I guess it sounds sort of harsh, but I don't always want to be a wife and mom.
Don't get me wrong, being a wife and mom are two of my favorite things in this world, but sometimes I just want to be me. Just me, from before I was pulled in a million different directions with each person always wanting something from me or asking if we have any cheese, as if I have better eyes than they have.
Maybe I'm selfish, but if I'm always in giving mode, I get run-down, tapped out, resentful and just plain old sad. I feel myself disappearing when my life constantly revolves around caring for everyone except for myself.
The same thing that fills me up is the very thing that runs me into the ground.
A lot of women (and men I assume) find deep fulfillment in only caring for their family. I suspect I'm a jerkwad because I need more than that. I need me. I need to tap into my goals and hobbies to feel alive and like I'm living deeply.
This past weekend, my husband and I did not have our 4 kids--mine were at their dad's and his were at their mom's. I'm writing a book and have been struggling to find time to finish it, so I told him I'd like to go on a self-declared writing retreat by myself at a campground.
He supported this completely and even went out of his way to park the camper there, even though I said my tent would be just fine. I had a massage scheduled for the past month, so the timing was perfect: Get a massage, go to the campsite and enjoy time alone to be me.
I pulled into my campsite, and I was giddy. I knew I needed this. I started a fire and pulled out the rough draft of my book. I sat by the fire and read through my book as I heard families nearby laughing and listening to country music.
Right now my life is not always fulfilling. I can go ahead and admit that. Most days it feels like treading water to keep up and there is little room left for my goals and interests.
I'm not alone in this--it's called parenthood--and I am so grateful for this beautiful chaos that is my life.
But I have to admit sitting by that fire by myself with only my goals to think about and put as a priority felt so powerful, almost spiritual.
Sidenote: I sometimes struggle with feeling close to God, but I feel super close to God in nature. It's a big feeling and one that makes me teary-eyed when it finds me. It was lovely to sit under the open sky with my words before me, reminding me to keep going and that I'm still here.
I read through my book and watched the fire dwindle down and felt so grateful for the time and space to be just me--a person with goals--without having to take care of anyone for the night.
I got the best night's sleep I've had in a while, woke up and built another fire, made coffee and oatmeal over it, and dug back into my work. When I started to feel like I needed a break, I went into the camper and played guitar and sang, which I really sort of stink at, but it felt so good to do it and not worry about anyone hearing.
Towards the afternoon, I did what I knew I would start doing: missing my family. I am such a people person that being alone for too long makes my brain itch.
I got hours of work done and I was feeling like I was finally inching my way toward my personal goal of getting my book done, but that time alone was enough to make me crave the hot mess of our full lives.
My husband pulled into the campsite later that afternoon, and I squealed when I saw him. Our three dogs came tumbling out of his truck as he reminded me having three dogs is too much and what was I thinking, as he frowned at the dog hair on the seat.
I hugged my husband and all the crazy dogs, grinning at how much I love them all.
I felt like a boxer in the ring who had just taken a time out in the corner. I was revived, focused and ready to get back in the ring.
When I take a step away, I can be a better version of me because I've taken the time to listen to my soul and what I feel called to do. If I keep going through the motions on auto-pilot, then I forget that in order to give more, I need to be more.
And this past weekend, I felt like more. It's a feeling I hope to keep in my back pocket as I tackle life every day I can't see the stars or sing by a campfire.
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