I have been given the gift of a year. I am one of the very fortunate women in this country who has benefits that add up to a year off with most of my pay so that I can bond with my baby girl and teach her as much as she’ll take in. I know how lucky I am to have that time.
I have also been given the gift of a very good baby. She sleeps well, she doesn’t often fuss, she has no health issues, she’s bright eyed, beautiful and already engaging with the world. I look forward to guiding her into all the knowledge she’ll take in.
For some time now, Joe and I have been trying to get out life in order. Trying to improve our eating and spending habits, trying to get exercise, trying to create the life that we wanted to bring a child in to, trying to create the habits we want her to grow up with. We’ve been successful and then been derailed a few times, most recently because of the pregnancy when I didn’t know from one moment to another what I would actually eat and what would make me sick, when I was exhausted all the time and it took all my energy just to go to work and make it through the day.
But now, I have been given the gift of a year. A year to take my baby girl on walks and get plenty of fresh air for both of us; a year to try out new recipes and see what’s easy for us to get prepared once life returns to what will become normal; a year for me to analyze our life, our routines and our bad habits.
In this year, I plan to get my daily exercise. When I was getting ready for the wedding I was able to get between 30 and 45 minutes a day on our exercise bike, which Joe has now brought down to the living room for me. While the baby naps, I can turn on the PVR and get my exercise in – probably not realistic for every day, I know that every day will be different, but I’ve also learned in this first 6 weeks that the puppy is just fine on walks with the stroller and the baby likes looking around when we’re outside. If I set my mind to getting in that 30 minutes one way or another then I will do something. I was lucky in that I didn’t gain a lot of weight during my pregnancy (in fact, the influx of hormones combined with my PCOS actually brought my weight down in the first couple of months) but before I got pregnant I was overweight and I have certain goals that I would like to meet.
In this year I plan to get in the habit of eating breakfast. After the baby has her morning bottle and a clean diaper, she likes to lie in the playard and look around while she kicks and kicks (I swear this kid is going to be a swimmer). This gives me time to pour myself a bowl of cereal and a cup of coffee, and I can have a banana – all quick and easy to clean up. Now the search is on for quick and healthy dinners that we can make extra servings of so both of us have lunch for the next day. I’ve got a few recipes that I like and I can turn into good leftovers, but if I can find a bit more variety and make sure we get our portion sizes right then we’ll be well set when I go back to work.
The majority of our spending issues come from eating out and buying lunches, so cooking more at home solves two problems. Eating out is still something we enjoy, but we used to have Friday night date nights, which made it something special.
My personal spending issue is clothes shopping – it’s genetic, my grandmother and my mother had the same problem – but right now my body is in flux, and I’m planning on losing between 30 and 50 lbs before I go back to work, so I need to stop myself from buying too many clothes. I think I’ll set up a plan that lets me put some money into my savings every month to create a larger budget for new work clothes next year. I’m always going to have a desire to look as good as I can, which may be my downfall, since for the next little while none of my clothes are going to fit exactly the way I want them to, but that’s also part of the process of losing weight.
If I’m going to say no to my daughter, if I’m going to teach her to delay gratification, if I’m going to teach her healthy habits and good body image, if she’s going to love exercise and fresh air, if she’s going to treat chocolate and pop and fast food as once-in-a-while foods, then I have one year to turn myself into the best example I can be.