One of my dearest friends often signs off of our phone calls or texts me, “Take care of you.” She knows my temptation is to take care of others before I take care of myself. I imagine that’s a struggle for many moms. We’ve all been warned about the dangers of forgetting self-care. We cannot possibly pour into our own children if we don’t have anything to give them because we are completely depleted. It’s easy advice to give, but difficult advice to live.
The longer I am a mom, the more I realize my own parenting is affected much more by who I am than by what I do. Being a great mom is not so much about tips and tricks as it is about being the woman I want to be. Then that me, the me I want to be, trickles into who my kids are.
I’ll go in cycles when I do a great job remembering self-care. I’ll work out and read and go out with my girlfriends and shower daily. But then there will be seasons when I forget and have to re-learn what I know.
I recently had a season when I forgot to take care of myself. I work from home, and the deadlines were looming large. My kids’ homework load was off the charts. One of my children, in particular, needed some extra attention. My husband needed me. My church needed me. My friends needed me. My house really needed me to clean it. My hair needed me to wash it. My refrigerator needed me to fill it, or my family would be eating lettuce and ketchup for dinner.
But I needed . . . a break.
So I dropped my youngest off at preschool, and even though I felt the need to do all these things that required my attention during my few child-free hours, I took a walk in the Bosque. Just for 30 minutes. I got fresh air, the blood pumping, fall colors, some prayer time, some perspective.
And I took care of me. Those 30 minutes of self-care filled me up to be able to meet all the needs around me, not begrudgingly, but with joy.