a little perspective goes a long way

 me, at 2 o'clock. no make up. bed isn't made. no plans for dinner...yet.

a word of advice, actually the only advice my mother gave me, the day before i married. "don't let yourself go" she said, "always take care of yourself, no matter how poor you are, buy that color lipstick or special lotion, always".  and yes, i am so 1950's deep in my soul that i took it to heart. to always take care of myself. to always look nice. because i'm not going to be that frump a lump mom. not me. my husband will be proud to come home (however anti-feminist that sounds, that's what matters to me). and so, ever since marriage i have gave a valiant effort to take care of myself. and taking care of myself to me is being happy. and i'm happy when i'm healthy, in shape and always learning. so i exercise, try to eat well (good gracious, it is hard), wear nice clothes, read good books. etc. etc. whatever i could to feel beautiful. which includes for me having a nice clean home and cooking awesome food.

and just the other day the repairman came to look at my washer and dryer. after he left i walked into the bathroom, the only room in the house with a mirror (thank goodness). and there i was, this frumpy, muffin-top, scraggly hair, crow's feet, gray hairs, spit-up on shirt, stay at home mom. i looked spent. used up. like i was ready for the compost pile. "when did this happen?" i thought. when did i let myself go? why hasn't anyone said anything?  yes, i get fancied up for church on sunday and date nights on the weekend. but when on earth did i start walking around like this during the day?

i think i might be depressed. that's my only solution. why else would i consider painted on jeans and a too tight shirt that is stained to go visit jess today? with no make-up.  i didn't even brush my hair. i've been holding on for dear life since we've moved. literally some days by teeth and nails. and at night after i read to the girls, and we all say prayers and tuck them in. walk all the way down the hall, sit down on a chair. start to exhale and WHAM we hear a little girl whining or running down the hall, i need more water! she won't share a book!" bawahwahwahwahwahwah (think charlie brown's teacher). and that's when  i kind of lose it. "GET IN BED!" i scream. yes, lately i have been screaming. this is when i know it's time for a little "me" time. annie needs a break. especially since phoebe has turned into a "mommy must hold me and entertain me all hours of the day unless i'm sleeping or eating" kind of baby. and lucy is biting her fingers down to little bloody nubs and abby is crapping in her pull-up every night that she has a diaper rash.

and no, i'm not saying that i need a "vacay" as people put it. blech. i don't need pampering or a massage or a pedicure (though that would be nice for my newly cracked desert feet). i don't need people to tell me i'm doing a great bang up job (because actually two nice women did tell me that this past week and i'm still walking around like a zombie).

i need to just start taking care of MYSELF too. you know, like in the airplane last month. the flight attendant walked down the aisle after giving the "how to" instructions in case we totally biff it and nose dive to death. she stopped only to talk to me, the one with the baby. "you need to give yourself the air first" she said as she jabbed the face mask in my direction. "ok" i nodded up and down and mouthed because phoebe was being quiet for that millisecond.  and yes, i know people use this analogy all the time but it hit me. i'm a mom, i'm in charge of three human beings 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. i don't get lunch breaks (although nap time is awesome, it's not the same) or have my workday end at 5 or weekends off or maternity leave for crying out loud. i don't get bonuses or christmas break or petty cash drawers. and i'm not complaining. i love my job. i wanted this job. it is what i've always wanted. i sacrificed many things to get this position. but the key point of all this bantering (and i salute anyone who's still reading) is this: i'm a boss with one of the hardest jobs of them all. the consequences of if i do a crappy job are innumerable. and, this is the kicker, my girls will end up being JUST LIKE ME. so it is more than imperative that i have to take care of myself first. if i'm not gettin' oxygen, everyone else will suffocate also. or as my mom says, "if mom isn't happy, nobody is happy". amen.

and so, tonight,  i'll don my speedo swimming suit on and bob up and down in the water in an attempt to work out in the heat. and then i'll try and find my workout videos in one of the 100 boxes still in my house. i read about how a family friend moved into their house and unpacked everything the first day. i'm still in awe at that. i'll shower and put make-up on, not that that is what is required to take care of yourself, but it is for me. i'll wear a shirt, without stains that fits. that is, if i can find one. i'll be more consistent with my scripture reading in the afternoon.  and i'll finish reading this book. because i love it. but i feel overwhelmed reading it, like how can i do all this on top of everything else? but it's ok. baby steps. baby steps to moving into my house. baby steps to taking better care of myself. baby steps to not screaming at my children. baby steps out of the elevator.

i love what about bob. best movie ever.


Tam said...

This really only pertains to the last bit of your post but my mom told me once when I was complaining to her about feeling overwhelmed, "Rome wasn't built in a day." I think about that when there's more to do than time to do it. I almost decided to erase this and not comment until I saw the word verification was "blesses". I felt it was a sign.

Anonymous said...

Go Annie, Go Annie, Go Annie!! I have Wnderpets playing in the back round as I am reading your post and the little animals were chering each other on right as I was finishing up. I couldn't help but send some encouragment your way. Especially since I can relate and I have lived in my house for over 6 months.

Katie said...

depression is the worst. sucks the life right out of you. but by recognizing that you need some more "me" time, you're halfway there to overcoming the blues. and yes, what about bob is the greatest movie ever

Danna Banana said...

I'm glad you see it. Time to SLoW DOWN. Make a very short....short list and check it off.
Lower your expectations down to the reasonable level.
Let me know how it goes.

Jed Wheeler Family said...

1)i am REALLY glad you are my water bobbing partner because I'm pretty sure I could NOT pull that off on my own. And I laugh in my car the whole way home to myself because you are funny! And because I think we scare the crap outta those girlies.
2)amen to the job description
3)desert feet ARE brutal
4)after move #2 we didn't really have to pack for move #3 because everything was still pretty much boxed up after six months of recently moving. heehee
5)i'm going to go do 5 minute abs now, in my thong-a-long.

Emily said...

I found your blog a week or so ago on Camille's sidebar. I loved your post about being mugged by the soft water guy. After reading it... I told myself, then and there, that I would return and read more when I had some uninterrupted time. That time is now.

I have come to the conclusion that I like you...a lot.

Hope you don't mind.


Emily said...

Did I say mugged...I meant mobbed.


Lauren said...

Well, I have no words of advice -- just that I often feel the same way. I scream at my kids and wonder how the smoke did it get this way?! And then oh wow, we're having another one, great. Yes, "vacays" are great but they are like band aids on a broken leg. I have to tell myself all the time, "Just breathe".. so I guess if nothing else I just wanted to say you aren't alone in this sister. I'm trying to work on my frump self too... baby steps.. baby steps. And I promise Jess didn't care that you didn't have make up on and spit up on your shirt. That's how we roll.

Whitney Baldwin said...

Oh man, your job description was spot on. This whole post was. Amen, amen, AMEN!

And now I have to rewatch What About Bob for the millionth time.

Let's be bffs, mmmk? I'll be the Avis to your Julia Child...

Melissa F said...

I love this video, it boost my spirits every time I watch it. You may have already viewed it but I seriously watch it every other day.
I love you Annie, I know we don't "know" each other but I still love you and admire your amazingness!

Jordan and Jandee said...

Love this post....I can relate to it on so many levels....must be why we are friends. I definitely feel like my day goes better when I have actually made some small attempt to get ready, even if it means just combing my hair putting on some mascara and slapping on some chaptstick at 4:45 before Jordan gets home. Sometimes this is a huge feat to accomplish when mothering has literally taken all of your day. I remember you telling me that piece of advice from your mom before I got married and I have thought of it many times and I feel it has made a definite impact on my marriage, but probably it has made a greater impact on helping me keep away those baby blues that can creep up on you when you've just had a baby and your body looks like it was ravaged by a mack truck and you are feeling anything but feminine or attractive. who knew that some chaptsick and mascara could change your life?

oh yes and I loved Animal Vegetable MIracle, but I am also taking the baby step approach to the whole thing....someday right?

Ian and Kacee said...

I admire you Annie! And I love reading your blog. I don't have any words of encouragement, But that video that Melissa suggested is awesome! It's worth watching for sure. I think we all have our "down" days. I usually have one(or two)once a month! But we all have so much to be grateful for!

Becky J. said...

Dr. Marvin! Dr. Leo Maaaaaaarvin!

I love that movie too.

And I loved your post. I wholeheartedly agree. Good luck making it happen.

Jamie said...

Well if this isn't spot on...

Isn't it funny how judgmental we can all be of people and other mom's in general. I used to think that whole 'me time' was a load of crap. Then I had my second child. I have since learned that it is vitally important. I agree that it doesn't need to be 'pampering time.' No thanks. Instead what I want is to occasionally run an errand ALONE, exercise with my ipod blaring, and start and actually finish a project.

Thanks for your post. It's such a great reminder to us all.

Becki D said...

I'm a little late to the party, but you hit the nail right on the head. I'm sure by now you've gathered that you're not alone in the "how the haystacks did I become a frumpy Mom?! and why don't I have the energy to fix it?!" crisis.

Oh, and I'm with Jamie (and you) - pampering would be nice, but sitting in silence for an hour would be just as well - whether running an errand alone, getting dressed, starting and actually FINISHING a task at the house....

Spenser.Michaela.Aria.Izen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Spenser.Michaela.Aria.Izen said...

I came across your blog on Alyson's sidebar. Can I just say, I love your blog posts, especially this one. I've been feeling like a frumpy mom lately. Completely in 'zombie mode' hair in a ponytail and spit up all over my shirt. Its just the kind of perspective I needed. Thank you

Came across this video as well. A bit random. It's a tear jerker and a heart warmer. It's been my 'go-to' video. I hope you enjoy.

P.S. Lucy has gotten SO big! Your girls are A-dorable! C:

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