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Today’s great post comes from Claudia of Rise365

As a little kid, the third of seven, I remember asking my mom a question and she would look at me with a blank stare. I would have to repeat it about ten times before she would shake herself from her mysterious world and look at me.

I would repeat the question again and slowly the lights would turn on and she would answer.

“Where was she?” I would think to myself. “Why does she go away?”

Now as a mom I know why. I understand the blank stare.

I was reading to my son just yesterday and I started falling asleep. Between the pages of zoo animals, playing peek-a-boo, and sheep riding in a jeep, my eyes drooped and I felt sweet sleep start to overtake me.

“I just have to close my eyes for ten minutes,” I said, handing my son over to my husband the moment he walked in the door. “It’s an emergency!”

An emergency!

I feel this pull as a mom. The pull to be everything to everyone. The pull to please and make everyone happy, to comfort and guide everyone but me. I’m beginning to wonder. Where have I gone and how do I get me back?

Between the rocking and nursing and washing diapers (yes, I use cloth diapers) andnighttime feedings, where and how do I find and nourish me? How can I make me a priority and still be a present, loving, and attentive mom?

I had this fear growing up that when I became a mom, I’d be so focused on that task that I would lose myself. I would push all else aside, such as marriage, friends, God… just to be the all important mom. I saw it played out all too many times.

I now think that was a healthy fear. It has called me to constant action to preserve me and my dreams, interests, and hobbies.

This is necessary so that years from now, when my children do leave my home, there is still an alive and vibrant me there. So that life doesn’t stop when my kids leave and I can happily pursue life as I have been all along. I need to pursue action so I can be an active participant in the health of my marriage. I need to so that I remain a well rounded individual.

I am more than a mom. Though it is my ultra important role in life at the moment, it is not who I am.

I am me and I will always be me.

So, here are three practical ways I have found to preserve me.

1. Get up early. This means before my baby! This is a challenge when I am still getting up through the night. It requires discipline to go to bed early. When I do this however, I feel revived, energized, and encouraged. I feel one step ahead of the day rather than constantly trying to catch up.

2. Have a clearly defined mission statement and goals for both me and my family. This helps me focus beyond the moment. Goals help me define my daily tasks. On the days when it feels like I am spinning circles, I work to at least achieve one of my goals and the day then feels fulfilling.

3. Keep my bucket full. This is huge for me. I need to be able to refuel so that there is some to spare on those crazy days. I do this in four ways: exercising, listening to encouraging podcasts and audiobooks, spending time with God and journaling.

I call myself to action daily. I will preserve me while being a mom. I will always seek to grow, learn, and embrace adventure. It is who I am.

Question: What helps you preserve and nurture you?