I was laying down on my bed the other day staring into my closet, looking at the bag that holds my wedding dress. Even though it has been 7+ years since I wore it down the aisle, it still hangs in the bag I brought it home from the dress store in. It has long been on my mind to find a better way to store it, but as with many other non-urgent matters, it long ago fell off my to-do list, giving way to things like kids and work and laundry and life.
Today, instead of staring at the bag thinking "Oh yeah, gotta get that thing stored", I took it out of the closet, out of the bag and off the hanger, and attempted to try it on. I did not go into this thinking I would get it totally zipped up the back - come on, 7 years, 3 kids, 30 plus pounds, I'm no fool! - but its an empire waist A-line style, and I was hoping for the best. And I wanted to see my older self in my younger self's dress.
Except I couldn't get the sleeves all the way over my elbows. Really, of all places, MY ELBOWS? The sheer gauzy fabric would not s-t-r-e-t-c-h over my elbows and therefore the shoulders would not go over MY shoulders. So I clutched the dress to my front modestly and wandered into the living. Brian looked up in sheer amazement and asked with a smile "What are you doing in that?", Jacob looked and me and with a worried look asked "Mom, why are you wearing that?" and Austin wanted to know what I was doing wearing a "marriage-thing". After explaining to my three boys that I just wanted to see what I looked like in it now (thank heaven for my new darling daughter... someday she will appreciate moments like this with me!) my sweet husband told me I still looked beautiful in it and I headed back into my room to change.
I don't look - or feel - much like the girl who wore that beautiful dress 7 years ago. Over the last few months, I have been realizing that for too long I have put myself second place to everything and everyone else in my life. I think (KNOW) that as mothers - and especially working mothers - we tend to put our needs on the back burner behind kids, husbands, jobs, household stuff, church callings etc., and I have been no exception. And really, it's just silly because as my mother always tells me, a healthy, happy mom is a better mom.
So, I have been slowly giving myself permission to make it all about me every once in a while! And believe me, it's a hard thing to do. There is still a huge part of me that feels guilty (almost like I'm skipping school or playing hooky from work), when I do things like spend my evenings scrapbooking instead of doing that last load of dishes. But I am doing it because I have realized IT'S OKAY! It's okay for mothers to have hobbies, it's okay to spend money on a hair dresser you LOVE (something else I've recently started) and it's okay to have items in your wardrobe that were bought in this decade and not stained with baby spit-up. I can love my family and try to give them everything they need, and at the same time try to do the same for myself. At the very least, I can find more of a balance between the two.
I long ago swore off New Years resolutions (mostly because I have no will power) but this fall I am going to make some New Mom Resolutions. I am committed to this new way of living and a big part of that is going to include losing some weight. I haven't quite figured out where in my crazy days I am going to fit in time to exercise, but I am going to start somewhere, even if it's just walking to the mini-mart for my Diet Coke instead driving. Maybe by this time next year I will get that dress over my elbows!
To all my other mom friends out there that relate to this, take care of yourselves as much as you take care of everyone else! You are worth it!