Any parent or caregiver will tell you it’s nearly impossible to make time for yourself. A wise woman once told me self care is a necessity in order to have healthy relationships with your loved ones. She compared it to being on an airplane when the oxygen masks fall from the overhead. You have to adjust that oxygen mask on your own self, before you can help anyone else. (God forbid that happens to any of us.) Otherwise, you and your co-pilot suffer. Easier said than done.
Lately, I found myself spiraling out of control, much like that airplane. I’ve been sleeping less, eating more, and developing unhealthy habits. Dealing with added stress as we try to make sense of the unknowns of the approaching school year, and the unknowns of what is happening with my career. In addition, the pressure of keeping my kids entertained while they push back on teacher mom, who is trying her best to prevent any learning loss. All the while struggling to maintain a tidy home and well kept kids so when the husband comes home, he doesn’t think I’ve been lounging around all day in pajamas. I honestly have no idea what I do all day, but it’s not that. Did I mention elections, social injustice, COVID-19, and fires burning? I feel like I’m in a Billy Joel video: 2020 remix. The pressure is bottling up and I need my mask.
“Self! You need to go for a long walk.” What clarity, what simplicity, what freedom! Why haven’t I done this sooner? I really had no reason other then all the excuses I’ve convinced myself of. “I don’t want to leave the kids home alone, that laundry really should get done, I have that thing to do, my head hurts.“
Once I found my path, my road not taken, I discovered so much along the way. I discovered what my neighborhood looks like, I met some friendly faces, I learned the names of 2 dogs that looked familar. I noticed nature at work. I was inspired by some landscaping ideas I’d like to try out in my yard, I thought about what my next blog topics were going to be about, I started to envision how my classroom would look once back to school, I stopped and smelled some flowers before the fall arrives and kills them all. I even stopped to say the Pledge of Allegiance. All of these positive thoughts and brainstorming, I could not do within the home. Too many distractions. “Mom, I want milk, Mom, can you buy me Robuks? Mom, can my friends come over? Ma…Ma….Mommy.” Walking brings me a sigh of relief for even a brief moment. I come back home, and it’s all there waiting for me, like a Stephen King novel, I’m afraid of what I’ll walk into. But I am thankful I had an hour of peace and solace from all that has been weighing on me. I come home, and all is well. The house is still standing and no one noticed I was even gone.
So step away, force yourself, it’s okay. You have permission. You’ll thank yourself later.
P.S. Count how many different types of sunflowers you run into along the way.