On Finding Self-Care

Do you remember the “me time” movement a few years back? My boys were probably toddler age at the time. All over the internet or in the local support groups you would hear about how important it was to have me time…time for yourself. I’m going to be totally honest and say I never jumped on that movement. I did need time to myself, and my days felt crazy and hectic, but that particular concept never fully resonated with me. I realize now it’s because what I really needed was self-care. Now, I’m guessing you may have heard those buzz words.

Self-care, and the idea that we need to take care of ourselves to then be able to be our best for others {family, work, whatever….}, is just a practical and healthy concept. I’ve noticed that many women push themselves until exhaustion….both mental and physical. We don’t stop until we are forced to. We wake up some days wondering, “why am I so exhausted?” never fully realizing that our over scheduled days and long to do list could very well be our worst enemy.

This morning I woke up feeling depleted and realized it was 40 minutes past my normal wake up time. I had to tell myself that it was ok and that I needed rest. I was even trying to tell myself to sleep a little longer. I can do that because I have 13 year olds who can make their own breakfast, get dressed, etc. But what do you do when you have little ones and need rest? I’m not going to pretend that I have some magic solution. Every one of us has a unique situation so there is no one size fits all self-care recipe. I think that is the most important principle of self-care….you have to figure out, through trial and error, what is your best remedy.

image

When my twins were little, I was able to limit outside activities, so that’s what I did. We spent many days at home in our pajamas. In fact, most of our home movies will star me in my pjs, no make-up, and hair wild & free. At one point, I enlisted a family member to watch our boys for a couple hours each week just so I could slowly walk around Target. That little child-less Target trip did wonders for my week. So, I guess I was administering self-care without even realizing it.

Jump to today and I think I’ve perfected my unique self-care routine….may I suggest some ideas? But remember the best self-care routine is the one that speaks to YOU, the one that causes you to feel refreshed. Maybe make a list of a few things that quickly come to mind and which bring you joy. That’s what I did to come up with my own routine.

1. “Be still and know that I am God….” Psalm 46:10. I like the New American Standard version… “Cease striving and know that I am God.” For sure this is my number one cure for blah and lifeless days. I will make a cup of tea, sit, pray, read….I will just be still. You may be thinking, “yeah, but she has 13 year olds who aren’t tugging at her…” You’d be surprised. I find the moment I’m still, suddenly husband and boys need me, or want to talk. In those moments I do stop and answer or listen, but then go right back to that quiet moment.
2. Rest. Oh, how I love me some sleep. I’ve read that even a 15 minute nap in the middle of the day can help meet your sleep quota. I’m going to start testing that theory out. Get it when you can is my mantra.
3. Chocolate and tea…or coffee….or whatever floats my boat on that day. I usually add this part of self-care to the “Be still” moment.
4. I listen to encouraging podcasts or read a good book. For me, encouragement or reading and feeling a “me too” moment does wonders for my attitude. It can give me energy and make me feel hopeful. I seek out these things often.
5. A walk. Preferably outside in fresh air. Love the adrenaline boost it gives me.
6. Etc, etc…..

My list goes on. It’s actually pretty long, but as you can see, it’s totally unique to me. And really the things on my list are things you may already do. Sometimes we just need to be reminded that it’s good that we take care of ourselves. You may be thinking, nahh I’m not into books or podcasts. Ohh that reminds me, I forgot music…give me a good song, one I want to sing along with and I get an instant mood boost. The point is, there are so many things we can do, but we often forget to do any of them. If you’re feeling depleted, take a couple moments to scratch out your own list. Hopefully, you’ll see that taking some time to take care of yourself will do wonders…for yourself and also your family.

 

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Hats of a Minivan Mom

Minivan

We moms wear many hats every day, but have you ever stopped to name the hats you wear while driving your kids from place to place? I bet you can relate to these and will even come up with a few more after reading mine.

Megaphone Hat: The one you wear while trying to have a conversation with someone in the way back seat when everyone else is making noise while driving down the highway.

Referee Hat: Remember those kids sitting way in the back? Now they’re fighting about a noise someone made or an arm that crossed the invisible line.

Elastigirl (Mrs. Incredible) Hat: Worn when tantrum throwing toddler whines and cries for the toy he dropped and wants you to reach, because he needs it this second. Also worn when contorting your arm to either reach for a snack at the bottom of the diaper bag (which is behind the driver seat) or to stroke your baby’s cheek when he’s crying.

Chef Hat: When you have to pass snacks and drinks out to everyone because they are soooo hungry!

Losing My Mind, Maybe It Fell Into My Lead Foot Hat: The baby’s screaming and neither your Cooing Hat or your Singing Hat are doing the trick. You can’t take another second. You look down and see you’re going 15 miles above the speed limit, because, even though this feels like an out of body experience, your foot’s brain says, “the faster I drive, the faster this torture ends.”

I’m starting a petition. You see, I’ve never gotten a ticket and I should be rewarded for that. Moms can’t just wear the Driver Hat when going from point A to point B with only the slight distraction of the radio. How on earth do we get our family anywhere safely when so much is going on in our vehicle? Because on top of all these hats we wear the Super Mom Hat, that’s how. So insurance companies, we moms think you need to start a new deductible incentive just for us –  the “many hat wearing momma clean driving record” deductible.

 

What is God Saying About your Children for 2016?

Before the new year began, I was praying for my children by calling things that are not as though they are and calling things that are as though they are not. One of my children has been telling little lies. It’s sometimes hard to tell if this child is doing it on purpose or not, because it is often masked with confusion, confusion about the situation and about what others are speaking to said child. I was praying this way: “Thank you God that (insert name) is a truth teller. Thank you that he/she knows how to speak clearly and to understand what is spoken without confusion.”

Another child made a habit of talking back. Apparently, this mama is always wrong…until I’m right. “Thank you, Lord, that _____ is respectful. Thank you that when he/she gets frustrated he/she will still be at peace. Thank you that he/she accepts correction and has a teachable spirit.”

Here’s a mama mess up story with my oldest. Our toddler left a toy out that we all kept tripping over, but no one would move it. My oldest tripped on it, then about 10 minutes later, my husband did. I sharply said to my son, “Could you puhleeze go put that toy away?! Everyone is tripping on it!” After he quietly obeyed, I said, “I’m sorry I spoke so harshly. You didn’t do anything wrong.” He said, “I’m used to it.” Ouch. Yes, I speak with an accusing tone a lot.

The next day, I was reading in Luke 1 where Zechariah is visited by Gabriel who tells him very specific things about the son he and Elizabeth will have. When John was born, Zechariah’s mouth opened when he agreed with the word of the Lord by saying the boy’s name was John. Zechariah then prophesied, by the Holy Spirit, to his family and friends about what kind of person John would be and the call he had on his life.

Since reading from Luke, I’ve been thinking about seeking God for a word for my children, something I can pray over them for this new year. My friend Traci, at http://www.tracimichelle.com, challenged her readers to think about what one word God was speaking to them for 2016.

loved

When my son called me out, I realized the word God is speaking for our children for 2016 is “loved.” He (and I) want them to feel so loved, loved by Him, loved by us. I can’t snap my fingers and suddenly fix my bad habit of responding or correcting my kids with a harsh tone. I need God’s Spirit to change me so they can feel my love for them and His love for them through me. The beauty of that is, I have a whole year to yield to what the Holy Spirit wants to do through me to make the changes needed in my relationship with my kids.

Sit down with a journal, music, and your Bible. Ask God what word or phrases He wants to you to pray into existence for your family. Then ask Him to help you get out of the way, so He can bring those words to pass.

 

2 are better than 1

january 16

Walking the path together, mamas, that’s what we are doing. It’s what we should be doing, but sometimes we find ourselves feeling isolated and alone in struggles or so busy with life that connecting with other mama friends gets put last. Feeling isolated puts me in a hard place, because we aren’t meant to do this alone!

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 Two are better than one, because they have a good (more satisfying) reward for their labor, for if they fall, the one will lift up the other. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!

I’ll never forget this day…years ago, I was having just a terrible day. Heading out to my garage to get in the car and take some time away, I opened the garage door to see my girlfriend pull in the driveway. I walked out and hopped into her van and we commiserated together because she was in my driveway for the same reason…except she reached out to me. After a while, we were laughing and talking, encouraged by our time together. We saw that we were not alone.

me, too

I get it

understand that one

I’ve been there

it gets better

it’s only a season

When one falls, the other lifts her up. We were each other’s safe place that day. She reached out and took the drive to my house.

Or made the phone call…

Or sent the text or email…

We “5 mamas” have all talked about the conference we went to this fall and how it impacted us in different ways. The theme was EMBRACE for 2015. 2016 has the theme THRIVE. To thrive means- flourish, prosper, grow, increase…the origin- grasp, get ahold of. (I’m “getting a grip” is one of my favs.)

I realized in my own life that if I want to thrive in the season I find myself in, I have to take care of myself.  As I made my list of the things I need to be able to do that, I put having real, authentic, laugh til you cry, cry til you laugh connections with other mamas is on my list. If you read the “Why 5 Mamas” portion of the blog, you know how this all started. I reached out. I asked some friends to join me. It turned out some of them felt the way I felt.

So, I invite all you mamas out there to join me. It doesn’t have to be this kind of get together, but in this new year, will you reach out? You may have all the friends you need, but there may be someone who needs you! Or you may need some new connections. But take care of this part of you. Thrive in this area of your life. Two are better than one!

 

 

If you want to join us on January 16th, click the link below for all the information!

We have picked the 1st of 5 locations for the RGT Mom Meet Up Training Days!
If you are in the northeast, snag your seat to the Rochester Meet Up – Saturday, January 16!
A special take-home gift if you RSVP soon! Don’t miss this amazing time of fellowship.
The next training session may be too far away for you to attend.
RSVP here:
https://www.facebook.com/events/440128952860225/?ref=4&feed_story_type=308&action_history=null

 

 

 

Hello, 2016!

It’s still 2015 {for just a few more days} but I am already thinking on 2016. I know I’m posting this in January, but I’m actually writing it in December, on Christmas Eve to be exact. I should be prepping for family coming for dinner, prepping for tomorrow…yeah, I’m all about prepping….but instead, I’m avoiding it all and writing some thoughts before they float away.

Over the last month, something clicked in my head and I realized that I was letting some negative things take precedence. Not intentionally. Heck no….I thrive on all things positive {don’t we all?} so if I had recognized it as it was happening I would have squashed it in its tracks, the negative stuff, that is. Nope. As with most things negative, it was a subtle and slow process. I love how God can just turn a switch in your head, like that click I mentioned earlier, and suddenly you see things clearly. I also love that we have the ability to make a choice. As Claire mentioned, choosing to view the day in a new way, and as Ginger wrote about, to choose hope. Angela spoke of how a bad day, or chaos from our kids can be turned around with our response, and Deborah spoke about feeling depleted but choosing to surrender. I sense a totally unplanned theme with all us mamas, and I’m digging it. We all, you included, have bad days, bad seasons, bad {insert your choice}, but we also all have the ability to turn a switch, make a choice, change an attitude.

That power is right there waiting for us. We don’t have to drive to the store or save up enough money to purchase it. It’s right there in our own head and heart, placed there by our heavenly Father. Why don’t we use it? I know for me, times of depression, whether due to hormone/chemical imbalance or life situations, can quickly make me feel empty, weak, and totally powerless. In those times, I’m learning to find my fuel. For me it’s prayer, a walk, rest, a good book. Those are some of my remedies. What are yours? I feel like if we recognize and prepare ourselves for those times of discouragement we conquer them much quicker. Yes, of course, with God’s help. It’s all with God’s help.

2016….I’m feeling hopeful, joyful, and refreshed about it. Isn’t that one of the best things about starting a new year? It’s like you are suddenly allowed to let go of a bunch of mistakes and baggage. A new year is a legitimate reason to refocus and begin anew. I’m hoping for better choices and sustained joy. I’m wishing this for all of us. And when you start to see me slipping a bit and allowing the negative to take precedence, please feel free to remind me of how good positive feels. I’ll do the same for you.

Peace out 2015….hello 2016.

 

joy