I am sitting here on Sunday night eating air fryer food (ahem, garlic bread, ahem) and watching a movie with my daughters. We try to do family movie viewings once a week, but we failed for much of the summer. Tonight’s selection is Elizabethtown, the 2005 Orlando Bloom/Kirsten Dunst rom-com by Cameron Crowe with charm and a great soundtrack that should have been a hit. I’m still convinced that Hollywood and its critics just didn’t get it, because I and most of the people I know have lived a version of at least half this movie.
I love it. And it’s fun introducing my girls to it. But I digress.
This week is sort of one that I have been waiting for. Jack starts school tomorrow, and I resume the hours I was working before he was born. When I account for my side-hustles (here, The Refreshed Life Show, and The Tentative Knock), and for the schedules of my dancing queen and karate kid, it’s about to get real crazy around here.
Crazier than it’s been.
This week, we start a series on The Refreshed Life Show that is near to my heart: the importance of self-care. That’s the phrase, friends. Taking care of me. Saying yes to me. Loving myself.
I think we get ourselves all twisted up about this idea. “Mama” all too often equates to “martyr” for us, “Christian woman” equates to “doormat.” I used to dwell in those places, before I knew better.
This isn’t news, people. If you have ever flown, you know you’re supposed to put your own oxygen mask first. So why is it that we make excuses for everything we put ourselves through?
One phrase that I specifically tackle in my own quest for self-care is:
I don’t have time.
You’ll rarely hear me say it, even if it seems true at a particular moment. You know why? Because we each have a limited amount of this commodity. And most of us have at least a little say in how we spend some of that time.
It’s up to us.
Now, I don’t suggest those decisions are easy. There is a reason I use a planner and a spreadsheet to figure out my week. But I will say that sometimes, you have to say NO to some things so you can say YES to others.
During the next 9 months, I will be saying yes to:
- working full-time hours at my job for the first time since Jack was born
- being involved in my daughters’ school PTA
- building our content and audience for The Refreshed Life Show
- finishing the writing and editing of my novel
- getting my daughters to dance or karate 4 days a week
- exercising at least 4 days a week
- visiting the beach at least 1 day a week (This is sad, y’all. I LIVE there, like, I can walk to it. I need to rethink this one).
- date nights at least every other week
- family nights once a week (Monday nights = no outside plans. Period).
- meal prepping for breakfast, lunch, and dinner
- spending intentional, quality time with friends
- reading books
In order to do this, so far, I have had to say no to:
- my weekly “Wednesday sabbath”
- volunteering at my son’s pre-school
- leading a Life Group for my church
- taking a self-defense class from a local teacher I adore and support
- taking yoga
- our local pier to pier walking group, which sounds so fun to me
- having an immaculate house
- hosting stuff all the time
- attending every appealing event & party I am invited to
- being as helpful as I’d like to be in random situations (Please raise your hand if you identify. I mean…)
- various and sundry meet-ups, trips, and educational or recreational opportunities
- social media (LOL. But really – weaning myself away is the ONLY way to get books read…)
So when someone invites me take this class or sign up for that time slot, when someone talks about that weekly massage or this concert or whatever, whatever, whatever, my response will not be, “I don’t have time.” It will be, “I”m doing other things right now.”
Unless it’s to see Brooks & Dunn and Reba in Las Vegas. Then I will drop everything.
We cannot, as grown adults, expect other people to know how to take care of us if we don’t lead the way. Take, for example, the 40 minute periods I need for workouts. I didn’t just walk in our room and lock the door one night and leave my family to figure out what I was doing. I have to rely on my husband to help me protect that time, and remind each of my kids at times that I will deal with their clothing/toy/shampoo/homework issue when I am done.
On Sunday afternoons, Rod naps with our son and I walk the beach, or visit it with a friend. Very rarely, I opt for a nap instead. This week, I needed that nap, and I took it on Saturday. Rod had my back. When I come home from work and he’s here with the crazy eyes (he works from a home office), I know he needs to take off on Big Blue (his Harley) for awhile. It’s a partnership. It works. And along with prioritizing (and being organized. Gosh, this is so key!), it helps me never to have to say I DON’T HAVE TIME, and also –
to say YES with passion, and
to say no with NO REGRETS.