What do you think is the hardest thing for a mom to accomplish on any given day? SELF-CARE!
As mamas, we are typically focused on the needs of our families. We always have to-do lists and most of the time we are on autopilot because we are exhausted. This can lead to identity issues, which I wrote about for Mother’s Day. I go to an amazing mother’s event four times a year where mentor moms and younger moms gather to talk about real life. It has been very helpful to be a part of this group because I have been able to learn from the experiences of other moms.
At the beginning of the talk we usually have icebreakers and one of the questions is usually “who has the current longest streak without taking a shower?”
Why would this be even a question? I think this is very accurate. A simple shower takes time that some moms just don’t have. We prioritize other things before taking care of ourselves.
Why is self-care so important?
As a missionary, I used to hear about this topic all the time. I once heard an analogy about self-care, it went something like this: If you put a frog in a pot with cold water and then turn the stove on to heat up the water, the frog will die slowly because it doesn’t recognize the change in temperature.
We are like the frog. We don’t feel the change in temperature, but our bodies do. Every day of our lives consists of giving (sometimes more than we are capable of). We end up living in unhealthy patterns and rhythms, eating poorly, sickness spreading around our house all the time, with mood swings and stress running rampant.
We need to practice self-care while the water is still cold, so we don’t suffocate and boil over the long term while attempting to do what we love most. Feeling burned out makes being a mom much harder (#preachingtothechoir) and instead of making our families feel loved we end up making them feel like they are a burden.
The first step toward not feeling burned out is to believe you need it.
When we are so used to to taking care of others first, taking care of ourselves can sometimes feel selfish. You need to understand and believe that you are doing self-care out of love for others, not only yourself. If you don’t refuel, you won’t have anything left to give. Not to mention, we were created to operate this way.
“As often as possible Jesus withdrew to out-of-the-way places for prayer” Luke 5:16
Even Jesus needed to be alone sometimes. Even he needed to refuel. Take his example and do it for yourself, too!
The second step is to intentionally set time aside.
Time. This is the one resource that we can’t get more of and we so desperately need. One easy way to make sure you do this is by building your daily routine around this pillar (among others – see rocks and sand analogy to learn more about priorities). If it is hard to do every day, then make a plan with your husband to be able to do it at least twice a week.
Perhaps, two times per week, he can put the kids to bed all on his own so you can use that time to withdraw to a quiet place. If you plan ahead and make it part of your routine, it makes it possible. Maybe, only do one thing that doesn’t take too much time but will provide some respite, like laying down and closing your eyes for 10 min. This is something that I do when Analise and Makana are taking a nap even while I still have my two older kids with me. By nap time, I am usually so spent that it is easier for me to snap at my kids so I ask Kai and Kael to go play in the basement for 10-15 min so I can have a bit of silence to regroup for the home stretch.
Step three in Self-Care is to start with the easy things.
Do you still feel like you don’t have time? Then make sure you take care of your body first.
- Don’t skip meals. The easiest literal way to fuel your body is through eating healthy nutritious food. Here are some links to some of my Pinterest boards. You can find easy to prepare, healthy and delicious recipes that your kids will like to. Eat as much as you want of any of these ideas.
Some Final Tips
- Don’t forget to drink water. I always know when I am dehydrated. I get really bad headaches that don’t go away even if I take something for pain. I’m not going to tell you how much water you need to drink because I think your body will let you know. Just make sure that you are drink enough.
- Sleep, sleep, sleep. Your body needs rest. If you are a mom with babies that don’t sleep through the night try to ask for help in this area. I am the type of person that function very poorly without sleep. Taking naps used to be my daily routine, until I had kids. I was the perfect child in this regard because I even took naps as a teenager, lol. Now I don’t have time to do it every day but I have designated Sunday as our official family nap day. Everyone in my house takes naps (or has a quiet time) so I can take a nap!
- Have a meditation time. Set aside some time to mediate on the word of God. Let your mind rest. Take at least 15 minutes to do this. You can listen to worship music, or to your audio Bible, close your eyes and rest in His presence
Motherhood is intended to be sacrificial. What better way to show our kids Jesus’ sacrifice than through laying down our own lives but like him we also need to fill up our tanks. We also need a break. You and your family will see and feel the difference that self-care provides.
I also have a Pinterest board dedicated to this topic as well that you can follow right here.
Let’s talk again soon…