If you don’t look after yourself, then how can you care for your family? In addition to caring for your body, another key to managing motherhood is to look after your mind.
This blog follows from 20 Ways to Rock at Being a Mother No 7a: Look After Your Body. If you haven’t read that yet, it might be a good idea to go back to it.
You could also listen to this radio interview where I talk about good health.
A BIG Realization
It wasn’t until I had two pre-schoolers at home that I (finally!) realized my commitment to stay home until my children began school was a big one. And while I loved being with my small companions, it was a little wearing, to say the least. Intellectually I was not very challenged, and I had not yet learnt to look after my mind.
A few years before becoming a mother, I had graduated from University with an Applied Science degree, and had worked in industry for some time. So my brain was feeling the challenge of not feeling challenged, if you know what I mean!
Talking it through with my husband, I had a moment one day when I realized there was no reason I couldn’t apply myself to motherhood with the same amount of diligence and intellectual capacity as I had with my degree. And so, my journey into intentional parenting took yet another leap forward. (You can read about my initial eye-opening epiphany HERE.)
That choice, to apply my mind to parenting, was a lifesaver. I still wonder how I managed the 17-year stint being home with pre-schoolers. I may not have made the initial commitment not to work outside the home if I’d known I would have five children, and that it would be such a long season.
But I’m so glad I did stick with it. They were some of the most challenging, rewarding, difficult and exciting years of my life! To be totally honest though, I don’t think I could have lasted if I didn’t realize how important it is to look after your mind.
What to do to Look After Your MIND
M is for Mindfulness
Mindfulness is the catch-word in the 21st Century. There are many online courses and apps you can pick up to increase your awareness of the world around you. Personally, I journal most days about what I am doing, what I am thinking and how I see God at work around me. It keeps my mind sharp and active. I can focus on problem-solving and connect with the Bible in a more meaningful way.
The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
I is for Intelligence
Intelligence is a lovely thing. Not only are you intelligent, you are also resourceful! And those are skills you can choose to increase. Among many other things, I chose to learn about parenting. And then after my children were all at school I went back to university and studied Journalism, Media and Communications.
To look after your mind is all about life-long learning and continue to exercise that large muscle in your head – your brain! Here’s a great article about 10 Exercises to Boost Brain Memory
Nis for Never give up
Increasing your brainpower is something you can do on the run, and keep on doing. Why not get into enjoying games, puzzles, reading, learning, and growing your general knowledge. Perhaps you are an artist or musician . . . so take the time to schedule, and develop, your skill, even if it is only a weekly or monthly habit.
Talk with your children (and grandchildren) about what you learn, and encourage them to increase their desire for knowledge too. I once read about a grandma who read every book on her grandchildren’s university reading lists. Which meant she could converse with all of them about their specialties. What a get-up-and-go granny! And what a great way to look after your mind.
D is for Demand more of yourself
Push outside those comfort zones and open yourself to the new. Break free from your addictions to computer games and social media to do something different. Limit your time on wasted activities, and develop another ability instead. What is something you always wanted to do and never did get to?
All sorts of possibilities rise here: learning a new language, or musical instrument; taking that course you always regretted passing up; applying for that position which, deep down, you know will stretch you. Many women with children work outside the home. I certainly did after all my children began school. Perhaps for you it’s important to go back to work much sooner than I did. These are all good ways to look after your mind.
How do you as a mother intentionally develop your mind? It IS possible. I’d love to know how you go 🙂