Parents Who Didn’t Take Care Of Themselves

I am the product of two loving parents who unfortunately took better care of me than they did of themselves. My father was an amazing man whose pride poured out for me, but he got sober too late in his life . He died of cirrhosis of the liver after years of alcohol abuse at the age of 45. I was fourteen. At 32 I lost another huge part of my life. My mother passed away from complications of diabetes. Her kidneys failed. I spent most of my adult life trying to get her to take better care of herself. Even though I suspect it annoyed her, I just wanted her to be around for a long time. Anyone that knew my mom would tell you that she’d give you the last dollar in her pocket if you needed it, but I don’t think she gave herself enough love.

Hannah and Jayden are loving our family hikes.

Hannah and Jayden are loving our family hikes.

Following Someone Else’s Path

I have felt my life take a hard turn with the death of each of my parents, but I often wonder what would have happened if they had taken better care of themselves. What if they loved themselves more? What if they stopped drinking sooner or exercised and made healthier choices? Where would I be and who would I be? Maybe they would still be gone. I’ll never know, but the questions haunt me.

Making Time To Take Care Of Me

I read so many blogs about finding personal time for yourself and I’ve always thought, “yeah with three kids, one of whom is still nursing that’s NOT happening.” Then one day it hit me, the only time I have all to myself is when they are sleeping. Thankfully Sydney started sleeping through the night about two months ago so she typically goes down at 7:30 pm and sleeps till between 5:30 – 7 am. My older kids go down at 8:30 pm. So I started talking to my husband about wanting to join a gym and go after they go to bed at night. My husband was totally on board.

We researched some local gyms and even went to check out a few. Ultimately I signed up at Planet Fitness because it’s open 24 hours and at just $10 a month the price is right. My husband is also a member there. He’s been great about getting the kids to bed so that I can get there and back between 10 pm and 11 pm which is probably the time I would have just been up watching TV or doing errands anyway.

Lose It

My husband also introduced me to a free website/phone app called Lose It that lets you set a goal weight and helps you track the calorie intake that will help you reach that goal. I was very skeptical, especially since I never knew what a serving size for anything was prior to signing up. It actually turned out to be easy and I learned that I can still have pizza or cake as long as I do it in moderation and keep within my calorie limit for the day. Between this program and the gym I’m hoping to take better care of myself, not just for me, but for my family. They need me to be around for a long time and while there are no guarantees in life, I know that taking care of myself improves my odds. If it also eliminates my mommy tummy, well I won’t be sad about that.

I love the freedom of working out alone, but I also love our family hikes.

I love the freedom of working out alone, but I also love our family hikes.

Freedom In Fitness

These precious hours a week where I can get in the car alone and hit the gym give me more than better health, they give me time to myself that I NEVER had before. There is an exhilaration in that freedom that I realize has been missing in my life. I love my kids, but it feels great to be doing something for me for a change. Besides the gym, my family and I have discovered a passion for hiking. The exploring has been fun for the kids and it’s a healthy activity we can all do together.

My goal is not to be skinny or fit in a certain outfit; it’s to be healthier. I, like many moms, have been taking care of my family for so long while neglecting myself. Now, I realize that Will, Hannah, Jayden and Sydney can’t afford for me to neglect myself. Taking care of myself IS taking care of my family. I owe it to them and myself.