It happens to be that I do a decent job of doing it all.
I work full time, parent, wife and volunteer. I also know I need breaks, but for some reason those breaks come few and far between these days. I have high expectations for myself and because of that I push hard. It’s not until my child is melting down from being over-tired after of a week of camp and I’m screaming about how I’m over-tired from a week of work that I realize that I needed a break two weeks ago and she does too. For me, getting a break doesn’t mean coffee with friends or a night on the town. For me, it means getting away from our living-on-top-of-each-other-condo and taking a weekend or even just a day away. My safe haven is at my parents’ house. They still live in the home I grew up in — my Up North House. We run barefoot through the grass, weed the garden, fill the blow up pool and sit down. We put screens away, we play outside, we watch the sun set and we get to rest.
I let my brain rest and with that, the creative juices flow. My brain figures out how to finish that big project I’ve been stuck on at work. My brain comes up with fourteen blog ideas and I can’t wait to get writing. My brain figures out how to be the calmer mother I’m working to be. My brain finds its patience again.
I know my brain and body needs a break but I have a hard time scheduling it. It occurs to me as I write this that taking a break is the self care we’re all talking about. It’s a necessity to keep our lives going like a well oiled machine.
So as a gift to myself, as the last year of the thirties approaches, I will take more breaks. I will schedule them into my calendar. I will sit outside at my safe out-of-the-city place and relax. I’ll swing in the rope swing. We’ll eat garlic chives out of the garden while we patiently wait for our harvest. I’ll drink one too many around the fire on a Saturday night, knowing that my child is well cared for and that she needs a break too.
This week, I also realized that I am doing a terrible job of teaching her how to take a break. It was also this week that I watched my mom and realized that while she does it all, she takes breaks too. She can’t sit still, she’s always taking care of that one more thing. At least I know she turned out ok and that I will too.
Dear Mamas — Figure out what your safe haven is and schedule time to visit it. Your brain and your family will prosper even more after you’ve refreshed.