The Benefits of Being a Selfish Mom

26
May
2014

Benefits-Selfish-Mom

Do you know your family is likely begging you to be more selfish?  Perhaps that seems a little far-fetched, but I do think it is true.

This thought came into my head last week as I was out for a 7 mile run, something that takes me a bit of time I will add!  This is usually a 2 hour commitment for me, with preparing to run, running, cooling down and showering, etc.  But you know what?  

I feel so much better when I give myself this gift, and I know I am much better with my family.

Perhaps even thinking of it as a gift may be wrong thinking.  It is a necessity.

So it has me thinking how often we moms make excuses that we don’t have time or can’t make the time to care for our own “seemingly selfish needs.”  I wrote a post a few weeks back on Not Being a Martyr Mom and I think this term Martyr comes into play in the same manner when it comes to caring for our own needs.  We like to kinda throw the “woe is me” card – or perhaps that it just me?

I have a choice each day, I can either play the victim and not take my needs seriously or I can be proactive and take charge of my time, my tasks and make the time to care for my needs.

What needs am I talking about?  The list is really endless, but for me it would entail – caring for my body in a physical way (running, strength training, a relaxing bath, pedicure, yoga, walks) caring for my spirit (daily quiet time, prayer, real quiet time with no noise and no “to-do” list, appreciating my blessings, journaling, writing).  That’s a start.

But I also know that depending on the season of motherhood it can be hard to get time, but it is oh, so important for you to do that.  When you do, do you know what happens?  Let me share with you what I know it does for me. 

Rested

I feel more rested and better about myself when I can take the time to care for my needs.  We sacrifice a lot – by choice, don’t get me wrong – motherhood is good, believe me, but it is OK to care for our needs too.  We do not always have to give, give, give and give more.  You are not created to run on fumes, so refueling our bodies is really necessary.

Connected

I find myself feeling refreshed and able to connect with my entire family more often when my needs are met.  I am more engaged in activities rather than trying to carve out any bit of silence and alone time, especially since I am an introvert.  I am happy to plan activities to share together – I am just plain more fun!  My entire family likes this, so came my question, “Do you know your family is begging you to be a selfish mom?”  They want you completely present, refreshed and energized, rather than just “there”.  Wouldn’t you agree?

Priorities

You can get to a place where you learn to prioritize better, that is what I have found.  I know that things will run smoother when I take the hour to get some exercise or get up an hour early so I can sit quietly and read.  I know my body and I know what it needs.  I can then use those same principles to look at other areas in my life and manage them as well, whether tasks, time with my husband or writing obligations.  It is a balancing act and learning how to care for our needs is important.

Happy Mom = Happy Family

Honestly, the bottom line for me is, I know I am much more pleasant to be around when I step up to the plate and take care of myself.  When my body feels good, my spirit is fresh – I am much better able to handle those curve balls that come into play – you know exactly the ones I mean.

So what can you do today to gov yourself a break and be selfish?  I am sure your family will actually thank you for it! 

5 Strategies for the Introverted Mom

7
Apr
2014

Introvert-Mom-Strategies

Okay, I am going to come clean right at the beginning of this post, I am mainly writing this post to fulfill a need and reminder for myself.  I am tired and exhausted from working a bit too much and not allowing enough time for my body to rejuvenate.

I know there are many moms who can relate and probably need the reminder and permission to give their body the space it needs to thrive.  Self-care often gets put at the bottom of the list, which is a big problem.

I’ve just returned from a marriage conference, which I will share about on Thursday – and I am tried.  Don’t get me wrong, the conference was great, I connected and spent intentional time with my husband, but I also entertained people, gathered in large crowds and was on the go since the time we left home.  These kinds of activities are exhausting for me as an introvert.  If I am not careful I can easily become overwhelmed, exhausted and depleted and depression can sneak it’s way in.

Before that I was working 8-10 hours a day on my business and picking up the extra pieces that I could.  Thank goodness my husband is home on vacation to provide back up support for me and our family.

But it reminded me and got me thinking that there are things I need to do for myself so that I can be the best mom for my family and also, the best wife too – and one of those things is to find time to be alone!

How can you do that in a house full of kids?  Let’s look at the ways and hopefully one of my suggestions will peek your interest and you can put a plan into action to achieve that needed break.

Evening Bath

This is something that I had put into religious practice for months, but in the past month, I have not given my body the gift of a nice bath.  To be honest, by the time things get settled down in the evening I am too tired to go through the hassle, but I know my body craves the comfort of the quiet, the benefits of the essential oils I use to revive my cells and also the refreshment it provides.

I’ve made excuse after excuse, as we all do.  Well, tonight, I am not making an excuse and will get the job done.

Morning Quiet Time

This one is like a broken record from me – but yes, even I get caught up in the everyday and want to sleep in past my alarm!  With the travel schedule I’ve had in the past several weeks, my body is not back to it’s regular rhythm and I just need my sleep.  I feel it is important to recognize that need your body is craving, but also to realize when it is just a “lazy” excuse to lay in bed.

I’ve been bouncing back and forth with my ‘get-up’ time in the morning and will be catching only a few minutes of quiet time….and my day is reflective of what that quiet time quantity is.  So starting Monday (the morning you are reading this) I am back to my usually 5:30 AM get up – reading God’s word, sipping my coffee with delight and enjoy the peaceful morning before the house begins to bustle.  It is critical for my attitude and my success during the day.

Music

I love music and it is like ‘oil to my soul‘.  Pandora is my favorite place to peruse and be inspired.  To gather courage and energy for my day.  If I had to choose between having a TV or a good stereo in my main living area – it would be a stereo for sure.  Some of my favorite stations to tune in are:  Keola Beamer, JJ Weeks Band, Hillsong United,  or Spa Suite Studio.  It is amazing how my attitude changes and my energy goes up when I turn on my music.  Even for my 4 year old, it sets a tone for the time we are together.

Afternoon Quiet Play

For days when there is  no school, it can seem for me, that the day goes on forever and ever.  I have to give myself some quiet rest from talking, noise and activity.  So it can mean several different things – either my little one plays in his room, looks at books or takes a break with my iPad while I refresh myself with some time being on my own.  {Yes, I use an iPad  – but it is limited}.

Allowing my little guy to run around the backyard too is now another option since the weather is nice again.  I can easily watch him while he hits a baseball or plays golf for 30 minutes, while I make a cup of tea and sip it in peace.

Exercise

Getting physical is a must for me – not only to refill my introverted self, but as a stress reliever.  I am much better at handling noise, little people and the extra stuff that comes from having a house full of people.  This takes planning and intention on my part.  When I do not make it a priority I cannot blame someone else, it is my fault. 

The other day I was feeling a bit irritated that I wasn’t going to get my workout in and then I decided to try something new.  I told my little guy that we were doing a work out together and so we did.  I started my Jillian Michaels’ workout, {love that I can watch it for free with Amazon Prime!} he got to play on my pilates mat that I have to do the floor portion of the work out with.  I told him he could work out on the mat until I needed it, then he would have to move aside while I did that part, but then he could go back.  All was good and we had a great time!

Are you an introverted mom?  

What strategies help you fill your soul and energize you?  

As a last resort, I also love getting away for a weekend, this is the ultimate pleasure!  I am fortunate as I can make this happen a couple times a year, especially when I am working on a project for the blog or writing a new book – it is very good use of my time and allows me to be more creative when I only have to worry about myself.   {I think I may be overdue for a weekend away!}

If you are considering getting rid of the toxins in your home, today is the last day to grab yourself a Premium Starter kit with Young Living and grab two free bonuses from me, A Pocket Reference Guide and The Chemical Free Home.  I shared last week my DIY body wash recipe and there were 29 other great recipes shared too!

Detox-Your-home

Perfect Truth, Perfect Love

25
Mar
2014

God's Perfect-Love

Boy, I needed this chapter TODAY!  Seriously – today, and I need to remember this everyday.   No More Perfect Moms, Chapter 10.

I am NOT perfect, but God is.  

I often cause a lot of my grief and despair with my unrealistic expectations – I want to try with all my might to be it all – but I just cannot.  

Why can I not remember this?  Why do I often almost kill myself trying?

We must understand that the imperfect parts of our lives are counterbalanced with the reality of a perfect God who longs to shine HIS light through the cracks in our lives.

Such a great reminder…. I am full of cracks and need to share how imperfect I am so that others can rest in the comfort of knowing they are not alone and we can fine hope in the one thing that is – HIM.

Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.  Philippines 1:6 NIV

My soul needs to be reminded of this daily….some days…hourly.  He has presented us with challenges along our path to mold us into who He desires us to be.  We often fight against these challenges, do you get me?  

In fact, right now I am in the midst of a HUGE challenge that I am not really digging too much.  I am struggling, fighting to keep things the same, but I know there is something bigger on the other side, I just need to let go of the control and let Him lead me through.  Why do we resist?

So many parts of our lives are like that – we want to keep control.  We want the reigns…in parenting, motherhood, our marriage, controlling our space……it all comes to a head when we cannot allow Him to come in and do some switching around.  We can fight, or we can surrender…it is a choice.

God loves you and me whether we’re having a good mothering day or a bad one.

Can you remember that?  I have to say I have a real hard time remembering.  I wish I could sticky note that all over my house, my car and the inside of my eye lids.  I can carry guilt around so heavy that it is suffocating.  

I have to grasp how much He loves me, even when I disobey His commands and do it my way.  All the times that I know I disappoint myself and Him as well….He still loves me.  He never fails me…..NEVER.

How can you remember that God loves you even on your worst days?

What identity in the Appendix do you want to memorize about your identity in Christ?  I am still reading through to figure out the one I will hold onto.

How can you fit more time into connecting with the truths that God so lovingly wants to lay on your heart?  Is it through reading scripture, listening to worship music, meditating in stillness?

What is your biggest take away from this chapter?

It’s All About Love

13
Feb
2014

Ebracing-Imperfect-Child

I have been dreading writing this post today, ladies.  My week has been likely one of my worst and I now I get to encourage you on how to love your child, be more patient and embrace your kids…..when I have done NONE of it myself this week.

Don’t get me wrong, I have tried…..but my own effort lacks so many times.  I stumble and fall and guilt almost suffocates me.  I need to be humble and admit when I have messed up and why it is hard to parent.

I am currently in a season of parenting that I just plain dislike, well…honestly it is more that I hate it.   My ability to grasp hold of patience has been extremely fleeting for me and I am not sure why.  I am great with the logistics of parenting, but the day to day ability to love and ‘go with the flow’ a bit more is almost nill.

“Motherhood stretches us.  If we allow it, God will use our children to smooth our rough edges and strengthen our character.”

This is what I try to tell myself amid the days of endless conflict with my little guy, through the whining, crying, emotional roller coasters and failures of effectively dealing with it all.  The bottom line, I still have so much more to overcome in this parenting journey, and God brought a little boy into my life in order to mold me into who He desires me to be.

It would be much easier for everyone if I wasn’t on this journey, let me just tell you!  But I have to remind myself that the journey really is about everyone else and not so much about me.  My selfish nature wants to yell, “What about me?” in the  cyclone of my repetitive mistakes, and you know….I keep hearing back that it just isn’t about me, I am a vessel – and yes, there is work to be done in me, but what I desire is not really what I need to focus on. 

There is so much more – and I am a speck in the picture.

Comparing and Accepting

I do compare my children; and as a blended family it is likely even more of an issue for me than I realized.  I had not really given credit to until I read this chapter.  Having children who are different is what all families are about, but when you add in children from different parents and all the unique challenges that come into play, I can see where I struggle with comparing and accepting my children just the way they are.  It is hard to admit that, but it is true to a degree.

I love my kids, all of them….but I do think I struggle with how Jill describes unconditional love:

“Unconditional love, however, allows for difference, embraces failure, and celebrates individuality.  Love is the strength that allows us to adjust expectations.”

She goes onto say that this unconditional love provides the perspective to us to NOT take their behavior personally…..AGH!  That is exactly what I do – at least with my younger children.  My older teens I can easily let go, but with younger kids I most definitely take it personally.

Apply

This week I am asking for God to help me embrace my child, as imperfect as he/she is and as imperfect as I am.  I need to Resist Judgment and Embrace Grace.

Like I said my week has been a huge disappointment to me.  But today is a new day.  Yesterday, I had to change my way of ‘normal’ and decided to have my youngest help me out by having a hug break every hour – to help us connect.  It worked fairly well, until I got busy and forgot to take the time to connect.

Around dinner time things started to escalate again, but I was able to calm things down because I still have some sense about me!  I am the adult and need to step up. 

I will try to remember the phrase, “brain growing opportunity” – if not for my child, certainly for me!  And another thing, as I was looking for other posts to share and link to in this post, I ran across this post I wrote when my now 4 year old boy first came to our house, not knowing how long he would stay…..but I shared from my heart…..I needed to be reminded and create that picture in how I felt when he first arrived.  Oh, how easily we can fogged remembering…..

Which antidote listed on page 66-68 do you most need to put into practice when it comes to loving your imperfect kids?

Start reading Chapter Four and I will see you next week!  

 

Volunteering – Especially During the Holidays

12
Dec
2013

 Volunteering-holiday-stress

Volunteering is a good thing to do for your community, but did you ever stop to think that it may help reduce stress?  We didn’t talk about this the other evening during our Beat Holiday Stress {and the blues} with Essential Oils online class, but it would have totally fit into the material.

All kinds of evidence points to the fact that working as a volunteer reduces stress levels. In fact, when people take on volunteer positions, their stress levels are no longer detectible through a stress monitor. A 1990 study showed that people who volunteered at least 40 hours a week actually lived longer!  Now, I cannot image volunteering 40 hours a week, but any amount I am sure will benefit you and your family.

So why not give volunteering a try, especially during the holidays.  It may seem like you don’t have time in your schedule to make it happen, but perhaps blocking out the time will create an opportunity to give back but also, sneak a little return on yourself in the way of beating stress and combating the blues.

Here are some ways that volunteering can help you reduce stress and beat the holiday blues

Getting Your Mind Off Your Stress

Sometimes, the best way to get stress reduced is to put it on the back burner. That doesn’t mean you ignore things that really need your attention, or that you hide your head in the sand, so to speak. It just means that you take some time to think about something besides your stressful schedule, situation, home life, workplace, or whatever it is that’s making you tense and anxious. Volunteering causes you to focus on what you are doing right now, taking your mind off of your troubles for a bit.  It really gives you a break from your normal everyday routine.

Puts Things in Perspective

Another aspect of volunteering is that you see the situations of others – and those situations are often much more dire than yours. It can be humbling to see people who are struggling with things that you can’t even imagine dealing with on a daily basis, yet they are moving forward with their lives. It really puts your own stress in perspective, and may foster a sense of gratitude.  This has been recorded to help with depression as well, and I know I have personally experienced it myself.  When I give my time to others, the focus is taken off me and I am reminded of the good I have, even in the midst of certain trials and frustrations.

A Sense of Purpose and Meaning

One of the things that stress tends to bring is a sense of meaninglessness, or the feeling that you have no clear purpose – you’re just surviving each day long enough to spin your wheels. Becoming depressed will even dig you further into a hole with more feelings of despair.  Volunteering can break that cycle, infusing your life with meaning and definite purpose. When you have a sense of personal meaning, stressors seem to “roll off” more easily and be more manageable.

Making a Difference

Another of life’s stressful things is the sense that nothing you do matters or gets noticed. But when you volunteer, you matter very much, and it allows you to make a difference in an area that you’re passionate about. It may be animal welfare or elder care, but if it matters to you, you’ll matter to them.  Pick an organization that is close to your heart and give back.

Connections

Stress can make you feel isolated and alone in your struggles. Volunteering counteracts that by connecting you to people with similar interests and concerns. And if you and a friend or two take on volunteering together, it can be a lot of fun!  This will also keep you from feeling isolated, but can contribute to feelings of depression and the blues.

The Christmas season is the perfect time to set aside some time to either begin volunteering or discuss with your family what you could do shortly after the New Year.  What a wonderful way to share God’s grace on your life with others and gig elf your time and talents.

Where is your heart calling you to volunteer?

 
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