As I sit with other moms in Chic-Fil-A while our kids play in the indoor playground, I’m reminded of just how hard this job is. We give so much to our kids, and rightly so, but this job is tough. This job is sacrificial. This job is refining. This job is worth it and honorable, but it is hard. I have personally struggled with just how hard this job is. Quite frankly, I had no idea what motherhood looked like. I did not have a shining example of a mom to replicate (I know I’m not alone in this). Don’t get me wrong, I truly believe she was doing her best, but it wasn’t a great example.
Well, the hard job of motherhood started to get to me. For a long time I was taking care of my boys so fervently, I lost myself. I would get a free second to myself and would have no idea what to do with it. I didn’t even know what I enjoyed doing! I was crabby and exhausted. My relationship with God suffered, therefore my relationship with my husband and my kids suffered. I knew I needed to change things, but I didn’t know how I could when I was so depleted spiritually, emotionally, and physically.
I sought help and one of the first things we talked about was “self care”. My friend Katie calls it the “oxygen mask” concept- “put the oxygen mask on yourself before assisting the children around you”. Also known as, “if mama ain’t happy, nobody’s happy”. Well, “who has the time for self care?”, I thought! Now, looking back on things, I understand why this was (and still is) so important. How was I going to take care of my boys if I wasn’t taking care of myself? I watched my own mother numb her sufferings and stresses and not take care of herself. In doing so, she hurt a lot of people in her life, including her daughter (me).
Obviously, it’s a lot easier for me to take care of myself spiritually, emotionally and physically now that my boys are in school 5 days a week. But man, I wish I would have realized how important this was to do when my boys were young. Even if I had to hire a babysitter! Things would have been so much better and maybe sweeter. Now I realize how important it is to take time to spend with God, see my counselor, talk to a close friend or go to an exercise class! I still fight feelings of guilt, but I try very hard to nip that guilt in the bud and celebrate the healthy mom I’m becoming! I’m taking care of myself, and in turn, enjoying a sweeter, more peaceful, God centered life!
If I could, this is what I would tell my younger self- Take care of yourself on Mother’s Day and every day! Do it for you, do it for your family, and do it guilt free!
Lots of love to all of you Mama’s on this Mother’s Day weekend! This job is hard! I’ve got your back.
Pictures by Candid Chic Photography