This working mom thing has been kicking my ass lately. I do my best to manage my foundation, mentoring folks in recovery, while also taking care ofmy family, pets (because that struggle is real) and the house. On the days that end in ‘y’, I feel pulled in a thousand directions, never completing one task before getting overwhelmed in another. I don’t think I’m alone in this scenario:
I start an email and suddenly find myself meticulously cleaning a nail and screwdriver drawer in the garage. Or I load up to run errands to adult places like the bank and post office and suddenly find myself in the dollar section of Target…for two hours.
And underneath all of my current life to dos is this little thing called grief, pressing on my heart and mind all day. Jordan and I also had to say our ‘See you laters’ to our best friends who are our family last Sunday as they moved to Texas. To say our hearts were broken is an understatement.
After a super busy Mother’s Day weekend and a busy and emotionally draining few months, I decided I needed a good recharge. Recharge for me means sleep (which is fleeting when your 3-year old has a cold), cutting out alcohol, good nutrition (meaning feeding my body mindfully, rather than on the go. NOTE: This does NOT mean eating “healthy”. Our society equates cleanses and detoxes to recharging, when it actually does the opposite. READ: your body needs food.) Recharge also means erasing my social calendar and staying in.
My mind is easily cluttered. My life by itself is a clutter – an organized(ish) and fun clutter, but clutter nonetheless. I am a work hard, play hard kind of gal. I throw myself into life in the very best of ways. When you see me at an event, I am ALL in. When you see me with my kids, I am all in. But there comes a point where I fall down head first. My ongoing challenge is to recognize my need to slow down before falling, but we are all a work in progress here, right?
I knew I needed a serious recharge when my body became weak with a cold, my mind on overdrive, and my sleep non-existence thanks to anxiety. I could feel suppressed emotions welling up from within, bound to erupt whether I was ready or not. My emotions needed an outlet and my body needed rest – real rest.
I always say recovery isn’t a ‘cure’, it is this amazing gift of awareness. It does not mean I live a perfectly balanced and emotionally stable life. Recovery means I live life – the good, the bad and the emotionally unstable. BUT I now have the wherewithal when I need a good recharge. I can sense when I’m numbing out my emotions with busyness or wine and need to reset my body and mind.
And I know I am not alone.
We are all guilty of over-filling our lives with to do lists, work, food, pills, alcohol, social media or simply saying “yes” to everything that is asked of us. In our current climate, it is impossible not to fall into an unhealthy coping mechanism to distract us from life’s anxieties. The end goal, for me at least, is not to never again over schedule; it is simply to continue to be aware.
How am I really feeling? What does my body really need? What can I do to honor my body, mind and spirit in this moment?
My standard argument to my husband when I feel like I am not being ‘heard’ or ‘seen’ is: “When is the last time you gave the dogs and cat their heartworm medicine?”
Can I get an Amen, ladies? No offense to the guys, but as women, we often take the burden of house work, child care…and pet care, while also working full time.
However, I am proud to say that my husband and I split majority of child care. I am also thankful that my hubby knows when I’m overworked and overtired. He usually gives me a timeout and sends me to my room. You would think I would skip into my room and take a nap. But I resistantly shuffle to the back feeling guilty because ‘I should’ be able to manage it all. And there is that ‘should’ word sliding into my brain. ‘Should’ is my five alarm fire that I need a recharge. We can exhaust ourselves with what we ‘should’ be or things that we ‘should’ be able to handle, but all that does is take necessary energy away from what is really going on – we are tired, stressed and need to hit the reset button.
Usually for me, after a few days of recharge, I come to my (no longer numbed out) senses and realize that not even Jesus Himself could manage all of this. Right?
Life is B-U-S-Y. And it ain’t slowing down any time soon. So I am going to have to make recharging a top priority for myself, which is beyond hard for me. I am really good at ‘resting’ on Sundays by doing laundry, cleaning out closets or doing a fun (but tiring) Sunday Funday at the beach. There is NOTHING I love more than hanging with friends, running with my kids on the beach and enjoying a toddy or two. But Monday morning, I feel anything but recharged. I feel sunburned and exhausted.
This isn’t saying I will never again partake in a Sunday Funday, I am simply noticing that I need to listen (really listen) to my body and mind and honor what it needs. Maybe I need a Sunday Funday or maybe I need a Sunday where I nap and leave the laundry for Tuesday night. Sometimes my recharge is a few days and some times it is longer. I do my best to listen to my body and balance it with life to dos.
Our society is an all or nothing mindset and life does not have to be like that. Sure addiction is real. Sobriety is certainly an all or nothing recovery, but that is only one small aspect of the overall journey. Same goes for me on my eating disorder recovery journey. Food was only a small aspect of it. The overarching theme is learning to take care of yourself, but moreover, becoming aware of when you need to use those skills. Recovery is cultivating that beautiful awareness of when you need to stop and take care of yourself.
We are all going to become too busy and worn down. The goal is to stop and recharge. And that’s just what I have been doing this week. My guilt for saying ‘no’ and leaving volunteer duties is currently at ZERO. I desperately needed these few days of rest and recharge because let’s be honest, I’m pretty sure Jesus would even a need a recharge in the crazy world we live in!
So cheers to awareness, recovery & recharge!
Clearly, I need to take a page out of my sweet boy’s book! Manning KNOWS how to recharge and relax!