I think we’d all agree that being a mom is the greatest/most challenging assignment in the entire world. We’re the “in house” bank where all the family problems are deposited. Do you ever feel like you can’t handle one more dirty sock or one more errand? What’s a mom to do?
I love it.
The other day I was flying home from a speaking trip feeling stressed. The stewardess suggested, “If there is a change in cabin pressure and you are traveling with children, put on your oxygen mask first. After securing yours, place the mask on your children.” Basically she was pointing at me and warning, “Pam, if you don’t FIRST get air for yourself, how can you give support to others?”
We can’t score 100% all the time as a mom, but we can do a few things that will increase the odds of us staying strong for the long haul. What I’m about to suggest is likely at the very bottom of your “To Do” list. But maybe it’s time for us to take the advice of the stewardess and take care of ourselves first.
What would that look like for you? How can we balance our own fitness into our mothering formula? Maybe if we’ll stop long enough and ponder these questions we’ll get some air.
Am I getting enough exercise? We all know the benefits of exercise, but what about its opposite: inactivity? It’s destructive. It increases stress, sours the mood, and adds worry wrinkles (and who wants those!) My research showed that joggers are less likely to get Alzheimers. That’s important to me since my mother had that disease. Yet, the positive side of exercise is this: it releases endorphins which create feelings of happiness and euphoria. But the best is that it lifts our countenance. I don’t know about you but I want my kids to say, “Mom seems to perpetually live in a state of joy.” (For me, jogging helps.)
Am I eating and drinking right? I’m not exactly the best person to be writing on this topic, but I’m trying. I learned in 5th grade: Eat breakfast. It’s the most important meal of the day. It gives our bodies the vitamins and minerals to jumpstart metabolism. A healthy breakfast wards off indulgence at lunch. (Does that mean I can’t have my Snackwell vanilla cookies for breakfast anymore?) And drink water. Highly fit people drink at least six to eight 12-ounce glasses of water a day. I know a person who carries a gallon of water with the goal to get it down by midnight. Every morning she grabs her purse and jug.
Am I practicing forgiveness? What? you ask. What does forgiveness have to do with good health? We don’t think of emotional baggage as poor for our physical bodies, but it serves as acid in our souls. And acid destroys its container. Research shows that not forgiving someone by holding a grudge puts our bodies through the same strains as major stressful events such as a divorce or death. Delayed negative emotions can cause undue depression. One study written by a case worker showed that 70% of the patients in her mental ward suffered from unaddressed bitterness. I wish these patients would have known that forgiveness facilitates the process of recovery. Forgive? Yes, we can forgive because God gives us the strength to do all things.
So there you have it. Evaluate your priorities. It’s true. We can’t tackle the entire spectrum of good mental, physical, and spiritual health all at once, but we can move up the ladder one step at a time by at least doing something.
I have my oxygen mask attached to my face today so that if there is a change in the cabin pressure of this household, I’ll be prepared to be “Super Mom!” How about you?
PAM KANALY, 2015 National Mother of Achievement and best-selling author of The Single Mom and Her Rollercoaster Emotions, remains one of America’s leading advocates for mothers. She’s the co-founder of Arise Ministries, a global organization for moms raising children alone. Their online education center continues to impact single mothers around the world with over 140 countries having visited their website. Pam is married to Rich, yet her favorite title remains Grammy Pammy to nine grandchildren. PAM KANALY – her life motto fits her well: Let It Shine! Connect with Pam – ariseministries.net and pamkanaly.com