What do you do that is just for you?
I have a slightly embarrassing real-life story I want to share. It is dedicated to anyone who has suddenly found themselves at their wits end in the strangest of circumstances!
When Covid stretched from a few weeks to a few months, I knew I would need a hobby to help keep lockdown from feeling worst than it needed to. To my family’s delight, I took up baking; cakes being my favorite.
One Sunday, I was making a particularly exciting 4-layer cake for my hubby’s birthday and Valentine’s Day. It took a few hours, but I didn’t mind and after having to redo the batter only once, I was feeling pretty good about my progress.
When it came time for icing the cake (literally the best part), I was setting everything up on my kitchen table when my daughter (who is almost 4) walked innocently up the table and said, “Mama, can I help you put icing on the cake for Daddy?”. She said it so sweetly, with just the loveliest hint of excitement in her voice.
I almost lost my mind.
But not the way you think. I was instantly enraged.
I felt trapped. I had worked all day on this perfect specimen of culinary mastery (totally in my head!) and I was just about to pull it all together with succulently smooth peanut butter buttercream, strawberry filling, and chocolate ganache, all of which I had made with a patience I had never experienced in my life. And now, in this very moment, my day’s work was about to turn into a 4-year old’s art project!!!!
What the …..?!
Now I know what you’re thinking…
“Bonnie, what’s wrong with you?!? She’s 4. It’s a damn cake!”. And that’s ok. I was thinking it too! But it didn’t change how I felt. Not one little bit, no matter how many times I said it in my head.
Considering that I was likely being some version of completely irrational, I did invite her to join in using the fakest ‘Fun Mommy’ voice I could muster!
“Oh my goodness Sweetpea, of course you can help Mama. Let me get your apron!”
She was thrilled. I was devastated. So much so, that when the cake was done and she toddled off to play, I just put it in the fridge where I couldn’t see it and walked away to be on my own for a bit.
I didn’t know why I was so upset; I just knew that I was.
It took me a few minutes of sorting through a pile of laundry before I realized what had happened. I looked around at the clothes scattered on the floor and had my ah-ha moment.
I wanted something that was just mine.
I love doing things with and for my family, my staff, and my clients, but somewhere in the throes of Covid, I realized that baking had moved from a solo hobby to one I enjoyed with my daughter. On this day, however, in the middle of cooking breakfast, tidying up, planning the weeks meals, and all the other little tasks I had, I found solace in preparing this cake on my own. It wasn’t that I didn’t want a beautiful memory with my girl, it was just that I wanted to enjoy time connecting with my own creativity and individuality.
It took me about 15 minutes to get my body back to baseline and I committed myself to building more solo creative time into my schedule moving forward.
I am sharing this story of my cake instigated meltdown, as funny as it is (in hindsight!), to invite you to think about your own needs.
Do you know want they are? What is your thing – that little something that is your way to recharge and/or connect with yourself?
If you don’t have something for you, ask yourself why? What is the impact of not having that time or space to create, rest or explore? What might change if you had something that was just yours?
While we are on this ride around the sun, finding time and activities that develop your autonomy and individuality is just one more way to make things a little lighter as we go!
Wishing you a week of tiny joyful steps forward!
Bonnie J. Skinner, MEd, CCC, RP
B. Skinner Coaching & Psychotherapy