Reviving Motherhood

Learning on the Journey


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Mama Self-Care: Our Bodies

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All the information out there about how to be healthy and attractive is just overwhelming.  Sometimes so overwhelming that we just don’t do anything because it’s all too much and we end up unshowered in holey lounge pants and a greasy ponytail.  We CAN take care of ourselves WITHOUT too much time or effort!

I want to divide this little post into a couple different sections.

First, the outside.  In my opinion, it gives moms a big lift to feel pretty.  It’s good for our kids to see us taking care of ourselves and our husbands appreciate it too!  This doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming. 

Hygeine.  Shower daily, even if it’s a 2-minute shower.  It is OK if baby cries for just a few little minutes while you clean up, and this is coming from a mama who doesn’t let babies cry!  Since you are taking that 2 minute shower, keep a razor in there to give your legs a super-fast shave while you are at it!  Seriously, it takes seconds and if you do it every day you can get any spots you missed the next time around!

{Hannah from Cultivating Home has such great, practical mom style!}

Clothes. Jeans and a cute t-shirt are just as easy to put on as sweats.  It is so hot here, and I am not a shorts kind of girl, so I’ve been collecting some little skirts and dresses that are easy to throw on with ballet flats or sandals.  {Side note: Flats are especially nice when you don’t have time to keep your nails done!}  Target usually has inexpensive jersey a-line skirts that flatter just about everyone.  Cute and easy.  Some of us (coughmecough) have a few pounds of baby weight hanging around.  Don’t let this stop you from buying some cothes that FIT (I got most of my stuff from between 50 cents and $5 at the thrift store) and wearing cute stuff!

Makeup. You don’t have to choose between a full face OR no makeup.  Why not just a bit of concealer, a touch of eye makeup and some gloss?  It only takes a  couple minutes to really brighten up your face!

Accessories. I am a huge believer in cute dangly earrings!  Even on the busiest day, it only takes 2 seconds to add earrings.  There is something about earrings or other simple accessories that give off an “I care” vibe.  I’m no expert on accessorizing, but I have noticed that statement accessories, like big earrings or chunky bracelets pack a big punch without being fussy.

Hair. Can we get out of the pony tail rut (I suggest as I sit here in a pony tail)?  Jen has been doing a series on simple hair styles that go beyond the pony.  Some of them take hardly any time at all.  It’s nice to take time to do your hair all the way sometimes, and I try to do this a few times a week in the winter, but in the summer it’s just too hot.  I have enjoyed learning creative ways to branch out!

So in 10 minutes or less, we can get out of that frumpy rut that moms so easily fall into, and look cute for the whole day!  Trust me, I am a novice in the looking-nice department compared to most girls, so if I can make some effort, anyone can!

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Now let’s talk about health.  There is so much conflicting health advice out there, and it can all seem overwhelming!  We all know we should eat more whole foods, exercise, and drink water.  But this does not have to mean going to the gym and paying a gazillion bucks for perfect food (although that is good if you can do it).  Start with baby steps and you will be amazed at how quickly the small changes add up.  Play outside with your kids.  Put baby in the stroller and walk around the block.  Eat fruit, a hard boiled egg, or a handful of nuts for a snack instead of chips or cookies.  Measure out your water first thing in the morning and keep it in a pitcher on the counter or the fridge.  Go to bed a few minutes earlier.  Once those things come naturally, let yourself think about another small change to implement.  And that’s all I will say about that.  When we are just barely able to fall out of bed in the morning, there is no point in piling on the guilt if we can’t make the BEST choices today for our health.  Let’s focus on just making BETTER choices and one day we will probably find that we have worked up to the BEST!

So go for it, mama!  Pull out that cute, comfy skirt that you only wear on Sunday, throw on 5-minute makeup and some earrings, pour a tall glass of water, and have a great day!


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Mama Self-Care: Spiritual (No Condemnation!)

~Philip Hale~

Sorry for the spotty posting.  Life gets in the way sometimes.  I’m kicking off a season of more regular writing (hopefully!)  with something new.

I’ve heard it said that we moms need to take care of ourselves first or we won’t have any strength to take care of our families.  You know what, it’s true.  But how easy it is to give ourselves the leftovers when the urgencies of family life demand our attention!  I’m starting a little series on Mama Self-Care, easy ways to help us moms take care of us so that we are able to take care of those placed under our care.

The first and most important way we need to care for ourselves is spiritually.  If we aren’t filled spiritually, then all the other self-care we do won’t make that much difference.

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But listen.  If those first sentences gave you a stab of condemnation or guilt, don’t let them.  We serve a God of grace and freedom who understands our weakness and is loving and gentle with us.  I love Isaiah 40:11 from the Bible: “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.”

A friend told me not long ago about a women’s conference she attended where one of the speakers, a well-known Bible teacher, harshly judged young mothers who struggle to find time for “serious Bible study.”  There are many reasons that this rubbed me the wrong way, not the least of which are that this teacher had only two children (not dissing those of you with two, but the honest truth is that logistically things were much easier when I had two than when I have five), and that her young mom days have been over for about 40 years.  There is a season for everything and we should not let the drains of motherhood make us feel condemned if we cannot have the kind of quiet time or Bible study someone else—who has never walked in our shoes—says that we should.  God sees our hearts.  I know, I just commited Evangelical treason with those statements.  I am not saying that we should not spend time with God, but simply that we should find a way to configure it to the realities of this very intense time of life.

I do have a set time for prayer early in the morning.  I don’t want to set an alarm that will wake the babies, so I have asked God to wake me up on time and virtually every day, he does.  I pray while I lay in bed (if I can trust myself not to go back to sleep), while I feed the baby, or while I make my bed.  This is not my ideal, but it is better than nothing.  If you are offended, I am sorry.  I think Jesus would rather I talk to him during those times than skip it because the circumstances are not perfect.

The rest of my Jesus time requires more creativity, since my early risers are up shortly afterward.  I read the Bible on my iPod touch (yes, I am behind the times, I don’t have a smart phone) while I nurse the little one, put on the audio version of Psalms or the Gospels while I am in the kitchen, pray throughout the day.  I read Bible stories to the kids and pray with them.  We pray in the car before we pull out of the driveway.  I think about what I have read or heard as I wash dishes or fold laundry.

~Renoir~

There are lots of other creative ways to make our relationship with God a lifestyle, not just a time set apart from the rest of my day.  Leave a Bible open by the rocking chair or in the bathroom, listen to worship music and sing along, teach the kids old hymns, write scripture on a card and place it in the window sill, the mirror, or the dashboard of your car.  And I encourage you, don’t neglect church.  It is so easy to do when we are so very tired.  I have missed more church in the past months than I have in years.  When you have 5 kids, the odds of someone being sick or indisposed during the winter increase a lot.  But if it is possibly in my power, I go.  It might mean jeans and a ponytail, but I am always so happy that I made the effort, even if it was a struggle to get out the door.  Worshiping with other Christians is essential.

All this is to say: Make the effort to feed yourself spiritually, and don’t let perfectionism keep you from your relationship with Jesus.  Run to him!  He hears you when you are scrubbing potties just as well as when you are kneeling at an altar.  Maybe the bathroom is really what he had in mind when he talked about going to your “closet” to pray!  ;)

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