Space to Breathe
Three days ago I dropped my youngest child off at camp where her older brother and sister have been for the past two weeks. For the next ten days, I will be staying with my mom at the beach, waiting to pick up all three of the kids while my husband holds down the fort in Wyoming.
Here's what I've learned about myself these past few days. I need sleep, I need to exercise daily, I need to be with my extended family more, and I don't need much in the way of food. No shocking revelations there, but the challenge will be incorporating those priorities into my day-to-day family life once we are all back together in Jackson. Will I be able to sleep in instead of hopping out of bed at dawn to make breakfast? Will I be able to demand a hall pass for daily exercise? How can I make sure that we see my extended family more when we live so far away? And last, but definitely not least, how can I give myself a break from cooking duties (when I am perfectly happy eating a bowl of cereal for dinner)!?
The realistic answer is that I won't be able to incorporate all of these things into my daily life back in JH, but for as long as I can after my vacation I am going to hold myself accountable for incorporating at least one of them into my routine each and every day. (Actually, maybe I will have one of the other Alma Mamas hold me accountable!) The hope, of course, is that soon, it will seem perfectly natural to sleep in here and there or to serve PB&J's for dinner on occasion.
For me, just like most mamas, the challenge is not so much doing these things as it is doing these things without feeling guilty about it. The last few days, I've slept in, exercised daily, spent extra time with extended family and, yes, I've had Cheerios for dinner, all completely guilt-free! Not surprisingly, I feel amazing. Calm, rested and happy. In this state of mind, it's so easy to be thankful for my family and our busy life in JH, including all the noise and chaos that goes along with that.
Again, the question is, how will I hold onto that gratefulness when we are back in Jackson and the chaos starts closing in around me? When I haven't had sleep or exercise? I will try to remember my needs and to meet them as often as possible. I will continue to practice Transcendental Meditation twice daily. I will reach out to friends and family and ask them to hold me accountable. And, I will try my hardest during the tough times to be thankful for it all. With luck, I will be able to hang on to this present sense of calm for at least a little bit and can be more intentional about incorporating my needs into my regular routine. And, if all of that fails, let's pray that camps are open again next summer!
Hang in there, Mamas!