When I first sat down to write this blog post I was only thinking of the how loving ourselves impacts our daughter's self image. My husband and I had a long discussion about the real truth. How we see and treat ourselves has a bigger reach that impacts our whole family's self image. It can impact our co-workers, our bosses, our kid's teachers it can impact the whole world around us. But what does it mean to love ourselves?
Before we begin a little about me
I am a Christian, wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, and hairstylist. In that order. I put my walk with God above all else and then each of these roles. But honestly to look at my schedule you wouldn't always know that was the case. You would often believe that because I get busy and I don't always show my priorites. I put those things that are most important to me on the back burner because, well I don't know why. Why do we do that? Why do we let our jobs become the thing that invades our time with our husbands? Why do we let driving our kids around give us an excuse not to find time for devotions or prayers? Our bills keep us from cooking healthy meals? Daily stresses, time drainers and other's wants keeps us from doing those things we need to do for ourselves. We become busy and not productive.
The busy, stressed woman
You have seen her, that woman in the grocery store ,her buggy full of things, calculator out and stress across her brows. Kid's crying, they need, they want, they have to have this toy, trinket, special cereal. She wants to say yes, but where is the money for all these wants? Maybe you are that woman. If you watch closely her desire to fulfill her kids' dreams will have her put down the lotion that helps her fight her wrinkles and pick up the box of over loaded sugar cereal. Her excuse the kid's shouldn't suffer because we don't have money. Over and over again we see ourselves sacrifice what we need for the wants and whims of others. From our bosses to our children. But when we do that we send the wrong message. We send the message that they are not worth us taking care of ourselves.
The most important thing you give your family is YOU! That doesn't mean buy a $75.00 steak diner while they eat ramen noodles. But it does mean that we need to be healthy, keep our sanity and take time to be our best self. Time to talk about how to take care for yourself for your family's sake.
Oxygen Mask Time
This is part of one of the biggest lectures I give so I will try to trim it down but it will probably be long. Take time out every day to breathe and do something small for yourself. For some of you it means getting up early and coffee with a devotional. For others, it might mean sneaking out to have lunch at a secret spot where you can read your book in peace. Maybe for you it means popping popcorn and forcing the family to watch a TV show you like. Each day do something that reminds you, that you are important. I call it oxygen mask time because when you do this daily and then a crisis hits you can go a longer period of time focused on taking care of the crisis before you become overwhelmed within that crisis. Let me give you an example of a typical working mom's day without an oxygen mask and then with an oxygen mask.
Sally wakes up as the alarm goes off. She was up late last night finishing off the laundry and she can barely get moving. Her daughter Hannah has a meltdown over clothes, which forces them to leave a few minutes behind schedule and so that means for Sally no breakfast. She gets to work a million tasks come at her and as lunch approaches the school calls and the teacher wants to see her right away. So, no lunch. She grabs a diet soda and off she goes. Then right back to work, pick up the kids rush home to cook dinner. As she is cooking dinner her son, Jacob comes in begging to talk. He doesn't offer to help he is short tempered and her asking him to wait until later sends him off the edge. Sally has not eaten anything more then a vending machine snack all day, she has worked from the time her feet hit the floor and I doubt she has even peed without playing with her phone and cruising social media. What kind of mom do you think she is right now to Jacob? Can she give anything more then what she has given all day?
Now let's change Sally's story with just a few little oxygen masks and asking for help.
Sally wakes up, yesterday was laundry day and she was up late finishing it. Hannah, her daughter is having a melt down and they are going to be late. Sally offers to help Hannah but finds it is all over not wanting to wear the outfit Sally left out. Sally, can let her pick her own outfit even though the pants are bright paisley orange and the shirt is some sort the ugly Christmas sweater aunt Sue sent and it's February. Let her wear it! So, while Hannah dresses in the awful out fit Sally takes a moment to fix herself something she can eat in the car like a peanut butter bagel. It is a crazy, busy day at work and Sally is looking forward to lunch, she has a book she has been trying to read and can't wait to hit the local hot spot and find a private corner booth. The teacher calls she wants to see her right away, How is lunch time? Sally takes a deep breath and decides if the kids do not need to be rushed to the emergency room, she can fit the teacher in tomorrow for the meeting. The two take a few minutes and Sally finds time to fit the teacher in for 2 days later. Sally goes to lunch and finishes a whole chapter of the book she is reading. Fast forward to home she is cooking dinner, still feeling the pressure to get everything done and Jacob comes in. What kind of mom do you think Sally can be now? Let's take a moment to see what Jacob needed.
Jacob's been being bullied at school and laughed at by one of his teachers. He feels like he is a failure at life right now and that no one needs him or wants him around. Which mom does Jacob need right now. Sally who didn't find time for herself or Sally who is not starving, dehydrated and exhausted?
By putting on oxygen masks for the day, not needing to control everything Sally can now get Jacob to help with dinner and have a talk. By the end of cooking the meal, Jacob will see himself differently because Sally took the time to love herself and take care of herself.
Only Kind Words
I have a few clients, and they will apologize the minute they read this because they will know it is about them. They apologize for EVERYTHING! Their hair is too thin, too thick, too straight, too long, too short. They had bills and needed to hold off their appointment for a week, so they are so sorry. Everything is easily their fault. The person next to them can drop hot coffee and some how they caused this to happen and they must find a reason to apologize. At first glance we might think it is because they believe the worlds centers around them, but listen closer. They will put themselves down at ever corner even when they do something amazing these women will find a way to point out the flaws. They can never enjoy the small victories. But what does that teach our families?
It teachers our families, our friends, our co-workers that we are ready to be the reason for their failure. Our daughter's grow up believing that they are in control of everything and that if things fall apart it, the blame rests on their shoulders. It allows those around us to fail, but not take responsibility for their own failures.
But not only that it allows us to only see the ugly and not the beautiful. The best thing you can do for your whole family right now is limit the number of times you say, "I am sorry". Look every day for something right about yourself and say it out loud. Don't allow yourself to talk negative about yourself in front of your family. Everyday find something kind to say about each of member of your family. You will find that as you do this you will see more amazing stuff about yourself.
Joshua Kadison's song Beautiful in my eyes.
We'll have our fill of tears, our share of sighs.
My only prayer, is that you realize.
You'll always be beautiful, in my eyes