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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If you’re a mom then you know creating time and space for yourself isn’t always the easiest. With all th things we have to manage throughout the day, more often than not we put ourselves last. One thing I’ve learned in my motherhood journey is that I am at my best, when I make the time for myself, and do the things that I love to do just for me! Even if it’s just for a few moments, I am so much more present, grounded and just ready to face what comes my way when my cup is filled!
So, if you’ve been struggling to find the time for yourself, check out my list of the 7 things I do every week just for me, that keep me at my best!
Every week I workout. The benefits of working out, especially as a mom are unmatched! From a 3 mile walk, to a 20 minute HIT workout… I’ve committed to myself (and my accountability partner) that I will workout a minimum of 3 times a week, and its been everything I’ve needed. There have even been days when things just felt off, and I set up shop for a quick 15 min HIT and it got me all the way together. My workouts are strategic and concise, and most often take place while Dream is right there, and it still counts as time just for me! I will always find time to maintain my snatch!
Every week I’ve committed to reading a few pages a day. My 2021 goal is to read 1 book every month, and I’m already 7 books in and we’re just getting to May. Now this may be misleading because sitting down with a physical book doesn’t work for me, In this season of mommyhood. The secret? I listen to my books and I’ve become well acquainted with Audible and Libby. Yaaassss! And let me spill this tea real quick… these earbuds have changed the game, and only cost $20! Seriously, I love that I can turn on my app, put in my wireless earbuds, and listen discreetly while Dream is playing or while we’re on our walks and drives! If you haven’t switched to audio books, I Highly recommend that you consider!
3. Show up and Slay
If you follow me on social media you know I love to slay! I absolutely love to get dressed, I love makeup, and I love to look as good as I feel! So at least once EVERY week, I plan a whole look… sometimes I do it daily, depending on our schedule. I get dressed up, beat my face (sometime full glam), and I live my best snatched mommy life in the playroom with Dream. lol. Most times I have nowhere to go, and I do it just for me, because it makes me feel amazing! I no longer wait for an invite, or for the perfect moment to show up and slay. I create those moments for myself, and it’s been crazy fun. Even on the days when I don’t feel my best, getting dressed is such mood and confidence boost! So weekly, this momma is going to show up and OWN it.
I love to create content. So every week, I take the ideas I’ve gathered and batch create my content. Video is my jam, I even created a whole Video Bootcamp to help women show up and slay using the power of video to build their own platforms! It’s been amazing. And for me, creating gives me so much life! It’s an outlet, but it also fuels me. From creating videos for IG, blogging, creating courses and ebooks, and even just sharing my mommy journey….whether for 30 mins or 3 hours… I get so excited when I make the time and space to just sit and flex my creative muscle.
5. Uninterrupted Showers
Yes, I do shower everyday. I also know some have said “this is basic maintenance”, but for me… enjoying an uninterrupted shower and just getting lost in thought is soooo good for my mental! Most times my showers are super quick and efficient because I have Dream. But when hubby is here to take over, I’ve committed to enjoying a longer than usual shower at least once a week. For some this may look like a bubble bath. But seriously, I cry, I pray, I get ideas, and sometimes I just sit in stillness with worship on in the background. And every time I get to enjoy a shower like this, it gives me the boost I need to continue to thrive as a whole mom!
I’ve never been one to sleep when baby sleeps because I usually have other things to tend to during those precious moments of freedom, lol… but thanks to my mommy schedule and the flow it has created for my life, I’ve been able to created space and time for myself to rest. I’ve committed to sit and pause once a week when Dream naps. I’m not always sleeping, but I told myself that I will sit in stillness, and rest for those 60-90 minutes while Dream sleeps. Ooooh, but when I do drift off into slumberland, it’s always blessed and anointed! lol!
7. Wine down
When hubby is on bedtime duty, momma is enjoy a glass of wine and relaxation. No work, no laundry… just a moment to breathe and release the day. Some days “relaxation” is sitting on my comfy living room couch, staring out the window. Other days I’m on my deck letting the breeze grace my face. And some evenings I’m curled up in the basement watching my fave episodes of Frasier. No matter what, it’s always just what I need when I need it!
Love what you’re reading? Don’t want to miss any other posts or videos? Well, be sure to COMMENT, SHARE and SUBSCRIBE! And be sure to connect with me on Instagram@Reese__Dennis♥️♥️
I recently shared a post reflecting on how things have totally changed over the past 365 days (read that here). I went from being a solo-preneur standing smack dab in the middle of purpose… to birthing a mini boss, and instantly becoming a mommypreneur. LAWD! Talk about TRANSITION. So, Today I’m taking it a bit further and sharing 3 ways I’ve been able to find harmony in my life! Whether you’re a mom of 1 or a mom of 5… a new mom or have been a mom for some time… this post is just for you! Especially if you are navigating that space of building an empire! Read with an open heart and Be encouraged!
1. First things first.
I’m not sure how you prioritize your life, but this year I’ve been extremely intentional about mine:
2. Family/home (Dream and Keem)
With my priorities in check, I’m able to better manage how I make business decisions. If a business decisions or commitment doesn’t align with what God has spoken over my life, or pulls me away from my family… it makes it easy to say “not this time”. I think may of us as moms don’t have our priorities straight. We say, “Family first”, but our decisions say the EXACT opposite. The first step to finding and maintaining harmony in your life as a mom on a mission is to keep your commitments in alignment with your priorities and values! Ask:
-What’s most important to you?
-How can you better prioritize your life, keeping first things first?
“Harmony is achieved only after you’ve identified what’s most important and prioritize accordingly”.
2. Pray & plan ahead. Pivot as needed!
There are certain things that I know I want to complete weekly and if I don’t plan for them, like literally write them down in my planner AND on the calendar, I know I will miss it.
Whether it’s setting aside time to write an article, recording a new video series, hit the grocery store, pump (yes I’m still nursing), coordinate visits/play dates, update my website, do the laundry, correspond/meet with clients, ETC… it takes some SERIOUS and Intentional planning. And how I plan lines up with what I’ve prioritized! Yes, there are days when I just go with the flow, because that’s the only way to survive the day (😩😭😂), but I have a general plan for my week, in writing, to keep me on target!
I’m all about FLOW! And no, this isn’t a perfect situation. There have been times where I’ve planned things out to a T, and Dream just wasn’t on board. Take this post for example. I planned and set aside time to write, during Dream’s nap time. However, my teething 8-month old needed her mommy (poor thing)! And so here I am, typing while nursing! Anyone with kids will tell you, no two days are alike. So pray, plan and pivot as needed!
What are your weekly non-negotiables?
How can you plan ahead to account for those moments when your baby/babies aren’t in agreement?
“Planning ahead and taking action is a success strategy. Prayer and staying connected to THE Source is key”!
3. Check in, OFTEN!
Whether it’s communicating with your spouse, or checking in with yourself and reflecting on what is working… check in often! Celebrate your wins (no matter how small), and adjust as needed. For me I seriously had MORE time to work in my business when Dream was a little younger. I could put her in her bouncers/swing for self play and use those moments to get things done. But now… NOW that this little yummy nugget is mobile, and I barely have the time to even respond to an email. Why? Because I have to keep my eyes on her at ALL times 😭😭😭. With that, I had to do three things:
1. Check in with myself to determine what I needed to flourish in this season. I had to reassess my commitments how I plan to keep them.
2. Adjust my daily “routine” while I’m home alone with Dream to be in alignment with my current reality. She is sleeping much less during the day, so my availability and “free time” is no longer the same. I have to adjust accordingly.
3. Communicate with my hubby to figure out our schedules, to see how I could add in some productive/work time while he’s home. I also had to cut bak in other areas
Once I made the shift, harmony was not that far behind. I went from being overwhelmed and frustrated, feeling like I couldn’t get ANYTHING done… to discovering creative ways to pursue purpose! God is bomb like that. As you acknowledge HIM… He directs you’re every move! His is the MASTER CREATOR, and there is no part of your life that He can’t remedy!
-How have things changed for you over the past few months?
-How can you adjust to reignite the harmony in your life?
As things change around you, YOU MUST ADJUST. Check in often, acknowledge the change, seek God for wisdom and PIVOT!
Bonus: GET DRESSED!
I shower and get dressed every day. I have things in my wardrobe that are easy to throw on but are well coordinated to make me feel like somebody! Okay! I cannot stress the importance of showing up for yourself in this way. For me it’s an instant mood boost. Walking around in my robe all day vs. walking around in a jogger set or a cute pullover and some leggings. It makes a difference. Especially when I’m able to sit and work. I’m in a mental space to produce when I’m dressed.
-How can you show up for yourself with what you wear?
-What wardrobe adjustments can you make today?
“What you wear and how you show up for work is important… especially when you work for yourself”
Two weeks ago, I had a massage scheduled all in the name of “self care”. I’m a mom and I always look for opportunities to “TREAT YOSELF” lol (in my Tom and Donna voice for my Parks and Rec fans). Well, the night before I decided to cancel for two reasons. 1, it was on family day and sometimes I just like to chill with my hubby and the baby without having anywhere else to be. And 2, I just didn’t feel like having to pump and hustle about in order to be away from Dream. But I still wanted to enjoy that time I had set aside for myself, so here is what I did instead:
1. I made myself breakfast and enjoyed it IN SILENCE.
I’ve come to enjoy and look forward to a bowl of homemade oatmeal and a cup of my special coffee every morning, but I don’t often get to enjoy it without constantly side-eyeing Dream to make sure she is happy and safe. So this was a special moment. Keem and Dream were still sleeping so I had this little pocket of time just for me! Yaaasss! I left my phone in my bedroom, and made my way to the kitchen. No baby to keep an eye on, no husband to help out the door… just me, my breakfast and my thoughts/prayers! It was great!
2. I did a full yoga session,UNINTERRUPTED.
Yoga has been so good for this mom body. The stretches, both pre/postnatal, have helped me tremendously. And as much as I love working out, as a new mommy I rarely get to workout without Dream being RIGHT THERE. So this was a true delight. A bonus moment. A baby free, breath focused, energizing yoga session to get my day started! Another win!
3. I folded the laundry, while listening to one of my fave Les Brown talks, INTENTLY.
For some laundry is a task… but I actually enjoy doing/folding laundry. I know I’m special 😅. Listen, being in my own space (bringing order to that space), with no one else but myself to worry about in that moment, is EVERYTHING. Me and my jolly self, sat in the middle of the floor folding my little life away! I was so content!
One of my closest friends sent this to me after our check-in that morning, and it is totally worth sharing:
“It’s important to recognize the other ways we self-care! There is something to having a listing of things that invoke the same feelings of a massage but touch a different part of ‘self'”
So powerful! Yes a massage and a pedicure are amazing… but doing those things that evoke feelings of accomplishment, restfulness, and peace of mind are also vital ways to empower and care for “self”!
So I just want to encourage you. As you make the time for “self-care”, know that this isn’t a “one size fits all” kind of situation. I think along the way we’ve lost the focus… self care is literally caring for self…mind, body and spirit! And that doesn’t always HAVE to show up in the form of a trip to the salon. It can show up in the form of a nap, a workout or simply basking in the presence of our Good Good Father (AMEN, somebody)!!
So find what works for you and do just that. Look at the feelings and state of mind you wish to elicit, and embrace the practices that will keep you in that space.
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