I know I've been absent for awhile, and Ill get an update on all the happenings in foster care land here soon. But today I want to talk to you about the importance of self-care. I recently got back from my annual retreat with BeTA (Beyond Trauma and Attachment- www.momsfindhealing.com). This was my third year traveling to Orlando and spending a long weekend with 100+ other adoptive/foster mamas who live in the trenches with me and "get" it. It is always such a rejuvenating experience, we laugh and learn and just get a chance to be ourselves without the demand of motherhood.
This year I ran the annual 5k, participated in a Boudoir photo shoot, had two massages and enjoyed myself at our block party (including our own ice cream cart and bartender!). I had the opportunity to connect with new moms and laugh with old friends. I taught two classes; special education and adverse childhood experiences. Each year my focus has been a little different. In the past I have taken every class and soaked in knowledge from other moms, this year I just wanted to enjoy myself and focus on me.
At last years BeTA retreat I had the wonderful privilege of being in a house with a wonderful vibrant mom, throughout the weekend all I heard was SELF-CARE, SELF-CARE, SELF-CARE. I walked away thinking to myself that it all sounded great, but when was I a single mom with three young boys supposed to find time for me?? I had spent the last few years focusing on therapists, medications, safety plans, school options.....it just didn't seem feasible.
I came home and decided to start off slow, allowing myself that Starbucks coffee a few times a week and not feeling guilty about spending the money. Over the next year I slowly but surely was finding ways to ...enjoy myself, outside of the MOM role I felt stuck in. This fall I started dating again and allowing myself to hire a babysitter and go out regardless of the fall back from the kids. I began to realize that taking care of me was making our home a happier and more peaceful place, as they say ain't nobody happy if mamma ain't happy!
At the beginning of this year, I quit one of my jobs, dropped out of grad school and began to focus completely on me. I've been eating right and working out, I have NOT allowed myself to feel guilty about this. I've lost 30 pounds in the last three months. I've begun running and even signed up for TWO half marathons this fall, I couldn't run for more than 1 minute at the beginning of this year and now I'm working towards 13.1 miles!!! CRAY-CRAY :)
I've spent the past 5 years focusing on my children and I deserve a chance to rediscover who I am and what I am all about without worrying about others opinions. I will tell you that the change in my children (or maybe its just a change in my reaction to them, lol) has been amazing. We still have our issues, but nothing they do will steal my joy. I honestly believe that people treat you the way you treat yourself. Allowing my children to see me taking care of me has brought more peace and respect in my home. Focusing on the moments we have together now and not the fear of what may happen in the future has become so much easier when I have something of my own to look forward to. I can only do so much, at some point our kids have to do their own work and get their stuff together, I cant do it for them only guide them. While they are figuring their stuff out, I'm going for a run and enjoying my coffee :)
Here I am at BeTA retreat 2013 compared to this year's 2015 retreat! (I am mortified at this before picture, lol! BUT I want you to see that it is possible, you can do this for you!)
Feeling good about yourself, feeling healthy and happy is JUST as important as your kids next therapy appointment or change in medication. My tribe at BeTA has taught me so many things over the last three years, but most importantly they have loved me for me, faults and all. They have encouraged me to find my voice and be kind to myself. If you haven't yet found your tribe, check us out. We have facebook pages and support groups, we can connect you to people in your area who understand, and we will walk beside you on this journey.
Upon return several of the ladies have made their own personal goals, I am so excited to see so many women making a plan, figuring out exactly what and how they can do something for themselves. What about you? What are you going to do for you today?