You know how you have weeks when you’re like, “YES! I DID this! I did ALL THOSE THINGS! The children are fed, clean, and relatively pleased. The house is free of sticky spots, and we have clean clothes to wear. We only ate out twice. I made it to my jobs, I wrote at least 100 words a day, and I ran 4 times!”
And then there are weeks like this… I ran once. One of the children ate fries and a milkshake for dinner last night. Two of them ate pizza rolls and donuts. Two of them slept in my bed. No laundry has even been started, like not even washed and left in the machine to get mildewy and need to be washed again. And… AND… there are two cardboard boxes IN MY HOUSE. If you live near water in the south in the summer, you know this is a no-no. I killed two, er, Palmetto bugs this morning.
Bye, rhythm, for now…
What is different about this week?
Well, my husband is traveling. That always is just enough. We definitely have a rhythm to our days that we have fine-tuned, and when it’s off, everyone feels it. On top of that, there are factors in nature…
- Heat index in the 100s, which basically means when we walk outside, we not only could fry an egg on the sidewalk, but we are an egg on the sidewalk.
- Full moon AND Mercury in Retrograde. I am a woman of faith, but God made Mercury, and this theory makes all sorts of sense to me.
Something else is different, too. I’ve been married to my husband for over 16 years, and for all but 2.5 of them, the glorious ones when we worked together full time, he has been on the road. And for all of those, this mama goes a little wack-a-doo, trying to perfectly manage what occurs at the homestead.
But I have changed.
Last year, I started exercising regularly with a commitment I have never had before. And 9 months ago, I started running, which, honestly, has changed me from the inside-out. Running has become my alone time, my alarm clock, my stress relief, and my first line of defense.
…and concurrently, I have been learning about the spiritual practice of surrender. Because 16 years into this mama thing, I still cannot control everything. And 42 years into this life thing, I still cannot control everything. I don’t believe life is all about accepting whatever comes to us, but I do believe when handed circumstances we cannot change, we are totally in charge of our own reactions.
So I quit trying to do this life the same way when The Daddy is gone. Meal plans, schedule extras, and even peaceful time with TV or a book at the end of the day goes right out the window. We start with survival mode (see list above), and if possible, we have moments to thrive (a good talk on the front porch with the 12-year-old, a half hour of cuddle time with the 4-year-old, a day of no arguing with the 11-year-old…).
Saturday, I officially begin training for my first half-marathon. This means that when something interrupts my life rhythm, I am going to have to fit it in somewhere. It will be a different kind of surrender, in which I let training float to the top and other things settle to the bottom. This can be complicated when, as parents of young kids, there aren’t a whole lot of optional things going on… maybe an hour of sleep, maybe an hour of TV, maybe an hour of cooking. We will figure it out. We always do.