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Sunday Morning Tea: Re-Entry

by Meagan Francis on January 19, 2014

Every Sunday morning I share a moment from my week and something it taught me or illustrated about motherhood, family life, or simply being a human. I invite you to set aside a moment out of your weekend for rest and reflection, pour yourself a comforting beverage, and join me for Sunday Morning Tea. -Meagan

airplane

If you’re curious about why this Sunday’s post is a few hours late, I can sum it up for you in one word: Re-entry.

This was my first full week back to Real Life after the winter break that wouldn’t end. My kids had three snow days the week they were supposed to return to school; the first morning they went back, Jon and I left right after to catch our flight to Las Vegas.

And though it was convenient and amazing to be able to escape Real Life for a while after such a long, cold, and rewarding yet chaotic period of togetherness, when we got home on Sunday we walked into a real mess.

The Christmas tree still up – and decorated; the huge mountain of laundry I’d neglected to keep up with over the holiday; and now with the addition of two suitcases lying side by side near the back door, waiting to be emptied and dealt with.

My physical self felt the strain, too. Two weeks of holiday eating plus three days of Vegas living; a messed-up sleep schedule, and not making it to the gym for almost a month left me feeling bloated, achy, and mentally foggy.

So what did I do? Well, on Monday – despite a huge backlog of shifted deadlines – I mostly “took to my bed.” I spent the morning answering emails and writing while in a reclining position, and by the afternoon, managed to make it to the grocery store and then cook dinner. 

Then I watched Downton Abbey. In bed.

By Tuesday I had made it through a couple loads of laundry – enough to keep the household going, anyway. 

On Wednesday I unpacked most of the suitcases and cleaned my office, which had become a dumping ground of gift receipts, wrapping paper and notes from school I told myself I’d “deal with later.”

By Thursday I finally had the gumption to start taking decorations off the tree, which was basically a six-foot tinder box by then. 

And on Friday, I finally – finally – made it back to yoga. My body thanked me.

I’ve learned over the years that re-entry can’t be forced. It’s tempting to say “Today is the day life gets back on track!” but if your body, mind and spirit aren’t ready to jump in with both feet, you’ll just end up curled up on the floor if you take it too fast. 

And I find that if I give myself a little patience and a lot of grace, all the things that must be done do, eventually, get done. When I allow myself to build back up my strength and efficiency and productivity gradually, I get back to the place I was before: humming along with energy to spare; Getting Life Did with relatively good cheer.

When I force it, tring to fill a single day or two with all the backed-up tasks that didn’t get done for two or three weeks, I resist and crash…and get very, very grumpy.

There are still holiday decorations to box up, there is still a backlog of laundry, there are still things in my suitcase that need to be put away. So today I’m in my slippers and house sweater, shuffling around the house slowly, getting things done but trying not to stress about them. 

Those “must-get-dones” aren’t going anywhere, and I’m working to feel no shame or anxiety about my plodding pace. One foot in front of the other, persistent, consistent: it’ll all get done, one way or the other, eventually. And in the interim, life is still for living.

All of it: the productive days, the holidays, and those foggy, messy, confused re-entry days.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Tragic Sandwich January 19, 2014 at 12:04 pm

This is so true. It makes me thing of how I’ve changed my vacation scheduling–even before we had Baguette. I used to try to eke out every possible minute of vacation, returning home at the last possible moment.

But it’s so much easier to come back a day or two before I “have” to, and give myself that time to unpack, do laundry, stock the refrigerator, get clothes and bags ready to go back to work, and relax a bit. I have a much better re-entry if I allow myself that time.

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Karen L January 19, 2014 at 12:33 pm

I can definitely relate. After my long holiday, I got sidelined with a brutal cold/mild flu. My must-get-done task is marking. I’m way behind and report cards are due in a couple of weeks. Finally tackling the pile, trying not to panic.

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Sarah @ Beauty School Dropout January 19, 2014 at 8:35 pm

I needed to hear this today! My big plans of an uber-productive day off tomorrow have been ruined by an attack of stomach flu in our house. So far everyone but the baby (thank goodness) has puked their guts out! Gross. Needless to say, re-entry to normal life after this will be slow…

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