Letting It Go

What parent among us is not suffering from lunacy on this Presidents’ Day, 2014?

If you are on the east coast, you have likely endured an above average number of “snow days,” and I use the term loosely because it is not a foregone conclusion here in the ATL that a snow day will actually involve snow.

You have also likely wiped your fair share of noses, done a round or two with a stomach bug (maybe vomiting, maybe diarrhea, maybe both) and listened to the “Frozen” soundtrack so many times that:

  • You find yourself tearing up at Anna’s palpable loneliness during “Do You Want to Build a Snowman.”
  • You totally prefer Idina Menzel to Demi Lovato.
  • You think to yourself that “Let It Go” may well be an anthem you want to adopt. I mean,

Don’t let them in, don’t let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know
Well, now they know …

Who hasn’t wanted to just LET IT GO over the past few weeks?

DEEP BREATHS.

Seriously.

This is the post where I say to you that I am wiped out.

I am spent.

Ask Moxie is a blogger I love. She writes a lot about parenting, divorce, relationships and self-care. She’s terrifically insightful in a unique way and I love her posts and her email newsletters.

This year Magda (the woman who is Moxie) has decided to focus on the word NOURISH. In that vein, her February 7th post was entitled: “Taking care of yourself but watching for others.” I want to share some of what she says about nourishing one’s self, i.e., self-care:

But. This assumes that you already have the set-up to be able to stop the madness and just switch some things up to focus on yourself. It assumes that you have the time and resources and energy and support to shift the focus of what you do.  …

If you don’t have a setup that allows you any leeway to take care of yourself or make choices that nourish you, then my telling you to nourish yourself is cruel and vile. If I continue, it’s blaming you for your own unhappiness. Because if you are in a situation in which you cannot do things for yourself (or you technically could, but the price you’d have to pay would be too high), then my telling you to pull yourself up by your own mom bootstraps and just go get an eyebrow wax is making it even worse.

Granted, Magda takes care to point out that she’s not talking about multiple snow days or a rough patch, but I still took what she said to heart during the past few really tough weeks around here when so much was out of my hands parenting-wise.

Self-care became one more burden for me over the past few weeks. It wasn’t something that rejuvenated me. It became one more thing I wasn’t doing well, or wasn’t doing at all, and thus one more way I was failing the world … not in a competitive I “should” be doing this way, but in a “this is what we all need to thrive” kind of way.

I did the bare minimum – movement is as essential for me as breathing and I got some in every single day. But there were days that I didn’t eat as much as I should. I went an ungodly amount of time from shower to shower. Don’t even mention sleep. And there were full days that I could not tell you whether my teeth had been brushed or not. With all the caretaking demands that were placed on me last week and the week prior, the idea of self-care meant that I had yet one more person for whom I had to care. I became the easiest one to neglect.

So, I totally “Let It Go.” A lot. And you know what? I was in a much better frame of mind when I surrendered to the fact that I couldn’t really take care of myself. I knew the situation, though long, would be temporary. And I just let it go.

At one point, I was standing out the sink, looking bleary-eyed out at my yard, and I thought, “I am totally not wearing my oxygen mask right now.” I think I laughed maniacally, went back to making lunch, and joined in the 1,187th round of:

Let it go, let it go
And I’ll rise like the break of dawn
Let it go, let it go
That perfect girl is gone

Incidentally, “Let It Go” was also a theme for my Sunday class yesterday. (I tell you, we’ve been listening to the “Frozen” soundtrack A. LOT.) Anyway, I talked to my clients about letting their bellies go. We in the fitness industry along with folks in the beauty industry have coached women for a very, very long time to do wonky things with their tummies in the name of both wellness and beauty. I walked the class through an exercise of letting their stomachs go that I pulled from this post by Katy Bowman. Take a second to read through the post and try the exercise. Reflect on what your body and your mind tell you when you do let it all go, i.e. hang out. Is your breathing different? Do you feel a change in your pelvic floor? In your digestive tract? Share in the comments if you will.

(All lyric excerpts from “Let It Go,” lyrics and music by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez for Disney’s movie “Frozen,” released 2013. The lyrics are provided here for entertainment purposes only and all rights remain with the writers and copyright holders including Walt Disney Records.)

2 Responses to “Letting It Go”

  1. on 17 Feb 2014 at 10:13 amSusan

    Kristine,
    I am remembering the days that you write about……and it seems like yesterday even though it was 30 years ago. So the good news is, this too shall pass! HOWEVER, I do believe that you have one of the most difficult jobs in the world right now. There is nothing more exhausting than being a parent if you do it the way you should and you get very little praise for doing it well. If I lived closer, I would come give you a day off and let you go have some time for you to do whatever makes you feel like a human again. Hang in there……..and I pray that everyone is well and happy this week. Hugs to you, dear friend!

  2. on 17 Feb 2014 at 1:45 pmKristine Rudolph

    You are so sweet, but trust me, I had friends in far more challenging situations through it all – husbands traveling, three kids with stomach bugs – that sort of insanity!

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