What comes to mind when you read those words?
Do you think:
necessary and beneficial?
or do you lean toward
selfish and optional?
The topic of self-care recently came up in a private Facebook group I am a part of. I read the comments and responses eagerly. I didn’t have much to offer on the topic, because personally, I wrestle with the concept of self- care.
Am I being selfish when I long for space to breathe, time to think, or a break from the demands of life? Is the idea of “laying down our lives” compatible with the idea of self-care?
I was reminded of a chapter in Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson’s book Desperate, that impacted me quite deeply because it spoke to this tension I feel on this topic.
I can so relate with Sarah Mae when she wrote:
“Day in and day out we give to our children, and it’s a privilege to do so. I’m thankful for the opportunity to pour into my children, but when we choose to give the best of ourselves to them, we will need a break, or we will break. We’ll get desperate.
“I remember the days when I hardly had any breaks, and I thought I was going to go crazy…I needed that dreadful “me” time.
“I say “dreadful” because “me” time has selfish connotations, and I didn’t want to be a selfish woman. Thankfully, my perspective has changed (and I’m a saner woman). I think it’s more selfish to go crazy and then not be fully alive for your children.” (emphasis mine)
And I felt freedom and encouragement when Sally wrote:
“It was a profound realization when I understood that I could become an artist with my very life. I was responsible to do what I needed to do to last on this long road of motherhood. There was some point in my life when I accepted that no one else was going to take responsibility for me, and if I didn’t take care of myself, my soul would die a slow death by exhaustion, boredom, loneliness, and mediocrity.”
and continued a few chapters later:
“In the same way as we are responsible for the nurturing of our children’s souls, so are we responsible for the nurturing and care of our own souls. What am I doing every day to ensure that I am walking forward with intentionality into filling my own soul with virtues of God’s design for my life? Before our children can reap the rewards of our investment in their souls, we must first nourish our own hearts…” (emphasis mine)
What a reminder that a wise woman takes care of herself.
But what does that look like?
To be honest, I am completely unqualified to write on this authoritatively. Every time I lean one way, the devil’s advocate in me pushes me to the other. I am wrestling, with you, on the topic of self-care and how that plays into mothering.
Reading through the Facebook thread, one of my wise friends shared great insight and helped clarify the need.
I asked her if she would open up the conversation here on the blog for us to wrestle with and talk about together, and she has written up some fantastic posts for us to chew on, talk about, and apply to our lives.
Question for You:
What are your initial thoughts on self-care for moms? Do you cringe at the thought or dream of it and why?