We had a rough morning at our house. My 8-month-old is in the full throws of teething, so he’s a pretty cranky camper this week and not his usually Mary Poppins (definition “Practically perfect in every way”) self. My toddler must have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed; his usually happy guy self was replaced with a cranky-whiny-often crying kiddo who didn’t want his brother touching his toys, didn’t want Mommy helping with his Mega Blocks, but DID want Mommy to sit there and watch. Just no touching. (Yes sir, Toddler Bear).
All this to say, but the time the clock struck 12:43pm this afternoon, I was soooo ready to put my bear cubs down for their afternoon naps. I felt like I had been gritting my teeth all morning, trying to pretend I wasn’t listening to a cacophony of cranky, whiny, crying, demanding bear cub noises since 6:30 this morning.
As soon as I got the boys down, I turned to the “do to” list I had left myself on the kitchen counter. Since nothing productive had gotten done in our house this morning, I was ready to tackle “the list” at hand. Items included folding the two loads of laundry piled on the couch, making the beds (it’s clean sheet day today), making fresh tomato sauce from our garden tomato harvest sitting on the counter, making fresh bread, doing the dishes, taking a shower, and responding to emails.
As I looked at my list, I realized I was still (at least mentally) gritting my teeth. I saw in my mind’s eye how the rest of my afternoon would look: I’d plow through my to do list as quickly as possible to get it done before the boys woke up, deal with a few hours more of cranky play time, then the Hubs would come home and find a wife barely holding it together because I was stressed, scattered and melting down with the cubs.
So, instead of tackling the to-do list, I decided I was going to take care of myself during nap time today. I put on the skimpiest bathing attire in my closet and went outside for 40 glorious minutes of sun-bathing on my deck (hidden behind our grill and tomato plants so the neighbors couldn’t see =). I read two magazines, sipped a large glass of iced tea, and just soaked in sun and relaxation. Next I went inside and took a long, luxurious shower. I plucked my eyebrows, painted my nails (that NEVER happens on a Tuesday afternoon), and then sat down to blog for a few minutes before the boys start stirring.
My to-do list is still sitting here on the counter. The laundry is still on the couch. But you know what? I feel clean and sun-glowwy. I feel refreshed and rested. I feel happy.
The melancholic, perfectionist side of my personality is tempting me to feel selfish, lazy, and shamefully idle with my afternoon. But the practical side of me knows that I needed this me-time today. I needed to refresh myself so I could gear up for what might be a challenging afternoon with the bear cubs. I needed to prepare myself to greet the Hubs with a smile when he gets home, not a stressed grimace.
The Hubs won’t mind if the bed isn’t made until later tonight. He won’t mind if we end up folding the clothes on the couch together. He’ll prefer a happy wife to a stressed one scurrying around a clean orderly home.
This is an ongoing lesson I’m exploring and learning in my motherhood – this need to balance the to-do list with the occasional me-time in the midst of a hectic day. Sometimes the to-do list really does need to be a higher priority for my afternoon.
But for me, for today, I know I made the right decision.