Another day of laundry and dishes has begun. The crying babies and needy toddlers are begging for my attention. My boys seem to think I’m supposed to feed them more than once a day, and believe I don’t know when they are lying to me. There are teenagers who just want school to be over. All this and it is only 8 am, and nap time is a long time away.
I certainly didn’t sign up for this when I said I wanted to be a Mama. I thought my children would easily take naps. I thought they would play on their own without me having to stop every few minutes to break up a fight. I didn’t know that my children, especially my boys would think they are always starving. No one told me toddlers who always seem to think they need Mama, and have superpowers to make them NEVER want to sleep. I was told the hardest part about parenting is getting up in the middle of the night to feed my baby every 2 hours.
Can I just see a raise of hands who wouldn’t like to take that nap for them? Good, I thought I might be alone.
This is the typical life of a mom, and while it is rewarding, it is also exhausting. Very seldom will you see people post on Social Media about the rough days, and then it isn’t usually without criticism. Please tell me how you are doing, but don’t talk about the bad days. I can barely handle my own problems, I certainly not able to emotionally deal with yours. This causes isolation, depression, anger and bitterness. You cry your heart out to God while you rock your screaming child to sleep, praying for help for just some peace and quiet so you don’t lose your mind.
Mamas I know exactly how you feel. I know the exhaustion and desperation for bed time so you can just stop hearing someone NEED you for something. You forget to eat and if you do it certainly isn’t anything good for you. If you remember to drink it is that cup of coffee that you’ve heated up in the microwave for the second or was that the fourth time, I don’t remember. You made sure your kids had healthy and maybe even organic food, and you, well…. “Now where did I hide the rest of the Easter candy? I know I put it in the back of the pantry for safe keeping.”
Mamas, this must stop. This isn’t the path to the Good Life, or any life at all. You aren’t Thriving let alone surviving, you are DROWNING! And I promise you aren’t alone. So here are 6 simple things you can do to start yourself down to the Path to the Good Life.
Maybe you take a walk. Maybe you pull weeds from your garden. Maybe you plant some flowers. Maybe you sit on your back porch and listen to the rain. Maybe you just walk outside barefoot and just soak in the goodness that is around you.
Now you don’t have to be alone to do these things, but sometimes the quiet it what you need. I try to go outside at least once during the day and either walk around or just stand and absorb the sunlight. There is so much goodness and health in sunlight. Some days my children are playing in the yard while I push the baby in the swing. Some days we go to the park. Some days we work on the flower bed or garden. Some days we just sit outside and read. Some days I sit with a drink and just bask in the glory that is God’s amazingness.
My point is that it doesn’t have to be BIG, special or for a long period of time. Just get outside! You will be surprised at how much better you feel.
I’m not talking about moving your laundry around. I’m talking about real movement. When it is warm I like to talk a short walk, but during the cold months we rock this house. I turn up some great 80’s music, yes I’m showing my age, and we DANCE! We shake it like there’s no tomorrow! We boogie all night! This isn’t just for me, but for all the kids. There’s no particular dance move or music, just what I turn on. The key is to dance until the song is over. Get out your wiggles. Get out your giggles. Shake the ever present ants out of their pants!
MOVE! Laugh! Live! Love!
This is a great way to get some exercise in if you haven’t been doing anything or if you are like me and have joint issues. Everyone can dance to a song. We do fast songs until we collapse having trouble breathing with all the giggles. I’ve also found myself grabbing the baby and slow dancing with him. He loves it when I dip him and it is great for my muscles.
For some people this is harder than others. I know people who just can’t stand water. For those people I recommend infusing fruit in your water. During the summer we have a big water dispenser filled with ice, water and a sliced lemon. I do this at the beginning of the day and by the end it is GONE! The kids have their own water bottles with lemon water. This is DIRT CHEAP, but healthiness at its best.
You should be drinking 8- 8oz glasses of water a day. Now for some this seems like a lot, and hard to deal with. So why not buy bottles of water? I know some will say it is a waste of money and not healthy, but if it gets you drinking water then I say GO FOR IT! You, Mama, have to do what is best for you! And if that means bottled water then JUST DO IT! (As Nike says.) Keeping your health is vital to being the best Mama you can be and to get on the Path to the Good Life
I’m not talking about that Milky Way Simply Caramel bar you are munching on while drinking your Coca Cola. Wait, that’s me, sorry!
I’m talking about something with protein. A container of yogurt with some fresh fruit has wonderful protein. Grab a handful of nuts from your pantry. Snack on the salsa that’s left over from last night’s dinner. What about those left over berries your grocery store had on sale? How about a peanut butter, honey and banana sandwich? One of my kids’ favorites.
The point here is to eat some good protein. There are many different ways to get it, but you need it. It is where your muscles get their energy. It is what your body uses as fuel. Yes, it can use sugar, but that is just a path to poor health and your body crashing when the fuel burns out like Flambé. It also doesn’t help with your metabolism, and if like me you are wanting to lose that baby weight from the baby you had, oh say, 18 years ago, you need to keep your metabolism going.
Spend time alone daily
For me this is splint into a few different things.
Shower daily or at least wash your face and put your hair up, and get dressed. This will tell your mind that you are up and ready for whatever the day brings. I demand this time alone every day, even from my husband. Everyone needs privacy. Now your shower doesn’t have to be first thing in the morning, for a while it was before bed for me, but I put on fresh pajamas and took some time to take care of me.
My mornings always consist of praying and meditation. I pray that I am the Daughter the King will be proud to call His own. I know I’m going to fall flat on my face at some point, because NO ONE is perfect. This prayer is more about telling God what I need help with and acknowledging that I really can’t do this without Him.
My meditation is just for and about ME! This is where I spend time speaking words of life into my life. I tell myself words of affirmations. I know that I can’t give life and love to anyone else if my emotional tank isn’t full. So in a way this is as much about my family as it is about me. Also I know that all day long Satan is going to be attacking me with words, past memories, reminders of past failings, and children who are just needy of me and my time. These are your multivitamins that will keep you healthy against Satan’s attacks. I AM ENOUGH! I AM LOVED! I AM A GREAT MOTHER!
Just think of these as your mental, emotional and spiritual cup of coffee in the morning.
Finally, Let’s talk about sleep
We all know we need it. Yet it seems to be one of the most elusive things to everyone, but EVERYONE needs it. For years I’ve fought insomnia. I would lay in bed for hours with my mind in constant motion of things I need to do, things I forgot to do, past mistakes, irrational fears, books I wanted to read, books I was reading, TV shows I was watching…. I think you get the picture. It is only the past 3 years that I’ve begun to break the cycle.
Listen to your body. If you are tired, go to bed, even if that means taking a short nap. Sometimes that 10-minute nap is all you need to get yourself going again. Go to bed shortly after your children go to bed. I know this is your time to chill out or with your spouse, but Mamas, you can’t burn the candle at both ends for long before you burn out and end up sick.
Even if you go to bed and read a book, listen to music, write in a journal or meditate, burn a candle, the fact that you are away from a screen is a rest for your mind and your body. This tells your body and mind the day is ending it is time to wind down.
When you think about women of the past, why did they have no problem sleeping at night? They didn’t have electricity or TVs to keep them up at night. When it got dark they had a candle, a fire or a lamp for light. Your eyes get tired pretty quickly with that kind of light. Also they were up at the crack of dawn. So take a page from their book and let yourself have some much deserved rest.
Are you telling me the Path to the Good Life is taking care of MYSELF?!?! YES, Yes I am!
Have you been on an airplane and have the flight attendant tell you about what to do in case of an emergency? Whose mask are you supposed to put on first? Not your child’s. Not the elderly lady sitting next to you. Not the person passed out. You have to put YOURS on first! They tell you if you don’t you may not be alert to do it later and then who will take care of you.
If this isn’t enough for you, Mamas, how about this? Even Jesus went away to rest and take care of himself. The SON OF GOD, even HE, needed time to rest to take care of Himself. “And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.” Mark 6:31
I’m sorry Mamas, but if God needed time to rest and take care of Himself, we certainly are no better and need it as much if not more since we are mere humans. We need this too. THIS isn’t selfishness, but this is how to refresh yourself so you can do and be the best you can be. This is the Path to the Good Life!
So what one step are you going to take to put yourself on the Path to the Good Life? It only takes one step.