Friday, June 12, 2009

Find your Joy

One thing about being a stay-at-home mom (or a mom at all, really) is that it’s hard to put yourself first. There are so many demanding household-, husband-, children-, and pet-related chores, that during the day, even when you have a few minutes, it’s hard to think of anything to do that’s just for yourself and no one else. My solution is to get out of the house. Between my bi-weekly mornings out when my dad and step-mother babysit the girls and the weekend hours away when hubby watches them, I’ve learned to check out of mommy/wife/housekeeper/cook/pet owner mode for several precious hours each week. For the first year of doing this, I felt like I was slowly coming back to myself, finding the ability to relax sooner on each outing.

My writing degrees have been gathering dust in a drawer since having kids. That’s four years when I should’ve been taking advantage of every moment of quiet to write, but wasn’t. The main problem: hardly any moments of quiet. Now, on these regular breaks, I’m able to settle in at the café down the street with my laptop, and either tune out the bustle around me in order to concentrate on writing, or tune in when I’m looking for something interesting to write about. This blog has been a nice reintroduction to writing for me. Something for the family and friends to read, to keep up with the girls’ latest antics, and a means for re-disciplining myself about writing every single day (the words of my many writing profs ringing in my ears). I’ve also been working on several short stories, and have even found that I can write, in those short bursts of quiet during my chaotic day at home, when I’m excited about what I’m writing.

So, my advice, to all moms (and dads) out there is to first find some regular alone time to find your peace. Then work on figuring out something to do with that time that gives you real joy. Whether it’s writing or doing yoga or having coffee with friends or running or going to the movies or reading a book, find something that not only helps you keep your sanity, but that actually gives you joy.

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