24/7 MOMS

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Putting the “Me” Back in Mom-me

By Steph Fink
I am a big fan of chocolate…all kinds, textures, varieties, shapes and size.  I don’t discriminate.  I do not eat chocolate, all day, or even every day.  (Okay, I’ve thought about it!)  If I did, I would no longer enjoy it and it’d make me sick!
My sons are as sweet and delicious as chocolate.  But, if I live out of balance, and spend all day, every day with them, I find I don’t enjoy them.  I get grumpy and talk more sharply.  Then, as a “reward” for my verbal overindulgence, I feel guilty that I am not acting like the Mom God designed me to be.  God has repeatedly reminded me that balance needs to occur in all areas of my life…not just with chocolate!   I need to put the “me”, back in Mom-me!
Matthew 22:39 says to, "Love others as much as you love yourself."  If we do not love ourselves, in a balanced way, then we truly cannot love others.  This verse, which is also known as the second commandment, is clear.  God told us to love others as much as we love ourselves. If we love our children so much that we do not make time for ourselves, then we are not following God’s design.  Figuring out what balance “looks like” is challenging.  Children require endless time and energy.   When I originally wrote this, my then four-year-old son visited me SIX TIMES as he went through the bedtime stall tactic phase.  Then the phone rang (again).
Does this scenario “ring” a familiar bell?
Some things are in my control and some things are not.  My son was going through a phase, which I cannot control.  I can help guide him through, but I cannot control it.  (And for the record, he did eventually grow out of it!)  The phone, on the other hand, is something that I can control.  I decided that there is a lot more of “me” when I let the answering machine take a message.  I need to take care of myself to be a more balanced and loving Mom.  When I chose to change the pattern and take some down time for me and live more balanced, I’m a nicer version of “me”. 
If you love your kids (and I know you do!), make you a priority!  Don’t feel guilty about putting “me” back in Mom-me! 
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise…”. Paul is telling us in Ephesians 5:15 to live wisely and be careful to make balanced choices. How do you get me back in Mom-me? Pray about it.  Here are a few ideas on how to reintroduce “me” back into Mom-me
• Swap your kids with a trusted friend and do not do something on your “To Do” list.  Take yourself out to lunch, go for a run, or go buy that new tube of lipstick!
• Pay a babysitter and go for a walk, or take a book to a park and enjoy reading while sitting in the sun!
• Swap kids one night a month with your husband or a friend, tuck the kids in bed and go out to a movie! (Remove slippers and no sweatpants!)
• Check your local community center.  Most offer a variety of dance, craft, and exercise programs at a low cost and with a short-term commitment.  Once you get something paid for and on the calendar, you are more likely to attend it!
• Check your local library.  Many have book and gardening clubs.  Most have free events with special speakers on politics, events and topics.   This is a great way to refresh your mind without hurting the family budget!
My husband and I have been very supportive of each other in this area.  Whenever possible, Saturday is my day to sleep in, and Sunday is his day since we go to the late church service.  We give each other one night “off” a week.  His is on Monday as he volunteer firefights (seriously, no Monday night football for me…how awesome is that?!).  My free night varies each week around the family schedule, but it does happen!  Just this past month, I was able to do four different things:  see a movie, meet a friend for dinner, go for a walk/talk with a friend and go to a night exercise class at my gym.  Variety is just what I needed to break up some of my daily monotony!
I just love in Proverbs 21:5 that it says to make a plan.  Careful planning puts you ahead in the long run; hurry and scurry puts you further behind.”  Pray and make a plan! Then be flexible!
Let us be Moms who are balanced, loving and wise day-by-day and step-by-step, setting the example of true self-care to our kids.
How do you put the “me” back in Mom-me?

Steph's writing has appeared in Proverbs 31 Ministry, P31 Woman magazine.  In her free time she can be found encouraging numerous MOPS group in the northern Virginia area on the "Colorful Art of Friendship - Allowing God to Paint the Masterpieces" and MOPS leaders on "Being a Bright Light".

Steph can be found blogging at www.encouragedinheart.org or on Facebook at Stephanie Fink or on her Facebook page Encouraged in Heart - Stephanie Fink.  She loves big hair, big cups of coffee and big bear hugs.



Anonymous Kristine Louis said...

Great post. I agree 100%. It's important for moms to be whole in order to give their best with the right attitude. Just like dedication to the marriage relationship does wonders for the kids.

September 18, 2011 at 11:22 AM  
Anonymous Steph said...

I love God, my family, chocolate and being part of this 24/7 MOMS Community! Thank you for letting me put "me" back in Mom-me by writing here! :-)

September 18, 2011 at 11:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Such great advice, Steph, thank you! Balance, balance, balance! And thanks for the biblical perpsective as well.-Jacy

September 18, 2011 at 3:21 PM  
Blogger AStarrA said...

So, so true. I think so many moms put everyone and everything before themselves that at the end of the day (or week) there is nothing left for them.
My husband is awesome because he gives our daughter a bath every night. It's great for them because they always have time to bond and talk about their day and it also gives me about 30 mins. a night to unwind after cleaning, cooking, homework, making lunches, etc. Like you said balance is the key and really if mommy ain't happy no one is :)

September 18, 2011 at 9:24 PM  
Anonymous Ellen Marie "Mama" Pike said...

This is so true no matter what stage of mothering we are at. For instance, I now have four grown children, three of them are married and we are expecting our seventh grandchild. Most of us live within 10 minutes of each other. I love being a mom, mother-in-law and grandma, but, I too, have to balance that with the rest of my life.

Just a different perspective to share with younger moms.

September 19, 2011 at 5:22 AM  
Anonymous Stacy said...

Love this! I know it is time for a Mommy break when I am not enjoying my kids and I find myself yelling all the time. It is not pleasant for anyone and I end up feeling guilty. Everyone would have been happier if I had just taken better care of myself! Thanks for the reminder!!

September 19, 2011 at 6:30 PM  

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