Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Finding Time to be Me in Motherhood

Motherhood is time-consuming. I don't know this for a fact but I've heard that the smaller the children are the more time-consuming they are. All bets may be off if you are planning to homeschool though. Who knows? But I have found that it is important for my mental health to pursue being an adult while I am also mothering. If I lose myself in mothering I lose it all. I lose my focus on my marriage, personal growth, and even being the best mom I can be. I am a better mom when it's not the only thing I do. 

(One of my new books and a sketch I worked on over the weekend)

Due to schedules and lifestyle I don't get out a lot by myself. And that's perfectly ok with me.  What time my husband is home I want to be here too to spend it with him and the boys. But I have been looking for ways to pursue interests and develop talents while I'm home. Here are five I practice on a regular basis.

1. Make my time with God first priority. My goal is to read my Bible before my boys get up. Does this always happen? No. And it's even harder when there's a new baby but it's still my ideal quiet time. But I've let the boys watch tv while I read. I've let them play in the yard while I've sat out there and read my Bible. Make it happen. I also read a little and journal before bed too. 

2. Listen to podcasts. I have become obsessed with podcasts! I listen to sermons and the rest are mostly about motherhood and blogging. It's a great way to learn while you're cooking, cleaning, fixing snacks, and wiping noses. But be prepared because sometimes children are loud enough to drown them out. Oh, and I love to download a few and listen to them in the car too! 

3. Practice piano regularly. I take 45 minutes almost every morning to practice piano. My boys are used to this and they play in the living room while I practice. Is it uninterrupted? Of course not, but it is progress. 

4. Write during quiet time before I take a nap. I recently lengthened quiet time a little to make this possible. Writing is how I process what I think and how I feel. I need to be writing down the things I'm learning and studying in order to grow and remember and have material for the blog. It doesn't write itself! 

5. Read. It's almost always non-fiction and just snatches at a time. My fiction reading is almost non-existent although I did read the first chapter of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" the other day. We'll see if that goes anywhere. I read about mothering, homeschooling, homemaking, Christian womanhood, music theory, etc. And it usually is literally pages at a time but it adds up quickly if done consistently. I've referred to it before as my own personal graduate school. Just without tests. Well, at least written ones. 

Do all of these things happen every day? Actually, almost. The writing is the least consistent and then piano is 5-6 times a week. I've found it makes a profound difference in my attitude toward myself, motherhood, and life in general. Pursuing personal growth does not have to be put off just because you're a mama. It definitely changes with new seasons of life and looks different for every person though. 

And I should note one other thing: give yourself fully to whatever work is before you. If it's hours before bedtime or quiet time or naptime or quitting time, write down reminders of what to do later and then give yourself to your work now. Give yourself to those children or patients or customers or whoever God has placed in your path. 

Have you found there's a disconnect between yourself as a person and yourself as a mom? What is one thing you can do to "be an adult" while you're concentrated in mothering work? Or what do you already do that helps you?

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