On being a Mom

Happy belated mother?s day! How was your day? Did you feel proud to be a mom? Were you celebrated? Honored? Thanked and appreciated for all the hard work you do daily for your family? I hope so.

And how was the day after mother?s day? Back to the daily routine? Shouldn?t mother?s day be everyday?

Being a mom is so much more than what could be remembered or celebrated in a day. So many moms try so hard to be good at this job, and struggle so much with doubts and insecurities, fears and sense of failure.

Becoming a mom is like being thrown into a selfless whirlpool that never stops and only keeps spinning faster as you keep adding kids to your family.

It?s in our DNA. Not the guilt, but the nurturing. We were made, created to care, to relate, to love. Sometimes to a fault.

Instinctively, we tend to put our kids first, our family first, ourselves last. And then we crash. Or we get irritable. Grouchy. We yell. And then we feel guilty, because we have become all we didn?t want to be, all we feared we would become. We have failed at our ideal version of being a mom. And we crash lower, deeper, on our own of course, isolating ourselves and convinced that everybody else has it together. ?What?s wrong with me??, we ask?

How do you ever balance life as a mother? Whether you work part-time, full time, or are a stay-at-home mom, how do you juggle your needs, your kids? needs, your husband?s needs, your boss?s needs, a household, hopefully some girlfriends, a healthy diet and exercise plan, your commitment at church or in your kids?school, the soccer practice and games, etc, etc?? And not loose it?

I know I am not speaking to a non-existant entity here. I know most moms can relate. It?s a constant rat race, and we are always behind. Exhausted, drained, burned out. And on some days, wondering what the meaning of all this is. Right?

We have an exacerbated awareness to failure and a guilt-ridden mindset we get stuck into. The vicious cycle is that because of the guilt, we neglect ourselves. ?There is no room for me if I can?t properly attend to my kids? needs?.

Yet the opposite it true: you can?t love well if you don?t love yourself. There is nothing to give out of an empty cup. You need to recharge the battery, and that is NOT selfish. As John Eldredge puts it, ?Caring for your own hearts isn?t selfishness; it?s how we begin to love <?> What will you bring to the world if your heart is empty, dried up, pinned down? Love is the point. And you can?t love without your heart, and you can?t love well unless your heart is well.?

So, mothers, how is your heart? How are you taking care of your soul? What does self-care mean to you? How did you nurture your heart today? What would it take?

I know, it?s hard. There is so much to do. And if we stop, pause, take the time for ourselves, the pile of laundry and more is still there when we come back. True. But you can?t run on empty forever. Self-care is a necessity. And if you need an excuse, make it your mother?s day gift to yourself for a week, and see how it feels?

Remember, kids are watching you. You are setting an example. Stressed and frazzled is not how you want them to experience or remember you. Guilt and shame is not something you want them to feel. But it starts with you. So you MUST deal with your heart and your soul. Here are a few things that might help you nurture yourself, which in turn will make you a better parent.

1)      Delegate. You can?t do it all. You are not supposed to. You need help, ask for it. What can the kids do to help around the house? What can your husband do?

2)      Let go of perfection. Is it really going to matter in twenty years, that your house was messy half of the week? Live with what you can live with, and if that means a little more dust and a little more mess, and a lot more time for you, then let go and enjoy the freedom it gives you!

3)      Reach out! Call a friend and check in with her. Take your children on a playdate and meet another mom. There is comfort in shared experience. You are not alone.

4)      Once in a while, treat yourself with an item of luxury. It doesn?t have to be expensive clothes or shoes, or jewellery. It can be something you never do because you think it?s unnecessary or a little pricey. It can be a pedicure, or it can be a basket of blueberries from the Farmer?s Market! Do it because it makes you feel good, do it because you are special!

5)      Give yourself the gift of beauty. What do you find beautiful? Is it art? Nature? Flowers? Architecture? Music? Dance? The ocean? The mountains? Whatever it is, go towards that. Go smell the roses at the Huntington or Descanso gardens. Flip through the pages of an interior design magazine, take a bubble bath with beautiful candles, go watch the sunset? Drink in the beauty that speaks to your soul, you need it and it will heal and restore you.

6)      How does God speak to you? Make room for that. Maybe you don?t have time to sit down for a ?quiet time? where you read your Bible and meditate. Maybe your kids get up bright and early before you and from the moment you?re up, it?s ?go, go, go?. I get that. But don?t put God in a box. Can he talk to you while you do the dishes? Prepare dinner for your family? Commute to work? Open your mind up to that.

Happy Mother?s Life to YOU J

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