Inhale. Exhale. I read about giving and taking, inhaling and exhaling in my book recently and wanted to share it with you. If you’ve read past posts, you might have come across me encouraging you to do something for yourself. Reading, walking, time at the beach, lifting weights. Whatever it may be that refreshes your heart. I’m not a mom so I know I don’t always understand the full extent of not being able to because your little babies are time suckers. (I know, WORTH it and wonderful, but your world revolves around theirs) But I do know some incredible moms that I listen very carefully to as they tell me what gives them the most energy so they can give that energy back to their family. Do you know what I hear from just about every mom? It’s doing the things for themselves. I’m sure it’s hard to find time, and you want to be the best wife/mom/supporter and give your all and feel like you can take on the world. But here’s the thing, in order to exhale, the inhale is essential. Powerful words I read from Dr. Halifax. It doesn’t have to be every single day, or hours of your time. But most of you can find 15 min a few times a week and ask for alone time. At first it feels like an extra to-do list. But when I calm my mind and take time to do something for me, I’m able to give back ten-fold.
Ladies, I’m pointing us out because we tend to not feel worthy of this time to ourselves. Or we compare super-mom/woman and saying I put my kids ahead of me/husband/life. It’s not a contest who can do the least amount for themselves. It’s about living a healthy and fulfilling life where you give, but also enjoy. I do get that for a while newborns especially need basically all of your time. But I have found the happiest (I mean truly happiest, not the moms that just seem put together) are ones that often take time for them. And it’s okay. I see for example how 30 minutes of working out for a few ladies help them have energy and not only energy to give back, but they feel better about themselves. And what is that going to do in the long run? Hopefully teach their young ones that it’s important to take care of themselves, they’re worth it, and hopefully teach them a healthy self-esteem when they see mom with one too. We don’t have to be perfect. Absolutely not. But if you want to give a big exhale and give to your family, you need that inhale, it’s essential.
My mom was and continues to be a wonderful example of this. I may not be able to speak from a mother’s point of view (only what moms tell me) but I can speak from a daughter’s point of view and what it taught me. When I was a young girl, my mom didn’t take time for her. It didn’t hurt our relationship per-say and I know she gave her all to my brother and me. I’ll speak more on that in a minute. But something she did do, was take care of herself. And not once did I hear her say something negative about her body. Not. Once. I hear too many women saying negative things about their bodies in front of their young girls and I can see it affects them. You may not see it, but those girls will look for flaws on themselves, and maybe start to notice it in others. It becomes part of their thoughts, or on their radar, when maybe it didn’t cross their mind that their body wasn’t good enough. Besides, we all as young women think it eventually, we don’t need to hear it from our moms too. I didn’t once think when I was little that my mom was anything but confident. And it helped instill that in me. When I got older, she started taking a little time for herself. And while I never disrespected her, it made me respect her more. She was doing something to better herself. As a daughter seeing this, I saw how important it was. And our relationship grew. She still didn’t say anything negative to me about her body at that time, but she was doing things to improve herself. I’m still so proud of how she did that. And now. Somewhere in our early 20’s, mom becomes more of a friend than a mom. And this is when we can (I feel) say things about bodies that maybe we want to improve. My mom still doesn’t say anything negative. Maybe she’d like my help, or needs to exercise more, but it’s never a negative conversation.
My mom continues to be the best at exhaling. She will cook, clean, decorate, shop, and give. Actually typing that just made me want to nap. She has truly the most giving and beautiful heart I’ve seen in a woman. But I think as she’s gotten older (not much older she’s still what.. 35?) she sees the importance of doing things for herself. She’s happy and can give more and still have energy to family. Which let’s be honest is great for me.. since lately I call her every day and need her.
I know life has a way from stealing our time. Before we know it, days and weeks have gone by before we can even think about doing something for ourselves. But if we MAKE the time, our exhale can be bigger, because we inhaled deeply.
What are ways you inhale for yourself? I’d love to know how you take time to refresh your heart.