The Fine Art of Self Care
“Mom, will you play ball with me? I need to work on my catching.” “Mom, can you wash my cross-country shirt? I have a meet tonight.” “Mom, can we go shopping today for a new pair of jeans? I’ve outgrown all the ones in my closet.” “Mom, I need you to help me look through my catalog for classes for the fall semester. I have to register online by tomorrow.” “Mom, can you pick up the silk flowers for my bridesmaids’ bouquets today?”
Believe it or not, every one of those questions was posed to me by each of my five children, ages 10 to 21, within a 30-minutes period one summer day. By the time question number five was tossed my way, I wanted to scream, “There’s not enough of me to go around!” Okay, I’ll be honest. It wasn’t one of my holier moments. I believe I did scream those words and a few more. Then I sent myself to my room, calmed down, apologized to my children, and asked for their forgiveness. And life continued on.
Learning Self Care
Learning the fine art of self-care has been a lifelong lesson for me. Self-care requires me to learn to think of me in a healthy, balanced way. It’s different than being selfish or self-centered where I’m doing what I want to do for me and only me. Rather, self-care is the intentional filling of my emotional fuel tank to prepare me for meeting the needs of my family. Similar to filling up the fuel tank before taking a long car trip, self-care looks ahead to the goal and does the preparation to make sure you arrive at your destination.
I’ve also learned another lesson in the midst of the chaos: talking with God makes a big difference. The Bible talks about having peace that passes understanding (Philippians 4:7). On some of my more victorious mothering moments, that peace has carried me through what could only be described as pandemonium.
In the everyday challenges of mothering, chaos is inevitable. I will feel pulled apart piece by piece. The needs of my family will make up my to-do list. My perfect plans will be hijacked by the children I love. I’ll be disappointed, overwhelmed, and stretched as thin as Silly Putty. But in the midst of it all, I have the opportunity to learn more about myself, my own needs, and most important, my need for a Savior who can get me through anything.