Back in November, I wrote a post entitled 3 Rules for Living with (a kid with) Cancer. It was some subtle observations I've made, in an effort to document what we, and probably, others are dealing with during cancer treatment.
Then I started thinking that those 3 Rules apply to any family scenario, whether you are dealing with illness or not. Granted, #2 needs to be tweaked a bit to fit, but you can see how it would work.
This morning, I got an email from a dear lady in my MOPS group. It contained 31 reasons why we shouldn't feel "Mom Guilt." Mom Guilt is a step up from regular guilt. Actually, Mom Guilt is a whole other planet. It is the major leagues. You can stay up all night agonizing over whether your child's PJs have enough flame - retardant chemicals on them, or if the milk you just bought has hormones in it that will make your kids grow a third eye.
(I never said guilt had to make sense!)
As a result of reading about guilt, I started thinking of a way to get around it. So, I came up with Rule #4 to living, whether you have cancer, are a caregiver or just a human.
Have an activity that is yours and yours alone.
The only criteria is that it be something you don't have to share (unless you really want to). Something that reminds you who you really are.
I'm not talking about being selfish with your time - I'm talking about something that, given the right schedule and parameters, makes you a better spouse, parent, person. It shouldn't INTERFERE with Rule #3, it should ENHANCE it.
In fact, I don't see that there is anything wrong with having MORE than one thing. I have two, actually. Ok, 2 1/2.
The 1/2, for me, would be this blog. However, it is still a vocational ministry of sorts. So, while it helps me keep my sanity - it is something I always share.
#1 would certainly be my quiet time with The Lord. There is no better way to find my center than being in His presence.
But #2 is exercise. In fact, this Sunday, I am running in my 2nd (ever) half-marathon. I signed up the week before Sophia was diagnosed and it might seem more than a bit fool-hardy to train while under so much stress.
However, it has changed the way I look at myself. I have also joined a gym and started swimming again. Exercise has become more than just a vehicle to lose weight - it has become something only for me, in the midst of doing so much for others. It is the way I keep whole and healthy. It is stress-relief, of course, but it is my safe place, in the middle of the storm.
Half of the time I meditate, half of the time I don't think about anything. I just am. And I think that pleases The Lord. It is a chance for me to be quiet inside, while my body works out the kinks.
It has made me a much better wife, mother and person all around.
So, I guess since I'm giving advice today - find something that is just for you. Share it if you want, but find something for a couple hours a week that will allow you to just be. Maybe that's a treadmill, maybe it is a book or scrapbook. Maybe it is a long-forgotten hobby.
Maybe you can only work in a few minutes a day or every other day to start. That's ok - work up to it.
Because the most important thing is that you connect with you, so you can more completely and loving connect with others!