Work Those Muscles!

Several weeks ago, I wrote this blog post about motherhood squashing your talents. The slightly humorous fact about this, is that I thought I was finally emerging from a "squashed" period, and that writing would once again become a part of my daily life.

Um. Obviously, that didn't happen.

I did a lot of other fun things. I painted walls. I had pool parties. I went to the park... a lot. We read books, I worked on an art project, I cleaned... a lot. And it got me thinking about my energy allocations right now.

It takes a LOT of energy to do basic tasks right now. For example, the other day, I spent an hour washing dishes. Yes. An hour. Guess how many dishes I washed?


I washed four dishes in the span of an hour. Because, in that span of an hour, every crisis under the sun broke loose in my kitchen. Someone took someone else's toy... seven times. Someone kept trying to explore my utensil drawer. Someone slipped on a puddle of water (that they, themselves created by trying to fill up a glass at the refrigerator), and basically, the world ended. In preschool/toddler fashion.

It was kind of funny... in a sweating, chaotic, noisy, unproductive-sort-of-way. And when my husband walked through the door, and the counter was still covered in dirty dishes, and the "slipped in a puddle" casualty was bawling on my lap, and dinner wasn't ready, I choked a little. I'm not sure if it was laughter or tears. Probably a psychotic swirl of both.

Motherhood does that to you.

Actually, lots of phases of life do this to you.

Basic tasks take super-human strength, and focus, and tenacity.

In order to do laundry, wash dishes, clean my house... it takes a massive amount of work.

In order to create, write, or paint... it takes a massive amount of work.

In order to read, think, discuss... it takes a massive amount of work.

My life is one long resistance training program right now. Not impossible. But very, very difficult.

But here's the deal with resistance training. It leaves you stronger.

If I can clean a house with three preschoolers, you better believe I can clean it when I'm alone. If I can read books, find time to write, and whip out my water colors (all at 5 minute, precious, stolen increments), how much more could I accomplish in an hour of alone time? 

There are times when you walk away from things in motherhood. You have to hold them loosely. All of them... the cleaning, the creating, the managing... Everything but the eternal things... But there are also times when you don't have to walk away. There are times when you can run back, for a quick dip in the "extras" pool. You can scrub a bathroom, whip out a paper, read a book.

It won't be as leisurely as it once was. You'll have to squeeze it out of something else, something loud and demanding, but you can do it! Use those muscles! Every little moment you choose in a moment of adversity, will be multiplied in a moment of peace. 

So, go back to an old hobby.

Pick up a new book.

Discover something new you've always wanted to try. (This is one of my favorites... I've created all sorts of stuff in the kitchen lately, and about a year ago, I started teaching myself pen-and-ink/water colors. I'm not that good. But I really, really enjoy it!) 

Use those muscles, mommies! Motherhood is no reason to atrophy as a human being.