I am sitting at my dining room table right now, while the raining pounds on our skylights and my boys play happily with their cousin, who is visiting for the morning. We’ve been bouncing from indoor activity to indoor activity since the boys woke up at 6am. We’ve colored, we’ve weaved, we’ve built a make-shift pool out of couch cushions – in short we’ve exhausted each other sufficiently and if I have to gently suggest that they “go play” one more time, my head might actually explode.
While I sit here at my dining room table, trying to figure out a constructive way to occupy my adult mind until the glory that is nap time, all I find myself able to come up with is a litany of mundane tasks I should be doing… laundry, taxes, dishes, entertaining my offspring, etc. And I have to wonder: Is this what I’ve been reduced to? Nothing more than a human checklist? A laundering, fish-feeding, PB&J-making machine?
I refuse to accept this! I will not allow the SAHM part of myself wither into domestic submission! So I’ve decided to come up with a list; a list of five things I should be doing, to keep the grownup part of myself alive and kicking.
Writing is my “thing”. And I’m sure you have one too. It could be drawing, reading, running – whatever. It’s my thing that keeps me feeling like me. It’s way to express myself that doesn’t have to be done in toddler-speak. Writing affords me the opportunity to talk to other grown-ups, even when there isn’t one in ear shot. Because we’ve all had those times when we feel like the only adult conversation we’ve had in weeks was with the dental hygienist while she was scraping gunk off our left incisor.
Wake up at 5am
Oh my gosh, you guys this one is the absolute worst, until about 5:06 and then it’s the most wonderful hour of my day. Our oldest guy Oliver is a super early riser, so if my husband and I want to carve out any time together to read, pray or just sip our coffee, we have to get up before the sun. But as we’ve made this adjustment to our circadian rhythms, it appears as if Oliver has done the same and we often hear him rustling around in his room just as we’re sitting down to begin our morning. He will appear in the dim kitchen light, hair a mess, with a tiny, little grin across his lips. I will hug him, tell him I’m glad to see him and sweetly kiss the top of his head. And then I will usher that little preschooler of mine off to watch cartoons until his brother wakes up. Because we’ve explained to him that this is our time to read, pray or just sip our coffee and there are simply no children allowed.
Put on makeup
Judge all you want, but if putting a good slather of tinted moisturizer on my face and slapping some mascara on my lashes makes me feel like a human being, then just let me be me. Of course there are days when I could care less about my appearance, but when the hours until nap time are looking bleak, sometimes I just need to get pretty to get my head right.
Most of you know that I’m a vegetarian and that this is something I’m really passionate about. Part of that passion includes preparing meals for myself and my family that are healthy and meat-free. It’s not super simple and requires planning and creativity on my part, but I believe that there is value in it and it’s something important I want to pass on to my children. Of course, like any exhausted mother, I shoot through the Chick-fil-a drive thru for the boys on occasion (I’m only human!), but for the most part, I try to stay true to my food-based beliefs.
(**Please don’t read that to mean I believe that if you eat meat, you’re a bad person! This is a misconception about vegetarians/vegans and it is simply not true!**)
It has recently become abundantly clear to me just how important the adult relationships in your life are. I was the first of many of my friends to become a mother and unfortunately it was very isolating for me emotionally. So much so, that I gave up on trying to maintain many friendships for a while. I assumed that my baby’s nap schedule would be too difficult to navigate or that I’d have nothing to talk about besides the milk that was leaking through my t-shirt. The end result was a very lonely mama and probably some kind of pissed off friends. Now that my little ones are getting a bit older and I am emerging from the trenches of early motherhood, I am more free to grab dinner with a girl friend or take a Buti yoga class with my cousins (this was literally the most fun I’ve ever had exercising. Please do yourself a favor and check it out.) and it is like brand new life has been breathed into me. And it has.
Now this list may sound a bit trite, but I have found that if I can muster up just a little bit of selfishness to help me maintain my sense of self, I feel much less like a cog in the wheel and a whole lot more like a woman who is attempting to kick a little bit of ass.