The Ritual

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Yesterday I felt off all day. I had to take my son to his doctor’s appointment and then run to Costco, and instead of waking up early and working out, I slept until 8 AM. That’s a lie. I slept in intervals of chopped, stressful, teeth grinding sleep in between regression feedings. I ate breakfast. I didn’t shower so I could force myself to workout later. The day had potential, even though it wasn’t “right”, and then it just fell apart. My hips hurt. I could feel myself hunching over, clenching my jaw, frowning. My mind was racing about things I needed to get done. I was uncomfortable, physically and mentally. Then I worked out and showered right at the end of the day, feeling refreshed and anything but okay. Yesterday, I didn’t practice my ritual.

Everyday I try to stick to a ritual for several reasons. One is to improve my creativity. One is for the sanity of my structure loving heart. One is so I can find some semblance of productivity. While the order of this ritual has varied with the addition of my babies and with the schedule changes due to Covid-19, 5 days a week, at least, I try to include these moments and actions in my daily ritual.

3 AM (ish) I wake up to feed Henry. I take my thyroid medication, I check my phone. I usually don’t respond to anything unless it’s my sister (the time difference between us is 9 hours, so it’s not easy for us to talk all the time). I plan to stop checking my phone.

5:30 or 6:30 AM Feed Henry again, sometimes get a surprise visitor from the other room wanting to cuddle.

Between 7:30 and 8:00 AM I finally get up. I write down every dream I feel compelled to remember and every thought I want to start the day with, everything I’m happy about, everything I’m fed up with in a journal, open the curtains, move into the living room for coffee and breakfast.

At this point, I’m not sure why I’m giving you a time table of my schedule, as I never actually follow a specific time frame. These things are all just done. I might devote more time to one thing than another. So, for the rest of this post, I’m throwing time out the window.

Breakfast is done. We eat everything from pancakes to eggs to oatmeal to boring cereal. I clean up while listening to an audiobook. Audiobooks are LIFE for me, and so are my earbuds. I seriously think that Bluetooth earbuds are the best thing that were ever invented. Hands down. I mean, where have they been all my life. I can talk on the phone, listen to a book or music, give my kids a bath or wash dishes all at the same time. Glorious.

I begin to write while finishing my coffee. Coffee is also life. Coffee wasn’t anywhere near my drink list until I had a baby. Now I drink it every day.

By now I’m 100% about to or already working out. Any day that I don’t get some movement in is a crap day. I feel gross and groggy, tight in my hips, and my sciatic nerve pain starts to become an issue. I work out anywhere from 45 minutes to 90 minutes a day. I have to feel sweaty or more elastic or have that beautiful, tired ache in my legs to feel done.

After I workout and cool down, I shower. I always shower. Always. When I read about lack of sleep after having a baby, I was like “cool” I can handle that. When I read about all the breastfeeding things, I was like “that’s temporary”. When I read about how hard it is to bounce back, I was like “okay, I’ll just work as hard as I can and accept it if I can’t get the weight off.” When people said, “You won’t have time to shower,” I said, “NO!” And I made it my mission to keep showering. And this is how I did it: I showered before Ben left for work. I showered with the baby on the floor of the bathroom (on a blanket, of course). I showered with my baby in the shower with me (when she was older). I showered during naps. I showered at night. I showered twice a day if I got spit up on or if there was a milk-splosion. That’s a milk explosion. I always shower, and I usually blow dry my hair. The babies love that part.

I listen to an audiobook while I start the water, and I listen to it as I put my lotion on. I start with my face, always. After this, I make lunch, consume lunch, and clean up lunch, probably all while listening to my audiobook or discussing my audiobook.

I sit down, after this, and I try to write. Sometimes it happens, and sometimes I get sucked into playing with Sofie, picking up toys, or running another load of laundry, but I try to find time to at least jot down my thoughts to come back to later. I write in my journal, on my phone, on this blog, in word.

I find time to take at least one frame on my 35 mm camera.

The rest of the day is whatever. I may set up a shoot. I may cook a fun meal or healthy meal. I may get outside for a walk. I may play with the kids. I may go shopping. I may workout again.

I wash my face, do a short little gua sha massage, and I end the day by watching TV or a movie. Always. I try to read… I will get better at adding this to the ritual.

The only days I deviate from these rituals are days that end up feeling horrible and days when I start by cleaning the whole house and then moving into these rituals.

Of course, diaper changes, outfit changes, feedings, bath time, bedtime, snuggle time, fun are all part of the day, but those things vary. Those things are not part of the ritual.

This ritual is not spiritual although I guess it could be. This ritual is about my craft. It’s about making myself a better, more organized mom, wife, and creator.

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