I love flowers! All different kinds. Tulips, dahlias, and peonies though seem to be my favorite. I found a few years ago that having flowers in my house; on my counters, tables, even in the bathroom, makes me smile. If for no other reason, that they are pretty.
There is something about beautiful things that have a calming or brightening effect on us. Whether it is a pretty picture of a favorite place or favorite people. A beautiful poem or letter that we’ve kept. Flowers, paintings, art, etc. When we surround ourselves with the things we find beautiful, we can not help but smile more. Feel more relaxed. Seem more positive.
Part of taking care of ourselves as wives, mothers, daughters, girl friends, etc, is understanding what we need in order to be filled up. We first have to understand what we are missing. What do we long for that maybe no one else knows about. Is there a void in our daily self-management that we have missed that we need to address? Do we even recognize our need for some self-care? Do we even know what this means?
As a long time single mom, taking care of my own emotional and mental needs has not always been at the forefront of my daily life. The little mouths that needed to be fed, that was priority one (still is). Going from a stay at home mom to a working mom, took the focus and energy. When away from the kids, all I focused on was when I would be back with them. Keeping the roof over our heads now that I was the sole provider in my home was exhausting and took a majority of the time. Nothing mattered but my babies. Not me for sure.
Years of this single minded focus takes a toll though. On a body, mind, and spirit. Being a mama is tough, being a single mama even tougher. Not because as a single mom we do things all that different than any other mom, but because we do not have someone else who says “I got this today. Why don’t you go take a bath? Go out with girl friends? Or get to sleep early? Sleep in, I’ll make breakfast.” There is not a partner that offers moments of a break from the constant need we are meeting in our roles as women.
When we solely focus on the needs of our children or spouse or family members or whomever else we care for, we lose a valuable and important piece of the puzzle. It’s as if we forget to pour a section of the foundation that the house stands on. It’s going to become lopsided and things will start to shift. What we are attempting to build could start to crumble.
We must take care of ourselves too. We are one of the pillars our home stands on. For some us, we are the only pillar. I teach my kids that they are responsible for their own happiness. That it is no one else’s job to “make” them happy. No partner, kids, friends. People were not put into existence to make us happy or content. This is our job for ourselves. It’s not our kids or spouse or friends etc that will bring us fulfillment or contentment. They are definitely important to us, fill us with great memories and moments of pure joy, but they can not be the ONLY thing that fills us up.
As women, we are often so busy caring for those we love and cherish, that we forget or just don’t even think about ourselves. My generation of women (us 40 some things) didn’t seem to be taught from what I can tell, that it is ok to spend some time on our own self-care. That it is ok to say no (a different post at another time). That it is ok to take an hour or a day or a weekend, where the focus is on our own needs. But when you hit a wall, as many women eventually do, because we are only able to expend so much energy outside ourselves without filling up our reservoirs, we have to finally accept and learn how to take care of our needs as well.
For me, one of the ways I found to do this, was to surround my self with pretty things. Often this means, pretty flowers around my house. They brighten my mood just looking at them. When I refill the water and recut them, I smile. They bring color which I love. I used to associate flowers with a lover, partner, spouse. As if that person in that role could be the only one who could make flowers feel special. When I let go of that, because I realized and accepted; I really enjoy having fresh flowers around, and there was no one else around to bring them, I started to get them for myself. And found they really fill a spot in me that desires to look at pretty things. That when I have fresh flowers in my home, my house feels brighter. The energy shifts as I am surrounded by pretty things. I am calmer. I myself am brighter and have a lighter mood.
What are your pretty things? Do you take the time to think about what can fill a void that you may have? It may be a small, simple thing like fresh cut flowers. I encourage you to surround yourself with beautiful things. Not just create your spaces to be about function, but to also see them as a way of meeting some self-care needs. And if the word self-care is not something you are familiar with, stick around, that is what this blog is all about. I hope to have something to offer to others as I have learned valuable lessons and may just have a nugget or two that can brighten your day.