And most of the time, that's awesome.
And sometimes exhausting.
I take care of everyone else but myself. This became very clear in December 2010, which is why 2011 is about breathing, and taking time to be the protagonist in my own life again. It's slow going:
I've taken a hiatus from running--my meditation.
I don't go out with girlfriends as much.
I feel guilty for getting my hair cut every 8 weeks.
My toenail polish has grown out so much (and y'all know that toenail polish must be related to twinkies in that both could last through a nuclear holocaust) that the pink almost now looks like that white top of a french manicure.
When I am in the house, it's all about the kids.
But here's the rub. ANYTIME I do something "for fun" it almost always serves the purpose of giving to someone else. Every project I do, I have to do it FOR someone. I love knitting, but only give myself permission to knit when it's for (fill in the blank.) Luckily, there have been enough people getting pregnant or having babies that I am never short of a project...
But why can't I just dedicate time to knit because...wait...wait...here it comes...I WANT TO. Period. Done.
Maybe I would be able to knit more than hats, scarves, stockings, booties, and elephants?
For Eric's 30th birthday, I got him private running coaching--something he has always wanted so he can really make the move to break 16 in the 5k. He gets to steal away 40min-2hrs most days to just be with himself. Run. Meditate. Unload his mind. He has no shame in doing it. It's just a given--Daddy is going running. No one complains, and he comes back a better man.
Why can't I do that?
I don't have that dedicated running time right now--and really miss it. (So do my abs and cardiovascular system.) I was a meditative runner. I wrote letters, books, sang songs, created alternative realities during that time.
It will be a few months before I can incorporate that dedicated running time into my life again due to Eric's running focus and general chaos of life (you know, it will be right around the time Atlanta gets like 90 and steamy by 6am. I've got timing!)
But until then, in the spirit of dedicating space and time to personal happiness, I've established at least 1 hour every few days when I can retreat from being a mom and wife, and do something just for me. One week, it might be a nap. Another, actually reading the magazines I have piled up under the bed and not just breeze through the pictures while walking them to the recycling bin. I've even thought about getting the girliest movie from Redbox, and having a movie date night with yours truly.
A few days ago, I poured myself a glass of wine into an old jelly jar (because it tastes better in a jar, duh!), and had a date with a Trader Joe's ice cream sandwich. No one else was invited. Okay, so my first thought was, "is it a bad sign that I am not only drinking $3 wine from a jelly jar, but that I'm drinking it by myself?" But then I thought, "this $3 tastes kinda good!" And I read a magazine--from cover to cover. And I did it while Eric was putting Miles to bed. Yup. My child was still up. A few weeks ago, I would have gone all ballistic on myself thinking "how dare you take time for yourself while your first born son wants nothing more than for you to read him his stories and sing songs?!?" But the truth is, I'm at the point where always having to wait until my children are fast asleep, the laundry is done, the dishes are put away, and lunches are made, to have that personal time is just not possible. (Unless I want a drink at 11pm. Sorry, for the next decade, sleep trumps anything. Even jelly jar libations and Trader Joe's ice cream sandwiches.)
This isn't rocket science, nor is it a new concept. I just didn't get the memo that it's okay to do fun things for yourself that don't directly benefit your family, friends or even strangers.
And you can still be an awesome Mom. (At least that is what I'm trying to convince myself of.)
Because you know what? My mantra for life (so many of you have heard): healthy mom, healthy family/happy mom, happy family. How can you contribute to anyone else's happiness if you don't at least spend some time getting to know your own happiness first?
Last week, I just kind of wanted to make another rag wreath. We don't need another one (I have 3 I've made already), but I just wanted to spend a few hours organizing fabric, meticulously cutting it, knotting it on the ring, and feeling that instant gratification of creating something beautiful. Like knitting, I find this particular craft very meditative. It's an OCD thing I think.
Now I have a wreath I don't need. The purpose has been served--in the creation. It was not assembled with the intent on giving it to someone, nor did I have a "deadline" to get it done.
Okay Sherlocks, guess what the giveaway is?
My meditative wreath!
There are no rules about going to another website and telling me your favorite product, or in what year a particular company started.
Let's be honest. I'm no Martha Stewart, and there isn't a chance I'm going into any sort of craft business any time soon, but I thought it would merely be fun to pass the wreath along.
All you need to do is comment below on ONE THING you will do within the week that is for you. (Let's keep it legal though, k?) One thing where the main purpose is to contribute to your happiness. Yeah, it's like I'm giving you license to be selfish.
In one week I'll do this really cool and magical thing on Excel where I can randomly select one entry to win.(Except for my mother. She cannot win--she already has a wreath. Nor can my husband. But he doesn't read my blog regularly anyway.) Oh, and each person gets only one chance...even if you have multiple personalities. I don't need you to follow me on the blog...I don't need you to "like" me, I don't need you to join me on facebook. I just need you to take care of yourself (and contact me with your mailing address if I don't have it already.)
Winner will be announced Friday morning. Whatever that date is...it's 10:45pm, and I only have enough energy to either complete my dental hygeine routine, or do mental math. Sorry mathletes--the oral cavity wins.
I'll ship the wreath to the winner--with the restriction that you have to follow-through on your commitment to yourself.
And here's where I get all mushy gushy. I truly feel like the "giveaway" is not really the wreath, but the opportunity for you to commit yourself TO yourself--I'm asking you for accountability. And I promise you'll be better off for it.
So, what are you going to do for you?