By Ty Salvant
One of our commandments, often referred to as the “greatest commandment,” is to love your neighbor as you love yourself. While it is the ultimate act of Christian discipleship, one that we aspire to, there may be one flaw in our efforts.
How well do you love yourself? How do you love yourself?
When we love someone, we make sure his or her needs are met. How well do we ensure our needs are met? As moms, we know our children need sleep, nutrition, physical activity, engagement and spiritual development.
How much sleep are you getting at night? While the exact number varies, 7-8 hours of sleep is the recommendation of the National Health Organization.
As to nutrition, while we know it is essential to consume food that is healthy and nourishes our bodies, how often is that happening? Are we slowing down and intentionally consuming food good for our minds and bodies or are we scarfing down kids’ leftovers, and anything we can grab in a pinch? Are we self-soothing with food? I am an emotional eater. Celebrating? – let’s eat; frustrated – let’s eat; tired – let’s eat, let’s eat, let’s eat, let’s eat!
I went for years without consistent physical activity because I was too tired. I love group exercise, but fitting it in the budget and schedule when my kids were younger was too hard.
A few years ago, I realized that I love walking and listening to audiobooks. As much as I love it, feel great after and saw progress, it was just as easy skip it. When I love myself, I make time to care for my body.
As moms, we are intentional about ensuring our children have opportunities to engage with other kids their age, with similar interests and with whom they click. We want them to have a support system. We want them to feel connected and not isolated, and we want them to create great memories from their childhood.
What about us? After all of the juggling to ensure our children have their social needs met, we are too tired to worry about our own.
With great intention, we teach our children our faith. We teach them to pray before bed and meals, to turn to God with their concerns and to read the Bible. We send them to Vacation Bible School to learn scripture, songs and deepen their faith.
Yet, we struggle to find time to nourish our spiritual life. We are too tired, too busy, too concerned about the well-being of our children’s faith life to strengthen ours.
Would we exhibit the virtues we want them to have if we focused on our interior life?
Recently, a keynote speaker shared that if she came back as an animal, she would want to be her dog because of the easy lifestyle it has. I know many people who care for their pets, kids and spouses better than them self.
What if we loved ourselves as we love others? What would your life be like if you were well-rested, consumed food that was nutritious and made you feel good; engaged in physical activity to keep you healthy, agile and in less pain, while making time to nurture the friendships you wanted to maintain? Would you be a happier person? Would your capacity to love and care for your family increase? Would you be helping to create happy memories for your children?
Sometimes, we think it is impossible to meet our needs and the needs of our families. A few years ago, I had the same struggles, and, after days of reflection over several years, I created a journal to help moms figure out the same thing.
If you are able, join me on a retreat for moms. If you are not, you the journal is available and contains a retreat schedule to use and replicate on your own time. To learn more, visit www.timewithty.com. Regardless of what tool speaks to you, love yourself today and every day. After all, we are teaching our daughters how to be their best self and providing our sons expectations of what their future spouse may need.