Ha! I actually think it’s ironic that the theme for the newest edition of the CM Carnival is “Mother Culture” – otherwise known as taking care of momma. You see, I’m not doing a very good job of that right now. Maybe it’s having a toddler who isn’t a good sleeper day or night. Maybe it’s too many responsibilities outside of homeschooling. Maybe it’s having a husband who works hard (aka – me not having much free time.) Maybe it’s too much “Martha” and not enough “Mary”. Whatever the reason, I almost didn’t write an article for the carnival because I thought I needed to hear more than I needed to speak.
But, then I remembered the gals at my co-op who are struggling right now with feelings of being overwhelmed. I never want to pretend that just because I’m a ‘seasoned’ homeschooler, it doesn’t mean that all my days are bright and bubbly. On the contrary, almost every year about this time in fact! So, I’ve decided to write this article as a little note to myself that I need to carve out time for me (and attempt to come up with a plan as I write.) And to give myself the same advice I’ve been giving everyone else – the winter blah’s have hit, but spring renewal is just around the corner!
I need time to myself. I believe I always have. A busily nursing baby for over a year now has cramped my style as far as time alone goes. But, it’s time to reclaim some moments for me. Boy, do I feel selfish saying that! It’s a shame how the devil uses guilt to keep us tired and frustrated. However, it’s much more a shame that we allow him to make us feel guilty!
First step – I am going to start exercising again. Denise Austin and I used to visit with each other every morning on the Lifetime channel. Thirty minutes with just the two of us bebopping around my living room is really all I typically need to improve my spirit, my energy level, my health and my productivity rate. Why, oh why is it so hard to start exercising again when you’ve been away a while?
Second step – It’s time to start asking for help. I’ve fretted long enough that Eli can’t be left with others for a long period of time (hey, I’m only talking a few hours!) He will not starve if he goes a few hours without nursing. 😉 So, family and friends reading this, you better not pretend you aren’t home when your caller i.d. shows my number. What will I do during these few hours to refresh my soul? As sad as it sounds, I might simply go to the grocery store alone! Okay, we’re talking about taking care of “mother culture”. Does browsing antique shops count? How about taking a lonely walk through the park? I love to browse at the library, too. It’s been a long time, but remembering what I like to do is quickly coming back to me!
Third step – I must give some things up, or at least set limits. Everything I do is “good” – it helps someone or teaches someone or makes people smile. But, pretty much everything I do is for others, and all those things are taking up too much space on my calendar and too much space in my brain. In high school I was voted “Most Dependable” – to my joy then, but I think my detriment now. I’m the person people come to for helping with this or that and in the past I had trouble saying no. I’ve gotten much better at using the ‘no’ word, but all the appointments, to-do’s and exciting opportunities are overtaking me again. If I’m always busy doing everyone else’s tasks, or even just taking my children hither to and yonder all the time, I will never be able to carve out time to refresh my spirit.
Fourth step – and the most important – I gotta turn all these decisions over to God more than I do. He knows my frustrations. He knows my needs. He will provide perfectly for me if I allow Him to. What’s the saying – I turn my problems over to Him, only to take them right back. Why don’t we trust Him more? For me, a schedule that’s too busy and not taking time for myself keeps me at just a far enough distance from Him that I’m too far to pass the burdens on. Ouch, that even hurt to type.
So there you have it. An article that shares way more of my struggles than I like to write about, and my attempt at figuring out how to nourish my “mother culture”. I’m rather sure I’ll keep you posted on my progress. 😉
Spring is only one month away!!