I had big plans for today's naptime. Lately I've been able to get about an hour of kid-free time in the afternoon when Max and Louisa's naps overlap (Praise the good Lord). Last week, I watched Ellen during that time since I was feeling pretty icky with a cold, but this week, I planned to be more productive. Today I wanted to work out, maybe do some laundry, and get started on filling some of the wall frames I've bought over the past two months. I also needed to tackle the breakfast and lunch dishes that were cluttering up my kitchen.
But after I got Max down and then Louisa down, I decided that I just needed to take a minute. Most days, I'd feel guilty about taking this selfish downtime, worrying about the piled-up dishes and the stacks of dirty laundry and the other tasks on my never-ending to-do list; normally, I'd feel so guilty that I would force myself to get up and tackle all of those tasks instead of taking a breather, hoping to get some time to relax once I took care of all my chores, only to have someone wake up right as I sat down, which would inevitably frustrate me and put me on edge.
Today was different, though. I sat down with a blanket, my book (Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain), and a glass of ice water and devoured chapter after chapter while the kids and the dog snoozed (the book is so good!). I had zero guilt. I knew all those chores would be waiting for me later. I'd get to them eventually. I needed to recharge, to have some quiet time alone. So I took a minute (or sixty, but who's counting?!)
I'll tell you what, I'm so glad I took that time today. Max woke up from his nap and was inexplicably angry with me, so thanks to my quiet time, I had more patience to deal with his moodiness and eventually calmed him down. After Max was settled with some toys, I cleaned up those dishes in the kitchen...and I also wiped down the table and counters, put away a bunch of dishes, organized my coupons, and started a load of laundry. My little recharge gave me more energy!
I know I could find tasks to fill every second of my day. There's always something that needs to be done. But one really important thing I need to be sure I'm doing is taking care of me. My evenings are pretty jam-packed with making, eating, and cleaning up dinner, giving kids baths, putting kids to bed, and spending quality time with Victor. Louisa is on her third week of awful sleep, so my nights are far from restful. Currently, I'm finding it necessary to take a minute pretty much every afternoon, during that glorious naptime overlap. Some days that minute looks like it did today, with me curled up with a great book. Other days it might include a workout, perhaps some crafting, maybe watching a show or taking a nap. Eventually I'll get back to tackling chores--uninterrupted--during naptime, but for right now, mama needs to take a minute regularly, and that minute needs to be a selfish one.
Don't be afraid to do the same, mamas. Some days, we just need a minute.