On the boys’ last day of school, I posted this photo on facebook and instagram:
100+ people liked it.
I was not one of them.
When the weekend was over and the high of the first days of summer waned, I looked at this photo. I didn’t see a happy mother whose arms are full of boys. I saw make-up that needed re-touching, crow’s feet, and gray roots. I saw all that was missing. Or, what I thought was missing.
I had a doctor’s appointment this morning and the first thing I had to do was step on the scale. Blerg! The numbers staring back at me were high. Higher than they have been in a long time. I texted a friend and said “Must exercise. Now.”
All of this is happening as I prep to go back to our cottage in Pentwater (where the above photo was taken ) tomorrow and spend a kid-free week (A WHOLE FREAKING WEEK!!!!!) with some girlfriends to celebrate my 40th birthday. I am hoping for some sun and naps on the beach. That will require a bathing suit and usually involves more self-loathing.
Not one of my friends will say anything to me about my appearance in my suit. And if they did, screw them. That’s not a friend! They are coming to have fun, to also have some kid-free down time, to drink wine, and laugh. As well they should. As well I should.
Not one of my friends commented on what was “missing” from the photo above. Because, nothing is missing. I am complete and whole and worthy just as I am.
So, why am I saying these things to myself? Why am I quick to uplift friends and support them unconditionally, but just as quick to tear myself down? There is a meme that circulates that says, “How you speak to your children become their inner voice.” The same applies to me.
My goal for the rest of 40 is to really focus on being kind with, and to, myself. I am worth it. I can no longer give and give to others and leave the crumbs for me. No one made me do this. No one has guilted me into acting and feeling this way. I have done this to myself, as I know many other women (especially moms) have as well. I got myself into this and it is just as important for me to dig myself back out.
Yes, I need to exercise again. But, I need to do it for me. I need to do it because it helps me mentally. I need to do it to relieve stress and have fun. Exercise is free therapy and a great salve for depression. I know this. I need to focus on this. If weight loss happens as a result, great. Just like I would say all these encouraging things to a friend, I will start saying them to myself.