Over the weekend, Cadence turned eight years old. Family came over to celebrate and we had so much fun. I cannot believe she’s eight years old!

I spent most of the weekend so stressed out. Birthday shopping, juggling four children who each have completely different needs, laundry, keeping the house cleaned, getting things in order for a birthday party, and baking a cake. All of it combined with sleep deprivation just completely overwhelmed me.

Stress is a bitch. It can, however, be a manageable bitch. I just wish I had thought about it that way before I let myself get so completely out of control this weekend.

I am so disappointed in myself, y’all.

I haven’t gotten a workout in since Thursday morning. On top of that, I’ve eaten like crap and I haven’t logged a darn thing in my food journal. Not one single thing. It started on Thursday afternoon. The backslide. I promised Cadence I’d put together her Valentine box for her Valentine’s Day party. Her box took a lot of work, but she was so surprised. It was a unicorn! I was, however, exhausted by the end of the night and decided I would workout on Friday morning instead. That workout never happened.

On Friday morning, while she was at school, her dad texted to let me know he’d be picking her up after school to spend her birthday weekend with her. I knew I had to make sure a weekender was ready for her before she got off the bus, so I went to her room to gather clothes. As I started looking, I noticed that a majority of her clothes were completely missing. The laundry room was devoid of anything waiting to be washed. She hadn’t left anything in the bathroom floor. And Ava, her older sister with whom she shares a bedroom, keeps the room clean, so there was also nothing in the bedroom floor. Where on Earth were all of their clothes?

I started snooping and oh, how I wish I hadn’t. How I wish I hadn’t looked in the closet or under the bed! Y’all, there was so much under the bed and in the closet that it completely took up the middle of their room. And here I thought Ava was keeping things clean. After all, she had been telling me for weeks that they were good on laundry and didn’t need anything washed.

Just looking at that pile of laundry made me want to pack my things and go to a hotel for a few days.

That pile of laundry is where my clean eating and routine workouts went to die. I swear it! So, here we are, going into an already busy weekend and now there’s suddenly a pile of laundry the size of Mount Everest staring me right in the face. Sure, Cadence would be leaving most of the weekend, but that doesn’t mean her needs went with her. After all, most of her clothes were in a pile on the bedroom floor and there was a birthday party to prepare for.

On Friday evening, the husband took me out for Valentine’s Day. We had sushi and I ordered a soda because bottled water wasn’t an option and our city water is disgusting. By the end of our meal, I was proud of myself. I didn’t drink even a third of that soda. I took small sips to wash down my meal, but otherwise didn’t drink it. Then we got home and, again, I was tired and decided to put my workout off until the next morning.

That workout never happened either. Washing, drying, folding, tidying up the house. It was a cycle that repeated itself the entire weekend. I ate whatever was easiest to get my hands on. Doritos, Little Debbie snacks, Valentine’s Day candy. And I didn’t workout even once. The only thing I was successful at was drinking water instead of soda. My husband loves Coca-Cola and keeps it in the house at all times. I craved it a few times, but I managed to talk myself out of that craving. I’ve finally gotten past the caffeine headaches and I do NOT want to go back to that, so I inhaled water every time I craved one.

Here I sit, however, and, as of the writing of this post, I still haven’t worked out and I spent the day eating like crap. I also still haven’t written down a single thing that I’ve eaten. Looking back on all of it, I probably don’t want to write it down. I treated my body like a waste bin this weekend. And I am not proud of it. This post is here as the turn-it-around notification to myself. I can do so much better. My body deserves so much better. And I will not reach my goals by allowing stress to trigger a backslide. There are much better methods of navigating stress. A thirty-minute workout, going for a walk, getting in some Yoga.

Backsliding is like falling down. It’s only a failure if you refuse to get try again.

Lessons: 2018

The year is coming to a close and, as we approach a brand new one full of opportunities and fresh starts, I felt like I’d share some of my own lessons from the last 365 days. It has been a great year for me. I’ve learned so much about myself and about life.

The first, and this is a major one for me, is that allowing mental illness to consume you isn’t a way of coping or growing. In late 2017 and early 2018, my struggle with depression was at its very worst. I had been going through the world’s longest breakup and it was consuming me. I felt like it would never end. The relationship had been over for a good couple of years, but he just wouldn’t fully let go and still hasn’t. To make matters worse, I didn’t know I had the strength to finally stop opening the door or answering the phone. I allowed him to keep treating me like a yo-yo, so my lack of self-worth at that point was largely my own fault. I gave in to depression and self-harm as though they were this magical, super-safe security blanket. They definitely weren’t. I’d self-harm because I wanted a way to release some of the pain and then I’d end up feeling worse than before because of the marks left behind from a temporary lapse in judgment. I did it over and over. Eventually, I started opening up about everything, self-harm, the awfulness of the never-ending bad break-up, all of it, to the guy I’m with now and my friends. It took a while to see it, but I found that opening up to them and not isolating myself made me feel better. I am now going into my tenth month without self-harming.

The second is that it is entirely possible to be in your 30s and not actually know how to love someone. If your idea of loving someone is constantly controlling their emotions or actions, you don’t love them; you love controlling another human being. No one is bulletproof. When you incessantly belittle someone or control everything they do by either denying your permission to do it or by guilt-tripping them into not doing, you’re hurting them. Don’t confuse things by making them feel like nothing and then coming back around with an “I love you” and an apology an hour later. They aren’t your puppet and that’s not love. If that’s how you show someone you love them, you don’t know the first damn thing about love. Love should not hurt and it should not be a constant battle. Tristin taught me that. In the past year, he has shown me nothing but kindness, patience, and understanding. He does not ever raise his voice at me and he never makes any attempt to belittle me or make me feel bad about myself. He was one of my biggest lessons this year. He showed me what real love is and that taught me how to love myself.

The third was to keep my circle small and tight. You will meet so many people in life and so many of them will call you a friend. On some level, they might be, but that does not ever mean that all of them should really know everything there is to know about you. When it comes to friends, there are those who are by your side through thick and thin, those who are only there during your good moments, and those who are only there for something to talk about with everyone else they know. Your inner circle should only ever be the ones who are always there for you. Those amazing people are the only people who should ever really know your deepest secrets. Not everyone should know everything and not everyone belongs in your inner circle. Keep it small and tight.

I’ve grown a lot over the past year and still have quite a bit left to go, but I’m getting there. What are your lessons from the past year? How have you experienced personal growth?