Friday, May 9, 2014

Every day is Mother's Day

The weather vacillates between gorgeous summery days spent in the pond, and dark, gloomy, rain-so-hard-it-makes-bubbles-in-the-puddles kind of days. Many of us Pacific Northwesteners feel similarly bipolar. When the sun is out, we feel blissful - life is easy and doable. When it rains all day for days, we feel like we might need to be on medication after all.
For me, spring is always very intense. The work load is relentless and never, ever done. I desperately try to create balance in my life, and sometimes it works, but sometimes I fail miserably. I have learned over the years that when I hit the lowest low, it's time for radical self care. I used to believe that I have to martyr myself for my children, and I put myself last for years. Self care didn't exist in my vocabulary. I used to think I had to give my kids my ALL – my love, my attention, my life energy. When I couldn't do that, I felt guilty.

I now have three children, a farm, and several businesses, and I am finally over that concept of coming last in the equation. If I am exhausted, depleted, grumpy and depressed, I am no good to anyone. So last week, I took a 24 hour time-out. Just me, my bicycle, the RV, books, chocolate and nature. And wouldn't you know it? When Steve met me at the state park where I camped the next morning, I felt recharged and normal again, ready to be a loving mother and decent wife.

That's bliss, right there.  My bike, the river, sun, a good book in the saddlebag, and chocolate, of course.
Eva joined me the next day, while her brothers went on a playdate with a friend down valley.
A silly selfie.

So dear mothers?  I have talked with many of you - as friends, or as coaching clients.  I know that many of you feel like I used to: you don't deserve time off, you are selfish for even thinking about needing a break, you can't justify spending money or time on yourself.  Your partners or husbands might not understand how hard the job of mothering can be.  I am lucky with my husband, because he gets it.  But many men don't.  
I encourage you to be visible!  Admit your feelings to yourself when you are burnt out. Then do something to feel better.  Take time off.  Do something nice for yourself.  What would you tell a friend in your situation?  Many of us wouldn't treat a friend the way we treat ourselves.  Be nice to yourself!  Stop with the %^@*ing guilt!  You will fee so much more balanced when you get a little time to yourself.
Take it from a recovering guilty-beat-herself-up mother: You deserve to take care of yourself - and not just on Mother's day!
In the meantime, here's what happened when I was away: The garden and critters kept growing.  Garlic, asparagus, my little carrots, the pesky little goats, the adorable piglets...

This little beauty is not thinking outside the box.

Neighbor Rich feeding the piglets.  Or trying to.

Remember what I said in the beginning of this post?  About spending our days in the pond?  It turns out, my kids are half cold blooded.  The pond water is freezing, and yet they insist on swimming in it.  I let them.  After all, it's probably good for the circulation.  And the play in the water lets them explore and observe its habitat, which counts as homeschooling, yes?

Checking out aquatic life.

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