Let’s pretend: it’s breakfast time, and your sweet little one has asked for some juice. He looks at you with those sweet ruby cheeks and silly bedhead, and your heart melts. As he waits patiently, you can feel his eyes intently focused on what you are doing. You pick up the pitcher of juice and attempt to pour into the cup, but nothing comes out…it’s empty! His little eyes still upon you, you begin to feel some pressure. You tip the pitcher a little further. One tiny drop plops into the cup.
He looks into the cup as if to question you, then picks it up and attempts to drink the tiny drop, but it merely drips along the side of the cup. He begins to fuss and you feel further pressure. “I need juice,” he reminds with a steady whine attached. You pick up the pitcher and desperately hope for there to be juice and pour once again into the cup…still, no juice.
Your husband offers a reminder from the other side of the kitchen, “He’s needing some juice dear!” At the request, you pick up the pitcher, heart starting to sink, knowing that nothing has changed and attempt to pour once again. Nothing! Just then, the TV in the other room plays a commercial reminding you of the benefits of Vitamin C and your child’s health. You really want him to be healthy, so you try once again to tip that pitcher beyond any point you previously tried. Still…the result is the same…NO JUICE!!
Now it would be silly to keep this story going, and have you keep trying to pour juice from that empty pitcher. Right?! But guess what? That’s what many of us are trying to do in our mothering! We are trying to give wholeheartedly to our children when we ourselves are empty!!“You can’t give effectively to your child when you are running on empty!” Click & Tweet!
What if we were to mother with a figurative glass full of fresh squeezed juice?!
Let me ask you this? What do you do for self-care? Self-care? What is that? Right?! What counts for self-care? Think back to the last time you did a little self-care. And no, self care is not necessary meals or regular bedtime! Self care is an active and purposeful choice to incorporate daily behaviors into your life to maintain emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being. It is anything you do to help increase your joy or decrease your burden or stress.Self-care is both necessary and vital to our well-being. But unfortunately, many moms feel guilty to even consider it! Click & Tweet!
Those behaviors (self-care behaviors) we choose to incorporate into our daily life can be small and inexpensive. They can be active or sedentary. They can be fun and vivacious or quiet and solitary. It does not matter what you do! It just matters that you do them.
Why is doing self-care important?
It allows us little moments in a day to refuel, to refresh, and catch our breath. Being a parent is hard work! We expend a lot of time, energy, and emotion. And yes, it is all worth it! But no matter how much you enjoy mothering, self-care is still essential! It allows you to be more intentional about what you are doing. It allows you to invest more fully in the life of your child.
You may think your days are too busy or too full or there are more important things for you to be doing than self-care. But let me be quick to remind you of the benefits of self-care that include:
- Boosts your confidence
- Increases your joy about mothering and life
- Decreases your stress and tension
- Improves your patience
- Balances your emotions
- Strengthens your resilience
- Helps you maintain a positive perspective
- Improves your overall physical health
Now, how can you turn any of those down?!
Isn’t self-care kind of selfish?
Absolutely not, in fact it serves purposes even beyond just helping us refresh, refuel, and refocus. Self-care helps us model for our child how to have a healthy sense of boundaries (what you are able to do within reason) and how to take care of yourself and get your needs met in healthy ways. Now those sounds like great traits to instill in our child, right?! All the more reason to practice and refine them yourself!Self-care helps us model a healthy sense of boundaries and how to get your needs met in healthy ways. Click & Tweet!
So, whether this self-care thing is totally new to you or it was just put away and collecting dust…let’s do this!! What do we do first?
- Plan some time for a little self-care. Maybe you start with something you want to be intentional about once a week, maybe a hobby or activity that you can invest some time in. Choose something that brings you joy or refreshment.
- Look for little ways that you can do some daily self-care. Sometimes it might be as simple as making your favorite hot drink or reading a devotion while snuggled in your favorite cozy blanket. It doesn’t have to be anything huge or grand or expensive.
- Encourage other moms in self-care as well. Sometimes we just need to feel as though someone gave us permission. Let’s encourage each other towards health!
- Ask for help to make it happen. Yes, this is sometimes the hardest part. Finding time for yourself can be a real challenge, but it truly is necessary.
Now, let me say a quick word here about asking for help! Why is it that asking for help is so important, but so hard to do?! Let me first make it clear that every mom needs help. NO ONE can do it totally alone! So please don’t stress about asking! And let me also make a point to say this: it would surprise you to know the many women around you who may be wishing they had someone to ask for help! Some women may be surrounded by family, but no one helps. Someone else may have no family near, but be thankfully surrounded by friends that pitch in and share the burden. Don’t ever rule out those around you. You just might find a friend who could help swap some mom time with you! So don’t be afraid to ask!
I also found myself needing self-care
For many years, I felt this urgency, that every moment of my life should be given to my children. In fact, I even felt a little sense of guilt if I did anything for me, my interests, or friendships. Then I got to a point where I felt as though I was on the fringe of a breakdown. I could hardly function, felt very anxious, and was about as depleted physically, emotionally, and mentally than I could ever imagine. It became a hard reality that I had to change my ways. And let me tell you, it was worth it.
How I started implementing self-care
My husband and I came to an agreement I would take some random nights away to a hotel to do some writing. That was something which was very hard to find time to do in a house with seven kids, but it truly made me feel so fulfilled and happy. I found that when I returned, I felt eager to parent again! I didn’t feel like a caged tiger anymore! My emotions felt much more relaxed, and I was genuinely able to invest in a whole new way with my kids and husband. I also discovered that randomly adding a silly little favorite (drink, treat, snack, mug, etc) was a quick and easy way to tap into that feeling of joy and wellbeing.
In addition, I found starting my day with a little devotion or scripture reading while sipping from my favorite mug, was a great way to put my thoughts and feelings in motion with some intention and joy behind them! I challenge you to find what does that for you!
You are probably thinking, “This sounds great, Jami! So, where do I start?”
You might be wondering where you even start with self-care activities. And I thought that might be an issue! So, I don’t want to leave you with any excuses for not getting started today. After all, this is Mother’s Day weekend!! Let ’s think of giving this as a gift to ourselves (and indirectly our family) this year! And there’s no better time than the present to get started!!
Click here for a list of excellent ideas for self-care. Now I am absolutely certain you will look through this list and find several that you’d never dreamed of doing, but I am also equally certain you will find several that sound appealing!! Maybe this list will even help you generate some of your own ideas. So, start making a list! Oh yes, and Happy Mother’s Day!! May this be your best year of mothering ahead!
As you become tuned in to self-care you will find yourself more able to live purposefully, love deeply, and laugh wholeheartedly!
Let’s do this!!