I have five children, a husband, a plethora of pets, two stepsons and a career. If I'm lucky, I get five minutes a day to myself. Very often I don't even get that. My money is spent on my kids--shoes, clothes, books, special days at the zoo, etc. Self sacrifice comes naturally to me. It's just my nature. Others first. Myself last.
I'm not looking for some kind of recognition. Maybe someday, when my kids are raising my grandchildren, they'll come to appreciate what a parent does out of love. But I realized some things when I was at RT and I thought I'd share.
Before I became pregnant with baby #5, I was a trim size 8. I took some care in what I looked like every day. I fixed my hair in styles that required more than thirty seconds and an elastic band. I put on a little makeup. I had my nails done regularly. But when I was pregnant, I gained a ton of weight. And when I couldn't lose it, I became depressed and reclusive. I refused to buy myself new clothes that fit because I hated the fact that I couldn't lose weight. I didn't bother getting my hair done anymore. I wore it in a ponytail every day. Makeup? I had no time for that either. I basically hid in my house, wearing dumpy old maternity clothes. I lost a whole year of my life.
And then I decided to go to RT.
I wish I could be like other women I admire--women who are comfortable in their skins, no matter what size clothing they wear--but I'm not. Having been "thin" all my life, I had real issues with what I saw in the mirror every morning. The last thing I wanted to do was face 800 to 1000 strangers --agents, editors, book sellers and fans--hating the way I looked. And so I decided it was time to be a little "selfish". It was time to think a little about me.
It was really, really hard, but I put myself on an extremely strict diet. I didn't always stick with it, but I was able to lose enough weight to get out of the Women's department of clothing stores. Because I'm small-framed, this made a huge impact on how I looked. No more shirt and jacket shoulders hanging halfway down my arms or sleeves rolled two or three times so I could see my hands. No more pant legs dragging on the ground when I walked. I didn't look like a kid playing dress-up in someone else's clothes. I paid an obscene amount to get my hair "painted" (hubby's term) and I also splurged and had my nails done. When I left for RT, I felt like a new woman. And the sweet compliments I received all week made me feel that much better.
I'm far from perfect. I'm getting older, and I don't look like a little 20-something anymore. I still have a couple more dress sizes to go, and even though I've hit a plateau and can't seem to shake another pound, it's great liking how I look. I think it's important for women--especially women who are neglecting themselves for the sake of their children to take some time for themselves. If you're where I was--hiding from life--find some way to make a change for the better. Whether you realize it or not, your family is paying the price along with you for your "martyrdom". See a doctor if you can't lose weight on your own. Get your hair done. Buy a new outfit. Quit smoking. Live life.
And set an example to your children.
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