Off to School

This week, Ariana starts Pre-K and embarks on her school journey. And I am... not okay.
Although you know since the day they're born that they'll be off to school one day, it still hits hard when that "one day" arrives. I know that time will only seem to pass so much more quickly now, and that before I know it, she'll be heading off to college.
The start of school has been in the background of just about everything we've done this summer. This was the last summer with our "little" girl. We didn't go on a vacation (which, deep down, I feel like I'll regret in the future), but we did try to make fun family memories each afternoon and on the weekends. We've had fun park days, fun pool days and fun visits to family and friends' houses. 
She switched from in-home care to a daycare last fall and has truly thrived with her teacher and her little group of friends. 
Earlier this year, I struggled very hard with wondering if we were doing her a disservice by enrolling her in Pre-K when she'll be one of the youngest in the class. I struggled with major guilt and second-guessing if we should've waited another year to start her. However, we had the chance to pursue a great opportunity for her, and I didn't want us to lose that opportunity.
I remember having a session with my therapist to work through that struggle, and I left feeling more confident that she would do just fine even if she is one of the youngest in her class. And the very next day, the school shooting in Uvalde happened. It shook me to my core, and way too often since then, I have felt apprehensive thinking about school. The thought of dropping her off each morning and then worrying every day about her safety is not one of the thoughts I want to have for the next 14 years.

So, I go into this week with a lot of trepidation, but am giving myself grace to feel everything, good and bad. It's been a tough emotional struggle, but I know that for me, the hardest part is worrying about what's to come. Once it's here, at least I'm able to handle it day by day.

All of that aside, I do know I'm extremely proud of my daughter for all that she's accomplished so far. She's been so adventurous and brave, and I enjoy watching her learn and conquer new skills. I know that she will enjoy 'big girl school'.

The other day, I told her I was excited for her to start Pre-K but that I was also sad she won't be so little anymore, and she said, "It's just going to be okay, Mama!" That's my sweet girl.

Back to Myself

My journey back toward a regular exercise routine postpartum has had its share of bumps along the way. The struggle is real as a new first-time mom (working or not) to prioritize exercising and fitness. I remember back in 2019, after I was back at work, I couldn't bear to tear myself away in the evening to go to the gym. With my daughter going to a sitter, I wanted to soak up the evening hours as much as possible, and morning exercise just isn't my speed.
When the pandemic hit in 2020, that further threw off any sort of gym plans...and then I got pregnant again. 
With two little ones and a full-time job, it's been hard to find a balance and a routine. In the summer of 2021, I attempted to follow an at-home postpartum exercise program. My first attempt only lasted about 5 weeks before I gave up. I attempted it a second time, and I laugh that a 12 week program took me probably 25 weeks to finish. And even so, I cheated on the program just enough to almost not even consider it completed.
This past May, when I did consider the program complete, I finally felt ready to get back to the gym. I finally felt ready to commit - whether it be a yoga class or my own cardio/weight evenings.
I remember feeling like a switch had flipped in me. My younger daughter was about 15 months, and both girls were on a good schedule with daycare and dinnertime. But something in me didn't feel as guilty leaving them for an hour in the evening, and that is SO freeing. There's no reason to feel guilty in the first place. 
Beyond feeling ready, I've actually made the move and started going back to my favorite Power Yoga class at my gym. Every hour in that room and on my mat feels like I'm a little closer to my old self. My strength has a looong journey before it's back to my pre-baby level, but I'm proud of myself for putting in the work on that journey.

(Side note, what I find funny is that I think I look like an elf in that photo, but during class when we were doing this pose, I felt so strong...and I've felt the burn for two days after!)
It's partly about looking like my pre-baby self, but it's more about feeling stronger and more in shape, and taking care of myself. Exercising really does make me feel better physically and mentally, and I was definitely feeling the effects of not exercising.
So here's to taking the time for myself and my fitness. It's good to be back.
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