Rule 16: Give Yourself the Little Blue Box

This is part of an ongoing series chronicling my attempts to regain a bit of my sense of self, and my sanity, by implementing Elizabeth Lyons’ 32 Rules that Sustain a (Mostly) Balanced Mom. Subscribe to my RSS feed to follow my experiment, and check out the rest of the posts in the series!

I’ve mentioned more than once to my husband that I’m getting burned out on this motherhood thing — constantly needing to be at someone’s every beck and call, refereeing the most ridiculous fights, always feeling like I am waiting on someone hand and foot, and most {but not all} of those someones are 3 feet tall or less.

Preschool has helped give me a break, but then we have days like today, where no matter what I do, someone is unhappy and I feel like I’m walking on eggshells to keep the room from exploding. And then after that super fun day I get to spend 2 hours at the grocery store.

But my husband just reminded me that this Saturday is all about me. He’s right. Because tomorrow I am leaving the house at about 9am and I am ideally not coming back for 12 whole hours.

Tomorrow I’m headed to my first real blogging related event, Blogathon ATX. And I am so. excited.

I’m planning on meeting some cool new people, hanging out with bloggers I already know, and soaking up the bloggy awesome that will be abounding from the many knowledgeable experts that are speaking and heading up the event.

I’ve been looking forward to this for months.

But still…I can’t help but feel a little guilty being gone all day long, leaving Christian and the kids to fend for themselves. I know he can do it — he did it for 5 days not too long ago. But that was different. I was in a different state, not a just a stone’s throw away.

Saturday I’m afraid that the close proximity will get to me. I’ll feel the centrifugal pull of my home, my kids, and my responsibilities.

In Rule 16, Elizabeth talks about giving yourself that “little blue box.” Her example of going to Tiffany’s and asking the lady behind the counter for an empty blue box is quite literal, but has a powerful message:

“Sometimes we wait for others to give us what we want or need. But one, we aren’t clear about what that is. And two, sometimes we have to be our own best friend.”


For the past several months, my personal little blue box has been time. I don’t have a lot of leisure time being the primary care giver to three little ones.

So once in a while I express the need to leave the house in the evening, and not spend the entire time pushing a cart around a store. Sometimes I head out to my multiples club’s monthly meeting. Sometimes I meet up with my lady blogger friends. Sometimes I go to a bookstore and sit in the cafe to work or just browse some books. By myself. With no one to answer to.

But if I don’t make the effort to plan these outings or dates with myself, then they will never happen.

“The fact is, we must tell other people what we want and need…we must teach other people how to treat us. Don’t be a martyr in order to get what you need.”

And that’s exactly what I’m guilty of — letting myself get so burned out, so stressed out, that I literally explode on my husband, my kids, the freaking dog that is always under my feet picking up the latest scraps off the kitchen floor.

So Saturday, as I head to Blogathon, I will take full advantage of my day out of the house. I will learn all that I can from the experts whose brains I get to pick. I will not feel guilty.

Ok, I’ll try really hard not to feel guilty.

What’s YOUR “little blue box?” Do you have a hard time asking or what you want?


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  1. That is such good advice!! My little blue box is probably treating myself the way I used to. It sounds indulgent and spoiled but I love manicures/ pedicures and going for facials. And I rarely do that now.

    I think I’m due one this weekend 🙂 Have fun at Blogathon!

  2. There is such wisdom in those words. Don’t wait until someone else gives you permission 1st. because it is something you have to decide for yourself and 2nd you have to give yourself permission. You are wise to recognize this need and fill your own cup. If you do then you can fill everyone else’s cup. Just know that when you come home you will be a better mommy, better wife because you took some much needed time for yourself. I call that a win/win situation. Enjoy yourself, it is all good.

  3. My little blue box has been time as well. I’ve never been good about asking for it or clear about why I needed it and torn because any time for me would mean time away from my husband which isn’t always what I’ve wanted either. Just limited time and a seemingly UNlimited number of demands upon it. But this September, my youngest started school. And now both children are in school. Full time. And…I had to be very very patient…but I got my gift. And it is AWESOME.

    1. I don’t want to rush them growing up, but I am SO looking forward to that. Just preschool two mornings a week has been glorious.

  4. I give myself an hour almost every morning for exercise. My husband sometimes wishes it was himself out there instead of me, but I made myself stop feeling guilty about it because we both know that I desire it more than he does. And when I don’t do it, we all suffer.

    1. That’s a great idea. I have been running in the mornings, but I really appreciate time to read, write, and just BE.

  5. I just recently talked about this with my therapist – my guilt over wanting and taking time to myself. He asked me, “Why do you feel so guilty for wanting time to yourself? You’re perfectly entitled to it.” And I honestly didn’t have an answer. I just… do.

    So, I guess my little blue box is also time to myself.

  6. I’m fortunate enough to have a group I meet with weekly with my best friend.
    This gives me a chance to refresh.
    I’m glad you recognize you need time by yourself. Everyone does.

    Can’t wait to heat a about the conference

    1. I’m also thankful that my moms group and my bloggers group gives me a chance to get out. I would go crazy otherwise!

    1. t was a blast! And please excuse my lack of responses — I just dug 3 of your comments out of spam. 🙁

    1. Me too! So why am I having such a hard time going out and using my mother’s day gift card for a pedicure???

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