A lot of women have young children, and find it hard with sleepless nights, poorly kids, feeling unwell themselves as mums… and life seems to be a roller coaster ride. When trying to surrender, when the topic of self care comes up, a lot of us struggle with this and start counting the things they already do, and the problems they are going through, and that they can’t seem to fit in with their lifestyle….
My children are older now – 10, 9 and 6… and the during the early years, when I was looking after babies, going through pregnancies, struggling with my marriage and other external family pressures… I realise now, trying not to feel remorseful, that I did it all wrong.
Once I got into self development, and started reflecting on life, things totally changed. With the knowledge that I have now, I would have theoretically done everything completely different.
I call this the ‘Lady in Waiting’ period of life. It starts when a woman is pregnant, and continues till her young one is about 4… and if you are having children closely together, that time can expand to at least 10 years of your life!
I now realise how important it is for pregnant women to go easy on themselves. A pregnant woman should be treated like a queen at this stage of her life. It is the time she is giving of herself to her unborn child. Sending messages of contentment and security to the baby… I never did this, always feeling guilty for not having done enough… trying to prove that i was managing okay, and I wasnt just a young 19 yr old who couldn’t run a house…. I needed to prove I was capable. To myself – now I realise, but I didn’t see it that way then. I wanted everyone to treat me well – but did I treat myself well?
Self contentment comes from within. When you give yourself value for what you are doing, and realising that even by breathing, you already doing enough. If I were to do it again, I would get regular rest in my years of waiting, regular sleep. I would focus on the important things in my life and let other things drop.
Babies will be born, and they will grow up… time doesn’t stop. The baby doesn’t say ‘well I know mummy’s tired so I will go without a drink of milk’… what has to be done, always gets done. And part of this time while we are in waiting, needs to be dedicated to ourselves aswell. When a child unexpectedly gets colic and screams all night… do we worry that things will fall apart…? Even with colic, diarrhea, chickenpox… life still goes on and we end up with 10 year old kids who can look after themselves. They are not scarred for life just because when they were young they got the measles and the house remained a mess for a month….
And when they are older, you will see that life also wouldn’t have fallen apart if you had taken time out for that extra nap… an extra 10 mins in the shower…. letting them play and gurgle while you had some time out on the couch.
If life is okay while they are screaming and bawling when they are ill and you are frantically hoovering – life will also be okay if they cry while you take that bath.
If I were to do it again, I would ensure that I treated myself like a queen. I would recognise that I was doing a noble job, raising leaders of the next generation, and I would give myself credit for that. I remember when all of my kids were ill and I took them to the doctor, and she took my arm and gave me a flu jab…. they were only giving it to pensioners at the time. She told me to look after myself, because if I got ill, who would look after the kids and the family? I felt so touched when she did that. I felt I had value… it’s because I never gave myself value.
I would also make sure I didn’t feel guilty for looking after myself… regardless of what those around me said.
How often have I beat myself up over a dirty house just because I felt guilty that i am not coping. Others make unfair comments, not seeing how hard it is, and we internalise these comments, and make them real for us. ‘You are such a bad housewife’ gets turned into ‘I am a bad housewife’… and we did that ourselves.
The world didn’t fall apart when we had 3, 4, 5, or 6 kids in a row… and the world isn’t going to fall apart if we add some mummy-time to that aswell. The world never ever fell apart before. And it isn’t about to now.
Life goes on, and so does self care. Its how much importance you place on yourself that makes the difference in the quality of your life.
Look after yourselves, my precious sisters. When you are old grannies knitting sweaters for your grandchildren, you will understand that the extra hour a day that you could have spent looking after your mind, body and soul, would have made the ride so much more beautiful and enriched. Life is a bed of roses, if only you make it that way.
You are women who are nurturing the leaders of the righteous, and God will provide you with everything you need. Surrender to that, and receive it from Him.
Just my morning musing… back to the housework, laundry, and cooking.