“Being the Best Parent Means,
First, Being the Best YOU!”
My name is Mary Nason and to share a little bit about myself, I’m a wife and a mom of four. I work as a full-time office manager, while also working around the clock at my unpaid job which is being a mom. As you can imagine, life stays a little crazy, to say the least. If you know me, you know I best describe my day-to-day life as organized chaos. From soccer to baseball, to dance, to basketball, to football and gymnastics, you name a sport and one of my kids is probably involved. Every day is a literal hustle and honestly, I wouldn’t change a thing. Watching my kids do what they love, seeing their determination, and watching them live out their God-given talents is absolutely one of my favorite things ever! I’ll admit I have an obsession with capturing some of these moments in thirty-second clips and countless pictures which I love to share with the world of social media, but just as I heard straight out of the mouth of Oneka McClellan at our most recent Sisterhood gathering, “It’s not what you think”.
The truth is I struggle with parenting. I struggle with Second guessing, if I’m doing enough, doing it right, etc – it’s hard. There are countless times I wonder what people would think of me if they saw the behind-the-scenes. The real and the raw, uncut moments. Those moments my “mom voice” is in full swing and I’m so overwhelmed I could just lock myself in the room and cry. There was a time after having our last baby when it felt as though I had become so out of touch with who I was outside of being a mom. Day in and day out I would give give give and then when I had nothing left I would give a little more, not ever once replenishing my own cup. That’s what moms are supposed to do, right? We take care of things, we act selflessly without any expectations. We sacrifice our showers, our sleep, our hot coffee, and sometimes our sanity. I could literally go on and on. There was no time that I would set aside for me, even just a few moments. I’m talking about even going out for a pedicure. The amount of mom guilt I would feel was so overwhelming that I’d prefer just to not go at all. I don’t recall the exact moment things changed but I found myself becoming more anxious, stressed, overwhelmed, and short-fused when it came to the kids. It felt like I had been digging myself a hole and allowing all these things to slowly take root and build up over the years without even realizing it. I didn’t like who I was becoming, I felt as though I was letting my family, friends, and even myself down because I just couldn’t seem to get it together.
This place in my life is where things began to shift for me. It wasn’t overnight but I began taking baby steps. I started shifting my mindset and speaking biblical affirmations over myself. I spoke, “…for when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10, NIV), “When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy” (Psalm 94:19, NIV), “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7, NIV), “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God” (Hebrews 4:9, NIV). Doing this allowed me to begin doing basic things such as asking for help — shocking I know. I began planning intentional moments when I could, even if it was just 10 minutes here or 30 minutes there. I too became of utmost importance in our family and let me tell you, it was a game-changer. For me, time for myself mainly took the form of exercising, running to be exact. I became just as much of a priority as every single practice, game, or event I managed to get the kids to. Do I feel guilty about it, absolutely not! Is it always easy or convenient? Absolutely not, but is it worth it? Absolutely YES! Aside from the benefits I gained from becoming more physically fit, it was about so much more than that to me. Ultimately if I’m not feeling like the best version of me and taking that time to press the reset button when necessary, then I know for a fact that my family isn’t getting the best version of me either.
An investment in ourselves is an investment in our children, in our spouses, in our friendships, in our workplaces, and in our communities. We have got to stop the cycle of thinking that we are any less significant than our children or that creating time for ourselves requires the ultimate guilt trip. If you ask me, guilt is the most useless feeling ever. Especially when it comes to our health and happiness. Read that book you’ve been wanting to read but don’t have time for, join the gym, listen to that podcast uninterrupted, go get that manicure you’ve been in need of for months now, schedule that coffee date, eat that ice cream without having to share with anyone, take a nap! Listen, I know we love our children more than anything. I know personally I can’t think of a single thing I wouldn’t do to make sure they thrive, But it is because I would do anything for them, that I take care of myself too. With all of this being said, let’s be encouraged in knowing that prioritizing ourselves will actually amplify the beautiful life that God has already blessed us with.
I pray today begins the start of something new and just for YOU!
All my love,
Regards from Pastor Maddie Park:
What an incredible message from Mary! Learning to overcome the “guilt” that comes as a parent can be challenging, but operating from a place of overflow will always be the healthier option. I am so thankful for the example that Mary has set for us to invest time and care into ourselves so that everyone else in our life receives our best! I am praying for each of you as you walk through this journey of parenthood. I pray that you would find peace and rest in the name of Jesus. Thank you so much for reading our first ever “Building Blocks” blog! We cannot wait to share more and see how God uses these words to build strong families.