I have been a mom for over five years, but nothing has motivated me to take control of my family’s health and wellness as much as Kellen’s CCAM. While I was pregnant this third time, countless people–from friends to family to complete strangers at the grocery store–felt the need to impart their feelings on “being outnumbered” with three kids: You’ll be lucky to get out of the house! Try to remember to eat! How will you keep their names straight? The laundry! But you already have your boy and your girl! These such positive and supportive comments truly helped ease a mind already panicked at the baby’s health and worried about the impact a newborn would have on a 3-year old and 5-year old.
I am a bit of a control freak. I am the type of person who rearranges the dishwasher after my husband loads it. I adjust the way my mom has placed one of my child’s shirts on a hanger when helping me around the house. I am by no means a neat freak or a clean freak, but I need to be in control of so much of the minutia in life to feel any sense of inner balance. Kellen’s diagnosis really shook me at my core. Not only was his health in question, but my ability to be in control–and, this time, about something so vital, so real–was virtually non-existent.
As I neared and then passed my due date, I realized just how little control I had over many of life’s biggest moments. I couldn’t predict or plan this baby’s arrival. I couldn’t will him a perfect lung. I couldn’t even control how he would change the lives of my other two children.
I’ve mentioned my maternal grandfather, Vince, on this blog a few times. “Let it go” was his signature phrase, one that ties us to him still. After we learned the CCAM CVR was only a .21, I became open to letting go of so much stress and worry and emotion. I continued to carry so much weight and so much internal pressure to get everything right, however, in the other aspects of my life. The moment Kellen was born and I heard him cry the most robust, gorgeous cry, though, I finally let it go. All of it.
What is it? Everything I can’t and shouldn’t attempt to control, to micromanage, to perfect. The irony in this is that just as quickly as I let go of what I couldn’t control, I became more aware of what I could control: my health, my happiness, my confidence, my ability to provide these for my family.
This is my why, my reason for making healthier choices and for making myself a priority. First, I joined a boot camp, this first thing I have done solely for me in a very long time. This inspired me to rekindle my love of writing and to launch this blog. The catharsis it allows me is priceless. Both of these new endeavors have equated to more accountability in my choices. I am sticking to my workouts and to clean, balanced eating not simply to lose the baby weight or to write about it. I want my confidence and my control in the most healthy way. I want to be almost as strong as Kellen. I want to be a role model for my daughter. I want my middle child to love cooking healthy meals with me, not just baking cookies. I want all of my children to grow up in a house where we follow our dreams and support one another and don’t stress about the rest. That is why I’ve taken the step to become a Beachbody coach–to inspire my children and other people as well.
I’ve let go of much of my panic and embrace my life’s chaos and unpredictability. I’ve let go of bad eating habits and perpetual snacking and have made room for healthful choices and real meals. I’ve let go of the me who held herself to an impossible standard and welcomed the work-in-progress me.
In doing this, I realize I have real time on my hands. Yesterday, I spent two hours at a hair salon highlighting my hair. It is something I have wanted to do for years, but chickened out with worry of how I’d look. At least that was the excuse I said out loud. The truth? The idea of doing something alone and just for me and at such a cost made me almost sick. I am a working mom and my husband would never tell me I couldn’t pay for something like that, but I still felt such guilt. The expense! The time away from the kids! I let these excuses weigh me down. I let go of such excuses on November 11th. And I still had time for life. I spent the morning at CHOP for Kellen’s follow-up (all is perfect!), took my daughter to get her new glasses, did some laundry (with the help of my mom and I didn’t fix any hangers!), and made two meals, one for dinner and one for lunch for the week. I am not listing this to brag. I then ended the night working on my Beachbody coaching business plan and doing some training while watching the Iowa caucuses and college hoops with my husband. I didn’t get a long workout in, which I would have liked to do, but I had me-time, family-time, husband-time, and healthful-time regardless. I will celebrate victories, especially Kellen’s, and not pay attention to what didn’t work or didn’t happen. I’m thrilled with what I can control and the rest, well, I’ve let that go.