Leave It at the Door


I don’t breathe deeply enough.

“Take a deep breath” is so easy to ignore when I’m going or planning or worrying or cooking or working or feeding or cleaning or driving or… you can fill in the blank. I need this air to live and most of the time I’m breathing so shallow, not taking enough of it in. That’s not good. We’re supposed to breathe deeply to calm down and even to manage pain and I HAVE to do it to survive, so how can I forget to just do it better? One quick Google search and I find this. (I did NOT know there was an American Institute of Stress! Cool.)

So, I’m sitting here, writing, taking some deep breaths… and I’m thinking about how I’m totally failing at this *thing* I’ve been trying to do lately. “Trying to do” is more like, “I’ve been thinking about doing this but I haven’t really made an honest attempt to do it yet because I’m either scared of failing or scared of the actual positive change that might happen as a result.” Change is scary, y’all.

I guess I haven’t been trying, but by writing this and putting it on THE INTERNET, I’m definitely setting it right there on my front porch for you to judge me when if I don’t. Bizarre motivation, I know but let’s see if it works. Here’s what I want to do: I want to bring my best self into my home, to be the me that I want my kids to remember when they think on their childhood. The hours between 5 and 8pm aren’t the easiest to live through on a Monday through Friday. It’s safe to say those times aren’t my super-favorite. I’m in a bind because THAT’S when I get to see my children during the week. Yikes. I don’t want to live my life in an I-can’t-wait-until-the-kids-go-to-bed kind of way. What a waste.

Sometimes, I can’t wait until the kids go to bed. (I see you nodding, too.)

What does that have to do with the breathing? I’m getting there.
I don’t like to leave anything in my car when I come home from work. I’m dragging in my purse, my water glass from the morning, my lunch box, receipts, possibly a coat… The amount of pride I take from only having to make one trip is shameful. I weigh myself down on purpose to accomplish a goal. I don’t want to cross the threshold of my door feeling that way emotionally. I’m forgetting to pause and make room for a discard, a deep breath, an attitude realignment. I need to leave that stuff at the door. Literally.

I got an excellent piece of wisdom from my mother-in-law after she saw me struggling one evening, loading my children into the car after having picked them up at her house (she rescued me with childcare that day). She didn’t tell me then, because she knew it was the wrong time and I wouldn’t have heard her. She sent me an e-mail so I could read it when I was ready. Here’s what she said:

“I had to continually remind myself when I was working full-time that my children and husband were NOT the source of my frustration and exhaustion from all the demands of life. I had to learn how to EXHALE on the way home from work to leave it behind me when I walked through the door. One of my friends symbolically touched a tree in her front yard to leave behind the events of the day before entering the house. Sounds trivial, but perhaps you could develop a touchstone for yourself, even in your head, as you enter to be the person you want to be there. Just a suggestion from one who has been there also. From a place of loving you…”

It just makes so much sense. She was telling me to breathe. I know, I lucked-out in the mother-in-law department.

So. Deep Breath.
I’m going to do this.
I’m going to do this.
I’m going to consciously do this.

I’m totally going to use this as an excuse to get something cute to hang right outside of the back door in the garage because I NEED it. It’ll make me a better person (wink wink).

Who’s going to go shopping, hang something new by the door and tap out of the “stuff” you don’t want to bring inside when you get home? Who is going to surrender the day to the doorstep and embrace dinner and bath and homework (and a little playing, too) with an attitude for which you’d rather be remembered?

(Deep breath.)

This girl.

Kristen is still in the middle of her love story. She and her best friend of four years gave in and finally decided to date. Two years later, she was engaged. Two years after that, she was married. She’ll celebrate her 17th wedding anniversary this May. Mom to Ellen (8) and James (5), she works full time in Human Resources outside of the home. Her children have taught her that motherhood is hard. And wonderful. And HARD. A proud alum of LSU and Johnson and Wales University, she also collects college degrees. (BS in Psychology, AS in Culinary Arts and BS in Culinary Nutrition). She’s lived in Baton Rouge a majority of her life, with sojourns in New Orleans, Charleston, SC and Providence, RI. The south is clearly home. Recovering from a nearly crippling case of adolescent insecurity, she is still the most likely to have the heel of her shoe caught in the hem of her pants.


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