I’m not sure why, but it’s often really hard for women to invest in themselves. To take some time away from their busy schedules and do something for them or take care of themselves.
I know for me, as a busy mom of four almost 5 kids, a business owner, a wife, and a homemaker, it feels incredibly difficult to find some time to invest in myself. There are just too many things I juggle each day…adding in time for myself just doesn’t seem to happen.
Listen to the podcast: I’ve recorded this blog post as an audio podcast. You can read it here, or if you prefer, listen to it as a podcast below! Enjoy!
But what about those other things that we know are important that just never seem to work their way into our schedule? Things like drinking enough water, getting enough sleep, finding the time to exercise, actually reading a book from start to finish and then those other things we might really enjoy like going on a run, scrapbooking, baking, or whatever your hobby might be. Maybe you don’t even have a hobby or know what that would be because your schedule is consumed with so many other things.
I have learned these lessons the hard way – I’ve burned the candle at both ends, worked late into the night, gotten up early, and worked worked worked. All for my family and all because I wanted to serve them and the Lord. And when I give too much, work too hard, and forget to pour back into myself every once in a while…I hit burn out, depression, and fatigue.
And suddenly, I realize that I’m facing my days with begrudging duty rather than looking at my days with joy!
Learning to Invest in Ourselves
The lesson I’ve learned throughout the last 4 years (with three pregnancies and almost five kids) is that I have to take time each day to invest in myself.
Especially in these busy days of toddlers and babies, it feels like there isn’t 10 minutes I can take for myself. If I decide during nap time to put my feet up for 30 minutes with a cup of coffee to read a book, I feel guilty. If I take that time to read, it means I’m saying no to the sink full of dirty dishes, or the pile of bills on the counter, or vacuuming the chips off the living room floor.
If I take 15 minutes for myself, it means saying no to something else in that moment. And with the demanding day to day needs of my family, that often feels selfish and like wasted time. But what I have learned the hard way over the past 4 years, is that I have to take this time for myself. I have to set aside time in my day and in my week to care for myself a little bit so that I have the energy and stamina to care for my kids.
I have to take 15 minutes during nap time to do something for me, so that when all four kids wake up hungry and full of energy, I have the energy to tackle the rest of my day, change diapers, get dinner on the table, and greet my husband with a smile.
“In the Bible we see Jesus taking time to be alone and refuel. This is especially apparent after times of busyness, such as when he fed five thousand people. Our commitments should not overrun our lives to the point that we don’t take care of ourselves. Quiet time to invest in ourselves and become restored is incredibly important.” – Jessica Turner, The Fringe Hours
Wow, what a powerful lesson to remember. Jesus often went by himself to pray, to talk to God, to refuel before going out to minister again. He knew he had a very limited time on this Earth before returning to Heaven. It would be understandable if he didn’t even sleep to get all his work done.
But he also knew that he had human limits and had to take time to rest, refuel, and most importantly, slow down long enough to spend quiet moments with God, talking to Him. Even Jesus, who is GOD, took time, lots of time, for quiet prayer by himself with God the Father.
How much more should we be spending quiet moments? Taking the time to get enough sleep so we have energy and patience to serve our family? To make that time for Bible reading and prayer. To intentionally carve out just a little time in our week to invest in ourselves?
Not only will this help us to have the energy and stamina to tackle our day, but it will also help us to avoid burn out. With all the physical exhaustion of having almost 5 kids 4 and under, I’ve had my fair share of days where I just feel burnt out. And this goes beyond simply being tired, it sinks into the core of my heart and I realize that I am not facing my days with joy. I am facing my day with begrudging duty. Staring at my to-do list with zero to little motivation. To moping around the house and feeling defeated once again when my head hits the pillow that I’ve not really accomplished much throughout that day.
“At some point, when there is too much for you to remember or worry about or think through, you start to forget things. Tasks fall through the cracks. Appointments are forgotten. And slowly you find yourself in the middle of a giant mess. This is what happens when we’re overwhelmed, overbooked, overcommitted, and overstressed.” – Emily Ley, Grace Not Perfection
Does that description sound familiar? Those are the classic signs of burn out for me. I get frazzled, stressed, and find that I am not facing my days with joy. One simple way to combat this is by investing more in ourselves.
To fit in 30 minutes of exercise three times a week, to commit to keeping track of your eating habits and taking the time to eat a full lunch, to maybe carving out a little time each week to work on a hobby or pursue a passion.
Spending some time on these things that refuel us and fill us up can help us find that little extra bit of energy and joy in our days that we so desperately need!
But doing this can also make us feel guilty and like we are being selfish.
“Self-care needs to be included in what you should be doing. It is not a privilege. It is a necessity. For many women, every time they choose themselves over the laundry, the dishes, the kids, work, or their husbands, they feel guilty. This is an awful way to live.
Choosing yourself is not wrong. The longer you go without taking time for yourself, the more resentment will fester, exhaustion will set in, and you will have nothing left to give – to anyone. Guilt has no place in the decision to take care of yourself.” – Jessica Turner, The Fringe Hours
We can’t feel guilty when we take a little time for ourselves because it is how we are able to pour back into those around us. To serve our kids, love our husbands, and spend time with our Lord.
And last, I want to leave you with this pledge from the book Hands Free Mama.
“I want to make memories, not to-do lists.
I want to feel the squeeze of my child’s arms, not the pressure of overcommitment.
I want to get lost in conversation with the people I love, not consumed by a sea of unimportant emails.
I want to be overwhelmed by sunsets that give me hope, not by overloaded agendas that steal my joy.
I want the noise in my life to be a mixture of laughter and gratitude, not the intrusive buzz of cell phones and text messages.
I’m letting go of distraction, disconnection, and perfection to live a life that simply, so very simply, consists of what really matters.” – Rachel Macy Stafford, Hands Free Mama
Want to Dive Deeper into This Subject?
Next week kicks off the 3rd annual Homemaking Ministries Online Conference! We have 20 incredible conference sessions lined up that you get access to forever. Which means you can watch along live October 25-28th and/or watch the sessions any other time that works for you!
If you want to start investing in yourself, taking a little time for something that sparks joy within you, and interacting with all the attendees and speakers then come on over and find out more about the conference.
- Balance in motherhood
- How to Create a Lasting & Loving Marriage
- Balance in spending time online
- Balance in meal planning
- How to find greater balance and purpose in your home
- and so much more!
You can find out more about all the 17 speakers, more about their topics, and the fun bonuses you get when you sign up! But I wanted to share this one sneak peek with you because MacKenzie inspired me so much (She’s the one who gave me the idea for the traveler’s notebook above)!
She’s sharing about how to cultivate loveliness in our everyday lives and is so encouraging and inspiring!! Her’s is just one of 20 sessions included in this year’s conference.
Plus, register before 25th because the price will go up by $10 then!