Value worth holding onto

Friends walking through the street heading back from the market, hearts light, mood jovial, not a care in the world! Sipping on hot tea and espresso, talking about things with a perspective and goal of just heading back to the little cottage to change and head out to the hot springs.

Earlier sitting in the room deep in conversation on how moms don’t understand just how valuable they are and what events lead up to that mental state. Was it something they always thought, well no. Was it a spouse beating them down with words intentionally to dominate? That’s a thing, although not often the case in a healthy relationship, it’s important to address as well. Or is it that the moment they conceived, grew a child in their womb, gave birth, and began raising these gifts from God called children, the value started to slip. It was that innate desire to love, cherish, take care of others’ needs they lost the ability to see that their needs are just as important! 

Is it something we chose to do, put others needs before our own, something expected of us as well culturally, maybe from our significant others?????

Since being a mom, I have not thought of any other way but self-sacrifice, nor was it ever questioned until now.

Since when did we become less than all others??

So, it is innate to take care of others, who said we shouldn’t take care of ourselves too?? When and why did we stop? 

The conversation and conclusion became just that. It is much more difficult to hold the understanding that a mother’s needs are still just as important as everyone else in the family! That carries over in many ways and translates for example into, “if you want to hunt, fish, be included in adventures, it is 100% as important as all individuals in the home!” 

It’s the question women internally fear to ask and face and that is, “Why can’t I do this thing too?” “Do I not hold enough value and worth if my heart desires and yearns for these adventures as well?” 

Most women are afraid to ask because they honestly don’t think they deserve it or feel they are not as important or too much of a burden. I know I felt that way.

As a child my father took me with him and my brothers hunting. I remember feeling so important and loved. When I got married and started having children it was something I still loved doing, but my role as mother meant to sacrifice all my desires and needs, so I thought. I knew how important it was to hunt as that was bringing meat to the table, food in my children’s bellies so I made sure to provide the ability for my children’s father to do these things. I hunted off and on and it was with the sole purpose of feeding my children with healthy holistic meat that we worked hard for and processed ourselves. And I thrived when I did this.

I also gardened and raised dairy animals as well as sheep and chickens. I immersed myself in giving my children the healthiest life, physically and mentally. Raising them with the mentality of hard work and effort is what gets you places in life. They had chores, responsibilities, cooking, gardening, as well as countless hours of creative exploration outdoors. They would be on the mountain building forts, in the prairie trapping rabbits, (to this day they boast on my rabbit stew) recognizing different animal tracks, raising bees, horses, cows, pigs, ducks, dogs, you name it. I worked so hard to teach and train.  I gave them absolutely all of me and they are incredible, compassionate, respectful humans that  I am so proud of!!!! 

My health, wellbeing, body, and mind suffered enormously. I was nutritionally deprived for over 13 years because I just kept putting others before myself. Being completely honest, I did not eat what was necessary to sustain a healthy body and mind and the stress load also depleted much of my chance of being able to function at a good capacity. I was pulled on in so many directions in raising all these children, I would forget to eat. Or finally when I had food and sat down to eat, if my child said they were still hungry I gave it without thought and moved on to the next task thinking I ate because I had food in front of me. It may be hard to understand but it was my reality. I struggled immensely with depression, being dizzy, would fall, almost pass out, had a plethora of issues but had no clue how low my vitamin D levels were among many other things. I thought, as a mom, I had to be strong and would push through saying to myself, “I have to keep going, it is what it is, you got this.” I went until I quite literally could go no more. 

Now all this sounds so great and noble and well. “That’s awesome, you were a great mom!” But the reality is, I suffered physically and mentally unnecessarily. I never stopped to ask, “what do I need?” I took care of everyone else. It wasn’t a question considered to give to my children when they needed it, if or they or their father asked. I look back and, yes, feel accomplished. The thing I see and would love to tell my younger self is, “It is just as important that you step away from it all too!” “You deserve a break and sacrificing it isn’t going to help you or be beneficial in the long run.” To this day I am working feverishly to build my nutrition, body, and mind up and am focused on healing and restoring what was lost.

I don’t know why it was so engrained in my mind that I had to give without thought to how it affected me, or when I gave or sacrificed, I just moved on to the next demand or need, instead of taking care of the person, or child, rather than taking care of me.  

Pondering thoughts, traditions, roles expected to play, and self-sacrificial choices, and the consequences of these leading to loss of value and worth.

How do we change this messaging????

It is something we do innately, that is, put others’ needs before our own. We choose to not take care of ourselves after we take care of everyone else as there is just so much left to do!  I am learning, there will just always be too many tasks to do! Such is life! I also see we have only one life here on earth, and the importance of seeing our value in it flows over in many areas and the quality of life we live is up to what we choose to prioritize.

It starts with learning our value. Taking the time to stop, be still, quiet the brain from all the noise and pull that happens to a mother’s mind. To take those couple of days when given the opportunity, or here’s one, figure out how to make the opportunity happen as I know how easy it is to come up with a million reasons why not to. Just do it!!!  

One thing I have learned is this. No one is going to take care of you but you! And while taking care of everyone else, find or make the time to step away. Learn that “No” is a perfectly acceptable answer.

Navigating this change is the beginning to recognize one’s value. If you are like me and it got lost in the years of taking care of everyone else, that it is going to be awkward at first. Give yourself grace and patience like you give to everyone else.  It is a refreshing reset that helps us recharge or refuel the spirit. 

As I soaked in the natural hot springs this weekend, away from my children, I felt like I was doing something wrong or selfish. And yet they were perfectly happy, healthy, and having a good time visiting with their father. It felt awkward and took a little bit to unwind, silence my brain and allow the healing elements that the natural spring offered my body. In turn my spirit felt refreshed and much lighter from all the burdens, cares, and just weight of the world that I was carrying on my shoulder going into the weekend and retreat! Creativity came as well, and I felt so light.

I’m so thankful to be learning this valuable lesson. That it’s completely acceptable and healthy to take care of myself too!! It is a message I want to pass on to my daughters in hopes that they will live healthier lives. Hoping that they can take this wisdom from many years of mistakes, pain, unnecessary heartache, and live fuller, more joyful, and present lives! 

What do you want in your life?

Are you living in the present?

Are you where you want to be?

If not, are you willing to face the fact that change is necessary? I’m here to say, “You can do it!!” Those dreams can become a reality. Your heart is beautiful and to be cherished!! How bad do you want it?