Torture. Guilt. Awkward. Confusing. These were some of the answers shared in response to taking 20 minutes to reflect on self-care this morning at my Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) meeting this morning. ”I don’t know what do do with myself” one mom commented while others nodded in agreement. The preschool years are insane in the membrane- we were joking this morning about things like these expressed so greatly in these ecards.
We watched a video together about taking time for self-care- whether it’s making sure to drink enough water, take a nap if you’re cranky or just getting out to exercise with a friend. I gave us some space- 20 minutes to journal about the things in our lives that we once enjoyed but have now put on the back-burner as moms. I had forgotten how much I love to go for a run a couple times a week. Listening to Brittney Spears, Gwen Stefani and Pink while I feel the cool wind in my face and my feet hit the pavement makes me feel like I can do anything. It’s been awhile
a year or more since I went for a run. In part the adjustment to having two kids has been really, really hard and has forced us to change whatever has worked for us in the past in terms of time to ourselves, as a family and getting things done. It’s also been because of this obnoxious thyroid problem I’ve been having that I don’t have the energy to keep my kids up until their actual bedtime let alone get up and go for a run in the morning. Thankfully I’ve been feeling better and have increasingly more energy so here’s hoping that in the next month I’ll be back to normal.
Learning to practice self-care whether it’s scheduling a monthly pedicure, going to see a movie with a friend, scheduling a date with your husband, or even taking the time to clean the bathtub in the afternoon so you can relax in a clean tub with the latest issue of entertainment weekly each Friday night (one of my personal favorite self-care things to do!) is so crucial at this stage in life. Life with kids and learning what it means to be a grown-up in charge of others who happen to be learning what it means to live life and be a healthy person is challenging. For me, a big part of self-care has been learning how to connect with God in ways that bring me joy and peace. I love to journal and to draw so once a month I’ve scheduled a 3-hour retreat of silence. I didn’t start with that long chunk of time- I started with 10 minutes each day and some days I just found my mind whizzing with the flurry of activity and to-do list I was neglecting while I sat by myself in quiet.
I found was that the more I took time to practice self-care- whether it was spending 10-minutes in silent prayer, going for a walk, painting my nails (even though I knew they were going to be chipped in two days because I’d need to do the dishes), or baking cookies just because I wanted cookies the more peaceful and powerful I became. I became filled with peace because God reminded me that I was created to do more than loads of laundry. I became filled with power from God because I was doing something to help me be my best self. The self he created me to be!
I didn’t realize today was international women’s day until I saw the google doodle:
And though I need to finish prepping my bedroom wall while Ozzy naps so that I can paint it tonight I thought- “what the heck! I’m going to take that time to write a blog”- blogging in in many ways self-care for me to share my thoughts with others and interact with people about what they think about these topics. Though I might only be able to get out and go for a walk once a week until my energy levels return, I put it in my calendar so I’ll remember to be as intentional about self-care as I am about helping Ozzy gain language skills. What is one way you can practice self-care this week? How do you feel when you get time to yourself? It can be scary, but the rewards of engaging in something that brings peace, rest and joy are worth it for us as women, for our kids and for the world we engage with every day.