Wednesday, August 28

small gestures

I recently finished a personal challenge to show up on the blog to write a paragraph each day for 30 days. Those particular 30 days corresponded with traveling to Montreal alone with my two young boys, where we would hang out at my parents' house and escape the brutal Texas summer for a few weeks. This kind of disruption of routine is one I generally struggle with. I like the predictable rituals of my days at home, and cling to such rituals even more so now, in the difficult first few months with a new baby. I knew it would be a challenge to show up daily to write, but I did manage to do so everyday, and that is something that I am enormously proud of. Aside from the fact that the exercise yielded some writing which I am very happy with (which it did), the sheer fact that I showed up and honored that commitment to myself, every day of those 30 days, no matter what, means a hell of a lot to me.

The challenge wrapped up just in time, too, because upon returning home I got waylaid by mastitis AND a respiratory infection. I was so, so sick--dizzy spells, high fever, chills, sweats, the works--for a solid week. Antibiotics eventually had to be brought in. I felt so bad that the illness sucked the will to self-care right out of me. I didn't even want to do any of the things I usually do for myself: write in my journal, enjoy a hot shower, practice yoga, sit for meditation. I didn't even have the energy to want out of my misery. I barely drank any coffee. Those ten days or so have been some of the darkest of my whole parenting career. I'm barely just starting to get back to myself.

I'm starting small. Re-establishing my evening routine--shower, yoga, sit, and a nightly gratitude practice--is my first line of defense. Then, slowly rebuilding in other ways, too. Checking in with myself for a daily intention in the morning, doing some mindful movement as the sun begins to shine. Two solid bookends to my days.

And I am continuing with my commitment to writing. What made it easier to show up each day of the 30-day challenge was that I didn't have to wonder whether or not I would write. I'd already decided I would, and that fact pushed me through resistance every single day. And I realized that, no matter how tired or cranky or blah I felt, if I made myself show up, something beautiful would rise up to meet me. It was surprising and illuminating each and every time. Why not continue? So I am committing to write for 10 minutes each day. 10 minutes. That's it. Let's see how this goes.

The truth of it is that these small gestures are all that is available to me, here in the weeds up to my eyeballs with learning what it means to be a family of four. It is so easy to lose myself in the daily spin and grind. But, more so than ever, it is important that I do what I can to hold on to those things that support me in who I am at the core, even before I am a wife, mama, homemaker. It is vital that I keep investing in myself so that I can be invested in my sons and my husband. It is necessary that I be at home within myself so that I can make a home for all of us. When I have the least amount of time for them, and when I have the best reasons to give them up, are the precise moments when it is most important to honor these small commitments to myself.

Here's to starting over. Please tell me, I'd love to know: how are you recommitting to self-care these days? What small gestures are you making towards living your best life?


  1. Ah, it's easy for me because my children are adults and away most of the time at universities. When they were home and little I would try my best to get what I wanted done in the morning so when naptime arrived I could sneak in some ME time. It worked most of the time.

    Hope you feel better, I've had mastitis once and won't wish it on an enemy!

  2. i had pneumonia with a two year old and 6 month old. darkest days of my mama life.

    i write every day no matter how hectic the day, how little time i have. i make room for it in my day because it makes me feel good.


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