Saturday night {musings} / Body {respect}

There’s a lot going on in my mind at the moment so I’m going to write it all down.

I’m not feeling well.  I’m exhausted and overwhelmed.  Unhealthy and mentally drained.  I broke down crying tonight because it was just all too much.  The kids.  The house.  The noise.  The mess.  Work.  My weight.  Unfinished projects.  The sheer feeling of never catching up.  Never being able to stop.  And when you do stop paying the price by falling behind.  

My heart sinks as I look around.  Mess everywhere.  Toys, food, abandoned clothes, drinks and shoes.  Even the areas which are generally tidy look cluttered and chaotic.  It weighs heavy on my soul.  Such a silly “problem” to have yet it still has an effect on me.  The children are chasing each other around with a toy snake.  It’s 6:50pm and they show no signs of tiredness.  They screech in delight, jumping over the sofa I’ve just remade.  I turn off the tv manually having lost patience trying to locate the tv remote which {let’s face it} could literally be anyware.  

I’m tired.  I have a headache.  I’m energyless.  The toddler is going through some kind of sleep regression/developmental leap and is in that in between stage of starting to drop her nap but she’s still tired so falls asleep at random times which makes bedtime a right off.  I let her fall asleep on me earlier so I could sit down and have some quiet time.  For that I have to accept that I have once again sacrificed my evening and she will most likely end up sleeping in my bed again tonight.  With her still rampaging around downstairs I send the boys up to bed with their iPads.  They can see I’m upset and the mum guilt kicks in.  

I sit on the sofa with the toddler eating hummus.  I know I’m making life harder for myself with the inevitable mess but I can’t seem to muster up the energy to do anything constructive.  I feel like the worst mum.  I feel distant from my children and bad for thinking of them as such hard work.

My mind drifts to work.  If I didn’t work would I be a better mum?  Would I be more patient?  Would I make more time to think about my health?  Would I be more stressed about money?  Would I feel like I’ve lost part of myself?  I know I need to set better boundaries but one of the benefits {and also negatives} of being partly self employed is the flexibility and there are deadlines to meet and bills to pay.  

I’m trying not to work at weekends.  I vow that tomorrow I’ll spend more dedicated time with the kids.  Maybe do some painting.  But then there’s the housework.  The cooking.  The washing.  The school prep.  The boys’ homework.  The general trying to stay on top of day to day life.  The playroom needs tidying.  I want to catch up with my blog.  I’d love to work on some projects.  But those things are put aside.  Rightly so.  But also sadly so.  No wonder I don’t exercise.  Or see friends regularly.  I’m not a single mum but sometimes it feels like it.  Now with evenings up the creek there is literally no time {or so it feels}.

I’ve been loving listening to podcasts lately.  I find myself nodding along and relating so much with what others have to say.  I’m currently listening to “Growing Up Female” by Connie Simmonds.  I’ve been listening to her episodes on body image and mental health and they’ve really got my brain ticking.  About how it is to be a woman in today’s society  To be influenced by social media and whether or not we “should” let it influence and affect us.  About feeling comfortable in our own skin and the importance of making changes for the right reasons.  

I {like so many others} have had a turbulent relationship with my weight, with exercise and with my diet.  I’ve openly said before that in the past I’ve exercised and attempted to eat well for one reason and one reason only.  To lose weight and be slim.  I thought I had kicked the continuous desire to diet as I got older thinking I simply can’t be bothered to watch what I eat and I sure as hell don’t have the time or energy right now to exercise.  But here we are.  Fresh off a meal replacement plan.  No happier.  Probably not much lighter.  And definitely no healthier.  And now I’m ashamed to say I even promoted it.  Is that the example I want to set for my kids?  Hell no.  

So here are the facts.  I’m 3 stone heavier than my pre-pregnancy weight {both times}.  I have carried and birthed twins.  I have had a c-section.  I breastfed all my children, the last for 18 months.  I cut out dairy from my diet during that time due to P’s intolerance and my gut hasn’t reacted well to its re-introduction.  My boobs are bigger.  Well actually everything is bigger.  My stomach area will never be the same as it was pre-children.  

I’m on a constant rollercoaster of wanting to lose weight but then over/comfort eating.  I’m starting to come around to the fact that my attitude needs to change before my actions or habits ever will.  That a “healthy lifestyle” is just that, a lifestyle.  A way of life.  A long term commitment.  Not a fad or a quick fix.  It may not even make me happier.  I still had issues with my mental health when I was a size 10 and exercising 3+ times a week.  And that’s something it’s important for me to remember.  I wasn’t happy because I was constantly comparing myself to others.  I wasn’t confident to be myself.  I was trying to fit into a mould of someone I thought I wanted to be.  I was basing my diet and exercise around the wrong ideals and the wrong intentions.  

Now my focus is less on body image or even body confidence but more on body respect.  You only have one life and one body.  Each day you have the choice to make small changes towards the life you want.  Whether that’s to improve your health, be happy in the skin you’re in, inspire and help others or move mountains.  Sometimes it’s about surviving rather than thriving and that’s ok.  I’m the worst at being a perfectionist and that’s got a lot to do with the pressure I put on myself.  

Wouldn’t it be nice not to constantly be thinking about food.  Or about how our home looks.  Or about the clothes we wear.  Imagine how much mental and physical burden that would release.  That’s not to say we can’t look after ourselves or take pride in how we look or where we live.  But not to the point where it consumes our every thought.  Where we feel guilty or upset when things aren’t as we imagine.  

This is the basic aim of what I like to refer to as project simplify.  To me this embodies what I want from life.   Simplification symbolises space.  The the space to breathe.  To think.  To create.  To enjoy.  To live.  When you take away the unnecessary complications or clutter in your life you menatlly and physically offload the pressure and stress that come with them.  You give yourself the space to live more freely.  You give yourself permission to just be.  

A simpler home, wardrobe, working schedule and social calendar.  Simpler finances, meals, skincare and hobbies.  The ability to slow down and enjoy life.  To make the time for the things that really matter to you.  Those things will look different to everyone.  Making small changes to ease the areas of your life which are causing you stress opens up the rest of your time for spontaneity.  For exploration.  For excitement.  

We’ve now moved into my bed.  The toddler point blank refused to go into her cot and for now it’s not a battle I’m willing to have.  Not tonight.  She’s tired and hopefully I’ll be able to move her once she’s asleep so that we all get a better night’s rest.  Tomorrow is a new day.  A new chance to work on project simplify.  A new chance to work on body respect.  A new chance to just be me.  

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