If mama ain’t happy, aint nobody happy

Fill my cup, Lord! I lift it up, Lord! Come and quench this thirsting of my soul. Bread of heaven, feed me until I want no more. Fill my cup, fill it up and make me WHOLE

I love this hym, I have been meditating on it the last few weeks. It exposes my emptiness, and brokenness, my need for God and truly ministers to my soul.

In the midst of the busyness of life, as mums we have a tendency to put ourselves last. We let the to do lists, needs of our kids, husbands, and friends overshadow our own needs. I’m so guilty of this myself, I’m always on the move making sure everything is in order and that everyone is happy that I forget to give myself some down time.

Lack of self-care can affect us mentally, physically and spiritually. You can only do it for so long before your body starts giving up on you. My body had been giving me warning signs for months to slow down but I ignored them. I felt tired, weak, forgetting words and struggling to focus but I kept going. Then one morning, I woke up feeling run down. It felt like my body was shutting down. So I decided to go and see the doctor. Would you guess the diagnosis? Empty cup!

I didn’t realise the impact of not taking time to refill my cup. After explaining to the doctor how I was feeling, she looked at me and said you are exhausted, worn out and possibly depressed. She still ordered me to have a bunch of tests done, and everything came back normal.

When our cup is full, we are more loving, caring, full of life and positive. When we take the time to refill our cup, we always have something to give and we never run dry. However, when it is empty, we become unhappy, unmotivated, depressed, and we feel run down. When we neglect ourselves, we lose that sense of who we are and our zeal for life. I have experienced this, it sucks the life and joy out of you. But the good news is that, the empty cup is refillable.

I have had to do a lot of learning and unlearning. I’m learning the importance of self-care in the busyness and struggle of motherhood because If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.  That I need to regularly take time out to recharge and unwind and not feel guilty about it. I’m learning that taking time for self-care isn’t selfish, but essential to my overall wellness. I can’t pour from an empty cup, so I need to fill up my cup to overflowing in order to water those around me. The guilt is still there, but I’m choosing to feel the guilt and do it anyway. I’m learning to make little time daily, to fill up my cup.

I’m also learning that the only person who can meet my needs and make sure that I’m content, fulfilled, and nourished is ME. I am responsible for my own JOY and growth. No-one is ever going to do or be that for me. It’s my responsibility to do what feeds my soul.

Here are some ways I have been using to fill my cup:

  1. Exercise. Even though I haven’t been consistency in my running, I absolutely love it. Running is the best self-care for me. It makes me feel free, and alive! And sometimes, as I start running I actually think to myself ‘I’m free at last’, and my speed just sky rockets. And when I come back, I’m a much better mum and wife and more available, present and attentive to my family. Find one form of exercise that you enjoy and do it.
  2. Cooking. I love to cook. It is very therapeutical for me, and I also practice mindfulness while I’m at it. I pay attention to everything I do, chopping up the vegetables, stirring the pot or even washing dishes.
  3. Bible study and prayer. God’s well of strength, love, joy, peace, patience, never runs dry. He’s ready and willing to fill up our cups if we humbly ask him. Take your emptiness to him and he will fill you up. Spend more time with him in prayer and his Word.
  4. Pampering. What woman doesn’t love to be pampered? Just having someone take care of you in that way is the best feeling. And even better if it’s your husband giving you the massage, or painting your nails, there’s a big chance that it will turn into something glorious.
  5. Talk to a trusted friend. I have recently learnt that I’m emotionally closed off which means I struggle with sharing how I feel that I just bottle everything up. I’m learning to talk more, be open about my feelings and let people in.
  6. Reading. I love reading. It’s such a beautiful way to relax and get lost in the story.
  7. Playfulness. I have been learning to bring my inner child outer! To just let lose and tap into your childhood. It’s actually quite fun.
  8. Gardening. I love my garden, it gives me life and brings me so much joy. It’s amazing to see everything grow.

Other things I would like to add to this list in the future are regular night outs with friends, date nights with hubby and nights away alone. I can feel the guilt and anxiety creeping in already.

What do you need to do to fill your cup? Whatever it is, make it a priority and do it. Spend more time with yourself and tune into YOU.

Often, we keep ourselves busy and distracted because we fear that if we slow down and are still, we may look inside and find nothing there (Leighton Ford)