Tuesday’s Chill Pill: Do I have a headache or are my Spanx too tight?

When you’re 5 months post partum, nothing fits.

Maternity clothes are too big. Regular clothes…eh, not so much… Unless, of course, you are one of those breathtakingly lucky ones with the energy to hit the gym and/or good genes. I am not one of those. So last Friday, when I had to scramble for a business meeting in the city, I stared at my pathetic and tired “in-between” pair of pants and just couldn’t bring myself to put them on. Instead I brought out the Spanx. Two pairs later (body shaper AND camisole shaper) I managed to squeeze into a pair of my stretchiest pre-maternity pants, and tottered off to my meeting. Thankfully I had the good sense to wear a drapey sweater, because when I sat down, the Spanx could only do so much containing. The oxygen deprivation didn’t seem to stifle my ability to gab (or eat), thank goodness. But on the train home, I had such a splitting headache, I thought “I must be getting sick.” But then I remembered…Spanx! As soon as I got home, I raced upstairs and peeled them off. The blood rushed back to my head and moments later, I was back to normal.

You might be wondering what this has to do with organization, or anything remotely useful for that matter.

Nothing other than, my Spanxtacular experience reminded me of how easy it is to beat yourself up, literally and figuratively, over unrealistic, perfectionist standards.

The problem isn’t Spanx – they are a gift from GOD.

The problem is, I only allowed myself one pair of in-between pants. Why? Because I somehow decided that I would get back to my pre-pregnancy weight in 5 months (actually 4, so I was already feeling like a failure). I figured if Heidi Klum could drop all her baby weight (from baby #4 no less!) in 6 weeks, I could do it in 20 weeks. After all, she’s just like “Us” right?

To “help” myself get my body back, I set up a ridiculous rule that I could only buy one pair of in-between pants. I decided that if I let myself be comfortable in the in-between stages, I’d get stuck there. I seriously underestimated the impact of sleep deprivation and the impossible-to-resist call of my kids to come and play. Gym? Um…it just isn’t as much fun as playing Hot Wheels with Will while Lachlan watches from his exersaucer, shrieking with delight. And until Lachlan is sleeping through the night, it will never trump sleep.

My hard-core, no-room-for-failure approach did nothing but make me miserable. Ok, so I’m not going to be Heidi Klum. But I will eventually get my body back. If it takes me 9 months, so be it. Life is too short to spend one moment beating myself up for falling short of a perfect standard. So this past weekend, I went and got two more pairs of pants that actually fit and look good. What a concept! And instead of beating myself up for not making it to the gym for an hour each day, I’m taking a moment to pat myself on the back for walking outside (or playing a game of chase with Will outside) for at least 10 minutes a day.

Realistic expectations + baby steps = success.