Confession 2: I don't always take care of myself as I should
Welcome back to another week of reviewing Colleen Duggan’s book: Good Enough is Good Enough; Confessions of an imperfect Catholic mom. Chapter 2 is all about self-care! I know. This is a super popular buzz word, and I have actually written about this already, BUT I loved all the stories and information Colleen shared about what that means. I love looking at how I can better serve my family, and that means looking at the most basic question: Am I taking care of myself?
For me, self-care depends totally on my current life situation. Now, with a toddler a little over 3 year old and 20 month old, I find that it is easier to get away for alone time or to my book club for some girl time. When there is a newborn in the house, my self-care goes totally out the window as I learn how to meet the demands of a new family member, and try to not die of sleep deprivation in the process. I need to learn some balance! I think Colleen brings up an incredible point in her 2nd Chapter. She writes about how as a devoted Catholic she started to distort the idea of “sacrifice” into something that was unhealthy. She denied herself her basic needs in the name of “sacrifice” and that took a toll on her mental health, her family, and her marriage. She also talks about how her husband also had a distorted view of service to his family, totally abandoning all the hobbies he once enjoyed in order to run himself ragged for the family, forgetting that his marriage and his own mental health should be priorities.
This is so easy to do!! It is so easy to turn out focus totally on our children, and forget to look up across the table to the husband God gave us. Now, I am not saying we should ignore our children, and Colleen isn’t saying this either. What she is saying, and what I strongly echo, is that our lives have to be put in proper order. Do our children need a LOT of our attention?? YES. At all ages and stages, pretty much until they leave our nest, we need to be present to them and help guide them. However, our relationship with God, and spouse, should be the life-giving source from which we draw to serve our children, and others around us. Colleen is vulnerable and honest when she talks about going to counseling alone, and then with her husband to learn the tools necessary to make sure that her family life is in right order.
I love how open and honest Colleen is about her life and marriage! How many of us don’t want to admit that we are struggling with that balance we so desperately need! I will say for me, I definitely struggle with balance. I am currently 26 weeks pregnant, and Phoenix has already hit 100 degrees, and my boys need to be outside for many hours of the day to get out all their energy, or we run the risk of everything in our home being destroyed. So by the time my lovely husband comes home at 6pm, I am spent. I have been going to sleep at 7:30pm most nights, when we lay the boys down, and that means that many nights I am only seeing my husband for an hour an a half. That hour and a half consists of dinner, clean up, baths, rosary, and bedtimes. So you can imagine the deep meaningful conversations we are having.
I knew that this was not ideal, but felt like there was nothing that could be done about it. Until last week, when my husband honestly texted me and said that he needed a date. He needed one-on-one time with me when we weren’t yelling over the children to hear one another. I realized that I also needed him! I had been so focused on “surviving” that I forgot that I want to THRIVE, not just survive. We went on a nice lunch date, and even though it was only 2 hours, it was so refreshing! I am now making an effort to rest more during the day so that I can stay up a little later with my husband once our children go to sleep. Our marriages need that time!
Colleen also addresses cultivating our own hobbies and things we are passionate about! My husband is great at this. He always takes time for the things that he loves to do. He gets up earlier than everyone else, and cultivates his friendships in a way that has inspired me! A while back we were talking and he asked me an honest question: What do you like to do? I immediately thought-I love to read! So, along with my dear friends, we started a little book club. We meet once a week and talk about life, kids, God, and the current reading selection. I love this time! I head out after dinner, and get home after the kids are asleep. This time is so valuable for me. I have loved nurturing my love of reading, as well as my friendships with women who call me to holiness, and encourage me in my motherhood.
These things are important! Share with us how you are taking to heart chapter 2 of Colleen’s book and what you are doing to take care of yourself!!
Do you have a tendency to be moderate or immoderate in self-care? Why? Were your own parents good examples of this? What did they do well! What needed improvement?
I am working on balance right now, just taking it day by day!
What are some hobbies you enjoy? Do you engage in those hobbies? Why or why not?
Reading, writing, drinking warm coffee, and baking. I am working on doing these more often.
When are you most tempted to neglect yourself? Why? What are some safeguards you can implement to prevent gross self-negligence?
I think totally depends on our life situation, but I have started to take some steps so that when our new baby arrives, I can make sure I am taking care of myself.
Do you prioritize your faith, or do you let yourself get caught in the rhythms of daily life without taking time to grow in your faith? What is one way you can be more intentional about your faith this week?
My husband and I have a weekly holy hour that we alternate every week, this week is my turn! Also, a major goal this week is taking time to sit down and pray!
How do you communicate with your spouse? Does that need to change? How do you maintain your marriage as a priority amid the demands of life?
We do date nights, and often try to stay up after the kids are asleep to connect. We also text a lot throughout the day. We communicate very well, as we are both big talkers and always want to know what the other is thinking and feeling. We also tell one another when we feel the kids are taking away too much time from our marriage, and then plan a date, or something to help us connect.
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