This is for the momma or anyone else who has ever felt burned out with life. Resentful. Overwhelmed. Bitter towards her blessings. Wondering what you are doing wrong? Where’s the joy? I don’t have all the answers for you, or for myself, but God has been revealing pieces in my own life that may help shed light on your life. This past January I claimed 2013 as the year of joy. I desired more joy in my blessings and that’s exactly the journey God has been taking me on: the journey to joy. It coincides with my journey to embracing grace, naturally 🙂
Around 6 months after Ashlyn’s birth, something resembling postpartum depression appeared. It felt much like I did after Jason’s birth and I recognized the familiar overwhelming feelings. I was very overwhelmed by life and all the duties that fall on my shoulders, I couldn’t keep up with house work. I felt like a horrible mom who couldn’t make the effort to engage with her kids or one who yelled too much. I was sleep deprived, having a baby who slept awesome the first 3 months of life and then decided to change her habits, reverting to normal newborn wake ups. I was unpredictable in mood. Since it was a familiar feeling, I knew to pull out my placenta tincture to help balance hormones. As I sipped my coffee with placenta tincture I often looked deep inwardly to uncover why I was feeling this way when the previous months had been more peaceful and joyful. Besides the obvious sleep deprivation, I realized that I had let myself slide. I felt stuck in the role of “just mom” and did not fill myself up anymore. I had stopped doing what I love, what makes me me. I had stopped reading books, I had stopped writing, I didn’t have my girls night outs that I used to have one a week, I didn’t have a small group to dig into scripture and share each others burdens. I was a mom drowning in what I desperately wanted to love, but couldn’t without some air. I also realized that God had dug up a lot of stinky trash in my heart from my past that He wanted me to throw out and it was affecting my mood. Plus hormones, man, those hormones can make every little thing feel magnified!
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? 1 Corinthians 6:19
I’ve seen many counselors throughout my life for many reasons. I’m not ashamed to say that because I know how valuable it is to have that outside perspective to help understand and change your own perspective to heal. I knew this dark time was one of those times I needed it, and I still do. Do you know the first suggestion she made? Take care of yourself. Drink enough water, exercise to boost your oxytocin happy hormones, and eat well. Our bodies are a temple of God, it’s holy. Treat it like it is. Do things you love! Even just one thing a week makes a huge difference, whether it’s taking the time to read a book or buying yourself a chocolate treat simply because. God has been teaching me this for months, it’s a process for me. Some days I forget to even drink a cup of water until noon because I’m so busy meeting kids needs or house duties! No wonder I have kidney stones. If I don’t fill myself up literally, emotionally, and spiritually than I cannot effectively serve others (mainly, my kids at this point in life). I’m sure you’ve heard the airplane oxygen mask analogy before, giving yourself air first so that you can help someone else. The same is true in life.
Obviously, this isn’t an excuse to be selfish. There is a balance here. “For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Galatians 5:14 I believe that God has ingrained us with the need to care for ourselves, to protect and respect ourselves for His glory and to best serve Him. The issue is when that’s all we think of and we love ourselves more than others. However, if you are like me and feeling bitter because you don’t have time to just be you anymore…I’d say you aren’t being selfish in this area (maybe in other areas, sure. I know I am). If we don’t meet our own needs, how can we effectively love on others?
We want our kids to love themselves for who God made them, right? What a gift to be an example to our children that taking care of yourself is loving yourself. I notice a difference in my mood when I take time for me, I’m more joyful and more confident in myself as a person and a mom. The Truth is easier to remember and cling to when I’m filled up. What does it for me is getting out to meet girl friends, doing some sewing, reading a real book, or working on my writing, or making time to mediate on God’s word. Some times it’s a simple as treating myself to Starbucks or painting my nails. We all need to breathe and a time to step out side the Mom zone. And like they say, when momma is happy, everyone is happy! As moms, our tone and responses often set the tone for the whole house.
So what do you love to do? Do it! Make it a priority. Challenge yourself to do one thing this week just for you and share in the comments what it was. You’re worth it, you work hard. I’m preaching to myself here, too! If you’re a fan on Facebook, I’ll be doing a weekly challenge to encourage us. Will you join me?