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Challenge: Keeping Your Cool

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I’m a creature of habit, and if someone would have asked me a few years ago what my favorite way to relax was, I would have said without skipping a beat that I love to curl up in front of the television and watch my favorite reality television until it’s far past my bedtime. Then, I love to sleep in when the morning comes and have a slow and easy start to my day. Of course, that was back when I was a young newlywed, when the only real stress I had was working at my corporate job. I was over a small team of technical writers and we’d prepare proposals from templates all day. It was mind-numbing work but not terribly difficult, so there wasn’t much to unwind from when the clock finally struck closing time.

Then, I had my two babies. Don’t get me wrong, they are the absolute lights of my life and rarely does an hour go by when I don’t gather their tiny faces in my hands, squeeze their beautiful cheeks and tell them that I love them to the ends of the Earth and back. However, there are some times when I need a little escape. No, I don’t crave a luxury vacation to Europe or even a candlelit dinner with my husband (though both would be nice). Rather, I just want a few seconds to myself, where I can think my own thoughts freely without interruption. My favorite place to grab this sweet solitude has become my shower. Who knew that our regular old fiberglass shower, with its fogged-up glass doors and too-small shelves would become such a haven for me?

It sounds trite, but it has and I’m so grateful for it. When the kids are being watched or asleep, I can sink away to the retreat that is my bathroom. I can play my shower radio, sing along to myself and just stand under the hot water. It’s not complicated nor is it revolutionary, but it’s soul-changing, at least for me.

To top it off, nothing beats slipping into my ultra soft pajamas, making a mug of hot fruit tea, and sliding into bed. Add a little catch-up time with my favorite ereader and I’m a happy girl. Do I get these moments every day? Absolutely not, and I’m lucky if I can steal one every week or so. Yet, I think it’s so important and valuable to take these indulgences when they’re afforded to us. Why? Because being a mom is tough work and it doesn’t make us any harder working, smarter, or wiser if we refuse a break and simply work through the struggle.

I’m a calmer, more alert and more patient mom when I’ve had an evening to unwind. I’m grateful for my husband and extended family for making them happen as often as they can, though I know that not everyone has such a support system around them. To those mamas who don’t get a break until all the kids are in bed, and then you have to wake up again super early and do the whole shebang all over again, I salute you. To the moms who can’t grab a moment of peace or spare time to save their lives, I commend you.

My relaxation techniques don’t look the way they used to, and that’s okay. My life doesn’t look the way it used to either and I’m all the better for it. I’m growing up and transitioning and my life is following suit and it’s a beautiful process. And at the end of the day, as much as I appreciate and enjoy my alone time, I’d trade it all in a second if these little munchkins who call me “mom” asked me to. Thankfully, one’s still taking naps and the other is in the thick of learning sight words and likes her quiet time so when I see a moment to myself, I take it. I hope when they grow up they give the same attention to the little things like that, for they truly do make such a big difference.

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