Thursday, May 16, 2013

Taking care of me... part of the Natural Living Blog Carnival

Welcome to the May 2013 Natural Living Blog Carnival: Taking Time for Mom. This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Natural Living Blog Carnival hosted by Happy Mothering and The Pistachio Project through the Green Moms Network. Oftentimes, Moms are so busy taking care of their families that they forget to take care of themselves. This month our carnival participants have written posts about what they do just for themselves.
 
Photo by Peter Griffin

Empowered by a hot bath, a journal, and a vase of fresh flowers

My days as a mom with young kids are long gone. While many of you struggle to fit in some 'me' time, I thought I'd share some things I did to help me stay connected to myself during those challenging years of raising children.

Ever since I was a child, nothing soothed me better than a hot bath. As I grew up, whenever my mind, body or spirit was hurting, I took refuge in a tub of hot water. Back when the girls were young, my late husband would come home, take one look at the frazzled expression on my face and say, "Why don't you go take a bath. I'll take over." Rarely would I argue with him. And with his servant's heart, he would not only take care of the kids, but he'd deliver a freshly brewed cup of hot tea to me as I soaked. Ahhh.

Perhaps running full tubs of water is not the greenest option, particularly for those of you who live in areas where drought is an issue. However, living in an area with three rivers, we are not in danger of a water shortage here in Pittsburgh. For me, this is an inexpensive 'me' luxury.

The other thing I did, which cost next to nothing, during my child raising years, was write in journals. Journaling kept me connected to me. This was back in the days before there was a computer in every home and there was no such thing as social media. In order for me to be social, I had to pack up the kids to go somewhere, or spend lots of money on phone bills (which I did). There were no cell phones with unlimited plans. If I called someone, it cost me. I didn't have any family here in Pittsburgh and even my best friends' were all toll calls. Anyway, journaling was something I could do for me. It had nothing to do with anyone else.

Arranging flowers was something I did to connect to my creative side. I loved having fresh flowers in the house, even if they were just wildflowers or blooms from my yard. We had ten lilac bushes and in early May, the house was filled with them. I'd vase them and put them in every room. Bringing outdoor beauty indoors was something I learned from my own mother, who had a knack for natural decorating that I inherited somewhere along the way.

She also enjoyed rearranging furniture, and I found that to be a way to relieve tension, refresh a tired room, and tinker with the designer in me with zero cost to my husband (who was the only one bringing home a paycheck).

These were the things I did for me. I always found time for me, because I knew it was a necessity for the emotional health of my family. Looking back, I have no regrets about too much time spent soaking in the tub or writing in my journal. And the kids joined in when it came time to arrange flowers or rearrange furniture. They just didn't know they were taking part in 'mommy time.'

What about you? Have you carved out that special niche or two that says, "Hey, I'm important, too"?



Visit Happy Mothering and The Pistachio Project to learn more about participating in next month’s Natural Living Blog Carnival! Please take some time to enjoy the posts our other carnival participants have contributed:

 
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20 comments:

  1. I love baths also, but it is an expensive and wasteful option for just 20 minutes of soaking. I try to limit my baths and take one when I really really need one.

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    1. It's not expensive where I live, and I tend to soak for a lot longer than 20 minutes. Many say that showers are more wasteful. I guess some of it depends on where you live.

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  2. I have been really enjoying epsom salt baths lately after working in the garden (my only form of exercise these days!), it's supposed to draw out toxins from your body and my skin feels so silky smooth afterwards as well! I also rearrange our furniture a lot. I don't like "stagnant" furniture arrangements and it's sure easier than moving house! ;o)
    Thanks for posting!
    ~ joey ~

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    Replies
    1. You're welcome, Joey! I've been using epsom salts a lot, too, as it helps with my fibromyalgia. I also use baking soda or apple cider vinegar. All 3 choices soften skin.

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  3. I use baths as a way to relax too. Even though they aren't exactly eco-friendly, it's important to balance being green with staying sane! But my eco-guilt did start to get to me a bit, so now I only use bath herbs and I reuse the bath water to water my plants! I just keep a small bucket in the bathroom and scoop out some of the water before draining the rest.

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  4. As I shared on the Green Grandma FB page, I make sure that I have time through the day to follow little trails that break off from conversations... Often they lead me to familiar scriptures of the Bible. I love taking the time to read through passages that I've known for years and just soak in the meaning of it, in a fresh, new way.

    It's not anything super-spiritual, since it usually stems from my procrastination of other things, but I've noticed a huge difference in my attitude since I've let myself do this. I think my "reward" for hungering for His Word is more joy in living.

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  5. Thanks for sharing your experiences! I love taking baths too! I try to take at least 1 each week. Journaling is a good idea. Although I blog, I don't put everything out there.

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    1. I no longer take the time to journal... maybe someday.

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  6. Great suggestions! I love having fresh flowers in the house and would love to do it more, that is something I am going to have to try and make happen. I think I really should try journaling again since it can be a beneficial stress release.

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    1. Simple dandelion bouquets will even brighten up your desk or kitchen table.

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  7. Bath + lavender essential oil = ultimate relaxation!

    This is also my favorite was to unwind :-)

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    Replies
    1. I'm at a hotel and about to climb into a tub right now.

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  8. I love the sweet simplicity of this post! After reading it, I realized it's the 3rd time in 2 days I've been told that a BATH can cure a whole host of ills - first was Chrystal's post on Happy Mothering about magnesium bath salts, then my friend (mother of three boys - including twins) who uses baths as a daily ritual. I need to look into carving out the time for baths - used to take them all the time when I was single. There's just something about them - different from a shower - that's so healing. I bet one before bed would help me sleep better! However "expensive" they are (pennies, probably), a good, restorative ritual, relaxation and the ability to sleep to me seems worth their weight in gold.

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    1. Thank you, Amanda. And I agree completely.

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  9. Baths are so relaxing! I also love having fresh flowers around!

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    1. I'm about to climb into a warm bath right now. I'm at the Marriott and there are no fresh flowers in the room, but it sure is relaxing being in a room free of clutter!

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  10. I love baths. I've found that while I don't really like exercising, it is a good me time.

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    Replies
    1. When it comes down to it, exercising is not only caring for yourself, but it's caring about your family, too. A healthier you benefits everyone.

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  11. Sounds like your late husband was a sweetheart!
    Once, after I had already stopped working in a lab, my husband let me go and took care of the children for a whole week. I went off and pulled an 80-hour week in someone else's lab. (Geeky? you bet!)
    Now, my blog is where I find my "me" time. It engages both sides of my brain. I'm not sure how much of an impact that green blog really has, but I feel I have to do it.

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    Replies
    1. He was.

      Good for you for mapping out "me" time. And for having a husband who supports that need!

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