I have these three beautiful girls and an amazing hubby. They truly rule my heart.
Any wonder why? Being the wife and mama takes my breathe away.
When I was working outside of the home, I absolutely could not justify additional time away from my family. I was away from them a lot of hours, I reasoned, that must fulfill my needs for me.
Then I came home to roost. And my mind didn’t know how to balance me and them and us. I knew there was this concept, self-care, taking time to invest in the heart and soul through whatever activities or ideas feed your life, out there. I knew people who espoused it. I respected those who did. I just felt lost.
I began to look around…and wonder what self-care was really all about. And as often happens, my heart was drawn to a fellow mama.
My friend A’Driane does an amazing job of seeking and embracing self care. I watch her carve out the time and I am jealous. Not in the petty, she gets self care and I don’t, but in awe that she values herself enough to do so.
I grew up with women who saw surrendering of themselves to their children as admirable. One of my strongest role model did just that. She was so involved in her kid’s life and she made it look so easy, watching her invest herself so heavily seemed like a wonderful model of motherhood. She was, and is, an amazing mother. I dreamed of being such a mom. *
I also grew up under Biblical teachings often twisted to prove women should lose themselves in their vocation as wife and mother–or be able to do it ALLLL!!! (Proverbs 31 Woman). So, I threw myself into doing it all.
But this idea of self-care nagged at me. Was there something to it? Should it be part of my life? Could I still be considered a good mom if I indulged myself in this idea?
Truly, when I heard about self-care for the first time in #ppdchat,** the idea was so foreign to me that I brushed it aside as something I didn’t need. I was stronger than that, than those who “needed” time away.
But my beautiful A’Driane challenged my misguided notions just by living intentionally. I saw her with her beautiful family of three boys and a great hubby. I saw her making time to eat well, I saw her making time to exercise, I saw her making time to paint and write and love herself.
And I knew how strong she was. There was no way I could construe her need of self-care as indulgence or a sign of weakness. The woman chases after three boys, keeping up with demanding schedules with honesty and grace.
I began to wonder if the truth wasn’t that I loved my girls too much to take the time for self-care, but rather I didn’t love me enough to invest in who I am, in who I want to become. I realized I haven’t arrived at at the final destination of who I am just because I love being a wife and mother. I haven’t completed my journey of growth, I am still a changing, emerging, me.
Sometimes being me means I am all mom, or all wife, all family, sometimes maybe it means something more. Maybe it means embracing where I’ve been, where I am and where I want to be.
It’s time to blend it all, to create my own life painting.
Today, I’m here to invest in myself. I’m here to take baby steps.
I’m here to re-embrace my lifelong love of reading. I’m here to let the authors words wash my soul, feed my soul, rebirth my soul.
I’m here to embrace me and all that it means.
*That amazing role model in my life? I have watched her grow and rebirth as her motherhood journey has continued and she IS an amazing mother, friend, woman. She has strength and drive to spare for all of those around her.
**Please, if you are working through a postpartum mood disorder, check out the hashtag #ppdchat on twitter to get an army of women who are right there in the journey with love and strength for you. You will find resources and help, love and compassion that you never dreamed possible.