Yesterday, we talked about the importance of taking care of yourself, and we looked at some examples. If you missed that post, check it out here.
Today, I want to circle back to that conversation, because I know most of you read it and thought "I need to do that", and then forget about it.
Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell wrote a book called, “The Five Love Languages of Children” (I strongly encourage you to read this book). In this book, they speak to parents about this matter of caring for ourselves:
“…we parents must give attention to our own physical and emotional health. For physical health, we need balanced patterns of sleeping, eating, and exercising. For emotional health, self-understanding and a mutually supportive marital relationship are crucial.”
What they say about physical and emotional is true in several other venues as well. Take a minute a do a personal inventory
Spiritually - How are things spiritually? Are you constantly running on "E"? Or, is there some gas in the tank?
Mentally - Have you learned something new recently? Read a book? Listened to a podcast?
Relationally - Have you done "face-time" (the old fashioned kind) with a friend recently?
Financially - Do you know how much you are spending?
It cannot hurt to ask the same questions about physical, and emotional wellbeing:
Physically - How do you feel? "Tired" is a normal answer for young parents, but, could you do a pushup? Are you eating healthy? Drinking enough water?
Emotionally - When was the last time you laughed? Do you have enough emotional reserve to deal with the craziness that young children bring to the table?
Chances are that as you read this list, you thought, or maybe even said, "NO! HECK NO!" So, is there hope for you? YES! HECK YES!
It could possibly be as simple as one sentence...
Make your kids unhappy.
During this series, I told our church about a mentor who told me that if your kids say, “You’re the worst parent ever” it might actually be a sign that you are doing a good job! I told them that great parents are going to hear things like this from time to time, and encouraged them not to be discouraged when they do! I like to remind myself and other parents that If EVERYTHING you do makes your child happy, you are going to gift the world with a terrible adult! Sometimes you need to be the #worsparentever so that your child will mature into a great adult!
Now, to care for yourself and make yourself a better gift for your kids means that sometimes you’re going to have to do things that make you the “Worst Parent Ever” and make your kids unhappy. You may need to tell them "No", or "Wait"... and of course that will not make them happy... but so what?
Your kids will always have needs and wants. Their list of wants/needs is virtually endless. Your resources, however, are not. If you do not take time to replenish yourself, you will be empty... and empty cups refresh no one! At some point you must stop to fill your cup again! It's what great parents do... it's what parents who enjoy and survive "first half parenting" do!
So... today... spend some time thinking and planning on how you can care for yourself!
You can do this!