But things didn’t go that way.
That Sunday morning, I went in her and dad’s room, complaining that I was itchy.
The pox had hit again.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. Here’s a bottle of calamine lotion.
My Mother’s Day diagnosis isn’t my only memory of the chicken pox. I remember missing my class field trip to the zoo and that all my friends saw baby chicks hatch.
I also remember getting to paint with my mom – all by myself, since my little sister was at pre-school. I remember sitting in the brown barrel chair at the white formica kitchen table painting a small wood heart pink, my mom painting along side of me. I then added some balloons and smiling clowns. She encouraged me and told me my art was beautiful.
The itchiness of the pox was forgotten.
Painting with my mom is one of my earliest memories of doing something creative that brought me joy. Moreover, I recall how it did the same for mom.
She was always happy when she painted, and this happiness impacted every other area of her life.
Because while she was a wife, mother, volunteer and employee, none of these roles prevented her from making time for her gifts.
She understood the value of practicing self-care and she didn’t feel guilty for taking that time. My mom was born with a God-given artistic talent and she flourished when she made time for her art.
My mom comes from a long-line of women who made time for their gifts. Her mother, my Nana loved to knit and read. And Nana’s mother, my great-grandmother loved to embroider and sew.
I have pieces that each of them created. A pink and white blanket that Nana made me when I was a baby. A bib that my great-grandmother embroidered for my mom. These items are not just meaningful because of their age or who they came from, but because they represent that the maker made time for her passions.
This legacy of self-care and seeing it in practice has made a huge impact on me.
As an adult and mother of three, I recognize the significance of these women making time for their passions.
This of course is easier said than done. Days are busy and it is often simpler to forgo my needs than to make them a priority. Like many women, I am really good at trying to be everything for everyone:
The boo-boo kisser.
The bed maker.
The tireless worker.
The cookie baker.
The clothes washer.
And when the day ends, if I’m not intentional, I am apt push aside other important roles
The memory keeper.
I’ve discovered that when I neglect these roles, everything and everyone suffers eventually. So I have learned to make me a priority too.
Some women say that this practice of self-care is selfish. That our call to be mothers is our highest calling and that includes putting ourselves last.
I say that is foolish. We cannot be great mothers if we do not take care of ourselves.
For me, self-care comes early. Most days, I rise before the sun to have time for me. To write, to read, to sometimes even scrapbook.
I realize scrapbooking at 5 am might seem a bit crazy, but a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. And that 60-90 minutes of crafting solitude fuels me for the day in ways nothing else can.
5 am isn’t the only time I carve out for my passions. Sometimes I say no to dishes and laundry. I say no to one more evening activity. I leave the dusting for another day – or never.
And with those fringe hours found in an afternoon, an evening, or a weekend, I do something I love, for me.
The ripple effect of this practice of self-care is undeniable. I am a happier wife, mom, co-worker and friend when I include myself in my day-to-day.
We all have 168 hours in a week and one life to live.
I want my kids to remember a mom who was happy and creative. I don’t want them to remember a mom who was stressed because the laundry baskets were full and the kitchen was a mess.
I want them to inherit a legacy of passion, grace and creativity. When they are busy adults, I want them to remember to steward their giftings and be intentional to not overload their schedules. I want them to fight for quiet and time.
The best lesson for our children to live intentionally as adults is to see an intentional lifestyle demonstrated at home.
I’m so grateful for the home I grew up in and for a mom who spent her sixth Mother’s Day painting clowns and saying yes to cultivating our passions together.
This Mother’s Day – give yourself or a mom you know permission to make time for herself and her passions. Buy a copy of my best-selling book: The Fringe Hours: Making Time for You.