Cultivating Self Care
Forgive me for starting this blog with a few predictable clichés, but they’re powerful.
What I love about cliché is that the visual image in the small metaphor or simile tells an important story with few words.
You can’t pour from an empty cup. An empty tank will take you nowhere. Put your own oxygen mask on first.
And last but not least,
Self Care is giving the world the best of you, not what’s left of you.
The truth is, we don’t take care of ourselves well enough. We tend to everybody else’s needs while neglecting our own. Sadly, we aren’t the only one who suffers.
This is why Charlotte Mason was so adamant that homeschooling mothers cultivate regular self care. It’s the fifth element of Masterly Inactivity and it’s just as important as all the other elements we’ve discussed in previous blogs.
Masterly Inactivity #1: Raising Self Motivated Children
Masterly Inactivity #2: An Attitude of Good Humor
Masterly Inactivity #3: Cultivating Self Confidence
Masterly Inactivity #4: Empowering Your Children with Self Confidence
Charlotte Mason wisely tells us,
“If mothers could learn to do for themselves what they do for their children when these are overdone, we should have happier households. Let the mother go out to play! If she would only have courage to let everything go when life becomes too tense, and just take a day, or half a day, out in the fields, or with a favourite book, or in a picture gallery looking long and well at just two or three pictures, or in bed, without the children, life would go on far more happily for both children and parents”
Caring for yourself is neither selfish, nor self indulgent.
It’s dedication to the family atmosphere—the atmosphere that nurtures your children’s hearts, thoughts, attitudes, academics, and life. The atmosphere that increases marital harmony and unity.
The atmosphere you want to look back on one day and be reminded how you walked in a spirit of grace and kindness because you had done the necessary thing—self care.
What does self care look like?
EMOTIONAL AND SPIRITUAL SELF CARE
Emotional self care is capturing your negative thoughts, your fearful thoughts, and your negative self talk and bringing them under the obedience of Christ.
When we allow negative thinking like, “This is too hard” or “I can’t do this” or “I’m so overwhelmed,” we’re rehearsing a dirge. And we will live like we’re at a funeral. Our emotional funeral.
We must recognize the voice of doubt and turn from these faithless thoughts. Rebuke them if necessary and reclaim your place as a child of the King. Reclaim the truth that God is for you and He desires to work on your behalf.
Paul expressed in Colossians 1:29,
“To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.”
If we are laboring in Christ’s strength that powerfully works within us, we can do all things—everything God has called us to do.
Even when we feel weak, we can thank God, for His power is made perfect in our weakness. He does the work when we let go and trust Him to do it.
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead. Ephesians 1:18-20
The same power that raised Christ is in me?
Is in YOU?
Think of it! He has given you His incomparably great power! Power to accomplish with confidence every good work He’s purposed for you. Power to complete every task needed to homeschool your children with excellence.
Never again say, “This is too much for me!”
The best place to fill up your emotional self care tank is at the feet of the One who loves you so tenderly.
He longs to spend time with you—longs to lead you and guide you into all truth.
I know it can be hard having a house full of kids banging on your bedroom door first thing in the morning and, never having been an early riser, I experienced it many times.
But I made sure during our homeschool years that each of us had a one hour “quiet room time” every afternoon. My children would go to their rooms to pursue special studies or read a book.
And I would sit on the couch in blessed quietness to read and hear from the Lord.
It was my daily dose of spiritual and emotional self care.
PHYSICAL SELF CARE
Physical self care isn’t just about exercise, though it’s important and is a source of renewal for many moms. However, if you have young children and are making room in your schedule for time outdoors, you’re getting a lot of exercise already.
The most important aspect of physical care is taking care to look your best.
When we’ve made an effort to care for our appearance, we’ll seize the day with much more energy. We’ll live more intentionally. And we’ll set an example for our children to follow. A healthy habit of physical self care.
There are a myriad of ways to care for yourself physically and they are as unique as you are.
I knew a homeschool mom who had a standing nail appointment every week. I knew another who walked with her neighbor and prayed every morning. One mom scheduled time outdoors several times a week walking and running nature trails.
Whatever it is, find a way to care for and feel good about yourself physically.
INTELLECTUAL SELF CARE
In some ways, being a homeschool mom is the most intellectually stimulating activity known to man.
We truly are getting the education that flew in one ear and out the other on the first day of kindergarten. And flew away altogether on the last day of twelfth grade!
It’s what makes homeschooling fun and rewarding—learning all that fascinating history and science we thought was so boring in school.
And if you’re following the Charlotte Mason model and using living materials, you are surely enjoying the journey!
This is but a season. You aren’t just a homeschool mom.
You are an amazing person with so many gifts and talents worthy to be cultivated. A person of great value worthy to be nurtured and developed.
So cultivate your interests!
Do you wish to learn to paint or learn to code? Are you fascinated with public speaking? Do you want to teach Bible study to women?
Don’t put these things off. They are ideas and desires planted in your heart by the Holy Spirit. God doesn’t want you to stop living while you’re homeschooling. He doesn’t want you to put your own interests aside until the last child is gone.
God wants you to grow and develop right alongside your children.
When we pursue our personal interests, we are treating ourselves as valuable and important. We are continuing the process of growing into the person God has called us to be, even as we help our children do the same.
One day your kids will be gone and you’ll be so thankful that you invested in yourself, that you intentionally cared for yourself.
That you prepared for the great plans God has for your life post Homeschool Mom!
And what’s more! If you exercise the other elements of Masterly Inactivity, you’ll have more time for self care. You’ll take the time to cultivate your interests and find joy in the journey. And you will be the best mother and wife for your family.
Self care is choosing to live with no regrets. It’s choosing to refill that cup, to refill that tank. It’s choosing to put your own mask on first—in order give your family the best of YOU. The best of the uniquely amazing woman God created you to be.
For more Charlotte Mason insight read here.