"Taking care of yourself, takes care of more than just yourself." Matthew McConaughey
As a mother of four, (7, 6, 3 & 1/2, and 2 & 1/2), I have found that time to myself is invaluable in order for me to give my all to raise up those God has given me. This time to myself can take many different shapes and forms. It can be as simple as staying up late, after my kids have gone to sleep, and curling up with a blanket and a good book; it could be as elaborate as a spa day.
Since elaborate time for me doesn't typically exist in my world - (literally, happens once in a blue moon) ;-) - let's take a look at simple things you can do for you:
Yes, it is almost impossible to go to the bathroom, or into any room for that matter, alone when your children are small, (they follow you, like a shadow that never leaves); however, I've found that if I quiet my littles with an activity, and briefly go into another room, leaving the door open, I am able to have a few minutes of silence, for myself, where I can reconnect with the center of me before heading back into the fray of mothering. A few intervals of the above, throughout your day, allows you to be more fully yourself, and present, when it counts.
If for you: To write is to breath, or to sing is to live, or to paint is to co-create with God; you need to find time to invest in using the gifts that God has given you. Find time to dance as Julie Quinn did in her painting titled "The Dance":
Find an outlet to continue to improve upon what He has given you naturally. By becoming more of who you are meant to be you pave the way for your children to become all they are meant to be too. To be the best mother you can be you must be the best version of you; the fullness of you lies within what God has given you to gift the world with. Your children become arrows you shoot off into the world, for His glory and honor and the furtherance of His kingdom, but you still have life and love and gifts to give, from within yourself, once your nest is empty. By continuing to develop yourself, to learn, grow and hone your talents and skills, you lead by example of how to live an abundant life embodying the fullness of Christ.
Ask your spouse, friend, an extended family member or trusted baby-sitter to come over and give you time to linger in the bath-tub or shower; an hour of not having to answer a baby's cry, a toddler's whine, a child's questions does a soul good! Take time to center yourself. To think or to not think at all. To pray, immersing yourself in conversation with God, or to simply give thanks for solid minutes of not being responsible for anything or anyone; let the weight of carrying others drift away on sudsy, fragrant bubbles of your favorite bubble bath.
(Lavender Chamomile anyone? http://amzn.to/1Hxjcto)
If you're looking for self-care that doesn't cost a thing and want to be inspired, TiVo shows like The Voice. Watch others living out their dreams. Giving of themselves, crossing barriers of fear and nerves, growing by leaps and bounds to deliver songs that touch and change lives, including their own. (Brings me to tears of happiness and joy when I see someone living their gifts out loud).
And, if you'd like a book recommendation, to escape the daily to-dos of mothering and household monotony, how about something that celebrates the under-dogs? Blind Your Ponies authored by: Stanley Gordon West (http://amzn.to/1KTdRSK) One reader put it best: "It's about overcoming adversity, false perceptions and personal fear. It's about courage." (Connie C. Henry) Now, maybe it's because my husband surprised me by bringing this book home for me, and maybe it's because I read this story while living out West and the book is set in small town Montana, and maybe it's because of the under-dog theme; no matter, a book that stays with you is a book worth reading. In fact, I've just inspired myself to re-read it again! After the kids go to sleep I'll be curled up on the couch, my feet tucked under a pillow, and beginning my own journey with the characters found in Willow Creek.
Don't stay up all night reading though, the last thing on this brief list of self-care, is rest. Nothing like as much uninterrupted sleep as you can get, am I right!?! If you are a new Mom, ask your husband to give you at least one day of sleeping in, where baby care belongs solely to him. This benefits you, him and baby both.
I love being on this journey of sharing life with you; giving my all to raise you up!