Let’s talk personal space. When we used to live in a home, I would spend most evenings in a giant bath tub with my favorite beverage. My husband knew it was my favorite way to fill my “love tank,” as we call it. So, before I even had to say it, he would have filled a bath, lit my favorite candle, and ushered me upstairs. That isn’t realistic when living in a Fifth Wheel though, since the bath tub is about the size of a pedicure tub. So, where to find personal space in 350 square feet?
I’ll let you in on a little secret—I hate English, I’m dyslexic, and, overall, I have no recollection of attending an English class in high school. So, when my poem writing, college English major husband bought me a journal last Christmas, I was frightened to say the least. But, it was my hour of need the first week we moved into our trailer—it was 101 degrees outside, I had just lost the cat in the underbelly, Adam had a side job, I was emotionally spent, and there on a sliver of a nightstand my journal lay waiting. I was in desperate need of an outlet and, once I opened the first page, my fears, emotions and doubts came flooding down on the pages. It was easy that first time, but I found quickly that I’m not that person, who can truly process in the midst of commotion. In fact, I would like to meet that person and ask how they do it. Noise- canceling head phones? Insane tranquility skills? So, how to journal while all four kids are home for the summer...I needed some extra help to create a space of peace and comfort; and so, here are some tricks I’ve used:
- Set realistic expectations
- Explain what I’m doing to my kids
- Involve my senses
- Give my full attention
First, I’ve set realistic expectations that when all four kids are home, I will most likely get 30-60 minutes with about 10 interruptions. I’ll need to give the kids positive distractions, but, also, my time will not be completely kid free, and I need to set my expectations as such. Things shifted positively when I invited the kids into a communal space with me. Now that this has become a norm for us at least a couple of times a week, my kids have given me more space and even taken to their own time of journaling. I walked into the room the other day and Tristan said to me, “Please talk softly, I’m coloring in my journal.”
Let’s get back to setting up a routine and space that take my spirit, my mind, and my senses into a place of peace:
Noise: Shut the door if you can. Luckily, I have one really good door to my bedroom that quiets the noise to a low growl.
Smell: I am a HUGE candle fanatic and it’s an obsession, really. I burn through a candle a week and sometimes two— if they are small. Smells, for me, bring back memories and immediately take me to a place of peace.
Touch: Along with candles, I crave heavy, faux-fur blankets and pillows. There is something about curling up in a pile of soft textures that settles my soul.
Sight: Low lighting, twinkle lights or natural morning sunshine are preferred. The one thing an RV is not lacking is lighting. In our tiny rectangle, we have over 27 overhead lights that illuminate every corner in an intense, fluorescent glow. We are slowing trading out our sconces, but for now, we heavily rely on twinkle lights.
The Last thing I do when heading into my quiet time is change my intentions. I used to battle the thought that I was being selfish by taking time during the day for myself and that I should finish my to-do list or wait till my kids go to bed. For a while, I would wait until everyone was in bed, but I would be emotionally spent or I’d want to simply relax and hang with my husband. Then I had to ask myself—was I worth the time? Does it make me a better mom, wife and person? Do my kids get more of me after I spend time reflecting? YES! YES! YES! Creating space didn’t come easy for me and it was something I had to cultivate. By definition, cultivate means to acquire and develop a skill, which takes time and, for me, routine—but are we worth the investment? I would love to hear from you! How do you find time to restore yourself? Do you need a long walk, run, or a good cup of coffee?? Stop by my Instagram page @auerbach_adventures and let me know!!
William Makepeace Thackeray
"As there are a thousand thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up the pen to write.”