I am pretty sure I have had the quietest week of the past 7 years this week. While my big kids are at school, my husband is working or sleeping. We have no pregnancy issues to stress over, or home building related things hanging over our heads. All day long it is just me and my little man at home, or running errands with no additional pressure. And I was thinking about as much as I love it, it is really making me think about a lot of things that I haven’t had time to think about. A while ago I wrote a post about losing myself in motherhood See post here, and for the first time in many years I am finding time to find myself again.
For so many years I have been the mom of 3 littles, whose trips to the grocery stores were always insanity, who was always alternating between laughing at the craziness or feeling ready to meltdown. I have been the one with constant pregnancy issues, and loses. I was the strung out mamma crammed in an old tiny apartment, while my husband worked night and day building us a house. I was a mom with too much going on, and not enough energy. I was the mom with too little sleep and too much guilt. I was the mom with too much touch and not enough space.
And now I drop my kids off at school and I come home, and life feels kind of easy. I almost don’t remember how to do life without chronic stress. And I feel guilt and confusion at the quiet peace in my house and in my life. I have time for my own thoughts, my own space. The ability to drink a diet coke before it gets warm and flat, and the ability to blog in the middle of the day. Time to think about what fulfills me. Time to think about what is important to my family unit and how to make our home the environment I want it to be, instead of just surviving.
And I am realizing that I was right at the end of the original post, the Carrie I am finding is in fact different than the one I left behind. Or maybe it is just that I dare to be honest with myself about who really am. That I dare to think about what I want for my family instead of what I think it “should” look like. And here are some things I have learned, some are surprising and some I always have known.
The most surprising thing to me is that I actually love time alone. I think for so many years I have tried to make myself an extrovert and I wonder how much undue pressure I put on myself by being scared to miss out on social things. I feel more energized and recharged in this last week than I have in years. Maybe it is having a routine but I also think it is just taking the time to be at home and focus on those that matter most to me.
I want my husband’s and children’s needs to come above everyone else. They are my inner circle who should get the best of me, not the rest of me. Sometimes this means missing out on things I want to do or feel like I should do and I am OK with that. My job as the nurturer is to pay attention to what my family needs to feel secure, happy and healthy.
Part of giving my family the best of me has to include self care. Just simple things like sneaking out to the porch to drink my morning iced coffee in peace, gives me the energy to get my kids out the door without losing my cool when they can’t find their shoes, or their backpacks. Or taking a bath and reading a book in the evening after bedtime. Spending less time mindlessly scrolling my phone or watching tv in my down time. But to use that time for things that recharge me like reading or writing, or calling a friend. Getting back into God’s word, and cranking praise music while I clean. I wish I would have realized the power of a few minutes of self care years ago. I was always waiting for the big things like a night out or a vacation, instead of taking a few minutes to refresh and recharge however I could each day.
I am learning that I need to be ok with life being easier. Not being stressed out every minute of every day, does not make me lazy, I don’t have to prove my worth as a stay at home by by being strung out and tired. It doesn’t have to be the hardest job to be a worthy job.
I am realizing that I still don’t love to clean, and that that is 100% ok! Even with my 2 oldest kids being gone and having the time to do so much more, keeping my house just clean enough is ok with me. I don’t care to have the cleanest or most organized house, I just want it clean enough that it is a place of relaxation and peace. But for me personally, since cleaning is not a task I enjoy, it is a waste my energy to try to keep it magazine worthy.
I love to feed my family good food. This is one area I love to spend my energy, making sure my husband, who works a lot of long hours, has good food to carry him through. One of the biggest reasons I am glad to be off the dieting band wagon is that I can enjoy menu planning and cooking again. My husband also would choose a great dinner over sparkling windows any day.
I want my children to grow up fully confident to be who they are, and the only way I can do this is by living it out in my own life. I want them to see me eat what I want, and exercising in ways I enjoy, not to punish myself. I want them to see me laugh as loud as I want with no shame over the Questad laugh. I want them to grow up dancing with me, playing with me and always knowing that mom has enough of her to go around. I want this, but I am going to tell you a secret. Its not just for them. I want this for me too! I want to live the life I have always wanted where I stop obsessing about what I “should be” or who someone else is and just celebrate that I get to be me. I want to embrace that God created me to be exactly who I am and that thru Him, I have enough, my life is enough, and I am enough! I plan to spend the next few months finding myself and I am pretty excited to see who I find.