Tuesday, January 8, 2013
I have known for many years that I put others first. It is part personality and part upbringing. As with all things, doing it to excess can be detrimental. I excel at excess. With this in tow - parenting has had a predictable outcome.
Putting your kids first is normal. I believe the memo that I missed was about balance. Other parents seem to have managed to retain their personal care routines, their updated wardrobes, their grooming.
Me - not so much. Before you picture me disheveled and stinky - let me elaborate - I do shower.
However, I have been needing a haircut since October. My pedicure is about six weeks overdue. I cancelled a dental appointment in November which remains unscheduled. This is not new. I have been a parent for nearly ten years - it's routine for me. I don't think it's a big deal. I think you can over focus on aesthetics.
Packing for our last trip to the snow, however, brought me an Oprah type Ah Ha! moment. As I pulled out snow suits, hats, gloves, warm boots, snow boots, helmets, goggles and everything else that was needed I realized that I had none of the above. I planned to ski in a raincoat over a fleece left here by my Dad - both the wrong size for me. I had no cozy warm winter boots. No goggles - not even a serviceable pair of sunglasses. Every other family member had quality winter clothing that was warm and would last. I had leftovers or cheap gear that would be lucky to last the week. As I made a vow to treat myself better this year we headed up to the snow.
The mountains were magical. A huge winter storm had just blown through and it was a winter wonderland of deep snow banks and branches sagging under the weight of six inches of snow. The glistening snow brought silence and many wonderful sounds. Crunchy feet and joyful, squealing children. It was glorious.
We decided this was the year to go skiing as a family. We headed to a tiny little ski resort with two lifts and acres of bunny runs. Renting skis for four was a chore. Crowded, frantic, difficult. Finally we trudged up to the first lift. I secured helmets and gloves, got tiny booted feet into tiny skis, instructed about lifts and stopping as we got in line. So focused on the children and making sure they were all set, knew what they were doing, where they were going, how to stop, what not to do - that all of a sudden I realized we were close to the front of the line. I still had my skis in hand. I threw them down on the ground and stepped in. We shuffled forward. Something wasn't right - I knew it. My bindings were wrong. Shuffle. I looked over at the husband and told him I was having a problem.
It took him maybe three minutes to stop laughing long enough to point out that I had my skis on backwards. The wide, rounded part of my ski was in back and the square narrow part in front. This is a prize worthy achievement. Technically impossible. Yet, I had achieved it. The crowning moment in my lack of self care. We laughed so hard we had tears running down our cheeks. We didn't take a photo - I wish we had. I would have put it on my fridge to remind me about balance.