In this podcast, I love what Jillian Lavender says about taking time for yourself, in her case specifically to meditate. She says something like, let’s turn on its head this whole idea of carving out some time for some self-care (yes, self-care, irritating term, but it is self-care nonetheless so let’s go with it) being selfish. It is not selfish, she says, it is the most generous thing you could do for yourself and for your family.
Yes, you are taking yourself away from them for ten minutes, or fifteen, or however long you can stretch to, and it often takes some mathematical maneuvering to find the time, particularly if you have very young children, but things have always changed when you get back. Your perspective has always shifted.
Having small children is stressful, it just is, the end. I’ve got a five year old, three year old and a one year old. The three year old is almost always having tantrums, the five year old isn’t far behind him and the one year old – well the poor soul is suffering so much with cutting teeth, and has been since soon after birth. It means he wakes about five or six times a night, and because he’s breastfed, it’s the only way I can comfort him. Some days, I just find it all really stressful. Let me be clear, the glory hours far outweigh the drudgy ones. Having children is exploding stars and love and joy; but it’s a headwreck too. I’m not sure how other mothers do it, but I find all the constant screaming and shouting really challenging (ahem, to say the least) and the problem with it is, my monkey beast comes out, every time, and I just want to shout and scream back. My son threw an apple at me last night and guess what? I threw it back. I feel terrible about it, it’s not cool behavior for an adult.
So back to what Jillian said, in my case it’s true: I think meditating is the most generous thing I can do for my family and for me, because when I am consistent with doing it, it makes me a better person. It just does. Better, stronger, calmer, less tired, less snappy, less of a dick. It also gives me the extra gift of deeply appreciating the smaller moments, the fleeting pearls of mothering these beautiful tiny children that I know I will wear like a precious, treasured necklace when they are grown.