I notice moms everywhere…passing by me at Target and at gymnastics – 2 kids in tow, 1 on the way. The stressed look on her face. Trying to juggle it all. Feeling all alone. Life wasn’t supposed to be like this, was it? Isn’t this what she looked forward to her whole life? Getting married and having babies? Why did no one tell her how hard it would be? Why did no one tell her to stay young just a little while longer. Little did she know how many sleepless nights were ahead of her. How many fevers she would tend to. How many days the laundry would pile up around her while she felt anything but joy.
I see her face and I see a little girl – the girl she once was, but the one she still is to this day. A little girl who is operating in a grownup body, complete with scars from childbirth. She’s scared at times. Wondering how to carry the weight of her family on her frail shoulders. She’s worn down. She’s trying to meet all their needs but forgetting to tend to herself in the process. But it’s so, so hard. When will she find the time? Won’t it always be like that? No time for her. Never enough time in the day.
It dawns on me that I also see myself in their faces. It is me too. And I realize that it is time for change. We as mothers – we need to learn to love ourselves. We have carried this weight for so long – many generations…we need to be the ones who say, “I matter too.”
I have heard Him whisper to me, “Love yourself.” Pondering what this means, it hit me recently. I’ve been neglecting myself and my own needs. How can I NOT be short-tempered with my little ones when I’m running on empty. Self-care is not a luxury. It.is.a.necessity.
Our summer has been fun, adventurous, challenging, and memorable – but not so life-giving for me in many ways. Part of growth is reflection, and when I glimpse back I see there should have been a whole lot more “me time” and I think I would have handled certain situations better.
Now that I know better, I will do better. Self-care isn’t just for certain seasons. It is for always. And to the little girls who are now moms among us: be selfish just this once. Try it and see. Recharging both mentally and physically will benefit your entire family. In the end they’ll have more of you than they ever could have hoped for.
Let’s be the whole women we were created to be, in His image – learning as we go, loving ourselves more and more each day. And when I pass you by, I hope to see a smile – even if it’s the smallest smile – knowing you’re in this with me. We are doers, we know this for certain. But we can also be changers. And change starts from within.
Say it with me: “I matter.” Now go and live it. Book that massage or facial, call your sitter for a few hours alone, or arrange that all-girls weekend you’ve been meaning to do. It will be worth it – I promise.