Last semester was brutal.
After some scary life changes in the spring, I made some choices out of fear that really loaded up my schedule.
In addition, some awesome opportunities came my way. But they came with heavy time commitments.
There was a lot of stress, a lot of tears, and a lot of simply trying to keep the plate spinning for one more day.
Just don’t look up. Don’t look up. If you can’t tell how much they are wobbling and teetering, maybe you won’t freak out as much.
Self-care wasn’t even a blip on my radar screen.
Does any of this sound familiar?
I certainly hope not—for your sake—but if so, know you’re not alone.
If you’re like me, you may also regularly find that after a dark, confusing period of time, you often have renewed clarity.
Do I want so many plates in the air?
With no free space?
No room for life?
If not, what DO I want?
Here’s what I know. Like deep down know.
I love helping my kids figure out what they like, what they enjoy doing, what they’re good at. It doesn’t take a second thought for me to create space and opportunity for them to grow, develop, thrive. To care for them, through knowing them, is one of the ways to communicate my deep love for my children.
How can I honestly be my best at helping them do that—know and love themselves well—if I’m not taking the time to know what I like, what I enjoy doing, what I’m good at?
I don’t think that I can.
I read this really piercing excerpt from Desperate by Sarah Mae & Sally Clarkson recently:
Because I was aware of what I loved, I was able to build some of those joys into my interaction with my children, as an anchor that gave both me and my children pleasure. If a mom is passionate about what she loves, her children will learn to have passion and joy in their own lives, following the leadership of their mom.
And truly, change is hard.
But loving is hard.
Yet, so worth it.
And mamas, grandmamas, aunties, girlfriends, sisters, and the whole lot of you—you are worth it.
The biggest and scariest step for me was the creating of space for self-care.
It meant I had to give up some of those good things (time commitments, work, extra income) for the best thing.
Okay, now that I think of it, that was pretty hard, but the meaningful filling of the space might have been even harder. And I’m not even through with it.
It’s this constant struggle, right? I could totally take this space I created and fill it up with kids’ things again or an exaggerated Netflix queue or a bunch of random stuff that isn’t refreshing, filling, or loving.
So I’m still figuring it out. But here’s what I’ve got so far.
I’m loving the me that can feed others. Literally or otherwise. Taking the time to meal plan, to share recipes, to coordinate meals for others feels so dang good. Yes, it has all sorts of added benefits for my family and kiddos, but truly it delights me.
I’m loving the me that has an encouraging word to share with those who I run into throughout the day. For me, that translates to reading. A lot. Thanks to an Amazon giftcard and free digital library lending, I’ve been able to finish three books and have four started (yep, I can keep them all straight!) since January.
I’m loving the me who has a creative outlet! Thanks to a healthy Joann’s, Michael’s, and Hobby Lobby habit over the years, I’ve got a pretty well-stocked craft supply. I just hadn’t made the time for it. I’m making extra messes in my own house and not minding. Say wha?!
In loving myself, I am finding pockets of joy. And my kids are seeing that!
Now, I am incredibly blessed to have women in my life who I can look to and say—PROUDLY—look at her go! She loves herself! She’s creating space for the amazing person she is!
One of those people is my dear friend Alisa. She’s owner of Buttery Bun Bakery and is going to provide two dozen cookies to one lovely reader. We hope you’ll munch on them while you’re figuring how to create space for self-care this February.