It’s close to 11pm and I should definitely be asleep. Most of the time, my mornings start at 5:15am. My alarm goes off, I literally tuck and roll out of bed, open the door SO SO slowly, tiptoe past a sleeping baby and creep upstairs. I have workout clothes already upstairs. I change my clothes, I put headphones in, turn on a podcast and start my workout. This morning’s workout had a bunch of jumping-type things…plank jacks (a jumping jack on the floor in plank position), high knee skips, half burpees (… a half of a burpee?), more more high knee skips, alternating side lunges, again, high knee skips, and frog jumps (kill me). So, every time I would land back down on the floor I honestly was basically trying to be cat woman and not making a sound since baby and husband were still asleep right below me.
I finished the workout, emptied and re-loaded the dishwasher, went back downstairs, got a shower, got dressed, minimal makeup, went back upstairs, fixed a bottle for baby girl, came down to get her at 7am, told hubby I was leaving in 15 minutes so I needed to him to at least come lay on the couch with one eye open while baby girl played, took said baby upstairs, gave her a bottle and half a banana, packed my own lunch, hubby came upstairs, I kissed both hubby and baby and literally ran out the door. Somewhere in all that is a post-workout drink that is AMAZING (thank you Ashley S!!).
The day did not stop there. Today was non-stop rehearsing. Middle school kids have a concert in about a week so we are learning how to stand on risers and keep our hands to ourselves. It’s a LOT harder than it sounds. In fact, I’m pretty sure most adults couldn’t do that for an hour and half… which is what my students did today. They BLEW ME OUT OF THE WATER. They did soooo well and it was so encouraging to know that they were listening. Now… by next Tuesday, who knows what they’ll be doing, BUT they did it today and that’s a victory, right??!!
This week will not stop after today. Tonight I had a musicianship class that I teach in Charlotte, tomorrow after school is a meeting, Wednesday is a football duty and church choir, Thursday is parent/teacher conferences until 7pm. It’s just going to be one of those weeks. Every time this happens, the song “Mama Said” by the Shirelles pops in my head. You know the one…
“Mama said there’ll be days like this, there’ll be days like this Mama said…”
So, what did I do this afternoon after having only been at home for 1 1/2 hours only to leave again? I called my mom on my way to Charlotte and cried over the phone. She patiently and calmly listened, as she always does, and said… “If I could change it I would. I’m so sorry.” That’s all I needed, but I decided to call my BFF anyways. She did the same. She empathized, calmly listened, said “that sucks” after everything which immediately validated me. (Good friends will do that, even when you’re complaining about stupid things). And then she did something so important… She reminded me about Self-Care. I’ll say it again y’all cuz it needs to be said… Self. Care. She said… do something fun this weekend, but something that isn’t going to be difficult. Even if you’re going out to a “thing” that “thing” can become just one more thing you’ve got to check off your list. Have a movie day at home. Go get some coffee with baby. Do something simple and relaxing.
During my morning workouts, I listen to podcasts. Sometimes it’s the news, sometimes it’s this podcast called “Lore.” It’s creepy folklore type stories and I absolutely love it. This morning, however, I was listening to a podcast called “Risen Motherhood.” (Thanks again Ashley S!!). It’s just two moms, sitting down, talking about how life is tough sometimes being a mom, but how we need to continue to remind ourself what being a “Godly” mother actually means. Where do we find our worth as moms, females, wives, human beings? Do we find our worth in how many things we can accomplish in each day? In the amount of time we spend with our child(ren) OR… do we find our worth ALONE in Jesus Christ? The two podcasts I listened to this morning were talking about postpartum bodies(a different post for another day) and confidence AND… you guessed it… Self-Care. You don’t have to be a Mama to get this, so hang with me…
They were discussing how Self-Care can be perceived one of two ways. The first one is some people look at other people who talk about self-care and they immediately think that that person is being selfish. That they are ONLY looking out for themselves. That they are taking time away from their day to do something that only they want to do. The second way, and, according to the women in this podcast, the better way, of looking at and acting out self care is to do it as a way of “refilling your cup.” Do we do self-care as a way of saying, “I’ve had a crappy day… I deserve a glass of wine. I deserve to sit on the couch and watch my show. I deserve to devote the rest of today to myself.” OR… Do we do self-care as a way to say, “I’m tired. I’m giving what I’ve got left in my life, but it’s not great. I’m giving 50% where I should be giving 80%. I have no energy left to even enjoy playing with my dog or my kids. I have no energy left to cook dinner or to have a conversation with my loved one or to check in on my best friend.” I’m not saying that coming home from a long day and plopping down in your favorite chair with a glass of wine is bad. No way. I’m saying… what is the motivation behind it? Is it because you’ve had a crappy day or is it because you’ve had a crappy day AND you want to have a minute to recharge so that tomorrow you can go back out there and give your 100% again?
As Christians, I think a couple things need to happen when it comes to self-care.
First, I think we need to understand our motivations behind why we do it. I get up early, I work full-time, I go get my hair done, I teach a musicianship class once a week, I do face masks 2x a week BECAUSE… I think it makes me a better mom. It makes me feel human. It makes me feel energized. It makes me feel calm and prepared. When I feel those things, I have more energy, more patience, more compassion, more confidence to be a better mom, teacher, wife, and friend. If we are doing these things selfishly, then I think it will eventually drain our energy from those areas. If I were doing it to ONLY make myself feel better, I would be a worse mom, an impatient teacher, a less-loving wife, and a needy friend.
Second, I think we need to remind ourselves of the Christian aspect of self-care. We were put on this earth to be servants, right? To take care of those in need, to clothe the naked, feed the hungry, love the unloved. If we are putting so much of our energy into other areas that we have NONE left for the people that need it, then how can we be servants? If we are serving the wrong people, the wrong motivations, the wrong energy, we will have no energy left for the people that need it. When we are servants to others, we should be energetic, passionate, compassionate, prepared, calm, patient, loving, (insert your own adjective here), servants. If we are constantly drained and have not taken the time to recharge our own batteries, how will we serve others? How can we share love and patience if we have none left?
Self-care is NOT selfish. Are you recharging so that you can continue to make the world a better place? Are you recharging so that you can be a better person for your friends, family, community, co-workers? Are you recharging so that you can feel closer to God? Are you recharging so that you can start with a fresh slate tomorrow? Are you recharging so that you can feel more relaxed, less worried, and less stressed out about life and the world? I urge you to think about that in the coming weeks… especially when holiday season is approaching. Take time for yourself, ABSOLUTELY. It’s so important! Take time to clear your heart so that there’s room for more love to give. Take time to clear your head so that there is space for clear thoughts and kind words. Take time to clear your life so that you can give more of it to others while making this world a better place and sharing the love that is so desperately needed.
That is why I’m awake right now at 11:29pm on a Monday night. I am PAINFULLY aware of the alarm clock I have set for tomorrow morning, BUT I also know, that by getting this out of my head, through my fingers and onto the screen in front of me, I have emptied my head, heart, and life, and gotten rid of something that was weighing me down. Now, I can wake up tomorrow feeling clear, calm, and ready to serve my family, students, co-workers, friends, and anyone else that may cross my path AND I can greet them in love because I’ve made room for it tonight.
Love and Peace.