Eleven years ago, I married my wonderful husband. I was a professional, a Doctor of Chiropractic, with my whole career ahead of me. But getting married and the hope of adding children to our family was only one aspect of this change….I was about to embark on an amazing adventure. Marrying my husband meant I was moving to Israel.
Why was that part so significant?
Yes, it meant a new culture, new language, very different lifestyle. It was exciting and wonderful and stressful and not-so-wonderful sometimes. I birthed five exceptional children there. I swam in the Dead Sea, prayed at the Kotel, got to see the Temple Mount, vacationed at the Sea of Galilee, and experienced walking down the middle of what would normally be a busy city street in Jerusalem but was absolutely dead silent on Yom Kippur. Memorable.
I gave up my chiropractic career because of this move. And, while there are aspects to that that sadden me slightly, I have no regrets. I would change NOTHING. I am incredibly blessed to have six children now, all healthy. I had wonderful home births, enjoyed teaching people about health whenever I could, and then one day I started FamilyNatural.com and had an outlet for my creativity in writing. I loved writing this blog and although I would stray when things got too crazy, I always came back to it.
Then, one day, after living in Israel for nine and a half years and taking that long to finally get to the point where I didn’t miss the States so much and could honestly say I was glad we lived there and not the US, we moved back.
Yes, it was a surprise to me. And yes, I was glad. And sad. And glad. And looking forward to all the opportunities available here in the US for homeschooling, and friends, and easy shopping, and so on…
EXCEPT, it was another move, across the world, leaving many of our belongings behind. At the location which was supposed to be a “stop over while we figured out where we would stay”, we stayed almost two years. It was an apartment in a beautiful area, on the beach. But it was on the TENTH floor. We had FIVE children. On the TENTH floor. No back yard, no outside play time, no exercise, no space to spread out unless I took us all out for a walk, which despite my best intentions did not happen more than three times a week and sometimes it didn’t happen at all. (remember, we homeschool)
And then we were blessed with another child, this time a difficult pregnancy. Still on the tenth floor, still away from our Israel friends and many complications kept us from spending much time with our American friends.
I have heard that next to death of a loved one, moving is the most stressful experience a person can encounter. And moving to a foreign country is even more stressful. How about pregnancy? Childbirth? Homeschooling? Another pregnancy, another childbirth, times six? Moving three times in Israel and then moving back here? Try flying overseas with five children….
I have basically been under stress nonstop for eleven years. It’s been TOUGH.
But that’s not my point. I’m not writing this to complain, or even to vent. I realized something very important.
When I stopped practicing chiropractic, I began to neglect a very important part of myself. The ME part. The creative part.
Yes, I am a homeschool mom, and I love it. Yes, I have taught and written and learned to bake and sort of to sew and when I’ve made time for it, I exercised and had alone time weekly. My loving husband would sometimes send me on a relaxing “mommy day out” . And although I knew it wasn’t really enough, I thought it was all I could do, and since this is “only a season in my life”, I went along with it as the professional martyr I had learned to be.
Flylady helped me learn to take charge of my home and my life, and when I get disorganized all over again, I realize it’s time to get back to the basics I learned from her. They really do work, and I don’t know why I ever stop. It’s good to know that I know how to get on top of things again. But there is one part, one MOST IMPORTANT ASPECT that I always sort of glossed over, ignored, didn’t think applied to me, UNTIL NOW.
Finally Loving Yourself.
FLY stands for Finally Loving Yourself.
Just like you have to put the oxygen mask on yourself first during an emergency on an airplane so that you can then help others, you must take care of yourself first.
I MUST TAKE CARE OF MYSELF FIRST.
I didn’t really realize that I haven’t been. I mean, REALLY haven’t been. I have finally come to the end of my rope. I am empty. I need to be filled. I need some TLC. I need to make sure that I get what I need, and stop putting everyone else before me.
It is time. Finally.
Making time to exercise (regularly), not only because I “should”, not only because I want to change my body look or increase my strength, but because I want to feel good, I need to feel good, and I need to be ready to serve my Creator with all that He has given me stewardship over.
Making time to get alone (regularly) so that I can think, so that I can pray, so that I can just listen and BE. Not only so that I can “have a break” from my children, but so that I can be the mom and the wife I was created to be because I will not be consistently wound up so tightly that every moment I feel like I’m about to burst or snap or scream.
Making time to express myself, creatively. Writing here on FamilyNatural.com, because I love to do it, because I can help and teach people, using the gifts I’ve been given. Because I am not alone, and reaching out to others through sharing my experiences helps.
Making time to PLAY with my CHILDREN. I will learn to have fun with them and not either a) feel guilty because I’m not getting something done that needs doing or b)running away and hiding while they are occupied and I can “sneak” some alone time in. I will have fun with them because it will be scheduled and so will my alone time be scheduled and so I won’t feel like I’m giving something else up to do this. By doing so, we will all enjoy each other more, and I won’t feel like it’s “me” and “them”, but more like it’s “us.”
Making time to learn something new, plant a garden, dance, sing, draw, and splash in the puddles.
I’m not sure what else it will be, but I am going to find out.
FINALLY loving myself. I am going to be exploring what that means, what that’s going to look like. Feel free to join me.