The HER Within the Mot'her'

Phew! Just got back from our 8 day vacation down the shore…hence, the late post.

Anyway, this was our first ‘real’ vacation as a family of six. And, OMG – we not only survived, but we really SO enjoyed ourselves & actually relaxed! I was even able to read AN ENTIRE BOOK, people!!  As I sit here back at home, bags yet to be unpacked, I am full of gratitude for those few days. I knew that we needed to get away, but it wasn’t until vacation day 3 that I realized just how necessary that time was.

First, the setting:
- the guest house on my grandparents property at the Jersey shore…a small, yet cozy little cottage (hey – less to clean!); an immaculately maintained in ground pool outside our door; a patio overlooking the river, complete with a hammock, garden & grill; our choice of boating, kayaking or crabbing off of the dock; seafood restaurant/bar AND Dunkin’ Donuts within walking distance; the beach/boardwalk within a 5 minute car ride. Top that with a little nostalgia for all of the childhood memories I have there and well, as my husband said, ‘it’s a little piece of heaven’!

Ok, so day 3…the weather was perfect and I had woken up early. The triplets had slept in (meaning past 6am) and I practically bounced down the stairs. I was invigorated by the day, our new surroundings and the fact that my husband was going to be around for a full week to not only help with the kids, but to enjoy them with me. I grabbed my sneakers & my iPod, informing my husband that I would be walking to Dunkin’ Donuts for our morning coffee.

I don’t remember what song I was listening to at the time, but I had only been walking for about ¼ of a mile when it occurred to me…I was walking by mySelf, listening to my music and walking to someplace I really wanted to go. It happened rather suddenly & filled me up completely. Yes, I’d realized that I could use a break – a change of pace, a more relaxed environment, my hubby around for an entire week to co-parent with me…but on that walk, in the quiet sunshine I was able to hear my own voice again! It was like re-connecting with an old friend – someone you feel completely comfortable with, someone you really like. This, I thought, this makes me happy. I really like this song. I love being outside, I love to walk & I love my morning coffee. So big deal, right?

Very big deal! You see, in my former life, I was a Life Coach. My practice focused primarily on mothers – supporting them in re-connecting with themSelves, helping them to see themselves beyond the role of mother. So many of my coaching sessions, so many talks I’ve given centered around trying to convince mothers that filling themSelves up first was the only way to give to their children. A simple concept, a complex commitment. I thought that I had been doing a pretty good job of it, but what I had become good at was ignoring my own needs, or at least at putting them last.

It was easy to preach self-care with only one child at the time! The universe needed to put me in the thick of it to really understand. As MoMs, the challenge of staying connected with the HER within the mot’her’ is, well…multiplied! Pre-vacation I was done, taxed, stressed, tired – I remember telling my husband that I felt like a well that had gone dry. That simple little shore vacation – taking those morning walks & giving myself permission to read a WHOLE book – allowed me to breath a little deeper. It gave me the space I needed to find my center again – to be present. And I assure you, I was a more pleasant wife & mother for it! I haven’t enjoyed just being with my family like that in awhile. I realized that I’d been carrying some BS belief that vacation was an indulgence – a guilty pleasure. Where’d THAT come from?? Vacation, especially now, will be a matter of course in our home, a commitment.

So now that we’re home, I’d like to come up with ways to stay in ‘that place’. So how do you do it? (No pun intended!!) What commitments do you keep to yourSelf?

6 thoughts on “The HER Within the Mot'her'

  1. This is one thing I think I’ve been fairly good at. I have two ways that I carve out time for me…

    The first is during our a.m. nap. The VERY first thing that gets done (if I haven’t already had the opportunity if I wake earlier than the kiddos) is I work out. I usually do a 45-60 minute exercise video. I love Turbo Jam, and find that it really makes me happy, so I do it. Everything else waits.

    The second priority is golf. I really missed my golf league the summer I was pregnant, so this season I told my husband that I called Wednesdays. Each Wednesday I golf with one of my good girlfriends, and we grab dinner at the club after. It is something I look forward to every single week. I encourage my husband to take time to himself, too, but he’s not as good at it. Probably because he works outside the home and feels like when he’s not working he wants to spend time with the kids and me.

    Anyway, I think this is sooo important. Good post. I know it’s hard in the earlier months when it’s all you can do to get enough sleep, a shower or let alone a hot meal, but once the kiddos get a bit older and more predictable, it does get easier.

  2. Attending weekly worship service at church is when I get centered, and how I stay centered amidst the chaos. I attended church regularly before having kids, now that I have 3 kids I leave the little ones (age 2) in the nursery in very capable hands and that one hour on Sunday morning of peace, is what keeps me going. It is probably my highest priority and without it I would fall to pieces. Don’t know if it can be called “me” time, but it is “me and God” time which somehow multiplies the benefit.

  3. Awesome blog!! I agree 1oo% with what you identified as the need to “re-charge” yourself with something that you need in order to be more effective and well…in a better more patient mindset for your kids and other family members.

    As parents we often deny/downplay/ or outright ignore our own needs in the process of trying to be all that we can for our children. And in doing so, inadvertantly compromise our ability to be the best that we can for them.

    My husband is ex military and I remember him telling me that one of the first lessons that his Drill Instructors taught him was that …”You can’t take care of anyone else, if you’re all “jacked up!”

    Funny how that lesson seems to transcend across various situations and settings in life. Obviously this lesson that you pointed out could apply to FATHERS as well as MoMs. Another great blog!

    Are you still coaching Mothers? I would like to know more. Do you have your own site?

  4. Saturday morning long runs. I get to see friends at the start and then I get to run with my music outside through pretty neighborhoods and parks. I loved the ritual before I was pregnant and cherish it even more now.
    .-= Lisa´s last blog .. =-.

  5. Monday night book club, monthly MNO’s with friends, long Sunday afternoons spent at the bookstore and being active in my local moms of preschoolers group are all things I do to recenter. And if I just need an hour or so for a quick recharge, I throw on my ipod and get lost in the wonderfulness of This American Life or Radiolab.
    .-= Cristal´s last blog ..To: Sophia.Alex.Max =-.

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