I know lots of moms were doing the same thing I was doing. Transferring wet to dry, thinking about folding to putting away and maybe a little Ellen on deck with some dishwasher loading.
For some reason, nap time, as relaxing as I want it to be, stares me in the face with guilt. Like this long ‘to do’ list that I really only care to get done so that when Scott gets home, it will look like I’ve done something other than write, plan play dates and plug into social media outlets. I have an image of me in heels, wearing my green gingham ruffly apron I’ve only worn once, leaning over to pull out a roast while the kids sit at the table with combed hair, holding milk in their clean hands. The house is spotless and when I smile my teeth sparkle.
Well, sometimes I wear green? Does that count?
Anyway, this guilt. Grouse, right?
So, it’s nap time. I walked with reluctance into the bedroom, ready to get down and dirty with 4 large and very separate piles of just my laundry. I was kind of, sort of picking socks up off the floor, half staring at the monitor, maybe even pacing a little bit, fresh with a little anxiety of whether or not I am going to get a 2 hr or a 3 hr nap from the three upstairs. (Vegas odds around here.)
The haunting begins; laundry, dishes, picking up weird brown mashes of banana in odd places (toddlers really can hold food in their hand, undetected, for 2 hrs+) and deciding whether or not to get out the cutting board and actually prep fruit for snacks, rather than open a bag of “fruit snacks”. The problem is, those snacks alway come 5 in a box. Who does that work for? Make it 6 and we would all be square, especially moms of three’s.
And then it dawns on me, these aren’t real problems. Over my lunch I read a post by Glennon Melton on her suffering with Lyme Disease. And then I read an article about 4 local moms that have found support in each other after giving birth to children with Down Syndrome. And I think of hungry people out there. And hurting people. People that are sick. People that just want a baby – I mean, have you seen these woman rocking real life baby dolls because they could never have children?? So much bigger than my struggle to use up the odd number of fruit snacks.
I started to think, who am I to keep telling myself I’m not enough? That I’m not doing enough? Life is so FULL and sometimes we just need to remind ourselves it is OK to just be. To be more and do less. To accept the dirty laundry will never be done. To realize the kid’s hair will always look like uneven pieces of shag carpet. And to acknowledge nap time can be peaceful, should I choose it to be.
I read this quote by someone on Twitter the other day: “Be careful how you talk to yourself. Your soul is listening.” (unknown)
I decided that since I get really overwhelmed by anything more than a small task (meal planning stops at 3 days max for me or my chest tightens), I would break it down. Scott’s advice he learned from his mama; just break things down and tackle them. So, since I know I will fail at big things (the TWENTY FOUR day cleanse was just asking for me to fail, I went to a DMB show 6 days in, you would have failed too), maybe I can succeed at small things. So, I am going to try positive self talk in 15 minute increments, just for today. To do all those things I always preach about, but to refuel my mind every 15 minutes so I stay afloat in my quest. It sounds easy, but boy can you derail in 15 minutes.
Using self talk, 15 minutes by 15 minutes – I am trying to say, “It’s OK and I’m OK”. Taking a deep breathe into my belly, holding it, and then exhaling all the unnecessary chatter until my belly feels soft and relaxed. “I am right where I am supposed to be. I am good. They (kids,hubby,other people I somehow manage to worry about) are good. Everybody is good.”
(Or your own version of positive self talk. You would be amazed at how much more exhausting the positive self talk is at first…when you are used to saying negative things like “I should be doing laundry. The kids were a mess this morning. I am so tired. I don’t want to make dinner. If I could only get the house clean…”)
It’s that theory: The conscious brain can only hold one thought at a time. Choose a positive thought. (lulu manifesto)
Maybe you can do the 15 minute challenge. Maybe you need an every 3 minute challenge or possibly you are an advanced self-talker and you can last an hour without mental alignment. Today, or for the next hour, try to switch your thinking around, one minute, or one step at a time. It helps me, it really does. (Keep in mind, I am a BIG FAN of talking with truth about the junk in your head – getting that crap OUT so it’s not holding any power IN. But sometimes, just sometimes, we need to talk nicely to that inner woman that actually believes she can do it all even though “all” requires a 27 hour day. It’s confusing. It all started when women had to push a watermelon out a hole the size of a grape. You just can’t always do the impossible.)
Maybe today you can take your 1st step. And then maybe tomorrow you take your 1st step again. That’s OK too. It’s a step. One step (or 15 minutes at a time).