I don’t do Valentine’s Day. The mushy sappy stuff between partners makes me uncomfortable. Embarrassed even. Hold the cards. The flowers. The candy. Okay bring the candy but ditch the heart shaped box. Good lord. Don’t you dare write me a love poem. Love is what you do, not what you say. It is what you do every single day.
And when it comes to my kids, I am a syrupy sweet mess. But not high fructose corn syrup. More like beautiful local honey.
In addition to whispering sweet nothings into their precious little ears comes one the hard part of loving my children. The notion that I need to do so mindfully. And consequently the guilt. Because when you set the highest standards for a 24 hour a day job, you will inevitably fail from time to time. I carry the guilt around with me constantly because at almost any given moment, I know I could be doing better as a parent. A perpetually growing list of things I should be doing more of, less of, things I should be doing better.
Sometimes I think there aren’t enough hours in the day to do all that I want to do. But there are some days that I think there are too many hours in the day and I am guiltily willing the universe to speed earth’s rotation to bedtime.
Today I am thinking about self love. As a mother, I’ve all but abandoned this art. Get your mind out of the gutter. I’m talking about finding the time to take care of myself–to groom, to eat healthily, to exercise, to do things I love, to catch up with old friends, to make new friends, to sleep in, to indulge in a little selfishness. Selfishness used to come so naturally. Now it is almost painful. And I need to force myself or be forced to take time to smell the roses sans children.
I looked in the car mirror today and saw very noticeable gray hairs and those little wrinkles in the corner of my eyes and those very dark circles under them. My hair was (mostly) shoved back in a bun which it almost always is because I think it has been about a year since my last haircut. Holy cow. I am 36 years old and I have two children, a husband, a house, and a cat. I feel like some sort of parental imposter. Any minute I will wake up to my real life where I am 20 something and single. It will be 11 AM and I will be sleeping in my designer clothing that I passed out in after partying all night.
And then I will miss my children. I will remember that I spent my whole life searching for something–anything–so personally fulfilling as being a mother. Designer clothing. Sleeping in. They’ve got nothing on the yoga pants and stained t-shirts that came with the two true loves of my life.