You know how that makes you feel after awhile, though? Like old, chewed up gum, stuck on the bottom of someone's shoe. You don't see yourself as very important; those smiling, red cheeked, sometimes whiny little people are the ones who are important. But you know what? So are you! And I would like to propose that you can take care of them and take care of you, too!
It might take a little bit of planning, but it could take none at all. My kids got a whole box of brand, spanking new clothes for winter in the mail today. Of course, I didn't order myself anything (I don't think they make Gymboree in my size anyway), but that doesn't mean I have to sit here in my holey yoga pants and feel sorry for myself. I can go to my closet and find something I already have that makes me feel good about myself, go buy myself a little something new, or just put on some make up and fix my hair.
Sometimes, we just need to get moving! Find a yoga video on YouTube, pop in those dusty exercise DVDs, or go for a walk. I guarantee you'll feel better about yourself when you finish, even if you're a little sweaty.
Cut out the negative thoughts about yourself! I'm always telling my kiddos how smart they are, how handsome/beautiful, kind, but my thoughts about myself are far from the same. Remind yourself during the day how valuable you are to your family and friends, what a good parent you are, and how hard you work (outside and inside the home). Find verses from the Bible that talk about how valuable you are to God (John 3:16 and Psalm 139:14 come to mind immediately) and post them around your house, in your car, or on your work desk. Tell the devil to get out and make room for the Holy Spirit to encourage you and strengthen you.
Do something that makes you a little nervous (in a healthy way). Attempt something that sounds challenging, but exciting. I just applied for a job as a part time writing coach because while I don't get to use the academic part of my brain very much (and the thought of exercising that muscle gives me butterflies), doing something like helping parents and students learn to teach writing and write sounds like a perfect fit for me. And if it's not, I'm going to be proud of myself for taking the time to try. Apply for a job you really want to do, but haven't had the confidence to even approach. Get involved in a new group, hobby, or craft. Challenges can be exciting!
It's ok to take some time away by yourself, with friends, or with your other half, too. Call it a plug to share some of my pictures with you, but last weekend, Michael and I took some time for ourselves. The end of December is our 10 year anniversary and we wanted to do something special. We went back and forth about it because we (mostly me) felt guilty about leaving the kids and doing something extravagant. We don't often even go on dates, but after this weekend, I think we should really start!
We love being mom and dad, but it was nice to just be "us" for a couple of days. We missed our 3 babies like crazy, but we also enjoyed being together and doing something fun.
Take care of yourself today, parents. Be kind to yourselves, love who you are, and take care of you while you're taking care of others. I can bet you'll be better people and parents because of it!