Mama, it's okay to take care of you.

Thursday, June 20, 2013



My life, probably much like yours, is (for the most part) lived on high-speed.  Keeping up with an eight, six, and four year old all day long will do that.  It's better now than it was three years ago (yes, there is hope for those of you in the baby and toddler phase...) but it's still a little crazy some days.
 
Busy parents have to strive for peace, for calm.  We have to deliberately seek after that "center" place where all things come together and make sense and we are seeing that all-to-easy-to-miss big picture.
 
For years, I lived in survival mode. (Are you there right now?) 

My life looked like this:

Wake up in a groggy stupor to three children bugging me to get up, get up, get up.  Roll out of bed once they irritate me long enough (my husband would be long-gone for work at the crack of dawn), feed the kids, cater, clean, cry, feel overwhelmed, run, chase, fumble, yell, cry some more, apologize for yelling, put some kind of lunch together, read some books, try to do something fun and educational with the kids, put some kind of dinner together, bathe little bums, sing endless lullabies and get endless cups of water for children who stall bedtime for hours.

Then - fall into bed after all the work was done (usually some time around midnight).

Sleep.  Wake several times in the night.

Start again the next day and basically hit the repeat button.

Mama, if you're there right now, I understand.  I cry for you and feel the weight of everything you're going through in this season.

Don't let anyone tell you that it's not hard.  It IS hard. It's the hardest thing you'll probably ever do.  But, it doesn't last forever.  I promise.  It really, truly doesn't.
 
Please, don't misunderstand, I loved many parts of it - the baby/toddler/preschool stage when all was crazy and beautiful.  I love my children to the 'moon and back' about a billion times (as Alex says).

I loved the crafts, the songs, the hugs, the walks, the discoveries, the rare quiet moments with all three around me.  Family life is beautiful.  But, let's be real, parenting - it's hard.
 
But you know what?  I think I made it harder on myself.  No, I know I made it harder on myself.

I used to wake miserably.  I was unhealthy, exhausted.  I was making poor choices with what I ate.  I wasn't drinking enough water.  I wasn't taking time to nourish my body.  I had gained 30lbs of extra weight.  I wasn't LISTENING to what myself was telling 'myself'.  Something was awry.

I wasn't healthy in body.  I wasn't healthy in mind.  And I wasn't healthy in soul.  I was neglecting to find my daily center.  My daily inspiration.  My mornings were wasted in a grouchy stupor, my afternoons were spent catching up with what I didn't do in the morning.  My evenings we spent cleaning up the mess from the chaos of the day.

I was over-committed and overwhelmed.

Can you relate?



Friends, I've had to walk the moments of defeat to learn this truth -
habits have to be deliberately altered.

 It's not easy, but that's what I'm trying to do.  Take a good, critical look at my life and re-evaluate.  What needs to change?  Where are the 'bad' habits?  What habits need to be nurtured?  (I wrote about screen time habits recently... and that's still in process as well...)

But, honestly, I'm very intentionally changing the way I live within my family and within my own skin.  I'm not fully 'there' yet, but WHAT a difference in the way I feel.  About everything.

I used to think 'those Moms'  who got up before their kids were crazy.  In my house, that means getting up before 6:30am.  I'm NOT a morning person.  Or, at least, I wasn't.  Now, there isn't a morning I'm not up before the children and outside running or (on rainy days) downstairs in our make-shift gym, moving my body and rousing my spirit.
 
Sometimes, we just have to listen to our minds and our bodies and force ourselves to do what we know is needed but what we really don't want to do. (How's that for a run-on sentence?)  Then once we DO it, we'll realize how good it is for us.  Now, I can't imagine sleeping in past 6:30am.  The feeling of being up and moving before everyone else FAR surpasses the extra hour of groggy sleep.  (Hey, it only took me eight years to figure this out...)

There's something about us Mamas who really, really care about our families.  We can really get topsy-turvy about our role as a Mom.

I had to sit back and look at myself and realize, every one else was okay, but I wasn't.  The kids were doing great but Mama wasn't happy inside.  Mama was overweight, had constant head aches, and felt very trapped.

For YEARS I barely took time to recharge.  To refresh.  To step away.  To breathe.  To listen.  I got lost in baby and toddler world and refused to allow myself the chance to take care of me.  I would proudly proclaim, "ME TIME?  Pfft.  I don't need 'me' time."  Right, as if I was one step more noble than every other Mom who needed some time to herself I played the martyr and it nearly put me in an emotional grave.


 
Mama, if you're doing this today, in this season - stop.

It's okay to take care of you. 
 
You need to take care of you.
 
Please, take it from a self-proclaimed, 'independent Mom',  you need help and you need time to recharge.
 
When our kids were little, I didn't even let my husband help.  I was on crazy-Mom delusional juice.  It was so bad I didn't sleep for over 72 hours when our first son was born.
 
I thought, if I took time for 'me', I was somehow abandoning my kids.  I'm STILL fighting this feeling, eight years later.  Trust me, I'm a homeschooling Mom - there still isn't much time for 'me' but even taking 45 minutes in the morning to get up and exercise makes a world of difference.
 
I'm with the kids, hands-on, by myself, for at least 11 hours every single weekday.  Weekends we're together to, albeit, with hubby along for the ride.
 
It's intense.  I know, you know.  It's sacred, it's beautiful, it's amazing, but it's intense!
 
Another thing?
 
You need time to find your center, regroup, and power up for the challenge of Motherhood.  You need time with Jesus.  You need time to gaze at His glory and be filled so you can overflow.  For years I lived on empty and wondered why I had nothing to give.  Why are was so grumpy and so lost in my 'calling' as a Mom.

Go for a walk.  Alone.  Take in God's creation.  Hey, maybe even start jogging?  You will be doing a world of good for yourself AND your family.  They need you happy and healthy.  Don't be full of fear that if you take some time for yourself, everything will fall apart.  It won't.  In fact, things will likely fall into a much better place.

So, the big picture is this - your kids need you for the long haul.  Oh, yes, they do.

I'm encouraging you, Mamas - inhale and look around and realize, your children need you to be healthy, happy, and whole.  They NEED you to take the time you need to find your center and recharge.  So that you will be ready to serve them wholeheartedly and invest in their spiritual, educational, and emotional health.

You are so important, Mama.  So important that you need to take time to take care of you.

Go ahead,  it's okay.





Love you all,

Cass



PS. Tune in tomorrow to hear about some of the BIG dietary habits I've changed and how these choices have CHANGED MY LIFE....  honestly...


 

4 comments:

  1. Thank you for writing this. My hubby keeps telling me that I need to take time for myself, but when I see all that needs to be done I don't know how I can. I needed this encouragement today. :)

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  2. Very recognizable for mothers with small children. Even for women without children, with a busy job and many social obligations. And for moms like me, with many worries. Thank you that you write so honest. Let's walk with God. Every day. Every hour. And ask Him: Refresh me. Make me an oasis for everyone around me.

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  3. This is so true. For me, I need time outdoors - not just with my kids, but also time by myself. My husband is often times gracious and handles everyone while I take a post dinner walk. It is amazing what even a 10 minute walk by myself will do. I always come back refreshed and eager to pour into my family once again!

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  4. I am one of those moms in the baby and toddler phase. It's almost always a little crazy around here, but I love my kids. You are right about the taking time out, though. About four months ago, a friend and I started jogging together, and just ran our first 5k this last weekend!! I have never ever had a desire to run, but I am so thankful we did this, because I feel so much better, about myself and about life in general. It really is a stress reliever and only takes about 20 or 30 minutes a day. Sometimes I was running at 10:00 at night, but it has been worth it. Thanks for the encouragement!!

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