To say that last week was difficult would be the ultimate sugar-coating and denying of full credit to the complete shit show that it actually was. First, it was Spring Break so the children were home all week. As usual, the barrage of family vacation photos filled my social media feeds, and I was left with the guilt that I hadn't planned an extravagant vacation, and the pressure to do some fun things to entertain them. This, in spite of the fact that I have zero interest going on vacation during the school breaks. Being in even closer quarters than normal with four children disagreeing about how we should spend our time and money seems more like a journey into the abyss than an adventurous good time.
Nevertheless, my mom guilt was strong because midwife duty called. I ended up having four births to attend and no time to do anything fun with the kids even if I had wanted to. This led me to ponder my "grass is greener", "don't know what you got till it's gone" mentality. I didn't really want to go on vacation or do fun things with the kids because I didn't want to spend the money. But when I no longer had the option, it felt like I was missing out and I had let them down. These were all mental constructs that I had created, but it was hard to sort that out on no sleep. In reality, the kids were just happy to not have to go to school for a week. They didn't care what I was doing as long as their bellies were full and the Wi-Fi was strong.
When I have a bunch of births in a short period of time, my self-care routine can go sideways real quick. First, my fatigue is strong because I am usually called out in the middle of the night and my normal sleep cycle is severely interrupted. Which makes me tired. Which means I can turn into a short-tempered bitch who forgets to eat, and has no desire to do any self- improvement in the form of exercise or meditation. Which quickly turns into a vicious cycle if I'm not careful. Shit rolls downhill and soon enough everyone in my sphere is negatively affected by my lack of self-care.
Because I understand that self-care isn't just a catch phrase, but an absolute necessity, I was able to pull myself out of my rut fairly quickly. What did I do, you ask? Nothing! I had been doing for a whole damn week straight. My brains and veins were popping out of my head from the pace and stress of the week. I could literally feel that I needed to do nothing. My body and spirit were begging me to #TFM( take a fucking minute). A dear friend had introduced me to a sweet little coffee shop right on the river not far from my house, and I knew I had to go.
"It is life, I think, to watch the water. A man can learn so many things."- Nicholas Sparks
Ignoring the guilt of being gone from home yet again, I went to the river and sat for hours. I knew that I needed an extended session of prayer, meditation, and TFMing. I knew I would find the physical calm I was searching for and maybe even some clarity on what to do next when it came to balancing personal goals with the responsibilities of career and motherhood. I know these are real issues for all of us that aren't going away, but I also believe wholeheartedly that we can all learn to respond to the stressors in our lives in a healthier, more positive way. Ultimately, my goal as a mother is to raise children who are equipped to recognize stressors and respond to them gracefully. I want them to know what to do to recalibrate themselves when they are feeling imbalanced. I want to teach them what I preach them- that self-centered living through the consistent practice of the Four Seeds of Self-Care, is how we build a firm foundation for all aspects of our lives to thrive.
At some point near the end of my river siesta, I had a strong desire to walk down and put my hands in the water. A cleansing had taken place, a new awareness of the beauty in nature that is always present when we take the time to lift our awareness from the mundane to the profound. One snapshot of time in nature reminds us of the exquisite perfection that exists in the natural world, and begs us to ask the question, "If nature's design, with all its rhythms and cycles are so perfectly interconnected, are we as human beings, not also included in this masterpiece?" Of course we are. Nature is a reflection of ourselves. Though storms pass through, and we even meet with destruction from time to time, our essence is unchanging. And there is beauty in it all. And to add to my final conclusions on life and love and guilt and storms and how everything is perfect, this midwife got an extra special treat in what you will see in the video below- an awesome experience I would have missed had I not allowed myself the gift of self-care to