Alright, friends. I’m out of excuses. My “baby” is actually a toddler, he is consistently sleeping through the night at last, and a new year has just started…it’s time to start working toward another one of my resolutions for the year: to start taking care of myself. I think most of us have a tendency to put our own needs aside with the good intentions of giving their best to their families…but are we able to give our best when we’re constantly depleted? I know I’m not, so this year, I’m prioritizing self-care.
This means several things to me, starting with getting enough sleep. I have always had night owl tendencies, and now that my son is sleeping, I justify my staying up late by saying, “I’m still getting more sleep than I used to, even if I stay up till 2a.m.” The evenings are when I recharge my batteries and have “me” time. But my beloved little blonde haired alarm clock didn’t come equipped with a snooze button, so I have got to make myself go to bed at a decent hour. That should be simple enough.
It also means I need to close the bathroom door sometimes and potty in peace (as if peace is possible when you have a wailing toddler banging on your door…but hey, it’s got to be better than trying wash your hands while preventing said toddler from his life’s ambition of unraveling the entire roll of toilet paper). It means giving myself permission to take breaks to get a massage more frequently than once a year. It might even mean going to the grocery store alone after Aaron gets home from work. All of this is easier said than done, because I genuinely enjoy my time with my boy…until I’ve had enough, then I’m thrusting him into the arms of the first person who will take him and running for the hills. I need to remember that I shouldn’t feel guilty for taking time off before I’m at the end of my rope.
A month ago, it would have meant not feeling guilty about limiting my toddler’s nursing. I have been thankful to have the ability to provide comfort, immune support, and nutrition to my boy in this way, but there comes a time when it’s no longer a mutually enjoyable experience. I’ve described it as “breastfeeding a hurricane” before. Then there’s the frequency of feedings (all day and allll night) and the whining/screaming for “muk” in the grocery store. As of now, we are down to just one feeding per day, upon awakening in the morning. It’s the way we reconnect after being apart all night, and we both enjoy our special time together in the morning. He still occasionally asks for milk during the day, and I no longer feel guilty for telling him, “I won’t let you have milk right now, but I can get you a drink and a snack instead.” In the same vein, I’d like to add for moms of tiny ones, that just because your two month old baby loses his mind when you put him down to go brush your teeth in the morning, you’re not a monster. Please, I’m begging you, go brush your teeth. (Yes, I was that mom. Don’t laugh.)
I bet you guessed this next one already. I plan to get in shape and lose weight this year. I’m going to try to exercise four times a week and eat healthier. To kick-start my fitness goals, I’m doing an Advocare 24 Day Challenge (interested? Learn more here https://www.advocare.com/products/challenge.aspx ). I’ll keep you updated on my progress in the coming weeks. With age and through a closer relationship with God I’ve gained a sense of self-worth that is independent from my appearance, and I’ve learned to love my body in spite of some extra cushion, but I’m just not feeling my best or healthiest right now. My energy level is low, there is jiggle where muscle used to be, and things ache and creak. I’ve always dreamed of being a mom who plays flag football in the backyard with her kids. This is going to be tough if I don’t take charge of my health.
The most important aspect of self-care is my relationship with Jesus. I plan to nurture this relationship by being diligent in my prayer and taking time to be still and quiet, listening for His voice. I’m going to continue to be in the Word, find an area in which to serve, and be bolder with my faith. This blog is actually a manifestation of my resolution/desire to grow closer to the Lord. I have felt Him telling me to be bold in my faith for some time now, but I didn’t know exactly what He meant. When my friend Christina suggested I start a blog, I immediately knew this is just the sort of bold thing He wanted me to do. (It’s funny, the way God works. I told a few of my friends- including Christina- a couple of weeks ago, “Growing up, I wanted to be a writer, but I’m too stupid nowadays.” Because, y’all…sleep deprivation changes you. And now here I am…not just writing, but putting it on the internet. Woah.) As unsettling as it is for me to bare my soul on the world wide web with no Instagram filter to mask the imperfections of my heart-selfie, I’m willing to obey my God. I’m reminded of an anecdote my friend Jennifer shared once. She was timid in her younger years, and every time she would leave the house, her father would remind her, “Be bold!” I can imagine my Heavenly Fatherly encouraging me in the same way.
So here’s to 2016 and taking care of ourselves, in whatever way that means for each of us. I’m praying for myself and for you tonight- that God will help us balance our desire and obligation to care for our families with the need to care for ourselves.
Did you make resolutions this year? I’d love to hear them. How do you prioritize self-care?