We've all heard it a million-bajillion times. "You can't pour from an empty cup."
But what does that even MEAN?
To me, it has come to mean many things, in many situations. At work, I can't get bogged down and spread myself too thin or I risk not being able to give the best of myself to my students, which is where my BEST is really required and most deserved. That makes sense.
But at home, I need to rest and rejuvenate AND do my OWN things so that I don't become exhausted or resentful of my family and my obligations to them. The problem is that taking care of yourself and putting your own needs before those of your children is almost taboo in our culture. And I call bullshit.
I have been a mother for 5 years now (I count the time that my children spent in utero as time served). For 4 of those years, I ran myself ragged trying to figure out and navigate what was best for THEM, and feeling guilty when I was doing anything else! How is that even fair?? It's not fair to them (because it teaches them that they are the center of the world and they AREN'T); unfair to my husband, who missed his cuckoo for cocoa puffs wife who had become obsessed with our children and oblivious to the world around her, including him; unfair to myself, because by putting my own needs aside, I became cranky and irritable and a shell of my former self, a self who I worked HARD and for MANY YEARS to become.
That's when it hit me. I can still do my OWN things AND have a family that I love and who loves me. And even more than that, I'm teaching my daughters (by example) how necessary it is to love yourself FIRST before anyone else around you can love you. How great is THAT? I'm also teaching them what is important in life through my actions - family, health, experiences, and legacy.
I mean, have you TRIED to tell a toddler what's important? You can tell a toddler that it's important to each spinach until you're blue in the face -- that shit is still going on the floor.
But if you pick up something to eat it, what's the first thing those grubby little hands are going to reach for and snatch right out of your own hand before it reaches your mouth? That's right -- the SPINACH.
So here are the top 10 ways that I take care of ME throughout the week to keep myself sane and my cup full:
Indulge in personal development.
I read personal development for at LEAST 10 minutes a day. In 10 minutes, if you really concentrate, you can read 10 pages. That's 300 pages a month. That's around 12-15 books a YEAR. Think about what you need to develop personally, get yourself a book (order from Amazon if you like to write in your books, order it from your local library if you want to save the $), put those kids down for a nap (or give them a book of their own) and READ.
Drink a HOT cup of coffee/tea.
Every. Single. Day. I don't care what time you're drinking it. I always have a cup in the morning when we wake up (which almost always gets cold), but when I'm home all day with the kids, I have a cup at nap time, when I can drink at my own leisure.
Take a bath once a week.
INDULGE. Get a bath bomb. Close the door. Light a candle. Play some music or a Podcast. Sit back and relax. It can be 20 minutes.
Speaking of Podcasts
Find one that you LOVE and listen to it in the car. Think about how much time you spend in the car during the week. There have to be a couple of stretches where you can squeeze in a 20 minute podcast.
Read a book for fun.
I charge my phone in the kitchen and read a book for fun before bed. It helps your mind to wind down before going to sleep, instead of getting all wound up with who's doing what in the news or on Facebook.
I sleep 7-8 hours a night, but never less than 6. And if that means that I have to DVR a show and go to bed a little bit earlier, SO BE IT. I take a nap once a week while the girls are napping, but otherwise I am using nap time to get ish done. So I sleep at night. Period.
Make a home-cooked meal.
There is something therapeutic about slicing fresh vegetables, whipping up decadent sauces, and throwing together a whole meal for your family to enjoy.
Go for a drive. Alone.
Turn on your fave music, roll down the windows, and sing like you've never sung before. And while you're driving...
Go to a place outdoors that brings you peace.
Go for a hike. Go sit in a park. Bring that cup of coffee and your headphones. Listen to YOUR music. Meditate. Breathe in the fresh air and say thank you for some time to yourself. And finally...
Wake up an hour before everyone else.
Hate me if you will, but that hour is sacred for me. I have a whole routine, and there is just something so peaceful about a sleeping house. No one needs anything from you. You can read and write and visualize and exercise and meditate and be outside and drink hot coffee and watch the sun kiss the earth for the first time that day without a pack of monkeys climbing all over you and needing things from you. You feel recharged and energized and ready to tackle your shit show of a day. The best part is...you've had some time to yourself, so you now feel ready to give time to those around you, without having to say, "Can you be quiet for 5 minutes at some point today?!" Because you've already had your quiet. So now you're better equipped to handle the chaos.
What do you LOVE to do that you don't do enough of anymore? Spend 10 minutes doing that today. And if your answer is SLEEP, my response to that is WE ALL NEED MORE SLEEP, but this is life and it's worth LIVING. So get the EFF out of bed and go LIVE!!! :)