For me somehow, right from the beginning, it's been important to have time for A and I as a couple. We've had good help at home, and my parents living close by so we've managed to go out for movies, out for meals or parties once in a while. But time to myself has been something I've been pretty stingy about, maybe also because I work fulltime.
In the beginning it was so bad that I would put off nature breaks if the kids wanted something, not realising I was hopping uneasily from one foot to the other while getting whatever they needed. Now it's a rare occurrence for me to go out for so much as a mani-pedi, a once in 3-4 months thing. Haircuts have become an annual event. (Of course, the mani-pedi-haircut thing may also be because I'm naturally lazy about things like that - have been even before I had kids.) Reading is once the kids are in bed or while I'm getting ready or commuting. Writing tends to happen late at night or during occasional breaks at work. Worst of all is that I've fallen off the fitness wagon.
I used to work out thrice a week with a trainer when Chubbocks was small. But that was a time I felt I could permit myself since I worked only halfdays. Then, after Puddi came, I started really rationing my me-time so I began working out with the trainer at 5:30 in the morning, as that one hour was a spell during which the kids and A were fast asleep, so I wasn't 'robbing' anyone of that time. And after Bojjandi came along, I just didn't have the bandwidth or the energy, between breast-feeding, pumping, working and making time for the other two and A.
It's only when I took a break from work, starting July, that I felt I could make a commitment to one hour of working out, and enrolled in a nearby gym. It's been a great thing for me, because I'm not a do-it-yourself yoga type, I either need a tape/ DVD or the energy of other people that bounces off the wall at a gym, to push me. I also have always loved weight-training and working out on machines and the gym has more than enough for my needs so I love working out there.
More than everything, though, when I was doing some thinking about life directions as one tends to do at the end of every year, it hit me that being fit and healthy and energetic went beyond just going back to my original size - before the hypo-thyroid and baby-making caught up on me. It was to do with the sense of empowerment I felt just by taking action against something I saw as an issue. And also, it was about becoming healthier, having more energy to do things for myself and for others. That's when it hit me that one of the few changes I feel called upon to make this year onwards in my attitude towards my own health and fitness, and me-time in general.
I have to start thinking of it as an investment in the family, rather than something I'm robbing them of. Just like I try and think of working as something that builds assets for the family - more money, yes, but also a more patient me. My being fit and having more energy to hang with the kids and being more healthy is likely to keep paying off longterm dividends for the family. I'll be around longer, for one thing. And healthier more of that time. And happier, with a better self image and more positivity and a better attitude about how to cope with life's troubles, big and small.
I think a lot of women make this mistake of treating anything they do for themselves as an indulgence and therefore either of secondary importance or 'robbing' their family. Sometimes it is, let's face it. But a lot of times, it is something that's necessary for their physical and mental wellbeing, so let's stop Nirupa-Roying ourselves!
Cross-posted at Rainbow Days