This July, I have had a little escape from routine and obligations.
The routine part is largely, because school has ended making the rush to get out the door a distant memory. Sunlight stretches so much longer which leads to later bedtimes with the hopes that the children will all sleep in the following morning. Otherwise, the heat makes for slow afternoons of reading, artwork and writing by my girls and I while my son naps. The relaxing of a routine comes naturally in the summer and spontaneous dinners al fresco or drop-ins at a friend’s cottage become the norm.
The obligation part has been more self-discipline and an inner need to change and grow. Travel aside, my escape has centred around reframing my mind and how I approach the day. As a stay-at-home mom and dedicated guardian of a strong but falling apart old house, I have little time for myself. It is a position that I chose and am honoured to do so. However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t have days where I think: “going back to work would be so much less stressful.” During free-time or more aptly “me-time” I have to decide whether to do physio or write, etc. Quite often I try to do "all the things" and end up just touching the surface of the things that need to be done. This leads to an endless cycle of setting up a work station (my kitchen table) and then clearing it without the satisfaction of completing anything. So, something had to change.
The major change I made this summer is that I wake up with the goal of accomplishing one task well and setting an intention for the day while sipping on some lukewarm green tea. The task itself is not allowed to be maintaining my e-mail inbox because this is a never-ending task that drains time (thank you to Beth Kirby at the Raw Milk Podcast for setting me straight on that one). During downtimes, when the children are focused on an art project, playing in the backyard or dress-up, I use that time to focus on my one task. Instead of cleaning the kitchen and throwing in a load of laundry prior to sitting down (or working out), I just begin the task. This is just a slight shift in the day, but it just makes all the difference. My mind feels calmer and the task itself seems doable and approachable. Best of all, it gets done.
The bursting at the seams to-do-list still exists but I don’t look at it with despair. Slow and steady I cross one thing off at a time. It is a strategy that allows me to savour those moments with my children. Otherwise known as, my whole reason for staying home.Read More