I’m just learning the answer to this somewhat rhetorical question – usually the mama needs to take care of mama.
It looks different for different people in different seasons of life. But I believe one thing is for certain regardless of where you’re at: if you aren’t being deliberate about caring for yourself in some very basic ways, you won’t be able to sustain caring for a home, a husband, some children and every other random thing that might be under your stewardship.
In order to know what you need and how to make sure you can make it for the very long haul of homemaking, child raising/teaching and husband-loving, time needs to be spent pondering what fills your cup. If the things that fill your cup are…coffee, sugar, shopping and nightly TV/movies maybe some healthier long-term options would be worth thinking about. Whatever they may be, I think there are depths to draw from when we choose to carve out some time for what will help enable us to keep moving forward. There will always be normal roadblocks and sometimes monumental ones, that make life hard. And if we don’t have a plan in place that helps nourish us, it’s pretty easy to derail.
Does it sound like maybe I speak from experience? Indeed I do and am still on the learning journey. There was a time when I was pretty sure I could work part time, lead a ministry at church, support a husband who was pastoring, maintain a home, raise children and still manage to do my hair, feel rested and balanced and sane. Sometime in that year after our second was born and I was juggling all those things, post-partum depression gripped me and all my plates came crashing. Nothing was working well. And I was convinced I was the only one who was having such a hard time with it all.
So experience and failure and life have taught me many things. I still forget them, but in general they stay pretty close to the surface. For me, these things are keys to life survival right now:
- going out with a close friend to a movie every couple weeks/month – this totally meets our common need to ‘check out’ for a couple hours and especially not watching TV or anything, I really need my mind to chill out sometimes
- making the drive to meet my kindred spirit, life long best friend for face to face (kid free) talk time – we never cover everything but I feel like my cup is brimming every time we say goodbye
- going to all the work to have a date night every month or so – I really wish it were more but with 4 young kids, it’s hard to make it happen (I would love for my friend Kim to write about her ‘in home dates’ that she and her hubby enjoy!)
- getting up early (6 AM these days!) to encounter peace, stillness and Jesus before my day starts – I’ve struggled with this all my life but see a desperate need for it in order for my life to feel more centered
- building up my supplement repertoire to full capacity – this has take a while, they are expensive, but the difference in my energy and capacity is very significant, especially being pregnant – aloe vera juice, undiluted cranberry juice, whole food calcium and prenatals, vitamin D, liquid iron/herbs, high potency probiotics and Omega fatty acids are all on the current list
- exercise in some form, even just a walk, does wonders for my whole self
- making reading a priority, sometimes just pure, fun, fiction
I’d love to hear any more ideas or things that you’ve found helpful in navigating motherhood!
**PS**After I posted this, I noticed below the post that I wrote another post about this back in Nov 2009…and the way that I was ‘taking care of mama’ was by registering to attend a Mom Heart conference with some dear friends who’d moved away. My the things that have transpired since then, I didn’t get to attend the conference but God has still been ever faithful to care for me through what has been quite a year.