“Reading is my inhale, writing is my exhale” – Glennon Doyle Melton in “Carry On, Warrior”
I wanted to revisit this quote again because of how much more it means to me now than it did the first time I read it.
I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting in the free moments that I get and I’ve come to realize something so important related to this quote and what it means for me to balance being a woman, a mom, and a wife.
It is essential for my well being that I be able to find time to do the things that I love. Two of my biggest loves are reading and writing. I’ve come to find that when I have the chance to read, even if it’s just a few pages from a book or my bible, I inhale these positive words and those words get me out of my head and that’s when I get this urge to write and express what I am discovering about myself and about life. Reading allows me to breathe in positive thoughts and to get my imagination and my mind working. Reading gets me out of the negative thoughts that sometimes swim around in my mind, those negative thoughts that if left to their own devices will often create such a negative force around me. And with that comes the desire to write, to let all these great ideas out and share my experience so that I can connect with others and maybe touch on something that someone else is also feeling.
There were times last year where I would feel unhappy and guilty. Guilty because here I was able to count so many wonderful blessings in my life but I couldn’t figure out why sometimes I didn’t feel happy. I didn’t feel happy inside and that showed in the way I often interacted with my husband and with our daughters. And then I felt riddled with guilt because I thought, how could I be so selfish and not feel happy when I have a loving husband and two beautiful healthy girls and a home filled with love?
I realized this feeling stemmed from the fact that I was often running on empty. I wasn’t fueling myself and making sure to create a balance between giving myself fully to my husband and daughters while also giving my own self some love and time. What I mean with love and time is that even though I would have opportunities to meet up with a friend(s) or steal little moments here and there to read or write, those moments were filled with guilt. Guilt because I would think to myself that instead of being there, I should be home cleaning, interacting with my daughters, spending that time with my husband, working on a home project, etc, etc. So, even though I did things, I wasn’t always fully enjoying them because I was letting guilt and the shame of being “selfish” shadow those times.
And so I was trying to pour from an empty cup that in turn left me feeling resentful towards my husband and daughters and expecting my happiness to be filled by them, which is unfair. To be the best parent I can be I need to take care of myself and work on myself so that I will have enough fuel to give to those I love. Life is always going to have its exhausting and trying moments, especially as a parent, but I believe that if I keep myself fueled I will be better able to react to life’s moments. Plus I want to set a healthy and positive tone for our family. Taking care of myself means I am taking care of my family as well because I am giving them the best of me.