I finally gave up a week ago. I just didn’t have the time or energy to fight anymore.
I walked under the house and pulled out a battered box, Mummy’s secret box. A box I swore I would only ever open to sell the contents within. Contents that I was proud to leave behind, contents that I was confident I would have the self discipline to never want or need again. I was wrong.
As I pulled out the items, I was surprised by my emotions. I expected guilt. Shame. A tinge of remorse. But instead, I felt an overwhelming sense…of relief. Even gratitude. And a little excitement.
I didn’t even wash them…I just pulled them out and on…and sighed in relief. The jeans were a size bigger than what I was wearing. They were stretched to my shape and had a little space to spare. So I felt…well slim. In control. And more importantly, I felt really, really comfortable. And that made me smile. Despite the overpowering smell of mothballs.
That weekend I wore my ‘larger’ jeans to a girl’s brunch. One of my dear friends of almost 13 years, and who has seen me through four different dress sizes and the multiple highs and lows of my life, complimented me on how I looked. I was quietly thrilled of course, but laughed and confessed that it was because I had finally given in and pulled out Mummy’s secret box of pants and jeans which were all a size larger than I ever wanted to be again. We all laughed and both my friends assured me I still looked great. Because we’ve all been there.
Let me make one thing very clear- I know I am the one responsible for my need to open this box again. I could blame my metabolism, slowing down from middle age. I could blame the fact that I am time poor and so I take nutritional short cuts which, well, aren’t that nutritious. I could blame the medication I am on. I could blame the stress I have been under trying to balance motherhood, full time work and shortly, study. All are legitimate reasons.
But the fact is, I prefer to sleep that extra hour rather than get up at 5am to exercise. I love hot chips during Winter…I really, really love them. I may pack a healthy breakfast to take to work, but after a sleep deprived night I just smell those bacon, egg and hash brown wraps in the work cafeteria and I know that my Greek yoghurt and cereal won’t keep me satisfied or civil during my first stakeholder meeting. I know I could cut back on my champagne…or at least have it a smaller glasses. But I don’t think that would make me more pleasant to to be around either.
The internet is full of the CEOs with a family of four who find time to exercise and still have a successful career. I’m a tad dubious of the veracity of these claims. Unless they have nannies or au pairs to help during those arsenic hours? Or their children have music lessons, or maths tudors during their excercise schedules? Or are they doing what a lot of us do, and sacrificing something important…like sleep…or even eating…to squeeze in that excercise? We all know how important excercise is for our physical and mental health…but I’ve noticed that not many Mums are honest about how we find/make time for it.
I only know this. From the moment our kids wake up until they go to sleep, our time is not own. We are cooking, cleaning, reading, getting ready for school/childcare/bed. Yes, we. My husband and I. My husband who also wants to start exercising again, but won’t leave me when the kids are screaming, just as I won’t leave him. That’s our choice. That’s what we’ve signed on for.
We both know in reality we have that small window at 0500. But when our alarms go off, we roll over, look at each other, see it’s minus three out and just think no. Just no. At least not until it’s warmer. After all we aren’t training for a marathon…just trying to remain fit enough to go through life and set an example for our kids.
So I’ve washed…and I’m wearing…my ‘larger’ pants and jeans. And for the moment, I’m actually ok with that. Perhaps I’ll re-evaluate my lifestyle when the weather returns to one of sunshine, peep toe heels and salads. And perhaps I won’t. Regardless, I’m just grateful I kept Mummy’s secret box.