I am not a New Year's resolution type of person. The most I will ever commit to try to improve on in the vicinity of a new year is … "floss more." And do I ever floss more? To the chagrin of my dental hygienist I say "NOPE." (Or maybe it's to her delight? My lack of flossing certainly does keep her in business!)
Why just a few days ago in a post-Christmas wave of insanity (inspired, no doubt, by the fact that NO ONE is in school right now and EVERYONE is going a little stir-crazy) I decided for about 30 seconds that I would try to head to the YMCA, drop my kids off at the childcare center and run a few untangled miles on a treadmill with my running buddy Ludacris. Fast forward 30 seconds when I realized that it was January 1st and everyone and their uncle was probably at the Y, taking up machines for the next two weeks with their good intentions. No thanks! See you in two weeks when half of you have lost interest in your unrealistic goals!
Anyway, what I mean to say is, I don't like making goals just for the sake of making goals. If I want to accomplish something and I set my mind to it? I can usually do it. In fact? I usually do something crazy like … marry that totally unavailable dude over there. Have two kids in two years despite 2 miscarriages. Run two marathons in a year. I get it done. I DO WHAT I WANT.
And yet? I am experiencing some new territory right now. In the last six months – and no coincidence, my third baby turns six months old tomorrow! – I have not been able to do much but keep afloat. Everyone's fed, bathed, hugged & kissed, lunches get packed, homework gets done, dishwasher's run, essential clothing items are washed (sometimes), and sometimes I even make dinner or sweep the floor! But that's about what I can manage in the 2 hours a day I am not nursing Lucy. And when I'm nursing I am scrolling on my phone because what else can I do with one hand? While I was scrolling the other day I read something that someone posted on Facebook and it had this message (among many others) couched within shoddy walls of profanity and self-righteousness about getting pretty girls to like you: "Create more than you consume." And it got me to thinking about the hours upon HOURS of reading I have been doing online lately and the zero amount of writing I have been doing. I have been doing so little writing that BlogHer advertising finally, at long last, sent me a breakup letter. And they were right! Here I am collecting a teensy paycheck for … writing NOTHING! Even so? I was emailing my editor asking what I could do to keep my spot and making plans to write 4 days a week. Even though I barely shower 4 days a week. And that got me to thinking about writing, and the conclusion I made is that I spend a lot of time wishing I was doing it instead of doing it. So. Here I am on January 3, writing. I think I still have some things to say.
Back in November I signed up to run another marathon with Team World Vision. I am in week 9 of training and to be frank? It's a sad, pathetic joke. I barely make it out once a week to run. Twice if I'm lucky. We are getting into long run territory (it was 13 miles a week ago and I made it 8.5 miles with the baby in the stroller. It was demoralizing, at best). And yet? Up until about a week ago my brain was like, "NO. You committed to run the full 26.2 miles. YOU MUST RUN IT EVEN IF YOU DIE." There is no account for the fact that I have a 6-month-old baby who is up every day at 4 am. No space for the insanely major surgery I had in addition to a c-section 6 months ago. Oh? And did we forget those two older kids and the husband? There is a part of me that is whispering, "Hey! Guess what! It's ok to scale back and let yourself off the hook on this one! You can still go running! You just don't need to train 8 hours a week right now. It's ok. Run the half marathon this year." And I'm trying to listen to that part without simultaneously convincing myself that I'm a total chump and loser. It's bad enough that I spend about half of my runs right now chastising myself for being 20 pounds too heavy (stop that, Manda! Just be a nursing mom right now!) and too tired all the time (which, ha ha sister. You're just going to be tired for the rest of your life. So let that one go).
Everything feels like a tradeoff right now. We are coming off a crazy December. It began with a magical Thanksgiving vacation in Boise. We went to visit my husband's sister and her family and it was amazing. It was the first Thanksgiving we've had in FIVE YEARS where no one barfed! The children played with their cousins who are the same age! John and I ran a turkey trot on Thanksgiving day! The kids were so amazing on the airplane! We came home to a pristine home!
And then … December! Sydney got a 2 day stomach bug the first week. Then Elijah came down with some mutant strain of the stomach bug that lasted FIVE DAYS the second week, and then ended that week with a double ear infection (all while John was out of town on a business trip! And while he was there one of our dearest friends very suddenly and unexpectedly lost his 45 year old brother). And for bonus points the baby got RSV and she is JUST NOW all better. And so when John went out to get Christmas gifts for the kids two days before Christmas I was like, "YEP!" (and he did awesome. And he does this every year and it is the best way to shop for Christmas ever). And when he and I decided to not even exchange gifts this year it was a RELIEF. For two years I haven't sent out a Christmas card and this year we didn't even get family photos taken. We will probably get the photos taken because I want those for posterity … but the rest of it? It felt good to let go. I was too busy washing puke laundry and filling prescriptions at Walgreen's this month anyway.
And so this is not a New Year's resolution post. This is just to say that I am learning to let go right now and it is difficult for me, but it is also awesome.
Honey badgers don't care.
We pity the foo!