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The kids started school a couple weeks ago. Since then, one by one, we’ve been getting a dreaded cold. (I just heard horror music in my head) This is that kind of cold where your throat closes up and your head hurts and your nose is all stuffy. You know the kind? The TERRIBLE kind. (well, they’re all not awesome, but throat closing is just not cool)
I woke up this morning and feel like a Mack Truck ran over me in my sleep. I’m not sure how that could actually happen, and I haven’t had that happen before (I AM sitting here NOT flat as a pancake so – I am thankful for that …) so I’m just assuming this is what it would feel like, either way though – I have “caught” the cold.
I’ve said it before, moms should not get sick. And yet, here I am, feeling like this and I’m the mom too. What’s a mom to do?
I’ll TELL you what I’m going to do! I’m going to get everyone fed and dressed and ready for school like usual. I’m going to drive all the people to all the places (in my pajamas thank you) like usual. And then I’m going to come home and maybe rinse out the bowls from breakfast so they don’t get all dry and gross and maybe get the 3 year old a snack and turn on a movie. And you know what I’m going to do then? I’m going to climb back into bed and read. Or listen to something on my phone. Either way, there’s going to be pajamas that are still on my body, the bed is TOTALLY happening, and there’s going to be me in it resting and taking a “day off” from worrying about doing all the things.
Here’s what I’ve learned when there are days like this: The world keeps moving if the mom takes a “day off.” (let’s be real for just a moment … I don’t get a day off. I still have to get everyone ready for school and out the door. I still have to do some minimal picking up, tidying up, and rinsing things so we all don’t get even sicker from some horrible food born illness. I still have to change the diapers. I still have to entertain and feed the 3 year old. And I still have to pick up the kids from school and help them with their homework and get them ready for bed and all of the things that need to be taken care of. So it’s not totally a true day OFF … just a day LIGHT.)
Not only does the world keep moving and things continue on mostly the same, but I learned a while ago that most people don’t even notice a difference. Especially when by “most people” I am referring to all the children in this house that are under the age of 18.
They don’t care if the house is clean. They don’t care if the laundry’s piled up in the baskets. And they certainly don’t care if I’m in yoga pants all day. (I remember the time a few years ago when I would put jeans on and my kids would all ask me where I was going because it was my “going out” clothes. HA! I may have a special fondness for soft stretchy yoga pants.)
The people I’m around the most, my kids and husband, just want me to be happy. At least I think that’s the feeling I get from them. And so I understand that when I decide to change things up and have a “day light,” they will all support that decision. When my husband comes home from work I know he’ll make dinner. And when my kids get home from school I know they’ll play with the 3 year old so I can have a little break from that role. They might even let me close my door and take a nap if I’m lucky.
Sometimes changing things up, mixing up the schedule, doing things differently can breathe new life into the energy of our regular lives. Having a day that I just commit to resting is like telling the universe that I care about myself and I feel the need to take a pause and I’m going to do it. And then as I take that pause and have my “light day” (of my mom role) I enjoy it, I really use it to be replenished, I appreciate it, and I remember it when I jump back into the regularly scheduled program.
We each have to think about our own needs. Yeah, I think balancing my needs as a person against the greater needs of my family and the world in general is necessary. But believing that I can give and give and serve and serve and never take a break or a moment or a day for myself is unrealistic.
Picture a candle. It’s solid … one of those “pillar” kinds. And it’s got a perfectly lighted flame. The little flame is exactly as it should be. It lights the area around that candle with warm glowing light. And because its flame glows brightly other candles are able to be lit with this same flame. (not literally … each candle must find its own light, but the GLOW from this candle helps the other candles “see” better)
Now imagine a stormy situation. Wind is blowing. There’s some rain too. The candle is still lit, but now the candle must take care that its own flame is not snuffed out. The candle does this NOT because it fears what will happen if its flame is out, not because it’s selfish and just thinks about its own needs before others, but because it understands that as it takes care of its own flame, and as it stays lit and glowing, it is able to help MORE candles rekindle their flames. If this candle’s light goes out it can not light the way for any other candle.
Be like this candle. Understand the value of fanning the light within you and sometimes taking a “light” day and pausing for a moment to protect and rekindle that inner glow. It’s not selfish, it’s ultimately the best you can do for all those around you. If you are an unlit candle, an empty shell, you will have nothing to give, nothing to offer, nothing to help others when they’re truly in need. But if you are replenished, if you are full of energy, if you take moments when you feel like you’re “low” to refuel, you will be doing the best you can to be balanced and to help the world around you as you’re inspired to do.
I have learned to be really aware of the energy within me. When I’m bright and glowing it’s easy to give, to drive people all the places, to make food and do laundry and write and all the things I love and need to do. But I have days that my brightness is diminished and it’s flickering and low. That’s ok. The ebb and flow is part of life. On those days I regroup, refocus, redefine my role, take a break, and acknowledge that it’s ok to need time to do the things that fan my own flame. It’s really ok.
And so I do them. I take an evening off and go to a movie. I run to the mall just to walk around by myself. I go for walks outside. I sit on my bed and read all day. I listen to inspiring messages. I be gentle with myself. I give myself the time I need to refuel and when I’m “back” into the busyness, I’m better able to do all the things and help all the people and take care of business because I’m back to glowing brightly.
If you don’t be the FIRST person to take care of yourself, who will do it for you?
You know when you’re able to give and serve and you know when you need help or you need sleep or you’re hungry or you’re sad or whatever … you know you best. Be your own protector. Be your own flame fanner. Be your own light giver. Be aware of the atmosphere within you so that when you’re low you can pause and when you’re bright you can move forward in inspiration.
I intend to really appreciate this day I’ve “given” myself and to use the time to rest. When someone or something has a need, I will fill it. And then I will go back to resting and giving myself what I need to continue forward tomorrow.
Now I just need to drink all the hot things that make my throat not scratchy … I’m off to the kitchen in search of relief. (the warm sweet kind preferably)
Be a light giver. And understand that to be that you must fan your own light FIRST. (oxygen mask on an airplane!)
honorthismoment – #100somethings – 6/100