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Recently I attended a workshop on balancing life. The workshop focused on finding balance in life by learning to say “no” to additional responsibilities. It was interesting, but missed what life is more often about. Real life is full of challenges that come at you in waves. After all, if life were calm, controllable and easy, it wouldn’t be life.

Life is about those peaks and valleys, and as mothers our peaks and valleys suddenly become so much larger. You are no-longer dealing with your own life circumstances, but also those of your children. Their issues are your issues, their joy is your joy. They say life is complex as a parent… of course it is! Your life is intertwined in all the emotional, physical and social highs and lows of your children. You are connected; they affect you, you affect them. Sure life can be made simpler by watching what additional responsibilities you choose to take on, but it’s the surprises in life and the day to day highs and lows of everyone in your family that can take it’s toll on you as a mother.

It is easy to lose yourself in your role as mother and it is not uncommon to have feelings of being overwhelmed. Caring for your inner spirit is about making the most of the good-times and finding the moments where you can recharge yourself so that you may better cope with the lows. Finding those recharging moments allows you to stay ahead of the game and places you in a stronger emotional and physical frame to deal with the challenges of life.

One of the first things to keep in mind is that stress is not necessarily a bad thing. It can help you grow as a person. Your ability to handle stress is elastic, and stretches further and easier with practice. The more stress you experience the better your ability to cope. Seem a little crazy? Think about it...have you ever heard someone with a relatively simple life full of anxiety over something that seems small to you? Chances are it is small in comparison to your complex juggling act of issues. To someone inexperienced with challenges, their plate feels full and the weight feels as heavy as your own challenges do to you. Handling stress in your life will better prepare you to cope with the real big events that come along from time to time.

The next thing to realize is that you can’t always be in control... particularly when it comes to timing. Naps will not always happen when you are counting on them, children will not always stay awake when you wish them to, people will drop in when you least expect it, and it will rain when you have an outdoor day planned. Give up control and relax into the changes. It does a world of good. Relieve yourself from the self imposed pressure that comes from expectations that aren’t being met because they are beyond your control. Just breath... carry-on; it does your spirit good.

What recharges your inner spirit is as individual as you are. Take time to learn about yourself, what recharges your spirit. For myself, doing something creative has an amazing affect for me. For others it may be a sport, gardening, or perhaps reading. Think about times when you feel most connected with yourself…not yourself as the mother, but yourself as the individual. Discover what feeds your inner spirit and then feed it.

But when?! It’s about finding the moments of calm and making the most of them. Is your child old enough for recreational tubs? Set yourself up on the bathroom floor with a cup of tea and a great magazine. Try to set a bedtime and stick to it as close as possible. Even if sleep isn’t on your child’s plate, as they get older establish a routine that includes quite time in their room before sleep. This can give you at least an hour or two every evening for “you” time. Resist the temptation to clean house. Use this time to nurture your spirit. You are way more important than the laundry.

Being a little selfish about yourself is not wrong. Placing yourself in the priority line is essential to your ability to nurture your family. Hiring a babysitter to take a fitness class is more than ok. Going on regular dates with your partner keeps you connected to yourself as a women, not just a mother.

Taking care of your inner spirit will only happen if it is a priority to you. It is your responsibility, no on else will be doing it for you as consistently as you need it. Know what you need, find the moments, and give yourself a gift that allows you to revitalize. Put yourself firmly in charge of you. Make yourself a priority and care for your inner spirit, then you will truly be able to care for your family and make the most out of life. It will do you and your family a world of good.

Diane Martin is the owner of Between Moms, a web site which facilitates the sharing of moms tested ideas. Find out how other moms do it: stay sane, have fun and raise great kids. Visit Between Moms at http://www.betweenmoms.info
 

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Heather Bob
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7,312 Posts
Ahhh... what an inspirational article, thanks Sara!!:smball:

I am worth it arent' I???? I try to keep convincing myself of that!!
 
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