The simple truth is there really is no balance.
I am always all of these things. I’m also the household manager, soccer (or whatever sport season it is) mom, dog groomer, taxi driver, occasional friend (when I can squeeze that in), church goer, advocate, therapy and doctors visit coordinator, Little Gym for an hour with the littles mom, daughter, sister, blogger and future grad student.
I have come to realize lately it is not so much the things, as it is the constant pressure of going and doing, while also trying to be present in each capacity. Every task, milestone, project, errand, and even my “me time” feels as though it is attached to a deadline. Even in my recent prioritizing of saying no to some things, I always feel rushed. Feeling rushed leaves me little time to care for myself in the midst of caring for everyone else.
I recently joined a closed Facebook group titled “Refreshed” for daily encouragement from friends to “find refreshment in a busy world.” It seems I am not the only mama struggling with this! Several women posted that the angst of “hurry” is a daily struggle. One member of the group posted a wonderful article that highlights the detriments of always being in a state of hurry. One statement in the article hit me hard. It read,
“You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.”
For me, this is a reworking of the state of living my life. It does not mean I won’t still be busy with all the things a mom is constantly responsible for. It doesn’t mean I have to give up a position I hold or a hobby I enjoy. But it does mean slowing down enough to be fully present and attuned to the needs around me. Attuned to the needs of my husband, my children, coworkers and (*gasp*) my own needs.
Busy does not have to equal hurry.
The two are not synonymous in the dictionary, nor should they be in our day to day lives.
What is Self-Care
Often times in my profession, I am asked to present at different training sessions and conferences on self-care. I was recently preparing to speak at a conference when I came upon a new idea. The research I read argued self-care is not the occasional pedicure or day of shopping or a massage once a year. True self-care is a change in behavior; an active plan and follow through of changing core principles that affect our body and mind.
While it is well and good to do the things mentioned above, those are temporary satisfactions that do not translate to an all-encompassing change in our physical and mental well-being. We need to be taking care of ourselves by getting enough sleep, eating a balanced meal, consistently exercising. Even spending time praying, meditating, or being still, will refresh our mental health.
I am challenging myself to make a mindful change in the things I can control, like a better diet, a walk around the neighborhood or a bounce on the trampoline with the kiddos. Sleep is a different story, but one I am hopeful will get better as my littles are done with teething and night time bottles.
I challenge you, mamas, to focus on making an intentional effort to take care of yourself. You’ve got a lot of people of depending on you!