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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Taking Care of Me

I will never forget one morning looking in the mirror one morning (2004), shortly before the birth my third child in less than four years and genuinely wondering about the reflection - Why are you this person?  It happened again in 2010 as I officially became a single mother - Who am I?   Getting to the core of my identity is what makes it possible for me to function at my best.  Learning that disappointment does not define me has allowed me to let go of the past and love my present (even when it isn't what I expected).

Motherhood is full of responsibilities, we all know this.  The title of mother is worn as a mantle that can cloak deeper passions which we feel must be put off or put away until another season of life.  Yet I'm learning that am more than someone's mother - I am a person with a world of desires, opinions, likes and dislikes.  Recognizing this does not detract from mothering, it adds dimension and flavor to the sometimes numbing cycles of daily life.

For many years, I didn't allow myself to count in the life and decisions of our family.  I didn't put myself of 'the list' and when combined with young children, a difficult marriage (then a falling apart marriage) and trying so hard to convince everyone I had it all together - well, my spirit was dying.  One of the gifts of my most painful season was learning who I am again.  Yes, for me it took losing all that I thought I was, and lots of therapy, but I'm so thankful for that work of rediscovering myself!

There are ways to honor yourself in the midst of the craziness of life and mothering demands.  Remember the things that bring you joy!  For every person, we must care for these aspects that speak to our deeper self

Spirituality - I am a follower of Christ Jesus.  I look to the Bible for instructions and find that Proverbs speak to my practical needs and Psalms validates so many of my emotions.  Worshiping in a community with others is one of my favorite parts of each week ... even when it is a challenge to get there!  We are at the core spiritual beings and ignoring this part of yourself will create a hollow-ness to all we do.
  1. Emotional - Single parenting can be one of the loneliest positions.  The constant pressure of maintaining consistent discipline, instruction, sole caretaking duty which we measure against the seeming perfections of Facebook and Pinterest can literally drain the one who bears the responsibility.  Sharing this struggle, even with one trusted person makes my load so much easier.  We need to hear that it's going to be alright, things won't always be this tough, others struggle, too.  If you find yourself depressed without reason, reach out for help.
  2. Physical - I hate to add to the "take care of yourself" crowd by mentioning exercise...but the truth is that we need it.  I find a walk, jog, video or rousing game to tag helps my perspective in many ways.  I also like to surround myself with things I love...for me that means photos, candles, lovely things that have memories.
  3. Relational - Find your people, People.  If you have supportive family, embrace them.  If you don't, get real with friends and let them see the real you.  Let your children know that you value friendship and family by making them a priority in your own life.  Step out and invite someone over or get a group together for dinner downtown.  It's easy to isolate as a single parent - it is the natural way, so fight hard against the tendency and reach out to someone.
  4. Practically - Remember the things you love.  Do you enjoy going outdoors?  When do you feel creative?  What did you want to be as a little girl?  Is there something in that you can embrace as a grown woman?  When I quit living for others and learned to appreciate my own quirky ways, I became a whole lot more comfortable with myself. 
You are valuable and worth knowing.  Get to know yourself and give yourself permission to enjoy something just for you today.  You are worth it and it enables you to be your best self for those who are depending on you.

I'm linking up here today.  Is there something you can do THIS WEEK to appreciate your fabulous self?


  1. this is really great advice. thanks for linking up!

  2. Love this advice I think those four categories are so important! Thanks for sharing and for linking up!