It is not news that we mothers take care of everyone. It is also not news that we often feel as if we are failing in one area or another: we yelled today, the house is never clean, we arrived at Target accessorized in dried yogurt, the kids didn’t eat the healthy part of the meal.
Whether you are a work-out-of-the-house mom, a work-from-home-mom or a manage-your-home-mom, the workload practically triples when you have kids.
How can you possibly not have time keep the house clean? You used to! Well, you have triple the laundry (which includes scrubbing of bodily fluids), double the food preparation, and if you have young children, months or years of interrupted sleep.
How are you not put together? You used to be! Well, you’ll always hug your kids, even if they have food on their face and fingers. You may not have had 5 consecutive hours of sleep in a long while which makes it very hard to rise at the alarm. Your body is recovering from growing and housing babies and is forever different. Remember, it took 10 months for the baby to grow and leave – it should take at LEAST that long to recover.
How are you not doing that one thing you love? You used to have hours for _____! Becoming a parent is a life-exploding, intense experience. I think dedicating time and effort to your passion is extremely important and vital to your well-being. The truth is, it’s hard to remember what you love when you are wrapped up in caring for this little person you love more than life.
We’ll discuss these issues at length in later posts, but I think these are the top three issues that boggle new moms. I know they boggle me.
What has helped in my life is creating a sanctuary. Literally, a space.
A place in my home filled with things I love and that make me Katy. It’s helped me remember who I am at my core. Kids don’t need a generic mother, they need their mother. A fascinating woman full of interests and desires who loves them completely. It’s important to keep that woman afloat, and a space for yourself is a good way to do that.
A sanctuary is a space that you keep clean and free of other people’s things.
Maybe it’s your bathroom. Maybe you keep toys off the counter and kids out of the drawers. Maybe you keep a vase of pretty flowers or a houseplant on your sink to give the day a bit of beauty.
Maybe it’s a chair with a table that you always keep polished and clutter-free. Maybe a stack of books and snacks are stashed out of reach for you to grab in that rare solitary moment.
Maybe it’s the porch. Maybe you try to sweep it and keep a cheery plant or two alive. Maybe your knitting basket is tucked away in the closet and you take it outside for a few minutes every day.
Maybe it’s a spare table in the basement or office with room for your creative supplies.
Maybe it’s a floor that you always keep clear for your yoga mat, with work-out clothes tucked away nearby.
Maybe it’s a piano or guitar and your music
Maybe it’s the kitchen because you take great creative joy in cooking. Maybe you keep the counters wiped even if the rest of the house is a disaster.
Maybe it’s an altar with the writings of your belief system. Maybe there are candles, flowers, a cushion.
In any case, there’s something about having a space of your own. Maintaing your space and using it can give you a sense of comfort and peace amid the chaos and uncertainty. Virginia Woolf reminds us,
“A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.”
I’m not saying that you must write to justify your space. (Nor am I advocating filling your pockets with rocks and taking a walk in a river…) However, it is important to set aside a bit of money and some space to maintain our identities. A little of that scary budget for ourselves, and the dedication of some space and time to be who we are. Even if you don’t visit your space as often as you may like, it is there for you to see every day. It is allows you take a deep breath, lift your chin, and say,
I am Mom, but I am ultimately Me. I can do this.
Let’s give ourselves space to be ourselves, together.
Do you have a sanctuary? What will you create? What are some of the elemental things that make you you?