Monday, August 31, 2009

Take Care of Yourself to be a Better Mom/Wife/Friend

As the fall season comes into view, I'm digging deep to find the motivation I need to be better. I love Fall. I love the crispness in the air, the changing of the leaves, the sense that things are, well, changing. I'm especially loving the fact that I can't really feel these changes just yet (stay a while, summer), but I know they're on the way.
For most of my life, Fall has been the time to set goals and to renew my commitment to be better this year than the year before. For 22+ years, school forced me to set goals, and gave me the motivation to work hard. After graduating from college, it was strange to be suddenly in charge of setting my own goals and deadlines. After having babies and leaving the full-time workforce, it was even stranger...I had no black and white commitments to anyone. (Although keeping a baby and husband alive is no small commitment!)
I quickly found, after the birth of The Boy in 2006, that if I didn't make a commitment to do certain things, they would never get done. The less productive I was, the less happy I was. The less I took care of myself, the more neglected other things became. If I sat around in my pajamas all day, nothing was accomplished. My home became disorganized and cluttered. I had no energy. A few things in my life became an absolute priority so that I could remain happy and sane. With the Fall Season ahead, I'm focusing on me for unselfish (OK...and selfish) reasons. No one wants to be around me if I don't take care of me. Here are a few of my personal-care areas of improvement:
  1. Friendships: I've been blessed with some really, really great friends. My husband is my best friend, but as much as he tries to understand me, he'll never be a woman. Having a girlfriend to talk to--even if we can only get in a few sentences before the kids prevent the conversation from going any further--is essential to lifting my sometimes not-so-chipper spirit.
  2. Daily Fresh Air: For me, getting out of the house, if only for a few minutes every day is like taking anti-depressant medication. I. NEED. SUN.
  3. Exercise: Even if it means waking up at 5am...I won't neglect it! Remember...The benefits I'll gain from working out early are much more important than the bit of sleep I'll lose!
  4. Showers and Makeup: Even if I know the 3 and under crowd are the only ones who will see me during the day, I never skip this. You'll rarely see me without makeup on...even if it's just a smidgen of mascara. Why? I feel better about myself. I know that if a friend calls and wants to stop by in, say, 2 minutes, I'm prepared and even excited for the visit. I have more energy. I feel like a non-stinky, proper member of society.
  5. Healthy Eating: One of my biggest struggles...I love my sugar...but also one of the key indicators of how I feel. I can tell what kind of foods my kids have eaten by how they're acting. I can also tell what kind of foods I have eaten by my mood. If the foods are healthy, I'm a much better me. (But I'm also a better me with some occasional chocolate...)
  6. Marriage: As a mom, it's so easy to put The Man on the back burner. But I notice that when we're not getting alone time, or going on dates, I'm much more discouraged and down about life in general.
  7. Sleep: This one will be tricky with my new workout schedule, but if I have any desire to not turn into Monster Mom, I. must. sleep.
  8. Meditation: Taking a few minutes to pray, reflect, and listen helps me organize the chaos that is my life as a toddler mom into a more doable job. Even just a few minutes at the beginning and end of the day helps me assess where I am, and where I'm trying to go.

These are a few things I'm going to work on this about you?


Shirley Hale said...

I think this is fantastic and so true. Yesterday I sat in my pajamas and didn't feel like doing anything and I wasn't happy. I'm learning day by day how motherhood has changed my life and how to handle it. I think that setting goals is a great suggestion. Thanks!

Bonnie and Brian Wayne said...

AMEN SISTA! WE are starting a babysitting co-op with 3 other couples to watch each others kids so we can have regular date nights. And the workout thing - I will have to see about when, because I HAVE to have sleep, but I also SAVOR my alone time at night with no distractions....what is the middle ground. Does teaching exercise 3 times a week count as the workout???? And the makeup/looking nice thing - totally agree with. And friends - gotta have me some great girls to gab with. Since we moved - I am working on that. I love the post - great to see it all in one place for a reminder to one's self.

Lyenna said...

I love goal setting. I am a total believer if you write them down they happen. As far as 5am goes...lets just say, I still workout at 9am:)

Tina said...

Awesome! I am going to take your advice. I need to do a lot of "housekeeping" on more than just my house.

Diane said...

I know you actually do all of these things already! You are a good example...I'm going to try a little harder too!