At the risk of sounding ungrateful and unloving, sometimes I find myself thinking fondly back to when I lived alone in my first apartment. I kept it clean and tidy and with pride because mine were the only messes to clean and I could run the vacuum in the mornings when I had the energy to do so because there wasn’t anyone else sleeping in the home who would be disturbed.
I could enjoy some rest when I needed quiet and rest. I could engage in an activity that required uninterrupted focus. I withdraw from socialization without a husband or child wondering where I went off to or what I was doing. I wouldn’t be woken in the middle of the night by child cries or a husband coming into bed after 2am.
Just imagining it sounds so absolutely delightful to my senses that I then feel pretty guilty about thinking it. I mean, I could never leave my family. As much as I sometimes wish for a break, I doubt I’d enjoy a permanent one. Most likely it would only take me a week–maybe two–to miss the full-body laughter of a child, the comforting and secure embrace of my husband, the jokes and the silliness of another companion, someone to share my thoughts, musings, and chuckle-worthy social media finds.
But I think I can use this fantasy as a sign of the types of self-care I need the most — sleep, quality me-time, a home cleaning service (ha! I wish!). Well, I’ve already decided that the next three months I will be devoting to making new habits to improve my sleep. For the other things, I wonder if a mindset shift will be enough. In the moments where I feel frustrated that my family is getting in the way of my ability to recharge and reset, maybe I can look for things about what they do that are energizing instead of draining. And turn some of those “Ugh, I just want to escape” moments into “Yes! I love these moments!”
Something to ponder.