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Sometimes, as a mom, the most peaceful moment of my day is that split second or two from when I shut the car's backdoor after buckling up Rocket, until I open the driver's door. Most days Rocket is still talking to me (he's in that phase of nonstop communication) or the kids are screaming at each other, but standing outside of the car with the doors shut, is a little like hitting the mute button on life.
Thankfully, as my kids get older, I'm able to take a little more time for myself. Not much time, but little bits here and there that help save my sanity. Each day features one of three things aimed at helping me:
1. I go to the gym three times a week. I used to go in the evenings after Kevin got home from work, but it was too easy to go into martyr mode and skip the gym to do more around the house or go to this or that kid event. Plus, when the kids were younger, by the time Kevin got home from work, I was drained of any energy. Once Rocket started preschool a year and a half go, suddenly I had a little more morning time, allowing me to hit the gym then, and since the change, I've rarely missed a day. Even the drive to and from is nice because I get to listen to whatever I want, at the volume I want, or even better, I can enjoy the silence of being alone.
2. Coffee and 15 minutes outside. I started this last year, but then winter came. Now that spring is here, however early, so is this exercise. On mornings I don't go to the gym, I usually get a coffee after preschool drop off, but instead of drinking the coffee as I work or do errands, I force myself to sit outside for 15 minutes. We have a nice view, making outside appealing, and we are lucky enough to live in a quiet neighborhood, so sitting outside means listening to birds or seeing other wildlife, which is lovely, but even so, I still have to force myself to do it. My instinct is always to say, "I'll go out after I do this one thing..." but I can't give in or else that one thing will turn into another and another, and suddenly it's time for preschool pick up. Sitting outside forces my morning to slow down and it calms me, even if I spend time thinking abut what I need to do. Somehow, my thoughts are less frantic, and it's more about visualizing getting my to-do list done.
3. The desperate two minutes. This is usually when the day has been insane and there hasn't been a moment of peace. Sadly, this happens more often than not and has pretty much been every day for the last two weeks. Girl Scouts, softball team meeting, then a class party? Hello Tuesday. Meeting, piano lessons, then softball practice? Why you, Wednesday? Etc., etc. When I get into bed, I have this moment when I realize it is the first time I've had a break all day and I can feel all the stress in my muscles. Before trying to go to sleep, I spend about two minutes in the dark doing something from pilates. I make sure my shoulders a down and my neck is elongated, then I "melt" my ribs into the bed. I hold this position for a few second, release, then do it again. Since starting pilates, I've become aware of how much I used to - and sometimes still do - hold my shoulders up and tensed. The shoulders down reminder works throughout the day, but at night, when I can relax while no one is talking to me or asking for a snack or a drink or to answer "knock, knock," it's most effective.
Of course, as the kids get older, their demands for chauffeuring grow, but so does their independence. I never thought I'd be able to use the bathroom alone, but somehow my kids' developed the ability to wait a minute without barging in on me, so there is hope that some day our time will become more balanced. Although while I wrote this, I was interrupted about 142,573 times. Some day.
Remember, visit http://www.facebook.com/crystallight to learn more about how Crystal Light can flavor your day with 30 refreshing flavors. I was selected and paid for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.