Spring has sprung. This year, the season hit me with more than just pollen. It hit me in the closet. It hit me on the scale. It hit me with tears and with self-doubt. Sadly, I know I am not alone as a mom, as a woman, doubting herself. Wishing that I looked different, wishing that the hours spent running or measuring my portions would start showing themselves instead of just mocking me. But then I started thinking. This is not a “reclaiming me” mentality. It occurs to me that one day, Principessa will be a woman. She will be a teenager even sooner….and with that comes self-reflection, self-judgment, and then self-doubt. I wish that I could spare her these moments, but I know that I cannot. But what I can do is try, to be a mom that feels good about myself instead of sad about my favorite pair of jeans being too tight.
I want her to see a mom that is happy, a mom that laughs, and a mom that loves. Seeing me cry occasionally isn’t a bad thing, it makes me human. But crying over clothes? There is so much true sadness in the world….my size does not come even close to comparing.
I do not want Principessa to become the woman that she has heard crying behind a closed closet door. Or the one that won’t eat a piece of cake because it is too many points. I want her to remember my wearing a silly Dalmatian costume and reading chapter books with her at bedtime. I want her to remember my singing in the car with her as we drive to school. I want her to remember me as a runner, as someone who wanted to be healthy.
She does not always appreciate my need to run or workout. We have had multiple conversations that stem from her frustration that we come home from school and I go workout instead of playing. I have tried explaining that a fit me is better for all of us. She gets it, sort of. I know that I should get up early in the morning so as not to take away from the time with her…but in the end, that does not always happen. And so I keep explaining. Or trying.
Coming back from my five mile run this morning I tried to show her how happy I felt to have accomplished it. To have run up the very last hill, to have run through the hip pain. I want her to see how the accomplishment of achieving a goal feels. The truth is that as much as I need her to see this, I need to believe it as well. It is fine and good for me to want to be a role model for her….to have her see a mom that is happy and that feels confident about herself. But more than that, I know that I need all of that for me too. I need to walk the walk and exude it…and so I keep going.
Last week was a good workout week. The scale did not change, but I went to spin, got back to my P90x, and ran twice. In truth I feel as if I am starting over (again) with my goals. But more than that, I realize how important it is to feel good…..I am healthy. I have a loving and wonderful family. I have a husband who is an angel. I have a daughter that is…well she just is. And for all of that, I cannot be the woman that cries in the closet.
What about you…what are you realizing?
This post is a revised version of an article, From Inside the Closet on my shared Real Life, Real Moms column on the Chantilly Patch.