As a relatively new mom, I have found carving time out for myself to be one of the greatest challenges of this chapter in my life. Having been single well into my thirties, I was used to calling all the shots–exercising, socializing, resting when I saw fit.
Now that I am married with a toddler, I feel good if I can squeeze in seven hours of sleep plus a thirty minute workout on any given day. And alone time....forget it! But I'm realizing that without this time, I am so much less centered. I feel less like my best self.
Earlier this summer we had a family vacation visiting cousins, aunts and uncles on beautiful Lake Erie in Ohio. There is a community arts center there that offers an amazing array of very affordable art classes like sewing, pottery, stained glass...arts that I have often longed to try. When I realized that the dates of our trip wouldn't allow me to take any of the classes, I was so disappointed. Then the director of the center said to me, "Why not come back for a week and just take classes?"
"Just take classes?" I thought. "That would be to good to be true!" But I decided to run the idea by my husband just for kicks...and he was actually very encouraging. "Sure, go for it!"
The idea that I could take a whole week to myself—a week taking ART classes— was starting to sink in. It was something I hadn't even thought possible.
Why were others able to dream bigger dreams for myself than I could? Perhaps I have an over-inflated sense of self-importance as a wife and mother ("THEY NEED ME!!"), or maybe it's just not normal for me to make myself a priority.
This past week, I have tried so many arts: quilting, embroidery, fused glass, calligraphy. Are the finished results perfect? Not by any stretch of the imagination! But they make me so happy looking at them. And I hope as I glide through the clouds on my way back home to Brooklyn, that they will serve as visual reminders to proactively dream big and proactively schedule time to do the activities that feed my soul.