Season of Self-Care

One day last week I found myself needing a break in a bad way.  When it was noon and I was irritable and antsy and had no idea what to do with my kiddos the rest of the day, I decided I was in need of some time for myself.  Time to process these crazy past few weeks, time for solitude, time for breathing, time for healing.  So I booked my sitter and spent two lovely hours on the beach alone where I did not talk to one person.  It was glorious.  And it was just what I needed.

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I wrote, I cried, I listened to music.  I prayed.  I asked for words.  I heard.  Humbled by God’s beautiful creation, there really could not be a more calming spot for me than the beach to enjoy my afternoon of silence.  There is something about the ebb and flow of the waves crashing and the stillness that occurs in between.

All week I knew I was in some need of some self-care, but it was hard for me to make it happen.  It is interesting because I have been doing a lot of dreamwork lately, and came across a synopsis that said if you’re dreaming you are neglecting an animal or a baby in your care, you are neglecting yourself in real life.  I couldn’t believe it – for years, and I mean years, I had dreams just like this.  I don’t know why I never looked it up, but how crazy is it that self-care has turned into my passion now that I’m a mother.  I wish I had analyzed the meaning of my dreams at the time, but I’m grateful I now know the underlying message!

I find it can be so challenging to focus on our own needs when we are constantly meeting the demands of our children.  I feel so worn down some days that the last thing I have energy for is time for me.  But I’ve found that even little things I can do for myself like grabbing Starbucks on a day that drags on, squeezing in a 20-minute workout or reading a few pages of a book can buy me some time until I have a few hours to solely devote to me.  Just being mindful of making myself a priority, even if in a small way, can help feed my soul and rejuvenate me a bit.

As I read this mother’s question on a blog I follow, I couldn’t help but feel a renewed sense of why I started this website in the first place:  so that others would also spend time connecting and caring for themselves in ways that will make them the best mothers, wives and women they can be.  It reminded me to re-read my Self-Care 101 post to refresh myself, too, on how I can slow down and honor my body in this busy season of life.

I also love this friend’s blog on the very same thing, and perhaps turning this new season into a pattern of no’s instead of one of perpetual yes’s.  As I’ve written before, I feel that Fall often gives us that permission to settle in a bit earlier, and stay in a little more.  I hope this season of life brings all of us intentional quiet moments of reflection.  May we establish a new, healthy rhythm of listening to ourselves regularly.

Happy Fall, friends.

Busy Bees

When I first discovered Pinterest, I thought it might just be the answer I’d been looking for to help pass time on those endless stay at home mom days.  Yet every time I tried one of  the DIY projects for toddlers I had pinned, it was a big letdown.  There was the popsicle stick velcro project and then the food coloring/dropper in baking soda pin.  And this one that didn’t work at all ’cause I’m sure I did something wrong.  And how can I forget the felt Christmas tree I spent hours crafting for her to play with all season that she barely cared about.  The point is it feels like a decent amount of effort to run out and buy the supplies, prep it all, and then my daughter does the project for ten minutes.  Doesn’t seem worth it.

There are certain activities I’ve found that take no time or prep on my part and she focuses on them exponentially longer than the Pinterest crafts I’ve tried.  I feel like they’re worth sharing because other moms shared some of them with me and I’m so grateful!

  • Shaving cream in the bathtub.  This one’s a favorite in our house.  Grumpy kids in the middle of the day?  Put them in water.  Shaving cream is an added bonus.  They’ll make designs, wash it off, do it all over again.
  • Art board.  I’ve mentioned this activity before.  Hours, and I mean hours, of use you’ll get out of this one.

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  • Fill up a squirt bottle with water and let them go to town spraying outside.  It’s only a dollar at Target and they’ll be happy anytime water is involved.
  • Keep a button / bead jar and bust it out on slow days.  My 3-year-old spends time sorting by color or type, counting, and arranging in a shape.  I had one of these when I was little and I kept adding to it for years.  We have most recently added marbles to our collection.

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  • Get out the piggy banks.  Let them dump out its contents.  Same type of thing as the bead jar – she will sort quarters, pennies etc., count, and make cool designs.
  • Paint the sidewalk with water.  My sister gave me this idea.  The sun dries it instantly, so they feel that it’s their duty to paint it again.  And again…again.  Add chalk to mix it up a little.

What are some of the activities your child loves?