Monday, March 11, 2013

Finding the Y in J.O.Y. {Mindful Mothering Mondays}

The alarm wakes me on Sunday morning and I don't get to it before a little voice in the next room calls my name.  Together we head downstairs and greet the dawn.  He swings chubby legs from his seat on the counter while I start up the coffee and pull out my favorite cookbook.  "What do you think?  Should we have pancakes today?"  He smiles up and me and I take it as a yes.

Throughout my day of relative rest, I think about it - that acronym for Joy that so many families I know hold up as an example for life to their children:  J.O.Y.  Jesus first, Others second, Yourself, last.  I've always liked it.  Since childhood, this concept of the world not revolving around me has been something that, oddly, comforted me.  Knowing that, as big as this moment feels, it's not the end, or even the beginning, of the world.  A life of serving others and pouring out love is a life well lived.  This is what I was taught, and this is what I believe.

Yet something nags at me as I go about my day, cleaning up sticky syrup puddles after the older kids have left for Sunday school with Grandpa, his Honda leaving fresh tire tracks in the snow outside.  I start a pot of chili for dinner before showering myself and getting ready for church.  I think on how those first two can be combined for us Mamas, how serving our families in our vocation does serve God.  Two for the price of one!  Jesus first, Others second, Yourself...

Well, there it is then.  It's the source of that nagging question at the back of my mind.  That "yourself last" part.  I see it in burnt out Mamas all over.  In Mamas who get the first two things right, yes, but leave off that last part.  Mamas who put Jesus first, others second, and then have nothing left for themselves.  Mamas who are running on empty day after day after day.  I know that struggle.

Going through life on empty can have hazardous consequences.  We wouldn't want a surgeon to operate on our loved ones who hasn't slept in days, or expect a policeman to be able to do his job to the best of his ability if he hasn't had a break in a week.  As Mothers, we need to take our job just as seriously - and realize that, in taking care of ourselves, we are enabling ourselves to be our very best.

Even as I write these words, it sits wrong - because I've heard it before and have felt the crush of guilt when I haven't been able to make that space for myself.  Surely there is a way that we can prioritize ourselves without adding to the guilt of not being enough...but how?

I've never been one who goes out to lunch with friends, or indulges in shopping, pedicures, weekends away with my husband.  The years pass and babies come and getting a babysitter just to go to an OB appointment is difficult enough - time away for anything less than an emergency slides right off my priority list.  If I am to find a place for myself in all of this, it needs to be right where I am.  It needs to be inexpensive or even free.  And it needs to be something that I can seize with regularity, a gulp of fresh air daily, if at all possible.

The secret, I realize, lies just here - right where I am.  Right where you are, too.  As you go about your day, serving God and family, can you think of just one way you can serve - yourself?  I remember when I made a DIY Mother's Day.  What if every day was Mother's Day...what if I made it that way?  What if I came up with things or ways I'd be blessed by others...and blessed myself that way?

It could be an alarm on your watch, signaling a break in the afternoon.  Start the coffee, sit down with a book and do not allow yourself to be disturbed.  Or maybe in the evening, once littles are in bed - a bath and a glass of wine?  I knit while I homeschool kids, and that alone soothes my weary Mama soul.  I love waking up to a clean kitchen, and that is a gift I can give myself, every day.  Lately I've been making keeping my bedroom a quiet and clean place a priority.  That way, when I can steal away for a moment or two, just stepping through the threshold, out of the chaos and into my own space, I can find sanctuary.  Space to breathe.  To think.  To take a glass of water and a book, or just sit on the made bed and close my eyes for a moment.  A time to recharge those tired Mama batteries.  A time outside the ring, if just for a moment.

And you?  Do you forget the Y in joy like I do?


{It's Mindful Mothering Mondays, a day to take a deep breath and write out your mothering journey, whatever form it takes. A day to link up for encouragement from others who are in this same phase of life. A day of writing out the trials and triumphs and what you're learning right where you are, right now.

You might post recent struggles or thoughts. Maybe just a picture or a quote. Or maybe you'll just come here and read the links that others post. Whatever form your participation takes, this is a day for you.
We are all in this, together. Together, we can encourage and build one another up, be honest with our shortcomings and strengthened by community to keep fighting the good fight.

I chose Mondays because what Mama doesn't need a little encouragement on a Monday? As such, I'll have the link up ready to go on Sunday night for you to begin submitting your links.

I hope you'll meet with me each Monday! Here's what to do ~

Link up your post below. Remember to put the link to the exact post you want to link, and not just your blog url. Include in your post a link back here so others who want to join in can find us! And visit some other Mamas who have linked up.

Post the community graphic within your post, so people who are reading your Mindful Mothering post can come back here and find the rest of us!

Invite the writers of your favorite blogs to join in!

Share this meme with others on facebook and twitter. This community is for all moms, and the more that participate, the more we will be able to enjoy!!}

Grab the graphic here:

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  1. I try really hard not to, but yes, sometimes it does get forgotten. And I know exactly when it has been forgotten because I don't feel like me. Then I know it is time to find the time for me, even if just a few minutes.

  2. Your encouragement for us to do a little self-care is so important. Thank you!!!

  3. Thank you for this reminder...K

  4. Hope I am not too late, I checked early yesterday morning but I guess the post wasn't up yet? :)


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