I used to play golf, I used to ski, I used to swim, I used to walk around the lake, in fact I used to do a lot of things back when I had lots of time for myself. That all changed when my husband and I had our first child. At first I tried to handle everything myself from feeding, dressing and changing the baby to cleaning the house and cooking food for the whole family. I nearly had myself convinced I was okay with trying to juggle everything at once but alas, after a few weeks I reached a breaking point and finally admitted to my husband that I needed help. I was miserable and didn’t really understand why. I had been told that being a mother was amazing and would be so fulfilling. There were definitely moments when it felt amazing but for the most part it just felt exhausting.
On top of this, I felt guilty for thinking it was exhausting. I wanted to be above being human and feeling exhausted. I wanted to be a super mom who could do it all and still have energy left to burn. As I was trying to figure out how to adjust to all this, a friend asked me a really important question: what gives you energy? [Note: I’ve blogged about this before, but was reminded that I still have to be mindful of this!] Truthfully I’d never really thought of it, but it was a great question. In many ways, we’re like those ubiquitous smart phones that none of us can seem to live without. We depend on them for a variety of critical activities during the day, but also need to recharge them or they become useless. After thinking about the question again, I shared with my friend that I could tell them what sucked up my energy, but couldn’t come up with one thing that was recharging it. I realized I had been giving all of my energy away and hadn’t taken the time to figure out how to get any of it back.
After some further reflection, I decided that in order for me to determine what could give me energy I needed to figure out what filled my soul. One thing came to mind right off the bat: talking to my husband about anything other than the kids or work like we used to do when we were dating. He and I had often remarked how nice it was and how connected we felt after one of these in-depth conversations. As I continued to seek out what filled my soul, I realized that connecting with others in general gave me a good deal of satisfaction, whether with girlfriends over dinner or tea or other new parents with whom I could share knowledge and hopefully help out.
I had the pleasure of spending a long weekend with some very dear friends recently. It’s an annual tradition that’s always a wonderful time for us to relax, connect and take care of ourselves without the stress of having to look after our families. I go home after our trip each year feeling full. I don’t have as much spare time as I used to so I have to take advantage of these opportunities to get back to myself, one recharge at a time.