Hello my happy little friends. I come to you fresh off a week of sleeping through the night! Now if you regularly read my nonsense you know that I have 3 kids, ages 4, 5, and 7, so this is not something I normally experience.
This miracle of miracles was only made possible because after Thanksgiving I returned home to my beautiful half built home, and the rest of my family stayed in VT for another week to attend a funeral. While in the problem solving stage of this process when we were trying to figure out how my husband could possibly attend this celebration of life he asked “would it be OK if I stayed in Vermont for an extra week with the kids?”
There was a slight pause in which I was actively sucking in the exaltations of joy to calmly respond “Yeah sure that would be fine.” while internally I was doing somersaults and shooting off confetti cannons with a marching band going by in the background.
Now we did this so that I could attend a conference in which I was presenting my business as a provider for Medicaid and self-direction services, which happened to fall on the same day as the service my husband would be attending. Which meant that I had a whole week to do WHATEVER I WANTED!!
Now I have said it once and I will say it again, I flipping love my family, But I have not been alone in my house for more than a few hours for the totality of my parenting experience. Sure I have traveled literally to other continents in my tenured time as a parent, but it was always for a training or conference where my time was rigidly structured. This opportunity was a golden egg being served on a golden platter.
So I began to plan, and oh did I plan. In one week I managed about 3 months worth of social visits, a months worth of extra meetings and networking opportunities, worked construction on the home, baked a ridiculous amount (I used 20 lbs of butter if that is any indication), did all my normal work, taught an extra yoga class, scrubbed my house top to bottom, knit a hat and started a scarf, began reading a new book, decorated the house for winter, made season bouquets and swatches to hang on the outside doors, and spent one whole day just walking around the house doing all the things I normally see and think “I will do that later”.
But the most amazing thing I did was sleep. I went to bed earlyish every night and slept through till 8 or 9 in the morning. So not only did I sleep through the night I also got to sleep in past 5 am. Not that my kids are up and at ’em at that time, but you can bet your sweet ass one kid is crawling into bed with me around that time. So yes I really packed things in for the week, but I found a healthy balance to meeting needs that regularly fall to the wayside by default.
Beyond getting a few hours of extra sleep a night I also made sure to stop and eat food. I am the kind of gal that would happily subsist on apples, cheese, crackers, and nuts. Now to be clear I did have one meal a day that was exactly that. However while baking for thanksgiving I baked an extra pie to eat for breakfast the week my family was away, and also bought some sausage and spinach to eat for my dinners. Given the fact that I normally do not stop to eat unless my husband places a plate of food in front of me it felt like a win.
In addition to this I also said no to a lot of things. I was invited to many other dates and outings which I gracefully declined. Why, you may ask? So I could get the above mentioned sleep. I really prioritized these minimal offers that I was affording myself in this time. Had I been gifted another week I surely would have had time for a lot more socializing and pampering, however my goal was to get a bit ahead of things given that we are headed towards the holidays and I wanted to be fully present when my family arrived home.
By having this space and taking care of myself in this way a few unitented things happened.
First off I taught the best yoga classes of my life. Students came up to me to rave when a class was done. Now I know I am a real good yoga teacher, however I blew my own socks off. I was in a flow state of being. This did not just happen in my teaching but in all the work I did. Things just authentically poured out of me, and administrative tasks that normally befuddle me were done with the ease of slkicing butter with a warm knife.
Second was that the muscles in my body relaxed fully. Like physically I feel better than I have in years. In feeling like I had the space and freedom to be myself and move autonomously I could soften in a way that I have not been able to in years.
Third I was fully present in everything I did. I was fully aware and engrossed and able to do things in a fraction of the time it normally takes thus giving me more time to take breaks and eat good food. If anything it almost became a detriment as I am so used to being interrupted that I was finding 3 hours had passed without my knowing!However as a totality it was such an insane gift to be able to focus on any given task.
Now these things may not seem huge, but it’s hard to sometimes know how out of alignment you are when you are in it. This is why it is beneficial to have moments to step back, take a deep breath, and objectively view the situation. Also now I totally get why people send their kids to school. I ended my week by filling out an application for all 3 of my kids to go to a private school next year. (fingers crossed we can make that work!)
So my gift to you this holiday season is the permission to take space. To prioritize yourself and to know there is nothing wrong with taking some space to just be. Space to be a power house and do a bunch of shit, or to just nap. We can not shine our brightest when being smothered. Its OK to want and need space.