Thursday, March 26, 2015

BFBN: taking care of myself


Today is the Babywise Friendly Blog Network's Pinterest Day.  (If you haven't followed us on Pinterest yet, you should!)

A few days ago, the kids and I went on a walk at Lake Hefner because it was a gorgeous day.  We passed (what I assumed to be) a lot of moms.  I also assumed that all of their kids were in school.  And that they have 11 billion hours every day to do whatever they want.  (In case you've forgotten, Older Moms With All Kids In School, that's what your life seems like to the Young Moms Raising The Little Peoples.) 


Today, all of us from the Babywise Network are writing about taking care of ourselves.  As I continued in my dreamy state of mind on that walk, I imagined what taking care of myself at 35 would look like.  Running around the lake at my leisure, planning lunch dates with friends, sitting in coffee shops, and getting a monthly pedicure (heck, maybe even massage). 

Of course, that is not my current reality.  (And it may not be anyone's reality ever, but a girl can hope!)  I'm 28 and I have a toddler and a baby at home.  How I take care of myself in this stage of my life is going to be different.  It's different than what it will be like at 35 and it's different than what it was at 23.

It's easy for me to gauge whether or not I feel cared for by how my kids/husband feel or how the house looks.  Even now, as I sit and think about a list of things that I can do to take care of myself, I am tempted to write things that clearly fall into the category of "take care of the people in my home."  But the question is how do I take care of Claire?  Not the house, not my people, not the chores. 

So here's a list of things that fill me up and feed my soul.

EXERCISE

While I do exercise, I am not a maniac about it.  Sometimes I'm motivated and sometimes it's a complete drag.  It's also really hard to schedule in time to exercise, specifically time to run, with 2 kids.  Planning it out can be frustrating, as the only times that I really have to run are my least favorite times to run - early in the morning before Colt leaves or right after he gets home from work.  Exercising may only happen 3 times a week, but that's okay.  I know the benefits of staying somewhat consistent with my exercise.  I feel better, I sleep better, I eat better, I drink more water, and I'm probably nicer.

READING MY BIBLE/PRAYING

Not a pro at this one either, but when I do it, it changes my attitude and my perspective.  I think that growing up I assumed that you read your Bible and pray because it pushes you to make better choices throughout the day and encourages you to focus on what's important.  I suppose that's true.  But what happens from my time with God is not usually something that I consciously think about during the day.  It's something that naturally comes out of me and it rarely feels pushed or like something that is in my control.  Most of the time, I won't even notice that my attitude is different; it just is.  I won't notice I responded with more patience in a situation; it just happens.  Colt is the one who observes the difference in me, just as I notice the same thing in him.

When I take the time to communicate with God, things are better simply because of that.  Not always because I learned some lesson or studied the Greek definition of some word or dissected a bible story.  It's the time with God that is the thing.

WRITING

I can usually find time to write a few times a week during the kids' afternoon naps.  I especially love the times when I've gotten to escape to a coffee shop after dinner and do some writing.  Either way I can get it, though, I'm grateful.  I know if I don't have consistent times when I can let my thoughts run out onto paper or the computer screen, then everything gets all jammed up in my soul.  It's so therapeutic, and I don't think I knew how significant it was for me until this past year.  It doesn't matter if it's blogging, journaling, or songwriting.  My heart and brain have to get poured out somewhere.

TIME WITH COLT

When Colt and I go long periods of time without a date, we see the affect it has.  It's amazing what kinds of silly fights or miscommunications happen when you don't get a few hours to just look each other in the eye and finish sentences and actually hear what the other person is saying.  We do not have a weekly date night because babysitters = $$$.  We take the date nights that we can get, but many nights, we have home dates.  We rush around to get the dishes done, kitchen cleaned, and toys picked up so that we can put the kids in bed and spend the optimum amount of time together.  Sometimes we just sit and talk.  Sometimes we watch a movie and eat candy from Walgreens.  The activity doesn't matter as long as my heart feels connected to Colt's.


GIRL TIME

Back in December, I planned 2 girls nights with a group of friends - one in January and one in February.  It felt silly at that point to plan them out so ahead of time, but we knew it wouldn't happen otherwise.  (And, as it turns out, we had to cancel the February one because of sick babies and icy roads.)  It takes work to make these nights happen.  And sometimes, these aren't even fancy nights out.  Maybe someone's husband is going to be out of town or something, so we all go over to that friend's house after the kids are in bed to hang out.  Having time with my friends makes me feel like I'm normal, fun, smart, and understood.

Sometimes it genuinely feels like the noble thing to give up on taking care of myself.  I'm not doing anything for myself.  I'm only giving to and serving my husband, children, and home.  But in the end, we're all losing if I do that.  I lose and my family loses.  When I take care of myself, I can care for my family a million times more and a million times better. 

How do you take care of yourself?  Do you make time for it?

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