We have a running joke in our household. It revolves around my husband and how he has an unbelievable and inspiring talent of being our family’s human garbage disposal.
Truly, he hates to see any of us waste food.
Even if he is full after a meal, he will clean up everyone else’s plates as to not waste anything. Most of the time, our leftovers are cold and not that all appealing, but he doesn’t seem to care. At times I find myself wondering how he can stomach it all.
Tonight, after I put my kids to bed and finally had a moment to myself, I thought of the ways I inadvertently give people in my life my emotional and sometimes physical leftovers. No, I am not talking about food anymore. I am talking about giving those we love the most in our life, the cold and unappealing leftovers of our day.
I am mother of four children, a wife to a teacher and high school basketball coach, a friend to many beloved people, a follower of Jesus and a daughter to two of the best people I know. At times, I wonder how can I give the best of myself to them all.
I have many priorities in my life and thinking about carefully balancing them all can keep me up at night sometimes. I know how important it is to give my children and husband the best of me, but at times, they are the ones getting just the scraps. How can I change that?
I can’t be alone in this battle. I have heard from many moms that they, too, struggle to balance the many important people in their lives all while keeping their head above water. So, how do we find balance?
What I have found to be helpful is first filling myself up with what I need that will sustain me throughout the day. So here are three things that will help you as a mother and/or wife give the best of yourself to those that you love:
I used to go to bed extremely late, wake up hours later and then wonder why I had nothing to give to anyone the next day.
Sleep recharges us in a way that nothing else can. If our loving children awaken us throughout the night, we need to adjust so that we still get enough rest to function fully the next day. Two years ago, the National Sleep Foundation suggested that adults aged 26-64 need seven to nine hours of sleep.
When I changed my sleeping habits, I immediately felt a difference in the quality of life for myself and what I was giving to my family.
Sometimes you just have to say no.
I have been known to be a chronic “Yes” girl, but I am trying to say “No” a little bit more. What I mean by this is, when a friend is in dire need and comes to you asking for help, of course you say yes. You don’t think twice.
But if you are constantly saying yes to people who come to you simply because they know you won’t say no, maybe you need to pull back on the generosity. I always try to think, if I say no to this person, will they be OK? Will they still be able to find help? If I don’t accept this invite, will I be fine? Will this friendship/relationship still be intact?
If the answer is Yes to all those things, then I will most likely say no. Because when I don’t give of myself to everyone else, there is plenty (Patience, Love, Kindness and Time) left for me to give to those I love.
Some of us meditate with music, some of us meditate with God and devotions, some of us meditate through yoga or exercise. Whatever it is, do it.
I have found that my day starts and ends so much better when I wake up before my kids. This, too, is a work in progress because I Love To Sleep! Especially in the mornings.
But the times I haul my lazy butt out of bed and creep downstairs, grab a hot cup of coffee and my Bible and head out to my porch, I feel a sense of peace—a whole new level of patience for the day and a gratitude I wouldn’t otherwise even have time to absorb. When I start the day out this way, I start out full. And that means I have so much more to give to my family.
So, let’s stop treating our loved ones as human garbage disposals and give them what they deserve. Start taking back your day and taking ownership over what you give and to whom you give it. Save the best for your loved ones because they truly deserve it.
Who is getting your leftovers right now? What are some other ways that would help us change the way we show how important our loved ones are to us?