You’re literally in the midst of a rain storm, snow storm, tornado, and an earthquake all at once and you just don’t see Him… Like God where you at???
Listen, the past few months have been… CHALLENGING!
I honestly feel like there was a meeting in the heavenly realm, and God offered me up and said “Have you considered my servant, Theresa”. 😭😭😭 I feel like I’ve been going through extreme testing and stretching… Pruning, and positioning. I feel like it’s been one thing after another and I now truly believe… it is all for His glory😭
Well today, I’m pouring out what’s been on my heart. I’m sharing what’s been going on behind the scenes, and how I’ve been learning to trust God and how to remain in a place of victory in the midst of it all as a WHOLE MOM!
So we’re testing out a new-ish format, and today’s blog is in audio format! I consume nearly 75% of my content through audio so I decided to test it out on the blog. Hope you enjoy!
Easy to access! Just click below! Listen while you drive, plug in your EarPods and listen while you do your cleaning, shopping, or just sit and allow the words to shower you with God’s grace. However, and where ever you decide to listen… I know it will bless you!
Over the past several weeks I’ve seen a number of posts circulating on social media stating that showers, getting our nails done, getting our hair done, cleaning and running errands without the kids are not forms of self care for moms. They claim that these activities are “chores” and “basic maintenance/hygiene”, and should not be mistaken for self care.
When I see posts like this… posts that generalize our experience as moms… I typically mind my business. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and quite frankly I’m creating and living my own exciting life, and I love it… so I usually keep it moving.
But in this instance I simply couldn’t move on.
Now, I totally agree with the intent of these posts, which is to address those (society and beyond) who shamefully and dismissively tell moms to “just be grateful for the ‘breaks’ they can get”. Nobody, can tell moms what they should or shouldn’t do, nor should any mom be made to feel guilty for wanting/needing/asking for more time to care for herself.
Even still, I felt like I needed to say something, for a few reasons.
1. All of the activities definitively deemed as NOT being self care for moms… are indeed forms of self care for me (emphasis on the “for me”). Like, every single one… and I am a mom.
2. I love to be empowered. But any narrative that generalizes and dictates what our self care experiences “should be” as moms, and seemingly disapproves of those who partake in forms of self care that are considered to be “basic maintenance”… is a problem for me. Self care is all about doing what is best for you. One size does NOT fit all. So what you call “basic maintenance”, could very well be a moment of rejuvenation for someone else.
3. Furthermore, we must be very careful not to disregard the beauty of starting where we are, and giving ourselves the grace and space to grow and evolve overtime. Self Care evolves as we evolve.
So instead of minding my business, I decided to share my thoughts and take us back to basics, especially for the moms who may have felt pressured by this narrative to reach for some sort of “extravagance” when indeed self care is doing whatever you need to do FOR YOU!
Self care is the act of doing whatever YOU need to do to fill YOUR cup spiritually, mentally, emotionally, physically and relationally.
It has less to do with the activity (ie showers, target runs, organizing your closet, nails, Netflix binges, lunch/trips with friends… etc), and almost everything to do with what that activity does for you (fills your cup, clears your mind, provides the space to breathe, think, be, process and/or check out completely..etc).
As my good friend and Self Care Expert Marquia Tyler LCSW puts it, “Self Care clears the clutter so you can be and see yourself more clearly.” This hit me!
According to Oxford’s Dictionary, “Self” is defined as a person’s essential being that distinguishes them from others, and “Care” is defined as the provision of what is necessary for the health, welfare, ***maintenance***, and protection of someone or something. So to be quite literal,
SELF CARE is the provision of what is necessary for the health, welfare, ***maintenance***, and protection of a person’s essential being that distinguishes them from others!
READ. THAT. AGAIN.
So we really can’t say, definitively, what is or isn’t self care for moms. It’s all about what that mom needs. We must be careful not to minimize or dismiss the experiences of others, simply because that experience no longer serves us.
There is an easy fix to ALL OF THIS, though. An easy way to shift and personalize the narrative, which is something that I’ve been learning to do more often, especially since becoming a mom.
Instead of saying…
“this or that isn’t self care for moms“
“As a mom, this or that isn’t self care for me“
Remember, one size does not fit all. It is deeply personal. So, that shower may not be “it” for you, but for another mom that shower is giving EVERYTHING it was supposed to gave. Not because someone told her “she should be grateful for it“, but rather because it was what she needed.
That was my experience on many occasions.
Earlier this month, I found myself weeks away from my “Selfish Sunday” (my own personal self care day), and in need of a serious break. There was so much going on, and I just needed the space to take a deep breath. At this particular time I was not in the position to go out for a massage, or call friends to meet for lunch, nor was my therapist available. And I surely wasn’t going to just “hold on” until selfish Sunday. No… I seized MY moment right then and there. I knew what I needed and decided to act on it. So I asked my hubby to step in and take care of the morning routine with our daughter before he left for work, and I disappeared for 20 minutes.
What did I do?
I took a steaming hot shower. Yup, a shower. I prayed, cried, ask God for His strength, as worship music blared in the background. And when I stepped out I was ready for my day with my toddler. In that moment I provide the space I needed to pour into my cup spirutaully, mentally and emotionally. That shower, maintenance and all, WAS self care (for me).
The point is, you decide. You do not have to settle, nor do you need to feel any type of way because you enjoy what others call “basic maintenance” or “chores”. There is no shame in wanting/needing/asking for more, nor is there any shame in taking advantage of every opportunity you have to care for yourself.
Let’s celebrate all the moments we take for ourselves, to cater to ourselves, to love on ourselves, to prioritize our needs, to pour into our wellbeing mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, relationally… as whole moms!
Don’t let anyone… not even another mom… limit your experience because of the narrative they choose to embrace. Our lives are unique, and each season of support can look drastically different. The goal is to make sure you check in with yourself, ask for the support you need, and take the time to care for yourself, in whatever form you decide works best for you. “Do whatever you need to do to be and see yourself more clearly”… maintenance and all.
One Size does not fit all.
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There was a season in my life as a mom, when I expected my husband tojust “get it”. I expected him to look at me and our child, access the situation, and find ways to show up and support me. Like we’re both parents, tap into that daddy intuition, and let’s go!
But that’s not what was happening at all.
He would see me, see the situation, but wouldn’t do what I expected him to do. I was completely frustrated. Like why aren’t you HELPING ME! Can’t you see how much is on my plate right now? Can’t you see I need you?
Now don’t get me wrong, my husband is amazing, and he has stepped up in sooo many ways. This man loves being a dad, loves his daughter and would do anything for the both of us. I just knew that what he did didn’t always match up with what I needed in the moment.
So one fine day, while calmly expressing my frustration and how I felt “like he wasn’t supporting me”… do you know what this brother said to me!?!
He said: “I see you with Dream, and I want to come running, but I don’t always know how to help you”.
LAWD!!!! Talk about a wake up call.
So my husband wasn’t ignoring me, or intentionally leaving me to fend for myself. He just wasn’t clear on how exactly I needed to be supported. 🤯 So simple, but I’d missed it, completely!
My disappointment, frustration and resentment had little to do with him and so much to do with me! I don’t like to admit it, but God got me all the way together.
I EXPECTED so much from my husband (in his daddy role) without actually COMMUNICATING specifically what I needed from him! Like idk why I didn’t see it before, but in what world does that even make sense…
Expecting someone to do something and they don’t even know what that *something* is… huh?!
Well, from this one exchange, I was reminded to stop assuming and to always communicate my needs. We both apologized to each other. We both noticed ways where we could have done things better to support each other. We’re both new to this whole parent thing, and we’re both growing and learning… the key is to always do it TOGETHER!
Ever since that moment, I have been working on the best ways to enlist the support I need from my husband. I am still learning and growing, but these following tips have changed the game, for both of us! I hope they help you as well!
5 steps to get the support you need from your husband
1. Check your expectations!
This is where it all started. I was frustrated, overwhelmed, and felt alone because I had expectations that I’d never communicated with my husband. Remember, we can’t expect someone to do something when they aren’t even aware of what that something is.
2. Leave your assumption at the door. Men are NOT mind readers!
As well as our husbands know us… they cannot ready out minds! I had to stop assuming that my husband would see me and just know what to do. I had to stop assuming that his “daddy intuition” made him a mind reader. Men can see our frustrations, they can even see that we need help, but that doesn’t mean they’ll just “get it” and know what do for you in that moment. I remember one time, I was literally struggling to get Dream into her bottoms, and my husband just sat there… I was fuming, but I didn’t say anything until our checkin later that morning. Come to find out, he was sitting close by waiting to see what I needed from him. He didn’t want to say anything, but he wanted me to know he was available. LAWD!!! Learned my lesson… now, when he’s around to help… I tell him EXACTLY what I need.
3. Ask for what you want/need and be specific!
Many men want to step up and show off for us, but they won’t be able to do that if they don’t know how. We have to tell them, and be extremely specific. I use “tell” pretty lightly, because it indeed works best when it is a partnership; but, the point still remains… we must communicate and be specific. Just saying, “Babe I don’t feel like you help/support me”… isn’t enough. You need to be clear about where and how you need to be supported. what exactly does that “support” look like to you? What exactly do you expect from your husband? Does he fully understand, and are those requests/expectations realistic?
4. Be okay with questions (LAWDDDD)
I’m still working on this, but I’m learning to be okay with my husband asking questions about what we’ve discussed. Listen, after deciding what he can do to support me and writing it down on the schedule… the last thing I would expect from him is, “what do you need me to do, again”😭😭😭. I’m learning to give my husband grace, in the same way I would want it for myself. We both have busy schedules, and sometimes we forget. Sometimes we need a reminder. We always need grace. It’s okay to ask questions. (PRAY FOR ME)!
5. Check in regularly!
My husband and I have what I call “D-Day” every week. This is baby-free time for us to discuss, decide & date. We discuss what’s working, what’s not working, and how we can support each other. It’s so important for us to check in regularly, because things change. Schedules change, babies and their needs change… WE CHANGE… so we both have to be flexible. For example, hubby and I had a whole schedule where we would rotate bedtime duties with our little lady. Over the past couple weeks, bedtime has changed drastically and I’m leaning in to my daughter’s needs in this season. With that change, I realized I’d been doing a lot more during bedtime, and would need my husband’s support in other areas. So during our weekly checkin, I was able to express how I was feeling, as well as provide a list of specific things my husband could do to support me, especially during the evenings when he used to be on bedtime duty. And he has been on it ever since!
Bonus tip: Make deposits & Empower your man!
Ask yourself are you supporting your husband? Are you giving him that same level of time, attention and care as you desire for yourself? Are you celebrating him, encourage him and let him know how well he’s doing supporting you and the family? Or do you find yourself only highlighting his mistakes, failures and how he’s disappointing you? Momma… pour into your husband! Build that man up! Stroke every inch of his ego… (no pun intended haha). Momma, I promise you… making deposits and empowering your husband will only do wonders for the future of how he supports you!
I want to be very clear. I’ve had some huge wins in how my husband supports me. And Although these steps are simple, this process takes work❤️❤️❤️. My husband and I have specifically been working on our in house “support strategy” for well over a year, and we still have work to do. We’ve had to address certain things for months before figuring out what worked best for us. We’ve also had to unlearn somethings, while growing. And guess what? With each step on this journey as parents, there will be new challenges to overcome, more things to discuss..possibly more babies to raise (😭). It takes time, and it is indeed a journey. So please approach with love, an open heart and a whole lot of grace. I promise you it will all be worth it!
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I used to think being “blessed” was all about focusing on the good things and good circumstances in my life. That having “good” and “favorable” things happen in my life, was truly the essence of being blessed… Until I became a mom.
I am not sure about you, but when I’m having a serious mommy moment with my little lady, or when I’m faced with checking my own expectations… or when hubby and I have to do the hard work of figuring out how to parent on one accord… that whole “children are a blessing from the Lord” can seem a bit far fetched. (Just me… oh okay)!
Listen, when I’m faced with a poop explosion, or a toddler tantrum that seems to last ALL DAY, or a toddler who is overwhelmed with extreme tiredness and refuses to sleep unless I hold her(and I have other things to do), or when I’m faced with literally NOT one THING working out as planned… I’m not thinking “I’m so blessed”. I’m actually questioning myself, trying to figure out where I went wrong, because clearly this ain’t the life God promised me.
So I’ve been really praying and thinking about it. What does it really mean to live the “blessed life” as a mom? How are we really “blessed” when we all face various tests and challenges as moms?
Then I read Matthew Chapter 5… and verse 6 stood out to me;
6 “Blessed [joyful, nourished by God’s goodness] are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness [those who actively seek right standing with God], for they will be [completely] satisfied. Matthew 5:6 AMP
Well, that’s when it hit me. In that very moment of prayer and divine access to the Father… I felt a tiny little shift in my perspective. (Won’t He do it).
I’m not blessed simply because of what I have or because of what I do/don’t experience. I am blessed because of my position in Him. (Read that again). My position grants me access to HIM! And as I posture myself to seek/trust/obey Him, always, in the midst of EVERY triumph, trial and test, I find EVERYTHING I need. I find JOY, PEACE, REST, LOVE, STRENGTH, FAVOR, GUIDANCE, ABUNDANCE, ASSURANCE… THAT’S the blessed life!
Please don’t miss the message. Yes, I am extremely aware of how “fortunate” life is. I’m am grateful for my life, my family. I am grateful for every resource, tool and gift. I am grateful for the protection, and keeping power of my Father!
I am also grateful that my “blessed” position in Him, isn’t swayed by any of those things, nor the circumstances I am trusted to overcome!
So yes! As a mom, I can live a blessed life… ALL DAY EVERYDAY.
I am blessed because God is with me and Jesus lives within me
I am blessed because God is covering me, He is my strong tower
I am blessed because God is directing me, all I have to do is seek and I will find Him, always
I am blessed because God’s grace and mercy follow me, EVERY SINGLE MOMENT OF EVERY DAY
I am blessed when life is going “great”, as well as when I’m in the midst of the tears, challenges, and difficult circumstances. I have access to Him!
We have access to Him.
We have access to everything we need because of our position in Him! And all things are working together for our good… all of it is a part of the blessed life.
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It was a Thursday evening, back in fall 2020. I’d just ended a Live Training for Mommy Stylists, while my husband took over all the evening/ night time duties with our 16 month old.
While putting away my tripod, laptop and equipment… my husband came downstairs hyped because he’d successfully put our little lady to sleep with minimal effort.
Y’all… the brother was READY to hang out.
But I was tired, and all I wanted to do was wind down and sleep.
You see this particular “Thursday” was “our day”. Before Dream was born, Thursday was our date day, and once Dream popped up on the scene, we decided it would become family day (unless we had someone to watch her, then of course we could date like old times).
But slowly and ever so surely… Thursday turned into my “work day”. 😬
It started off pretty innocently.
A quick call early in the morning before our day together started. Then a “quick” client from 7-10. But over time those “quick” work things started to become my norm, and I was working well into the time that was supposed to be just for us.I kinda noticed but hubby really noticed and was feeling some type of way.
I can’t recall exactly what happened on this day, but I do distinctly remember him saying…
“Why do I get your leftovers?”
“You’re always so live and bubbly on Instagram and with your mom group, but how come I don’t get that same energy?”
Can you say “OUCH” 😭😭😭😭😭
Yall… I was hurt, angry and a bit overwhelmed by this truth dart. I tried to say “Babe, that’s because that’s just business, and I have an image to maintain”… but God wasn’t finna let me get away with that excuse!
My husband was 1,000% right…. and I knew it!
You see sometimes you don’t need to step away and pray for God to show you what you need to do… sometimes He allows you to see it right then and there and you have to decide what you’re gonna do.
So I turned to him and said “I’m so sorry”.
I’d been giving my all to so many things that season… my little lady (obvi), my clients, my image… all of it… but my husband… the love of my life… my boo bear… was getting my leftovers! And he felt it.
Although I don’t like that I allowed that to happen… I’m so grateful that:
1. He felt comfortable telling me how he felt, and was not afraid to question me and my motives (we need that sometimes)
2. That I was able to receive it and that God was able to work on my heart in the moment
Since then… I’ve made several changes…
1. I’ve intentionally put my marriage in it’s proper place. My marriage is strong, and it’s even stronger now with the challenges we overcome. I realized that my marriage is to be honored above all else, yes… above my career, serving in church…etc. If my house isn’ t in order (i.e. my marriage), then what am I really doing. Furthermore, if my hubby tried to give me his leftovers…. LAWD! No Bueno!
2. I honor the day we set aside for ourselves. I no longer work in any capacity on “our day”. If God called me to do it, then I trust that He will help me to align my life in such a way where I am able to show up in purpose, and honor my commitment to my husband and our spending time together. I’ve had to get really intentional about how I structure my week… oh and my “no” game is stronger than ever!
3. I schedule “our day” on the calendar.To show how much of a priority our time is together, I put pen to paper and schedule our time together every single week. And now that has transformed into what we call “D-Day” where we sit, discuss what’s working and how we can improve, make decisions for our lives and our family together… and we DATE!!!!
Now please don’t miss the message. There will be times when you need “a moment”. There are times when I truly don’t have “it” to give, and my hubby knows and respects that. He’s also been even more intentional about finding ways to support me when I have “one of those days”. However, if you’re constantly giving all of yourself to everyone else… your family, friends, clients… and your husband is lucky to get an ounce of time/love/affection… then I encourage you to check yourself.
That should not be the norm, momma.
Check your priorities. Are things in their proper place? Ask God to show you your blind spots. Ask God not only to open your eyes to see, but to open your heart to receive direction and correction. As wives we have to put pride aside… along with all the narratives that would tell us we’re always right and our husbands should bend to our will… and courageously do the work to make things right. Let’s stop giving our husbands our leftovers.
Your husband and your marriage are worthy of your first fruits!