When the quarantine started, the thing that terrified me most was the girls being at home with me 24 hours a day– the idea that I would just be run over by them from morning til night without a minute to myself–That’s how I used to feel even when they weren’t at home the entire day.
This concern is what forced me to confront what was lacking and to address what I needed to do to change it.
For me that meant finding a way to get alone time in the morning. Realizing what I needed to survive the quarantine situation was just part of it, saying it out loud and constructing a plan was another. But the truth is, before quarantine, I already needed it, I just didn’t have a reason to admit it.
A little bit of alone time everyday is actually what allowed me to thrive in the past. When I had kids it got away from me and I couldn’t figure out how to get it back. I kept telling myself to just accept that life had changed. But there is a difference between acceptance and resigning oneself to misery.
We are 76 days into this and I’m convinced that the morning alone time is the only reason I am able to be truly present with my children all day and not secretly wish they would go away and leave me alone. And I feel like a different person on the inside.
This is earth shattering stuff because it’s simple changes that add up to satisfaction.
I’m convinced that when we give ourselves a little priority, we have a lot more to offer, a lot more room to stand back and just observe, a lot more space for love and affection. Feeling run over by the process of fulfilling everyone else’s needs and expectations is relentless and it is not worth as much to people as a present, energetic version of you. A self with mental space to see and hear people because you’re already taken care of. Put on your own oxygen mask before helping others, so to speak.
With that spirit in mind, this morning I put together some markers and glue sticks and paper for the girls to do a craft. (Crafts have gotten significantly less organized and more self-directed after 76 days…) Instead of drinking my coffee in the kitchen, I decided to join them in what used to be our dining room before the Corona turned it into a pre-school play room and a laundry staging area.
Big Sister was drawing a circus and decided to number the chairs she had drawn so that people could find their seats. I watched her number them 1-11. I’ve never seen her write the numbers in order before. Maybe they weren’t all correctly written but she certainly knew what she was doing. She asked for help remembering how to write 12. I told her and when she completed the row, she nodded and smiled to herself. She looked supremely proud. The expression lasted less than a second. But I got to see it. It made my whole day. That one second. It wasn’t that I was proud of her, it’s that she was proud of her.
I only got to witness it because I decided to sit with them. I only decided to sit with them because I had already had time to myself. I didn’t need to hide in the kitchen.
My perfect concoction of morning alone time goes like this: 10 minutes of meditation practice and 10 minutes of writing (while their dad feeds them breakfast), a little pilates or stretching and a walk in the woods (while they play and usually watch something.)
Your morning magic will likely be totally different. But whatever it is–making something up and doing it consistently is key. This seemingly small piece is actually a huge peace of finding your home inside your own heart.