As a mother, I know all too well how this is going to sound. It goes against everything we women have been told that’s supposed to happen when you become a mom! Your kids come first! While I do agree that our family and children should be our top priority, I want to challenge your thinking and maybe give you a new way to think.
If you constantly give and go and do and provide and clean and re-clean, to the point that all you do is work and give, what do you think will happen? How will this impact your body, your mind, your soul? Humans NEED to rest and recover JUST like we need oxygen, water, food and sleep.
There is a time in life where we as moms/parents are pushed to our limits and are so grateful even though we are about to pass out on the floor from exhaustion. You know, like the first few months of your child’s life. Oh boy, those are some of the most challenging, scary, glorious days ever right. At the same time you feel complete exhaustion, you are filled with complete joy and happiness.
Then the infant grows into a small child then eventually gets even more independent. If you have devoted every waking moment solely to your child, you may discover that you are feeling a bit empty and run down without the happiness that once was keeping you going. What happened? Nothing to pinpoint why the happiness is missing. I mean, you are happily married, love your child or children to pieces, love your job (inside or outside the home), and life is great! Why no happiness?
This happens because you give everything you have to the point that you are empty and have not taken the time to “refill YOUR cup”.
We each are born with a set of skills, talents, strengths and passions. Our kids are NOT our skills, talents, strengths and passions (okay, sometimes a child can become our passions but especially a special needs child or a child that becomes injured or disabled). You had all these things prior to your children and you will have them after your children have grown and have their own children. So what does skill, talent, strength and passion have to do with this?
I’ll tell you. When you neglect yourself (you as in the woman) by ignoring the things that make you distinctly YOU and “fill your cup”, your body, health and wellbeing will be compromised. When this happens, you lose the happiness that you should be experiencing.
What can also happen is even worse in my opinion. Your health takes a nosedive. We gain weight easier, it’s harder to lose weight, depression sets in and we start experiencing gastric issues, skin issues, and many other common ailments.
WHY? Because if you don’t take the time to nurture your soul, your body will also suffer. It’s time to reclaim YOU the woman!
As a mother, one of our jobs is to raise our children to be independent and productive citizens right? As much as we want to protect them and hold on to them for dear life, we have to let go eventually. The trick is to not lose yourself in the process.
I feel strongly it is not just our job to show them how to be productive in life, but more importantly, it should be our goal to SHOW them how to live to be happy and healthy during our LIFE. As Pierre Teilhard de Chardin said, “we are spiritual beings having a human experience.” Your body is your vessel (Christians refer to it as their Temple).
When you put aside YOU (your soul) during the time you devote to raising your children, you have to find balance for yourself. YOU need to be you AND a mom (and a wife and an employee, etc.). The best way to be present for everyone in your family is to be balanced. We do this by taking care of ourselves first, then we go out to take care of all our responsibilities. When you take the time each day (you do not have to devote a significant amount of time) or a few times a week for you, to do what you love to do, this is when the “refilling” takes place.
I want you to see how taking the time to take care of yourself is anything but selfish. It is absolutely necessary. Just like they tell us on the airplane when explaining how to use the oxygen mask. You use it first so you can assist someone else. That is great advice. We need to give to ourselves first so we can assist others. How can you be of use to anyone if you are sick, depressed and fatigued? You can’t. Well maybe you can but it won’t be your best. Then you are also setting the example of what life is supposed to be like. You are the example of mom!
So what do we do? How do we change? Where do we find time? Those are all obvious questions. I have no clear and direct answer for those questions. What I can tell you is that first you have to have a clear understanding of WHY you need time. If you do not understand the importance, you will never make it a priority. When things are a priority, suddenly time is no longer an issue. (Weird how that happens.)
To find what it is that will help you “refill”, you need to look at things you love to do. What inspires you. What do you (or did you) like to learn and read about. Crafting, decorating, teaching, cooking, organizing, walking, painting, etc. It’s the thing (or things) that gets you excited (the things you would do for free). If you still don’t know, don’t stress over it. This is when walking or trying yoga will help you to balance your mind, body and soul. You just need some down time to start. Inspiration (meaning “In Spirit”) will come when you are relaxed and disconnected to the ego.
Over the years I have had many passions. I’ve even had years where I didn’t have a clue how to find my passion much less let it “refill my cup”. I had the happy marriage, the healthy, beautiful children, the nice home and food on the table. I had no reason to not be happy, but something was missing. I had lost me. And because I had lost me, my children and my husband had also lost me. I wasn’t the mom/wife I was supposed to be nor was I the mom/wife I wanted to be.
Then I got very sick. Very, very sick. Those were the dark days. I won’t go in to the details now. That’s for another time.
So then, one day (over a series of months actually), I decided I was done! I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I didn’t wan’t to claim it anymore, but I had no idea what to do, but I was going to start somewhere. My drive came because I was no longer able to play with my new baby girl (she’s 8 now) and had already missed a lot of fun times with my son. I had to change for them (I wasn’t ready to change for me yet). I did NOT want my children to learn from me that this was what life was going to be like when they got older. I had to “fake it til I made it”! Boy, that was exhausting!
I didn’t know how to change yet but I was certain I couldn’t stay the same! My one decision to not stay the same was what jump started me on the journey that I am still on today and now teach others! If you would have told me that I would be a Health Coach one day, I would have died from laughing. Have you ever heard God doesn’t call the qualified. He qualifies the called? That is exactly what happened to me!
I started researching (I did NOT have a great internet connection then so this wasn’t an easy task 7 years ago. But I took time (during my daughters naps and while my son was in school) to learn about how to change my food. I found a “new” diet program that I thought I should try because I obviously did not know what I was doing. The results I had initially were astounding. THAT made me stop and think. Like really think, “what in the world just happened”? I mean I was eating less and exercising less but I just lost a lot of weight! My calories were about the same so WHAT was different?
I made a connection to my health and my food choices and IT WAS ON! I was filled with curiosity and wanted to know more! I had found my new passion and I didn’t even know it!
I do think I went through the dark days in order to have lived it. Because I had lived it, I can relate better to others. I mean really relate.
So, again I say to you to PLEASE reconsider that taking care of yourself is NOT selfish! It is a necessity! Loving life and thriving in life are the best gifts you can give to yourself, your children, your partner in life and even eventually your grandchildren…and dare I say, your great grandchildren!