I am sitting on our porch, in a rare moment of silence. I am enjoying the lovely weather, our beautiful garden, and the sounds of the birds that come to visit (we have a group of plantain eaters that come to the yard; they have the most enjoyable call. The sunbirds are like little gems floating about). This is a audible and visual gift, this time outside, being still. It isn't that I have nothing to do; trust me, that is so not the case. I am deliberately gifting myself some time to just be because I so rarely do. This thought made me think of other moms, all of whom I know are just as stretched as I am: what do you do, friends, as a gift to you? Think about it. When was the last time you did something that was just for you? I don't generally think of salon appointments in the same way (those are a more functional block of time). Time with friends? Sure, that counts. But that isn't just about YOU.
Moms are very busy giving to everyone else in the household. Kids, spouses, household tasks, even school issues take precedence over time deliberately spent on mom. Work tasks, dishes, packing lunches, meal prep, grocery shopping, homework badgering, laundry, ... Sigh. The list is never-ending, and mind-numbingly detailed. I've been sick the last 10 days and, it's true: when mom isn't at 100%, the household doesn't run as well. Sure, the momentum can keep things moving for a while, but ... Your guidance and driving force aren't there to keep things going true.
I'm not saying you can't get sick. Wish it were that easy. What I am saying is that if you push, push, push all of the time, you will end up flat on your back. You have to stop and give to you every once in a while, too, otherwise your well will also run dry.
You might argue that there is no extra time for that, and if you take time for yourself, you have to take it from someone/where else. True. Or. You can gift someone the trust to do one of your responsibilities instead of you and allow them to do it how ever best they can. It will likely not be how you do it, or how you like it, but it will be done, and that is good enough, I promise. My eldest does the evening dishes. He does not get things perhaps as sparkling as they could be, he uses easily five time the amount of water that my hubby or I might, and he leaves behind what we call Brown Lake (as in the last name, not the color), but it is one less thing that I have to do. And, although he winges about it, I do think he appreciates being amongst the 'elder and more responsible' part of the family. Win, win, right?
Oh, sure, not all of our task-hand-overs have gone as well. If I were to wait for the boys to do their tasks for taking care of the cats as they so swore they would, our cats would be long dehydrated and starved. If I waited until they noticed the amount of toys scattered about before they were cleaned up, our feet would be perpetually pot-marked from stepping on scattered legos and toys and we'd hardly be able to see the carpet. Now at least we've reached the point where they do clean up when we point out to them the pigsty they are leaving in their wake.
My point: you can't do it all. You can give yourself a break, though, and know it is okay not to do it all. And you can stop and smell the flowers every once in a while, and Though that may mean you no longer necessarily have the cleanest living room, it's okay. Just sit and be sometimes. You're not going to miss anything. You will, however, benefit from the space you've given yourself, even if it is only 5 minutes. Besides, the flowers really do smell nice. And unlike gifts you give to other people, this gift to yourself doesn't have to beautifully wrapped.