I remember it like it was yesterday.
It was 5:30-ish-pm and my husband walked in the door after a long day of work.
He looked at me and saw his once lovely wife, covered in spit-up, hair in a not-so-fashionable Mom bun, with a crying baby on my hip, with a whining toddler wrapped around my legs, cementing me into place. The house in disarray.
Tears welled up in my eyes and my chin started quivering the moment I saw my husband in the doorway. I was in the middle of a full-blown meltdown.
He took one look at me and said “Go, just go. I got this. Get in the car and I’ll see you in a few hours.”
Thank you dear husband, thank you…
After a quick 5-minute spit shine and a new clean-ish shirt, I pulled out of my driveway, leaving the chaos behind.
Deep breaths, deep breaths.
With tears in my eyes, I drove to the end of my street and stopped. Where was I going anyway?
I have been graciously given a few hours to spend on my own and I had no idea where to go.
I looked left and right, trying to decide which way to turn the car when…HONK!…apparently, the angry driver behind me was tired of my indecision.
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So, I turned left and went where all mothers are supposed to go. Target.
I spent a few hours perusing the aisles, sipping my Starbucks mocha frappuccino, and picking up a few things the kids needed.
I didn’t see much that I just had to have, so I meandered, by myself.
As I walked back into my house later that evening, I didn’t feel fulfilled or rested. I was still tired and upset and didn’t feel any better than before I left.
I sat down on the couch and cried…again. That’s when it hit me. I had wasted a precious gift of time that my husband had so graciously offered me.
I was sad. More than that, I was mad.
I was mad that I had let myself get lost in motherhood.
Mad that I had lost grip of all the things that made me me.
I was just a Mom, wife, homemaker and nothing else.
Where was that woman who loved to run outside in the fresh morning air? Where was that woman who enjoyed having intelligent conversations with her friends? Where was the woman who loved learning at museums and getting lost in a great book?
Now, I’m the woman who can’t even figure out where to spend one kid-free hour. I had lost touch with the very things that made me me.
I loved my life, but I needed more. My family needed more.
There, sitting in our dark living room with tears running down my face, knew I needed to find me again.
So I ran down to our small office and pulled out my old dusty journal and started writing.
I began that journal entry with the phrase, If I could do anything I wanted what would I do?
I wrote and wrote and wrote. For hours it seemed, page after page, I wrote out all of my dreams and desires.
When I was done, I took a deep breath and went back to page one and reread my raw emotion and inspiring dreams.
Reading back over that journal entry, a few things came to light.
I could see that my soul needed me to get outside, treat myself, and to be around good people. I was also reminded of long forgotten hobbies, such as knitting and reading.
Frantically, I tore a page out of my journal and wrote: Things I Love To Do at the top and made a list.
It started with these:
- spend time outside
- treat myself with good chocolate and wine
- walk around a bookstore
- read an actual real book
- have a cup of coffee with a friend
- sit and knit with the old ladies in a local yarn store
My list went on, as I wrote out every thing, little or big, that brought me joy.
I tucked that list away and two years later, I still use it often.
Whenever I find myself with alone time, I can go to my list and do something that fills my soul.
Now, tell me….
When’s the last time you filled your cup?
I’m not talking about just kid-free time, but when’s the last time you did something that made your soul happy?
After you get some time on your own, do you feel refreshed, happy, relaxed?
If not, it’s time to start daydreaming. It’s time to make your list.
What is calling out to you?
Writing is extremely therapeutic. It unleashes creativity and helps you dig deeper into your subconscious thoughts and needs.
So take some time and sit with either a pen or pencil and grab something to write on. A journal or even a scrap of paper will do.
Find a quiet place, or wear ear plugs like I do (I love these) and get to writing.
If you need some help getting started, try one of these journal prompts:
- If I could do anything I wanted what would I do?
- If I had a kid-free day, I’d….
- If I had a magic wand and could do whatever I wanted today, I’d…
- I’ve always wanted to…
And just start writing. Don’t think too much about what you’re writing, just let the words flow.
Write in sentences or just throw words on paper, there’s not a right or wrong way to do this, just get your thoughts out.
Create Your List
After spending some time writing, look back on your list. What sticks out to you? Do you see any themes?
Maybe you dream about being in nature, like I do. Maybe you wish to go to a music concert or dance. Whatever it is, notice the things that make your heart sing.
Now, make a list.
Write down all the things, big and small, that make up your daydreams.
Keep it handy for when you find some time for you.
I keep mine in my wallet, so it’s always close at hand.
With my trusty list, I’m happy to say that you’ll no longer find me meandering around Target alone with my mocha frappachino. If you need me, I’ll be hiking outside or knitting with the ladies in the closest yarn store, filling my cup.
To help you get started on your list, I’ve put together a free journal page and happy mom list just for you. Download it, print it out, and get to writing!