I had a different post queued up for today, but this has been on my mind quite a bit.
I’m a very, very competitive person. While being competitive has its perks, it’s actually something I wish I could shed. There’s no “off” switch for me. It’s great to be competitive when you need to push yourself through something, but maybe not so great when you feel like a failure if you don’t meet your own expectations.
This year has been tough for me and my competitive spirit. I keep comparing myself to previous years and the reality is that this year was just so unlike other years. It’s unfair that I keep comparing myself to my previous year self. If that makes sense.
It’s really coming to a head in every area of my life. I kind of wish it was just pinpointed in one direction, but it’s everything.
Image from Morgan Harper Nichols
My postpartum body looks so different to me when I look at myself in the mirror. Just when I started to feel comfortable with how my body looked and felt while pregnant, I went and had that baby and my body changed all over again. It’s been a hard habit to break thinking how it used to look. I’m still working on this, but there are days when I just want to put on a pair of leggings and a sweatshirt and not leave the house. It’s unfair that I would even think this though. Of course, my body looks different after carrying a baby!
And then there’s my work situation. The reality is that I’m just not 100% ready to bring in a babysitter or nanny, so I’ve been trying to scale back on work where I can and outsource what I’m able to (very grateful for my amazing team!). It makes more sense for me to do less work, while I care for Jack. And honestly, I love being a mom! While part of me kind of wants to just quit working altogether, I also love this job and can’t imagine giving it up. I try to keep reminding myself that this is a season. But I must admit that I keep thinking about how much I used to get done… and then I get down on myself because I think of all the things I could (should) be doing. Which again, is an unfair. Of course, I’m not doing as much “work” as before. Arguably, I feel like I’m doing more now, it’s just a different kind of work!
Well then I got on the Peloton and, jeez, it’s tough feeling like I’m starting from square one. I was in the best shape of my life last year– mostly because during the peak of the pandemic lockdowns, working out was the one thing bringing me joy. But I had also been consistently working out and getting stronger for a couple of years. Pregnancy was tough for me and working out was a daily struggle. I felt super weak from feeling sick every day. And then after Jack was born, I had to take time off of working out altogether while I healed. I should be considering just getting on the bike a win, but it’s been hard to have numbers pointing back at me showing me exactly how far off I am from where I was. I keep trying to remind myself that I’m moving in the right direction and of course, I am not as fast on the bike or as strong at lifting as I was before.
Every night when I finally put my laptop away (currently writing this at 10pm while Jack sleeps!), I desperately want to read a book. But I can’t get past a couple of paragraphs before it’s impossible to keep my eyes open. I’ve largely switched entirely to audiobooks, since I can listen while I get other stuff done (cleaning, laundry, driving, walking the dogs, etc.). I still miss reading and just sitting down to read and do nothing else. For years, I’ve kept a personal record of how many books I read in a year. There is absolutely no point in doing this. It’s not for anyone else and it’s not like I’m giving myself some kind of trophy for reading a certain number. I’m just being competitive with… myself? Maybe it started off as a “goal” to read a certain number– now it feels like a measuring stick to judge myself off of. Then again, of course, I haven’t had as much time to read books this year. First of all, I have an infant to take care of. And second of all, I wrote a book.
Another thing I’ve been feeling competitive with myself about, is how I haven’t had any time for needlepointing or sewing projects. It’s something that brings me a lot of joy, but if I don’t have time to read a chapter of a book, I’m certainly not in any position to do any sort of crafting. While I miss it intrinsically, I also found myself comparing my (lack of) projects this year to other’s I saw on Instagram. It was so weird to note that I felt actual shame for how few projects I completed. I know logically how dumb it is, but it is still something I was beating myself up over. Also, I keep having to remind myself that I finished Jack’s stocking a week before he was born and that was a huge undertaking. Of course, I haven’t had the time to leisurely stitch and sew, but I have accomplished a one big project that I’m really proud of and that should be enough.
I know I have to give myself more grace, change my expectations, and even recalibrate how I define success in general. It’s just been hard. I find that competitiveness rearing its ugly head. I feel very successful in a lot of ways, and yet go to bed feeling like a failure on a daily basis because I feel like I’m falling short of what I’d like to be doing and where I’d like to be. I’m a work in progress here. 🙏🏻