My marriage finally hit rock bottom the Monday morning after Thanksgiving 2012. My husband chose that day to tell me that he no longer loved me. It was my first holiday season as a mother, and I was alone with our baby.
It wasn’t until after my husband left me that I realized I was becoming a shell of a person. I had spent the 6 months since E was born sacrificing myself to take care of her every need. I had martyred myself, trying to keep my family together. I needed to take time for myself. It was not only okay to do things for me, I needed to make myself take a break in order to be present for E.
I found a great day care that she could attend 3 days a week, 4 hours a day. Those three days a week I went to the gym, and then treated myself to a cup of coffee out. I began to think about the life that I wanted for E and I. It was going to be just the two of us going forward, what would our life look like?
I took a job that didn’t pay enough because I loved the general manager. Everyday that I walked away from my baby and went to work, was a step toward reclaiming a piece of myself. I found a purpose outside of being a mother. I started making plans. I started cooking for myself again. I had always made healthy meals for E, but it was hard to cook for one person. My amazing job introduced me to a new gym. I started taking Barre3 classes, and fell in love with a new routine.
I started taking college classes. I’ve always been interested in nutrition, so I looked into what kinds of jobs are available in that field. I started dreaming bigger. I would work towards becoming a Registered Dietician so I could help others be healthy. I found a nutrition program at the community college, swallowed all of my insecurities about going back to school, and enrolled.
It has been three years since that awful day. I may always look back, and wish things had turned out differently. But this year is a turning point. This year, I am proud of what I have accomplished. I am proud of the plans and dreams that are ahead of me. Even though this road is much harder than the one I planned, I am excited to show my daughter that we create our happiness with dreams and hard work.
As I approach this holiday season, I continue to take time for myself as needed. I make sure that my commitments to myself (cooking healthy foods, going to the gym) are honored, just like I would honor plans with friends.
I want to remind all of the moms in our community to take care of yourselves this holiday season. Make plans, have fun, and enjoy your families. It’s easy to over plan, over schedule and burn out. Take moments to honor yourself. At the end of the day, an investment in ourselves allows us to be more present from our families. Happy Holidays from my little family to yours!