I am a mother. To many people that means many things, but for many of us that also means alot of sacrificing. It is something that we as moms count as part of our job, and is an honor to do for our children.
But as I was sitting and considering the fact that often I end up so busy cleaning, cooking, shopping etc. I sometimes am too tired to eat a proper meal myself, or finding time to take a shower or feel annoyed when I have to use the bathroom as i just don’t have time….I stopped to think about whether my sacrifices are selflessness or selfishness.
When we are pregnant, usually pregnant moms tend to eat better. We know there is a tiny human being depending on us for nourishment. When they are born, something changes. Suddenly, we think all the stuff we have been putting on hold as our bodies would not allow us to do while pregnant, needs to be done. Our body is lumpy and odd shaped and we want to lose weight and get into shape…..but we don’t have time to exercise, we skip meals, hoping that helps…..and we struggle with post-partum depression or baby blues, feeling somewhat super-momish for going through it without any help. We talk to other moms and let them know how we cannot rest as we have 1-4 children or more depending on us and we cannot take the time to lay down and take a nap, take a shower, eat a decent meal or whatever.
I am talking to myself here. I do not have a baby anymore, but I have four hungry boys and a husband….and they take alot of my time and energy. I enjoy it! It feels great. But as I realized that for the third straight day, I had barely eaten one decent meal in three days, I had not had time to shower, and my exercise was one walk to the park and back, I did not have time to take my vitamins or enough food in my stomach to take them….and I realized how selfish I was being, in my selflessness.
How, you ask?
I think sometimes we do not see in the long term. We are telling ourselves to just do the next thing, which is good. But I have realized that our children do not just need us now, they need us to care for ourselves so that we can be there for them when they are older too. If we refuse to do basic care of ourselves in the name of selflessness….we are actually causing more issues for them later as well as teaching them, that proper care of themselves is not really that important if there is something more important going on.
I am not saying we should neglect our families so we can take long pampering bubble baths everyday. But I am saying that I am going to be working harder at showing my children that I can take care of myself because I love them.
What are some practical ways you can take care of yourself, when you do not have alot of time?
I am not sure what helps you, but a few things for me are listed below;
- Plan my meals out before I go grocery shopping and make them according the weeks plans. This way I am not planning a huge roast dinner on the night we have swimming lessons.
- Walk to my errands whenever I can…..have the children bring bikes or a stroller you can go fast with, so you get a good exercise time…30-40 minutes a day is not hard when you consider you are still getting other stuff done.
- Go to bed a little earlier. If you cannot sleep, get ready for bed, lay down on the couch with a book and hop in at the first sign of sleepiness.
- Drink more fluids- this is a hard one for me. I find that herbal tea makes it a little easier and if a tea pot holds 6 c. and I make a pot with one tea-bag, it is just herb infused water and gets me pretty far.
- If you have just had a baby, take the time for the first 4 weeks, to not go places, lay on the couch etc. Do minimum household chores and your healing and the way you feel later in next pregnancies will be better. Places will always be there. i wonder sometimes if the uncleanliness laws in the OT were so women would rest after having babies as God knew they would not rest if He did not make laws about it!
- Make sure you eat at least one totally balanced meal everyday and take your vitamins with it. For me at least, it is impossible to get all my nutrients from food, I simply cannot, so I take some vitamins. Make a ritual so you remember to take them.
So, remember to not be selfish…..and take care of yourself. Your children need you for a long time yet!