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The Mother’s Day gift you need to give yourself

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It's not something you buy, and it's worth more than any present you'll receive.

Dear Mom,

You leave the house for two hours for some “me” time, and you return full of guilt that you left the kids “alone.” Except that you didn’t leave them alone, but with their dad. Does that ring a bell?

Let’s take a look at our behavior patterns. Could it be that we end up pushing our husbands to play a secondary role in childcare because we think we’re so much better at changing a diaper, feeding, dressing, entertaining, and carrying our baby?

Given enough time, a series of small droplets of water can drill through a rock. If we always take care of everything because we think we do it better, it then becomes obvious everyone around us that mom doesn’t want help. We don’t even give our husbands a chance.

You should go out on your own, take a real break, and take some time for yourself. Dad loves his children so much that he will take great care of them while you’re gone. You might find the house a complete mess when you get back, but that only means they had a great time! You don’t have to rush back as soon as possible. Take the time you need, because…

Happy moms mean happy children

Surely, you’ve heard that more than once. I see my behavior reflected in the behavior of my children. The less stressed and the happier I am, the calmer and happier my children are.

If you’d like to read a good book but your kids won’t let you get through one page in peace, take it with you somewhere and read. If you like movies, go see one with a friend. If you like to do something that brings you joy, just do it.

For example, I like indulging in spa treatments. I lock myself in the bathroom and tell my husband I’m not home. I turn on my favorite music and I try to relax. Sometimes my daughter knocks on the door, but most times my husband can keep her busy.

I emerge from the bathroom a changed woman, with my nails, a facial, and hair all done. All those activities help me focus on myself for a while, because the reality is that most of the day, I’m focused on the kids.

Aside from a spa for the body, I like one for the soul as well. While I’m running errands, I try to stop for a moment of Eucharistic adoration. Fortunately, I have a church nearby that has perpetual adoration. Usually, I’m there alone. I like that silence and I give all my worries to the One who is a balm for my soul.

Love others as yourself

It’s difficult to love thy neighbor (read: husband and children) as yourself, and it’s hard to be gentle, patient, and strong when we forget to love ourselves to begin with.

Recently I proposed to my friends a series of get-togethers for moms. We had a date all chosen, but only two out of the nine women were able to come. Everyone else had canceled due to sick children, runny noses, or some other responsibilities.

While I laughed that it showed the reality of motherhood, it also motivated me even more to give it another go after the holidays and make those meetings happen.

I don’t know how you feel, but even though I consider my time with the children at home a great gift and blessing, which I would never change, sometimes I really need a break.

That’s when I know that I’ve messed up, meaning, I didn’t take care of me. I missed the moment when I should have slowed down. Make sure “time for yourself” is a regular event on your calendar.

Dads, pay attention to that, because a happy mom and wife means a happy husband and children.

Good luck and Happy Mother’s Day!

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