It’s 4am. Why the hell am I awake?
I thought the same thing at 3:24am when my eyes opened up and my daughter was in bed beside me. I faintly remember her crying earlier in the evening, but my husband took over because he knew I’d had enough. Sitting on the couch before bed, nearly in tears with the frustrations of a toddler that just won’t go to sleep, he handled bedtime for the second night in a row. My newly three year old is adjusting to a life without her pacifier, and she’s struggling hard. So we’re struggling hard. My friend recently asked me if it “gets easier” when she told me about her challenges with her one and a half year old, and I said, no. It just gets different, hard. One minute a random “I love you Mommy” with a big bear hug and the next the sound of whining that makes the hair on your neck stand up. That’s life with a toddler.
I hesitate writing down any of this because you may be reading this right now, desperately wishing you were pregnant. Trying everything you can in order to have a baby of your own and this jackass (me) is complaining. You may have lost a child or have one that is sick and you’re rolling your eyes wishing that your child was as healthy as mine. I get that. It’s why I usually never negatively post or comment about my own. Because I feel for you, and I know that I’m Blessed. Beyond words.
But if I pretended that it was always easy with my photos of her dancing on the beach with huge grins on her face each day, I would always be showing you my highlight reel not my 100% true life. My husband returns to late nights and long hours later this week, and I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel when this happens, because when it does, she is exponentially easier to put to bed. I think she knows she’s going to see him less so she’s milking every last second of Daddy time that she can get. I cannot blame her there. She and Daddy are bff.
So it’s 4am. Why the hell am I awake? It’s because prep is here, and my empty stomach woke me up today. At less than 11 weeks out from my first show this fall, I am still eating a decent amount of food, but yesterday was a particularly tough workout day, and my body reminded me of that this morning. It’s worth it though. Anything worth having won’t come easy, and this season I have big goals. With two shows scheduled for October and high hopes of a top 5 placement in my first (last time I competed in the NPC I got 6th place in open and 2nd place in Masters over 35), there will be many more early mornings and empty stomachs. So I’ll look on the bright side of today; I got a few extra hours to myself. Many women can relate that these are cherished hours of solitude. I’m off to an early morning spin class. Because no matter how challenging it can be with a toddler, I am better equipped to care for her, if I first care for myself. If you are a struggling Mom, know that I am here with you. Some days are hard. Hopefully there are more bear hugs in store for us today.
It’s been a while since I’ve written anything, not because I don’t have anything to say but because I have so much to say that it’s hard to narrow it all down. I’ve learned so much this year, about health and wellness and about myself about how life can be so simple if we allow it to be.
I am writing this post from the kitchen table of my 600 square foot beach condo. It’s 6:21am and my family is asleep in our little 200 square foot bedroom, my daughter’s cot snug right against our king sized bed. At first I wasn’t sure how we would all adjust to the close quarters of our new surroundings. In the beginning, there were a lot of family naps and early bedtimes as our daughter became acclimated in her new home. In 600 square feet, there’s not much to clean. It’s one of the reasons that I have zero desire to “upgrade” our home near Annapolis. I clean and do enough laundry as it is, I don’t want room for more. Some people think more is better. I believe the opposite. I like less. Less isn’t as messy. Less is less responsibility. If one of us lost a job, it’s easier to manage when you own less, have less, want less. I like less. Less is freeing.
At the end we will have spent over 50 days at the beach this summer. Grateful is an understatement. Our life here is very simple. A freezer full of homemade dinners that I prepared before we left, a closet with the bare essentials that we need for a beach life, mostly bathing suits, t-shirts and workout clothes. Gianna has about 3 toys here that she plays with when we are indoors, one of them being a set of poker chips since we had to improvise one day. Our mode of transportation is our bare feet or our bikes which we take to the beach, pools or to the ice cream shop. We go to the ice cream shop a lot.
During my first 20 days here, I limited my cardio to biking and incline walking only. This was the first break I had taken from teaching spin class since Gianna was born, and my body enjoyed the long rest from intense cardio. I learned that there is no better way to unwind and relax than having the sand between my toes and the salty air in my hair (which I had to wash a lot more often than when I was at home). I learned that my daughter really loves the beach. Many times throughout the day she randomly would run up and hug me or my husband and say, “I love you. You’re my best buddy.”
There aren’t a lot of photos of these moments because I spent a lot of time away from my phone this summer. When it wasn’t a work day, I’d leave my phone at the condo for hours at a time, not feeling the need to capture every moment on camera to post on social media to shout, look at my life. There were plenty of meltdowns and whining (mostly by my daughter, sometimes by my husband). Speaking of husband, I was reminded this summer of how wonderful of a guy that I have, being that he was the primary caregiver for our daughter Monday through Friday while I worked in my full-time job (remotely from our deck). Taking her to the beach, the pool, the watersides, the swings while packing her snacks, toys, extra diapers and supplies all while hauling it in the beach cruiser wagon in 90 degrees across to the sand on his own. He was grateful for her daily 2pm naps so he could relax and he got a glimpse into the life of a stay-at-home parent. Hard work.
We have 7 days left before we return home to the “real world,” back to normal life, back to his demanding job (a job which also allows us this stretch of off time in which we are grateful), and back to my structured life as I start dieting for my 2 bikini competitions this fall. Part of me wants to go back, and part of me just wants to buy out the ice cream shop and hole up here forever. However I think my fitness career would be over if I owned a creamery.
One thing is for certain, when I get home, I’ll be cleaning out my closets, donating any extra items to charity and minimizing my lifestyle even more. I’ll think twice and three times before I click “buy now” on Amazon Prime Day. Do I really need this? I’ll remember the salt and the sand and the simple days of this summer when things get hectic this fall. Are the things on my to do list really that important or can they wait so we can have more time to play. Play more. Stress less. My new motto. Happy summer friends.