Usually, I am one of the first people who knows to create a bit of happy and indulge in self-care if I’m having a bit of a day. I’m not one of those who can rattle of a list of advice to a friend and then not follow it myself. Oh no – I know exactly when I need to let my selfish side out. Usually.
I haven’t been as good about that lately. Our family has nearly doubled in the past year and now I have a boyfriend with his own set of routines to fold into ours, and a stepson who needed a lot of parenting and structure introduced into his life. Plus the ensuing balancing act of making sure my own two girlies aren’t being shunted aside too often because it’s easier to ask a 12- and 10-year-old to yield in any given situation.
All of these factors (and some other toughies, like a crazy work environment at ThePlaceThatShallNotBeDiscussed) have been at play recently. This past Friday night I spent at urgent care with the Gracie because ear infections in her bad ear, and then up half the night with my own case of food poisoning. No much sleep going on there. Saturday I meant to take a nap, but we had library books to return, and then Bee and Jeff wanted to go to the fancy mall (which included an hour of bonus traffic), and then there was an early dinner out, a tantrum-y five-year-old, and a huge fight with Jeff. No naps in sight for me!! Sunday I spent negotiating the grocery store, keeping track of a still tantrum-y five-year-old and spending the afternoon playing a crazy initiation into Hungry Hungry
Hippos Humans even without the Redheads and fam, because Bee had her heart set on it and I couldn’t disappoint that kiddo twice in one weekend. (The water ball game she had been promised at the fancy mall wasn’t there when we went, and she had been crushed.) So it was another day scheduled around making my people happy.
And you know what? Making your tribe happy isn’t all bad. There’s a lot of good that comes from that. Someone has to be the mama, the ring leader, the one who makes everything tick like clockwork. I’m glad that everyone knows I can be counted on. I love my boyfriend. I absolutely live for the moments when I can make my girls’ faces light up. I love seeing the Xman learn new things and thrive within the structure he’s been given. It makes me happy that we’re a family.
But you guys – I am absolutely knackered. The one thing I can’t phone in right now is ThePlaceThatCan’tBeDiscussed – the one place that made me quit Monday at 7:35 a.m. I have to get creative in finding ways to alleviate the insanity or I really will end up in the loony bin. No one is going to swoop in and rescue me.
So I did it. I was my own damn self-rescuing princess last night. I scheduled an easy dinner of spaghetti and meatballs. I did tell Bee she could be a waitress/server at a restaurant when dinner was ready, remembering I had put her off the night before. It would have been so much easier to say no, but I figured keeping my promise was easier than managing a night of teary truculence. But before I even cooked dinner, I told the girls I was taking a quick shower…only really what I did was sneak a hot bat with a glass of wine and a good book. Putting our routine off for twenty minutes made all the difference in the world. I got to relax and disconnect from my day, which meant the mama who made dinner and even did a quick load of laundry (mid-week! off schedule! shocker!) much better adjusted. I felt like that one task had slipped all the stress away.
And I didn’t stop there. After dinner I grabbed my laptop and started jumping through my iTunes library, jamming out to songs I hadn’t listened to in years. After Jeff got home from Crossfit, he joined in the jam session and kept my wine glass filled, not one complaining about any of my song choices. It honestly felt more like a Friday night than a stressy Monday.
I know stopping and trying to self-care won’t always work. Life will get in the way, or maybe the things I choose to try to de-stress won’t be as effective as they were last night. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try. Because it might work exactly as last night did. And that is worth remembering to try.