(My happy place…with my bestie in an amazing bookstore)
Last month I went to Portland, OR for a homeschool conference/girls weekend. It was incredible…amazing conference, great connecting time with friends and eating dinner at 9 o’clock! I felt alive, like a real person! While reflecting on the trip once I got home, something was brought to the surface that I didn’t realize had been happening…I had been losing myself.
I am really passionate about homeschooling my kids. I spend hours planning, prepping and of course teaching. I really do love it. Then on top of that there’s housework (and I will admit I do love a clean house) sports practices/games, cooking…does this list ever end for a mama. I’m not saying any of these things are bad, because there is amazing value in each thing I metioned, but it took taking me away from them for a weekend to realize how much I had been letting them consume me. How much I had been losing who I am really am in all of my many roles.
Now it would be easy to sit here and have a pity party for myself, but since when do pity parties bring life, joy and freedom? Just in case you didn’t know…they don’t. Dwelling on the negative only keeps you stuck (a truth I have to repeatedly preach to myself some days). So, I decided that I need to make some changes so that I could find myself again.
One of the hardest things for me is not feeling guilty to take time for myself. I have gotten a bit better this year since I made my goal to start a hobby that is just for me. But that little voice in my head sure can be cruel some days and get me conviced that taking time to sit and read for pleasure, or watercolor, or just sit outside with a cup of tea where it’s quiet for a few moments is just being lazy. I used to struggle so much with this guilt that I wouldn’t ever take time for myself and that only led to bitterness and a grouchy mama.
So how have I been working on finding myself again? Using my alone time for me and not as a time to check a bunch of things off my to-do list. Now this is a bit more challenging right now because my kiddos’ once a week classes at their charter school have ended for the year. So alone time doesn’t happen quite as often right now, but when it does, I choose atleast one or two things during that time that bring me joy and is life giving…devotional time, watercoloring, reading for pleasure are a few things I enjoy. I’m not always good at sticking to this (sometimes I give in to the housework or piles of laundry that need to be folded) but it is my goal and sometimes it’s baby steps that get you to your goal and help form that new habit.
Now if you’re reading this and thinking there is no way you can find any alone time for yourself, can I just encourage you that there are always ways…a daily quiet time routine when your kiddos need to stay in their rooms and play or read quietly for a set amount of time (audio books are a big hit in our home during quiet times). Or a morning or night each week that your hubby watches the kiddos so you can get out of the house, even if it’s just for a walk or an hour alone at a coffee shop. Remember, YOU are important too and deserve the time to take care of yourself.
Take time to find yourself again this week, and discover what brings joy and life to your heart. We are valuable mamas, and when we can truly start to believe that, we will walk more consistently in joy and freedom and they will overflow into our families as well.