As homemakers and mothers, we have chosen a field that is so very fun and creative…and grueling. It’s cozy, easy, exhausting, flexible, demanding. You get the point. For most of us, there is no vacation, unless you take your work with you, and no clocking out. You may escape at times with some help from a grandmother or in law, perhaps you have a babysitter? Good for you, and lucky for you. Some of us don’t have this luxury. And fathers aren’t always so helpful. My husband is afraid to be left alone with the children for hours. They cry for me, then there’s the whole keeping them safe and alive for 3 hours.
I don’t get out much and I’m actually fine with that to a point, however, there comes that day when I find myself yelling at everyone like a shrew and I know that I’ve had enough and must get away.
I found my magical happy place. The theater. A big, dark movie theater, a loud larger than life movie, popcorn with the hideous fake butter oil, milk duds, and a soda. Ahhh, this is my pub night. This is equivalent to a night at the bar or club. I even come home with a headache from the junk food. I’m happy for two weeks after.
Recently I have experienced some real exhaustion. I am usually a powerhouse with my house cleaning, taking the boys here and there to visit family or dragging them to the park in the red wagon, and writing at 4:00 AM with the rising sun. But lately not so much. I thought I might need an iron transfusion but after finding a book on stress management I realized that I have just had too many huge life changes in a very compacted amount of time.
Even the best and happiest of life changes can wipe you out spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically. When that happens you must pull on the reigns and take a huge break.
However, that’s not really possible with a family. So, what do you do to take care of yourself and make sure you stay the powerhouse?
I’ve changed a few things over time. We eat very well. Meaning very nutrient dense, fibrous, organic foods. I try to have each meal and snack be filled with vitamins and good body feeding substance. We also enjoy our treats and pastries. We have just had some gatherings this weekend with a dinner with close friends from out of town and a bar b q I threw for some neighbors. We ate huge salads and hormone-free grilled chicken all weekend…along with some desserts. I just had the last of the coconut pie this morning with my coffee. I then did my workout and ate salads, proteins, blueberries, bananas, and beans the rest of the day. We eat a lot of the good stuff and some of the sweet stuff. You have to have some cake and fun right?
Exercise. It is so good for the body and mind. It releases endorphins, balances hormones, tones the body, strengthens the body, smoothes out the stress. I have tried extreme weight training videos and doing an hour a day on the tread climber. I love to exercise but you have to find an exercise and an amount of time that you can really stay with daily without dread. I settled for half an hour on the tread climber and half an hour of all over body strength training every other day with my free weights.
Water. I drink almost a gallon a day. I’m a bit overweight, I still nurse, exercise daily, and am active. I also like my coffee. Our bodies are 60% water. Dehydration can cause exhaustion and illness…and kidney stones.
Meditation. I’m still working on this. You don’t have to sit in a room and hum to candle light. You can do working/walking meditations or mindful meditations. You simply clean the house with a quiet mind. You work in the garden and listen to the birds…with a quiet mind. This is so important with all the constant noise of a family and media.
Unplug, just a little. Media happens but it can be controlled and reduced greatly for a much richer and more peaceful life. I just watched a show called The Chefs Brain and it was this French chef in France. He loved taking walks in his part of the city and as he did you could see all these people in the parks and along the river sitting facing each other talking, playing cards, playing bocci ball. No one was on the cell phone or looking down frantically scanning the latest happenings on Facebook. I almost thought it was a clip from the 80’s.
We don’t have to have the TV on. Play music. Put the cell phone up in a cupboard and use it for when you go out. We have a landline and I wish more people did. You can hear so much better on a home phone and there is something charming and old school about a house phone ringing down the hall. Cell phones are wretched to talk on with the breaking up, static, and echoes. I use my cell for when we go out and if there was an emergency such as a popped tire. I also love to use my cell as a camera. That is really all I use it for. I love the chat and coffee on the phone like in the olden days. Call me Laura Ingles.
I also don’t get on Facebook. My blog does, I don’t. And this twitter…how silly is that? I tell you. You are living other people’s lives, go make your own memories. These sites stir up competition and jealousy to see all those people having such fun…but they aren’t really, they are just too busy taking pictures and sending them to Facebook while on vacation so everyone can be keeping tabs on what they ate every half hour. Go get your own life, mind your own business.
Clear the calendar. Schedule fun things that you all really, really want to do. Don’t fill it up with obligations to others that create stress and tension at the dreaded dates. Yes, dental and doctor visits are needed here and there but downsize the classes that the kids take. You aren’t really a super mom for having your kids in 12 after school programs and classes. You’re creating a family that is stressed to the gils. One class per child per semester and make it something they love! Music lessons, joining the local theater group, a youth group, karate. Good stuff. Clear off your stuff too. Only spend the time with people you love being with that lift you up, inspire you. Take a class that you really look forward to going to.
Keep a clean and tidy home. A clean, uncluttered, organized home is peace of mind right there. I can do other activities or focus on writing when my house is clean and in order. I feel like I can think and breath. I also know where everything is. This saves money, energy, time, and family bickering. It’s also a way of showing gratitude for being blessed with a home. We show grace and thanks to God by keeping our gifts nice and well kept such as homes, cars, toys.
Find a way to be alone and do something you enjoy by yourself or with friends away from the family now and then. This wouldn’t be drinking it up at the ol’ watering hole. That only produces a hangover and hard days ahead. Take up a yoga class, go to the movies, a book club.
Have a hobby or interest. I write. I blog. This is what I love and how I escape yet be right here at home to tend to everyone. Find a thing that you love and do it.
Be happy, don’t worry. Get rid of the worry producers like news, friends that are negative, even the internet if you can’t be trusted. Find joy everywhere. I put on Democracy Now the other day for my husband. He left the room and left me with all the war, bombings, famines, cholera in Yemen. I turned the channel to find a show The Queens Garden. It was all about how the gardeners create this paradise for the Queen but they also take care of all the creatures that live there. They filmed the mushrooms growing and how they exchange valuable nutrients with the trees thus being symbiotic. The staff leaves food for the birds and field mice during the harsh winter months to help them survive. Ah, this was much easier on my heart.
We don’t have to turn away. There are bad things happening. We can donate, sign petitions and do our part to reach out to the less fortunate and say no to war and corruption. But do we have to fight the good fight all the time? Let’s see the how the other side lives. Can we also embrace the sweet and delicious things in life? Butter making in Paris, flowers blooming in the Queens garden?
Play hard with your children…but not all the time. I love to color in coloring books, play and climb at the parks, watch Disney movies. These things are good for the child that still resides in me. But I also let my children do a lot of unplanned, unscheduled play with themselves and each other. That is when I clean or write. Sometimes they join me and sometimes I join them. We don’t have to be in each other’s space all the time. I plan really fun things for them now and then. Mostly they live in the back yard or with all their toys inside. I don’t need to create a magical kingdom for them all the time. They have delicious meals and snacks, a loving and affectionate mother, rules to stay safe by, routines to feel grounded and secure, fresh air, the sunshine, toys, art supplies, books, and soon homeschooling. I focus on their inner well-being, teaching them skills such as gardening and baking. I am concerned about who comes into our lives and them finding friends to grow up with that will be in a wholesome family as well. But they are boys and they make me absolutely crazy often.
Keep it simple all the way around. Keep cleaning, schedules, cooking, and life simple. Learn to simplify everything. Learn to be frugal and wise with the budget. Make life easy for all of you and focus on the wonders and happiness of life and all of Gods abundance and natural gifts.
Also, take a super multivitamin with iron.