What Frustrates You Most About Your Special Needs Child?
Now She Knows She's Different

A Personal Confession: Taking Care of You, Getting Fit.. and Taking Care of Family.

Zoes drawing
I never imagined Zoe as the 'tween she has become. She talks alot now about growing up , and asks those difficult questions that make me feel old and sometimes sad. The last ten years have flown by, but when I look in the mirror I can see every moment. The way my life evolved from a master plan to just getting through each day.. learning to shift my life from " black and white" to an okay shade of gray. The way there is little time for anything besides family, home and work.

Things have been kinda calm lately, and after a whirlwind of working non-stop for the last year,parenting my girls ,ten plus years of not sleeping through the night, and long talks with my husband with his repeated reminders to " slow down" ,  I kinda had a revelation. Something has to give.

Every time I go to the doctor, he ( and she) raise their eyebrows when they ask about my sleep and I answer honestly. I get up three to five times a night on average, and have ever since Zoe was born. It's better than it used to be, and it is the way it is- having to do with her medical issues. And yes, it sucks and no I can't nap. I prefer to suffer and eek every productive moment possible from my day. I also have become pretty stuck on caffeine to get going each morning ( and some afternoons.. ) and a splash of wine to calm down each night. So on top of my flyaway hair and cluttered life, I have also gained a few pounds each year. 

At almost 6 ft tall, and with a decent figure .. I didn't focus on it too much.I had more important things to do, family to take care of. I just changed out my jeans, and worked with what I had, until the revelation. Until I realized my weight was at an all time high, and with not sleeping well, I was ripe to wake up one day with some kind of serious illness, and then what?  My husband, the love of my life, is 62.. and Zoe.. well.. ,to say my family needs me.. is an understatement.

I had to get fit. I had to start fighting the effects of age ( 45 in April) and lack of sleep. My husband is in " he looks younger than he is".. great shape. He exercises daily, and has always encouraged me to do the same. He has told me over and over, to do something I have never tried, try putting exercise first.  I wasn't interested in going to the gym, have no time to take a class or join a bootcamp. So I just took control, beginning with baby steps.

I joined Weight Watchers online , my friend recently had too- and she said good things about it. We cook fresh food every night anyway, so checking out the recipes was my first stop, eventually shopping weekly at my local Sprouts, and adding more and more fruits and vegetables to my diet. As a special needs mom, I needed tips and tools I could implement on my own.

Weight Watchers online had everything I needed to get started. I reduced my caffeine intake and started walking. I used some cool apps from Weight Watchers, and Map My Walk to guide my activites. For inspiration I listen to audiobooks and podcasts from Nacho Mama.  After Christmas, I bought a Fitbit and the fun really started. I went from an average of 6,000 steps a day to a new average of 10K. I started sneaking exercise into my grocery runs, school drop offs, housecleaning and walks on the neighborhood path with my kids. I started using our rowing machine, with the one-on-one help of my husband, checking my form and cheering me on. 

I have almost lost 15 pounds so far and feel good. I have somehow managed through Thanksgiving, Christmas, Flu Season and the kids winter break.I can't control how my kids health progresses, how long Zoe remains stable or what her future holds. I can make myself stronger, and healthier and hopefully be around longer, even through the stress of every day. 

The other day , Zoe drew this picture of me. I told her it was pretty. She said, No Mom.. " You're pretty, for always" And I thought.. hmmm. being pretty isn't what getting healthy is all about. It's about being there for my husband, for my daughters.  

" No Zoe,"  I said instead. " I am your MOM, for always. " 



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