Yesterday I did something out of the ordinary. I took some time off.
I have a history of trying to work something productive into every moment of everyday. I am constantly cooking or tidying (not that you’d notice), writing, reading, knitting, etc. I don’t sit still very well. It’s part of the reason yoga is such an important part of my day. It’s the only time I try to decompress, and most days, I don’t do that very well.
Since Felix was born, and especially since we had Rufus, I haven’t been away from my kids (outside of work) for more than a couple of hours at a time. Mostly, I didn’t want to be. I like my kids, and I don’t like interrupting their routine, but since January, when I became a stay-at-home mom, I have been with my kids All. The. Time. And I needed a break. So did Brock.
For our fourth anniversary, Brock and I made it happen. We left the kids at home with grandma went out. We drank our coffee hot, we ate too much Indian food, we saw a movie. Then, after all of that, instead of going home and putting the kids to bed, we went to a hotel for a little peace and quiet.
It might have been too quiet. We’re used to the hubbub of 2.5 boys and the near constant sounds of traffic and sirens and neighbors. And even though this hotel is probably less than two miles from our house, there was none of that. The suite was a cocoon of silence and privacy. I have had a baby living in my bedroom for the last three years, I don’t get a lot of privacy. I was so out of my element, I was unnerved enough to dig out my white noise app and think about turning on a thunderstorm just to have something to listen to–because apparently the music we had playing wasn’t enough for me.
While the quiet was surreal, having an evening with my husband without a baby waking up in the middle of the movie and then again just as we’re going to bed was just as magically restorative as I wanted it to be.
Helping Felix make the transition to starting pre-school no longer feels so daunting, even though it means establishing a new daily routine for everyone, and dealing with some intense three year-old emotions. And there are other things I have been putting off (writing synopses, querying agents, finishing drafts, etc.) that don’t seem so scary today as they did yesterday, even though yesterday they felt a helluva lot more doable than they did six months ago.
I want to hang onto this feeling. I want to capture this sense of renewal and invigoration and seal it into capsule somewhere inside me where I can open it up whenever I feel bogged down by endless to-do lists, or when the baby wakes up an hour after I finally got to sleep, or when I have to be an extrovert at my service industry job and all I want to do is sit in a corner and read a book.
I know I can’t. But I can be better about taking care of myself. When I feel peaceful, it’s better for my family, it’s better for my writing.
Even though Felix’s school doesn’t start for two more weeks, tomorrow morning we’re all getting up early so we can practice getting out of the house by 8. That means my alarm goes off at 5:45. Despite opening the coffee shop for years, I am still not good at getting up in the morning. But I am getting up this early so I have time to do yoga. Because if I take care of myself first, maybe I can maintain a little bit of this energy.