When I was single, I could not wait to have my own home so that I could decorate it and fill it with things that made me feel like myself. You know the feeling – the one where you walk in the door and the colors are just right, the decorative pillows bring you joy, and the soft sounds of The Piano Guys Pandora playlist lulls you into deep, rejuvenating rest.
When I got married, my husband and I enjoyed five years of “just us,” and in the three homes we lived in, I got to create spaces where I could be myself and find myself. For example, as an introvert and scoring low on the physical touch spectrum of love languages, the living room couch was big enough for us to be together but not touch. There was even ample space for me to take out the extra foldout table every so often so that I could crank out a good 2000 piece puzzle without fearing it would be disturbed, much less breathed on, by another living thing.
When we welcomed our daughter into our lives two years ago, there were still places where I could find myself in my home, because we had routines outside of the home for each of us that protected the integrity of my sacred spaces inside of the home. My husband and I had places we drove to to work at, and our daughter went to daycare. We only really “lived” all together in the house on the weekends, and even then, we spent much of our time enjoying the outdoors, Memphis’ new coffee shops, and scanned the mess out of our Zoo membership card.
Then the pandemic hit. Like many of us, this was an insane shift (or in my case, the slamming of breaks) of living. Literally overnight, my house transformed into the hub of “all the things,” and I was unprepared. My kitchen became the cafeteria, and it was as if our dishes reproduced every day to make more plates (like honestly, how do two adults and a toddler create so. much. stuff. to. clean?!). Our den – the one with the fireplace and the beautiful wooden beams – became our daughter’s daycare center, complete with a tacky-colored pop-up tent and adjoining tunnel that ended in a multicolored ball pit. Instead of hosting precious friends, my dining room table started hosting weekly Zoom staff meetings. My phone allowed for phone calls and work things to be answered anywhere and anytime, including the restroom (sorry not sorry).
While I am grateful to have been able to stay employed and work from home, it did a number on my mental and emotional well being. I didn’t realize how much I valued my home as my sanctuary, as my place of self-remembering, until the pandemic hit. It was as if the hard boundary and separation between my working (and mom) self and my whole self disappeared. The 20 minute commute at the end of the day that allowed me to critically and objectively separate my feelings from the facts of how the day went? No more. The feeling of lightness I felt when I walked in the door after a heavy day? El oh el…what door?! I found myself wondering: who am I, and where do I go to find her?
I woke up one morning this month and decided: Today is the day I make my “me spot.” The place where I can take care of me, tend to my soul, and just straight up remember who I am, without all the hats I wear. I identified the corner of our bedroom (you know, the one where a really inviting chair already lives, but is buried under the pile of clean/half-clean clothes?) as my “me spot” and I got to working. I threw out trash, I re-arranged some things, and I even hung a pendant light. I hung artwork that inspires me and calms me down. And I placed things there that bring me joy, so that they’re easily and readily available for me when I’m ready to unwind and find myself at the end of the day.
Pandemic or no pandemic, I think it is worth it to us mommas to find a place for us to be our full, beautiful selves, without having to worry about who we have to be or who we need to be in that moment. A place where we can remember that we like funny memes, or cross stitching, or singing, or eating Reese’s peanut butter cups in peace. A place where we can think about what we want for ourselves, or reflect on things we are grateful for, or remember our talents that may have been pushed to the back of our selves.
In my house, it’s a corner and a chair. For you, it may look like a basket of things that you can take someplace where other people aren’t in that moment. It may look like a spot in the sun, with a special mug and something to sip on. It may even be the driver seat in the car, with the doors locked and the music pumping before you go inside (no judgment).
What does your “me spot” look like? How do you protect it and keep it sacred? Wherever it is, in whatever stage of life you are in, I hope you prioritize a “me spot,” and that it brings you back to yourself. I also hope that in this space, you find that you are just as good, just as wonderful, and just as “enough” as you always knew you were.