phone at that age was pretend to call nana, and talk to the dial tone. I refused to call 911 as I just needed to wait it out until someone noticed I was late for diner, and would come check on me.
As I was paralyzed with pain and stuck there, tears streamed down my cheeks and into my ears... I assured my hungry kids that mommy was fine and to keep playing with their toys beside me. I can’t remember much else, but it was in the next hour that my mother in law found me and took me to the hospital... and I made the decision that everything had to change.
I was going to take control once I could stand again, and I held true to my internal promises as I moderately recovered. The next week when I was mobile again I got up, and before I could think, I just put my kids in a stroller and cautiously started walking. Every day for 30 minutes up a steep hill beside my complex, And it SUCKED!!.
I thought I would die after the first minute, but I set a short term goal of 2 weeks and pushed through the pain and poor conditioning. “It takes 2 weeks to form a habit” I told myself after reading it in a magazine on the couch during my recovery... so if I could make it just 14 days it would be the new me. For two weeks I pushed them up that steep St. Lawrence hill, if I wanted to or not. Then, I woke up on the 12th day and something amazing happened.
It was hot out, so I dug through the laundry and grabbed my “fat shorts” from a year before, and went to do my “sausage dance” into them. But, I didn’t need to...they just slipped right on! No dancing. No wiggling. No effort, I just pulled them up! That, my friends is a feeling I would never forget. And I realized that it wasn’t THAT hard to lose the first few pounds, so l quickly got us all out and into the sun that morning... and walked a little longer that day.
It was such a great moment, that it motivated me to adapt to better eating habits..and then next thing you know smaller clothes were dug out of the closet every couple of weeks. As my confidence slowly grew, I made the scariest decision ever. It was time to brace myself and sign up at a public gym. People would now see me... OMG the terror!. But, was that really still a scary thing? After all, I was starting to look and feel better. I had a gym membership in high school, so it may be familiar. I opted for the woman’s gym as it had a great daycare, and I didn’t have to be around guys. That was comfortable enough to get me there, and start building some muscle around my weak joints and back.
Getting myself healthy turned into becoming happy and the best part of course, was the feeling finally turned into taking care of my family and home the way they deserved because I never stopped moving, and took care of myself the way I truly deserved.
And ALL of the changes I had hoped to make, turned into evolving goals as I grew stronger, happier and healthier. Eventually turning me into what I am now, With 3 healthy, happy kids, and 3 successful businesses I juggle gratefully every day, and the best part of it is that I have the health, energy and desire to do it all, Even...the laundry.
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