On Her Flying Trapeze

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Save Yourselves!

Pushing antioxidants should not be a top priority Sunday morning, unless you want to head out the door to church with a child who looks like that inflatable blueberry kid from the Willy Wonka movies. This I have learned. Magoo can do some really amazing things with frozen blueberries.

Periodically I let one of the kids shower with me. I say “let” them but really I force them to shower with me so I can clean my body without worrying about how much trouble they're getting into as the steam fogs up my brain.

towelEvery time it’s the same dilemma. When the shower ends and it’s time to get out, I slide open the glass door letting in freezing cold air. The wet child begins to shriek or whine as I step into my bathrobe, “Ahhhh…I’m FREEEZING! HELP!” or in the case of Magoo, “AAAHHHHHH WAAAHHHHHH.” He’s not much for verbal skills.

Within a few seconds, with my bathrobe safely in place, I snatch them up in a warm cozy towel and carry them off to be clothed and cuddled. During those few seconds I always wonder, “Maybe I should wrap them up first and then put my bathrobe on.” Then I think, “NAAH! They’ll live. Besides, if I wrap them up first, then I’ll have to get them completely ready while I freeze in all my glorious mama nuditude for 15 minutes.”

It comes down to this. If I take a few seconds for myself first, I’m much better equipped to help my family for the long haul. They say (this time I’m not talking about the ominous overarching “THEY” but rather airline steward-persons “they”. Is that right, “steward-persons”?) that in the event of an emergency you should put on your own oxygen mask before helping those around you. I thought about this as I was getting out of the shower this week and Magoo’s little teeth were chattering.

I wrapped him up and started thinking about how taking little snippets of time for myself can make me a better mother on so many levels.

-Sometimes it means a quiet moment of prayer and reflection before anyone else is awake.
-Sometimes it means hunting for frogs in the middle of the night with one of my best friends.
-Sometimes it means locking myself in the bathroom for a couple of minutes to have some time where no one is TOUCHING ME.
-Sometimes it means going for a late-night drive alone along the waterfront downtown, up past the Space Needle and across the 520 bridge with John Mayer and Aqualung blasting on my stereo.
-Sometimes it means forgoing some sleep in order to get the laundry done so I can start tomorrow fresh with no leftover chores from the previous day.

As I've been going through my post-partum struggles this year, my mom has reminded me of that old adage about not being able to pour water from an empty pitcher into other people’s glasses. It's true.

This year I've been running on half-full most of the time. If today I pour out what would have been a totally reasonable amount a year ago, I might come up empty. There will come a time in my life again where I am overflowing and able to give freely to anyone in need. I have to keep going back to the Source and I have to keep doing what I need to do to maintain my reserves and my sanity.

Whatever it takes to fill you up, do it. My real life friend over at RGLHM wrote a post today after a long blogging absence that I found so profound. Just reading it helped to top me off a little and give me the resolve to change some things in my life that need changing.

34 Comments:

Blogger momofalltrades said...

That did my heart good. I think we *know* that, because it makes good sense, but it's so darn hard to *do* it. I crashed and burned big time after doing the pp thing, moving 900 miles and gaining custody of SD. So I've been doing better, but I've been so struggling with this very thing this week. Thanks for the reminder and the extra shot of validation.

3/26/2006 10:47 PM

 
Anonymous krista said...

OH how right you are.

I loved that you two shared ytour frog encounters. It gave me a little minute to myself over here in my corner of the world to imagine a couple of friends doing something goofy and just being girls.

3/27/2006 3:52 AM

 
Blogger Heth said...

Love the bit about locking yourself in the bathroom where no one can touch you. Um, yeah. I hear ya.

This was a great reminder for us all.

P.S. Magoo is so adorable in his towel. I don't know if you have a tub shower combo, but when I get out, I give the kid a few inches of water to splash in while I get dried and dressed. Keeps them semi-warm and very happy.

3/27/2006 5:58 AM

 
Blogger Ginger said...

Just the inspirational reminder I needed today. Thanks.

3/27/2006 6:04 AM

 
Blogger Farm Wife said...

My mom says something very similar to the pouring water out of an empty pitcher thing, but sometimes I just need to hear it from someone who doesn't share my DNA.
Thanks!

3/27/2006 6:18 AM

 
Blogger smartmama said...

so nice to know someone else has the who to towel first dilemma (I hate being cold out of the shower-- true sacrifice

3/27/2006 6:53 AM

 
Blogger owlhaven said...

I've been there! Here's what I finally, after 8 kids, figured out. I put the drain plug in near the end of the shower, and let the kids sit in the water while I get dressed quickly. Then I can get them out one at a time.

Mary, who's shivered many-a-time

3/27/2006 7:11 AM

 
Blogger Chilihead2 said...

DYM you rock, as usual. Thanks for the post, thanks for letting me know that GLHM is back online, and thanks for making it OK to get warm first. ;)

3/27/2006 7:47 AM

 
Blogger moe said...

I either wait til nap time, after bedtime or shower when the hubby or the teen are home. I just need my shower time for me. Hubby shares his shower though and he doesn't seem to mind. I think that's because he gets to leave and have some time in his day when nobody is climbing up his legs.

So right about putting the mask on you before your kids but, sometimes it's hard to practice it day to day.

Great post.

3/27/2006 9:02 AM

 
Blogger Stephanie said...

LOL, great blog.
I visited after reading Baby Talk and will add you to my blgoroll.

3/27/2006 10:31 AM

 
Blogger Tigersue said...

I have so much needed your post today, just knowing someone else is struggling with the same thing. I love the time I have with my babies, but when I look at my home I want to weep. I feel so incapable of doing what needs to be done, my laundry is so stacked up and I don't even feel capable of doing it, I don't know the last time I had a really clean house, it was probably just before Kendra was born. The sad thing is, I don't feel like I can ask anyone for help, after all, I have two older children capable of helping, and a husband just as loving and helpful, but I have still seen things get so out of control because I'm not with it. Oh how I hate this PPD, even with the antidepressant, I just can't seem to completely function like I should.

3/27/2006 11:14 AM

 
Anonymous petal said...

I hide in the bathroom with fudgesicles and then sometimes I look around at how clean it isn't and I get grossed out. 'Mother Moment Backfire'. :)

AHHH - Your post is a big deal to me. (I've read you secretly for awhile.) I wrote about this last week ('Of Lent And Oprah.') I am so intrigued/torn by this topic. I could argue both 'sides'(if there even are) and still be exhausted.

I tried to take even just five min. alone this morning (thanks to Sound Of Music) and then my husband called "because he just wanted to chat" on the way to work. When do I sacrifice, when do I not? Because the times are not so clearly delineated. I guess you'd have to read my post to get my ramblings - sorry (and I swear that's not flagrant advertising). What do you think? Not about the advertising, but the concept. :)

BTW though, I love the plug in the shower idea!

3/27/2006 11:27 AM

 
Anonymous Amber said...

AMEN to that! One of the best pieces of advice I received before becoming a mom was to still take time for myself. That has been my saving grace! For me, I enjoy working out first thing in the morning and set aside a half hour of ME time. My daughter knows that's mommy time and blissfully eats her breakfast or plays with her toys. That has been the saving grace for both of us..and I am able to give her my attention the rest of the day!

3/27/2006 11:38 AM

 
Blogger GiBee said...

You mean... I might have to SHOWER with my child? Uhh Uhh -- no way, not in a million, gazillion years -- not gonna happen. Never. He can shower with his dad.

What? Do they all look as cute as Magoo when they come out of the shower? Awww, Heck ... maybe one little, teensy, eeensy, weensy little shower... MAYBE.

3/27/2006 11:54 AM

 
Anonymous lammyann said...

Love the duds...and ty for the link to RGLHM.... and ty for your words.
Right on target today!:)

3/27/2006 12:02 PM

 
Blogger RGLHM said...

I was wondering why my readership was so high after being away. Good ole DYM:-) It make take another two months to get the urge to write. Thanks for your post. I have been thinking a lot lately about feeling guilty over things that fill me up and would make me a better person. NO MORE GUILT!! for at least a day.

3/27/2006 12:12 PM

 
Blogger Crazy and lovin' it said...

I love anything that has to do with trying to balance kids and mom Posts.
Sorry I have been lurking lately. Bathrooms = Sacred alone time at our house.

3/27/2006 12:35 PM

 
Blogger HangerMom said...

This is perfect timing - I've been trying to work out how taking one of my babies in the shower with me would work at the end. I love the plus idea, or just setting them down and toweling off first.

As for "me" time to refill, I know it's key. But that doesn't mean it's easy to find!

3/27/2006 12:53 PM

 
Blogger momof3busyboys said...

I loved your post about "me time" to recharge. It is so hard to find that time. Me ,I actually use my shower as my "me time". Usually the baby is asleep and the older two are at school so it works out well for me, unless dear hubby decides to pester me! LOL

3/27/2006 1:39 PM

 
Anonymous Heidi said...

"This year I've been running on half-full most of the time."

Geez, if you're this entertaining when you're running half-full, I can hardly wait to see what you're like at full throttle!

3/27/2006 1:49 PM

 
Blogger Gabriela said...

What a nice post. I woke up and started my day already "drained" with not a lot to give. Thanks for the reminder of what we need as moms/women/people sometimes!

3/27/2006 1:59 PM

 
Blogger Heather said...

So true. We all need to learn that one!

3/27/2006 2:26 PM

 
Blogger Lei said...

Yes, take care of yourself, who else is gonna? Great psot, good thoughts/analogies!

3/27/2006 2:32 PM

 
Blogger No Cool Story said...

True Love = Showering with kids.
Long gone are the days of easy-care-free relaxation of life before kids.
The sweet hope of locking myself in the bathroom for a couple of minutes to have some time where no one is TOUCHING ME, is pretty much all you have left for now :D
That Magoo is soooooo cute!

3/27/2006 3:36 PM

 
Blogger Peter said...

They tell you on the airplane, take care of yourself first, then tend to the children.

3/27/2006 6:29 PM

 
Anonymous Mom on the Gulf Coast said...

Thank you so much for the reflective post. Like someone else said, if this is you at half-empty, wow...

On a slightly lighter note, I GOT MY DYM SHIRT!!! I can't believe how giddy yippie-skip happy I was to see a piece of clothing! Ahhh, the simple things in life.

You are so nice and so sweet and so giving to people you barely know, I can well imagine you are close to running on empty if you give that much of yourself to everyone on a continual basis. Please do take some time for yourself.

I swear, if I knew any publishers I'd throw them in your direction, you could be our generation's Erma Bombeck, seriously.

Major virtual hugs and aloha!

3/27/2006 7:41 PM

 
Anonymous Mom on the Gulf Coast said...

Oh, I forgot.

Is that pic of Magoo? I think it looks like Lylee, I could be way wrong though...

3/27/2006 7:45 PM

 
Blogger emlouisa said...

I'm loving your mom's empty pitcher analogy. I've never heard it before, but it's so true! That is SO going on my fridge.

3/27/2006 8:41 PM

 
Anonymous Pam in Utah said...

I appreciate the part of the pitcher you share with us. We love you.

3/27/2006 9:34 PM

 
Blogger Bobita said...

Wow!

JUST THIS MORNING I showered with Little Bear sitting on the floor of the tub! My baby is sick with the stomach flu and had poo-ed himself as I was hurriedly trying to get out the door...so, I slayed two birds with one stone!

The towel dilemna...I'm all over the steward-person philosophy!!

3/27/2006 10:34 PM

 
Blogger J's Mommy said...

so true, so true. unfortunately, i realized this a little too late. my daughter is almost 3 and I'm just now taking time for myself.

3/28/2006 6:50 PM

 
Anonymous shannon from rocks in my dryer said...

I needed that, Kathryn--thanks.

3/28/2006 9:07 PM

 
Blogger Grammy said...

Remember, there is no such thing as "found time". Time must be made for the things that are really important.

You are important to me...and that towel picture just makes me want to cuddle your children. Miss you!

3/28/2006 9:34 PM

 
Blogger Journey Mama said...

I think it's "flight attendants". Only if you want to be perfectly PC. I think the idea of time to pray and reflect BEFORE your kids wake up is good. It's funny because I wrote today about what happens to me when I try to do that when they're awake. Doesn't work much. And getting the chores done the night before is huge, if you can keep from collapsing!

3/28/2006 10:17 PM

 

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