Earlier this week, I gave my one-year-old angry eyes and angry words. “Just go to sleep! No, you can’t do that. Leave it alone.” I was that mom. The mom that is so ornery you feel uncomfortable for her child.
I’m not always the mom I want to be.
We were on an airplane on our way home, me and three kids. Our flight had a layover, so this was the second leg of the journey. A journey which had started with a 4 AM alarm. It was a rough day. It was a long day. I was tired. I had spent a stressful layover trying to keep up with an active toddler who was intent on leaving his older brother and sister in the dust—anxious that they would all be lost in the airport.
Rewind 48 hours to when my anxiety for the flight started. I spent a Sunday—the day that I usually refresh and focus on the Lord, worrying about our upcoming flight. I spent the next morning packing and stressing over the weight of our bags, trying to corral the kids and keep them happy while getting everything ready. (Which wouldn’t have been possible without my amazing sister.)
Then we made the trip to the airport, got through security, found out our flight was delayed and had to rebook because we would miss our connection. We ended up going back through the airport to pick up our luggage—knowing we would have to do it all again the next morning. That night I went to bed too late, and my toddler ate something that upset his stomach and he threw up in the night. That was not a good feeling. Cue worry about the flight in a few hours. Was that out of his system or was I in for a terrible flight? Maybe I should get the airline to rebook us again.
Oh my friends, it was not a pretty few days.
But as I was sitting there on that airplane, unable to handle my one-year-old’s antics, I realized something. My mood was my fault.
In those few days of stress, I had barely read a page from the scriptures. I hadn’t eaten enough, or the right kind of food. I hadn’t slept. I hadn’t done yoga. I had barely taken time to pray.
If I had been taking care of myself, I could have handled my toddler that afternoon. It still would have been hard, but I could have done it calmly, maybe even with a bit of enjoyment. But instead, I sat there on that airplane, drained. I was falling asleep while my son tried to climb over me and his siblings into the aisle. And then I was annoyed at him not listening. It took all of my energy to convince myself to sing a silly song to him to keep him happy. It could have been better. I had no cup to draw from, and it showed.
God is good. I am so grateful for him. His Spirit spoke to my heart as I stared out at the clouds. I realized I can prevent struggles like this in the future.
I recently read this post and I was reminded how important it is for me to practice self-care. I love her ideas to add something fun in every day of the week. I often feel guilt when I do things that I want to do—reading a novel without putting it down, staying up late to watch a movie with my husband, or spending a few hours shopping by myself. But I’m making a plan that includes some of these things, so I can do it and know that I am helping myself. Along with fun things, I’m going to make sure I keep doing the things I know that I need to do: pray intently, eat healthy, go to bed early, wake up early to write a few times a week, and study God’s word. I am always amazed at how much happier I am when I take care of myself. I have so much more joy in the work that I do. I want to serve my husband, my kids, my friends, all the people God wants me to serve. And it amazes me that a few minutes of connecting with the Lord strengthens me for hours.
God is good.