Linking up again this week with Mama Knows, Honeychile to tell you my latest five favorite things.
A while back I decided that I needed to spend some time just on me, doing things that I wanted or needed to do or simply enjoyed doing. You know how it is, all wrapped up in the kids and the house and your job, and being the one who is in charge of ALL THE THINGS, right? You know who usually gets left out while everyone else’s needs are being met? If you are a mother, of course you do. Anyway, I was feeling unhappy and taken advantage of (not that anyone had ever said I couldn’t do these things). I needed to give myself permission to take care of ME. And today I will share with you my five favorite things to do for myself.
1. Going out for the evening all by myself
I have actually been doing a version of this off and on since my big kids were little kids. For years and years, Monday nights were my night. John and the kids would go have an adventure, and I would head out to do my own thing. What “my own thing” was has varied over the years–working out at the Y, doing research on our old house in the McClung Collection, writing X-Files fan fiction at the Golden Roast–but what was always the same was that I got to be alone, something that has become more and more vital to me over the years. At some point, though, this quit being a regular thing. I’m not sure when or why. Once a month or so I would say to John, “I really need to go out by myself–what night this week is good?” and I’d go, but it wasn’t weekly or predictable any more. As of a couple of weeks ago, I have changed that. Having a regular day doesn’t work any more, but I am taking one night, whichever night, for myself. I go down the road to Panera Bread, have dinner, do house business, and then use the remaining time to write.
2. Taking long baths
That’s a spa tub right there, folks–with Lorelei for illustrative purposes since I’m not going to put myself up there! This was an unexpected delight when we found this house, since I’d been missing my claw footed tub from the Victorian house. In the winter, I spend hours in here, reading and even taking a nice nap. I do this right in the middle of the work day, and I’m not apologizing for it either!
3. Taking Saturdays for myself
Saturdays have been a problem for me for years. Maybe you feel the same way? If you are a churchgoer, it’s the only truly free day of the week. Should you sleep late? Or get up early so as not to waste it? Should you run errands and accomplish things? Or take your family out to do something fun? So many expectations to put on one 24-hour time period.
Added to all that, there’s the problem that what John likes to do on Saturdays is sleep. A lot. And he really needs that catch-up sleep in order to function the way he does for the rest of the week. But even though I enjoy sleeping later on Saturdays, there are limits. And sitting around twiddling my thumbs waiting and waiting for him to get up to do something with me has always been a source of stress.
So several months ago I got up one Saturday and decided to quit waiting and do what I wanted to do. What I wanted to do on that particular Saturday was to go take a look at a couple of cemeteries I was always driving by and never had time to explore. After that I started my current Saturday routine: sleeping till a decent hour (ten, usually), going on one of my long walks in the Urban Wilderness with Emily, and then hitting another graveyard if I have time.
4. Having a beauty routine
That sounds a little goofy (especially for someone who rarely uses make up!), but what I mean is that I have an array of nice lotions and creams and I anoint myself with them morning and night. This, too, is something I used to do years ago and then got away from. It’s easy when you are in a hurry or tired to skip doing this, but I make myself do it every time. I don’t know whether it makes a physical difference, but it feels good to take care of myself.
5. Singing in the choir
People have been telling me for years that I should sing in the choir. I DID sing in the choir in college, and I love love love to sing, as anyone in my family can attest. But I always had little kids in the pew who needed me more than the choir did.
But most of those kids are big now, and even the littler ones can behave properly in Mass without me. Plus our new choir only sings once a month and practices twice, so the
commitment is not huge. Singing makes me happy, as does finding a new way to contribute to my church community after several years of being somewhat . . . dormant . . . compared to earlier years.
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