Make sure you don’t “pass out” on your family by having a healthy self-care routine!
I remember a particularly crazy day when my youngest was around two months old: It had been one of those days where I was wearing pretty much every type of bodily fluid imaginable, and had been all day long. The baby was crying even though he’d just been fed, changed, napped and generally fussed over. The toddler was crying because the baby was crying and I wasn’t paying attention to his monster truck stadium. I’d been tracking Tyler’s movements on Find My Friends for the past forty five minutes. When he finally came home, I met him in the driveway. I dumped my son in his arms, directed him toward the toddler, and said, “I need to take a shower.”
When I was in the middle of my blissful shower, Tyler comes into the bathroom with the crying baby and gave me this look like, Are you done yet?
And I just snapped.
“I HAVEN’T TAKEN A SHOWER ALL WEEK!” I said, swallowing a mouthful of shampoo suds. “CAN I JUST GET ONE SECOND TO MYSELF FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!”
My husband stared at me, wide-eyed, and backed out of the bathroom, careful not to step on any more hidden mom-bombs.
Not my finest moment.
Since then, I’ve tried to avoid these kinds of scenarios by communicating with Tyler about my mom-status. Here’s the thing about us moms: sometimes we don’t realize that we need some “me” time until we’re at code level RED. And then it’s mayhem. And not at all Christlike.
So I’m trying to change that. And here’s how:
1. Think about what YOU need to refresh.
We all rejuvenate differently. Some of us are nappers. Others like to go for walks outside. Maybe your ideal is curling up on the couch with a good book and a hot cup of tea. Whatever you need to refresh yourself and get yourself to a place where you can best serve your family, figure that out.
Maybe you feel a little guilty about taking time away from your family to refresh. I get it – but honestly that’s just irrational mom guilt. Let me try to convince you: even God rested. He created the world, and then, He rested (Genesis 2:2-3). He liked that rest so much that He instituted a whole day to rest – the Sabbath. Even Jesus often withdrew to lonely places, away from the crowds, so that He could rest and pray (Luke 5:16). True rest is from God.
If you need more convincing, check out this post about self care for Christian moms from mom and Bible teacher Ashley Varner.
True rest is from God.Mommy of Mayhem
One analogy that helps me is this: when you get on an airplane and they’re going through their safety talk, they tell you that if the cabin pressure changes, oxygen masks will drop from the ceiling. They instruct you to put your mask on first, then assist those next to you. I always thought this was a bit…well, selfish. But then someone told me this: what happens if your child is sitting next to you and you’re trying, but failing, to put their mask on first and then you pass out before you can get either of your masks on – then what?
Here’s the truth: some of us are in danger of “passing out” on our families because we don’t stop to rest. It’s not selfish to take care of yourself so that you can take care of your family.
So, mama, what do you need to do to feel renewed? If you need some ideas, head to this post with a self-care checklist for fighting off the mommy blues.
2. Communicate clearly what you need.
It’s critical to be really clear about what you need from your spouse. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does have to be clear.
Example: “I’ve realized that I need some time to myself to help rejuvenate and rest so that I can be my best for our family. I’d like to discuss how to make that work. Here’s what I’m thinking: I’d like to take two hours to go on a prayer walk by myself and then get coffee at Starbucks and walk around Target by myself. This will help me to blow off some steam and get to a good place to take care of our family. When can we make that happen?”
Make sure you communicate: 1. What you need, 2. Why you need it and 3. How to make it happen.
3. Schedule in advance.
I’ve often found that this is the recipe for all kinds of successes. If you and your spouse have this marked on your calendars each week, it’s more likely to happen.
4. Take advantage of opportunities.
Sometimes, when I have an opportunity to rest, I don’t take it. Often I regret this later. Especially if we have a crazy day/week/event coming up, I’m often convinced in retrospect that it’s good to rest in advance. When the kiddos go down for their naps, take fifteen minutes to just sit and enjoy your cup of coffee. If they’re playing nicely by themselves, instead of rushing off to do the dishes or fold that pile of laundry, take a few moments to stretch and do some deep breathing. It will make a world of difference in navigating this hectic life we have.
So, mamas, what’s your self-care routine after a long week of momming?