She Shoots, She Scores
by Lorilee Craker
I’m a huge hockey fan. I can’t help it. Hockey is in my blood. Plus I grew up behind a community club with three ice rinks. Literally, I fell asleep to the sound of pucks slapping the boards and skate blades scraping against the ice.
Sounds poetic, doesn’t it? However, the weather in my beloved Winnipeg, Canada, the coldest city in the world, was not quite as poetic.
Now I live in balmy Michigan, but I still love my hockey. The best hockey teams, of course, have coaches with stellar game plans. They have a plan for their goalie, their forwards and their defensemen. When things go wrong, as they always do, on ice and in life, coaches have a Plan B in their pockets called “Special Teams.”
In life, as on ice, we moms need a game plan to play our best and defend ourselves from those things that can make us feel shorthanded or like we’re sitting in the penalty box.
Here’s my game plan (featuring a hockey motif), for how to take care of myself as a busy mom with never-ending demands. Hopefully you can make like Janet Jones Gretzky (wife of retired hockey icon Wayne Gretzky, “The Great One”) and score as well with these self-care game changers:
1 Anticipate: Thinking ahead and making notes for what’s going on each day with my family helps me stop those pucks (demands) before they hit me in the teeth. This preemptively cuts down on my stress.
2 Delegate: Even a toddler can help fold laundry. Enlist your family in helping take the load off with age-appropriate chores.
3 Defend: Hockey players wear tons of padding. I try and defend myself against getting sick or overly stressed by getting a lot of sleep (even a 20-minute power nap can make all the difference), drinking gallons of water, deep breathing whenever I think of it and taking power walks to clear my head. Try and “pad yourself” with planned-for breaks, exercise classes, regular date nights with your husband and even weekends away if you can swing it.
4 Practice: Taking care of you can be as simple as relaxing in the tub with a glossy magazine after the kids are in bed, painting your nails while you watch your favorite show (not “Dora”) or even blasting the tunes in your minivan as you drive to soccer practice. Then read a book while you wait or socialize with other moms. Build in these little pick-me-ups and you’ll feel lighter inside and have more energy for everyone else too.
5 Call: At least once a month, try to coordinate a girls’ night out. When life is piled high and you feel like everyone wants a piece of you at home, it’s rejuvenating to step out, change the scenery and laugh and chat with grown-ups for whom you are not required to cut their meat or break up fights.
Canadian expat Lorilee Craker lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she’s raising a hockey player, a soccer player and a gymnast. She is the author of eleven books, including Just Give Me a Little Piece of Quiet and the new Money Secrets of the Amish.