As a stay at home mom of two children, I am pretty good at putting them first and myself last. It seemed that being the best mom and wife were, at one time, my only priorities. I lived for my children and my husband, my entire life revolved around them for over ten years. It wasn’t until I stopped homeschooling and both of my children were in school that I realized how seldom I thought about my own needs. I had focused so much time and energy on them that I had lost myself in the process. It seemed that overnight my world had shifted and my role in it was unclear. If I wasn’t busy living and doing for my children and my husband, what was I actually here for?
In the book The Surrendered Wife, author Laura Doyle recommends doing three things every day for your own pleasure. Self-care, as it’s called, is apparently a very important first step in building and creating a close, intimate relationship. I wasn’t convinced that doing something that made me happy every day would impact my relationship with my kids or my husband, or help me figure out where I wanted my life to go now that I finally had the chance to think about it.
It turns out that I am really terrible at taking care of myself. I find tremendous joy and happiness doing for others- always knowing exactly what they needed at any given moment in any circumstance. How did I not know how to make me happy? I began to notice my down time, and committed to do something that made me happy when I had a chance. I devoured books. I drank coffee on my porch and watched the birds play. I taught my dogs some new tricks. I walked the river and through forest trails. I taught myself how to grow a thriving garden. Gradually, I began to see Megan again. I grew to know this person inside whom I neglected and ignored for too many years. I noticed my days seemed brighter, my energy levels were much higher, and I was not as easily stressed out by daily life.
Admittedly, I have only been practicing self-care for a few months, and I am constantly reminding myself to take the time or make the time. It seems that I do well for a few days, then fall off into my old habits again. It is only when I find myself feeling cranky or snippy with my kids or my husband that I take a step back, and realize that I have neglected myself. Now I notice when I am lacking in self-care almost immediately, and it goes a long way in helping me see the benefit of taking care of me. I am not only a better me when I take care of myself, I am also a better mom and wife, which is something the whole family benefits from.
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