In a recent survey I took of stay-at-home moms, I asked them what the BEST thing about their job is. I received a wide range of responses: not tied to an agenda, being there for every milestone, freedom to wear my pjs, fulfilling my purpose, etc.
I also asked them what the biggest CHALLENGE is. Though the wording varied, ALL the answers were the same, “no time for myself”!
It’s true, the demands of children…of ALL ages is constant! It can feel like a roller coaster that never stops. What happens when you’re on a roller coaster? It’s exciting…the momentum builds….your stomach is literally churning…there are twists & turns & some even take you upside down! I know some days it looks like your house has been turned upside down! Now imagine if that roller coaster never came to a stop. As fun as it may be…or extremely terrifying to some….at some point you’d be screaming to get off!
Our lives can be like that roller coaster. Some days you’re going 100mph without getting anything accomplished. Other days seem like you’re a character in “Ground Hog Day”…the same thing just keeps happening over & over & over! Instead of pulling your hair out…..running away…..or becoming depressed, WHAT can you do? STOP!
Have you heard the phrase, “The days are long, but the years are short”? It’s so true! YOU must make each day count. But how? Self-care! I can just hear you now, “I can’t take time for myself…..there’s too much to do….there’s no one to do it but me…..if I stop I’ll never catch up….that would be selfish of me! It’s not just stay-at-home moms who feel this way…ask ANY woman & she’d agree. Yes, there IS a lot to do….but guess what….YOU can be in CONTROL of your time! If you’re thinking there’s nobody else to do it….that’s probably not true…even if you’re a single mom, or don’t live near family, or don’t have the resources to hire someone…there are friends, churches, family members, retirees, you can trade needs with. One thing I’ve learned coaching women, is that there’s many options to explore! What if you’re the woman thinking that if you stop you’ll never catch up? Well I hate to burst your unrealistic bubble…but you’ll never catch up until you’re dead! And if you don’t take care of yourself that day might arrive sooner than later! And what about the “selfish” reason? I think women hear the term self-care and automatically think selfish, but if you say “taking care of yourself” then that sounds less indulgent. However it’s expressed…..YOU NEED IT!
Are you familiar with Jethro’s advice to Moses in Exodus 18? “Moses sat judging the people from morning until evening. When Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, saw all he did for the people he said, “Why do you alone sit and all the people stand before you from morning until evening”? Moses said,” Because the people come to see me to inquire of God. When they have difficulty they come to me and I judge between one and another and make known the statutes of God and His laws.” Jethro said, “The thing you do is not good. Both you and the people will surely wear yourselves out! For this thing is too much for you; you are not able to perform it by yourself! Select able men and let them judge the people, so that every great matter they will bring to you, but they shall judge the small matters. It will be easier for you, for they will bear the burden with you. If you do this, you will be able to endure and the people will be in peace.”
Do you see the correlation? You’re only one person….you can’t do it all. You can’t fulfill your purpose if you’re trying to do everything for everybody. We ALL need help! Notice….not only did Jethro’s advice help Moses endure, but it also allowed the people to go in peace! How is that selfish?
Self-care looks different for every woman. I have a friend who gets a massage every week. That’s great for her…but would not be my choice because they are actually painful to me, so I tense up (that probably means I really need to do it regularly!:)
I remember when my girls were toddlers, I took advantage of their nap time for “me time”. It might look different depending on the day….I might take a nap myself…or read a book…enjoy a creative outlet….even going out in the backyard & swinging! Whatever I chose to do during that time…it certainly was NOT cleaning, or laundry, or cooking, etc. Of course some days nap time just did’t happen….that’s life…..but I still tried to have some “me time” after they went to bed at night…even if that meant just an extra long bath before I collapsed myself!
When I was homeschooling, I hired a woman to “substitute” teach one day a month, so that I could go to the women’s group at my church.
How do you take care of yourself? What does self-care look like to you? What really makes you smile? What was the last thing you remember doing that was rewarding to you? Some women have forgotten what they enjoy doing, what brings them joy! I challenge you to start making a list….things that take only a few moments….to a girlfriend cruise! But then…..PLAN some of those things!