Tuesday, January 22

United States of Rebecca

Yesterday I mentioned how I'd been spending a lot of time in my head.

I've neglected many aspects of my life in favor of family time and time in my head. And I'm mostly ok with that. Actually I am ENTIRELY ok with that.

I don't know if it's the time of year or the fact that I have mere weeks left in my twenties (WEEKS! EEK!!!) or what's been happening in my life lately that's got me thinking, thinking, thinking. Probably a combination of the three.

Every year around the holidays I take stock. I'm not BIG on resolutions and the like but I do want to do better, be better every year. This year I just felt that I'd had the same gripes and goals as the last several years which, to me, says that I am not doing or being better.

I'm stuck in a rut.

A rut I do not wish to be stuck in.

It's hard to express this without rambling off into a thousand and one tangents - because so many aspects of my life over lap - but I am going to try my best. So as to not confuse you and to hopefully gain some clarity myself.

So today this is about me.

I am a woman.

I am a wife.

And I am a mother.

I am perfect at none of these things. There was a time when I strived for perfection. I am a perfectionist, after all. But I no longer feel the need to be a perfect person.

Ok, so that's probably only a half truth. I am working on not needing to be a perfect person while still fulfilling my need for perfection through other outlets like cooking, cleaning, crafting, being awesome. You know, easy stuff!

I realize that the whole perfectionist thing is ridiculous but it's who I am. And it's really not a problem as long as I don't beat myself up over a Mama mistake or biting my husband's head off for doing man things - like putting fresh towels on the bathroom counter instead of hanging them on the rack.

Honestly, the perfectionist part of me keeps me in check, keeps me striving for more. To do better and be better. Nothing wrong with that.

The problem with trying to be a perfect person, at least for me, is that I lost all of me. At this moment in time, I have no idea who I am as a woman, wife or mother. I've lost it all in a sea of BE THE BEST-ness. (To be fair, some of my identity crisis comes with the territory of having little ones but they are growing and I am not.)

So one of my goals is to find myself.

Starting with the woman part of me, because I feel like that part of me is the most lost.

I really don't do anything I did before I had kids. And it's no one's fault but my own. Sure, I don't have the time I used to but that doesn't mean I had to drop everything. I always thought I would 'take time off' until my boys were older and then I would work on me. I am now realizing the toll that plan has taken.

Since time is a hot commodity around these parts, I want to focus my energy on what I love the most - and what gives me the most bang for my time bucks.

I love photography. I've wanted to learn and improve my photog skills for the last 4 years or so. But I've done nothing. Womp. Womp. I've enrolled myself in five 4-week online photography courses. I'm 3 weeks into the first course and kinda loving it. After I've finished the courses, we'll see where I am and plan my next course of action.

I love reading. As much as I ADORE El Skippito Friskito , I want to read more adult books. Books WITHOUT pictures. I am striving for 6 books this year. More if I can. I kinda want to make it a whole activity. Make a cuppa tea, get into some comfy clothes, shut my bedroom door, climb into bed and turn the real world off for a while. Sounds wonderful...

I love cooking. I want to try new recipes. And I want to meal plan so cooking goes back to a love instead of a chore. I got in 'a mood' a few times before Christmas where I cooked and baked up a storm - and I loved it! The only problem is that I seem to be the only one who eats any of it.

I love writing. I have since I was a wee gal in elementary school. This blog and the last four months were a bit of a dichotomy. I did not have the energy or the head space to blog but I missed it SO much. I plan to blog on the regular. Or at least semi-regular. And I would love to start some freelance writing.

I love being creative. I want to search out a few community classes and go for it! Pottery, painting, gardening (creative to me) woodworking, whatever! Something, anything where I am learning and creating. (I recently bought a Groupon for a language website so Kadyn and I can get back to our Spanish learning. Ole!)

I also want to focus on my health. I want to go to the gym more regularly. I want to practice yoga on a regular basis. I want to practice meditation on regular basis. I want to take my vitamins on a regular basis. I want to be strong and healthy. I want muscles and I want my booty back!!

In addition to physical health, I need to pay attention to my mental health.

These last two years have been rougher on me than I let on, even to myself. I finally admitted (to myself) how bad things were and took myself to my doctor. I haven't been on anti-depressants since I was 14. A decade and a half later, here I am again. With a sleeping pill bonus.

I can't say I am altogether pleased about this but I wasn't sleeping or eating, I was crying almost every day, yelling at the boys ALL THE TIME, yelling at Ryan. I had no desire to get out of bed most days and really only made it from my bed to the couch far more often than I'd like to admit. I was incredibly unhappy with my life and very seriously considering getting in the car and just driving, driving, driving.

I'd rather be medicated than all of that.

Luckily enough, what my doctor prescribed is working REALLY well. Shockingly well. I've had almost no side effects and felt great improvements almost immediately. I don't feel medicated but I do feel better.

Taking a pill every day is not going to fix my life, I am under no delusions about that. But it is lifting me out of a terrible fog and allowing me to deal with my life properly, constructively and positively. In fact, I credit those little magic pills for my recent revelations. Before the medication my mindset was "How can I get out of this? How can I escape?" Now my mindset is "How can I fix this? How can I make things better?"

My doctor thinks the anti-depressants will be a short term thing but I am a tad concerned with the "detox." I like how I feel - normal - and I'm worried that, even if my life is in order, stopping the medication with hurt. I have a history of depression (though mostly situational) and was (many years ago) diagnosed with a chemical imbalance - however I'm not altogether certain how much water that diagnosis holds. I am ok with this being a lifelong thing if it needs to be. I don't feel medicated, dopey or out of it. I feel normal. And happy. It's nice.

As the saying goes...we can't take care of others if we don't take care of ourselves. Which is why my priority is myself right now. My kids are not being neglected in any way. In fact, if anything, they are better off simply by Mama being in a better mood. And my husband is old enough to understand and deal with me taking care of myself for a while.

My plans to be a better Mama don't extend much past trying to stay current with my Today's Parent subscription - which I have SUCKED at tremendously. I have always tried to keep my growing as a parent on par with my boys' growth and development, I will keep doing that. But I strongly feel that the majority of my stress and struggles with parenting is a direct result of my self-neglect. I've already noticed a big difference in my parenting and relations with the boys with only the few small changes I've made so far. We're laughing more and having more fun. I am enjoying these sweet boys so much more than I was a month ago.

And that makes taking care of myself that much easier. And that much more important.

Kinda funny how much of a circle it is.

I take care of myself --> I'm in a better position to take care of the boys --> we're all happier, have more fun, laugh more --> I see how far a little effort goes and am even more motivated to take care of myself --> I take care of myself....and so on.

Such a simple and logical concept yet so many of us Mamas sweep it under the rug and carry on neglecting ourselves so we can take care of others.

Finding a balance is not easy, but is it worth it.

As for my plans to be a better wife, that is a whole 'nother post.

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