Recently I was reading in my journal about changes I have made in the last ten years of my life. Some were small and some large. All were helpful in adding to the quality of my life. One, in particular, stood out to me. It stood out because it’s what I hear from so many mothers and fathers that I mentor – it is never enough and because of that, I am not free to care for myself without feeling guilty.
Back in 2010, I was working with a mentor to get to the place where I could let ‘it be enough’. Here is an email I sent to her way back then. “I did my morning routine, read for an hour and went to work until noon. Came home and put dinner in the oven, then ate lunch and rested an hour while I read 5 chapters and took notes on the book I am currently studying. I called my business mentor and have a phone meeting set for tomorrow. I wrote 3 blogs and ate dinner with Don. I took a nap for 45 minutes. I got all the A items on my daily list done but one. I didn’t get any B’s or C’s on the list done. I know I rested too much today. I always feel like I should do more. Sigh. But sometimes I WANT a nap.”
Does that conversation ring a bell with any of you? I’ll bet it does. Can you believe that I could think of myself as lazy or falling short in some way with a day like I just described? It‘s a crazy thing!!
It’s Easy To Never Let It Be Enough
I’ve always worked a lot and I get a great many things done; I serve others, help my family, am a grandmother and mom, run a business; spend time with God, and study. What I wasn’t able to do back then was allow myself to incorporate the things that fill me up or care for myself without feeling a twinge of guilt.
It’s easy to fail to recognize that doing things for ourselves is just another part of having a life of fulfillment; the life that we constantly think we’re going to have soon or someday when we get everything else taken care of. That life is never going to happen if we can’t make it part of today because there will always be work to be done, children to care for, spouses to help, church assignments, things at work, a neighbor to comfort and the list goes on.
Whenever I say that I just don’t have time for a bath or to sit at the table and eat lunch or share a sunset on the balcony with my husband or children or stop and eat an ice cream bar or sit down and rest for 10 minutes, what I am actually doing is listening to the voice inside that tells me that I am not worthy of it or I haven’t done enough to deserve it… you add your line because we all have one.
Make Space For Work, Rest and Joy
It’s important to begin thinking about life as a whole and not in compartments. I can have hot cocoa in front of the fire even if everything else isn’t done because it’s part of a good day, just like finishing an article or serving my neighbor or cleaning the bathroom or soothing a screaming toddler are part of a good and successful day. The things that bring us joy shouldn’t be saved for when we have done enough other things but should be part of every day. Since 2010 I have made a firmer commitment to that very thing.
Why not liberate yourself. Stop being victim to “it’s just not enough”. Whatever you do is enough whether
you accomplish everything on your to-do list or whether your whole day consisted of nothing more than soothing a sick child. Knowing that we and our day are enough lets us allow every day to contain some work, some rest, and a good measure of joy!
I do seven simple things that help me care for myself no matter how busy or frustrating the day. Over the next few weeks, we are going to talk about all of them. Stay tuned.
What makes it tough for you to give self-care? What ways have you found to let your days be enough? Please comment. I would love to hear your experiences.
If you are interested in parenting with a deeper intent why not check out the Home and Family Culture Podcast. I will be sharing information on intentional parenting and you can download a PDF to walk you through the process.
Here’s to more joy,
P.S. You can learn more about the difference between the 1% principle and the 100% devil in my new book Becoming a Present Parent, Connecting With Your Children in Five Minutes or Less. Knowing the difference will help you let it be enough. You can also receive a chapter from the book on Touchpoints, creating points of connection rather than having points of contention, FREE by visiting becomingapresentparent.com It can be life-changing for your family. I promise!