It’s 5:00 am, and today I find myself waking before my alarm begins to buzz. I sneak out of bed and make my way in the dark to change into my work out clothes. I make my daily cup of coffee and make time to read and then work on preparing for the day. Half of the time I manage to get enough motivation to get an workout in or I just enjoy the quiet. It's a pleasure to have a slow start to my day. While eating breakfast, I look over my day and get organized to make the most of my day.
This early wake-up call routine is relatively new for me. Before motherhood, I loved sleeping in, and I did it well. Once I became a mom, it was typical for my kiddos to come into my room and they were my "alarm clock." I would stumble downstairs to the kitchen and make breakfast still asleep and quickly make myself a cup of coffee to get my day started. Having this start to my day I always felt like I was running late and I had to hurry up and get things done, but I still felt rushed and that I was doing things with a less than a good effort. I would feel guilty that I would get frustrated as I begged the kiddos for a few minutes of quiet time since I just woke up. That frustration many times would often carry over throughout the day. I would react poorly to my kids or my husband, and many times I would end the day feeling defeated. I knew something had to change and that's when I started to wake up before my kids and husband. It may not work for everyone, but its been a deal changer for me and have found balance and peace.
Self-care should be an essential practice for a healthy mama. As we pour ourselves into our family taking care of yourself is vital to be able to love your family well. Many times we do that at the expense of our own needs. After some time we find ourselves with no reserves for strength and patience needed to take care of our family.
Self-care comes in many forms and requires self-reflection to find what makes you feel refueled and refreshed. I first and foremost take care of myself spiritually through prayer and reading the Bible, And physically by finding time to workout. My favorite is lifting weights while listening to audiobooks/podcasts. And lastly, I make time to be by myself with some quiet time to think. That's how waking up before my family wakes up has helped me be refueled and in a good mood.
It is common for us as mothers and wives to feel guilty for taking time for ourselves. There is only so much time in a day, and it can be hard taking some of that time for yourself as you have a lot of other things to do for your kids and home. But I like to compare it to the what the flight attendant tells you the safety portion of the flight, which you should put on the air mask on first before assisting anyone else. I believe that's how vital self-care is to you being able to care for your family with a positive outlook and not be resentful or angry.
MAKING SPACE FOR SELF-CARE
Self-care can only happy with intentionality. In our busy lives, self-care will not happen by chance. If you continue to put your need aside Its a matter of time you feel overwhelmed and unable to handle all that you have to do for your family. By making time for yourself, you will allow you to refuel your mind to be engaged in your day. For me, it was about getting to bed earlier so that waking up earlier to enjoy my quiet time before the beautiful madness begins. I am not and still am not a natural early riser, but instead, have trained myself to become one. Over time it has become easier to wake up early, and now it sets the tone for my day. You may be a night owl and your chance to refuel might be after 9 p.m., but for me after 10 p.m. my brain is useless. Or you may only have time during the middle of the day, yes you have laundry to get done, but that can wait to make sure you are refueled. If your children are old enough to understand, they can be taught to respect your need for alone time. It is good and important for them to learn to respect in others, and will be an asset throughout their lives. When we model self- care, we are teaching our children to also care for their own needs throughout their lives.
However it ends up looking for you, this habit of self-care is worth cultivating—for your sake and that of your family.