Every mom has heard the advice to take care of yourself so you can be better equipped to take care of your children. But what comes to mind when you hear the words self care? A large block of uninterrupted time like a spa day or girls' night out? A long bath while Hubby takes over the bedtime routine? Regularly scheduled "me time" away from the kids?
Personally, I prefer to think of self care in terms of small ideas I can implement daily to help stay relaxed and focused. Because when I remember to do these simple things, I feel better and it shows in my mothering.
1. Go to sleep. As tempting as it is to stay up well past the Agents' bedtime (and they are night owls), I make it a point to have lights out no later than 11:00. For the most part, the girls sleep all night without incident. Agent A will wake up two or three times, but because we are co-sleeping it's not that big of a deal.
2. Get out of bed first. No matter what time we all go to sleep, I aim to be awake first. Even just 15-30 minutes is enough time to make coffee, read a chapter of my Bible, and check e-mail without someone climbing on me. It's such a small thing, but it makes all the difference in the world.
3. Eat and drink. Obvious, no? But I cannot tell you how many times I'll get to lunch time and realize when I made breakfast for the Agents I failed to eat any myself. Or conclude at 5:00 p.m. that I haven't had anything to drink all day except my morning coffee. As you may have guessed, this does not exactly put me in a good mindset for dealing with any afternoon craziness that may arise.
4. Talk less. I have found that most of the time when I am frustrated with my children, it's because I don't know when to stop talking. I go on and on with my reasoning when really I intended to make a simple request. Or I turn something into a much bigger issue than it actually is by verbally overanalyzing it. Or I spout off some "consequence" that I know is never going to come to fruition because I don't know what else to say or do in the heat of the moment (*cringe*).
5. Slow down. Other than church (which we don't attend consistently) there really isn't anything we do with a strict time constraint. Oh, we need to make it to the Y within the parameters that the child care is open, and we will occasionally make plans to meet another family at the park and want to show up approximately when we said we would, but . . . for the most part our time is our own and we have no reason to be in a such a hurry. For instances when we do have a "time sensitive" event to consider, we allow way more time than we need so we don't feel rushed.
6. Breathe. I tend to be very future-oriented. This is why I chose a word for 2013 that will help me to remain in the present and not obsess about things that haven't even happened yet (or for that matter, may not happen at all).
What little things do you do each day to help stay calm and centered?
Thanks for reading and have a blessed day.