In the first chapter of one of my favorite running reads right now, “Train Like a Mother”, by Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea, Dimity references those moments that I would be willing to bet all mothers have from time to time. She calls it a David Byrne-ian moment, as in “This is not my beautiful life.”
She says, “I drive a minivan. I clip coupons for Costco. I think new white tees from the Gap are a splurge. Ten P.M. is a late night for me. I obsess over my son’s behavior in kindergarten. The last time I wore makeup was three weeks ago. What happened to the hip, make-it-happen girl I used to be? And why is she wearing Danskos now?” (4).
For me, it isn’t much different. I often find 86 pacifiers in my purse without one tube of lipstick. I spend more on my kids’ clothes than I spend on my own. I fall asleep putting my youngest daughter to bed most of the time. I cannot remember the last adult movie I saw. And I love it all. I love my life. Sometimes though, I really start to feel disconnected from ME. I don’t even remember what it feels like to be a grown up without motherhood ruling my brain and I don’t quite realize how this became my life and I became this person.
Lately, I’ve felt determined to find some balance. I don’t want to short change the wonderful little people in my life, but by losing sight of myself I am realizing I’m not doing them any favors either. And poor Paul. When I am “burning the candle at both ends” so to speak, he often becomes the target of my frustration. I suppose being exhausted and needy to doesn’t give me a free pass to become a raging lunatic. I need to take care of myself to take care of others.
A few things that seem to help me hit reset:
1. A run and training for a race. Consistently.
2. Photography. Tiny snapshots of my life make me grateful.
3. Journaling. I’ve kept journals since I was very little, but when things get busy this is the first to fall by the wayside.
4. Bookstores. All the possibilities wrapped up in books makes me happy.
5. New clothes. Shallow as it seems, a new outfit can remind me what I love about fashion and make me feel more like myself. It may require blowing the budget from time to time!
When I can combine these elements into my chaotic, but oh so lovely mothering gig, then good things happen.