Keeping my own needs met {FreePlayLife Week1}

So now I’m on to my official start of the FreePlayLife 52-Week Challenge.  Week 1 was learning to speak my needs and ask for what I want, and the recommendation was to use Pinterest—which I’ve quickly grown to love. =D  I have post-it notes all over the place, so this type of set up is soooo cool to me.

The day before I read about the FPL challenge, I had mentioned to Alpha that I thought I might be able to keep the kitchen (my absolute least favorite, yet always necessary chore) cleaner if he could help out, maybe even the Pup.  As she has lately begun happily offering to take dirty cups, mugs, snack bowls, etc. into the kitchen, I thought perhaps she might be willing to clear the table before going to play for a bit or watch some Nick Jr. before bed.  We haven’t gotten that far, just yet, but to helping with the dishes, Alpha readily agreed, and the very next evening after we finished a dinner that I had spent most of the day cooking and I just wanted to collapse on the couch for a little while, he put away leftovers and rinsed pots before the residual food got stuck on. ❤  It made such a difference, and after putting the Pup to bed, I came back to the kitchen and found I had more than enough energy to load the dishwasher, scrub my pots, and clean the countertops—tasks he and I both know without speaking them that I should probably do myself.

So when I sat down to start pinning things to my “What I Want” board, the first was a sign that reads: I like hugs…I like kisses…but what I love is help with the dishes.

The next topic I started thinking about again was my 2012 resolution: Be Happy.  When I made that resolution, I knew I also needed to be aware of what things make me happy, and so the post-it (hehe) I made and placed where I see it regularly had four bullet points:

  • meditate
  • write
  • clean
  • sleep

I also jotted down some notes about music, because there are certain types of music that just get me going and can  rally me out of any funk, it seems, but those 4 were the main things I knew I needed to focus on because without them, I’m a grouch.  Meditation is still hard for me at times, but if I regularly take the time to sit—whether I can keep my mind clear or I let myself confront things that are bothering me—it brings life into focus.  And OhMyGosh, I love to write.  I wrote my first story when I was maybe 6 years old, and I’ve had the bug ever since.  My goal is to eventually be published, and last year I took a big step toward that by completing a novel I had been working on since before I got pregnant and then never touched for two years after the Pup was born because it just seemed so stupid and pointless.  True…fan fiction crossing 3-4 fan-verses will never get published (although, the upcoming Doctor Who/Star Trek: TNG crossover does give me hope! LOL), but the fact was, I had done so much research and character development, with a completely original plot, that I told myself I should use that as a springboard to some fully original work.  So I did.  And I was SO proud of myself when it was finished.  It only garnered one faithful reader that I know of, but her enthusiasm for it bolstered my self-confidence, and I have some other, more-publishable ideas tumbling about my mind now.  I just have to put pen to paper.  And when I can find the time to do that, I know I will love the process just as much.

But then…CLEANING?  Didn’t I just say how much I hate cleaning the kitchen?  Aye, I did.  But this bullet point is two-fold.  Firstly, I need the learn the “point of pointlessness”.  The things I clean will never STAY clean.  There is always more laundry, always more dishes, always more dirt and dust and grunge and rabbit poop and compost.  And I don’t like dealing with any of it.  But what I do like—love, even—what makes me so, so happy and glad that I did deal with it is that the dishes ARE done.  My clothes ARE cleaned and folded and put away.  My floors are clean (or at least not crunchy or sticky).  My bathroom doesn’t have hair all over the place and surfaces I don’t want my toddler touching now that she’s potty training.  Cleaning makes me happy, because having a clean house makes me happy.  A Dharma talk by Thich Nhat Hanh has a segment about how it is so wonderful to have toilets to clean:  We have toilets—not outhouses, or chamber pots, or a hole dug in the ground out back, but running water indoors!  I don’t know about you, but I love the feeling of using a public toilet that has just been cleaned, or getting the first shower in my clean bathroom (or a bath in my freshly-scrubbed tub—yippee!).  I LOVE to cook when my kitchen is clean…whereas, when there are pots and dishes everywhere and some of the utensils I want to use aren’t even clean and there’s gunk all over the stove and counters…eew! Who feels inspired (or even hungry) by that?

Most-important of all, I’ve discovered, is sleep.  Sometimes, when nothing feels right, curling up in bed for a couple of hours fixes everything.  Even more than that, I’ve realized, is that for me, what time I get up is important.  Obviously, the earlier I get up, the more I can get done before the Pup wakes and needs my attention.  But beyond that, if I feel too tired when my 6 a.m. alarm goes off, and still at 6:30 (and—forbid—even 7!), and instead of getting up I let myself continue dozing until at last I force myself from my bed still feeling tired and reluctant, almost begrudging the day to start, somehow I am more tired all day long. It’s usually these days I sleep in that I need a nap, or that I snarl at the Pup when she gets into her repetitive or cranky toddlerness.  And so, it seems, the better choice is to rise early, ply myself with tea and coffee (and maybe one of the yummy muffins I baked this week, hehe), meditate, read, check email and Facebook, and then work for an hour or two until she calls for me to get her dressed and fed.

All of these things found their way onto my “What I Want” pinboard.  I would love a small rock garden in the backyard, so I pinned a picture of one.  I also pinned a picture of an 8-armed woman reminiscent of Vishnu ‘juggling’ the responsibilities of work, motherhood, and home life while sitting peacefully in  lotus position.  I pinned a picture I liked about writing, a few links about cleaning routines that might actually be simple enough for me, and another of a lady sleeping. Zzzzz.  Nice…Happy… Ahh.   I also threw in for good measure some pins about the kind of music I mentioned, an environmentally-friendly car I’ve had my eye on, double-rainbows, and the birth I wanted for the Pup that I will continue to try for if I get pregnant again.  Patience.  Peace.  Things like that.  Things I want to invite into my life to help me.

Sure, some of them I can’t have—or at least not right now—but it’s also just acknowledging these things.  My backyard’s a mess…no place for a zen garden right now, but I plan to put in a small one eventually, just like one day I will eventually have better car (after the one I drive right now completely bites it and zero-pollution cars are actually available on the market).  I’ll have to work toward keeping my house clean and getting published and becoming more mindful, but I know that’s what I want, so I  can go after it.  And going after my needs and wants—and feeling the support from Alpha and the Pup to get there, even if right now it’s “only” help with the dishes or some quiet time to write or meditate or sleep…keeping my needs met—will help me better take care of them without getting burnt out, because it means I’m taking care of myself, too.

How do you take care of yourself?  What keeps you sane when life gets hectic?

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~ by MamaWolf on February 24, 2012.

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