Friends, today I figured out something that has perplexed me for nearly ten years of parenting.
Prepare yourselves as I solve the elusive mystery of ‘self-care’.
Last night, I had the usual wake-ups from our kids at 2am, 4am, and finally 6am for the day like this isn’t Sunday and we don’t stream church online and could sleep passed sunrise…but it’s fine. I’m fine. We’re all fine.
I could NOT drag my butt out of the warmth of my ridiculous pile of oversized blankets because it’s Tennessee in October and that means winter mornings, summer afternoons, and fall evenings because we just can’t make up our minds.
By 10am, I was still reheating my coffee and struggling with the endless two-do’s on today’s list…you know, the one I stayed up half the night writing and re-writing in my head while I mindlessly scrolled social media and watched Netflix instead of getting much needed sleep.
I was hitting that ‘like’ button and thinking, “girl, preach!” at every meme about caring for yourself and not pouring from an empty cup and on and on.
But within hours, I was literally pouring from an empty cup…mug, really.
My body was beat.
My mind was weary.
And my spirit was on death’s door.
Today seemed like more than the usual and for no single reason other than days, weeks, months piling on themselves and compounding into that feeling of heaviness in my chest that I get right before a panic attack.
So, I took my meds.
I reheated my coffee (again).
And I told my precious angel babies and well-meaning husband how today was going to go.
“I love y’all.
It’s important to remember that.
But here’s how today is going to play out.
I’m going to help you clean up your rooms (because our extreme kiddo needs that support).
Then, I’m going to shower and you will not enter the bathroom unless you or your sibling is bleeding or on fire.
I will dress myself BY MYSELF in my room.
Then, you all will do these three chores each because mama is feeling a little on edge today and I need you to remember that mommy feels loved when the house is clean.
I’m going to light my favorite fall candles and you will not complain about the smell or try and sneak to blow them out. If you don’t like them, you may go outside and play at any time.
Then, I will eat a snack. Alone.
I will not be available to open your gummies, help you wipe, dress you, or anything else for the next two hours.
You will see me, but my eyes and ears will not work.
Here’s what is magical about this moment, mamas.
I did not bail on my family.
Our budget nor our kids’ needs and physically near support system do not allow us to have regular date nights or time away.
Today I set real, clear, and reasonable boundaries.
This was as much for me as it was for them.
I learned I could take a breath and not feel guilty for taking up space BY MYSELF.
And my kids learned that they can, in fact, function without being physically attached to my body parts.
Y’all I know it’s not much, but this single fact may be a total game-changer for me.
I usually balk at the mention of ‘self-care’ because it’s typical description just flat out doesn’t fit into our lifestyle right now.
This I can do.
Gosh I hope you’ll take some time to yourself and for yourself today.
It might not be hours and it doesn’t have to be fancy but it can make a big impact, friend.
**Follow me on IG @themamaontherocks