Before I had children, I worked full-time for an upscale hotel. I showed up most days by 8:30am sporting fancy clothes and perfectly undone curled hair. Sometimes on my way in, I’d pop into the coffee shop next door for a fancy mocha to kickstart the day. My heels click-clacked through the lobby and up the elevator to the third floor where I worked with a department of beautiful sales girls.

A time-out from the daily grind, a little luxury

Almost every afternoon, a few of those girls and I would head to the market on the corner of K street in search of treats du jour to overcome our 3pm slump. We’d treat ourselves to candy bars or bags of chips, iced tea and energy drinks. The store owner knew all of us by name, but I think he liked Kari the best (probably because she occasionally bought lotto tickets). Our heels click-clacked down the street, past the coffee shop and the florist, as we welcomed the much-needed break from our computers, the sunshine on our faces and the excuse to stretch our legs. That walk to the market was a time-out from the daily grind, a little luxury if you will.

Time was on my side and I had plenty to spare

Can I confess something to you? Some days I glance at the clock at 3pm, and I look around my messy house littered with toys, and I think about how nice it would be to walk to that corner market for a candy bar and energy drink. That little luxury was one of a hundred freedoms I had back then: midweek cocktails with friends, date nights any night, more than enough sleep, movies in theaters (!), pedicures, grocery shopping alone, running errands on my lunch break. I shopped in real dressing rooms; I could try on jeans for an hour if I wanted to. Time was on my side, always, and I had plenty to spare. I used to attend yoga regularly, always working my way out of shavasana at a snail’s pace because why wouldn’t I? Nobody needed me urgently.

Fast forward nearly four years …

Today I am needed urgently almost every hour of the day – who else is going to make snacks, change diapers, wash clothes, wipe pee off the floor, clean up that spilled yogurt, design castles out of blocks, and keep tiny fingers out of oscillating fans?

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To be perfectly blunt, my life is quite un-luxurious these days.

While I’ve certainly lost a lot of my freedom to the demands of mothering young children, I still cling tightly to my little luxuries. Because on the days when I am merely holding on by a string, those tiny moments for me, those flashes of delight, can often be the difference between losing my mind and recharging my batteries.