This project was as much for my family, my husband and my home as it was for me. I like finishing things. I like transforming things and creating things. I really wanted this. But how?
1. Find things you love to do and do them. PERIOD.
2. When your kids interrupt you while doing something you love, explain to them what you're doing and ask them if they'd like to help.
3. If what you love to do involves sitting down (reading, writing, crocheting or being on the computer), forget it. Seriously, my kids are angels when I'm busy, but if I stand or sit in one place for too long, I'm fair game.
4. Remember: they look to you for everything and even when you can't be everything or do everything, you're still their everything. Allow that realization to be an honor and a privilege instead of a burden.
5. Forgive yourself. For not being enough. For being selfish. For wanting peace and quiet once in a while. For arguing with a 3-year-old. For wishing a 12-hour day with your children on your husband (complete with chores, tantrums, laundry and dinner). For being human.
6. Forgive your children. They're little people. They're crazy little people (sometimes). They're awesome little people (most of the time). They're in uncharted territory and don't have a clue what's going on in their lives, let alone yours.
I had no idea that the aftermath of this awesome project would lack joy and instead be filled with doubt, regret and exhaustion. It took over a week for things to start to feel "normal" again, for my tears to subside and their whines to dwindle. Eventually, I caught up with the laundry, put the kitchen back together, played enough games with my children that they returned to their happier selves, and vacuumed countless times. Eventually, we came back together again.
I'm happy we did it, happy we all experienced this. But I think, in the future, I need to do more for me so that when I take that time, we can all handle it better. I'm not exactly sure what that looks like (certainly not giant projects like this one!), but I think we can figure it out together. I can't only be about play dates, crafts, games, puzzles, laundry, vacuuming, mopping, and making meals. Don't get me wrong: I love this life of mine and wouldn't want anyone else to have the role that I have in my children's lives. I just need to remember that I'm still ME. While I have loves that can't be pursued while they're awake (reading, researching, this blog, and working with clients), my kids deserve to see me doing things I love, making time for myself and taking pride in my creations, the way I take pride in theirs.
Your turn: how do you make time for you?