Lately I have been reminded that self-care is key to filling the cup. It is best to help others by overflowing our cup into theirs, not draining yours to fill theirs. And this goes for our children as well.
Well admittedly I am not the best at self-care. I do it well for a while once my cup gets drained to critical levels and then once it is feeling full I tend to let it slip out of the routine again.
As I stood in a stairwell feeling overwhelmed and letting a few tears slide down my face I realized something. First, every time I take a parenting class or ask a great parent their "trick", the answer has to do with self-care. Second, I am focusing on the challenges instead of seeing the opportunities. Third, maybe I just have an unrealistic size cup.
Another mom was walking passed and noticed my overwhelm last night in the stairwell. She could have kept walking but she did not. We talked for several minutes and she gave me a hug.
Most of my friends' self-care happens by trading with their husbands. They are home during the day and when their husbands get home they take a little time for themselves to go to the gym or whatever, at least a few days a week. When my husband gets home, I go to work. If he is lucky he will get a few minutes of downtime before our daughter wakes from her nap. When I get home it is not uncommon for our daughter to fight for my attention as I wolf down a few bites of dinner before getting her ready for bed.
The short time I have between my daughter crashing and my heading to bed myself is usually spent with my husband catching up on the day or watching a short show while we snuggle to get some time to connect. It is our only time to see each other and while it is important to me, it does usually leave me feeling like I just had "me time". It fills a different cup.
But last night I had a thought. Maybe my perspective is skewed because I want to fill an oversized cup. What if I shift my view to a smaller cup? And what if I choose to use the time I already have to myself for "me time"?
On my drive home last night I reached out to a cd case that sits in my car unused. It holds cds from when I was in high school and I don't even know why it is in my car. I pulled out a random cd and traded it for the kids cd that was in the player. "...Oh my G*d, Becky...look at her butt..." Of all the country cds in that case there was also a cd called Monster Booty.
Needless to say I laughed all the way home at the ridiculousness of myself listening to these booty songs. As I laughed it reminded me two things. One, I have a long commute each day all to myself to enjoy as I choose. Two, laughter is so healing and being trained in Laughter Yoga means I have a whole bucketful of tricks for laughing.
There will still be times I need a long soak in the tub or to get our for a run. But my cup can overflow in a million other ways that are available to me each day through my conscious choice and perspective.
I'm so grateful for the mom who stopped in the stairwell. I'm grateful for her taking the time to talk and for the reminder it gave me that we are all still figuring it out. I'm grateful to know that there were a lot of factors in my overwhelm last night and to shed the ones that were not mine. I'm grateful for my daughter and all the joy she brings to my life. I'm grateful to see how I can add self-care into my day just by focusing on the time I already have and slowing down to consciously enjoy it. I'm grateful for the Universe's humor in letting me pick the one cd that was bound to get a laugh. I'm grateful to laugh and to feel my cup fill. I'm grateful to change my perspective.
What fills your cup? What overflows your cup? What size cup are you trying to fill?
May today remind us that half full is good but we can reach for more. May our cup overflow and may our perspectives support us in accepting that abundance. Have a beautiful day!