Earlier this week Jeremy mentioned that he was offered a ticket to a Seahawks game and he wondered if I would be okay with him attending. I was totally okay with that. Jeremy works hard at his job. He’s also been Super Dad with the boys – taking them a little extra over the last couple weeks so I could work on MOPS & MOMSnext things or because I’ve been sick. He has stepped up and given them awesome experiences of “man time” with their dad. I believe in the value of those father/son moments.
My first thought was Jeremy is awesome, he deserves a night out to do something fun. And then my next thought was… I wish I had fun. Pathetic, right? I love my kids and I love the ways that I get to serve at my church and in my community. Those things are important to me. It dawned on me though that my time away from the kids this month has been work or illness related. I just don’t take time to get away for myself. I gave Jeremy the thumbs up on going to the game and then I mentioned my desire to have a little fun too. He wholeheartedly agreed that I needed to find a way to fill up my tank. He offered to watch the boys on Friday so I would take some time for myself. I felt like I was handed the world and I didn’t quite know what to do with it. I don’t have hobbies that take me outside of the house. I like to read. I like to bake. I like to blog. All these things happen at home and I truly love and appreciate any time I get to be home alone. But occasionally, I want to get out and do something. Friday was my ticket.
Friday morning I got ready and exited my bedroom to a frantic four year old who needed to snuggle with me. All morning, until nap time. Jeremy had informed the boys that I was leaving for the day and even harder to swallow was the fact that I decided to go spend time with Auntie April without them. The horror!!! I “snuggled” both my boys for about 15 minutes of constant tears. The begging went from “please take me with you” to “please don’t go!” At one point, Jeremy joined into the crying just to make it a trifecta of wailing Scotts. I drove out of the driveway to a tearful sight and just two minutes later Jeremy texted me saying that the moment the boys went into the house, the tears stopped and all was well. Crazy, right? They can turn those emotions on and off so fast!
This week I’ve been really sick with a sinus infection due to the hazardous air in our area. I wasn’t sure I had the energy to do much with my free day, but I wanted to make the most of it. I decided to head down to Longview – it has more stores than Chehalis and I could meet up with my sister for some one-on-one time. It was great to go to multiple stores and not have to go through the car seat unloading and reloading process. April and I ate lunch without having to strategize on what food was most likely to get eaten and what would be rejected by tiny humans. And I had the ride down and back to think, pray and ponder life. Such a blessing and truly a gift for Jeremy to send me off for the day. Even though the boys acted like they were dying, I knew they were in good hands. 4-5 hours without their mom wasn’t going to end the world.
This was a good reminder for me. Both parents need to do fun things. We both need to invest in things we love and we both need that self-care of doing something fun just for the sake of having fun. I am grateful that I have a husband who enjoys spending time with our kids and doesn’t view taking care of them as a “mom” job. We are a team. Sometimes we do that job together and sometimes we do it apart so the other spouse can work or play.
I was also reminded that if I don’t speak up and share my needs, they won’t easily get met. Jeremy isn’t a mind reader. He doesn’t know when I need a break unless I verbalize it. It’s good to say something before you get burnt out. And while big days out without the kids aren’t the norm for me, I’m also reminded how life giving reading, baking, blogging, and journaling are to me. If I can’t squeeze a day to myself onto the calendar, I need to hit up my go-to hobbies that fill me. Even some thing as small as changing the warmers in my house to a favorite scent can fill me up. I recently changed my warmers to a baked apple pie scent and my house smells like the upcoming fall season and that makes me happy. Jeremy is growing an absurd amount of little pumpkins in his garden and come September, I plan on putting little pumpkins everywhere. This makes me happy.
There so many things that fill up and bring me joy. I need to be intentional about keeping them scattered through out my days. Life can’t be all work and productivity because for me that leads to illness. I end up on a cycle on full speed productivity and then completely laid out while I recover. There needs to be a middle ground where I can slow down. I’ve found that balance is an elusive thing. Maybe you can relate? Some months certain commitments take more time and effort and then they are replaced by a different commitment or season. It’s hard to get just the right balance of work, play, family, friends, serving, community and quiet. Certain things will demand more time at different times. It doesn’t all break down evenly. And that’s okay. After a super busy season, you need to slow down and invest in yourself. You can’t put that off forever. And as much as I don’t want summer to end because I know a lot responsibility is coming in the fall, I can’t live in summer mode forever. The calendar ebbs and flows and I don’t want to fight the tide. I want to embrace each day and each moment with the mindfulness that I can’t give what I don’t have. I can’t love my family, friends, and community unless I’m able to spend time with Jesus and as an introvert – spend time alone. I need to do the things I love throughout the week and month so I am able to share a joyful and peaceful spirit with those who come in contact with me.
I know this is a lesson we all know. I’ve known it for years. But I’m still practicing it. I still need reminders. I don’t live it out perfectly. Thankfully, each day is a new chance and a new opportunity. I might never get it right, but I get a lifetime to try and for that I am grateful.