5 things I do for myself each day...
I have to admit it. This took me a while to even figure out if there were 5 things that I really do every day solely for myself. Being a mom, so many things come before me. Wake up, milk for the boys, nurse the baby, toast for the boys, food and water for the pup, change diapers, and the list continues, but I must say there are certain things I do for myself. Even on the days I feel lost. Even on the days where the challenge is merely to survive. Even on the days that I haven't thought about myself once....I do these things, without thinking too much about it. I guess these are my survival kit, in a sense.
1. Make the bed- I do this to remind myself that the day has started. It is here. Time to get up and get moving. It reminds me to stay vertical, keep moving and yes, I enjoy the way my room looks when the bed is made. The kids might get toys in all parts of the house, but I can look in the master, and see my bed made, and think to myself, "Yes, an adult lives here, there is room for an adult space." Even with the pack and play right next to the bed, at least there is a place for me and of course my husband. The sign over our bed says "My whole heart for my whole life" and it reminds me that first there was love. Ryan comes first, before my kids, and making the bed can be a visual symbol of that!
2. Make coffee- seems like a complete given. Mom=coffee. On the few days that we have run out of coffee, let's just say, you don't want to be around. Even when I was pregnant, just a few sips of coffee is what I needed. Just half a cup, even if that's all the caffeine I could have! Even if it was cold, even if I literally took one sip and had to move on...the smell alone reminds me that yes, coffee is mine. All mine. My babies won't ask for it, and it will open my eyes to remind me, life is short, please keep breathing, keep moving, keep providing, and for the love, stay awake.
3. 30 min of self maintenance- yes. I put on a tv show for the kids. Every. Single. Morning. This is so I can retreat into my bathroom and figure out what kind of maintenance I need that morning. Some days, it's literally me sitting for 15 min, then washing my face and putting on eyeliner and mascara. Some days, I actually shower, put on full makeup and dress like someone who is going to something nicer later. Somedays I am actually going somewhere. Even if the one place is taking my oldest to preschool, I must say, the days I dress like an adult, I feel better. I feel like myself. I feel like I can accomplish more. Granted, there are days that I stay in my pjs so I can clean the house, or lounge without judgment. Those days are much needed, but at the end of the day, I must say, I usually feel more tired and exhausted then the days that I actually took the time to wear something cute.
4. at least 20 min of quiet during quiet time- My kids still nap. Well for the most part. My oldest has a quiet time and sometimes still naps. Once I have them all down, in separate parts of the house (my house is not big, so this is a stretch) I usually take about 20 min to have everything turned off. TV, computer, phone, etc. Sometimes it's just me in my thoughts. Sometimes, it's me with my Bible, sometimes, it's journaling, and sometimes it's just drawing or sitting in silence. I do this to take a deep breath. To try and start over if I've completely blown it as a parent that day. To try and reflect on what I might want to accomplish next. Sometimes that's far off goals, and sometimes it's a pep talk to get the laundry done and the dishwasher unloaded before Ryan gets home. Whatever it may be, it's 20 min, for myself, just for me.
5. take pictures- So, I'm an Instagrammer. I use my phone as a daily recorder of my life. I enjoy that. I'm a photographer. As much as I can, I have my big DSLR out, but with toddlers...it's more of a distraction and tantrum starter, but my phone...I can take pictures without them knowing, and capture life as it happens. I post usually at least one per day, but there are TONS that are just for me. This is for myself, yes, others get to experience it, but honestly, it's to remind myself of the good moments that happened that day. To encourage myself to keep going, each day they get bigger. When I look back on the years past, I can remember the good, and remember how much we've grown. Each day they learn something new. One day they won't struggle with what they do now...I repeat, one day they won't struggle with what they do now... Some day I won't struggle with what I do now.
You see, I'm so quick to see how wonderful my friends are with their kids. I can see the difference they are making in their discipline, their loving spirits and their kind words with their kids. I can encourage them all day long, but when the lens is turned on myself, well that's another story. I'm so quick to feel guilty, to self condemn, to always say I could have done more, I could have had a better attitude, I could have been more patient. Doing a few things a day for myself, I have to be reminded to care for myself the way I care for my family and friends. Give myself a break, and allow myself to breathe through the mistakes, the tantrums, the struggles and the inner conversations I have all day long. I know a lot of other women feel this...not just in child bearing, stay at home situations, but in the workplace, in their own pursuits. I hope these thoughts reach someone out there, someone who needs to know it's going to be okay. You're doing great, one step at a time, and remember to do something that encourages your own heart to keep moving forward each day.