Can we just admit it? We moms can be good at playing the martyr. Young or old, it’s as though we’re programmed to believe that if we’re caring for ourselves then we’re neglecting the care of others. I’m guilty. I can convince myself in a heartbeat that my unshaven legs and cancelled doctor appointments are proof of how hard I work for my family rather than the evidence of poor time management.
The fact is, if we believe that self-care is selfish then we have bought into a lie that exhausts us and robs us the joys of motherhood. Self-care is neither selfish nor optional. It is critical to our health and our ability to be who we were created to be and do what we were created to do.
It’s about stewardship, not indulgence. It isn’t going on a shopping spree at the expense of paying the mortgage. It isn’t opting for a spa manicure instead of rocking a sick baby. It’s carving out time in a busy schedule to care for ourselves physically, emotionally, and spiritually for the sake of being renewed and restored.
Life’s demands do not have to govern us. Motherhood doesn’t have to drain us. As moms, we need to nurture our children, de-clutter our homes, and feed our families. But we can be more effective when we start with nurturing our own bodies, de-cluttering our minds, and feeding our spirit. Without this, our to-do list grows while our energy shrivels, along with our joy and effectiveness.
I know between carpooling and carschooling (my version of homeschooling many days), we all have too little time, but we still have the freedom to choose our schedule rather than let it dictate our lives. Start small and learn to build more margin into each day for activities that rejuvenate you.
If you’ve been meaning to catch up with an old friend, call her today for a short chat. If you’ve been wanting to wake up earlier to do a short devotion before the day starts, go to bed thirty minutes earlier (yes, even with a sink full of dishes) and do it.
Self-care is not selfish; It’s life-saving and life-giving. It’s not optional, but imperative. Without it, we find ourselves unraveling under the demands of life and unmanaged stress, making us vulnerable to illness, anxiety, and depression–all of which limits our ability to do what we’ve been called to do.
We don’t have to be martyr moms. We make it difficult to enjoy our lives and for others to enjoy us when we choose that path. I believe Jesus came to give us an abundant life (John 10:10), but a long face and exhausted body isn’t the best picture of that abundance.
This is the day. Not some day. Today is the day to choose to recharge your body, renew your mind, and refresh your spirit. You and your family will be glad you did.
So what are you waiting for? Are you guilty of waiting for some day to have more time or more money to really care for yourself as you should? What really keeps you from starting today?