The first Monday after I quit my job, I awoke from the best nights sleep I’d had in years. It felt odd to put on a pair of workout capris, a sports bra and tank top instead of my usual slacks and blouse or dress with heels. I pulled my hair into a ponytail, but couldn’t resist swiping on a coat of mascara and dusting of powder. I then woke the girls up by cuddling with them for a few minutes instead of trying to quickly pull them out of bed to get rolling. What a freeing feeling!
Whenever I’d be rushing into daycare and before school school to drop off my kids, I’d look longingly at the moms dressed in workout gear casually dropping their kids off. In my mind, I knew they were going for an invigorating two hour workout at the gym and then probably going out for coffee and enjoying a relaxing day. Must be nice to not have to rush to the office, spend the day in meetings and then hightail it back to daycare to pick up my kids before closing.
Now I was one of them and it didn’t feel quite how I thought it would. Sure, the first week I did go straight to the gym and then a few times, I really did meet a friend for coffee. It felt great to workout and not try to cram in a half hour Beach Body video at 4:30 am. Although I was taken back about how jam packed the gym is at 8:30 am during the week, I quickly got used to the luxury of actually doing something for just me. I felt decadent and like I was on vacation.
The second week, I started to feel almost embarrassed dressed in workout gear at daycare drop-off. I noticed the other moms dressed for the office and almost felt like they were judging me…kind of like I used to judge other moms at drop-off. Let’s be honest, I’m pretty sure I wasn’t a blip on the radar of most of the other moms, but it’s still how I felt.
By the time another week crept by, I realized I liked picking out my outfits and dressing up for work everyday. However, it also like this new feeling of letting go a bit. It felt pretty great to spend less time getting ready in the morning and more time with kids, like actually making them breakfast instead of handing them a dry toaster waffle to eat in the car. I also noticed my girls were less stressed in the morning and happier.
A leopard doesn’t change it’s stripes overnight. I do still wear a bit of make-up with my workout gear and I do dress up a little for when I pick-up the girls. I’m not talking a suit, but a nice blouse and jeans or a sundress. Hey – I can’t let a closet full of clothes go to waste.
As I work on letting go of some of my unconscious biases, I’m also working on taking more time to appreciate the special times of my day – the moment my four-year-old sees me across the playground and runs full speed to jump in my arms, grocery shopping at 10 am on a Tuesday in an empty Mariano’s, being the parent volunteer at the Brownie meeting or taking a cardio kickboxing class that is just for me. It may sound insignificant to some, but to me, these are moments that are important and a luxury for many.