Whether it be the lack of sleep during the infant and toddler years or the fear of what our kids are doing during the teen years or early 20’s, at some point in the journey we’re likely to feel overwhelmed as a parent. For many of us we’ve been conditioned to be energizer bunnies; “we keep going and going and going” until our battery runs out or a cataclysmic event forces us to slow down.
I’ve been in that same place for a while now. Stress from a child in chronic pain, grief from a 20-something making too many poor decisions, work, meals, and everything in between can send me to the point of exhaustion just needing a break. Just when I think I can’t handle any more, I get a call letting me know that my mother-in-law has passed away this week. The event that forces me to pause.
Why is it that when you get to the breaking point one more thing always happens?
I’ve talked to several moms this week who are in the same place. One came home from work early and collapsed for a brief 10 minute nap before the kids came home from school. Another was stressed because her 20-something does a verbal dump of all her problems in late night conversations. A mom with a kid smoking weed, another having to be two places at one time with two separate kids, homework, new schedules, teacher issues, coaches who play favorites, and a husband who verbally tears down his kids are all stresses that can impact our well-being.
All the normal stuff of being a mom. Right?
Why is it that as a mom we tend to take care of everyone else but ourselves?
Scripture gives you permission to do something different.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in the body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
Think about it. You are God’s temple–the place where He dwells.
In the Old Testament the tabernacle or temple had to hold up under extreme stress because it was portable. God even assigned priests to take care of the tabernacle and temple.
If you are a mom, there’s no one to take care of you, except you. You are the priest for your temple.
If you are too tired and are yelling at your kids, you aren’t taking care of your temple. If you have schedules that require more energy than you have to give, something needs to go. If you are getting a constant verbal dump from your 20-somethings, then maybe it’s time to teach coping skills and put time boundaries in place. If you are responsible for the entire house and possibly the lawn, then maybe it is time to bring out the chore chart and enlist the help of other family members.
Give yourself permission to take care of you and make sure you are refilling your tank.
The other day after hearing about my mother-in-law’s death, since there were many things that needed to be done, my first thought was to see what I could reschedule on my calendar. As I looked at breakfast scheduled with a friend my first inclination was to cancel it. Upon further review, I decided to keep the date because I knew I needed to take care of me. This friend would listen; she would make me laugh; she would help me forget my sorrow so that I would be energized to do the next thing. And I realized, it was the best decision to take care of me.
Here are some things you might consider as you move yourself up on your priority schedule.
- Are you getting enough sleep?
- Are you too busy to spend time with God in quiet meditation?
- Are there too many sports or activities for the kids?
- What hobbies do you enjoy? Are you doing them?
- Do you have friendships that energize you? If not, why not?
- What are your stresses? Can someone else ease the burden?
- Do you schedule time away with either your spouse, a friend, or by yourself so that you can relax and unwind?
- Do you even know if your tank is more likely to be filled up if you are with other people or if you are by yourself?
- Are you worrying and trying to control things that are not yours to own?
- Are there things to which you should be saying “no”?
Dare you to take inventory of your stress level and give yourself permission to take care of you. If you do, you’ll find you have more energy to take care of the people in your life–serving as He has called us to. The difference will be that if you’ve taken care of yourself you are more likely to do it with a cheerful heart.
“Let go…and Let God”,
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