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Amy Dungan is better known as "Sparky's Girl" at our Low Carb Luxury Discussion Forums, Talking Low Carb, where she serves as a moderator. Amy understands the challenges of motherhood very well, as she juggles the many
hats she must wear.
"Time is an illusion,
lunchtime doubly so."
— Douglas Adams
We live in an age of rush, rush, rush! Everywhere you look people are scrambling
to meet a deadline or be on time for an appointment. Time is a precious commodity that none of us ever
seem to have enough of.
How often have you heard someone say, ďI just donít have time!Ē?
Iím guilty of saying it myself. When you become a parent, you quickly learn that the ďto doĒ list
simply grows and grows. As mothers, we make time for cooking, cleaning, our husband and
children, extended family and friends, careers, volunteer work, etc. But why is it that we never
make time for ourselves?
If you're trying to find the time - forget it! It will never
happen. We have to make time, just as we make time for all the other things in our lives.
Ask For Help.
Weíve all heard the saying, ďIf Momma ainít happy, ainít nobody happy!Ē There is a measure
of truth to this. How can we effectively care for our family when we donít take care of
From personal experience, Iíve found I am a much better mother and wife when
Iíve taken the time to take care of me. On those days I'm careful to eat right, exercise
and spend a little time doing something I enjoy, the day seems to simply run more smoothly!
I feel good and am better prepared to face the challenges of the day. But catch me after
a few days of bad eating, no exercise and no time for me? Just ask my family - Iím not
When your life is all about work and caring for others, it doesn't take long to begin
to feel isolated. You find yourself enmeshed in hopelessness as you face the never-ending
tasks awaiting you. Burnout is just around the corner.
A good friend once told me, ď I gave up a lot of things when my
child was young. It wasn't until much later that I realized I didnít have to.
They never asked me to. I just assumed that in order to be a good mother, I had to.Ē
Are you living in that misconception yourself?
You donít have to. Even just a few minutes can make a big difference to your outlook
and your energy levels. Here are a few tips for making time for yourself:
Why is it that we mothers never ask for help? We help others all day long... yet we seem
to have a deep conviction that we should be able to do it all. Donít let the ďsuper-momĒ
thinking take hold.
Recruit your children.
Even pre-schoolers can help out. My 7-year-old is responsible for helping with the trash,
putting away his own clothes, cleaning his room, and various other chores. My 4-year-old
searches the house for dirty laundry, checks the bird cage to be sure they have enough food
and water, helps water the flowers, and a few other simple things.
They both help clear the table after a meal and attempt to make their own beds. Donít
expect perfection. They may not do it just the way you would, but praise them for the attempt.
You might be surprised at just how helpful these little things can be.
Recruit your husband.
Many times, when I am busy with another project, I will ask my husband to run the vacuum,
load the washer or dryer, or simply care for the childrens' needs for a few minutes. Heís even been
thoughtful enough to start dinner a few times!
There are also times when you need to get away... just by yourself or with your spouse.
Donít hesitate to ask your parents, in-laws, siblings, or anyone else you trust to care for your children for help. My husband and I try to have a ďdateĒ
at least once a month. We take the kids to Grandma's and we enjoy a quiet dinner and some shopping.
Itís a wonderful way to reconnect with each other.
Remember - youíre not just a Mom, you are a woman who needs to be cared for as well.
Lower Your Expectations.
Do you expect your house to be spotless? There is a poem I read once about how fast children
grow up and how the housework can wait. It really hit home with me. In ten years, will anyone
really care that my house was spotless? Will they care that I sought perfection in my home
and family? Of course not. No one will remember any of those things.
These obsessions not only rob me of time for myself, but also take time from my family.
Iíve learned to slack up a bit and not expect everything to be done now or to be done
in a certain way. Iíd much rather have the extra time.
Learn to Say NO.
Do you find yourself involved in every project you are asked to help with? Sometimes itís hard
to say no. I often find myself agreeing to something I really didnít have the time or
patience to take on. Where will it end? You wouldnít let an outside project interfere with
your family would you? Donít allow it to steal your personal time either. If you truly donít
have time for it in your daily schedule (which includes your time) then politely turn it down.
If you feel it's something you have to do, then be sure to put limitations on yourself
so that you can still squeeze in some "you time."
Last but not least..
Let Go of The Guilt!
Okay, so I'm the pot calling the kettle black here. I'm aware I often feel guilty for taking time
for me. Yet intellectually, I know I'm just as worthy of relaxation and escape as anyone else.
If anything, I think mothers need it more than anyone! So why do we feel so bad about taking care of ourselves?
I think we carry a belief that sacrifice is an inescapable part motherhood. Perhaps
it's so entrenched in our thinking that we can't relax the axiom for even a moment.
We feel guilty that we arenít sacrificing enough. I can assure you itís not healthy to give, give, give and never receive. And when that insidious guilt surfaces, just remember that ultimately
this is what is best for you and your family. It will benefit all.
Not sure what to do with that time youíve set-aside for yourself? Here are a few ideas.
What ever you choose to do, make it count. Give yourself the care you need. Your family will
thank you for it.
- Read a favorite book
- Take a relaxing bubble bath
- Go for a walk or get the exercise of your choice
- Take up a hobby
- Call an old friend
- Go shopping or treat yourself to a nice meal out
- Listen to your favorite music and relax
- Spoil yourself for a bit!
Copyright © September 2003 Amy Dungan and Low Carb Luxury
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