A Day In My Life
“If you think my hands are full, you should see my heart.”
Every day at home with my three little ones is pa-acked. Even with a slow, play based approach, even with a less-is-more, minimalistic outlook, just the mere fact of looking after little ones takes so much.
So much planning, organizing, shopping, cooking, cleaning, wiping, bathing, dressing. So much picking up, putting down, soothing, explaining, facilitating, driving, calming, figuring things out. So much holding, carrying, packing, unpacking, reading, playing, to-ing and fro-ing.
With all this giving, it’s sometimes hard to reflect on the receiving that’s occurring. The other side of the very same coin as the receiving is the giving. As I give, care for and tend to my children I feel myself given to, cared for and tended to. I am not giving to them at the expense of my own well-being, but rather my well-being is enhanced by my acts of giving.
Which isn’t to say I don’t need frequent breaks from a care-taking role. I do. And if you watch the video above you’ll notice, I take them, regularly and without apology.
“The days are long but the years are short.” – Gretchen Rubin
A lifetime seems to occur from the moment we wake up (6:17am) to the time the children are asleep (7:02pm). Big tears, little wins, long reads, and short walks. By the time my head hits the pillow, I’ve done so much communicating, connecting, disconnecting, repairing… so much relationshiping, that I am DONE and DONE.
And yet in that flicker of in-betweeness that happens before I fall asleep and a new cycle begins, I gain the perspective of myself, twenty years down the line. This visit from the “future me” chuckles at my anxieties and my stresses, looks fondly and longingly at my current dilemmas and frustrations. Shakes her head knowingly at my confusion and questioning.
The years fly by, she tells me, enjoy these moments, harvest those kisses, cash in on the hugs, relish the folds of little wrists, and the angry tantrums of little people. Be in these moments fully, believe me, I miss them dearly.
“How we spend our day, is of course, how we spend our lives.” – Annie Dillard
In my mind, daily, I run through the list of things we’re doing – and not doing; things that we’re feeling – and not feeling that day.
And ask myself:
- Is it balanced? Is it joyful? Healthy?
- Are we spending time in nature? Reading? Playing? Laughing? Developing skills? With loved ones? Spiritually? In quiet reflection? Resting? Sleeping?
- Are we nourishing our bodies with water, nutrients and healthy foods? Are we challenging our brains with curiosity and intrigue? Are we challenging our bodies with exertion and stretches?
- Have I connected with each child? Seen and felt them?
- Have I cared for myself? Do I feel nourished and energized?
The answer to all of these is not always yes, every day. Sometimes it’s an off day, and the answers are mostly no. But most of the time, it’s somewhere in the middle. Somewhere “good enough”. Which is a-ok with me.
What do your days look like? I’d love to hear.