Saturday, August 8, 2015

the white flag of surrender...

it happens every summer. i hit a wall, a breaking point, and i know that something has to give. it usually results in tears streaming down my face while i’m curled up in a ball somewhere. that’s when i know it’s time to escape.

i’m a people person by nature. still, i have learned over the years that the only way for me to recharge, to feel like i can tackle my five kids, plus any number of neighborhood kids that come my way, is to spend time completely alone. i crave solitude and silence. truly, that’s the only way i can feel replenished. i get how ridiculous it is. having five kids when i need “alone” time may not have been the logical life path for me but i love my babies more than my sanity sometimes so i’ve learned to adjust. still, the day comes each summer when i know i have reached my limit.

my husband can see the signs too. he usually sees the signs when i am telling him. “i have had it,” and “i need a break,” while i’m rocking back and forth and crying in the fetal position. he’s requires that kind of clear information. still, once he hears the words, he knows how to spring into action. (yes, i know he is one of the good ones. i’ll keep him.) each summer for the past four years, for one night, my husband has reserved a hotel room in charlotte for me to escape. we use our hotel points or a little extra cash and with that my husband gets me a night away. he takes a day off work and for 24 hours, i have hours completely to myself.

it is amazing. for those hours, i look around and say, “what would genelle like to do today? i think she'd like to go walk around the mall." (these precious days require speaking in third person.) and just like that, i go. when i get hungry, i go out to eat. i pick the place, sit alone, and eat the entire meal... while. it. is. still. hot. when i go to the movie theater, i get whatever candy i want, a huge container of popcorn and a drink and i don’t have to share. i don’t have to take anyone to the bathroom or remind anyone to be quiet. i don’t even have to ask how someone else liked the movie at the end. i just get to decide if i liked it or not. i binge eat my popcorn and sour patch kids and get to completely relax. i get to turn off my phone. i get to completely unplug from the details of my children’s schedules. i don’t have to break up fights, do laundry, prepare meals, or carpool the masses. i sleep an entire night, uninterrupted. i sleep i'm a college student on the weekend type of sleeping in. i get to just be me and not be my “mommy” me. it’s as wonderful as it sounds and it does more healing than any sessions with a therapist ever would. 

i come back a better person. i’m a better mom and a better wife. i’m more patient and less frazzled. my brain gets reset and i stop dropping information that i need to keep organized. i come back more me and i always wonder what in the world took my so long. why have i only done this for the last four years? why haven’t i done this every year i’ve been a mom? why did i take so long to make myself a priority? we do that as moms though, don’t we? we sacrifice ourselves over and over again. we are often afraid to say “i can’t take it,” because to say we need help makes us feel like we are somehow less than good mothers. let me just say, figuring out what my limits are and finding workable solutions to invest in myself have made me a far better mother than i could ever be otherwise. sometimes waving the white flag of surrender is just what we need to ultimately come out victorious. 

what about you? how do you recharge? what do you need to do to take a moment to invest in yourself? maybe you are thriving today. maybe you are close to the crying, fetal position mother i was. if you’ve reached your limit, raise that white flag with pride, sister. you deserve a moment of surrender.

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