As a mom, you are one of the most important people in your family! However, in the process of taking care of everyone, it is easy to neglect your own health and well-being. We take the overcooked food, the wrinkled paper, and we almost always go last in line. The other area we tend to put ourselves last is in our health.
As a mom of six kids, I was very good at taking care of everyone else. But at one doctor’s appointment, I pretty much received a failing grade for taking care of myself. For someone who likes to get gold stars, this stung. There are five main categories my doctor stressed that are important to caring for our physical health, and I wasn’t doing great at any of them.
- Regular exercise. Changing the sheets on a bunk bed should count!
- Healthy eating habits. Finishing off the mac and cheese or eating the last bites of soggy waffles would not impress any dietician. And when I think about getting enough water in every day – coffee is made from water, right?
- Stress management. Six kids, 10 and under. There isn’t much more to say.
- Self-care – like basic hygiene and good sleep. There is a reason the phrase, “Messy hair, don’t care” became popular. And it felt like I was trying to get a gold star for the fewest minutes of sleep.
- Preventative care – such as going to regular doctor’s visits. The pediatrician doesn’t count, although I did have a pediatrician test me for strep once.
In neglecting my health, I started to think living fatigued, struggling with brain fog, and waking up with achy joints was just part of motherhood. Doesn’t everyone start their morning with 32oz of coffee and 1000 mg of naproxen? I didn’t just ignore these warning signs, I thought they were “normal.” I also thought if I took the time to care for myself, I would be stealing time from my kids and that they would suffer from my lack of attention.
What I was really doing was putting myself in crisis mode all the time. If you can imagine your health as a pitcher of water, you are constantly pouring into your kids, your spouse, and your activities. When you take care of yourself, water is added to your pitcher. If you never allow yourself to be filled, you are going to run empty pretty quick. Or, to pull in another water metaphor, have you ever boiled a pan of water on the stove until it was dry? Let me just say it does not smell good and can become dangerous. We are the same way.
Proverbs 4:20-22 NLT says, “My child, pay attention to what I say. Listen carefully to my words. Don’t lose sight of them. Let them penetrate deep into your heart, for they bring life to those who find them, and healing to their whole body.”
I desperately need God’s words! I need his wisdom, and I need to slow down long enough for him to direct my schedule and lead me. Caring the best for the people in my family means I must take care of myself.
And no, coffee doesn’t count as water!
- What physical symptoms are you treating as “normal”?
- What is one thing you could do right now to take care of yourself?
Jennifer Iverson (jenniferiverson.com)