We are consumed by the identity of mom alone. Because everyone around us has needs, we seem to forget our own. And when needs are neglected for too long, negativity sets in. Ugly words like resentment and regret come to the surface.
In More Than A Mom by Kari Kampakis, she asks us an all-important question. "How can we practice self-love and self-care in a way that brings life?"
In other words, can we as moms find a way to take care of ourselves that refreshes us and sets a good example for our family? That, my friends, is not being selfish. It is not only empowering ourselves but also the ones closest to us.
Set Healthy Habits
Every choice we make as a mom, from our eating habits to the time on devices to hobbies to bad habits, is an example we set for our children and others we influence. Good, bad, and everything in between is being watched and filed away by little eyes.
Your body image is no longer just about you. Your marriage is no longer just about being husband and wife. Your faith or lack thereof is no longer just about you—all of these shape who we are raising.
When you think of this, would it change anything?
Are there any habits, any negativity, any unhealthy life choices you would think twice about? Kids are smart little cookies. They are affected by more than we could imagine. Sometimes we unknowingly and unintentionally pass on the unhealthy habits we carry.
I have always enjoyed exercising. It is a fun hobby for me. I know some people would roll their eyes when I say I love a good hard, sweaty workout. While this is a healthy habit I want my girls to see, I know at times I may not have set the best example.
While I work out for the right reasons, to keep my physical and mental health in check, there are times I didn't have that intention. My girls have watched me cram in extra workouts before going on vacation so that I could be "swimsuit ready." What does that mean anyway? I am sure I'm not the only woman who does this.
Instead of teaching them our bodies are beautiful no matter what, I unintentionally set the example that achieving a perfect body was the expectation. Society already crams in our faces the unrealistic expectations of what our bodies should look like. The last thing I want to do as a mother is make my girls see that expectation as truth.
Even healthy habits can be made into unhealthy idols. Be aware of the words you use or the ways you are setting the example for even the best habits like eating healthy, exercising, and even working hard. Most habits can be unknowingly negative when taken to the extreme.
Be Honest In Your Emotions
As I said, kids are smart little Cookies. They know when we as parents have had a great day, and they know when things are not so good. Even if we try to hide our emotions, our kids know something is up.
While we may not want to expose our kids to all the hard things that happen in this world, they need to see us express our emotions. Hiding our tears when we are sad after a stressful day or losing a loved one doesn't help us grieve. Likewise, it does not teach our kids it's okay to express how they feel.
That goes for happy times too. As moms, we have such a hard time taking a compliment. Why do we have such a hard time accepting praise when we are rocking it?? If we told our kids, "you did such an amazing job at your school concert today." Would you want them to respond with something like, "oh, I did just alright." No way! We want them to be uplifted and praised with positivity when praise is due. Take a page from your praise-accepting children. Accept a compliment with thankfulness and grace. We do deserve a high-five for our work well done too.
Did you know there is a difference between happiness and joy? Happiness depends on what is happening around us. Joy comes from within us when we accept the love and assurance of God's good work in our lives. Kampakis says in her chapter about joy, "It can be hard to find joy around me; that's why I chose to find joy within me."
Joy does not necessarily come naturally all the time. Even if we have accepted the love of Jesus into our hearts, some days seem anything but. Romans 5:13 tells us, "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."
Joy is a choice we make as we trust in God more and more. The more trust we have, the more hope we feel. It's overflowing. The more hope we feel, the more joy we radiate. It becomes less about choice the more we trust.
"Even in trials and times of sorrow, your heart can feel joy. These moments are made possible through God's supernatural grace. Feel your pain, but fight for your joy. Don't let people or events steal your joy or lead you to mistakenly believe that your joy is over." Kari Kampakis
It is easier than ever to let what is going on around us affect how we feel inside. How we feel and process, in turn, affects our kids. We can make the choice to tune out the noise and focus on the hope we have in our good God, who is always in control.
Our wellness as moms should be a priority, not a last resort when we are burnt right out. Sometimes we need a reminder that it's okay to take care of ourselves too. Our kids need to see wellness as a priority so they can follow our healthy example.
Remember These Reminders
It's okay to take care of your own needs to avoid feeling depleted and numb
Personal wellness matters—especially as a mom.
Stay on a healthy path and bring your kids as far as you've come by taking the time to focus on your own needs, too.
Unleash God's power in your life and stand on timeless truths to help you know your worth and embrace your purpose in parenting.
Build your own worth by quitting negative self-talk, setting boundaries, and building strong, uplifting friendships that you can model for your children.
Taking care of yourself is the first step to helping your family thrive
Being a mom is the most rewarding, frustrating, joy bringing, exhausting role we will ever have. With such great responsibility, we owe ourselves some grace and some time invested in care for our own hearts and souls.
Take some tips from Kari Kampakis in More Than A Mom. Her wealth of knowledge clearly comes from experience. Instead of trying to figure it all out for ourselves, let's take a page or two from her book. Take the time to remember your needs are important too, because there is so much more to you than "mom".
More Than A Mom by Kari Kampakis can be found at https://bit.ly/morethanamombook
*Quotes and excerpts from More Than A Mom copyright 2022 Kari Kampakis