Yesterday I started to read a book. Not a parenting book, not a book my kids picked out, not a photography book but an honest-to-Buddha-can’t-put-it-down book. In the midst of a massive to-do list that always seems to multiply exponentially by the amount of time I don’t have, I picked up a book. For me.
A book I’ve wanted to read forever and had set in my Amazon cart entirely too many times only to be saved for later because we never had the time. Or the money. Or the energy.
My oldest is going to be six next month. I haven’t read a book for the sake of reading since I was pregnant with him. I used to love to read but with the addition of three kids, two dogs, a chaotic house and two jobs and two home businesses between my husband and I (and I’m not counting the kids as a job…here), we just never have the time for us. Along the way from that quiet, little, married household to this huge explosion of chaos we exist in today, I lost a lot of myself.
It’s the mom way, right? Have kids, give those kids as much of you as you possibly can, be grateful for the chaos, rinse and repeat. Every single day until they’re old enough that you get some time to yourself. It’s just our season in life and I’m totally fine with reading Green Eggs and Ham for the billionth time tonight before bed. That these moments are fleeting and if I’m not careful they will just pass me by. This is what I tell myself every day.
I thought that was just the way. Recently though, I’ve been worn so thin that my body has been telling me to slow down. That life doesn’t have to be as hard as I make it. That being busy doesn’t equate being exhausted and not present all the time. I knew things needed to change but I didn’t know where to start.
And then, just like that, I asked the universe to help me and the universe answered.
I was outside sweeping the porch a few days later and I saw my neighbor walking up the street with a yoga mat. She was absolutely glowing with inner peace. This beautiful beacon of calm. I immediately stopped her and asked where I could buy whatever she was selling. She filled me in on the restorative yoga class she’d been attending and I begged her to take me with her.
I’ve been going as many Mondays as possible between sick kids and my husband’s work schedule. It has been life-changing. I never thought an hour a week could make a difference but this has been the catalyst for so many other changes. I’m starting to include myself on the to-do list of life. Like picking up a book and making time to read that book when the house is collapsing around me.
I’m finding the few minutes I set aside for just me a week translates into a better mom for the billion other minutes I dedicate to the family. Knowing my kids benefit just as much as I do from this time to regroup makes my heart so happy. The reset button works. I just wish I hadn’t felt so guilty for so long about using it.
It’s time to fill our cups too.
WORDS BY KELSEY SMITH, SAN DIEGO FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER. PHOTOS AS CREDITED.