Our 31 days to the inner rhythm of the heart, the root foundation of a house of peace, is in progress. In the vein of those who are setting a New Year’s intention with “one word”, I offer the word of today to you: self-care. Read on for more…
Many mothers tell me they yell more when they are completely low on the “self-care” meter. It doesn’t matter if this is caused by a mother being single, a mother who has to work full-time and also parent, or a mother who is home full-time and can’t seem to get any time to herself. The result is all the same: a lack of care for the self.
It is not a pretty place to be for most of us. Here are a few points to think seriously about:
Sleep – Sleep is a huge component of starting the day off right. Who wants to get out of bed and get their day up and running before their children if they have already been woken up eight times during the night between multiple children or by one child? The other piece of this is that mothers are less likely to go to bed early if they do not catch any time to themselves during the day. This is a large part of homeschooling if we are not careful – it can really be lessons, making food, more lessons, perhaps play that has to be supervised, household work to be done, more making of food, bedtime routines…and then an exhausted collapse by a mother who really wants some time to just be. Cultivate a rhythm that includes downtime for everyone to do something on his or her own, even if your two year old has to play at your feet to start.
Inner Work – We talked about inner work in one of the last posts, but where is your inner work? How are you doing this and what does this look like for you?
Physical Work – Our bodies were made for physical work. Our bodies were meant to move. We can do physical work at home, we can de-mechanize what we do, but unless one lives on a farm and really is doing hard physical work, we probably still are not moving enough. Get outside, with your children, yes, but also where is your time to vigorously exercise?
Appearance- Do you all remember this post when I talked about how the shelf life for a bra is one year? Mothers everywhere laughed and said there is no time to go bra shopping! How about getting your hair done, or having time to buy a new piece of clothing for yourself, even if that is just at Goodwill?
Hobbies — What do you love to do? Do you ever do them?
Planning – Yes, for homeschooling mothers, I put planning down as part of self-care. Planning is what prevents burnout! Planning makes school life so much easier! We will talk more about planning, but I wanted to go ahead and plant that seed for those of you who homeschool. This time of year is a great time to start looking at next year’s grades, what blocks you are going to bring, and to start making a list of needed resources and supplies.
Food for thought.
To this wonderful list, I would add something else that you have taught me over the years: nourishment of the spiritual life. I have long heard this reminder from you, but did not know what do with it. I do not belong to a religion, do not have a faith community aside from the wonderful mothers’ circle I am part of and that meets monthly. But actual worship and fellowship? No, I did not have it until very recently. And I have been astonished at how essential it has become for me. I cannot be the source of life for my children without being connected to the source of life. A spiritual practice that is regular infuses my daily life with a love and divinity–I am no longer trying to be everything, but am supported in my work by something greater. Steady replenishing at that well have made the biggest difference in my parenting and presence as a mother. Thank you for your encouragement of finding my way to this place.
You are so right! And I am so glad you found it. To have something greater than yourself , that as you said, infuses your life, your actions every day and replenishes you and gives you a source to lean on….it is so important in this parenting journey. I am so happy for you!
Many, many blessings,
PS. Kyce, maybe at some point you would like to share your journey with the readers of The Parenting Passageway?
Ah, the timing for this is so apt as DH departs soon for a work trip, leaving me with my 3 year old and my 6 month old. I am absolutely determined to get more sleep while he is gone, and keep saying to myself, “Warmth, Warmth, Warmth, Warmth” even when I want to be cold.
Do you have a specified time and length of time for “Downtime?” We were doing 30 minutes of “downtime” after lunch since my toddler stopped napping 6 months ago, but that was developing into a disaster…she felt ignored because we were out of the house, then home for lunch, then the baby down for a nap…. I am now getting up at 6 am to have a bit of time to myself before she wakes at 7, but I could really, really use a “break” during the day, too.
Perhaps what you need is a change in rhythm… I know it must be hard to get the baby down for a nap and have your three year old there, but something I used to do would be to nurse the baby and read at the same time with all of us lying down together. I don’t know if that would work in your case. Is there a way to put in some connection time with your three year old before you try to lay the baby down for a nap? Is there a way to place a little something set up to play with in the corner or is that too noisy?
I think before you can get the down time, you have to get connection. Then the down time will come. I would start with a half hour or so but hopefully you could work up to an hour or a little more.
Are you out of the house due to school arrangements? Something that often is helpful with sleep and rest is to think about several hours preceding when you want the sleep or rest to happen and how to make that so steady, predictable, same, repetitious. So, see what you can do with that within the timing you have in the morning.
The other thing I would think of is another downtime before dinner – salt dough to play with, warmth, ease – starting dinner way earlier in the day in a crock pot or whatnot so there is not a lot of scurrying around to do but time for stories, gentle singing or play…
Hope that helps, take what resonates with you! I love your mantra of warmth as well. 🙂 Fight against the coldness.
I took to heart the “no yelling household” post you put up a couple or so years ago, and had success for so long, until now. I feel like despite all my best intentions and efforts everyone is fighting and it is so discouraging. My daughter just turned 11 and she cries when I ask her to do her chores or to face math problems now. Puberty is starting but I don’t want to blame things that are problems just on the hormones.
I feel like my major re-assess is totally overwhelming, maybe I need to write down on a piece of paper all the things that are working just fine so I don’t throw out the baby with the bath water.
I really appreciate your blog, it has carried me through some of our most challenging times as a homeschooling family.
Thanks for the reminder Carrie:)