This summer has been a finger snap. We’ll no doubt be heading into the final third of the summer like we’re being chased by responsibilities and realities of the fall — full throttle, trying to get in as much of everything and nothing as the daylight hours allow.
The girls have been at camp for the past two and half weeks, which has left me on my own to alternately do nothing and everything. This is their fourth summer away and the fourth summer where I have planned to make the best use of my time. M asked me what I was going to do while they were gone. “Nothing,” I replied. That was my plan; do nothing. I spend so much of my time ripping and running, crossing items off of lists, and cross checking iCal with my planner, it’s nice to have no plan at all.
A quote attributed to John Lennon says, “Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted”. I’ve thought about this quite a bit since the girls have been gone. In the quite hours of the evening, when I would usually be steering the girls toward their bedtime routine, I’d wonder if I’d made the best use of my time that day. Should I have organized the linen closet? Could I have cleaned out the myriad of crumbs and wrappers from the corners of the backseat? I probably could have done the back to school shopping, at least.
As these thoughts bloom in my brain, the mom guilt comes tip-toeing in close behind. You had an opportunity to do, do, do! How could you not have done this, that, and this? Instead of reading that last chapter/watching that last episode/taking that clinic, you could have done that, this, and that!
Thankfully, I’ve learned to smack that noise down before it takes root.
Yes, I could have done those things. I could have done more. I am used to doing THE MOST. However, I’m fed up with the girls coming home from camp and feeling as though I spent so much time on everything else, I’m on empty before they’ve even gotten their trunks into the car.
So, how do I put a cork in the guilt and re-charge myself to be fully present when the girls come home?
I’m practicing self-care.
Self-care is a topic that is batted around quick a bit these days, but not always easily defined. Self-care can seem like squishy, maybe even selfish concept. I’ve read articles and seen blurbs from self-help books that point to everything from “Treat Yo’self” type of experience to an introduction to mindfulness to hugging a puppy. The one thing that all of those articles and books have in common is that self-care is vitally important to your routine and that above all else, it is deliberate and self-initiated. No one can do it for you.
I will admit, this is all very new to me. I’m an eager, over-achiever as we all know, so I take comfort in the fact that self care is a practice. There’s no reason rush, no finish line to cross, just small steps to take towards feeling fulfilled and happy. And as we all know, if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. . .
What do you do to practice self-care?
Tell me about it in the comments!
Also published on Medium.