This week’s topic, brought to you by Sweeping Up Joy, touches on something that I think would apply to almost all mothers on the planet, though the answers would vary from culture to culture, person to person. This topic definitely caused me to reflect. This summer our daughter was accepted into an Autism Rehab program, and during one of our initial meetings, I was more or less lectured on the importance of taking care of me.
I know they were right – I do not want to sound like a martyr, but I am aware that I have a lot on my plate. I’m a stay at home, homeschooling mother, who also works from home as a columnist/freelancer, and I have two children with varying special needs, one of whom also has medical needs that keeps us on the go. I know taking care of me is important. But, like many other mothers out there, “me” tends to come third, or fourth, or tenth on the list of priorities and to-do’s. However, it is something that I have been trying to work on. I am very aware that a less-stressed-out “me”, makes for a better wife and mother.
1. What is your mom beverage of choice?
Oh I feel so boring… my beverage of choice is good ol’ water. I rarely drink anything else. In the fall and winter months I will often have a tea in the morning, which I do really enjoy, but for me tea isn’t about the taste or quenching my thirst, but rather the experience. There is something soothing about listening to the kettle boil, about the feel of the warm mug in my hand, even feeling the rolling steam, and smelling the aroma wafting through the air. Having tea is truly a peaceful, sensory experience. But when it comes to my consistent day to day drink of choice, it’s a nice tall glass of water!
2. What do you do to relax?
I love to read, so at the end of every night I curl up on the couch and read. I also love to take a nice long shower – you know the type, the ones that are so long you drain the hot water tank. Horrible for the environment, yes, but good for my mental state! Thankfully for Planet Earth, it is a rare occasion I have time for such a shower. My husband and I also enjoy watching tv and movies together, so we cuddle on the couch and watch our favorite shows together in the evening.
I also admittedly use the computer for R&R breaks throughout the day – though if I am to be honest with myself, this causes me as much stress as relaxation, because I find while browsing Facebook or a good homeschooling support group may give me a temporary break, I also tend to lose track of time easily. So, inevitably I’ll suddenly realize that my 15 minute break has turned into an hour or so, and that I am now behind in what I want to get done. I tried using a timer, but it turns out, I’m also really good at hitting the snooze button and saying, “Just 5 more minutes.”
3. When was the last time you got away with girlfriends or alone (and the grocery store does NOT count)?
Well, I get to say, “HA!” The therapist at my daughter’s rehab team said that going to the grocery store alone does count! So on that note, it was last Friday night! Granted, she also followed that up with, “As long as that’s not your only source of alone time.”
Admittedly, I love going to the grocery store alone in the evenings, it actually is a treat for me. I can take my time without feeling like I need to rush on to the next thing. I can browse products at my leisure without having to execute hostile negotiations on why we are not buying that cereal that is full of marshmallows and food coloring. And let’s face it – evening grocery store trips are really something of a social event – because you always run into someone you know, typically another Mom who is doing exactly what you’re doing – escaping under the guise of feeding her family, so you stand around in the aisle catching up.
But, for the sake of complying with the question, other than the grocery store, I honestly can’t tell you the last time I got out alone. I think it was back in the early summer, maybe even back in the spring when I went out for coffee with a friend.
I admit, for three seasons of the year, I don’t get out much by myself outside of the grocery store. It’s something I plan to work on this year, and I just recently joined a women’s book club hosted by a long-time friend of mine, and fellow homeschooler. We will meet once and month and will be going through the book The Life-Giving Home. I admit, I didn’t join for the book, as much as for the chance to get out regularly with women.
Now, in the winter, I do better at getting out. I am an avid skiier – I started when I was just 3 years old (no, I am not going to tell you how many years I’ve been skiing, other than to say it is measured in decades). Thankfully we live just 15 minutes from a small ski hill that offers $5 lift tickets on Wednesday nights in the winter! So, as much as possible, I do try to go skiing Wednesday nights. But even then, between winter storms, winter ills and other commitments, this probably only happens once or twice a month. I do have my fingers crossed for a better ski season this year!
See you next week!