This morning I woke up determined to make this a better week, or at least, make Monday really great so that the natural decline in mom-awesomness (momsomeness?) that tends to coincide with the days of the week, would at least plateau by Friday rather than plummeting into abyss.
I was pleased as punch to see that Sparrow let us sleep until 8am, though slightly less impressed that it was Moonchild who finally leaned over and whisper yelled into my ear that he ‘couldn’t lay in bed anymore’.
So we got up.
And then we went outside because there is nothing like fresh air to spruce up my mood. Yes, mom, you were right.
I knew that the best way to bring a sense of calm to our home was to bring back our rhythm…some of the usual staples, and some new ideas. I took the opportunity to dig into my back pocket of tricks to pull out a Hay-child pleaser, anything stemming from a nature walk. So we foraged and identified various plants and their seeds which branched into creating our own ID cards….and on and on it flowed.
Though of course, Mother Nature had other plans for our walk. We tucked under the lean-to just in time to avoid being completely drenched.
Once we made it back inside, my shoes were soaked and our bellies were rumbling. A pot of tea and some warm applesauce quickly brought us back to life. The day wasn’t anything spectacular, but I kept on top of the dishes, made healthy meals, ran through a good four hours of lesson time, and folded the laundry. I even snuck in a few episodes of something for me while I worked.
Success. Small, but mighty.
Sometimes I feel like I’m running from a bear… the ominous term my partner and I use to refer to the burden of stress.
We are all familiar with the bear; maybe it visits you in the thumping of your heart, or the cyclical thoughts that keep you awake at night. However it visits, the bear encompasses our fear of failure, of not being enough, of not doing enough, of not being respected.
The bear is anxiety and sadness and unhealed trauma. It keeps us from caring for ourselves and of course, from providing helpful care for each other. It’s very difficult to love someone else properly, while our own cup is empty. It’s the reason we can find ourselves leaching our needed energy from the people we love, draining them of their resources. It’s the reason we over-eat, drink, and drown our sorrows in Netflix and 2X4 screens only to turn around and see that the bear has doubled in size and strength. It’s a culture-wide issue.
Here is what I have learned…I can only minimize the bear, with self care.
For me, that typically follows a levelling up system that looks something like this….(Mamaslow’s Hierarchy of Needs?)
Basic physical care…. showering, brushing teeth, combing hair, eating healthy food, adequate rest…
Once I’ve cared for my physical body, I can add in…
Daily spiritual needs… a few minutes to myself, something interesting to read or learn, a few minutes of intentional movement, fresh air
And then I can work on more detail and routine…
30 minutes of exercise, a course to expand my knowledge, meditation, an artistic project…Once I hit this level, I start to feel like I’m making progress.
Most importantly, completing steps on my personal self-care checklist as though they are tasks to be ticked will give me the same sort of emptiness that comes from a household chore to-do list unless I complete them with the right intention….that I, too, deserve to be cared for, and that these few moments will help me step into the real me. Before I know it, the bear is just large enough to drive me, but small enough for me to know peace.
Mother of Hays
It’s the most wonderful time of the year.
We’ve been harvesting and drying plants…canning pickles…and enjoying the coolness of the outdoors sans mosquitos. Yesterday, we even sported our toques while visiting Papa Bear at work in the orchard.
One might imagine us picking apples, riding the wagon, and munching on donuts, but really, how we spend the majority of our time orcharding (it’s a verb right?) is…
Scaling the dirt pile.
Over and over and over again, they climb and slide
As a grown-up, it can be difficult to carve out time for things that feel frivolous. I’m no different than anyone else this way.
I can see that this type of ‘fun’ is going to be messy. It’s going to involve more work on my part to keep our vehicle clean, to shower dirty kids upon our arrival home, only to clean out the shower AND the washing machine, likely making a mud ball with the leftover dirt.
But this kind of fun is free and freeing for both them and myself. When I quiet the voice inside me, the one that drives me to tick the next box on my list, when I really connect with the outdoors, with my kids, with the moment, I quickly feel a calm sense of power rise up inside of me. I remember what’s important…not an endless nagging voice telling me I forgot to add the potatoes to the slow cooker, but things like…
“I was reading a great book at the beginning of this week…where did I put that, and how did my life become so chaotic that I forgot about it?”
“Nothing else matters more than this moment”.
You know…things that get pushed aside in the Making of Hays.
How are you finding balance in your own life?
while the suns shine,