After dropping her off, Dexter and I either hit up the grocery store or head back home to do the dishes, clean up, make more messes and rotate laundry. The almost 3 hours that Lucy is in school fly by like a blink and all of the fun stuff I wanted Dexter and I to do together, we have run out of time. Once Lucy is home, it's nonstop talking and the "I wants." Then the kids start fighting. If I am lucky, Dexter goes down for a nap easily and then I start with my afternoon chores.
Soon, I get a text from Matt telling me he is on his way home. I will look around at the house and everything I had spent my time on that morning will be undid. Toys strewn everywhere and witching hour at our house will have begun. I quickly whip up dinner, load the sink with dirty dishes, and just seconds before Matt walks in the door, I get a chance to sit down at my computer, only having to get up minutes later to load plates, clean faces and clean up after dinner.
I am constantly rushing, constantly going.
But yesterday...Yesterday, I didn't.
Lucy woke up at 8:20, 20 minutes late. Minutes before we had to walk out the door, Dexter took his morning muffin and dropped it in a glass of water, which he then fished out, spilling muffin water all over the table. Lucy was wearing a skirt with short leggings and a cardigan and refused to wear warmer clothes. I could feel the annoyance building in me. I could feel myself ready to blow up at any second.
As we pulled into the parking lot at school, the bell went off, of course, we were late, again. I rushed Lucy into the school, Dexter in the kelty, turned around and walked deliberately past my car.
I had put an event on my mommy meetup group and invited moms from the school to join me in a quick morning hike at the park next to Lucy's school a few days earlier. At 9:05am it was 22 degrees out and no one showed. So instead, I went on a hike alone, with Dexter. It was cold. He whined the entire time, I don't blame him, it was cold and his nose was running. But I needed it.
I walked for 15 minutes through the freezing cold forest, across a brook where I had to cross via log. In between whining and yelling, Dexter would point out birds to me and when we crossed the water, he said in a whisper "whoa," which made me smile, because even though I know he was cold, I knew he was excited in that moment.
When we were done, seriously just 15 minutes later, I felt so much better. Dexter started throwing a fit when we got back to the car which continued until we got home and through much of morning. But I felt refreshed and it didn't bother me as much as it would had had I not gone on that walk. I did the dishes and cleaned up the kitchen, and instead of feeling rushed, I just took my time. When I started the dishwasher only to find that I had missed a cutting board and a pan from the night before, instead of internally hating myself, I just calmly put them in the sink.
Then I moved to my craft room that has recently turned into a land mine of crap. I started with one thing at a time and before I knew it, most of it was cleaned up and put away. When Lucy got home from school, I fed the kids lunch and luckily, there were no fights over what I fed them, or who had what. They just ate. And before soccer, we drove around for a bit. Dexter had fallen asleep. It was quiet in the car.
A typical Wednesday does not go like this for me. Usually I am so rushed and stressed that I get the panicky feelings of anxiety attacks. I usually forget to eat lunch myself so by the afternoon I am shaky, which also doesn't help with my afternoon hangries.
It was sitting in the car at soccer while Dexter slept, that I realized that I really wanted more days like that day. I wanted more calm and less rushing. Less stress. Less anxiety. Less annoyance.
I blame that good feeling on that 15 minute walk that morning. In the freezing cold. In the forest. In what seemed like a world away from my own.
I've promised myself to go twice a week now. Just load up the boy and walk that trail. 15 minutes will not kill the rest of my day. It won't set me behind. It won't put me off schedule. From the looks of it, it will do quite the opposite.
So friends, take that 15 minutes. Find a spot that you can find peace and walk. Take that 15 minutes and hit the restart button. You'll thank me for it.
I mean, if Elle Woods says so, it has to be true right?