When I got married, life was rainbows and unicorns. Seriously, I think I had actual rainbows shooting out of my ass.
Things get tough, life happens. I’ve learned that no matter what life throws our way we always remember that we are a team. We have wins and losses, happy times and sad times, chaos and order… who am I kidding… CHAOS ALWAYS. Priorities shift and change, and new obstacles cloud around us as we navigate through life.
It’s not that no one told me life isn’t all rainbows and unicorns. I knew this. We are human, and the thing that makes us stronger is challenge. Whether it be career, family, relationships, we face the challenges together and support each other through them. It can be hard and dirty and exhausting, but we are in it together.
Hubbs is my rock. When I am overwhelmed and don’t know how I’ll make it through a crazy day, I know I can call him and he gets it. He may not GET IT, but he gets that he doesn’t get it, so he gets it.
He supported our growing family for 4 and a half years (and counting) while I stayed home to care for our kids. It was what we both wanted, but didn’t know if we could make it work financially. When I decided at the end of my maternity leave that I wasn’t going back to work in an office, I had no idea it was going to be the hardest and most challenging career change I’d made yet. I loved being home with my kids, but it was an emotional roller coaster. I felt like I wasn’t doing enough because I wasn’t going to work every day. I was exhausted all the time because our kids are actual aliens from another planet, and their kind doesn’t require sleep. I was awake multiple hours each night with one kid or the other, or both, and when Hubbs got home from work he was beat. Musical beds had become a constant midnight game in our home, and not in a fun way.
I’m a people pleaser, therefore I am always putting myself last. There were so many things that were much more important than anything I needed or wanted, and I eventually ran out of gas. I finally realized that all those years of sleep deprivation, and forgetting to take care of me had caught up and created a stressed out, anxious, grumpy mom and wife. I had been “negative nelly” to most of my family and friends, and without realizing it, I had almost completely lost myself.
I didn’t know what I liked or wanted, because I couldn’t come up for air long enough to breath, never mind make a simple decision like what to do for the weekend. I wanted to do whatever Hubbs wanted to do, because that was an easier solution than thinking. I didn’t have anyone in my immediate circle that seemed to grasp what I was feeling, and that made me feel isolated and abnormal. Maybe I didn’t take the time to ask for help, or talk to my people. I felt like there was something wrong with me. I had a support system, but I got a lot of “don’t worry, how you feel is normal” and “I know what you mean”. My feelings had become too extreme to honestly admit to.
I don’t quite know what happened next. I think it was my own form of rock bottom and I just couldn’t float along with the current of life anymore. I couldn’t just react to each twist and turn. I had to try to get ahead of life. (This never actually happened, still, to this day.)
I did, however realize that I needed to start doing something for me. I needed a break, and I needed to be healthier to be happier. I began running, and playing basketball on a weekly basis. The exercise helped a lot. I began sleeping a little better. Musical beds is still a regular midnight game, but I have learned to just let it go. Our kids just don’t sleep. It only took 5+ years of trying to get them to sleep to realize that “it is what it is.” (That might be a blog for another day)
I spoke to someone at my doctor’s office who had great understanding and sort of took what I had already begun and coached me further along with my self-care. She reassured me that it’s okay to feel the way I felt, and I was not alone. Maybe because she didn’t know me, it was more reassuring coming from her. Knowing she helped others dealing with feelings like mine made it better. It seems silly, when I look back, that such a simple solution could make me feel better. I had been swallowed up by life, and couldn’t get my head up long enough to do anything about it!
I landed a part time job working from home as a Virtual Executive Assistant, and loved having something for me to focus on and contribute to besides being a mom. Things got more hectic, but because I was taking care of myself, it seemed like I could handle it better.
Hubbs was super supportive. He even began running with me which was a huge boost. He helped me put a treadmill in the basement (with an ongoing threat to take his saws-all to it if it collected dust) and even signed up for a 5 miler with me that spring.
This was when it happened. We went to the race with some friends, and brought the kids along to cheer us on. It was a hot day. Hubbs and I started out together, and then sort of just split apart. I had been running a lot more than he had, and so off I went. This was the first road race we had run together, and I was so excited that he was there with me. As I came close to the end of the race, I passed my little ones, who were on the sideline waiting with our friends’ kids and their grandmother. They gave high fives and jumped up and down when they saw me. I thought about how happy Hubbs would be when he saw them.
Around the last corner and into the finish chute it happened. Hubbs was about 50 feet IN FRONT of me. I’m slightly competitive. HOW ON EARTH could he have passed me? I began sprinting. I think I blacked out. It wasn’t that I couldn’t let him beat me, it was that I had been running 4+ times a week and he had barely began running a couple miles here and there. WTF?! I caught up to him at the last second, grabbed his hand, and we both had a laugh as we crossed the finish line together. He was just as surprised that he was ahead of me, which was even more annoying! It was a great way to end our first road race together, and as I look back on that day, I can’t help but think about how he was probably right along with me the entire time, and I didn’t even realize it.
I see the bigger picture now. He has always been right by my side regardless of what challenge we were facing. When I was at a low, he was always there for me. He may not have always had the right thing to say or do, but he was ALWAYS by my side whether he understood what I was going through or not. We were getting through life as a team. I have a better outlook on our life together now. Not to say that I ever questioned our relationship, because I was certain we were in it for the long haul. It can be hard at a low point to see who’s in your corner, and until you get through it, you then realize that person was there all along. My rock. My teammate for life. Hubbs.