Blink. It's mid-February. How did that happen? Just last week it was Christmas morning and yesterday we headed back to school for the long haul until Spring Break. Or so it seems.
I, for one, have felt every single one of those long weeks-getting kids out of bed in the morning, all the pushing and ugly time before we are late for school, refereeing my kids who loved each other the second before, working all day as a substitute teacher, squeezing in a few minutes to write, homework routine with Evan in the hall outside of the gym where Alexa was practicing, driving home with three hungry people in the car and knowing a tired hubby would be meeting us there, getting home to the rush of feeding animals, bringing in wood for the fire, cooking dinner, sitting down for dinner, cleaning up, bedtime routine, and collapsing on the bed to fall into a fast sleep, only to repeat it again the next day. And weekends! I swear those go by faster and faster each time.
I know I'm not alone in this. Moms and Dads everywhere can relate to the craziness of this life. We win Mothers and Fathers of the Year Awards for our ugly times, when everything goes wrong and we lose our cool. We run marathons of trying to do everything for our kids and work, only to have the house look like a bomb exploded, spilling wrinkled, clean laundry that no one had time to fold or put away. We do our best to stay afloat every weekday and sometimes barely drag into the finish line of The Weekend, hands in the air, surrendering.
A few months ago, I had had enough.
It was a Friday of the longest week of the year, second only to last week and the week before, when I left the family movie we were watching, walked past my bedroom on the way to the bathroom, and spied my bed. I was able to keep walking, but when I returned from the bathroom, my feet led me into my happy place. I lay on my bed and the blankets and mattress seemed to understand, curling around me and cushioning my tired body. I don't know how long I was there, but it was long enough that the movie ended and Eric ushered the kids into bedtime mode . Soon after, the kids crept downstairs, wondering where I was, as Dad had already done his tucking in several minutes before. I decided right then and there that I was not leaving my bed that night. I was WAYYYY past tired, and it was time for my kids to tuck me in.
They were amused and thought I was kidding. Both went through the motions of pulling up our covers (by this time Eric had collapsed after his long day), kissing our cheeks and rubbing our backs. I think I fell asleep for a short time because I woke a few minutes later with a kid on either side of me, comfy and cozy, gearing up for a sleepover. After kicking them out, Eric and I breathed a sigh of relief, and fell fast asleep.
I was shocked when I awoke Saturday morning instead of a few hours later like I usually do, to sneak up to the kids's rooms and kiss their sweet foreheads while they slept on. I laid there looking at the ceiling, waiting for the guilt to come. Only, for the first time in a very long time, it didn't. The feeling was so foreign, that I was a bit confused. As I turned and looked out the window to the beautiful Northern Michigan winter scene, I decided that Tuck-in Fridays were officially a thing in the Southwell household.
The kids have learned that I'm not kidding about Tuck-in Friday, though sometimes it happens on Saturday. They try their best to snuggle down in our bed and let us fall asleep, tricking us into spending the night in our bed. Not happening. I love those two turkeys, but this is my time. My thing. I give so much of me to the people I love, and this is the one thing they can give back to me.
I would highly recommend that you incorporate this routine into your family life. It's amazing how knowing that I don't have one little thing to do on one night of the week gives me a glimmer of strength to get through another week. Tonight is our Tuck In day and I can't wait!
Sometimes I wake after Tuck-in Friday and sneak upstairs to peek in on the kids. But sometimes I don't. :)