I’ve come to realise that this year has been quite stressful. Thankfully nothing tragic or truly life shatteringly negative has happened (and I do try to practice gratitude whenever I can), but it’s just been a few months of emotional and physical drudgery, overall. I guess I’m disappointed because I had such high hopes for 2019 (after a very crazy and at times chaotic 2018) and while it is certainly far from over, it has been confronting having to adjust those expectations and just try to live in the moment.
I am not one to play the victim, though. I am a big believer that while I do not have control over everything that happens in my life, I can empower myself to improve my situation in so many ways. When the chips are down, I ask myself what I can do to turn things around as best I can. To take my power back in little ways that add up.
Lately, I have been sleeping irregularly (some of that is the Little Miss and some of that is anxiety or overthinking etc), stress eating, missing out on exercise and finding my sense of resilience harder and harder to achieve.
I have had all the good intentions in the world, but I’ve had a lot of excuses/reasons (some more valid than others) for not moving forward as much as I’d like in my emotional/physical health journey.
For me, exercise helps my mental health. It gives me a sense of achievement when I am smashing little goals. It gets those endorphins going. It helps my physical strength/stamina which is a big plus when you have a toddler on your hands. It helps me to control my weight and my overall health.
Lately, I have noticed the excess weight I was losing earlier in the year has piled back on. My resting heart rate is increasing (a sign of stress and decline in my fitness). Stress has meant that it’s been hard to shift weight with diet alone (and a good diet involves a little time and prep which I have not truly invested in or sometimes been in a position to invest in), which has probably led to me having a bit of an ‘I don’t care – I’m not getting anywhere’ mentality (I really need to stop that).
It dawned on me a little while ago that the most simple thing was holding me back from doing the thing that got me through when the Little Mister was small.
The Little Miss’ pram.
It was once the Little Mister’s. We’d had it since we got a good deal at a baby expo before he was born in 2011. It was bloody amazing at the time. It was sturdy, came with a great bassinet fitting for a newborn, looked cool, came with some great accessories etc.
I would walk for miles with him on days when I needed to get out.
Since 2011, I feel like there are so many more awesome options available for that. Also, our needs have changed. The Little Miss is our youngest (and final) babe and we simply do not need so much in a pram anymore. It is heavy, it takes up a lot of room in the back of my car, I’m taking her so many more places, so much more often, whether she likes it or not, with school runs and goodness knows what else as she slots into our already established family routines. She’s big enough to sit in a $20 Kmart stroller for quick dashes into the shops, but it’s not comfortable (or sturdy enough) for big days out or walks.
I realised that this situation was causing big mental blocks for me. While I would ideally love to get more child free exercise time, it just hasn’t been realistic very often. I might get time on weekends here and there, but the amount that I would like to do will only happen if I do it with the Little Miss in tow also. I’m usually really great at exercising at home but she’s at a stage where I have to watch her like a hawk the whole time or she gets under my feet or she wants me to cuddle her all of a sudden because suddenly the attention isn’t on her haha. Walks just seem like the best option for both of us – she gets to see trees and be in the breeze (that’s totally her jam) and I get to sweat out my stress (and hot chips) while she’s strapped somewhere and safe!
It can feel a bit extravagant to buy a big item sometimes. Technically, we already had a pram and a Kmart stroller. I marinated on this issue for weeks, while still quietly doing my research.
Eventually, I decided that enough was enough. I had to take the plunge and find the right light weight pram (that was suitable for long walks and potentially jogging) for us. I knew that I was not going to get out there anywhere near enough until I had the right equipment.
I found a really good deal (while I’d been open to second hand purchases I realised the quality I was after was definitely not in my area on Facebook or Gumtree haha) on a stroller/pram that had the features I was looking for. It is the same brand as our original pram, but much lighter and without the excess stuff that you might need for a small baby (or both a baby and a toddler). It has good wheels (with the option to purchase sporty ones for serious exercise/terrain), good steering, the ability to lock the wheels straight or let them swivel, it looks nice enough to take around the city or in big shopping centres too. The seat is comfy. It folds up smaller (very easily). You can purchase a lot of compatible accessories for it (including a rain cover which I picked up at the same time). It has an expandable hood for shade or shelter for the Little Miss. The seat can still recline in case she miraculously falls asleep.
Basically I was thrilled to find it was on sale and that I could get an extra 5% off from the store I got it because I was a member of their loyalty program and had forgotten haha.
Even though it’s as much for the Little Miss and the rest of the family to use/help with, this really felt like an act of self care. To spend the money (when quite frankly my husband doesn’t blink an eyelid if he needs to spend for his leisure/self care/exercise activities) was a big deal for me, but it was absolutely a justifiable spend. The Little Miss will use it for at least another couple of years (even if not as often as she gets confident with walking), it will still be in great shape for re-selling when the time comes (and I’m confident I can keep it in better shape than what I saw second hand when doing my research). The old pram will be sold. My ability to get my health (mentally and physically) on the up and up will be priceless.
You won’t believe how giddy I was when I brought this stroller home. I was over the moon! I am not a believer in mums being told they have treated themselves when they’ve bought stuff for their children and therefore they don’t need anything else just for them – fuck that – but I’d be lying if I didn’t get a lot of selfish (in a good way) and satisfying joy out of this purchase.
I also felt really chuffed with myself for making such a great find and for getting a good price for something new (let’s just say it’s somewhere between a good quality most basic stroller and a middle of the range full pram system). It gave me a sense of pride. I know. I sound like a really exciting person right about now.
The cool thing is that I see possibility and spontaneity in my ability to exercise now. It’s hard enough getting your kids out of the house for anything, but with the old pram it took even longer and was really cumbersome.
I feel free to get started and excited about it. Until yesterday I felt frustrated, dejected and disappointed.
I’ve struggled to make vigorous exercise a regular part of a routine since the Little Miss was born (and probably since before I was even pregnant – I was thrown around with a lot of fertility treatments and terrible shark weeks). Now I feel some hope that I am on the road back to fitness and strength that I have dreamed of for so long!
I also feel so much gratitude that I was able to make a material purchase of this kind to solve my problem. I know I would have adapted if I couldn’t (that’s who I am) but this has made it so much easier and when I’ve been feeling stressed and time poor, this has been a wonderful development.
The Little Miss loves her new wheels too, by the way. She rides around in it like a little queen 😂
What was your last act of self care?