As our family has grown, I've come to increasingly relish the opportunity to reset, recharge, and enjoy the parts of myself that so easily get lost in the hustle and bustle of motherhood. It's nice to spend a day off "mom duty"—and whether I use it as an opportunity to catch up on some neglected self-care or to check off overdue appointments, I always find myself ready to get home and cozy in with my family once again, with a new pep in my step to boot.
But then: Insert global pandemic. Social distancing, limited hours and closed stores, and a newborn baby—I think we can all agree that these things don't lend themselves easily to a solo day out. There's no denying that life looks different now, even as restrictions start to lift, but we've had a year of welcoming many new normals under our belts. There is something to be said about leaning in and embracing the current circumstances rather than pining over the past—or worse: clinging to it. There's relief in letting go of the old to make room for something new.
So, when I'm ready for a recharge, how do I make another day at home, not just another day? It starts by redefining the day altogether—a shift of perspective if you will. I embrace the fact that I get to live another day surrounded by my family. I can look at my four kids and be so thankful that they call me mom, even if it is a million times a day! The fact that they depend on me for basic care and comfort is a gift that I never want to overlook, especially as they grow more independent with each passing year. Maybe you can try it with me: instead of thinking "I have to change another diaper," try "I get to change another diaper,"; or instead of "I have to do another load of laundry," try "I get to do another load of laundry." Cheesy? Maybe. But I firmly believe that recasting the daily, mundane things as opportunities to show our care causes those tasks to become a little more life-giving and a little less life-sucking. As I said, it's a shift of perspective, and it can change everything.
During a typical week, I find myself getting so caught up in our daily family rhythms and routines that I don't stop to truly take in the little details of my children. To help me connect with my kids on an individual level, I've been creating little pockets of time throughout the day to spend with each. I can take the time to really notice the quirks, joys, and nuances that each of them uniquely brings to my life. I'll play chess with my six-year-old (he'll probably destroy me), I'll go outside with my four-year-old so he can ride his new purple scooter around the neighborhood, and I'll read "snuggle puppy" with my two-year-old because I know it's his favorite. And I'll rock my newborn daughter to sleep.
Of course, changing your perspective doesn't mean you won't still burn out or crave some alone time. Sometimes it requires getting creative or depending on your partner, and other times it's just a matter of putting on a movie and running that bath for yourself! Even a good twenty-minute soak with my favorite podcast can be just the recharge I need.
As I anticipate still spending a lot of my recharge days at home this year, I'm confident that it will still be the boost I need. Will it be full of messes and little frustrations and diapers? Yes, inevitably, it will. But through those moments, I'll keep reminding myself that I don't have to be a mom, I get to be a mom. And that's the best gift I could ever ask for.