I was so tired that what I really wanted was to skip to the ‘I feel full’ part of our evening and bypass the ‘making and eating dinner’ part. Oddly, the family totally agreed. We sat there miserable, fridge door open wide, looking at a whole bunch of nothing.
We settled for soup because, well, it’s about as close as you can get to skipping to the just feeling full part. No chewing. No hassles. Just drink it down and be on your way.
Nothing against soup, but this isn’t right. I shouldn’t be so tired and drained by the end of the day that all I want to do is simply skip to the end. Cooking is fun and creative. Eating is a joy. Sharing dinner with my fam is one of my favorite things. And yet, I’m so done.
Time for a little adjustment. Yes, a hot bath or mani-pedi or glass of wine would do wonders to pamper the body, but what is really called for is pampering the soul. The best place to start with is time.
Back when my babies were babies, I thought that time moved slowly. My doctor told me that while the days may creep by, the years will fly and she warned me to be ready for that sense of loss that comes with growing children.
Now as my girls get taller and wiser, I see that time really is a matter of perception. Too often our mom-moments are clouded by responsibilities, tending to others’ needs, and we can’t fully perceive that our duties are taking us out of ourselves. Not in a ‘mom is the burden bearer’ sort of way, just in a ‘mom is the doer’ way.
Moms, and you know it ladies, we get stuff done! We prop up our loved ones, stand strong and tall so they can, too. We can see clearly when our growing brood needs tending, but we cannot so easily see when we need it.
Not until we hear ourselves sighing, which really just is a sign that we’re not even taking the time to breathe properly. Our reflexes kick in and our lungs stop to take in more air. Um, hello! Excessive sighing is a good sign to stop and take some time, reconnect, get balanced again.
5 steps to pamper your soul:
1. Schedule extra time. Build extra time into your daily duties. If you know it takes 20 minutes to drive to the grocery, round it up to 30 minutes and use those extra 10 to free yourself from rushing. Park far and walk. Let someone go ahead of you in line. Go ahead, a handful of minutes here and there won’t matter much except to your mental state, and THAT will matter A LOT to everyone around you.
2. Simplify. Instead of scheduling back to back, prioritize. Choose to do 1 thing, then come home. Time at home doing unstructured things keeps everyone happy: little tikes, older kids, big kids and parents alike. Take it down a notch and take time to just “be.”
3. Try silence. Be comfortable with quiet. Sometimes you have to disconnect to reconnect. Put the phone down. Turn off the TV. Radio, too. And, yes, that means computer.
Even if the family is used to being uber-connected, try a little silence. One friend couldn’t put her phone down so she removed Facebook and Twitter from her phone for the summer. Good compromise, I think. If every experience is mediated, we tend to rely on medicating ourselves.
4. Practice eye contact. It’s a small thing, really, but actually looking at someone when they are talking helps in 2 ways. It helps you listen because you aren’t multi-tasking and it helps them feel heard because, well, you aren’t multi-tasking. Win-win.
5. Walk. Moving your legs gets the blood flowing, and that helps elevate your mood. Yes, it’ll take longer. See #1 above.
And a bonus that will come pretty much after you’ve worked on 1-5…
6. Sleep. I know, I know. This is a pipe dream. But seriously, the American family finds way to shave off sleep in service of productivity and what we give up is, well, productivity!
If you’re unwinding throughout your day with little bursts of time-for-me built in, then maybe, after dinner and before bed-time you’ll need less escape outlets and you can move up ‘lights out.’ It’s possible, if maybe not probable.
So that’s my go-to-pampering routine: taking time to fill the days with enjoying my time, not rushing it.
Image Credit: Modern Baby