Thursday, October 10, 2013
The Weight of a Mom
I lay Rosie down on my bed gently. Her eyelids flutter and her arms flail out, sensing the loss of my warm body against hers. I rest my forearm firmly across her chest and don't move...for 5 minutes. If I move before the 5 minutes are up, she'll be, too. If I wait - I might get a solid 20 minutes on my own. Maybe.
I stand and stretch out my back, tiptoe out of the room. I gather up the laundry on the floor of the bathroom and toss it into the hamper in the hall, lug the whole thing down two flights of stairs to the laundry. Back up to the first floor to start the dishes. If we hurry, we could get through bible before she wakes up.
I've been trying to work out lately. Mostly in a bid for a little more natural energy and the desire to be somewhat in shape to keep up with my kids, I borrowed the 30 Day Shred dvd from my sister and set to work. It's a great fit for me - roughly 25 minutes all said. A decent sweat, quick and simple to do in a tiny living room. And who doesn't have 25 minutes in a day?
I said that to myself, degradingly, the first day I didn't have 25 minutes in a day. And then the next time. And the next. And then I realized - hmm, you know...I've been buying a line that isn't exactly true.
We all have 24 hours in a day, yes. And we all get to decide just how those 24 hours are spent. "Inspirational" quotes across pictures of impossibly fit models tell us that we can look the same - if we want it badly enough. If we prioritize it. Anyone can make 2 hours a day to run, right? Or to drive to the gym and get it in?
Well, not anyone. I do prioritize, but these days my priorities are a bit different. Homeschooling matters to me, so that is one. Being an attached Mama to my littlest babies is important to me, too. Time with my husband, who works and goes to school, matters. Sleep - when I have 6 children to raise and teach and care for - matters very, very much. And yes, some days, some days I don't get 25 minutes on my own. Or I get all set up to work out, and someone asks me to read them a book. On the days it does happen, I'm grateful. I feel great. Sometimes my husband can take the baby in the evenings, after the dishes are done and the kids in bed. I love that. Sometimes my daughter takes the baby in the afternoon, and I squeeze in time between school and chores and meals. Sometimes, however, it is not in the cards. And instead of berating myself for not prioritizing it enough, I'm realizing that sometimes my other choices are simply more important.
I know, at this rate, I'll never have ripped abs. My Mama-soft stomach that belies the 6 babies that once nestled there, why, it might just be that way forever. But you know, I don't think I'll regret it. I won't regret nursing my baby to sleep, or giving up and falling asleep with her because all her little 6 month old self wants is to be in my arms all night. I won't regret these days with all of my kids at home, learning together - because in the near future, it will just be a memory. I won't regret the books I read, the faces I painted, the cookies I baked with my toddler by my side.
The weight of this mom may be a bit heavier than she wants. But maybe there's a reason for that. I'm choosing where my 24 hours a day goes...and working out, while good and important, sometimes doesn't make the list.
20 minutes on the dot passes before Rosemary notices that I am gone and calls out for me. I started the laundry, dishes and read bible to the bigs. My 20 minutes is up. I head back upstairs to lay with my baby in bed, coax a bit more sleep out of her. As I slide in next to her, she reaches out with both hands to feel my body come in, close. My stretch-marked, imperfect body. The perfect size and weight for her - and just exactly what she wants.
And I don't regret it one bit.
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