The apple cider was dripping down my legs. I was sitting at the kitchen table for dinner with my four young children, consciously choosing not to over react to the explosion of a spill that just happened. Not the kind of spill where the cup gets knocked over and the liquid spreads out from the cup, and if you’re quick enough you can catch it with a towel. This was the kind of spill where the cup gets knocked off the table and bounces off the floor, splattering the walls, chair legs, and floor with sticky juice. A wet dog shake kind of a spill.
I was aware that this could easily turn into an unpleasant memory for my children. “Remember the time mom completely lost her shit because of the apple cider spill!” I can hear them laughing at me 30 years from now. I was trying to avoid the making of unpleasant memories. But I had just spent the last hour preparing for dinner and one bite into my meal I’m talking myself out of stepping over the edge of self-control. I’m being flooded with frustration that five nights a week I do dinner time by myself with four young children. I let the drips of cider make their way down my leg to my feet and eventually the floor. The kids are still eating and chattering among themselves, completely unaware of my internal struggles.
I do a quick and sloppy cleanup of the explosion-spill and we make it through the meal without the making of any unpleasant memories. Towards the end of supper, my seven-year-old son asks, “Hey Mumma, can we go watch the sunset?” I felt his request through my whole body. My boy, my sweet boy. He knows just what I need. Just what WE need. One look around the kitchen and there is at least 20 minutes of clean up that needs to done and its a lot of effort to get four kids in the car and I’m already so tired. But I put my concerns into my “Fuck it Bucket” ( a little tool I use), leave the mess and we start putting shoes on. We take a five-minute drive to the local beach, just because.
Because Mama was having big thoughts and those thoughts needed space.
Because children are happy in water and sand, that is bliss to Mama.
Because sunsets have a way of resetting the soul. They remind us of our fragileness and connectedness.
Because some thoughts need the air and the water and the earth. Some thoughts are so immense that they need an atmosphere to be released into.
Because they are watching me and they know when my soul is heavy.
Because I want them to know when the world becomes too much, to find a spot where water meets the sand and release the burden. To surrender. The heaviness is not ours to carry.
I’m learning that self care as a mother is not just something we do, but it’s also a way to be. Self care is being able to let the unimportant things wait to make room for what it important. It’s the ability to notice when we lose our connection to ourselves and others. It’s having action steps we can take to bring the joy back in. It’s the ability to leave the messy kitchen to watch the sunset. It’s mindfulness of our thoughts, actions, and reactions. It’s checking in with yourself and honoring your feelings. It’s recognizing if something isn’t in alignment and doing something about it before it gets out of control. It’s allowing yourself to receive so that you have more to give.
Starting next week, Monday, October 23, I am going to start “Free and Courageous” a 5-day journey of self-care for parents.
Day one: What is self-care and why is it important? What are the outcomes of self-care?
Day Two: Limiting beliefs and negative self-talk: It all starts within.
Day Three: Learning to say no and making room for what’s important.
Day Four: Valuing yourself and the work that you do. Making yourself a priority.
Day Five: Inner awareness and being versus doing.
I will be posting the videos through Facebook live in my private support group “Choosing Homeschool.” You can join us by clicking here.
If you would like the videos emailed you, you can sign up here. It’s free! The videos will be available through email starting on Monday, October 30th.
I hope you’ll join me! Because by taking care of ourselves we are creating space for our children. We have more to give when our cups are full. And when our children are grown and on their own, the only thing we will have is our relationship and connection with them. And the foundation for that future relationship begins now.