Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Taking care

As I have become a more veteran parent, and I still feel like a new mom most days...and since all three of my kids are under the age of 7  ...I am still in the trenches of the early year, I have realized a few big things about myself and about being a sane mama.

My children thrive  when Ed and I take care of ourselves and each other.  Putting our children first can be our priority during the day to day grind.  But I notice, if Ed and I don't put effort into our marriage - then our children suffer.  And our marriage will only be healthy if I am giving myself some attention also. 

What does this mean to me?

For Ed and I, it might mean making sure that family dinners happen but it also means that going out to dinner just him and I gets to happen occasionally.  And if a babysitter is hard to find, then we share a chocolate cream pie from Target and a glass of wine after the tribe is in bed.  Ideally, we do a get away at least once a year.  We are fortunate enough to have a work trip that I get to go along on, most years.  And we are also blessed with grandmas that love to come and work together to care for our littles.  I know this isn't the case in many households.  But I have also taken other kids in for a night so their parents can go away for a night.  It is soooo important during these years when we are up to our ears in early mornings, night wakings, bed wetting, diapers, toys all over, soccer game Saturdays, etc. that we remember why we married, created littles, and will look forward to the years when they fly the coop.

For Ed it means I make sure he knows he can work late when he needs to.  That he gets to go on his two golf weekends with his buddies without the pressure of how I am going to survive without him.  It means letting him "watch" the Packer/Badger/Brewer games on a Sunday afternoon...even if he chooses to nap.  It means letting him have the outlets that give him joy.

For me, I am terrible about going out after dark.  I like to be home.  And once the kiddos are in bed it means peace and quiet and cozy pants.  I have to push myself to venture to the mall on a Saturday afternoon alone.  It means telling the kids that for 15 minutes I am going to read my book while they play.  It means giving myself permission to sit and blog instead of fold the pile of laundry first.  It means getting up and showering and putting myself together so that I feel good about myself.  It means buying myself a new pair of jeans or a new top that isn't just a t-shirt, with the intention of wearing it on any given Wednesday when we don't leave the house.  It means splurging on a Starbucks latte every once in a while.  It means forcing myself to go for a weekend and letting  Chief Daddy survive with the tribe and thrive. 

And so tomorrow I will be flying the coop and leaving my littles to have some "ME" time so that I can be a better mom.  It just so happens that I am going with one of my favorite mom friends...she used to be a college friend but now our emails, texts, and once a year face to face visits usually revolve around mommy chatter.  She is someone who inspires me to attack each day with new strategies.  She asked me to go on a mom's retreat and I mentioned it to Ed - thinking it wasn't going to be in our cards at this time.  But there wasn't a moment of hesitation from him.  He looked at the information and said, "You should go."  And I got emotional, because how supportive is that?!  Blessed. I. AM. 

So this weekend I will be here.  I will be flying, driving, reflecting, sleeping, talking, laughing, feeling, relaxing, filling my fancy notebook with lots of ideas and thoughts that will have me returning home re-energized as a mom and as a woman.  I know that this type of thing isn't up everyone's alley.  But this is right up my alley.  I am soooo excited to meet some of the people that will be there.  I am so excited to learn and share and grow.  And I am sooo excited to see Miss Sydney when I return.  I know our reunion will be splendid.  The boys too...but I know they will be all good.   

Thanks Ed for being so sure in your response of letting me go.  Thanks Grandma Charlie for coming and helping with my crew.  Thanks mom for being a role model to encourage independence and travel.  Thanks Sarah for being up for this adventure.  Thanks friends who have encouraged and given me reassurance that Sydney is going to be just fine without me for a few days. 

Taking care of yourself and your marriage impacts your children in such huge ways.  When mama's happy, everyone's happy.  Isn't that a saying?  I truly believe that we need to give ourselves permission to breathe in our own space and do things every day that give us a moment for our soul.  Whether it is reading an article in a magazine, a bubble bath, mindless tv, lighting a candle, having a cup of coffee or a glass of wine with the mac and cheese dinner, going grocery shopping alone at 5am or 9pm, or flying off to Boston with a friend.  You deserve least, that's what I am trying to tell myself today.  Because it is really hard to believe that. 

How do you take care of yourself?

This is linked to Pouring Your Heart Out:


Shell said...

Hope you have a great weekend away! I'm heading out of town tomorrow.

I need that time away every now and then- it really does make me a better mom!

Anonymous said...

Silly to me that you would even question if you "deserve" this great opportunity....but I understand what you mean. Everyone around you believes that you deserve this--we can't ALL be wrong, so trust us! Enjoy yourself! Proud of you for leaving little Ms. Syd. I know it's hard, but think of it this way--you are already providing such a GREAT female role model for her! Safe travels. Will be thinking about you!

DysFUNctional Mom said...

I think what you're doing is great, and you have the right attitude. You have to nurture your marriage and yourself, and that makes you a better parent.
Have a great time!

The Tompkins Family said...

You're an inspiration for doing this!

Heather (One Take On Life) said...

Have a great time! It will be so worth it:)

Anonymous said...

Way to go, Sarah! Can't wait to hear all about your trip. Enjoy yourself!


Goings on at the Glenn's said...

have fun on your trip! I saw myself in your words "sit and blog instead of fold the pile of laundry first." That was totally me.

April Kaiser said...

Have a great weekend away! Enjoy!

Crystal said...

Loved this post! It's all so true and something we all struggle with and need to be more deliberate about. The retreat sounds awesome - can't wait to hear about all the awesome things you learn!

Danifred said...

I love that you are doing this and I hope that someday soon I find the same inspiration to do so myself. I hope you are having a wonderful, wonderful time.

"Gidget" said...

I think it's wonderful that you are doing this! I've recently gotten better about doing these things for myself- a MOPS convention in August, a Women of Faith event a few weeks ago. My husband has said he really enjoys it too, because he treasures that one-on-one time with the littles.

Sheila said...

What a great post. Your saying is so true, if you're happy and relaxed in life then so will your children be. Have a wonderful weekend.

S x

Anonymous said...

You are such a great writer. I feel exactly the same way. That's why I wanted to go too! It was so good to meet you. I hope all went well while with the kiddos while you were gone.


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