Baby Weight, be Gone (Take Five) Plus One, Plus Ten or Fifteen Pounds

photoAfter this post in March, Baby Weight, be Gone (Take Five) I went on to do exactly what I said I was going to do: I got myself back on a routine I could live with, and put my cravings and overindulging in check. I went back to exercise classes, I interval-trained on the treadmill, plugged in my favorite playlist and ran in the neighborhood, whether I felt like it or not.

By the time we went to Disney World on Spring Break in mid-April, I was feeling better about myself, inside and out. I even went for short runs every day on vacation so I could skip counting calories for the week and enjoy myself. That was a true test of my dedication, wasn’t it? I had changed my habits. I was doing it!

Then we came home.

Even with a beautiful New England spring unfolding, and summer on its way, it’s always kind of a letdown leaving my favorite travel destination and a break in routine. It was back to the day-to-day, where I was feeling torn between motherhood as I knew it and becoming a work-at-home mom finding my way back to my career. I was anxious about the next step in our lives: our twin girls, who are growing up too fast, starting full-day kindergarten in the fall. I couldn’t motivate myself. I was tired of the pressure. I just wanted to live in the moment, so I rolled with my moods from one day to the next, exercising some days and skipping it on other days in favor of Chinese take-out and three Cokes.

Instead of losing the 10 or 15 pounds I already needed to, I gained 10 or 15 more – while making plans for my first 10K in February 2014. Nope, I’m not kidding.

As I work on getting myself in check, again, and again, and Seriously, Not Again… I ask myself how I could let it happen. How many times have I been Right There, and fallen so completely off, even though I wasn’t being unreasonable in the first place? How, while I was paying attention, did I not only fail to lose weight, but gain even more, bringing me to a new-all time high (and low?) And is there a point to answering this question, or do I just keep moving forward?

Perhaps a more valid question would be: how the hell am I going to run six miles in seven weeks from THIS?! Yesterday, I got on the treadmill for a 20-minute interval run, and spent 20 minutes outside afterward, doubled over in a tank top and running skirt in 40-degree winter weather, waiting for the stars and black spots to clear. This morning, although I tried to fight with them, my legs wouldn’t run at all, so I gave in and walked because it was better than nothing, and definitely better than getting flung off the treadmill and breaking something on New Year’s Eve.

I’m trying to shrug off the urge to shame myself over not being where I wanted to be, and even worse, moving backwards. I’m picking up where I left off, because that sounds better than “starting over.” I’m trying to ignore that cranky voice in my head that’s saying, “Yeah, right. How long before you’re back to eating a piece of cake for breakfast, or drinking three glasses of wine instead of going to class, when you were already wearing your workout clothes? When – and how – will you screw it up again?”

But where will I be, if I listen? I like the way I feel after I run and work out. And once I get going, I like the way it feels to work toward something better, and to be on a routine.  I can keep doing what I’m doing, but I know I won’t be any happier or healthier, and this won’t magically undo itself, or become less work for me to undo.

So, I’m moving along, and keeping my goals simple: to finish this 10K, preferably on my feet, and to stay there over the weeks and months beyond it. I’m starting there, and – well, let me not get carried away. I’ll keep you posted.

Happy, Healthy 2014 to you and your loved ones, and best of luck to you in all you do!

Motherhood: My Work-in-Progress

Some days when I sit down to write, I get stuck and wonder if I really have anything important to say. I try to keep at it anyway, now that I’ve committed to keeping a blog, mainly because I know I’m happier when I’m writing than when I’m not writing. I love the way it helps me to put my feelings and experiences in perspective, and to find balance between my emotions and impulses – and the bigger picture of my life and my family. I also love connecting with people: relating experiences, sharing ideas, and learning not to take myself so seriously.

When I get down to the task, though, my brain doesn’t always want to cooperate. Writing has a very important place in my life – and in my journey through motherhood – but sometimes, it just feels like so much work! Which, I recognize, is not actually that different from motherhood itself.

I’ve been able to embrace most of it, highs and lows. Becoming a mother has brought so many blessings into my life. It’s made me realize I’m a lot stronger than I imagined I could be, from our struggle with infertility to a high-risk pregnancy and a pre-term birth. I’ve learned to have a little faith for the first time in my life: in myself and in general. Four-and-a-half years into raising twin girls, I feel more comfortable being me than I ever have, and I love the little world we’ve established as a family.

And yet, at times I’ve never felt more vulnerable, like my shortcomings and failures overshadow everything else.

Most recently, H was sick this week with a fever and upset stomach. Dealing with intestinal distress is pretty near the top of my Can’t-Do List. I could handle wearing spit-up or washing it out of my hair for the first year of the girls’ lives, but now when one of them says, “My tummy hurts!” I panic. My heart races, and I go into this insane, Lysol-everything-in-sight mode, and I lose sleep worrying about who will get it next and when. How maternal, right? My husband is completely un-phased by this, and effortlessly embraces the hugging and comforting and dreadful clean-up that comes with such an illness. I’m grateful for his ability to do this, but it makes me feel like a jerk. I did my best, and I want to be better, but it definitely makes me feel like less of a mother. Especially when I’m holding H and she says to me, “If you get a fever, I’ll snuggle you ALL day.”

I know there will be no shortage of reminders that I’m a work-in-progress as a mother – which is much harder to accept than being one as a writer.

When the girls fight with each other relentlessly or they’ve each been in time-out twice before 8 AM, I wonder what I’m doing wrong. When I just need some time to myself, or I’m trying to get something done while they show me something for the tenth time in as many minutes, I’m afraid I’m not giving them enough attention. There’s no end to the list of things that stick in my mind. Somehow motherhood keeps me in check, no matter how good I might have felt the day – or the minute – before. And I can’t help thinking that maybe, just maybe, I’m in over my head. Stuck.

One of the best things about writing is that when I stop over-thinking and actually write, eventually, a piece comes together and falls into place. With two little people depending on me, I have to trust that the same thing will happen with motherhood – that with love and patience, commitment and good intentions, somehow, we’ll all be okay.