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Hi there, my dear mom friend. We need to talk. I need to share with you some important things about taking care of yourself. You see, it’s critical to practice self-care as a mom. And no, it’s not selfish. It’s absolutely necessary.
I’m here to share with you the reasons why self-care is so necessary and critical.
I know for many moms self-care seems either selfish or simply unattainable. Or even a flat-out joke. Like – never gonna happen.
Let me give you an analogy to help you see things from a new perspective:
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You have a million things to do today and your schedule is packed tight.
You rush and get ready to go and hop in your car. You turn the ignition and start out on the road towards your first destination.
Thoughts of all-the-things run through your head like someone left the barnyard door open.
You try to focus on the first thing, mentally telling all-the-other-things to hold their horses. You’ll get to them.
Then, you notice it.
The gas gauge.
The yellow light is on and, actually, it has been for some time. You remember now that you noticed it yesterday when you were out and about. But today, it’s not just kind of low, it’s seriously low.
You consider your options for a minute, then you make your decision.
“I don’t have time to stop and refuel now, I’ve got too much to do! Too many people are depending on me and I’m way too far behind. I’ve got to keep going.”
So, you keep going.
Do You Want to Guess the Outcome of This Story?
Here are a couple of options for how this story could turn out:
Option A) You keep plugging along, attending to everything you need to do – and somehow – miraculously, the gas never totally empties and you actually go three more days on 2 tablespoons of gas and get everything done.
Option B) You keep plugging along and get your first errand done and as soon as you get on the road again you hear it– “putt… putt… putt…” and your car slowly coasts to a dead stop.
Which outcome is most likely to occur? You’re absolutely right – option B.
The car will run out of fuel and totally stop.
It doesn’t matter how many things you still need to do, the car will stop.
Why Don’t We Treat Ourselves as Well as Our Car?
Somehow we think that we can push our bodies and our minds to the utter brink of “fuel emptiness” and simply will ourselves to keep going.
Unlike a car, sometimes we actually can will ourselves to keep going.
For a while anyway.
And then if our fuel tank is still empty, we somehow make ourselves run on fumes. Knowing that our performance is way lacking in speed, energy, effectiveness, and kindness.
Running on fumes can become so commonplace – meaning, that’s how we pretty much live our lives – and we get so used to it that we really don’t see that we can be any different.
…The kids behave a certain way, and we lose our temper. That’s just how it is. That’s just the way I am.
…The house is a mess – well, that’s all I’m able to do. Just deal with it.
…I have dreams and desires for my life, but oh well. I just can’t have or do any of them because I’m a mom.
…I want my kids to feel loved, but I just can’t take any more of their demands!
…I try to do things I love doing – like writing or painting – but no matter how I try, the creative juices just don’t flow anymore.
…I try to give attention to my husband, but things just always end up in an ‘unpleasant discussion.’
But for some reason, we get up the next morning, get in ‘our car’ that is on empty, and forcefully push the gas pedal and demand that our body goes again.
Day after day.
If our bodies were a car, you bet we’d stop to get refueled. It just simply can’t be any other way.
But what about us?
When we keep going, our bodies will either burn out, get sick, become seriously depressed, or become so bitter that no one wants to be around us. It can become so bad that we HAVE to stop. And then it’s a really big struggle to get things back in working order again.
I know from personal experience what it’s like to run on an empty tank most of the time – for years. It’s no fun.
I just thought that this is the way life was gonna be from now on. And I couldn’t see any way around it.
Mom, Let’s See A Better Way
If we could see a better way, we would begin to recognize that our bodies/minds/emotions/spirits are low on fuel and we would LET ourselves recover, rest, renew, rejuvenate, refuel.
And really, if we really paid attention to things and trusted that things could be better, we would do all we could to keep ourselves above half of a tank. Because we would simply run more optimally.
But the question is “HOW?!”
Two Options For What Can Be Done
Option #1) We could determine that there has to be more to life and seek for answers in ways that take us away from our families. To find something more to life than JUST being a mom.
Well, I have respect for all women who try to make their lives better, but for me, I’m not going to choose this option.
I believe that being a mom is one of the greatest things on this planet, so finding some answers that support me in that role sound better to me.
Option #2) We could determine that there has to be more to life, a better way of living. There has to be a way to be a mom, find joy and fulfillment in it, and totally thrive in the process.
We can consider the possibility that God did make a way for us moms to do all that we truly need to do, and find joy and happiness in the middle of it all. That family life and motherhood IS a vehicle to tremendous joy and fulfillment. And that perhaps we just have some learning to do.
This is the option I have chosen. And I have to tell you, even though it took me years to figure it out, my cup runneth over. My heart and soul are full. I find such tremendous fulfillment in being a mom because I’ve learned how to do it. But I wasn’t always this way. I had a LOT to learn, and I really want to help you, too.
I want to share with you what I’ve learned, and help you have what I have.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
We NEED to Do This
My friend, we have to purposely find ways to care for ourselves. Because not only will it greatly benefit us, it will benefit our family as well. We NEED to recognize our need for refueling. We HAVE to find ways to refuel. We MUST find hope in the possibility of having energy and joy in our daily tasks as a mom.
It’s hard… I know.
But this is where we need to turn our thoughts upward and plead to our Father in Heaven for help and guidance.
He wants you to be happy.
He wants you to be a joyful mother.
He wants your family to have a peaceful and powerful mom.
He wants to help you feel and be successful as a mother.
I can promise you this – that when you determine to seek his help you will find it. And you will have the help and the grace you need to work at figuring out a better way to do things – a better way to see things – a better way to live.
The Verdict: Self-Care – Is it Selfish? Not on Your Life!
Just like you and your family are so grateful for a car that has fuel and can take you where you want to go and thrive off of the experiences you have because of it –
So, too, will your family be grateful for a mom that is well-fueled and has a brightness for life, for them, and for each new day. And you and they will thrive off of the experiences that come because of it.
So HOW Do You Do This?!
How in the world can a busy mom of kids find time and ways to engage in self-care?
First of all – DECIDE.
Decide it’s important. That it’s vital. That it is a critical element to the well-being and success of your family as well as your own.
Let’s face it, mom, YOU are the vehicle in your family. Where you go, your family goes. How you go, your family goes.
Second – DETERMINE.
Determine that you’re going to make it a priority in your life. That you will pay attention to your fuel tank and recognize when it’s needing attention. And that you will give it the attention it needs.
Are you half full? 1/4 tank? Yellow light on? Nearing the no-go zone? Determine to notice your fuel state.
Allow yourself the privilege of acknowledging where you are and your need for refueling.
No one gets mad when we have to stop the car to fuel up.
And I know what you’re thinking… that the kids never stop needing you. That there isn’t time to take care of yourself. This is where your courage and your knowledge of the truth need to come into play…
Third – TRAIN.
With love and kindness, you can claim the right and the privilege to slow down or stop and refuel.
Do it with kindness and love. Clearly explain the situation to your family and do your best to help them understand.
With gentleness and firmness, your family can begin to see and trust the value of a well-fueled mom.
If they are used to you always giving, giving, giving and running on empty all the time, they may balk at the idea of not having access to you 24/7 like they used to.
But you know that what you’re doing for them in taking care of yourself will make things better for everyone, so you can press forward.
Fourth – BE MINDFUL.
Be mindful that however you engage in self-care that it will not only be for your benefit but also for the benefit of your family.
This is a delicate balance because this is where things can get switched over into selfishness if we let it.
Meaning, we’ve got to be careful who’s guidance and direction we’re giving heed to.
We have a Father in Heaven who will guide us into all truth – into ideas for self-care that will not only be effective for us but also keep our hearts where they belong – with our families.
And we have an adversary who seeks to pull families apart and is all too eager to encourage wiped out moms to find fulfillment in ways that take her heart and her focus away from her family.
There are PLENTIFUL and simple ways to provide self-care for ourselves as a mom that will exponentially bless you and your family at the same time.
OK, So You’re Convinced! Now, HOW Do You REALLY Do This?!
I’ve got you covered, my friend!
In part two of this article, I’ll share with you some really simple and powerful ways you can take good care of yourself and keep your fuel tank filled, or at least above half a tank!
Are you willing to provide this self-care for yourself? I do hope so, my friend, for you are Soooo worth it.
Get a copy of the 9 Fundamental Self-Care Principles on this 1 page shortened version to help you remember how important you are!
These principles are found in the next article “Fundamental Self-Care Ideas That Will Make You a Happier Mom.”
Head on over to Part 2 of this article “Fundamental Self-Care Ideas That Will Make You a Happier Mom.”
I’ll see you there!
Read the rest of the articles in this series of “How to Be a Happy Mom”:
No link yet? Coming soon!
- How to Be a Happy Mom: An Introduction
- My Story: How I Got Good at Being a Mom
- It’s All About Light and Focus
- #1 Tip for Better Parenting
- Self-Care for Moms – Is it Selfish? Or Necessary?
- Fundamental Self-Care Ideas That Will Make You a Happier Mom
- Best-Self Care Products Moms Will Love
- Tips & Helps to Avoid Mommy Burnout
- How to Do it All as a Mom
- How to Get More Things Done as a Mom
- How to be Happy on Mother’s Day
- How to Find Joy in Life