Over ten years ago my husband began working toward his MBA. While we knew this would be a challenge with three small boys at the time, we also knew with every year he waited it would be more and more challenging as the kids grew older. He met with his class every other Friday and Saturday (taking the summer off) for two years in addition to the countless nights and weekends spent studying and juggling work. Let’s just say it wasn’t easy.
You would think that I would have been the biggest celebrant on graduation day. Instead, I was the crankiest, meanest person with the worst attitude there. I was at the ceremony by myself with three little kids (in what felt like every other single day for those last two years) with homemade posters to cheer on Daddy. For hours I pasted a fake smile on my face while trying to keep everyone happy so we could cheer him on for the 10 seconds it took for him to cross the stage. What that did to my attitude toward him and his accomplishment on that day was not something I am proud of.
Afterwards, at the reception, I watched as people congratulated my husband, complimented his hard work and dedication and wished him well in his future endeavors.
All I could think about was, “Where’s MY (expletive) diploma? Who is going to recognize MY hard work and dedication? Who is going to see the person that kept the house running and the kids alive for two years so he could accomplish his goal?”
I was resentful of all of the work I did to support him with nothing to show for it and I was mad at myself for getting to this place. As a stay at home mom I had left the big goals and accomplishments to my husband while I had thought I was content being in the background as the supportive wife. How did this happen? My life was full in many ways but personally, I didn’t feel like I had gone very far.
So, what’s my purpose in life beyond wife and mother?
I had to find it. First, I took the fear out of it. The fear of failure, the fear of what other people might think. I stopped worrying about the what if’s and thought about what it was I wanted to DO with my spare time (I had very little but I did have some). I started with races. I did a marathon and then another.
I did some (okay a lot of) half marathons for fun. I didn’t need anyone to cheer me on, I didn’t need any recognition. I just needed to know for myself that I could work for and accomplish a goal. And once I’d reached one, I would go for another. I got a road bike and started to go for rides.
I signed up for a triathlon and… hated it. So, no triathlons for me.
I started a blog. Not because I wanted to be a famous writer but because I felt better when I wrote things down and sent them into the universe. Worrying about what people think is not under consideration. I do it for me and the feeling I get when I hit publish.
One might say that I become a bit of a goal junkie in 2015. It’s not just the races anymore. It’s asking more of myself in other areas of my life. This was most true in the decision to adopt our boy from China. I cannot tell you how far out of my comfort zone this decision took me (and my husband). The trip alone was enough to send me into my closet with a bottle of wine. But then, the time to leave came and I embraced it all.
Because going halfway around the world to bring home a new kid wasn’t enough (sarcasm here), I signed up for a 50K trail run and committed to a 200 hour yoga instructor certification program.
The yoga certification was a significant commitment as I was gone for 10 full weekends in the course of the year. It meant me coming home emotionally and physically exhausted in addition to some challenging homework in between weekends. Yes, I did prep work for my husband before I was gone for the weekend and did the cleanups on Monday, but I know I asked more from him than I have in the past.
On the last weekend of yoga teacher training I had a lot of emotions. My husband, well, I think he was a little cranky and really glad it was over. And I get it.
It’s okay if he’s annoyed. I of all people completely understand how he feels AND I so appreciate the support. Our boys got to see their mom push herself HARD and that is HUGE for raising future men and husbands. And, because I had their support I know that I am loved.
This isn’t meant to be a brag-list of accomplishments. Rather I am hoping that those who read this stop and think, “What is it that I can do in 2016? How can I push myself to reach some goals and dreams?” Because, and I mean this sincerely, if I can do it, you can too!
As for 2016, I might just take it down a notch. This year might be more about just sitting back a bit and enjoying the hard work of 2015. I still have my race calendar and my new yoga business, Red Ox Yoga. I’ve got a kid graduating high school this spring and heading off to college. It’s going to be a year of changes for sure. For me, that seems to be plenty.
I can’t wait to see how it all turns out.