It is February… and all the posts on New Year’s Resolutions and awesome goals are starting to wane. Always late to the party I am finally getting your family’s goals for the year in a row… but that’s a whole ‘nother post. My concern is in all the dashing around to exercise more and read more and hydrate more and sleep more… and play more and write more and create more… we might be forgetting something really quite important. In a world that is obsessed with being busy, in a world where someone somewhere is always up and about and doing something… we have been sold a lie – being busy isn’t the beginning and the end of all that is good.
Sometimes we just need a break. It has come to my attention that from time to time I actually need to take a break… and I know all sorts of efficient folk would say – well multi-task that break and get some exercise, read a book, learn more… but I am way beyond that – I need a real break. I am not the kind of gal who wants a weekend away from my kids (horrors – in fact), or even a girls’ night out. I definitely don’t want a day at the spa – trust me, just no!!! But I do know that I need a change of pace. It seems a bit silly, in my luxurious world of a washing machine and running water and honestly every convenience… but every now and then I get a little hunkering for a little pocket of time or space. It is not actually the impossible dream, my kids are quite equipped to run our household, at this stage they still want me around and I am happy to hang on to that… but…
I am all for creating lazy days for my kids, but while their days are lazy I am very much in the season of: “Put the laundry on, serve a meal, clean up from said meal, and hang out the laundry, prepare the next meal, clean up from that meal and then bring the laundry in and fold it before I begin the next meal… and repeat. While my kids do do tons of chores, the lion’s share of domestic tasks fall to me. So I sat at lunch with my kids the other day and we all agreed that I need some time off to do whatever it is that mom’s do to take breaks. And here is the shame of it… nobody knew how this mother takes a break. Somewhere in the last number of years of being busy with kids it appears that I may have just ever so slightly forgotten what it is that I really do like to do, to get that elusive break.
So we did what we do best, we brainstormed a little bit, and came up with se7en+ 1 ways for their mother person to get a break.
Se7en + 1 Free and Easy Ways For A Mother Person to Take a Break
- Take Tea: I normally grab a coffee in the morning and if I don’t lose it along the way, it follows me getting first tepid and then cold as I just do one more thing. Somehow tea is so much more intentional. By calling it “Take Tea” means that I take it somewhere nice to drink, not alongside a task, actually outdoors while watching the sea, or enjoying the breeze on a hot day.
- Take a Nap: Not a nod off to sleep, while reading my way through a pile of picture books… as little people say not very gently: “Wake up!!!” An actual intentional nap in bed under the duvet and sleep for a reasonable period of time. Twenty minutes of concentrated and uninterrupted sleep is actually something worth dreaming about!!!
- Pottering: I love pottering. I could potter forever, but our house has so many projects and there is always one more thing that just must be done. There is remarkably little time to just be, to rearrange this and that and to straighten out the pile of books on my desk… to put away the things I am finished with and look at the things that inspire me. In the dash to get through life and the urgency of organising one more thing, it appears that I haven’t created a pottering time slot.
- Get Gardening: I love when our garden is in full swing… and I always say that it would be so nice to have someone to do the big maintenance jobs, so that we could do the fun stuff. Well I started a gardening day… one day a week everyone heads to with a task: chop the hedge, weed the back wall, sweep the leaves and so on. I suddenly realised that after six weeks of this our garden has resurfaced and it is ready for some planting and pottering and I can get that elusive break just by watering the tomato plants and watching the beans sprout.
- Read a Book, and Get Inspired: An old familiar book, a book I want to read because I just want to read it… not for review purposes, not because someone needs this book read stat, or because I need to try and prepare eight new recipes for a blog post… just read or browse through a book for the simple sake of reading.
- Write Some Letters: I love writing letters to friends, but I never get round to it… somehow getting the kids pen-friend letters off has been enough. I just haven’t been writing as I should be, to my friends on the far side of the world. It doesn’t have to be a package, it doesn’t have to be an epic… just sitting at the table away from a computer and penning a real live note to a friend has always lifted my spirits.
- Get the Kids to Bed Early: I know this one is crazy… but it can be done… and I have started once or twice a week just getting the end of the day ready a whole lot earlier… It isn’t easy and requires mountains of self-discipline because I so love lingering longer. And not every dinner has to be a masterpiece there is nothing wrong with baked potatoes for dinner – where have I been all my life!!! And then just a little more effort to do the dishes and clean-up straight away instead of leaving it till most of the kids are in bed. My kids were all appalled to find themselves in bed by se7en the other night, instead of lingering on until nine… and I tell you the truth they were all asleep by 7:30… clearly a bit of a catch up was in order for all of us.
- Go for an Amble: This is it!!! I have stumbled on the ultimate way for this mother to get a break while raising eight kids!!! By accident we began a little project, the #dailywalk… I confess it is more like the daily amble. I know getting outdoors is the answer to all sorts of woes and often getting the kids out and just watching them play is the best. But we just started a daily amble to get the cobwebs out at the end of the day – turns out it is the one thing that, though it requires an effort on my side – I would much rather fall into the evening routine than go for an amble… it is the best thing for all of us. The great escape… it helps that we live at the sea-side and I am determined that my children grow up being very ware of that. But trips to the library can be quite an adventure and window shopping in all the local junk stores has been a heap of fun… I say “I remember when…” and they say… “In the olden days when you were young did you have cars!!!” It’s fun and funny and just the break from the rut that I need. Even our dinner guests seem to enjoy our evening ambles, it has been an easy habit to introduce… and I do hope it lasts through the winter. Hopefully slowly but surely our daily ambles will get more adventurous and by the time the weather starts to get cooler I will be launching us up the mountain again, it has been a while!!!
And the se7en + 1th…
That’s it… my great epiphany for 2014 has been the #dailywalk. And for all you folk out there who are good at taking regular breaks and getting the rest that you need… you are welcome to stop by and leave a comment and let us know how you “take a break from it all,” because over here we are totally new at the “taking a break” thing.