"What is running your life at any given moment is your soul. Not external circumstances, not your thoughts, not your intentions, not even your feelings, but your soul. The soul is that aspect of your whole being that correlates, integrates, and enlivens everything going on in the various dimensions of the self. The soul is the life center of human beings. You don't direct the soul, you feed it so that the soul can direct you". Dallas Willard
The term "the calm before the storm" does not apply to motherhood! When was the last time things were going perfectly in your home when you decided to flip out over nothing! In my house it looks something like this..... I have picked the blankets up off the floor that my son has carelessly thrown from the couch onto the floor about 6 times, I trip on a stupid match box car in the kitchen and almost break my neck (secretly I am happy b/c I broke one of the wheels...that will teach him I think), the dog is pooping at the bottom of the basement stairs because he refuses to go out in the cold (we lived in Florida far too long), the husband is at work so I know I have several more hours where it is critical that I keep my stuff together (also it is inappropriate to drink wine at 10am), and here it is the thing that puts me over the edge.....Wait for it....
Landon has thrown my neat piles of folded laundry onto the floor.... I know, its the end of the world. At least for me and now my son it is, and probably the dog too!
It's usually after the storm passes during which we have lost our tempers and over reacted when our spirit feels crushed. We hate ourselves, at least I do. I feel like a failure as a mother. I convince myself that the times I yell and lose it are the memories Landon will cling to. I convince myself that someday when Landy is in therapy it will be my fault.We ask ourselves things like; why can't I be more patient, whats wrong with me, why did I say that, why did I yell so loud? We start to compare ourselves and our kids to other people we know and its easy to spiral out of control and to let the guilt leak into other areas of our lives. One storm at 10a can ruin the rest of our day if we let it. Instead of letting nasty rain clouds hover we should choose rainbows (sort of perfect b/c at this very second no joke "Over the Rainbow" is playing on my Pandora station, it must literally and figuratively be a sign from God). Sometimes visuals and illustrations help me grasp and remember ideas, so for me a rainbow is like a fresh start. You can't pretend the storm didn't happen, but you can address it and move on. This is something that has helped me so much with Landon. After I flip out, and once I am calm I talk to Landy in a NORMAL tone of voice. I apologize if need be and I say to him "lets move on". Not only does he forgive and forget instantly because thats what kids do (mental note to self be more like Landy in the grace department), but he actually listens. Funny, you would think the yelling and screaming is what would get their attention.... NOT! This is something I am learning as well. The quieter you talk the quieter they have to be to hear you. We humans like secrets, ever notice how if someone starts to talk quietly in a noisy room everyone else lowers their volume so they can hear. Its like we think we are going to miss out on some juicy morsel of gossip. I think teachers of young kids must know this! Anyway I have decided I never want yelling to be the constant in my home. I am proud to say that I am accomplishing this area in my parenting life quite nicely. One of my secret weapons (besides whispering) is....... Feeding my soul!
Its no surprise that when we take care of ourselves we can better care for our loved ones. This is such a simple and basic principal yet we mommas especially seem to struggle with this. Why do we feel so guilty about doing things that make us happy. Its more than happiness really, sometimes the simplest things can really feed and nourish our souls. When our souls are hungry and we ignore the signs we suffer physically. It's just like ignoring physical hunger signs. We might be fine at first, we may even snack on something to hold us over. We know that doesn't actually solve anything, its temporary. Eventually our bodies become tired and weak. We aren't ourselves, we are grouchy, we can't think clearly, we may even feel physically sick. We all know that physically starving can lead to death. We may not physically die from not feeding our souls BUT our spirits can be crushed for sure. You can lose yourself, you can become depressed, there are real consequences.
I know its cliche to say being a mom is the toughest job out there but it really is. I worked in several juvenile correctional facilities and I can say with all certainty that being the ward of a 3 year old is way harder than being verbally and possibly physically assaulted on a daily basis! The difference is you put your heart and soul into mothering. Also, the LIFE and WELL BEING of your child is like the biggest responsibility you could ever have! There's a million reasons why being a mom is hard and million more for why it is the BEST job I have ever had hands down. The spectrum of feelings and emotions is truly astounding!
I think the first step in feeding your soul is to make your ingredients list. It only takes a minute and it could even just be a mental list. Sometimes I think we moms forget who we are aside from the roles that come to define us. So, thats what I did. The list of things that feeds my soul is so simple. Its actually scarily basic. Scary because there is no excuse for me to NOT take care of myself.
- Coffee....simple, coffee before the day starts. I realize that if I can just have a cup of coffee in the morning before the day's activities take over I am so much better. Landy knows that I don't play until I have my coffee (I have no guilt about this). I get him breakfast and put a cartoon on so that I can have the time I need for myself to help make me the best version. Sometimes its only 5 minutes and sometimes I get really lucky and its like half the morning.
- Prayer/Devotion Time in the morning, I know that may not be for everyone but it has seriously been changing my life. Now, if I try to skip it or make something else a priority I miss it. Its just a really good way to start the day. It's like waking up on the right side of the bed. Sometimes I only get a few minutes in for a prayer and sometimes I straight up get a bible study in. I am learning crazy stuff about the bible, the authors, history, etc. And there is no pressure, I just do what I can. Right now perhaps the most critical thing I am learning while I spend time with my creator in His word is about the difference between joy and happiness. Learning this difference may in deed prove to be one of my life's greatest lessons. I have learned that happiness is a fleeting FEELING and depends on circumstances and people. Neither of which can be controlled or relied on. Joy though, joy is amazing. Joy is true contentment that is based on internal factors. Funnily enough I am learning that God expects us to be joyful (not happy) even in turmoil. This is a faith thing. Some people might not get it...sorry. I guess the more I practice it the better I will be and the stronger my faith will be.
- Wine....enough said. Just kidding. Unwinding with my husband at the end of a long day is some of my favorite soul food. It's like the big fat piece of chocolate cake you eat instead of dinner! We just spend time together alone. This is US time, no phones or computers. Just good conversation OR trash TV shows we have DVR'd. Its glorious!
- Reading has been a constant source of nourishment for most of my life. I don't know what I would do if I couldn't read...Die maybe.... I think this quote sums up my love affair with books: You discover you have wings when you open a book
- Writing, which is why I started this blog. I knew it would be a good outlet for me and would feed my soul in so many ways. When you work a job that asks you to list your goals for the next year they always want some tangible way to measure your success. So, they ask what your action steps are. Well, writing this blog is my action step for my goal to write more! Pretty freaking tangible!
- Exercising, its a love/hate relationship for sure and thats okay. I know its good for me physically and mentally so thats why I do it. If I could just play organized sports the rest of my life I'd be set. I am athletic in that way. I love to be physical and play sports and I am highly competitive (in fact its my number 3 spiritual gift...thats a thing) so engaging in group activities is ideal. However....gym memberships are expensive so I suck it up and do what I know is good for me at home alone. Sometimes Landy makes it hard but I push through and do it anyway. Sometimes I get him involved for my own personal humor. Ask a 3 year old to do jumping jacks and try not too laugh...I dare you. Also, lets be real, I think we have all farted while doing sit-ups which is hilarious on its own, BUT a 3 year old does it unapologetically and belly laughs afterwards...there is nothing better I promise!
- Time with girlfriends, this is pretty high ranking for me. I cherish time spent with my girlfriends when we can just be ourselves and talk about nothing and everything.
- MMMMM, alone time to do all of the above trumps everything. The only thing better than doing my favorite things is doing them alone uninterrupted. This is having your cake and eating it to, AND there are no consequences b/c this cake miraculously has no calories! (Lest husband feel rejected bullet point 3 is not included in the items trumped by alone time)
This list might seem silly but these are the things that feed my soul. I believe I am important enough to make those things a priority in my life. Then my number 1 priority (my family) will be so well taken care of. We will all be healthier, happier, and for sure more joyful. So, this post is a lot of words but I can sum things up with one picture. A picture is legit worth a thousand words and more sometimes!
|Simple and Basic....I Love It|
|Think Nike "Just Do It"|
How's this for Soul Food.....
|Ha, Landy can't stick his tongue out!!|
|Just Landy stopping to smell the roses figuratively speaking....theres always time to stop and see the turtles!|
|Cool Landy is awesome and makes me happy!|
|And this...That face...Soul Fed...|