Good morning young moms. If you are any like me this morning, you are coming off a night of little rest, or a day that was very hectic yesterday. I hope that this post is an encouraging read to you – in what might be a trying and busy time.
Let me talk about the title before we get started, please. Young Moms – this post is written to any mother, no matter her age, and no matter the age of her kids. Because I’ve learned that parenting trials don’t stop when your young ones start sleeping through the night! Can I get an Amen?!
Care For Your Souls – by this I am talking about more than just your spiritual side, although that is most important. God created our souls, but he also created the rest of us, too. He created our physical bodies as well as giving us a personality, hobbies, desires, etc.
And one last thing…if you are married and doing this parenting thing together, please talk about this with your husband, just as I have done with mine on numerous occasions. Let him hear your needs and how you are doing – where you are struggling, what your joys and fears and hobbies are. Then see if any of these ideas (or any that have been stirred in you by reading this post) would be able to work for your family.
Here we go:
1. Take time each day to read the Word. I don’t mean long drawn out times in the Word (for this first one). I mean doable, short times where you can focus your thoughts on the Word of God – our center. This may mean different times or places depending on the age of your children. You may have to take a longer shower and listen to the Word read as you take one. You may have to keep a Bible on the back of the toilet to read. You may do it while waiting in the car at a practice of one of your children or in the carpool line. You may read it in the quiet of your bedroom while the rest of the house is still quiet. You may read it on your iphone as you are feeding your newborn (which is what I often do). Wherever and whatever time – read the Word.
2. Take longer times to meditate on the Word. What has worked well for us is on Friday mornings, my husband’s day off, I go to Panera and spend time in the Word, journaling prayers for him, writing my thoughts on some passages I’ve read, or reading devotional books. Whatever helps you practice more of the art of meditation – longer times thinking about what you have read. Please do it.
3. Retreat. Maybe there is a women’s retreat at your church or a church nearby. Maybe you go away with a mentor or a dear friend and just spend time recharging for the wknd. Our church had a women’s retreat. This spring there is a women’s retreat at another church in town. For my last birthday, my husband sent me away on a beach wknd with my mentor. We spent time in the Word, time journaling, but also time just eating, conversing, walking around, looking at trees and sitting by the beach.
4. Exercise. I honestly think that this goes a lot further than just slimming your waist line. Many moms I know, no matter how old their children are, want to lose weight, tone up, run longer, have more energy, etc. Exercising can help with all of that. After having two babies in two years, I desperately need to work on this one this year. But, it also is very refreshing. When I am out walking at Two Rivers or doing a power yoga video while the children are asleep – it helps my focus, my stamina, and gives me energy for the rest of the day. And it helps my jeans fit better or that special dress for date night! God delights when we take care of our bodies as He created them to be.
5. Spend alone time with your husband. There was hopefully more reasons you got married than just to have children, though that is an awfully cute reason! Go out on dates. Set aside budget money to hire babysitters or pay for these little dates. Plan in-home date nights for chilling together once the kids are asleep. One of our faves is having popcorn that my husband pops (jerk seasoning and fresh cracked pepper) and an NCIS episode (we are just starting season 10).
6. Hang out with other Moms. Most of my girlfriends, whether close or far away, are new moms. Or newish moms. Hang out with these Moms, have play dates, have mom day out groups that take turn watching the children. But, also hang out with veteran moms. They can encourage you to press on!
7. Enjoy a hobby. I love to read, write, and do photography. So, I spend time blogging and writing when the children are asleep (or laying here laughing in front of me on the bed, kicking the ipad). Or I read in bed before I crash at night. Or I read them a book while we are playing upstairs. I will take my camera with me wherever we go – so if I see pretty nature or smiles on my boys’ faces I can capture the moment! What are your hobbies? Knitting, card making, cooking special desserts – do them! Use nap times wisely, or try to get an hour or so when your husband is home so you can do these things you enjoy. I really think God desires us to find our Joy in Him but he gives us great gifts like hobbies to thank him and give our joy back to him.
8. Get coffee. Ok – sometimes we just need time to stare blankly off into space. Sometimes you need someone to come watch your children just so you can drink caffeine and do nothing. Oh, what a blessing this is! I encourage you to do it. Whether it’s coffee, teas, smoothies, a cookies, etc. Allow yourself some times like this.
9. Take a shower. My husband knows that one of the things I do mostly at night now is take a shower. Showers are very recharging and relaxing to me – but not when I’m concerned about hearing kids crying. So, I wait until my husband is home and our oldest is in bed for the evening. I probably waste too much water, but it allows me a time to breathe!
10. Love on your children. Say yes to them, instead of no all the time. Tickle them. Hold them up and laugh with them. Go play on a playground with them. This is a grand thing – hearing an infant laugh!
What would you add to this list? How do you care for your souls?