They say the second child is never the same as the first. They are not wrong. We like to say my second born is the sun, and my first born is the moon. She runs rather than walks. She does not nap. She is fierce! She is becoming my greatest teacher in patience. Far more than gardening, hand quilting, or any other endeavor I've taken on in life.
While I continue to balance the twirly dance of raising my daughters, being a wife, keeping a home, home educating my oldest daughter, working as a part time writer, and holding onto my craft and my work, I have struggled with how to take care of myself. In the smallest of ways. And we know that when mama ain't happy, the house falls to pieces.
It's all too common among parents the feeling of burn out and not practicing self care. How do we take care of ourselves first so that the rest of the family falls into rhythm as we want it to?
These are questions I've been asking for the last few months. I have a few ideas.
Bathtime Foot Soak
When they take a bath, stick your feet in. A ten minute foot soak does me a world of good. I'm on my feet most of the day. It's nice to sit and watch them play. And do nothing more.
The Fun in Hair Brushing
Not their hair, yours! Put a brush in their hands and let them have a good 20 minutes of fun. Make sure you brush your hair first. I love having my hair brushed, and my little Yvonne is quite the good little stylist. She has fun, I feel pampered. Win win.
Park Time, My Time
My kids are out of my hair when we hit the park. I used to just sit there and watch them. Not anymore. I bring my ankle weights and do some leg lifts while they fly down the slide. I do squats, jump ups, donkey kicks, anything that I can to get my exercise in. They run, I workout, those endorphins hit us both, we go home happy.
For me self care includes creating and making. Art, gardening, craft, baking. I've learned to have Yvonne beside me while I work on small projects and she works on her own. It may only be a 15-20 minute stint, but it sure does feel divine. Light some candles, put on your music, and create together side by side.
I'm finding yoga is as important in my day as drinking water. But I don't have the energy to get to a class. 20-30 minutes on the mat stretching into poses that my body needs is what I can give it. Yvonne joins me doing her own poses. She loves to climb on my back and pretend I am a horse. No, it's not a yin yoga class, but it's what I can get. I'll take it.
Nature Cures All
When the girls are cranky, and I am cranky from work deadlines, a filthy house, a sink full of dishes (we love to cook and have no dishwasher), we venture out. No need to explain why this is so good for us all.... children need the outdoors, the contact with weather grounds us, we discover light, pattern, form, magic. It just heals. We all feel taken care of after a nature walk.