Do you ever let life happen to you? And then suddenly wonder why you feel so stressed, on edge, and disconnected from your own story?
Author Sally Clarkson said in a recent episode of her podcast, At Home With Sally,
"A wise woman takes care of her soul. And we do have agency. We have the ability to cultivate joy, to cultivate delight, to light a candle in our darkness so we can stay alive. We have the ability to roll up our sleeves and write a great story."
When I heard this quote, I actually pulled over in the shoulder of a winding country road to write it down.
Mamas of small children, I know it's hard to find time to "cultivate delight" in the middle of a crazy day where you're meeting everyone else's needs and reheat your coffee five times and barely have time to feed yourself. I homeschool 3 and 6-year-old girls, and we just started our farm, and I'm trying to foster this writing thing, and we eat three meals a day at home and...and...and...I'm with you.
But we have agency.
So, here are some ways I've found to "light a candle" in the middle of the day for myself so I can keep my soul alive, outside of who I am as a wife and mother.
Light a candle. Literally.
Put some fresh flowers on the table. If possible, go outside and see how many fresh wildflowers you can find (dandelions count!) and put them in a little jam jar on your windowsill.
Listen to an encouraging podcast. Since we live in the country, it takes about 15-20 minutes to get almost anywhere. I let go of the guilt and decided that every few days, it's OK for me to pop in my headphones in the car, let my girls play and talk in the backseat, and have some "me" time while driving. Here are my fave podcasts right now.
Invite a friend over. You know those friends who make you feel safer when they walk in the room? Those are who you need nearby. We weren't meant to live in isolation, yet so many of us stay in our own homes with our children all day, and while we love them fiercely, this can also be a breeding ground for discouragement and anxiety. All you need to do is extend an invitation and have some coffee or tea on hand - it encourages my heart so much on tough days to have another mom to talk to while our children play. It takes off the burden for awhile and reminds me we're meant to function as a community, a village.
Get up early. I'm so not a morning person. But lately I've made myself get up an hour before my children so I can have some time to myself, and while it's taken a lot of discipline, I've quickly seen the fruits of it. With two children now, I'm finally doing what so many other friends have been telling me - just having an hour to yourself in the morning works wonders for your entire day.
We are able to write the story of our days - a story of frustration and negativity, or a story of delight and joy. The choice is ours. I choose joy. What will you choose?