Coffee in hand, it's very early in the morning. My husband's just left with the kids for the day. And. I. Am. All. Alone. 😃 You'd think I'd have planned a girls' day or taken this opportunity to pamper myself, go shopping, go out with friends, or go back to bed.
It's not just a physical purge, either. While I work, it is a mental sweeping of half-baked thoughts and hunches, all of which need time to ferment and process, and none of which get their chance with the constant interruptions that come along with minding a household and three littles.
Don't get me wrong: I am not complaining. But I'll tell you this: I am relishing.
What I really love (and need) is this guilt-free day…
… to clean out a few closets so the doors can shut.
... to tackle the things that have been taking up space in my mind for months, always creeping in to tap me on the shoulder and remind me that I have unfinished business, not letting me relax and be in the moment.
... to carve out some mental space, where I can complete a thought and assess where I am right now.
… to rejig priorities, set things up and put things in motion, so I can enjoy the summer with my muffins without the uninvited gremlin of nag shadowing every step and stealing my presence and joy.
I am doing this chore for myself. And. I. Am. LOVING. It.
I can work in my head, and I can rest in my head. Just being able to put two thoughts together satisfies a hint of the old me that is always there, waiting to be noticed and fulfilled.
This isn't about not loving my life and kids. This is about loving myself.
When I clear out the junk—in my house and in my head—I can focus more on what really matters most to me. Everything is in a better light. And it's okay if what matters to me at this moment is a little organization that helps me manage the constant "need-to-do" list that crowds out the present and prevents me from setting my full attention upon the little loves who mean the most to me in the whole world.
So, I look forward to a day like this. When my husband says he wants to take the kids—without me—I say, "Absolutely!"
That's how I find myself... knee deep in abandoned stuffed animals, broken or unused toys, worn out t-shirts and singleton socks.
That's how I find myself... reorganizing the bookshelf, adjusting books by size and titles to appeal to the ages my kids are now, and getting rid of the rest.
That's how I find myself... cleaning out my pantry of rejects and past-dues so I can see better what ingredients are available for dinner.
That's how I find myself... rooting through the bathroom drawers, eliminating used dental floss and cotton swabs (ew), empty toothpaste tubes and broken hair-ties.
I know it sounds silly. But, that's how I find myself.
At the end of the day, I am spent from tossing things and laid flat by decision fatigue. I have not snapped at anyone, no one's gotten into their "special box" to undo all that I've done, and I feel like I've run my course.
I'm ready for bed and the full night's sleep that I've so earned. And I sleep well, knowing that the rest of these days of summer can be met with an eager heart, a patient soul, and a manageable task set that won't crowd out what summer is really all about—fun, connection and memories.
Some mamas are much better than me at prioritizing, focusing or changing gears. They can manage all that their lives hold for them, every day and in every way. But this is what works for me. Acknowledging that and accepting it as my reality also works for me.
Self-care is as individual as each mama, and every mama needs to find what works for her.
We put others ahead of ourselves all the time. And in doing so, we can lose a little of ourselves each day that we don't carve out space to remember we are someone, too. We are worthy and important—we deserve to do what it takes to be our best self, and our children deserve it, too.