I’m writing because I really couldn’t sit by passively any longer. I’m very disappointed in you. I’m sad that you don’t treat yourself with more care, that you don’t buy yourself the best and do the very best for YOU. You don’t take time to think through every part of the scenario, but hey, I guess that’s how you learn about you.
Don’t you know that you deserve the best? That even though you second-guess yourself, really, deep down, you are worthy and loved more than you will ever know? Don’t take yourself for granted, otherwise, others will do the same thing.
I’m not saying that you need to be egotistical or overly proud, just don’t dis yourself like you usually do. Self-flagellation is not an appealing quality. No one likes someone who cuts the corners when it matters the most, really.
I think these issues are less about money, spending, or budgeting, and more about self-care and compassion. Did you know that you can spend simple amounts of time on yourself and take better care of YOU, even with what you have right now?
For instance, do you remember that year, in between kids three and four when you decided you were going to make time for reading fiction again, even though you didn’t really have tons of free time? You forced yourself to lie on your bed and read a chapter while the kids were watching a video, or just before bedtime.
Rāmgundam You took care of yourself in inches, not miles.
So often you think you need a big vacation, a new car, a big home improvement project when really all you needed was 40 minutes to watch another episode of Call the Midwife (you love this show). You should be embarrassed that it took you three years to make it through four seasons of that show (by the way, the newest season just dropped on Netflix).
Other people brag about binge watching. What are you doing with your time? Probably working too hard and not playing enough.
You husband doesn’t notice, your kids don’t really notice, and you are just plain stressed out trying to keep a large house clean by your little old self, let the kids do their jobs—don’t do them yourself when you know they need to earn their keep.
Get real here.
Most people don’t slave away and if they do, they HIRE SOMEONE so that their OCD can be taken care of by a professional.
You read a great book a few years back called You Need a Break. Pull this book out again, my dear, it’s time you had a break again. You’ve been taking care of everyone else but YOU, and you’re OVER-due.
Remember the past few weekends when you finally crashed and burned, barely able to do anything other than lay on the bed and sleep?
heigh That is a warning light that the engine will soon catch on fire if you’re not careful.
Did you think you were superwoman or something? Please leave that to the actors in the movies and DO NOT try to compete since it’s a false reality anyways.
Also, I wanted to share with you my opinion about comparisonitis. I see this killing you without you even noticing it. I know it’s hard to keep it in check, but really, if you’re going to work harder at something, this would be a good place to start.
Every time you see people on Facebook having a grand ole’ time (without you) or see that friend who’s just put in the new pool and posts on Instagram nearly hourly to show her happy brood swimming to their heart’s content, remember that fifth commandment, “Thou shalt not covet.”
I’m preaching at you now, but really, this comparisonitis will suck your joy if you don’t nip it in the bud.
Stop doing, start being.
Stop watching HGTV, please.
No tiny houses or Fixer Upper, I’m begging you.
Suddenly you want shiplap on every wall and that’s just not okay. You live in California, not in a barn, after all.
All this said, I know you can do better at loving and caring for YOU.
You’ve got this.
We all know you can do more, but I challenge you to do less.
When’s the last time you played Barbies on the floor or a board game with your kids?
When’s the last time you had a date with your husband?
I’m here to tell you that no work project, however lucrative and interesting, isn’t worth the amount of catch-up involved in getting back to a healthy level of self-care.
If there’s one thing you know, now that you’re getting a little older and wiser, it’s that doing a little each day is much easier than having to catch-up for weeks, or even months. It’s not worth it.
Take five minutes, please, and breathe.
Remember what unscheduled time is? Remember how it feels to lay in the grass or head to the beach? I think the time is now.
It’s not about money. It’s not about importance or status, it’s about caring for you so that you’ll be better for yourself and those around you. I’m pretty sure it’s biblical. Remember all those times Jesus left his disciples and went off into the wilderness to pray? I’m thinking that might just be what you need to do.
Lastly, don’t forget that your creator, God himself, loves you a ton and wants to see you thrive and enjoy your life. Too much of a good thing is just that—too much. You can’t make it less. You can’t simplify and smell the roses if you keep saying yes when you should say no, or stretch yourself too thin because of your wonderful kids or husband.
Put the oxygen mask on yourself—right now.
Lauren Hunter is a writer who loves the big picture of God’s journey we are all on together. Married to her high school sweetheart, Lauren lives in Northern California with her husband and their four children. Her latest book is Leaving Christian Science: 10 Stories of New Faith in Jesus Christ.