Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Refreshment

The other day, I had a day that was ... not bad. But halfway through I realized: I really needed to get out of the house. Without kids. Everything I confronted--not just bad or difficult things!--filled me with a sense of, "I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE."

(I realized later that I'd had way too much caffeine that day. I'm pretty sure that helped fuel my angst.)

So I texted a friend to ask if she wanted to get together that evening. (The exact text was something like "Margaritas tonight????") We crashed a Mexican place and ate wonderful food and reveled in being ourselves together, just the two of us--even if most of what we talked about was still our children. ;)

Then we hung out in the car for an hour and just talked. (And saw a pair of stormtroopers ride past on bikes. For real. Pretty sure that was not the margaritas.)


The next morning, my mom came down and I took Michael out to breakfast while she watched the twins. I've been meaning to do something one-on-one with him for a while. I think it did a lot to lift up both of us.


Coloring is serious business. 

I've come to realize that I'm not very good at self-care. It took me a while to discover, because the typical picture of lack of self-care is a mom who spends all her time pouring herself out for others: caring for the children to the extent that she doesn't eat, take a shower, make any sort of space for herself, until finally she burns out. 

That isn't me.

I possibly make too much space for myself. Often in little bits throughout the day. But I also have about an hour to myself each day for naptime, and plenty of time after the kids go to bed. Throughout the day I hide in the bathroom and read. Or, more likely, I check my phone, since bathroom breaks don't last long enough to sink into a book. I follow rabbit trails on the internet, catch up on Instagram. I indulge far too often in treats while the kids are napping.

In short, I spend a fair amount of time on myself, but much of it isn't on things that fill me up. That takes a little more work. A little more intentionality. It's easy to pull up Facebook for a few minutes--a few minutes that extend into a longer period of time until a child interrupts you and you get grumpy because sheesh, they interrupted my me time. 

I do knit, and that fills me up. I think blogging more regularly would too. Or actually calling someone or writing a letter during naptime, rather than spending the whole time scrolling through Facebook groups filled with too many women to make real connections with. (Wonderful women, mind you. People I probably could connect with if I invested beyond the scrolling.) Or setting aside a little more time each day for prayer, conversation with God over a cup of tea.

But unless you have some solid routines, it takes work to do something healthy that refreshes and renews your spirit rather than just consuming an empty spot in your day. I am not good at working up that mental energy, and I really stink at routine maintenance. (I don't blame this on motherhood. I've always stunk at routine maintenance.)

So I'm trying to give those things that really feed my soul their proper place. The Instagram and Netflix (or their equivalent) will always be there to fill in the cracks, I'm sure; but I'm making an effort to use naptime, bedtime, the times when I'm actually free, on things that ask a little more of me, but give back in return. And I'm trying to be willing to make time for myself for things that matter. For prayer, for connecting with friends.

Every day's a new opportunity to try.

:) 

10 comments:

  1. I was pretty confused when I saw Rosie link this post on FB...I was looking at the picture thinking "isn't that Michael?!? Why is Rosie posting this??"

    Anyways, I can totally relate. I try to steal these little snatches of FB-browsing, or flipping through magazines while the kids are around, and it usually leads to frustration for all of us. Or I waste most of naptime half doing some chore while munching on secret snacks the kids aren't allowed to eat, and half being distracted by *really* crappy television shows.

    I feel the daily need for some time spent on myself (not necessarily "by" myself, but just tending to my own needs and wants), but most of what I choose is ultimately unfulfilling. Even though it's just necessary manual labor, I realized earlier today that I'd probably be much happier if I just spent most of these such moments cleaning something up...A tidy house is truly fulfilling to me!

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  2. This is excellent, Rosemary. Thank you for it! I'm in the same place, and have been thinking lately about how I can live more purposefully - but maybe "intentionally" is a better word.

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  3. This is excellent, Rosemary. Thank you for it! I'm in the same place, and have been thinking lately about how I can live more purposefully - but maybe "intentionally" is a better word.

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  4. Oh goodness, yes. I needed this reminder! I definitely feel so much better when I actually plan out my "free time"! (Also, in case you don't check back--I responded to you on my blog about your cousin. I hope she is doing well there!)

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  5. Yes! You spoke this truth so well.

    I sat down in front of my schedule a few weeks ago. Oddly enough, I found that I actually had tons of time to myself throughout the day. I had some early mornings. I had enforced bedtimes for kids so I could read. I had a nap in the middle of the day. I had lots of nooks and crannies for "self-care" that I kept grabbing at, but I wasn't being true to those with my full presence in things that filled me back up just as I was also not being true with my full presence when I was with my kids throughout the day.

    I still struggle with it and I'm still trying to tweak my routine. Intentional self-care for me looks like ten or fifteen minutes of silence, reading a chapter of a nonfiction book, taking a short walk, or writing a bit in a journal. All of these things don't take much time and I really don't need a ton of time to do them each day. I need to repeat to myself: Facebook is not self-care, Instagram is not self-care.... :) Thanks for this post. So good. You aren't alone!

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  6. I think I'll feel like I finally have really good friends in Seattle when I can text someone to hang out in the evening like that. It's easy to arrange a play date but so hard to get any of my mom friends from our parish to leave their homes in the evening, even just like once a month :(

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  7. you have to keep your identity while being at home with little ones. I tried so hard to get chores done in the morning so when the nap time came I could KNIT.

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  8. Yes. Absolutely. This is my goal for Advent. Substantive, nourishing things. So far I've tried to put good books down in convenient places so I will choose them instead of time-waste-y thing when I'm nursing, drinking my coffee, etc.

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