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Friday, November 22, 2013

How to Enjoy Your Children More

Do you want to enjoy your children more today and every day?  Then learn the best way to care for yourself.  I have noticed that when I'm most easily frustrated with my children is when I'm exhausted, stretched too thin, possessed with unrealistic demand or life is generally chaotic.  Sometimes I'm just hungry or hormonal.  I round the paragraph below to be very insightful:

"Often times, I am the problem, not my kids.
The break-up line, "It's not you, it's me" rings uncomfortably true when learning not to yell. I quickly realized that oftentimes I wanted to yell because I had a fight with my husband, I was overwhelmed by my to-do list, I was tired or it was that time of the month, not because the kids were behaving "badly." I also quickly realized that acknowledging my personal triggers by saying out loud: "Orange Rhino, you have wicked PMS and need chocolate, you aren't mad at the kids, don't yell" works really well to keep yells at bay." ~ from The Orange Rhino @ Huffington Post.

I used to think that by putting myself last, I was best serving my family.  The past 10 years have demonstrated that establishing the basics of self-care are essential to the overall health of my family and especially my children.  Taking care of YOU will look different than taking care of ME, but these are the things I need:
  1. Worship.  Remember the Source of all good things.  Practice gratefulness and be involved with at lest someone else who shares your convictions.  Read and meditate on scripture.  Pray. Go to church!
  2. Sleep.  I consistently need seven or more hours nightly.  I can sacrifice this every now and then, but if my sleep patterns are disturbed for several days...my entire personality become anxious and tense.  It's just the way I'm made.  So, I can fight this or embrace it. 
  3. Order. I do not function well in chaos, I just can't seem to tune it out!  So for my sanity's sake, I keep clutter and piles to a minimum.  I crave clear counters.  We put toys away and straighten the pillows on the sofa each evening before bedtime.
  4. Routine.  Some people find routines boring, predictable or mundane.  I find them comforting, reassuring and calming.  I like knowing the toilets will be scrubbed every Thursday and we will eat at Chick Fil A on Wednesday.  These predictable touch points in our lives provide structure and camaraderie among our family.  Plus, it's fun for everyone when we shake up the routine for whatever reason.
  5. Nature.  When I take the time to notice the weather, the trees, the sky - my perspective shifts from the small to the great.  I love taking a walk, hiking or just driving through the mountains.  We don't have curtains or blinds and the sunshine and forest view fuel my spirit!
  6. Exercise.  Often, it feel like one more thing I have to do in my day, and sometimes I just don't want to do it!  But when I skip physical activity, I notice that I do not sleep as soundly, I have less energy and feel worse about myself.  My job is at a desk and so I need to supplement my level of physical activity. 
We all need to take part in self care so we can be our best selves to those who live in our homes and see us day in and day out.  As mothers, it's easy to push these things aside and think we are sacrificing for our children.  Sometimes, that may be necessary.  However, if you are trying to provide the best for your children at your own expense, it become codependent and unhealthy.  We can model these attributes for our children and begin teaching them their own life skill that will empower them through adulthood and in their own families one day.

What is at the top of your self care needs?  What is habit is the most challenging to maintain?