A couple of weeks ago I bought something for myself, which rarely ever happens! I had a gift card, but more often than not I use gift cards and extra money I have to buy things for my kids, my husband, or other people. But, there was a book I wanted, so I bought it! I felt that since it was such a rare and exciting event in my life it was facebook status worthy. It was right up there with other big moments like…”I just had a baby!” “I just graduated!” “I just bought myself a book!”
Those are all equal right? 🙂
I had so many sweet people comment that they were excited that I had done something for myself, and one comment in particular stood out to me…
“Good for you! You can’t take care of everyone else if you don’t take care of yourself!”
This comment brought a question to my mind, one that I have thought about often ever since. Are we mommas quick to take care of the needs of our families and yet neglect taking good care of ourselves? I know that I am very guilty of this! Now, hear me correctly, I am not advocating a selfish or “me first” mentality at all. Scripture is clear that it is good and right to consider others more important than myself, but if I don’t take proper care of myself then how can I care well for my family? The roles of “wife” and “mother” bring with it responsibilities that make it easy for a momma to just forget herself! (Forget to eat, forget to drink, forget to go to the bathroom, etc!)
Today, I want to encourage you to take care of you, momma! Here are a few ways to do just that…
1. Spend Time With The Lord
Our role of caring for others has us giving, and giving, and serving and serving just about 24/7. How can we give and serve if we have nothing to give? I have heard it said that serving is like a sponge. The sponge is dipped into the water and then what it holds is squeezed out. If we aren’t dipping ourselves into the Word and into Jesus then we will have nothing to squeeze out to our families. My hope is that when I am caring for my family, or whatever I am doing, that Jesus will be seen as treasured in my life. If I am not spending time with Him and filling myself up on Him how can I accurately show Him to my family and those around me? I need Jesus, and my family needs Jesus, so I need to fill up on Jesus so that I can serve in a way that shows Him!
2. Eat Well
I am ashamed to say, but some days my breakfast consists of a cup of coffee filled with delicious sugary creamer. In the moment it’s wonderful and doesn’t leave me wanting anything else, but it doesn’t stay that way! I start feeling bad after a while and then regret my decision to have had
creamer coffee for breakfast. The same is true if I eat a lot of fried or unhealthy foods. I just don’t feel good. If I don’t feel well I am quick to lose my patience and fall into a whiney attitude. “Don’t you realize I don’t feel well? Why won’t you just do what I say? I feel bad and you aren’t helping me feel any better!” Etc, etc… I know what makes me feel bad, and I know the things to eat that help me not feel bad. It may not always be the most convenient thing to make a salad or something like that, but that’s going to sit a lot better than drive thru will! My kids and husband will appreciate a momma/wife who is able to care for them without whining about feeling bad (due to my bad choices).
3. Stay Hydrated
This is something that is SO easy for me to neglect. So many days have gone by where it’s near lunch time and I realize that I haven’t had one drink of water or anything! There was one day that I bent down to pick something up and when I stood up I actually had to sit down in the floor because I was about to pass out! Hello dehydration!! I can’t take care of my family if I am passed out on the floor from being dehydrated! I need to be mindful to drink water though the day, just like the rest of the human race!
This one can be really tricky and challenging, but not impossible! Any type of exercising (without the kids) is going to take some planning. A couple of years ago I trained and ran in a half marathon. It is one of the best things I have done in my whole life! The only way that it was possible for me to do it was having my husband on board to help with the kids so that I could go. I had to plan and prepare when I would go. Now, for various reasons in this season of life, it isn’t as easy to do. I am still able to get out on occasion for a jog when the hubs can be home with the kiddos. There are also other options that I have, and one thing that is fun is going for walks with my kids. Walking isn’t running, but it’s not sitting on the couch either! We enjoy walking and hiking and checking out all that’s in nature! We’re all getting exercise and they are discovering new things! 2 birds right there! 🙂 I have even thought about taking a few laps around the house while the kids are napping (but haven’t done that!). There are options that we have as mommas. If you can afford it lots of gyms have memberships that offer child care which is a really great thing! This isn’t necessary though as there are plenty of other ideas for us to get up and get some exercise! Exercising keeps us healthy and helps us be happier. A healthy, happy momma will be better equipped to serve her family well!
5. Get Away
This is another one that required planning to make it happen, but I would HIGHLY encourage every momma to make this happen! I think next to spending time with the Lord this is the next most important item on my little list. Nothing else helps me to refocus and love serving my family more than a having a little break away. I’m not meaning like a week getaway, but even just an hour or 2 can make such a difference! When you are in the throws of all the busyness that comes with kids it’s easy to loose perspective. Why are you doing this job? What benefit does it have for you and for your kids? Why are they not in daycare and you out working (for all you stay at home moms out there)? What good is the constant changing of diapers, and laundry, and cleaning of messes? How is it all good? Having some time away every now and then to gain a fresh perspective of this role of “mom” is so very helpful! My get away times usually involve a coffee shop of some sort or being outside somewhere. Having a little mental and physical break to regroup and refocus has been such a blessing and help for me! I am thankful that I have a husband who is able and willing to help me do this from time to time, but I know that’s not always the case for everyone else. If you are a single mom or a mom whose husband isn’t able to help with the kids I encourage you to ask someone help you get away sometime. Maybe you can do a child watch exchange with another mom. Maybe there is a friend at church that would love to serve you in this way. Maybe your parents can take your little one(s) for a while for you. I would urge you to see this as a vital thing and not be afraid to ask others to help you make it a reality. I truly believe that it will help you serve your kiddos even better!
Let me just say that this list are all things that I have been thinking of but NOT things that I am doing perfectly right now! I need this list just as much as everyone else! You and me, much to our dismay sometimes, are not super mommas (or super dads for any dads reading along!). We have to take care of our physical, emotional, and spiritual health so that we can care for those that The Lord has entrusted to us.
Here is to you and me today momma! Here’s to us being mindful to care for ourselves in a way that allows us to care for our families even better!
Do you agree that it’s important to take care of yourself so that you can care for your family? What other things would you add to this list?