Don’t wait until your gas light is on before you fill yourself up.
I’m guilty of it. Of waiting until I am literally a broken down mess before asking for help…before going to my happy place and doing my happy things. And by that time I’ve turned into an ugly asshole version of myself. Blaming the world for my circumstances. Resenting my situation. I’m pissed that I have to make another school lunch. Can’t hot lunch be every day? Better yet, can we move to somewhere where the school has a cafeteria? Pissed that I am the one home with the kids in the morning..when everything is a battle…getting dressed…eating breakfast…’no climbing’…’no you cannot play with your slime before you finish breakfast’…’put the iPad away’…’don’t hit your sister’…’i know i’m the worst mom in the world’. By the time I am in breakdown…needing a breakthrough…I am pissed that I haven’t been on a date with my husband in months…I resent that he ‘gets’ to leave the house for work every day…and that he leaves super early so he can go to the gym first. I’m pissed that our families aren’t offering to spend more time with the girlies. Basically. I’m pissed at the world.
By this time I don’t even notice or care that my husband is a great husband and father. That not only is he a provider..but he cooks most of our meals and does a great deal of cleaning too. Nothing is enough.
Sooooo….while breakdown is inevitable from time to time. And dare I say healthy. It’s an opportunity to regroup…to reflect and rebuild. What if breakdown wasn’t a vicious cycle. What if we filled ourselves up BEFORE we are empty? What if we picked up on our own clues rather than waiting for someone else to pick up on them? I mean, ok, I all to often wait for my gas light to come on before hitting the gas station. But I don’t wait for someone else to notice the gas light is on. I don’t wait for someone else to put gas in my car. Otherwise I’d run out of gas and be without it for a while. But what if I just kept my gas tank full instead of running on empty? I wouldn’t even have to think about it. I would be on time. I would be free.
Ok..I just went all metaphory…but if it holds true…what can we do to fill ourselves up before we’re an empty ugly asshole mess? I’ve compiled a short list. By no means is it a complete list. In fact…I would LOVE more fuel for my fire… For now..let’s get to it.
Five Ways To Fill Up Before You’re An E.U.A.M.
- Track your period and be mindful of it. Respect it. Care for yourself leading up to it. Surround yourself with other women if possible. (**side note…I’m reading The Red Tent right now and those women knew how to treat Aunt Flow). So when you know she’ll be a knocking next week…do something for yourself this week. Whatever floats your boat. Get a pedicure. Go to the library. Alone. Get someone to keep the kids away from you while you hide in your room and read a book…or while you hide and take a bath. Again…if you can find some time to spend with women friends…all the better.
- Write yourself love notes. Affirmations. Short. Sweet. Love. And place them somewhere that you’ll see them (ie bathroom mirror, fridge door, nightstand) and them move them when you don’t see them anymore. Get some fancy pens or markers..and some paper that makes you swoon (I don’t know about you..but I swoon over paper) and let your creativity take the wheel. Don’t overcomplicate it. It can be as simple as “Dearest Bri, YOU are loved. Love Me” or “Bri Darling, Have a beautiful day. xB” or “Bri…you are doing great. Keep up the superhero work. <3B”. You catch my drift. And let me be one that tells you YOU CAN DO THIS…YOU ARE MEANT TO LIVE A CRAZY/BEAUTIFUL LIFE.
- Spend time with friends. Like in the flesh. As seen in #1. But any time is a good time to be in the company of friends. Women friends. Sisters. Go for dinner. Grab a coffee or glass(es) of wine. Seeing a movie together will do in a pinch (but make sure you travel to the movie together – you need that time). Friends are a safe space. To unload. To release. To gain perspective. To feel supported. It’s like therapy (not to be read: it replaces therapy). I will admit that I don’t think I really valued women friendships until I was a mother. I mean I had women friends…I just didn’t think I needed them until I became a mom. So if you find yourself thinking you don’t need quality time with women I’m here to counter that notion.
- Go on a date with your sig. other (if you have one). Don’t wait until you’re desperate for a date night. And don’t wait for him/her to plan it. Seriously…been there done that. It’s ugly. AND…best part about not waiting until you’re desperate and waiting for them to plan it..is you plan something YOU want to do…OR…you plan something THEY want to do and feel good about it. And you’re in your right mind while planning it. Which is key. But PLEASE…do not consider vegging on the couch with a movie after the kids go to bed a date night. Don’t get me wrong…those nights have their place in relationships too. But I’m talking about getting out of the house..sans kids. It can be as simple as an adventure to nearby nature trails..maybe you picnic..maybe you don’t – matters not. Or maybe it’s elaborate and you get tickets to his fave sports team and a hotel and restaurant resos. (Don’t forget that you can stay at hotels for FREE using credit card points – if you’re not collecting points for this purpose..or any purpose…it’s time to look into it.) My point is…you can do something for free…or you can break the bank. However, you choose…just make sure that you’re connecting with your partner. I’ve read before that once a week date nights are a must. Was whoever wrote that a parent? For me…that’s not realistic. And once I let go of that expectation I was able to find what works for us. And that’s usually every two months. And we’re due for a hotel stay. Cause…who doesn’t like to sleep in in a king size bed…with the shades pulled and continental breakfast waiting?
- Find a hobby. Take a course. Start a side-gig. Doing any one, a combination or all of these things will help feed your purpose. And your soul. Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn to play the guitar. What’s stopping you? Maybe you’ve considered becoming a Big Sister. Why haven’t you? Maybe you would love to take a photography course. Hello. Do it. That would be awesome! Maybe you are a guitar playing master and have thought about giving lessons. A-hem…psst…do it. The idea of hobbies and courses and side-gigs is while they are something for you…a lot of times they offer something to someone else too. And being of service is a satisfaction like no other. It’s a true tank filler.
So there you have it. It’s a start. Now get to know yourself…your clues. What happens when your tank drops below empty. Are you more irritable? How does that show up?Are you more emotional? How does that show up? Once you start to see the pattern you can start to stay full. You are worthy. And your kids and hunny will thank you for it.