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Fabulous Family Friday! Taking Care of Mama!

Friday, January 21st, 2011

You’ve heard the saying:  If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!

There’s a BIG element of truth in there! ;)  

We truly are the “heart of the home”, and if we’re having a bad day….somehow it seems the rest of the family is, too!

We mamas are usually giving from dawn to dusk (and sometime from dusk to dawn!), serving our families in one aspect or another.  Often the tyrrany of the urgent drives us, and the important priorities don’t always happen.

One big one is, taking care of ourselves. 

Let me say right off I’m not advocating some aspect of “me time” at the expense of your family.  There’s enough written about that out in the world! 

But neither is it some form of Godliness to let yourself get so run down to the point you can no longer function well in your roles as child of God, wife, mama and homemaker.  Sometimes illness or a crisis (or several!) just makes it hard…sometimes it is our choices that lead to this point.

In my studies for becoming a personal trainer with T-Tapp, it has been interesting to see it reiterated over and over how our lifestyle choices are most often what cause the degenerative diseases of aging.   The seemingly “out of nowhere” fatigue, fibromyalgia, aches and pains, arthritis, thyroid issues, burned out adrenals….they didn’t come from bad genes or a virus, but little choices along the away that add up to BIG consequences!

(Sounds a bit like something I’ve read in the Bible somewhere….. ;) )

Now, there is the caution that we don’t become obsessed with being thin, looking youthful, or even eating well and being healthy.   We know as Christians that we live in a fallen world, and you can do a lot of things right and still suffer.

But neither do I think we should ignore the physical and suffer for our own foolish choices!  If we’re going to suffer, let it be for God’s glory and not for our foolishness!

I know as a young mama, taking care of all these areas at one time during some seasons of your life may not happen.  But your heart should be to do what you can in each season of life.  Because I’m here to tell you now, there will be a price to pay.   You can either do what you can to pay it now, and reap the dividends later, or you can say “I just don’t have enough energy to think about that right now” and you will also reap the dividends of that later–but it won’t be as pleasant!

1.  Time with the Lord

Yes, I know it’s tough with little ones.  I love how Nancy Campbell often admonishes mamas of many littles to keep their Bible by the kitchen sink.  Grab a verse here and there.  Or if “all” you get to read is half a Psalm, turn that into a prayer back to your Lord!  That’s what the Psalms were, anyway–hymns of praise to the Lord!  (Complaint sometimes, too, but always ending back on praise!)

Work on memorizing a verse–say it while diapering and doing dishes.  Your little ones can learn along with you.  Come up with hand motions (ASL browser has come in handy for me!  I used to borrow books from the library to come up with signs!)   So what if you only memorize one verse a week?  Or even a month?  That’s better than none!

One other thing you can do to feed your soul is sing hymns and praise songs!   Keep a hymnbook of choice handy with your Bible.   Or copy off a hymn you’re learning and tape it in a prominent place you spend a lot of time.   We try to sing a “hymn of the week” so my children will be more familiar with some of the great hymns.  At one time we even had a “hymn of the month”–that’s even better!  They will know that hymn forwards and backwards!  And so will you!

2. Emotional Health

This is pretty easy to write about, and pretty hard to do!

Probably the biggest 3 things you can do for your emotional health are:

1. Trust God

2. Let go of things


You have to begin with #1 or you can’t do #2 and #3!    Too many times our issues really stem from not trusting God for Who He says He is.   We don’t realize that and we’d certainly never say, “Oh I don’t really believe God is able to do that!  I don’t believe He is Who He says He is!”  but our actions say it quite loudly!

I read something very interesting in a book by John Ortberg, Faith and Doubt   (highly recommend it, by the way!).


Ben Patterson tells of a common experience of westerners, particularly missionaries, traveling through jungle sections of the Amazon.   They will ask members of a village to give them directions to where they want to go.  “I have a compass, a map, and some coordinates.” The villager knows precisely the directions to get them there, but he offers to take them himself.

“No, that’s okay.  I don’t want a guide.  I just want directions.”

“That’s no good.  I must take you there.”

“But I have a map right here.  And I have a compass.  And the coordinates.”

“It does not work that way.  I can get you there, but I must take you myself.  You must follow me.”

We prefer directions, principles,  steps, keys.  We prefer these things because they leave us in control. If I’m holding the map, I’m still in charge of the trip.  I can go where I want to go.  If I  have a guide, I must trust.  I must follow.  I must relinquish control.

God is not much on maps and compasses and coordinates.  Life just doesn’t work that way.  We don’t need directions.  We need a Guide.


~Faith and Doubt, p. 172 by John Ortberg (emphases mine)


You will probably see that quote again on my blog.  It profoundly puts the proverbial finger right on our pulse, in many areas!!!

When we can’t “trust God”, we’re really saying, “I want to stay in control”.    So the first step MUST be to trust Him.  Then you can place things in His hands and leave them there.

And then you can forgive.  Forgiveness helps you more than the offender.  When you really boil it down, if you can’t forgive the person before they even ask for forgiveness (or if they ever do), you really won’t be able to forgive from the heart when they do ask.

Isn’t that what God did for us?

#3. Physical Health and Well-Being

Again, let me say I am not promoting a physical focus to the detriment of all else.  No obsessing!

This is why I love T-Tapp! (You knew I had to include that, right?! :D )

In just 15 -20 minutes a day, you can get some movement in, for way less than the cost of a gym membership (besides, who has time to run to the gym for 1 1/2 hours daily?!)   You can even do it every other day, and while you may not see major inch loss, you will still feel better for getting that lymph pumping and some movement in.

In fact, many people address diet first.  Well, way of eating.  Ah, neither one sounds good!  (Diet has DIE in it and way of eating is often shortened to WOE!  LOL!)

Actually, your first thought should be to get movement in.  Walking is good.  I will say, though, that walking is generally not as all-over body conditioning.  I know, because I walked for several years before finding T-Tapp.  It was definitely helpful, but the lump in my armpit didn’t get smaller with walking.  It did with T-Tapp! 

So you’re moving now, but what about eating?  Is it any wonder eating has become a billion dollar business—the food industry, the diet industry, the supplement industry—it’s enough to make your head spin!

And there is so much out there!  Low carb, high carb, low protein, high protein,  no fat, good fat, no sugar, fasting, low calorie, and a plethora of diet plans that have variations on the theme.

The problem is, though, that if we don’t understand how our bodies are fueled by food, we can be fooled by food!   

It is not a matter of calories in=calories out.  You don’t figure how many calories for maintenance and go below that to lose “weight”.  (You’ll lose, indeed.  Usually more muscle mass and water than fat!)  Nor do you figure how much to exercise to get your caloric intake just right.

It is far more complicated than that.

I’ll be sharing more next Tuesday on my T-Tapp Tuesday about food and dieting, but I wanted to share today, for you busy mamas, that getting moving and making sure you are eating as well as you can are more important than restricting calories to get thin, or thinking cutting food groups out will make you healthier.

Balance is the key.  If you eat a balance of good protein, good carbs, good fats and non-starchy vegetables, that will do so much good for your body’s metabolism.   In fact, if you just add more veggies into your eating, that alone will take care of some “poor choices”!  I’m not going to say, “give up sugar”, but make sure you’re getting plenty of other good food, too!

And one last thing for today–drink water!  You need half your body weight in ounces a day–more on hot days and when you exercise (meaning you don’t count the two glasses you drink while exercising as part of your normal total!).  Nursing mamas would obviously need a little more, too!

If that has you confused, I’ll demonstrate:

I weigh 146 lbs.  right now.  So I would need half of that, 73 but in ounces.  So I need to drink nine 8 oz. glasses of water during the day. 

It’s best to drink it throughout the day, and try not to gulp down water with meals.  Sipping water at a meal is fine, but that should not be where you get most of your water intake!  When your children (or you!) come to the dinner table and gulp down water first thing, that is a sure sign they didn’t drink enough throughout the day!

Our bodies need water for many functions, and it strengthens the immune system. 

AND–by the time you’re actually “thirsty”, you are already dehydrated!

So, busy mama–fill yourself a pitcher with the right amount of water in it, and make sure it’s empty by the end of the day.   That will help you make sure to get your water quota in!  If you find it hard to drink water, adding slices of lemon or lime or even cucumbers can help it taste refreshing and make you actually want to drink more! 

Please take time to take care of yourself, young mama!   (And older ones, too!)   Really, none of these steps requires much in the way of money, and really, not even that much time.  They do, however, require some effort to make them work.  But as in much of life, a little effort will bring rich rewards in refreshing you and helping you to be the best daughter of our Father, wife, mama and homemaker that you can be.

HUGS to you as you seek the Lord on how to take care of yourself, for His glory!

Then everyone will be happy…because mama is!  ;)