Catching The Torch

Trials by Fire in Hostessing, Motherhood, Life

Creating a Sanctuary

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Creating a Sanctuary

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?

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Author: katycov

Katy teaches private voice lessons through Covington Music Studio and authored the inaugural blog for the Atlanta Master Chorale from 2016-2017. Additionally, Katy floats the high notes in the soprano section of the University Musical Society Choral Union. She has been a choral and general music teacher for Farmington Public Schools in Farmington Hills, MI, served as Director of Children's Music at the First United Methodist Church in Ypsilanti, MI, performed at Magnolia in the Baldwin Theater production of "Show Boat" and is a proud recipient of a Bachelors of Music in Voice Performance and Music Education from the University of Michigan. When she's not singing, she's caring for her two young kiddos, hard-working husband, and crazy dog (let's be honest - she's usually singing then too...) She's been singing since before she could talk, and is thrilled to continue to her music career in the Detroit area.

9 thoughts on “Creating a Sanctuary

  1. Pingback: Mama’s Sanctuary | Catching The Torch

  2. Wow Katy. This is the start of something lovely, transformative, and serene. So grateful you’re using your voice and sharing your heart in this way. Sending every mom I know your way.

  3. Awesome Katy! Even though I raised one kid successfully (I hope!) I would love to join the community because I am raising two more and it is totally different from the first round. I find that I have so much to learn, still…

  4. Well, I sure wish I had thought of this a long time ago! A sanctuary…a dedication to one’s own self…a little space for me. This is a huge problem for me still. One of my biggest problems has always been prioritizing my own needs. On that “never accomplished to-do list”, you know the one… I never even made it on the list! I mean, I was never a priority. It is not a healthy way to live. Today my own grown up kids encourage me to do things to make myself happy and not always live vicariously through their lives. What do I want? I tell them it makes me happy to do things for them and to spend money on them. I’ve lost myself over the past 21 years. My daughter described me as selfless the other day…she meant it in a positive way, but I think it can be viewed as negative if it gets too out of control.

    Ok, I think I am getting off topic here a bit…now that I think about it…I do or did have a special place. The round dock at LTL…that is my most precious place where my life makes sense. Too bad my dad got rid of it. But that’s another issue!

    Thanks Katy, for opening up this topic! You are a very special woman and mother! Talented, beautiful inside and out, down-to-earth, creative, funny, honest and real. :))

    • Hi Peggy! Wow, thank you for being so wonderful and honest. You have basked in the glow of my beautiful cousins since the day they were born. But I knew you and looked up to you before they came into the world. May I tell you what I thought? I saw you as my aunt who was a singer, an encourager, a cultivator of stories and imagination, a cat adorer, kind to all. Accurate?

      It seems like maybe your sanctuary is not only a place to be, but a pursuit of those things that used to drive you before you became Mommy. Might I humbly suggest auditioning for the University Musical Society Choral Union?

      http://ums.org/about/choralunion/

      I’m sure you would get in and I know John or I could help you with any repertoire or anything you might need.

      Did you ever consider writing children’s stories? I bet you would be amazing. And you ahem, happen to know a bang-up illustrator.

      Also, not to stir the pot, but maybe there’s a relative of Tasha somewhere waiting for a home…

      Mosaic Feline Rescue
      http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/MI484.html

      It’s funny that you say your sanctuary is the round dock. I completely understand as my ultimate sanctuary is the road back to the Big Lake. Sadly, we cannot put either of those sanctuaries in our actual houses. My home sanctuary is my dining room, which I’m now realizing I’ve slowly transformed into my version of Up North Summer. I painted the walls a deep blue/green, and little plants and table-top gardens have found their way in there. I also display my favorite Mimi pieces and pieces from my Grandma. I made a little altar on the sideboard to for a space for prayer and peace.

      What about your office? Could that slowly be transformed, corner by corner, until it embodies the spirit of the round dock? Paint is a very fun place to start.
      http://www.sherwin-williams.com/homeowners/color/try-on-colors/

      All of my love to my Singing Aunt!!

      • Wow, Katy! Thank you so much for your kind words! I am very touched by your thoughtful suggestions and comments! Your dining room sounds lovely…wish you lived down the street so I come visit easily. Sadly, no more cats can cross our doorstep. John is allergic! Funny you should mention my writing a children’s book. Amy just asked me to do this!! I am currently brainstorming ideas.

  5. Pingback: What Makes You? | Catching The Torch

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