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Hello, Dearest…

I’ve been thinking a lot about freedom lately amidst the sight of Old Glory fluttering in the breeze, and the sound of fireworks out in the street at night. Sometimes I dwell on the freedom that used to be – that taken-for-granted freedom I had B.C. (that’s Before Children). I was once a sleeper-inner. I saw all the latest movies, would immerse myself in a good book for hours, and was a waste-time-just-because-I-had-it kind of girl. Not lazy – but free in a way I can only imagine now that I share my life with a couple of darling preschoolers.

Have you ever had the kind of day where your two-year-old son put the cat in the washing machine and tried to turn it on {twice}, and you only saved the cat in time because you were cleaning finger paint off every surface in the bathroom alongside your other child, and the laundry room happens to be next door? Those are the kinds of days that make me long for freedom, or at least a little free time.

As a mother of preschoolers, it may be the “home of the brave,” but it is definitely not the “land of the free!”

So how do I reconcile the free-as-a-bird woman I used to be with the (lovingly) tied-to-her-two-children mama I now am? I am calling olly-olly-oxen-free on my summer, and claiming some of it just for me!

My mom friends and I are planning monthly playnights, and the diaper-and-drool set is not invited. (Thank you handsome husband!) I have penciled “reading” into my calendar, and Tuesday and Thursday evenings I enjoy an hour of pleasure reading that does not center on cartoon pigs or Sesame Street characters. For one hour every afternoon I shamelessly turn the kids loose in the backyard and catch an episode of my favorite HGTV show. The kids enjoy a little fresh air, and we all arrive at snack time with smiles on our faces. And my husband and I have set up a trade with a single mom friend – she takes our two kiddos overnight once a month, we take her son overnight on a different Friday night.

My dear sisters in motherhood – here is a little secret about that “trapped” feeling most of us encounter from time to time: the only way to step out of the box you are in is to lift the lid, and no one else can do that for you.

So, when and how do you {or could you} take time to take care of you?