I struggle with spending money on myself.
My husband and I budget every month and assign a name or function to every pound we make, a handy tip we picked up from finance guru Dave Ramsey. As a stay at home mummy I don’t make the money, I rationalise. But I can work hard to ensure we steward what my husband makes well, and that we remain focused on achieving our goal to pay off our house loan as quickly as possible and be completely debt free.
In managing our budget and monthly outgoings, an interesting quirk has emerged. I can quite happily portion off money towards what the kids need, our home needs, holiday savings or a Christmas kitty. But I genuinely wrestle with investing any sort of money in myself. New clothes, new shoes, you name it and I will find a way to rationalise my not needing it. Part of that is healthy – I have learned to live simply, shop sparingly, and having worked hard to declutter my possessions I am pretty ruthless about letting anything else into the house. But I recognise that there is the less than healthy party, a deeper heart issue that I need to work through. Because if the way we spend our money directly correlates to our values, what does my reticence to invest in myself say about the way I value myself, and what I think I am worth?
Ten months into life with our youngest daughter, and after much wrestling with all of the above, I have committed to a very big investment in myself – Joe Wick’s 90 day SSS Challenge. It is a tailored fitness and nutrition plan designed to help people get fit, burn fat and build lean muscle, split into three one month cycles over a three month period. My goal is to shift some of the persistent baby weight I have been carrying around courtesy of having three babies in four years. I want to get strong again, to get back into the habit of regular exercise, and to be a healthy role model for my three young girls. Because they will eventually be three teenage girls with their own bodies and body images to manage and navigate. I signed up for the 90 Day SSS Challenge because I would like someone to spell out exactly how to best to do that.
To me this challenge is not just about shifting weight and feeling “more like me” again, whatever that looks like post-babies. It is about re-learning how to make my health and wellbeing a priority, so I can best nurture, serve and enjoy my family. And, historically, prioritising myself has been one of my biggest hurdles.
Here’s the thing – the plan cost money to sign up. Not an outrageous sum, but enough to make me uncomfortable. The recipes are big on protein, which means more money spent on food than our modest budget would normally allow. Cue that uncomfortable feeling again. There is also a time cost. Food preparation and planning in particular requires a lot of time. My time. Life and my current schedule only allows for me to work out early in the morning before the children wake up, which is usually my window in the day to write. This means less time for my much needed creative outlet. All of this has pushed my buttons in a big way – can I really justify spending so much time, energy and money on myself? It is worth it?
After much wrestling, I have concluded that it is worth it. That I am worth it. Because I recognise that a healthy, strong, happy mummy is a good investment for our family, and a good role model for my three daughters. So I am giving it all that I have got.
I am a few days into Cycle 1 of this challenge. My body aches from the high intensity workouts, my tummy and taste buds are adjusting to the new diet and life with very few carbs, and my head is spinning from all the new (carefully measured) recipes I am making to fuel my body with the right macronutrients and calories. So far, the food prep is the most challenging adjustment. I can no longer rustle up my default family meals, which has made juggling the everyday-life-with-three-young-kids stuff that bit harder. Truthfully, if hubby was not on board and helping as much as he is I don’t think I could manage it. But already, after a handful of days, the hard work is paying off. Already I am better able to (literally) chase after the kids as they whizz on their scooters to school, and without wanting to step on the scales or whip out the measuring tape quite yet, I can tell that my body is responding in the right way.
My gallant husband has agreed to buddy up on the challenge with me. So it is early morning workouts and new meal plans for two round here as he helps me stay motivated and on track when fatigue and self doubt try to distract me. His joining in has really moved me. Because if he is wiling to forgo more sleep in the morning and adjust his diet to match my own, then I truly must be worth the investment, and I must be truly loved. In taking on the challenge together, we have stumbled into an unexpected benefit – the joy of setting off on a joint adventure and navigating the highs and lows of navigating a whole new terrain as one.
So despite my initial financial and priorities wrestles, I am going to see this challenge through for three whole months. I have had to make my peace with the fact that I will have less time for writing. Instead of scribbling away in the early hours I will be sweating to some high intensity interval training workout on YouTube. So if you hear less from me between now and Christmas, you know why. But I will re-emerge, and I will keep you on track with my progress here and on Instagram, so do sign up to follow me there if you don’t already.
Until next time!
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