Awwww relaxation… for a mother, this is a very rare & often brief thing. The good thing, though, is that we become very creative on how we achieve relaxation. I remember a time when the very word ‘vacation’ brought images of waves breaking in the ocean, beaches, sounds of sea gulls in the distance, falling asleep by the pool, walking on the beach whenever I want, the feeling of sand between my toes, aaawwww… relaxation!
Fast forward 10 years and 3 kids later and the term evokes very different feelings, and very different pictures, lol! Instead of getting excited, I find myself getting stressed. Instead of wanting to enjoy the sites and just take our time driving to our destination, I find myself wondering if we could wait till the baby’s bedtime and then load the kids in the car and drive through the night while the kids sleep – for sanity purposes!!!
Instead of thinking about all the great sit down restaurants we could stop at on the way to try because “we have time to enjoy”, I hit the computer googling locations that have play areas indoors and out. Instead of the beach being a symbol of relaxation it becomes a safety nightmare!
Then the inevitable happens, the dialogue in my head begins and it goes a little something like this: “I need to make a list – Do I have lifevests in everyones sizes? Sunblock! Oh I can’t forget sunblock and it has to be safe for their skin – I wonder if they have spf 100 hmmm… Oh, towels, enough towels – I’ll pack one for each person. No, wait, two towels for each person because we need some to sit on in the car when we are done. Afterall, someone almost always gets their towel all wet by dumping it in the water or dumping water on it. Hmmm, beach toys, YES! and enough for everyone to happily play with. A cooler for snacks & drinks – got to avoid dehydration! We don’t want that! Oooh! I need to get to the store and pick up snacks for the car ride and the beach too. …Yikes!… I need to google rest stops along the way incase they enjoy too many snacks & drinks on the way…. Hmmm I should really look into buying lycra sun coverups,. Afterall, I don’t want them getting skin cancer down the road because of overexposure! Oh and bread to feed the birds at the beach, you can’t go to the beach and not feed the birds!!! Hmmm, I wonder what the ocean currents will be like there? What is the sharks eating timetable again?!… Oh right – it’s sunset! We have to leave the beach by sunset!
Wait a minute!
What are we doing?
This is not safe!
Why are we going?
Afterall, it’s 2 adults to 3 kids – We’re outnumbered! What if one gets away?… or even worse, what if a strong undertoe comes and sweeps both my kids right out of my hands!!! How do I decide who to choose if I can’t get to them both?! (Like you haven’t thought about it) …What if a shark attacks me and I can’t help my kids get out of the water?
I wonder if I’m being overly cautious… listen to me, lol, I sound crazy I mean you only live once right?!… However it is best to err on the side of caution… hmmm but how much caution?… I wonder if there is a crazy line and I wonder if I’ve crossed it… hmmm.
Oh the camera! I need to pack the camera and extra batteries too… what size batteries does that one take again? hmmm”
…and the dialogue doesn’t end until the vacation is over… perhaps you can relate to that self talk… or perhaps you don’t have that tendency to play out every possible scenario in your mind.. One thing is for sure, I have that *ability* finely tuned my friend, finely tuned! LOL 😉
Vacations nowadays are more about the kids. Making memories is the important thing in this stage. Exposing them to new things, giving them new experiences, seeing & doing things they don’t normally get to see & do on a regular basis — and while we have a little one in the house relaxation really isn’t synonymous with vacation.
Maybe you have flexible babies who are layed back and readily go with the flow, sleep wherever, whenever, will eat anything, anywhere and if you do — I hope you realize what an incredible blessing that is! But if you, on the otherhand, can relate, on some level, with me then you will understand, perhaps even just a little, what I am about to say.
My relaxation nowadays is enjoyed in much briefer spurts! Like sitting down, while the baby naps, and listening to my older kids read to me, closing my eyes… just listening. The other day I actually walked into the bathroom and turned off the light before closing the door. I realized as I was in there how nice it was to be alone, in a dark bathroom. This habit of turning off the lights in the bathroom had evolved into a time where I could just breathe and relax just for a moment. From time to time after we’ve completed school for the day I’ll let the kids watch a program on tv… I’ll slip into the kitchen and have a cup of tea and just be…. reflect on my day… such a good feeling… Who would have ever guess that those same feelings I got 10 years ago when someone mentioned ‘beach vacation’ I now get in a dark bathroom, ha… What use to take me a week to achieve, I now achieve in a few minutes sipping tea at my table… I can see now that relaxation is just a state of being, there are no requirements… you do not have to spend money, you don’t have to leave your house, or have a set amount of time… you just have to make it work… Even though these periods of relaxation are brief, I find they are just as sweet.
The length of time we actually have our kids in our home is so short in the big picture… so very brief… remembering that and finding ways to truly embrace each and every moment we can. I remember the first time I heard that quote by Mary Englebreit “Bloom where your planted” I thought “oh! that’s cute” well, it’s more than cute — it’s a challenge! A challenge to grow and learn how to truly “Bloom” and stop yourself from allowing yourself to think “If I could only..”, “If I were only…”, “If we lived there…”, “If they were only like…” , “If they would just…”, “If we just had…” and realize, nope, no I need to find a way to not just survive – but truly find joy/ contentment in being who I am, where I am, right now… a feat that takes practice & lots of falling down and getting back up. I know I am so thankful that our God is a forgiving God and I am incredibly thankful that with each new day comes a new & fresh start… to try again 🙂 Thank You God for brand new days and fresh starts! Thank you for not allowing me to live selfishly but to daily continually grow in becoming more servant-like with a grateful heart, a humble attitude, and a content spirit… Thank you for not leaving me like I was but challenging me to be more and to become better! Thank You that I am still a work in progress… Thank You God, so much, for loving me!
I am writing these verses on a notecard and putting it in my kitchen today:
“But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.” 1 Timothy 6:6-8
“Brethren, each one is to remain with God in that condition in which he was called” 1 Corinthians 7:24