Recently, I was able to attend the Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit in Chicago and attended a breakout session that spoke volumes to me. The session was led by Deborah D. Gray, author of Attaching in Adoption, and was titled “It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint: Your Self-Care and Why it Matters.” It didn’t take long to recognize myself as the adoptive mother, stretched too thin and not taking time to care of myself.
As a mother to seven children, four of which are adopted (3 of those as older children), it is easy to lose myself in the needs of my children. There are only so many doctor, dentist and school appointments I can juggle. What can be put off is, and that is typically for me. Most mothers I know are guilty of the same…kids come first and we get the leftover time, which is usually slight.
Ms. Gray gave several things that busy moms (and dads) should take in to consideration. A parent that is stressed passes on that tension to their child and no one benefits. The child feels the parent’s stress and can trigger behaviors based on the tension from the parent.
Here are 10 things you should do for yourself:
1) Fifty pleasures – write down things that you would find pleasure in and do them.
2) Find a support group of people that will understand your situation, such as other adoptive parents.
3) Make and keep new friends – parents typically become so involved with their children and behaviors it is hard to remember to stay connected.
4) Use positive self-talk.
5) Accept do-overs.
6) Avoid over committing and focus on what is important.
7) Get adequate sleep!
8) Strive to stay healthy.
9) Put on 20 year and 100 year glasses (in 20 years what do I wish I had done, and in 100 years what will last?)
10) Spiritual renewal
I, for one, plan on taking Ms. Gray’s advice. I know that a healthier and happier me will be a better parent to my children. I look forward to taking the time for myself and working on me. I think the quote, “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” is applicable. It is my hope that my children will see that they benefit from the time I put in to myself.
Photo Credit: Sira Anamwong