Everything is a season. That's what I try and remind myself whenever life with two littles seems overwhelming. This period won't last forever, they will be grown before I know it, and I will miss this time when that happens. It may be hard to believe that right now, but I hear it all the time from parents of older kids, so surely it's got some truth to it.
Yesterday the pastor at our church spoke about breathing room for the soul. Every word felt so targeted, so spoken directly at me, I was becoming anxious just listening. He said our souls need rest, and space for rejuvenation - just like our bodies - and that only we can give ourselves 'permission to pause.' As in, the world isn't ever going to tell you to slow down, to stop doing so much. If anything, all of the external pressures out there are telling you to hustle more, do more, take on more, try harder, reach farther, give more, and keep going, going, going. Is there ever a time in your day when something is not expected from you...?
I was sitting here today after an unfortunate morning of car sickness & subsequent cleanup and crankiness, with both girls crying and clutching at me, nobody happy, everyone wanting something from me - and I was trying hard to find the room to breathe. To just step back and shake off all of the frustrations of the morning, to regroup and shore up the wobbly legs of patience that had been eroded down from days and days of teething and poor sleep and lack of fresh air. These are the types of moments that can force a totally sane parent to lock themselves in the bathroom simply for two minutes of relative 'peace'...
Within seconds I was comparing my current day to all of those days in my former life, when I was working in an office. And I was so very jealous of all those horrible days where I'd had clients yelling at me, or unrealistic deadlines from a regional head, or just too many negative interactions in one morning because despite all that I still had the ability to stand up, leave my Blackberry in my office, and simply walk outside into the fresh air and take a giant, deep breath to clear my head.
Breathing room. Unbelievably important and unbelievably underestimated.
My responsibilities have changed, and certainly many times that moment where I need breathing room now is also a moment where my kiddos need to be snuggled or kissed or paid attention to...so I've learned to repress that need. To squash it down really small and bury it underneath all of the needs of my little ones, the whole reason that I chose to leave the working world for the time being. But that need has been niggling away and all of a sudden it came bubbling up to the surface and I had a mini meltdown when the evening rolled around and the girls were finally in bed, and M and I were having our first few minutes to ourselves that day.
Luckily, I am blessed with a very sweet, loving man, who totally gets it. He wants me to have the room to breathe. He wants me to have it regularly, so that I can replenish those stores of patience. He perhaps even sees the importance of it more than I do, and I know he'd love to be able to give me air cover every day if he could. The logistics of finding a time where he could be with the girls and we wouldn't risk losing the slot on a regular basis because of work travel was tough - it pretty much left us the weekends, which wasn't my first choice as I hate to limit our time together as a couple, or as a family, any more than it needs to be - but we found a solution that seems like it should work for now and we are both focused on making it happen. A couple of hours a week, just for me and whatever I want to do or wherever I want to go - to regroup, rejuvenate, remember the "me" parts that have nothing to do with also being "mom" - and I feel like I'm breathing easier just from the knowing that this is a solution now.
I haven't been great at noting my gratitudes lately, if I'm honest. I haven't stopped to think about it each day like I was trying to do last year. But I am still filled with gratitude, and today I am especially grateful that my husband listens, and understands, what I need. I'm grateful that we were able to find a possible solution. And I'm oh so grateful to have the room to breathe now....