It’s early in the morning. The kind of early I spent my entire childhood and young adult years dreading. I drag myself out of my warm, cocooned nest and thump down the stairs, in spirit, since doing so in actual reality would likely wake the littles.
I stumble into the front room and roll out my yoga mat. Its familiar click onto the floor reminds me of a simpler time when my eyes were less tired and my hair less grey. Even if I just lay here, I think to myself, I’m further ahead than I have been. And with these words, I provide myself the comfort that comes from a lack of self-imposed pressure. I’ll just fold into child’s pose and see where this goes. Before I know it, my body is remembering the sequences of movement that provided my peace and guidance years ago…when I had time to make for self care.
All of my expertise in this area stems from a consecutive 2 days of daily exercise, meditation, and fresh air, and 9+ years of neglecting myself. I have ample experience in being too busy, in forgetting my value, something that can easily occur while providing care around the clock for others.
It is true that there are times when life gets in the way. In my case, young children mean that care for myself comes only when there is time. When our babies are very young, often the care of myself means making time to eat and to sleep while they do. The problem I’ve always run into is that this doesn’t help my spirit to thrive. Often, I spend those first 2 years in survival mode, despite the cultural belief that by 3 months, 6months, 12 months, everything should be back to normal.
Although Sparrow’s timely step towards that two-year-old mark has played a role in my ability to carve out a small piece of time for my own care, it has been a deeper understanding of self-worth that has truly lit my fire within for growth. When I remind myself that I am valuable, that I am worth a few minutes, that I am more important than the laundry being folded (though those menial tasks are valuable to me and my wellness), I begin to feel successful.
This isn’t to say that I feel that I am worthless. I have a good life. I’m a good person. I like myself a healthy amount. I’m not saying that I feel as though I lack value, but I realized that my actions were telling me this. Too many times I’d wait until I finished cleaning the kitchen before I’d take a simple bathroom break. I felt I didn’t ‘need’ new clothes because there was always something more ‘important’ for us to spend our money on. Always. I had convinced myself that I couldn’t relax until all of the work was done, so I never relaxed. I’m worthy of a break.
So Hey You! Person reading this blog of mine.
- Thanks. It feels nice to know my thoughts aren’t being ignored
- You are valuable and deserving of good things. Cut yourself some slack
Mother of Hays
I’ve been trying to put a little extra into our mornings lately.
Anyone who knows me well, knows how resistant I’ve been to becoming a ‘morning person’. For some, they put off their minivan purchase until trying everything shy of strapping the eldest to the roof racks, but for me, waking up early is my last cling to my pre-motherhood days.
But, like so many areas of my life, I’m working on it.
I was lucky enough to convince our first two children to sleep in, but currently there are weeks at a time where my total consecutive hours of sleep, land somewhere between 45 minutes and 1.5 hours. I feel this in my body and my mind, and I can fully understand how sleep deprivation could be used as a form of torture. No amount of ‘you’ll miss this later’ will ever smooth the raw edges left by sleep-debt, and I can assure you, that of all the things I will miss after our children flee the nest, lack of hours in dreamland will not be one of them.
In spite of all of this, my latest mission has been to start the day off on the right foot. If you have read this post here, you’ll know how deeply I miss those morning moments before the house rises, when I can sort out the tangled web in my mind. Since this is no longer a possibility, in this age of toddlerus-sprintus, I just….get up. My eyes pop open the minute his little toes touch down, and mine are right behind his.
Typically, we make our way to the kitchen where we put the kettle on and begin a morning project. Fall fills my soul with an urge to create, nest, and nurture, whether or not I have to corresponding energy, so we’ve been really working on our breakfast game.
As each child rises, I’m mindful of how I greet them. I could grumble and launch into a lecture; I could look at them with discontent. But Granny says some version of “it means a great deal to a child if, when they walk into a room, they are not looked upon with disappointment, even if we are well-intentioned in the long run.” And she’s brilliant, so I’m working on it.
Ultimately, we are all more eager to listen and even comply when we feel respected, so I say good morning with love and what I hope looks like genuine happiness, even if I wish I were sleeping.
One last thing I’ve learned through this 3rd and final bout of sleeplessness, is that how we start our day is important. It’s the edge from which we jump into the next many, many, many, many, hours of the day, and if our children wake up feeling special and loved, and if I wake up giving that to them, it’s easier to pass around some positive energy, rather than spending the day trying to reclaim it.
It’s interesting, how we often don’t realize the need for a change until one is thrown upon us….
Today we fled from here as quickly as possible. I’ve been at home with the children for many days while PapaBear is working some extra seasonal work, and I’ve grown weary of being the only ‘at home’ parent. The messes are constant and always the same, and the daily meals are less interesting without his company around the table at night. Sometimes, it takes leaving our home to appreciate its order upon our return.
The old adage, absence makes the heart grow fonder, really sits with me these days. This isn’t my first rodeo/ orchard season; in fact, it’s about my sixth. Yes, parenting alone is difficult (single mothers, I salute you), but it’s really just being without my other half that makes life seem less colourful.
I was raised in the age of gurrlpower! I heard the shouts of the Spice Girls, and I took the mandatory self-defence course in high school, which entailed a sweaty man, twice my age, pinning me to the ground, so that I could fight my way out from under him. Although the intentions were decent, I received many mixed messages about being female. I should look hot.I should do all things alone,and I should be careful in doing both of those together, or I’d be sorry. And lastly, needing a man would make me weak.
So it seems strange to me that I ended up here, in a place where I have a husband who I lean on openly, and who I can admit to ‘needing’. We’ve grown together as partners. We’ve created this life together…one that reflects parts of each of us, but ultimately encompasses the us we’ve become together. After all, I was born from the same dirt, rather than from his rib.
Unlike the cultural teachings of my youth, I don’t do it all myself ‘just in case it doesn’t work out’, and I like it this way. I’m no less of a powerful woman because I feel better having him by my side, because I require his help (yep, I said it), or because I have changed while standing beside him. In turn, we learn to communicate, to trust, to respect,to nurture…
beautiful things can happen in partnership…and I’ll tell you….“it’s what I want, what I really really want”
…I couldn’t help myself.
This summer was like no other. With the chance to explore new territory, old and new family relationships, and opportunities to pour a bit deeper into ourselves, I find myself wondering where the summer went!
Sure the proof is in my garden, as usual. The season truly has passed by while I barely took the time to care for the essentials here at home. Yes, I can feel the changes stirring within, plans for the future, for our home, for our family, for my own self-development, yet I find myself stunned to hear others speaking of this supposed ‘back-to-school’ season that is upon public school families.
Here at home we are still riffling through seashells and sea-glass pieces, harvesting a beautiful bounty of tomatoes, and seeking out that last bit of dill for my yearly arsenal of pickles before this season has, too, passed me by.
Quite suddenly, we find ourselves playing catch up from our adventures on the coast, time with family, days spent camping in the woods, and the latest moments when company filled our home with purpose, once again.
Below are just a few unedited snippets of moments shared together on our East Coast journey to warm this space back up…
Be Back Soon,