Mothering little ones can be tough. Whether you stay-at-home or work, whether you co-sleep or use a crib, whether you buy baby food at the store or make your own, this is a tough gig. It is a job that doesn’t stop.
And while we spend these early years pouring into our little ones, some of our other connections often go overlooked.
Sometimes we don’t return phone calls.
Or we forget to greet our spouse when they return at the end of a long day.
Sometimes we forget to brush our hair.
Or we can’t remember the last time we took a shower.
Sometimes we go months where the only book we read has pictures in it.
Or we put off date night for another week.
Sometimes our own box of creative tools – yarn, pencils, paints – sits unopened for too long.
And all of that is ok, because this is just a season of our life. And it will pass. And we recognize that we aren’t supermom, we can’t do everything. But sometimes we can’t wait for the season to pass before we pour into ourselves and into our relationships.
Sometimes, our own cups are empty. And even though it seems impossible, we have to take the time and energy to reconnect – with a friend, a spouse, or a long-ignored passion. We have to take the time and energy to fill our own cups.
Because if our cups are empty, we can’t possibly fill the cups of anyone else.
Lately I’ve noticed that my patience was starting to go. When that happens, I know that my cup is running low. When I find myself snapping, harsh words or sarcasm slipping out of my mouth, I know I’m running dry. I know that things won’t get better for me – or my family – until I fill my cup.
And as we’ve said time-and-again when we talk about connecting with little ones, it doesn’t have to take a lot of time. What’s more important than the quantity of time is the mindfulness. The presence. Since I’ve been finding myself with a cup-run-dry-situation, I’ve been intentionally filling it – pouring into myself, and my adult relationships. I’ve been
taking the time to exercise, always reminding myself that 10 minutes is better than nothing.
sharing dinner dish duty with my husband, chatting and reconnecting at the end of each day.
finding moments here and there to do a little creating of my own. Some creating of the old-friend variety, knitting and printmaking. Some of the new and exciting variety.
reading books. For fun. Sometimes just a few minutes before bed is just what I need.
It isn’t much, but it is helping. Each time I am present, with myself, doing what I need to reconnect with myself and with the ones dear to me, my cup slowly fills. And as it does, I have more patience and more to give.
And while my children may not appreciate the ten minutes I spend jumping rope in the backyard, rather than doing a project with them, they certainly do appreciate the mama they get as a result. Patient. Measured. Full.