My husband and I waited five years to have our children, and then the first two followed in rapid succession. Our oldest son was a mere 9 months old when I became pregnant (surprise!) with my daughter. Pre-kids, my husband and I both worked full-time, and busy though we were, we made time to work out together after work nearly every day. It was a wonderful way to be together, share a common interest, and work through the stresses of the day before having conversations of any importance.
And then we moved from a rental into our first home. I had our first son. I left my job to stay home with him. My husband changed jobs, getting a better income but working nights, which meant that while he slept during the day, I had to keep our newborn quiet and content, take care of the house, and squeeze in time for my own new job, freelance writing. My husband and I now worked out before he left to work in the evening, while my son took a nap. I even have pictures of him sleeping a safe distance from the treadmill and weight bench, as we did some of our quietest workouts ever (no clanging weights, please!).
Then my daughter came along, and I had a toddler and a newborn, along with sleep deprivation, no time to myself, etc.—you can see where I’m headed. The workouts stopped, as well as many other things that fulfilled and energized me. Reading my Bible or any other book, for that matter, went by the wayside almost without notice. Prayer times turned into nap times. I poured myself into being the best mom that I could, but I rarely took time for a refill. However, I didn’t stop to consider that fact, as it seemed all my energy was required to simply keep going each day, and every other new mom I knew was right there with me.
Fast forward to a couple of years ago, when I turned 40. Our family was complete with three children, our two oldest nearly teenagers, and I found that I had a bit of time for myself again. I was reading, and not just child-rearing books, but novels and magazines, my Bible and devotionals. I was cooking and crafting, writing and gardening. But I looked in the mirror and found that I was feeling and seeing the 10-year lack of regular exercise with my flagging energy and sagging triceps. I’d never quite gotten my body back to its old self after my third pregnancy, and I knew it was time to do something about it—not just for myself, but for my family. I knew I’d be a better wife and mom if I felt better about myself, inside and out.
In what season of life are you? Are you able to make time to take care of yourself—body, soul, and spirit?
I’d love to hear how you do it. Please comment.