We’ve all heard the well-worn and threadbare phrase about “stopping to smell the roses”, but speaking for myself I think I built up an immunity to its meaning. I’m a list-making, task-oriented, control freak who jumps out the gate of her day like a gun went off and tries to wrangle it to the ground like a steer-roping competition. (You will not understand this metaphor if you have never been to a rodeo, sorry!) Lately, on those days that I feel tired or have lost my inspiration to write or create, I stop to wonder what it was all for. My husband never even notices when the entire house has been mopped, dusted, and disinfected. And the very act of cleaning the house, the dishes, the laundry is a vicious cycle. Its like being caught in your very own Groundhog Day. After thinking about the balancing act over the last couple weeks – I decided to change my approach. Instead of filling every free moment with work or chores, I choose to engage in something that I will enjoy or need for myself right then in that moment. So far this week: Monday, there was a beautiful breeze outside, so I read a book. Wednesday afternoon, I was tired, so I took a nap. And today, Eyre is napping, the house is reasonably clean, so I am writing on my blog for the first time in maybe a month. And don’t let feelings of boredom or guilt become time wasters! Enjoy it!
Since starting my new full-time job as a mom, I learned quickly, and easily, the lesson of re-prioritizing the act of “doing” and spending time with my daughter. That was a no-brainer. Who wouldn’t want to spend time with this amazingly perfect child!? I think the problem is that mom’s forget to also build in time for themselves. Please realize that its not selfish to set aside time just for you, your desires and needs. In fact, it is essential to your health and happiness. And you know what they say, “happy wife, happy life”. Caregivers need to be healthy and whole to give effortlessly of themselves every day for extended periods of time. And ladies, wake up – we are going to be moms and wives for a really, really long time. This is the rest of our lives we’re talking about! I’d say that we had better figure out now how to balance those scales, or we, and everyone around us, will pay for it later.
Speaking practically, I have learned to ask for things. Aaron and I are working on how to compromise. I like to get up early and have time to myself to write or go for a run. He likes to sleep later, which is hard to do with a baby who wakes up at 6:30/7am each morning. So he’ll give me some Saturday mornings a month to leave the house early and do whatever I want. And I’ll give him the other Saturdays to sleep in. We all bump and knock through life, learning by trial and error. Thankfully, I have a wonderful husband who not only derives his own happiness from mine, but is also a great communicator. Nothing will ever right itself if we stay mute about our needs. And let yourself have a little righteous anger when you feel some of your joy slipping away! But that anger should never be directed at your spouse. The battleground is in our minds. Don’t believe the lie that you have to measure up somehow. You are loved passionately, unconditionally, and inescapably more than you can ever imagine. And that Lover of your soul created you to embrace who He created you to be, and delight in it. Don’t waste another minute settling for less, and don’t forget to stop and smell those beautiful, intelligently and imaginatively-created roses. 😉