What does your routine look like? You know, the schedule of things you do every day?
What? You don’t have a routine? No wonder you’re exhausted!
After all, we’re busy women. We are moms, wives, friends, sisters, daughters, workers, volunteers, and so much more! It can be a wild schedule to say the least.
Why is it that women are so quick to take care of everyone else, but so reluctant to care for themselves? We can rattle off our children’s sports schedules, our husband’s doctor’s appointments, and our friends’ birthdays, yet we can’t remember the last time we took a half hour to just relax and read a book or write someone a letter.
We’ve somehow trained ourselves to believe that self-care is selfish, but in reality, the exact opposite is true.
Even in airplanes, the safety regulations require that parents first place the oxygen masks on themselves in an emergency before helping their children. After all, what use are we to them if we’re dead?
I don’t bring this up to place blame or bring judgment. In fact, I’m just as guilty as the next person. While I wouldn’t consider myself the most selfless person in the world, I’m very quick to take care of the needs of my children and forsake my own needs. (I cannot tell you how many lunches I have skipped because I’ve been so focused on feeding my children that I forget to feed myself!)
Over time, this neglect leads to deteriorating health, both physical and emotional. If that same principle overlaps into your spiritual life, it too will suffer. For example, if you become consumed with making sure your children are reading their Bible and memorizing scripture, yet you fail to have your own personal quiet time with the Lord, not only will your children grow to resent you for your hypocrisy, they will most likely grow to resent God as well.
Perhaps the person who suffers the most from this behavior (besides yourself) is your husband. Because children have immediate needs, it becomes increasingly easier to forsake the needs of ourselves and our spouses. If we’re not careful, we may even become bitter towards our spouses for not understanding our need to tend to our children. What ultimately occurs is an unhealthy attachment to our children and the feeling we get from making them happy. As we know all too well, happiness is fleeting, so we end up in constant pursuit of something intangible, hoping to alleviate their pain in an awkward attempt to cover up our own inadequacies.
In reality, our loved ones are far more likely to model what we do than they are to listen to what we say. Kids especially are great barometers when it comes to detecting inconsistencies in behavior. And please don’t fool yourself into thinking that just because you’re an adult now, you’re “entitled” to certain things. I won’t stay on my soapbox for long, but if you think you’re old enough to listen to vulgar music, watch restricted movies, or curse without having it affect you or those around you, you are fooling no one but yourself. Enough said.
The bottom line is this–are you really living?
When was the last time you stopped to take an inventory of things that really mattered in your life? Or took time to develop your interests? Or even took a walk around your neighborhood without the intent of breaking a sweat?
Don’t feel guilty about making time for yourself. Your family loves you for who you are, so make sure you remember to take time to continually develop those things that make you special.
By taking time with yourself, you’re actually investing in your family. It’s only when we nurture ourselves that we are able to better care for and pour into those around us. When you start carving out regular time for yourself, you’ll be amazed at the daily difference you’ll see. You’ll also be teaching your family the importance of doing the same for themselves.
It may seem crazy to schedule such mundane activities as devotions, walks around the neighborhood, or play time with your kids, but until these activities become habits, that’s exactly what you need to do. One important lesson I’ve learned is that I’d much rather have a schedule in place and deviate from it once in a while than live in a state of constant chaos without any reference point. Not only do children find security in knowing what lies ahead, but your entire family will benefit from a shared schedule that reflects the family’s collective mission.
So what are you waiting for? Start with defining that mission! Come up with family goals. Decide what’s really important and pursue it with everything you have. At the same time, cut out any activity that doesn’t help you reach that goal. When you pursue your God-given passions with a plan, you’ll find a greater sense of peace and purpose than you ever imagined possible.
“In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.”
– Jeremiah 29: 12-13 NLT
With a passion for teaching and mentoring as her inspiration, Sami writes to encourage others to live their dream life and pursue their passions. Known as the “Frugal Mom” on Nashville’s top-rated show Talk of the Town, she also helps people maximize their time and money on her popular blog www.SamiCone.com.