Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Working Mom: Meg (on Making Time for Yourself)

I am a working mom (and I love it); but, if I'm being honest, I feel like most days I'm more "surviving" and less "making it work."  So... I enlisted the help of some dear blog friends to share their experiences, advice, lessons, and encouragement on all kinds of topics related to life balancing a job outside the home and a family. I think this goes without saying, but please know that this series is - in no way - meant to belittle or undermine the work of stay-at-home moms - you are doing an incredibly important JOB, and I have so much respect for you!  That said, I do feel like working moms are sometimes under-represented in the internet world... So, my hope is that this will be a place for working moms of the blogosphere to unite and feel understood, connected, strengthened, and supported (plus, maybe pick up a tip or two)!   Overall, I hope this will be a reminder that (regardless of your situation), you are NOT alone, and you are doing a darn good job! Please introduce yourself and  "join the conversation" in the comments.  

(More from me on being a working mom here.)

Meg was one of the first people I thought of when the idea for this series came to my mind.  She is a loyal blog reader and commenter - the kind of person you feel like you know really well even though you've never actually met in person - and, I happen to think she also has the BEST fashion style ever (you should see her two year old little girl too).  Lately, in particular, she has been a huge inspiration to me because of her lifestyle changes and weight loss journey.  She is proof that I CAN fit in time to take care of myself, and that doing so makes me an even better mom.  :)  I am proud to welcome Meg to my blog today as she talks about the importance of making time for YOU.


Hi, my name is Meg and I just have to say, first and foremost, that I am so honored that E gave me some space to write about some of my favorite things (mama-ing, working, and exercising). She is one of my most favorite bloggers and I almost always (sorry, E, I don't watch the Bachelor) find myself nodding along to her posts. I am pretty sure if we lived close to each other, we would be In Real Life friends. 

 I (sporadically) write over at my very little and humble blog, Better Late than Never. My husband, Ryan, and I have been married for 5 years and our daughter, Avery, is a sweet and spunky two and half year old. We actually started our family with pugs, and now have three of them (I question this decision daily). Both Ryan and I work full time and my sister watches Avery at our home (in which I could write a whole post on what a blessing this is).  I work in the automotive paint and coatings industry. I like my job and I love my group of coworkers.  My job is very flexible and that makes the biggest difference when attempting to juggle all the other important pieces in life.


Anyway, I should probably get to the point of this post and what E asked me to focus on: Making Time for Yourself


This is the thing: You make time for what is important and what is important to you.

We all know, and have experienced, life shifts – or flipping completely upside down – during big moments – getting married; having kids…things that were so important to us when we were dating/engaged soon become trivial to what is important when we are married and living life as an “other”. And then we have kids – or for me, my first child.

For the first two years of Avery’s life, I got up, went to work (I am up, out of the house and at work before most people are even awake), came home and it was all things Avery until she went to sleep for the night.  This was OK and what we needed to do for that time as we adjusted to a new baby and a new schedule – a term I use lightly. While I was trying to figure out the balance of working and being a wife and a new mom, I was putting on the pounds. We ate what was convenient, and did not do any more exercise than running up and down the stairs of our home. By the time Avery’s second birthday came around, I was 50+ pounds overweight, unhealthy and succumbing to my laziness. Worst of all, I was miserable.

It was the evening of this past Mother’s Day that something happened. I cannot really explain what snapped (or clicked?). But I felt the fire under my arse start to burn, and alas! it was not hemorrhoids – this time. So I signed up for Weight Watchers and went back to spin class the very next day.

For five months now I have been working hard to get this weight off, and get healthy and fit. I am down 30lbs and have 20 more to go. I spin 3-4 times a week. I go to Body Pump once or twice a week and I run one day a week. On the weekends, we try to do something together as a family whether it is a 10 mile bike ride on a great trail near our house or a walk around neighborhood. I have even been a good influence on my husband and he started eating better (not that he had much of a choice since we live in the same house) and he goes to the gym 5 days a week.




It was hard for me, at first, to not feel guilty about spending time at the gym, even though I only go for an hour. I am away from Avery during the day, was it selfish to go and do something I wanted (I needed)? The answer I have come to is “No”. A very confident NO! Exercising makes me happy. I am betting most of you know the many benefits of exercising, along with losing weight so I won't bore you (sorry if that happened a few paragraphs ago)with all of that stuff.

Exercising makes me happy and, in turn, I am a happier wife and a happier mother. The stresses of work and home are sweated away each night on the seat of a spin bike, the belt of a treadmill or under the weight of a barbell in Body Pump. Sticking to this healthy and physically fit lifestyle has given me confidence I did not expect. Instead of feeling bad that I am away from my daughter of another hour, I am proud that she sees me up and doing something, coming home sweaty and happy. 

For the most part, Ryan and I juggle our times at the gym so that one of us is home with Avery. Although our Y does have childcare and we do use it at times when Ryan has to travel or work late or I am not taking a class and can get to the gym before he gets home. Since he goes on his own schedule and I have specific classes I take, we work around my classes. I get home at 3pm Monday through Friday and I get dinner together (we actually just implemented  Crock Pot Monday and Wednesday so we don’t have to worry about dinner at all! It has been glooooorious), I feed the dogs, play with Avery, do some laundry and any other stuff around that house that is calling my name. Then Ryan walks in the door at 5:30, I have Avery’s dinner heating up and he is an able body so he gets his dinner for himself. They eat together and I rush out the door to get to spin before the snooty Swedish cougar gets my favorite spinner. I get home a little after 7, our Y is only 5 minutes from our house, I eat dinner and we usually hang out for an hour in our room as Ryan gets ready to go to the gym and I get Avery ready for bed. Then I get a shower and everything ready for the next day. I try to be in bed by 10.

The week days are definitely a little crazy, but it works for us. We make it work for us. We make it important. We rarely have time or energy to watch TV, thank goodness for DVR! My house is never clean, ok, maybe once a month it is, but with a toddler and 3 hairy, shedding pugs? We use the word “Clean” very loosely. 

We are happy and (getting) healthy. And that is our important.


Read more from Meg (including this "preface" post she published yesterday) at her blog Better Late Than Never.


THANK YOU MEG!

How do you make time for yourself?  What is important to you?

13 comments:

  1. Being a working mom was one of the hardest seasons of my life. I was a high school social studies teacher for 5 years, one of those years while I had my first son Everett. Kudos to both of you- and to you Meg for all your hard work! You look amazing lady! :)

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    1. Thank you! I am so appreciate of your support. I didn't do this all on my own - Jesus gets most of the credit but so do you that cheered me along and encouraged me. Hope you still have it in you for when I have to do this again after baby #2! xoxo

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  2. YOU know I love this! You know it. I have been rooting your shrinking butt on now for months and am so proud of you. I think that you should NOT feel bad about the gym (and I'm so glad you don't)--because it is true, it does make you (and me) a better wife/mother when you can go get the job done, be healthy, and feel good about yourself. Love this and love you, meg!! xo

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    1. Yes to it all! And YOUR encouragement has been so huge to me, as has been your motivation and commitment to getting healthy. One of my biggest inspirations. I will try to keep this love fest short...but thank you for being one of my biggest cheerleaders. And like I said to Kristen above, I hope you are ready to do it again in about 8 month after baby #2. xoxo for-eva

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  3. This was a great post to read first thing this morning! As working moms, I think we often feel that our priority list should include taking care of everything and everyone except ourselves with us at the very bottom of the list or not even making an appearance. I know for me this has been the case at times and when it happens...bad, bad, bad. I remember growing up, my mom would constantly make hair, nail, gym, and girl night out appointments and would be away from home with these commitments a couple of nights a week. She made it a point to do things for herself. Being a child back then, I didn't get it. I looked at it as "selfish" behavior. Now that I have a two year old of my own, I *totally* get it. I can look back and see how she was a better wife and mother by having those time-outs as a parent.

    I need to be better about doing the same for me - this post gives me the nice nudge I've been needing! Thanks so much for sharing, Meg!

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    1. You are welcome and thanks for taking the time to comment! One of the things that I always and will always remember about my mom is that she made time to exercise every day - usually a run for 3-4 miles and she had 4 kids and was a single mom, so I really have no excuse! Even now at 58, she goes walks/runs her dog a few miles every day and attends yoga regularly and comes to spin class with me occasionally.
      Hope you are able to make the time for yourself - I promise you will not regret it!

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  4. We don't have kids yet but this really struck me because I have noticed that I am terrible at making time for fun/self-care and I can only imagine how hard it would be with kids.

    So many of us can get caught up in our To Do Lists and caring for others and we can feel guilty for taking any time for ourselves but it's important for our own emotional/physical health as well as setting a good example for our kids.

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    1. Make some time - you will thank me later :-)

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  5. AMEN! Making time for ourselves is SO important! And I think exercise is a gift that you not only give yourself but your entire family.

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    1. YES! Just the other night my husband was hemming and hawing over whether or not he was going to go to the gym and I was getting my stuff ready to go to spin class, he says "Well, now I am definitely going because I can't have my pregnant wife showing me up!" HAHA! It really does make us all happier when we make that time to exercise, even just 30 minutes. Thanks for taking the time to read my post and commenting!

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  6. I love you Meg! Great post from a great mama. :)

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    1. I love you too, Ashley! I hope you are taking notes on this mama of 2 thing because I'm gonna need them! You make it look (via Instagram) so easy! xoxo

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  7. So I figured it was high time I come back here and properly (and publicly) thank you for letting me have a little bit of your space. I really enjoyed this series and learned something from each contributor. I'm so thankful we found each other in this crazy blog world! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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Your comments are what makes this thing fun! I LOVE to hear from you and do my best to respond to everyone! THANK YOU!


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