Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Art (and benefits) of Relaxing

I've always felt guilty when I crumble.

When the mountain of "stuff" to do is piled so high, and my time looks about the size of the little pea under the princess's mattress.

At the risk of sounding uppity and all "I'm so wonderful" I've always been fairly good at handling overwhelming situations. In fact, I'm used to it, so I thrive in it. I'm a multitasker, so when I have only one thing to do, I feel ... unneeded.

But sometimes it gets even too much for me. Every time I turn around, there is something else to do. With oxygen, vitals, meds, four kids, a husband, trying to write, trying to work some from home, and trying to now plan a birthday party and get my house ready for it, I just want to sit down, stuff my head in the dirt, and pretend it will just all go away if I ignore it.

I'm realizing a few things lately.

One, it's okay to take a break. I just need to SCHEDULE the break and not do it in the midst of really important things.

Example of me doing this WRONG: This morning, I was tired. I did NOT WANT to get out of bed, and Annabelle was being nice and cooperating. She'd play for a bit then fall back asleep. I'd gotten up at 6 and given her meds, then around 7 she was gagging a little so I got up and vented her Gtube. Problem was, I really didn't want to get up. All I could think about was getting back in bed and ignoring my busy day I had planned and all the things I really needed to get accomplished. If I got up for good, I'd have to face it all.

So, I got up, didn't even put my glasses on, vented, and trudge right back to sweet under-the-covers land. Ahhhhhh... SO SO SO nice.

I repeated the process a little while later when her night feeds needed to be turned off. And with that, I could stay in bed... just crawl to the end and hit the power down button and fall right back to my oh-so-coveted pillow.

And still Annabelle slept. Well, she played some of this time, but she was quiet, and that is what mattered. Around 9, I figured I really needed to stop this. I was going to feel HORRIBLE come evening. So I finally got up and went to get Annabelle up, and was met with a NOT SO PLEASANT surprise.

Evidently at some point, PROBABLY when I'd vented her Gtube, the medicine port remained open. We'd fed the bed probably the last hour at least (well after her 6 a.m. meds though, so I wasn't TOO worried about them...)

Guilt settled in. If I'd made myself actually get out of bed, I would have caught it immediately. My daughter wouldn't be laying there looking up at me with eyes that said, "Mom... what is that smell... and why am I all wet???"

The day didn't get much better. We had planned to run "errands" as a family for the first time. First stupid mistake given the awful heat. I guess I hadn't gone outside at the time I planned it. We got less than half of our errands done before we went directly home, as none of us were tolerating the heat well! Even getting outside to go into the eye doctor's was miserable... all ten steps of it!

Guilt settled in again, as by the time we got home, Annabelle was breathing harder and I'd had to up her oxygen... DUH STUPID MOM! I was SO frustrated with myself!

We got her home, settled, and back on a lower %. My mind started reeling with all the things I should get done tonight.

Then I decided something.

Instead of letting myself get overwhelmed when there are things that HAVE to be done at that moment (i.e. getting my daughter out of bed) I need to schedule breaks. Non-guilt times where our family just sits down and is lazy.

It isn't "bad" to be lazy once in a while. In fact, I think we all need that down-time. EVEN when there are a billion things to do, and I'm thinking now, ESPECIALLY when there are a billion things to do.

So tonight, we are taking a break from the chaos. We are warming up leftovers, sitting our rear-ends on the couch, and just hanging out. We'll go to bed early, too, what a concept!

Tomorrow, we will get up at a decent time, and the maddness will begin. But I believe we will be REFRESHED and better able to knock out those items on the to-do list.

*note for myself*

There is a difference between taking a needed break and procrastinating. Just wanted to add that for myself to see in the morning.... *grin*

7 comments:

Aletta said...

Perhaps another piece advice from one mom to another is in order... ACCEPT THE ASSISTANCE OF OTHERS! I know that people are bringing you food, which I am doing in spirit since I live in Indiana. What else are errands/things to do that someone else can help you with? How about preparing your house for the party- somebody could easily straighten up for you. What else needs to finished? I am sure that there are a hundred people who are just dying to help you right now so that you can enjoy being at home with your girls and husband. One lesson that I had to learnd, begrudgingly may I point out, was that it really does bless others MORE to help you than you are being blessed. Know that you are in my continued prayers. Enjoy this time you have, life is very short!

2ndheartmom said...

And I would add to Aletta's GREAT advice (something I had a hard time with - and still do at times...I don't want to "burden" people - but often I just end up burdening my family with a tired, cranky, mom) that keeping things simple is just fine. Parties sometimes bring out the CRAZY in us, but I find that with little ones and especially little ones with special equipment (feeding tubes, O2 equipment, etc.) the simpler, the better. Don't think that others will judge you - they will be focused on the miracle you are holding in your arms!

Krista Phillips said...

Thanks!

Aletta... I've accepted more *help* in the last year than in all of the 29 years prior to it! It has truly been a growing experience for me in that regard. It's really REALLY hard for me. That said, a lot on my "to-do" list are things I selfishly want to do myself... maybe that is part of the problem too, I WANT to be a whole lot of things, but alas I'm not superwoman and can't.

2ndheart mom...

Yes, I know. *big sigh* The thing is, this is her FIRST birthday party. And really, I'm not going overboard really, except I am inviting quite a few people... but this is a HUGE deal for me this year. I've been dreaming about this for a WHOLE YEAR... hoping and praying she'd make it to next Wednesday. i know you understand, but there have been SO many times we were afraid she would still be in the hospital for the occasion, and worse still, afraid she wouldn't be with us anymore at all.

I'm really not one of those moms that does fanatical b-day parties. No inflatables here HA! But I guess it is just coming on the heals of not being out of the hospital for too long, and still establishing a routine...

I'll be better tomorrow. I feel SO SO much better already! We are getting ready to get kiddos to bed, Scott and I played a relaxing game of cards, something we haven't done in YEARS, and Annabelle is content playing with her playgym on the floor.

My house may be messy...but I'm happy tonight!

Riete said...

If there is one thing I have learned in the last years it's taking time out for myself. I've not even been close to what you are dealing with, but as a self-proclaimed workaholic I had a severe burn out two years ago. It was not nice ...

Now I actually need to do as much for my job as ever, but I take it one day at a time and yes, I schedule a time-out on a regular basis.

Even Jesus took time off every now and then. So, no need to feel guilty about that :)

Enjoy these moments (as you do, I read your last comment *smile*)

Lisa Jordan said...

Girl, if anyone needs a break, it's you! You've had a challenging year. I admire your strength.

Take time for yourself so you can be a better help for your little darlings. You deserve it.

Guilt comes from the enemy, not God. Lower your expectations and focus on what you need to do. In the end, it all works out.

I'm so thrilled Princess Annabelle gets a party at home!

Keli Gwyn said...

I'm glad to hear that you're going to schedule breaks. It's so important for the caregivers to care for themselves. After the year you've been through, I think you deserve plenty of breaks.

I hope the party planning is going well.

Tammi T. said...

Krista,
It has been several days since I've been able to visit your sight to get an update. I'm so glad to hear the improvements Annabelle is making. I'm sure she wants to impress her "royal court" and all those who will be attending her Pink Princess 1 Year Coronation Party. ;-)

Thanks for sharing an address where we can send the Pink Princess her birthday wishes. I really appreciate that.

Also, I really enjoyed your post "The Art (and benefits) of Relaxing". What a great reminder. I think most of us have been in your shoes in one way or the other. I know this morning was one of those mornings with me. At 9 am, I received a phone call. I, ashamedly, was still in bed. The lady at the other end said, "Did I wake you up?". With red neck, chest and cheeks, I said, "Yes". Both of my boys were still asleep and the radio was playing from where I had set my alarm to "go-off" but I was being a "bed bum". Like you said, there is nothing wrong with relaxing, it just needs to be scheduled. I know you probably need it now with having Annabelle home. I remember those days of night feeds, and the meds and turning the pump on or off.

We continue to pray for Annabelle and the entire family.