Something I've been pondering for a while. How do we as Moms of Many Young Persons make sure to prioritize our needs while taking care of the rest of the family? If there is something I regret since moving here, it is not prioritizing my needs. Suddenly our schedules and lives changed big time. Alan was around on a regular basis which should have helped but actually make it harder to get the time I needed to myself. Why? I was used to having all sorts of time to myself after the kids went to bed and only having to worry about my plans in the evenings. Getting time alone to relax could be as simple as putting the kids to bed early. Add another adult into the mix and it actually made it harder. Plus the kids were older and suddenly had activities outside the house in the evenings. So taking care of me went on the back burner. Big, huge mistake.
So now I have gotten much more intentional about finding ways to prioritize my needs. No, I am not the helicopter Mom who sits front and center at the kids' sport practicing and watches their every move. I may attend most sessions and pay attention for a time but I figure God gave me an hour or two and I should use it properly. This is not to say I find the kids' sports boring. I don't and would never say that. I vividly remember how deeply it hurt me to have my parent say that to me when I asked why they never bothered to attend any of my sporting events since they did attend them for the other children. Being told that they didn't want to because it was boring was like being kicked in the gut. Then they wondered why I stopped inviting them to things. Figure it out folks. Tell me my interests are boring to you and then get offended when I stop including you. Sigh. I digress. So what do I do now? I enjoy the quiet with a book. Or catch up on a quick nap while sitting in the tack room. Pay the bills and do the budget. Last year karate time meant me taking a walk around the building when the weather was nice. Occasionally the time is used to run errands alone. Admittedly, now that our oldest son does most of the driving to karate and Boy Scouts, my evenings are different. I'm home more often than not now so I actually have to get on the treadmill every day. And, yes, I've gotten a bit selfish about that time. I've learned that if I don't take care of me, I can't take care of you. And, no, I'm not ok with kids coming in to bug me while I am exercising. Seriously, just leave me be. It will pay off in the end.
So what would my advice be to those Moms of lots of little people? Remember your needs, too. Put yourself first at times. If you neglect yourself, you will burn out. You will get sick. You will be unable to care for your family. Carve out some personal space and guard it. You are more than worth it. Don't listen to the people who say me time is a bad thing. I do think you can take it too far but a little time for yourself pays big dividends for the rest of the family.