For years I struggled with feeling guilty whenever I took time for myself; whether it be sitting down to play the piano, going to the gym, or simply taking a relaxing bath instead of a rushed shower. As parents we have an innate ability to put our children's needs before our own. We do this with our spouses as well. This is a wonderful thing, and it's very very necessary when your children are small and rely on Mommy or Daddy for everything. But as they grow they need to learn that you are a person too. In fact, they need to learn how to love, respect and take care of themselves. And what better way for them to learn this than through watching your example.
About a year ago I realized that I was getting lost in the monotony of my every day tasks. I found a deep joy in caring for my family, but I was drained, worn out, and pretty darn exhausted. It's hard to be a happy, fun mommy when you're lacking energy! So....I decided to change my brain. I decided to add some things to my day that were just for me. No more guilt. Here are 6 THINGS I DO EVERY DAY THAT MAKE ME A HAPPY MOMMY:
1. WAKE UP BEFORE EVERYONE ELSE. This was a struggle at first, but it became a habit that I intend to keep forever. My husband gets up around 6:30 and the kids don't usually start to stir until 7:00. I wake up at 5:30 to make sure I can enjoy some quiet, peaceful moments before the daily chaos ensues. This gives me time to pray, get a head start on chores, fit in a workout & shower, prep meals and lesson plans, and mostly just be alone.
2. GET SWEATY! Working out is so so so important. It helps your body cope with stress, releases endorphins that fight depression, and actually gives you more energy throughout the day. Exercising not only helps me stay strong and healthy, but it teaches me that I can do hard things. Nothing is impossible. When you feel good about the way you look it can change your outlook on everything and everyone around you.
3. GO OUTSIDE. After my workout, I go out to water the garden. It's usually pretty early still, so everything is quiet and the world smells crisp and fresh. This is a great time to meditate and mentally prepare myself for the day ahead. In the evenings I take the dogs for a walk and reflect on the events of the day. Being outside helps me stay centered and often reminds me to be grateful to God for all the beauty that surrounds me.
4. MAKE MUSIC. I try to play the piano every day. I have to make time for this in between things. Sometimes I can squeeze in one or two songs. And sometimes I'll get to play for 30 minutes. It all depends on the day. I try to sing and exercise my voice as well. My kids learn so much from this. When we are learning about specific composers/artists I'll be sure to play some of their work while the kids listen and dance. Then we talk about different aspects of the music. It's an excellent teaching opportunity. And it's fun for ME!
5. READ SOMETHING. I tend to read scriptures and uplifting articles first. And I count my read-alouds of classics with the kids as my reading time too. It's important to me that I am learning and growing right along with my children. Education should not stop as we get older.
6. WRITE SOMETHING. Writing in a journal, blogging or even list making counts. Keeping a journal brings me a lot of joy. Many times my memory fails me, and it's nice to look back on the events of my life and my children's lives, and be reminded of milestones that have happened and feelings and struggles that were overcome. This helps me to look at my life from an outside perspective, and to see the effects that good choices have over time. It is the cheapest therapist you'll ever have!
By doing these 6 things every day, I feel enriched and full. I am so happy to see my children when they wake up every morning. When I have taken care of MYSELF, I am much more fit to show love to my children. And I no longer feel guilty for it. It becomes a JOY to feed, dress, wipe, bathe, teach, play with, and clean up after my sweet kiddos. A happy Mommy leads to a happy home.
Are you giving yourself the time you deserve to be a Happy Mommy? I'd love to hear what you do to recharge. Feel free to comment below.