For me, the roles of wife, mother, and disciple of Christ are the three that I find are the most demanding. They're also at the top of my list for what is important. I have a testimony that no matter what else is going on in our lives the Lord should be our #1 priority. You may not be a Christian, perhaps you're of a different faith, or are spiritual in other ways- but you would probably agree that however you center the direction of your life is hugely important. Now as a wife and mother where these two rank generally changes based on the circumstances at the time, for example my husband doesn't need my attention as much as my kids do when they are sick. As a general rule, though, my hubby and I prioritize our relationship over our roles as parents because the better our relationship is, the better parents we are, and the happier the environment is in our home. I know many parents who place their children first at all times, and I think that is wonderful if that is what works for them. I reserve no judgement for people who do it differently than I do.
The longer the list of things we have to do and things we have to be becomes, the harder it is to juggle all of those responsibilities. I often find myself feeling guilty like I am letting my kids, or husband, or clients, etc down. Most of the time the biggest guilt I feel is Mommy-guilt. Now, if you're not a parent forgive me for taking this tangent, but I promise I'll bring it back around to the point I have to make that applies to everyone. Mommy-guilt is awful as a stand alone issue, but paired with my anxiety, it's a real bummer. I can't tell you how many minutes in a day I spend thinking "Maybe they wouldn't have done fill the the blank with any number of annoying or disrespectful things if I was spending more time with them," or "Is this phase she's going through because I'm not noticing something bigger?" My favorites, though, are "I bet Moms A, B, and C don't fuss at their kids like this." and "She is able to cook all 3 meals a day, volunteer at the elementary school, keep a spotless house, and be completely dressed and made up each day- what am I doing wrong?"
Mom-guilt also comes into play when I'm racing off to teach a Zumba class or giving them activities to do so that I can work out at our house. My oldest always wants to exercise with me, and a lot of days I'm able to let her, but other days I find myself telling her I need space to do my own thing. It is absolutely crushing to see her face when I tell her she can't do something with me. However, I will do it when I need to.
The thing about priorities is that no one can do everything. Even those men and women who seem like they've got it all together, will tell you that they don't. So what do we do in order to properly get our crap together? It's something I preach about a lot, but the only way to really be able to check all of those boxes and fill all of those roles to the best of our ability is to prioritize ourselves above everything else. I am not saying we need to have a "look out for #1" mentality or that what we want should take place over everything else- I am saying that what we need should be addressed before we make any other decisions or take care of anything else.
If we are neglecting to take care of ourselves what good are we to everyone else that depends on us? I am no good to my husband, or kids if I am sleep deprived, stressed to the max, and unhealthy. I can't give them what they need from me if I'm mentally, emotionally, or physically on the verge of breakdown. The people and things in your life that depend on you, need you to be at your best. So, what does this mean? How do we apply this to our lives? For me what I have to prioritize is my relationship with the Lord and Jesus Christ, my physical health through exercise, and being open with my husband about how I'm feeling at all times. Making those things my top priorities allows me to, in affect, give so much more and be at such a higher level of presence for all of the other things life demands of me. How should you apply this to your life? Honestly, that is going to be different for each person, but here are a few suggestions.
-Take a nap or go to bed early if you are tired- your brain and body will not work their best when you are exhausted, and tired people are more prone to being ill-tempered
-Have an activity that is unapologetically just for you- this could be exercise classes, a mani/pedi, one hour of daily quiet time with a book, I could go on and on.
-Eat better. For goodness sake you are not going to be able to do anything if you are sick, or unhealthy, or dead. So eat better, please.
-Pray or meditate, or both. Quiet reflection will do wonders for getting your mind and heart right and finding energy to accomplish all that needs to be done. Being centered and find a purpose will help you to move forward while paying less attention to the things that may typically distract or wear at you.
-Say "No." You don't have to help everyone that asks- sometimes you just need to say "no"- running yourself ragged will only make you bitter and take the joy out of serving others. You're not a bad person if sometimes you say no.
-Make lists. When you are truly conflicted over what should take precedence, then write out down and make a list. Then edit it, and re-write it if necessary. You can do this! I know it! xo- Layne
An amazing woman that I've known almost 20 years (16 to be exact, but who's counting) has recently started Vlogging about her life and experiences as a mother, wife, and Christian. These are her roles, but not her only roles- she is a working mom. She just recorded her thoughts on Mom-guilt from the perspective of a Christian woman and disciple of Christ. I knew I had to share this with all of you, as she is so enlightened and so relatable. I hope you'll take a look at what she has to say, and if you have interests in parenting, serving the Lord, or a vegan lifestyle (her family is 2 weeks into this change) then I strongly encourage you to follow her youtube channel. Whether you are a believer or not, she is such a delight to watch, her passion is contagious. Here is her video on Mom Guilt for you to enjoy!
To follow Mama Wolff on youtube her channel is HERE.