I have more time for myself right now as a single mom of 4 little ones than I did when I was sharing life with their father... How is that possible? Because now I take "selfish" time just for me.
OK, let me be clear right from the start... Moms, hear me now.... YOU NEED TO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF... It's like on the airplane when they say you have to put the oxygen mask on yourself before your child... Do you know why this is? Because if you don't take care of yourself you won't survive to take care of your child. Don't "wait until they are older". Don't "wait until you have time" DON'T WAIT!
We used to live a life of strife, stress, anger and hostility. It wasn't always bad of course, but when it was we were all living in fight or flight mode - and in that mode I didn't have much to give my children except wings to hide under.... Now, as a mom who is taking care of myself I have the emotional freedom to help my children soar instead of just survive. My children are getting to the amazingly beautiful place of making mistakes without shame or fear, without wondering if life will end if they are not perfect - and it's good! Try, fail, try again - this is how we succeed in life!
Now you might ask... How in the world do you have time for self care when you are 100% single parenting 4 children, homeschooling and running a business with 500 students and 14 employees?!
I am selfish... Ok, if you just spit out your coffee go get a napkin and come back...
Now hear me the way I intend to write this... This is a good thing!
Words associated with selfish (in a good way) self-loving, self-interested, self-regarding....
Antonyms for selfish; Self-forgetting, Self-forgetful. Self-denying.
Um, what?! How does that work? Here is how it works for me - I am not a mom until 8am... Now when school begins it's probably going to have to bump back to 7:30am and I will need to get up earlier... But my kids know, don't ask mom a question until 8am. I won't feed you, I won't help you, I won't pay attention to you until mommy is ready to be a mommy. What has this brought about? Freedom for mommy and bonding for kiddos... They go to each other in the mornings or they entertain themselves... I have created boundaries to help mommy be the best mommy I can be.
So - My morning routine looks like this.
5:30am - Wake up - give the dog a treat (this keeps her quiet)
Glance at self in the mirror, notice how tired I am and how frizzy my hair is and then ignore these facts.
5:50am-6:50am - Exercise... I hate the first 15 minutes of it until my body wakes up, and then it fuels my day.
6:50-7:00am - make coffee and let the dog out
(Today I bought some coffee while I picked up more dishwasher soap!)
7:00-7:40am - study God's word and pray for God to direct my life and day
7:40am-8am - Get myself ready for the day (shower, make bed etc)
I know this doesn't seem like a big deal.... But I didn't protect this time before... Sometimes I would sleep in until 7:45 and then I woke up and I could never catch up, because I never got to be me, I was always mommy.
Other ways I take care of my (with children awake)
- I buy coffee and don't share... Ok, sometimes I share, but sometimes I say "No, this one is mommy's"... and it's ok to not share sometimes! All those gift cards from students basically made this become a wonderful self-care ritual, so thank you for that!
- I most often drive anywhere we are going with every window open and music blaring and I sing without a care of who sees me or hears me... In fact, my kids love this now and we all get to request our favorite songs.
- I have begun playing the piano again... Finding time to just sit down and sing and play.
- I leave the dishes for another day
Remember that picture above? Here is the rest of the picture for more perspective... Notice the boxes of school curriculum, and the welcome back gifts for students, random receipts that need to be filed and dishes to be washed... Oh and our vacuum out because we had ants in our kitchen! All will be ignored until I become a mommy again.
This down here... this will always be there... I mean, occasionally my kitchen does sparkle, but this is real life... Real life will be here for the next 60 years, but I won't if I don't take care of myself.
Tell me moms - How do you take care of yourself?
Or, what will you start today to start doing so?