Attention All Mothers: 4 Tips on Taking Care of Yourself

BY: - 8 Nov '13 | Parenting

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This past weekend I had an opportunity to attend a retreat just for moms. The purpose of the retreat was to force moms to do something most of us rarely ever do: take time out for ourselves and make ourselves a priority. Some people may think they make themselves a priority, but they really don’t.

Can you think of ten things you love to do — without the kids or spouse? When was the last time you truly did something because YOU wanted to do it? When was the last time you added yourself to your own calendar? Do you even remember the person you were before you became a mom? Or have you become a victim of identity theft due to motherhood?

There are so many reasons or excuses we make as to why we can’t find even 15 minutes in a day to pour love into ourselves as mothers. Most of the time we either feel that self-care equals selfishness, or that we have guilt around anything that doesn’t revolve around our children. I’ve told my story about losing myself in motherhood, and that’s when I realized that I hardly ever put myself on my own list of priorities once I became a mom. I had to learn and understand the importance of self-care, the importance of learning how to FLY (first love yourself). Self-care is not something that has to be a grand, elaborate ordeal. It doesn’t even have to be something that costs you money. This retreat was all about learning ritualistic self-care: it’s strategic, meaning you take time to do something for yourself every single day (read, write, exercise, bike, craft, etc.).

There were moms from all walks of life that attended — single moms, married moms, divorced moms — all with the same common goal: to pour some love back into ourselves so that we could return home and be more loving for our families. Many people made sacrifices to be there, one mom even came straight from her dialysis treatment (that she has to go to three times a week) because she understood that she needed to do this for herself. Taking time to love and care for yourself is the best gift you can give your child. Why? Because when we are more relaxed, nurtured, and loved, we can then give that to our children. We can’t give them what we don’t have, which is often times what we try to do.

There were a few key areas that were talked about in order for us to adapt, and take home to incorporate into our own lives.

Build your own community: A while back I did an interview with Kym Whitley and she talked about how she had to rally her friends and create her own village when she decided to adopt her son. She knew that as a single mom, she was going to need the support and assistance of her close friends. This idea continued to be addressed throughout the weekend. If you’re a single mom or just don’t have the support of family members close by so that you can take an occasional mommy break, how can you build your own village? Every mom needs her own village.

Overcome the excuses: Taking care of yourself as a mom is vital to the well-being of our children. Stop making time, money or lack of resources a reason as to why you don’t invest in yourself physically, emotionally or spiritually. While times are hard on everyone right now, there are still ways that you can take time to love yourself. You may not have money to hire a baby sitter. But can you swap services with another mom so that you can go for a walk by yourself, or just have a few hours of peace and quiet in the house by yourself? This goes back to building your own community. Look around for free events that you can attend, and utilize discount deal sites like Groupon and Living Social for steep discounts on activities to pamper yourself.

Commit to yourself: Once you’ve created your village of support and have overcome the common excuse of lack of money, or lack of community, you have to make it important enough that you keep your own commitment to yourself. Just like you strive to keep the promises you make to others, be sure to keep the promises you make to yourself. If you say you’re going to exercise twice a week, then don’t break that commitment. If you say you want to take a cooking class, then commit to doing that. We have to set the example of how we want others to treat us.

Date yourself: We talk about the importance of dating our spouses and dating our children. But when was the last time you took yourself on a date? Once you’ve made the commitment to yourself, be sure to create a system around it so that it becomes ritualistic. What are the hobbies or things you loved to do before you became a mom? What are some interests you have that you haven’t found time to pursue? Set a schedule, and don’t forget to add you to your calendar so that you can follow through with it.

This retreat was powerful because it reiterated just how essential it is for me, as a mom to practice ritualistic self-care. Yes, it can be challenging at first. But with the right community and systems in place, it is definitely doable and should be non-negotiable. There is nothing selfish about making time to focus on ourselves when it can only make us a better mother for our children.

BMWK: Do you take time out pour love into yourself? What are some challenges you have around that?

About the author

Christine St. Vil wrote 153 articles on this blog.

Christine St.Vil is co-author of the Whose Shoes Are Your Wearing: 12 Steps to Uncovering the Woman You Really Want to Be. A happy wife to an amazing hubby of 8 years, and homeschooling mother of three, she teaches moms how to FLY (First Love Yourself). She uses her corporate background to work with women who are ready to start a new business, accelerate their career growth & design a life they love. She's on a mission to help moms to battle the mom guilt epidemic, so they can begin to put themselves first on their never-ending list of priorities.

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6 Tactics for Teaching Teens to Deal with Physical Attraction and Sexual Urges

BY: - 8 Nov '13 | Parenting

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In my last article, Physical Attractions And Sexual Urges: 5 Things Parents Need to Teach Their Kids, I received a lot of comments requesting more detail. So, instead of ignoring that resounding rebuke, like a man, I’m going to take that one on the chin and inject my opinion about what parent should teach their kids.

Let me first prepare you: my approach is not conventional. It first deals with the parents, then the science behind physical attraction, then the strategies for how to deal with physical attraction and sexual urges. What you won’t get from me is my opinion on the age at which I think its okay for your son/daughter to have sex. I’m sorry…but that decision should be left up to the parents and child. But what you will get from me is my advice on how you can have that discussion…and others like it.

Your Past and Biases

Before you can teach you kids anything, you have to first deal with your own past and biases. It’s understandable…parents want to protect their children from making some of the same mistakes they made regarding relationships with the opposite sex.  But guard yourself against diverting attention to how you handled similar situations in your past. That emphasis takes the focus off of them and redirects it to you and your past. Rather, be present in the moment with them. Focus on helping them figure out their situation.

As a parent, all the stuff you learned from your past has created a natural bias toward what you believe is right/wrong, good/bad, appropriate/inappropriate, acceptable/unacceptable. The compilation of those biases has created your value system. Stand on your values…do that. But don’t apply biases to your children just because your parents applied those same biases to you. What I mean is, just because your mom wouldn’t let you date until you were 17 doesn’t mean that your child can’t date till she’s 17. If your child is responsible enough to handle a group date at 16 with some kids you know and trust, then give her a chance to prove you raised her to be a responsible young lady.

The Science Behind Feelings of Attraction

Know that…you cannot control feelings. So don’t try. But you can control behavioral responses to those feelings. There is neurological and physiological science behind feelings of attraction. Simply put:

  • Guy sees cute girl
  • A tidal wave of happy feelings is sent throughout his brain
  • His brain gives commands to specific parts of his body to respond to those happy feelings. For example, he smiles. His eyes get wide. His heart beats faster, which causes shortness of breath. Blood flows to specific parts of his body.

The same process happens to girls too. Her face turns red. She smiles and giggles (think of teen girls at a Justin Bieber concert). These feelings are the natural functioning of a maturing young boy or girl. And their physiological behavior is subconsciously automatic and physically uncontrollable. But at 13 – 16 years old, all they are intelligent enough to interpret is “I like her” or “He’s cute”. So when you approach your teen to talk about the opposite sex, they don’t know how to express their feelings yet, which makes everyone feel awkward. As adults, we have the luxury of experience to inform us about what our feelings mean…and how to respond to them. But teens are just trying to figure out all these new weird feelings…without embarrassing themselves.

What to Do With Feelings of Attraction and Sexual Urges…

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Heath Wiggins wrote 83 articles on this blog.

The Purveyor of Understanding - Heath Wiggins married Bernadette (Bernie) Wiggins in October 1997. Together they founded the Family Bootcamp, LLC., a relationship consulting business that helps people improve the communication and trust in relationships. In 2013, Heath launched the blog and book His Leadership Her Trust to combat the lack of trust women had in allowing men be leaders in their relationships. His mission is to teach Christian men how to lead in such a way that women trust, respect, and actually want to them.

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