Starting Each Day With Intention
Wednesday August 8, 2018
I read somewhere recently (in one of the 48923742 articles I’ve read about this postpartum season) that mamas in the wild often give up grooming themselves once their babies are born. It’s so interesting that this phenomenon of forgetting ourselves once we have a baby, of putting their needs before our own 24 hours a day, is almost instinctual. It’s an intentional, daily practice (battle?) to reclaim ourselves as women and not just mamas. As we hit 5 months this week, I’m beginning to dive into the process of taking care of myself again - going to therapy, treating myself to a long overdue hair appointment, doing a little yoga in the evenings on Haley’s playmat (truly #momlife), applying a little mascara and blush before I head out the door.
As important as the big, hard things are for decluttering our mental space - like investing in therapy or starting up an exercise regimen - the small moments of intention at the beginning of each day are equally as vital. In the midst of this foggy, sleepless season, it’s all too easy to stumble out of bed at 6am and immediately forget about me. Nurse Haley, get her ready for the day, read her a book, get down on the mat with her, scarf down breakfast somewhere between singing Itsy Bitsy Spider and changing her next diaper, brush my teeth by 11am on a good day. But I don’t want this to be our story - that somewhere along the way I lost myself to motherhood and could only offer a shadow of myself to the people I love most. I’m learning that to be the best version of myself in all my roles, I need to put my oxygen mask on first; how can I help my people breathe if I’m the one suffocating?
I’m still learning how to invite those quiet moments of intention each day, starting with the morning. It feels so contrary to my nature (the queen of getting things squared away) to plant my feet on the ground and simply rest in the joy of each moment, to resist the urge to fill every pocket of time with checklists and laundry and tidying. To remind myself that these things can wait. To nudge myself to sit through the entirety of breakfast - fully present - instead of hurrying onto my next task with that last bit of toast in hand, to savor slow sips of coffee, to meditate on a Psalm, to pause for a prayer. To spend those extra five minutes to moisturize, put my hair in a braid, and change into a fresh t-shirt. They’re small things, but it’s the intentionality of slowing down that makes all the difference in our hustle and grind culture.
Whether it’s a baby, a work deadline, family obligations, or social commitments, I’m realizing that there will always something competing for our ability to pause and be present. If we keep waiting for the busyness of our current seasons to taper off to create space for ourselves, the reality is we likely never will. Our circumstances can’t dictate our ability to slow down; it requires a mental shift and intentionality that transcends the pressures of our day to days. Like all worthwhile things, this practice of starting each day with intention takes effort upfront and consistent maintenance along the way, but I'm certain that the peace that follows will be worth every deep breath it took to get there.
to slowing down,