Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Being a Stay at Home Mom Just Wasn't Enough (and why I felt like the worst person ever)

"Oh you're a stay at home're so lucky."

"You get to stay at home with your little girl? That is so wonderful. What a blessing. They grow up so fast."

"You will really look back and cherish these years with them. It is so nice you don't have to go back to work."

"Well, Sara, you don't have to work so.... (insert request here)"

"You know, I work, so I don't have time for that like you do."

I heard comments like this all the time. They ranged from the regarding stay at home mommyhood as the mecca to which all women aspire to reach and those that have or make the circumstances for that to happen are the blessed. The fortunate. The envied. What so many others are working to have.

And the later I heard mostly from my family. Like I hadn't worked (for many years multiple jobs including going to school while working full time hours) since I was 13 and allowed to babysit as much and as often as I could. I was the hour snatcher when I worked retail in my premanager days. If someone was giving up a shift I would take it. I needed to pay my bills, my groceries (and beer!) If overtime was approved my managers knew they could count on me to get in as soon as I could and stay as long as they needed. No questions asked. If you're paying me, I'll do it. Stock, sales, inventory. No problem. Handled.

And here I was, at home with this amazing little person and it just wasn't enough. I was bored. I was lonely. I was tired. And I felt like I spent my days catering to things that just needed me constantly (dogs included) and cleaning up poop (dogs included again.) And then she grew into this cool little toddler who had a killer personality, loved to laugh and was wild and crazy. She ran me to exhaustion and made me laugh and smile. But something was still missing. I would go days without talking to another grown up. For a while, I considered talking to my high school cheerleaders talking to grown ups. And my poor assistant cheer coach....I just talked her ear off whenever we were together. For months the only break I had from my kiddo was to take upwards of twenty some high school girls to cheer camp for 4 days. Because, I forgot to mention, that my husband was gone. He travels for work so he wasn't there for weeks at a time. So it was all on me. Every day. Sun up to sun down (Ha! If only. I was needed in the middle of the night too. For sickness, accidents and well just because sometimes she didn't want to sleep. Because sleeping to a toddler is the worst punishment you can bestow upon them.)

And I felt like a terrible person for not being blissfully happy. Because everyone told me I should be.

So I overcompensated by treating myself. I pureed fresh organic veggies for my baby's first meals and then let myself eat (an entire bag of) cheddar cheese popcorn for dinner with a glass of wine. While watching days of marathon television (Netflix is seriously dangerous in this situation. Every single episode of Gossip Girl. Ummm...yes please. And four days of my life just gone. I missed the Grey's Anatomy fuss because I was working all the time. So why not catch up with all eight seasons now. Back to back. Without commercials.) That was what I did.

Until I decided it wasn't working. I was miserable. Desperate. And I am sure this is where you expect me to put in where Beachbody entered my life and turned it all around.

Well it didn't.

Groupon happened.

But first a suprise from one of my favorite long distance people.

A christmas present from my super-far-away-and-I-miss-her-so-much friend came accompanied with a flash drive of pictures we had taken on a 3 day super fast see-as-much-as-you-can-see tour of Portland when we were out there that summer. And I saw a picture of me that I couldn't even handle. I wanted to burn it. Bury it. Hide it. But I could still see it in my head. (Hell, I can still see it in my head now.)

And then a groupon for a personal training experience entered my mailbox. It was something like $40 for a month - 5 days a week- for a small bootcamp type class with a couple of trainers who used the gymnastics/cheer gym down the road. But it was at 5:30 in the morning.

I knew John would be around for at least a month at that point and I needed to do something. So I left my sleeping family behind and truged out in the cold and snow. (Did I mention it was February? In Pittsburgh?) But I went. Every day. Sick, tired, sore, snowing, it didn't matter. I showed up. And I played. Two weeks in and I could keep up with some of the guys there. I pushed myself. And it felt amazing. But I didn't lose any weight (on the scale anyway. I had yet to learn about other methods of tracking success.) Despite being frustrated with the scale, WOW did it feel good to get up and bust my a$$ every morning.  I felt like I could do anything.

And this is where I got the guts to think I could do Insanity. I knew if I was going to change my body and my life I needed to do something crazy. Welcome to my life Shawn T.

And three weeks in I was there again. Angry. Frustrated. Wondering why the eff the scale was still not moving AT ALL.

I knew that Katy had recently become a Beachbody coach but she wasn't the only one I knew. I worked retail with quite a few people who had found success with Beachbody in many ways. But Katy and I taught on the same 7th grade team when I was subbing for a maternity leave. I missed having the connection to the school outside of cheer. And I didn't want to go digging back into my retail days. They were long behind me and I wanted to avoid that "history."

She put me in a challenge group and I had a focus again. Something to put all of my effort and energy into outside of my child. I knew I wanted this as a part of my life. I knew I didn't want to give it up. So I closed my eyes, let my stomach flip and signed up to coach. To pay it forward and help give others the push THEY need to change THEIR lives.

And wow did I make a good choice. I found a team of amazing people. I found success in my weight loss journey. I found friends who are supportive and energizing and help push me to make ME a better person. I found the want to reach out and support others the way I have been supported. I had a purpose and a drive again. I slowly began to crawl out of the hole.

I take an hour every day to get my sweat on and another hour to check in with all the people I am now motivating to change their lives. I spend a little more time working on personal development and leadership. And after my kiddo goes to bed I work on the other things. And yes, I make the conscious choice to take those hours away from playing with my daughter. But what I have gained has made me a better mother, a better wife and a better person. We go to the park and we play. The hours I am with her, I am WITH her (not pretending to play with her while watching hyperbolized medical dramas.) I have the support to get me moving when I need it and the encouragement to keep going.

I have been blessed in finding exactly what I needed (even if I didn't know what I needed yet and had to endure a lot of frustration to get there.) I have been blessed in joining an amazing family. I have been blessed in finding enough.

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