I have been quite absent over the past month and a half. Mid-December saw the angry hold of some sort of flu-like monster on the entire family. There was a solid week there where I didn’t think we would make it.
You guys, there is nothing worse than sick toddlers and grown men. Nothing.
That was quickly followed by the onslaught of the holiday season. Months of careful and thoughtful preparation enjoyed quickly and with much food and drink. Many memories were made and plenty of sugary-sweets were consumed. Hours spent breaking down the packaging of new toys and trying to stuff it into the trash bin.
The New Year rolled in as it always does, with a mild hangover from too much drink and never enough of some of our favorite people. It was supported by a rambunctious 2 year old that fiends for my attention and touch 24/7.
Constantly wants her momma…constantly (“Aw, that’s so cute. You’re going to miss that one day.” Yes, I am aware of that, Brenda, but that doesn’t make it any less annoying in the moment.)
It was hard returning to work after the New Year, but only having 2 days until the weekend helped.
I was looking forward to relaxing and recovering, when I realized my Certified Personal Training certification exam was only 8 days away….
The idea of relaxing, playing games with the kids and binge watching Netflix were quickly swept away as I locked myself into studying with every free moment. I dedicated as much energy as I could to reviewing and learning.
And most of that 8 days, it was at the loss of my husband and children. He was a real champ.
My mood was off. I didn’t feel like myself. I couldn’t find joy in things I generally loved. But I kept my nose to the grind stone.
And it paid off! As of Jan 10th, I am officially official! Once I figure out what I want to do with it, I’m gonna train like crazy!
Finally, the relief. I can be myself again. Any moment now, my energy will return to the sad excuse for “energetic” that my kids made it. Annnyyy minute now…..
Hmmm….I could really use a nap right now. I still don’t want to engage in my family. I just want to sit here quietly and be ignored….something’s not right.
And then it hit me. I had not recovered from the holidays yet! I was quite literally, mentally exhausted. We had jumped from one thing to the next for a month, without really stopping and taking deep breath.
There had been multiple parties, family gatherings, traditions, too much laundry, long road trips, snotty noses and achy bodies and I had said yes to them all because, I am woman, hear me roar!
Workouts had suffered, sometimes they were skipped! (Calm down!)
Bed times had crept back to 8:45 pm, snoring, open-mouthed on the couch with flash cards stuck to my face.
Nighttime routines were abandoned, jumping into bed with too many layers on, only to wake up at 2 am sweating profusely.
Children’s teeth fell asleep un-brushed. Bedtime stories were left unread. Vegetables uneaten, while candy reigned supreme!
Who had I become!! What fresh, lazy hell was this? How could I become less than perfect??
And for the New Year, no less. The time when we are supposed to pretend to get it all together and start a fresh, clean new year full of promise and resolutions?
I’ll tell you who I had become. I had become every over worked, happy, merry human being that yearns to make all of those Christmas memories while still people pleasing and not letting anyone down. I had become all of us, struggling to host and keep a clean house.
Struggling to enjoy the moment I was in, because there too many important things that needed to be done tomorrow and the next day.
Struggling to shower on the regular, because if I shower, then I’ll have to do my hair and that means I have to get out of bed now and not in 15 minutes.
Wait, scratch that, I will just stay in bed the extra 15 minutes, shower quickly and then rock my wild curls to work. Every body wins.
Shit, that leaves no time for make-up…….screw it. I’ll just be natural.
“Geez, Cyn, you look so tired…” says everyone at work that sees me, “Are you alright?”
“No, KAREN, I am not alright! I am trying to meet the demands of an ever expectant society, while juggling work and trying to pretend I didn’t make the snack for my daughter’s 1st grade Christmas party on the way to the school…”
I’m sorry, what was I talking about…that’s right…
There is this pressure to start the New Year fresh, to have this idea that on the 1st of the year you are going to finally be a better person.
We are expected to rebound from the chaos and exhaustion of the holidays without cynicism (totally had to look up how to spell that) and with new goals to accomplish in the next 12 months.
News flash: the holidays are flipping exhausting, 100% exhausting.
So, here I am, 5 days after completing the certification exam, already half way through January and I am starting to feel normal again.
Let’s be clear, I will never really feel the normal that I long for again, the normal of my 20’s. For some reason, every time I think of my energy “normal,” I go there. It really sets me up for failure.
My new normal is fine. My 20’s energy isn’t sustainable anymore. I have to accept my mid-30’s level of energy (with small kids) and move forward. I have to accept that I need time to recover from the holidays.
I need to accept that long gone are the days of raging it for Christmas and NYE and then bouncing back with less than 10 days recovery and a therapist…
So, I have locked it down. Social engagements to a minimum until March. It’s time to watch Escaping R Kelly, Naked and Afraid and Murder Mountain until the rebirth of spring. (I am aware that winter will still be in the Midwest in March, but a girl can dream.)
I love the holidays. They are truly magical and I always get excited for them. I can’t wait to get the tree and wraps the gifts. I squeal in delight when we go through the ornaments we have collected over our 10 year life together.
But, let me reiterate…they are exhausting.
I will remain the color grey until my empty tank has been filled with Saturdays at home and Sundays in worship.
I will continue to nurse my post-holiday wounds with quiet evenings in front the fire, shamelessly scrolling IG or reading a sci-fi novel.
I will snuggle my babes and read stories under the covers, tickle fights will ensue.
And I will feel accomplished for it. Because my “New Year’s Resolution” (if I have to participate, which I don’t generally) is to be in the moment. It’s to be present for my needs and the needs of my family.
It’s to soak in the majesty of the now.
Tomorrow will inevitably come. It always does and it will be filled with things to do and tasks to check off.
And I’ll be ready for it, back to my cheery sarcastic self. Fully rested from the holidays and ready for February!