My Childhood Memories of Mom
I’m one of six children. My mom was a stay at home mother and I rarely remember her sitting down. When I close my eyes and picture my mom during my childhood years, she spent much of her time in two rooms – the kitchen and the laundry room. We had sit down dinners every night at our picnic style table that was custom made to fit our family. Dinner always had a side salad. The laundry was never ending and she used to haul clean and dirty clothes up and down three floors. My mom used to take us to the grocery store with her when I was little and often had two carts overflowing with food. We thought it was fun to go so we could convince her to add a treat to the mass or be able to select the cereal of the week. The chores seemed never ending for my mom. The six of us were well trained growing up to help around the house, inside and out, but there was never a lack of work to do.
Holiday meals where we had extra mouths to feed added even more work for my mom. I often remember her in the kitchen most of the day Easter Sunday or Christmas Day. I don’t remember her complaining about it but I think over time she burned out.
When we moved from our small Pennsylvania town with one blinking traffic light to the suburbs of Atlanta for my dad’s new job, there were only two of us left at home – my little sister and me. My mom quickly discovered the meal help of Dominoes, Pizza Hut, and Chinese delivery and home cooked meals became less frequent as the frequency of our active after school lives picked up. Once when my older sister came home from a visit, we whined to her about our fast food lifestyle and my little sister exclaimed, ‘I just want to eat some green beans!’
My mom did a few things for herself. She loved her 1pm weekday soap opera “Days of Our Lives”. She used to let us watch it with her when we were home from school usually feeding our colds with a poached egg on toast, chicken noodle soup, or bowl of ice cream. She used to get so irked at my dad who would inevitably call to check in right around this time. This was definitely before DVR and answering machines, so she would answer and wrap that conversation up as quickly as possible. My mom also played Bridge once a month. I know she enjoyed it more when it wasn’t her turn to host. When she hosted, she would set up the bridge tables with tablecloths and fine china so the other ladies attending would feel special on their big night out.
Fitness was not usually priority for my mom. This could have something to do with fitness overall being less of a priority back in the 70’s and 80’s. I remember a couple seasons of exercise focus when my mom discovered the Jane Fonda or Richard Simmons workout videos and we had an exercise bike living like a stranger in our house for a few years.
My Motherhood Choices
I don’t hold any resentment toward my mom. She was and is a fabulous mom in many ways. She made our lives comfortable and our home welcoming and she has always wanted the best for each of us. Both of my parents instilled in us the importance of family, hard work, and entrepreneurship.
I vividly remember thinking as I matured, particularly on the holidays, that I would approach motherhood differently. I didn’t want to miss out on the family fun and spend hours in the kitchen planning, preparing, and cleaning up. I wanted to play the games with the family, participate in the conversations, and still find a way to entertain with a smile.
The Road to Savvy
Each time any of us fly, the flight attendant reminds us to put our oxygen mask on ourselves before we can assist anyone else. I’m a member of The Sandwich Generation which means that I am actively caring for my two children and my aging mom. Between these slices of bread that require my assistance, is the MEat which is ME. I’m constantly reminding myself that in order to take care of others I must first take care of me.
For me, this means staying on top of my health by eating cleaner and exercising regularly. I find the best time to incorporate my daily ‘Me Time’ is first thing in the morning. My husband recognizes that my fitness routine is therapy and that my happiness impacts our household. Jason and I have made a standing arrangement that he is mostly the morning guy – getting the kids where they need to be and I’m usually the afternoon appointment or pick up person. I set my alarm for 5 and snooze 1-2 times and then seize the day before it seizes me. There are many mornings that I have to self-talk myself out of the bed but I can promise you that when I’m at my desk ready to attack my work day, I have no regrets.
The whole focus of my blog, The Savvy Sandwicher, is to inspire busy women living in The Sandwich Generation to take care of themselves. Our mental and physical well-being is not a task we can put off for another day – it’s an account that we need to make a deposit in each day. This will prevent us from burning out and feeling resentment about our demanding situations.
Interested in more time saving secrets and systems to give you more ME time? If so, sign up for ‘The Road to Savvy’ here. This seven week free email series is in development and will provide practical actions that you can weave into your daily routine resulting in more ME time and helping you to savor the busy day ahead of you.