My wonderful husband has granted me an entire day off today! With our 7th child coming in 7 weeks I knew I needed some time to think, prioritize and focus.
So, what would you do with an entire day to yourself?
We woke up and planned to read family scriptures together before I left. Of course, the two year old had wet her bed, the girls wanted me to do their hair, we read scriptures, and had a few cries over a variety of things. When I finally got out the door I was only gone for a few minutes before I realized that I had forgotten something. When I walked back through the door my husband laughed, "I knew you couldn't make it more than 6 minutes without us!"
My first stop was the pool. I had determined to spend an entire hour, uninterrupted, swimming laps. I don't think I have had that much personal swimming time since my days on the high school swim team. Surprisingly, there are a lot of life lessons that come from the lap pool:
1. Get a great start- In swimming your start is critical. If you start with a great dive or push off you are able to glide yourself through the water and use your strength later on in the race. In life how we start the day is critical. I personally have found that I need to start my day by myself (before my kids get up). If I can pray, read my scriptures, plan my to-do list and get ready. I am a much better mom. My boys are always up early, but they know they can start reading their scriptures and making their beds or play quietly. If your prefer to exercise first thing in the morning, great. Just find what you need to accomplish most first thing in the morning. That great morning start will help you glide through the day.
2. Faster isn't better- In swimming moving your arms and legs as rapidly as you can will actually slow you down and tire you out too quickly. To make the most of your stroke it is best to focus on your form and glide through the water. I know I am guilty of trying to swim too fast in life. I must look as funny as someone trying to move their arms and legs too fast while swimming. So today I am focusing on how to swim through life at the right speed, using my glide and enjoying the water. I think for me that means cutting the to-do list down and taking time each day to look my husband and kids in the eyes and let them have a peice of my time. I also think it means having less so that I can do more with my family.
3. Work all muscles at the right time- The great part about lap swimming is that if you swim all four strokes: free, breast, back, and butterfly, you are able to work out most of the muscles in your body. If you try to swim all four strokes at the same time I am pretty sure that you might drown. Over my hour workout I was able to swim each stroke and at times focus on just arms or legs. In life as a mother I try to do it all, all the time, every day. No wonder I start drowning! I wish that everyday I could have an hour to swim for exercise, but as a mother of 6 the schedule just doesn't allow for that. I have to be content that sometime in the future I will be able to do that and for now I need to be content with the stroke that I am working on. Exercise at this point in my life is a walk around the block pushing the double stroller, running on the treadmill, or doing push ups with a two year old on my back. The truth is when I have time for an hour at the pool each day, I will long for the grown up two year old. Take it one stroke at a time, I can work on the other strokes later.
4. You Can't Quit Swimming- When you are swimming quitting in the middle just isn't an option, especially when you swim in deep water. In life and especially as a mother, quitting isn't and option. We chose to swim, we need to pace ourselves. Fortunately, there is help. When you're feeling out of breath grab a kick board and swim a few laps focusing on legs and give your arms a break. When our new baby is born I realize I won't be able to swim at my usual pace, I will need a kick board for a while in order to keep swimming. My husband and kids always provide added support and I need to lessen my personal expectations. We all have times when we can't do the full stoke, so figure out what you want to focus on in life when you find yourself in survival mode.