I have had a conversion, of sorts, in these past few years of motherhood. I have had a change of mindset that, while subtle, is still radical. It has effected all of the areas of my life and has shifted my choices drastically. I have decided that beauty is not a nice extra, but a necessity in my life. I have decided to live beauty to the best of my abilities, to use all of my talents, and value the pretty.
This conversion came about because I finally had to admit that survival mode is not a living mode.
Too often I hear moms talk about living life in survival mode. They talk about how long it’s been since they showered like it’s an Olympic event. They confess that they have not had a proper meal in weeks, or that they have had sleeping hours in the single digits over the course of four days. Then they tell me how long it has been like this and I want to cry with them.
In survival mode, you are not valuing yourself as the beautiful, unique soul that you are, but as a utility that is running on backup generators. In survival mode, you are so focused on just getting through the day that you start to run out of self to give. This extreme neglect of self is not just terrible for your own mental and physical health, it is an insult to God.
Momma, you were created a never-before-seen human being full of beauty and talents, and you give an irreplaceable contribution to the world. That means we all have an obligation to honor and care for our bodies and minds as the precious gifts they are. To do less is an insult to the God who gave us these precious gifts.
My first step in valuing my body and soul was deciding that pretty matters. I have the body I have, and I figured out how to dress in a way that made me feel pretty as I am right now. I started selecting colors in my home that made me smile. I worked with my husband to develop a system for meal planning and cooking that allowed us to have food that I looked forward to eating. I started wearing some makeup everyday because it makes me feel crazy put together just putting on lipstick.
Second step was admitting I still had talents. Not kidding, admitting there were still talents in me was something I had to work towards. How did I know I could still dance if I had not taken class since my first year of college? Would I still enjoy reading academic books? Would anyone ever cast me for a theater production?
My third step was using my talents. It was scary. Walking back into a ballet studio for the first time after having two kids was just a tad terrifying. I did not do anything particularly well for a while, but given the opportunity that talent woke up bit by bit.
I decided to value my mind’s ability to handle beautiful words and started a reading program for myself. I auditioned for a couple theater productions, and I was cast in one (The Importance of Being Earnest just closed this weekend!)
Your talents may be even easier to do with little kiddos in tow. For those with time intensive hobbies, like me, don’t be afraid to nurture your talent! Believe me, you’re worth it.
After deciding to value the beauty around me and within me, I found my life to be very different from survival mode. Even though I am far busier, I am also far more calm, relaxed, and happy than I was just trying to make it through the day, the week, the month.
If you want to jump start getting some more beauty in your life – sit down and make a few lists today. What is beautiful in your life right now? What support do you need? What makes you smile? What talents do you have, and which of those talents need some more love?
You can give such a beautiful gift to the world. Don’t be afraid to let that light shine as brightly as it can!