This is a special City Mama post brought to you on a Thursday. I made a technical error on this post many weeks ago and have been saving it for a few weeks since we figured out what happened. This actually feels like the right post for right now. Country Mama and family are turning inward for a little while. We’ve always agreed that the blog shouldn’t be pressure. So when she’s ready to come back, we’ll be waiting with open web browsers. Until then…
I loved your prompt two weeks ago and oh the timing couldn’t have been better. Casa Asterson is in total disarray. We’re working on some projects and purchases that aren’t ready for blog time and meanwhile I’m about to embark for a 12 day trip away from my true loves.
I’m torn between furiously planning so there’s no room for error and wanting to stop time while I sit and hold Luke and hang with Eric. None of it, as I’m sure you can guess, is leaving time for mom. But my flipped up cup still needs to draw strength from somewhere and I have developed a few tricks in my (nearly) two years as a mom.
Embrace the Chaos
I spent the last five years working in an organization that was doubling year over year. It was wild. Nothing was ever as planned, clean or calculated as we would have liked but we were doing exceptional things for a lot of people. Keeping my eye on the reason for the chaos always made it more palatable. I saw this quote on Pinterest years ago and a friend made me a cross stitch of the saying. It sits on my jewelry box and when I’m running out the door in the morning or about to face a bear of a day, I remember that this chaos comes from our lives being full and from working on some really great things.
Find the Smallest Moments
I’m a complete trainwreck without just a few moments for creature comforts. After our pregnancy losses, finding healthy ways to take care of myself was critical and definitely something I take away as a silver lining from those experiences. So much of self care can be a slippery slope…too much food, booze, shopping, even exercise can lead me down a path that isn’t productive. I’ve found some rituals that are really helpful.
- The first is simple…tea and lighting a candle after dinner. Even when after dinner is racing cars down the hallway and reading Curious George with Luke on one leg and the cat on the other, I can find 30 seconds to hold the warm cup and light a match.
- The second, is my Sunday night practice of painting my nails. I couldn’t tell you when this started but it’s been years. Half the time, I fit this in while Luke plays in the bath. But I tend to feel put together with nicely painted toe nails even if no one but me is seeing them.
- And lastly, put on some tunes. Even the worst tasks go by faster with some solid jams and keeping my love of bad pop music alive, I’m often fueled through some of the hardest tasks with a healthy dose of bubblegum Top 40s hits.
Remember Doing More isn’t Always a Bad Thing
Sometimes in the midst of all of the crazy, I just want to power down, simplify and streamline. But, the reality is with kids this small and running at such a speed, there is never a truly quiet time. There will always be competing priorities and the things I’d like to spend my idle time on often go by the wayside. So, while setting my alarm for 30 minutes earlier, going for a run during Luke’s naptime or staying up late to squeeze in a blog post that’s three week’s overdue isn’t my default response, I’ve learned I’m happier for doing it.
There are a few truisms that Eric and I have developed over the years, and one of my current favorites comes to pass more and more often. When facing a wild opportunity, we often ask, “What else are we going to do?” In other words, what’s the alternative. Don’t go on vacation? Don’t try for another kid? Don’t take the trip? Don’t push for the dream? It’s not how we live in this house and it’s how Eric and I have pushed each other to go for our goals these 18! years. So while it spreads me thin, it fills my cup and when I do take a moment at last to pause and think it through. I wouldn’t have it any other way.