This week the prompt is I take care of me, so I can take care of you. Self-care is turning into a buzz word lately. Everywhere we look:
Take care of yourself first!
It sounds great and all, but when you’re a mom you have demands on you, children to take care of, and responsibilities around your home carving large amounts of time out, just-for-me, makes sense, but when it comes down to it we feel selfish and guilty. Maybe somewhere deep down, our identity lies in sacrificing ourselves for others, or maybe we believe we have to do it all, all the time, because that’s what good mothers (and wives) do.
Except, what does a mother who thinks she must do it all, all the time look like? Let’s take a peek:
You stomp into the kitchen with the dinner plates and slam them down into the already over-flowing sink. Crap! I still have to do the dishes! You turn and glare at your husband lounging on the couch rubbing his belly after enjoying another meal you cooked.
Without looking away from the TV he announces, “Babe, I don’t have any clean underwear!” Now your glare shoots daggers, but he doesn’t seem to notice, so you head to the living room to pick up everyone’s stuff strung all over. Maybe you huffing in front of him will give him a hint to get up and do something around the house. On your way you trip over someone’s tennis shoes, you recover with just a stumble, but your heel plants on a lego. The sting shoots up your leg, but doesn’t stop there. It blows straight out the top, and you unleash your fury.
“SOMEBODY COME CLEAN UP THIS JUNK! I’M ABOUT TO THROW EVERYTHING AWAY! WHY AM I THE ONLY PERSON WHO DOES ANYTHING AROUND HERE?” For the next several minutes you torch everyone around you with your fiery words, sending everyone into a panic.
Then, there’s a transfer of anger, and your husband, mad that his digestion was interrupted, blows fiery words back singeing your eyebrows. You spout back, but you feel much better having made your point, so you march off to sort laundry, leaving a charred house behind you.
You’re wiping down one last counter. The entire kitchen smells like Clorox, and you take a second to consider unloading the dishwasher. Your family has been asleep for hours and your eyes are heavy and burning. It’s probably a combination of the cleaner and lack of sleep. Naw, you’ll do it in the morning.
You slide into bed trying not to wake your husband, and in an instant you’re asleep. It feels like 10 minutes have passed when you hear crying. Noooo! Not a crying child. I don’t even care to go see what’s the matter.
The guilt of that very thought catapults you out of bed. You half carry, half drag the toddler back to bed with you, something you and your husband promised would never happen. Everyone squeezes in and you drift off ignoring the whimpering and wriggling child. A foot in the throat jolts your entire body out of sleep. You shove the child away, but the guilt of such a behavior from a loving mother causes you to pull the toddler closer.
Your body hasn’t even found it’s REM sleep when the alarm buzzes. Time to start another day. You peel yourself up, and begin the morning routine: breakfast, school clothes, folders in backpacks, snacks, out the door.
You’re in no mood to chat with your children, and it’s all you can do to say a half-hearted, “Good morning.” In the middle of making lunches, scurrying around looking for lost shoes, and brushing ponytails, your husband announces from the bedroom, “Babe, you need to do some laundry! I’m all out of underwear!”
You take a deep breath as your eyes fill up. You wish you could punch your husband in his face, but the guilt of such an awful thought, pushes out the words, “I’ll do some today!”
You don’t look him in the eye, but you allow him a kiss on the cheek and you offer an ‘I love you, too’, as he hustles out the door, only having to worry about himself.
You feel guilty for the way you feel, so under your breath you pray, Jesus, help me be a better wife and mother.
Sound familiar? Not really what we signed up for, is it?
You see, we don’t need more of God, because he’s already living inside of us, and he’s already given us complete access to himself. We don’t need to pray more, fast more, go to church more, volunteer more, or even read our Bible more.
We need to take care of ourselves more. We need to stop making excuses why we can’t, and make it happen — no matter what.
Several years ago, Matt and I never went on dates. We played the victim role of our lives: no money, couldn’t afford a baby-sitter, didn’t have a baby-sitter to call, didn’t have time. You name it, we had an excuse as to why we couldn’t make it happen. Then, the affair happened and we just about lost everything. Crisis changes you. It makes you wake up and do things differently. Now, we make no excuses. No money? Matt worked out a deal where we exchanged web design services for babysitting, then, we’ll drive to a parking lot, eat our $1 cheeseburgers, and sit and talk until we know the kids are in bed. No one to babysit? Everyone in our phone’s contact list is fair game, and we’ll start with the A’s if we have to.
So, how about you? Ever think, I hate being a mother? Or, If someone else came along and offered me a better deal, I’m out? Or, If this whole place went up in flames, I would pull up a chair and roast some marshmallows.
Don’t be like me and wait until crisis strikes. Listen to yourself. Trust yourself, and don’t wait for someone to give you a self-care golden ticket, because they probably never will. No more excuses, and no more guilt. Find ways to replenish your mind, body and spirit, and make it at least an hour a day.
And when those you love ask what you’re doing, just say,
I’m taking care of me, so I can take care of you.
Trust me, when they see the change in you, they’ll be handing you more self-care golden tickets than you can spend.
Feel free to link up your own awesomeness!
Next weeks prompt is
Embarrassing Mommy Moment