I already knew that I needed God’s word and time with Him to thrive as a mom, but I failed to understand that were whole parts of my God-given personhood I had laid down on the altar of productivity. The gifts and interests that stir us are not reserved for the few that have it all “done”. They are life-giving pursuits for the day to day. This is from Part 1 where we chatted about what it means to daringly delight from the trenches of motherhood.

But this whole idea of delight, self-care and soul care is easier said than done, isn’t it? (I’m with you, sister.)

So before I share 4 tips for reclaiming delight in your day to day, let’s reconsider why this idea of delight and self-care matters at all.

Put simply, our delight was authored in the heart of God when He dreamed us up and took pleasure in who we are, far before our accomplishments (or lack thereof) could screw it up.

Even when no one else is looking, God delights in you. You don’t have to conquer your to-do list or save the world to get His attention. His eyes are on you and He loves you in all your beauty, and yes, even quirks. Your obsession with colors, God loves that about you. The way you can’t watch a Hallmark commercial without crying, the way your laughter fills a room, the way you can really throw a party, or have an innate ability to bring order into a room – He loves that. Zephaniah 3:17 says that God delights in us and rejoices over us with singing. And guess what? He made us in His image. We are born to delight even as our good, good Father delights in us. Even as Christ is our satisfying portion, God came to give us “life and life to the full.” (John 10:10) His life is eternal, but it’s also vast and uncontainable, meaning as Christ-followers, every piece of the fabric of our lives is an invitation to abundant life, to worship and joy.

Mom guilt debunked. Check. Now, let’s do this. 😊

4 Tips for Meaningful & Intentional Self-Care

Go on a delight hunt.

Delight is in disguise all around you. One of the tendencies that I fall into when my soul is craving “me time” is living in the desire of what is not possible at the moment instead of delighting right where I’m at. For example, it’s been a long day with the kids and I’m exhausted. Dinner is hot and ready, but my husband is running late, the kids are complaining about what I cooked, and my 2-year-old is following me around saying, “Hold you me!” (That means, “Pick me up, but don’t dare try to put me in a baby carrier, because I will protest.”) I was hoping for a hot shower (Let’s enjoy that thought for a moment.) when my partner in crime (and life) got home. It’s never good when you can smell yourself.

Right here is where I’m prone to allow frustration to build in my thoughts as I count down the minutes and seconds until prince charming gets home. Announcement: Hannah has now left the building and is inwardly pouting. True story. Funny thing is no matter how many times I’ve lived out this story line and hundreds like it, it’s never helpful. It’s not helpful to my own peace and joy. It’s unhelpful to my kids as my muddied heart comes sliding out in short responses. It’s not helpful when my hard-working hubby walks in the door and I have to climb over my wall of self-pity to say, “Welcome home. How was your day?”

So, here’s my trick: I go on a delight hunt right there in the thick of what my flesh wants to escape from and like that, I can shift my heart into delight:

The kids are sword fighting again. I will be grateful when its warm enough to do that outside, but I’m so glad they love to play together. Wow, they’ve got some moves! My two-year-old asks for a “poon,” which means fork or spoon so that she pretend to feed her baby doll.

I close my eyes and listen to the thumping of feet on our wood floors. I think about how one day I’m going to miss all this pitter patter. I take a deep breath. The smell of the roast and fresh bread is tantalizing. My kids may not like it, but I’m going to focus on enjoying this hand-crafted meal, even if it isn’t yet appreciated by immature taste buds. I look outside. “Oh my gosh, kids, let’s run outside! Look at the sky! It’s time to go chase the sunset and take a picture!”

Try it, friends. It just might change everything when life or motherhood are feeling heavy. But let’s not stay there. A little bit of intentionality can help you to plan for delight, which will help you get more out of the time you invest. Otherwise, we may default to a Facebook thread that may or may not replenish us the way that we are needing and craving.

Make a list of (fill in the blank) that make you feel energized and refreshed.

What you list here will depend upon your personality, preferences and lifestyle. For example, I am an introvert, a Meyers Briggs INFJ, and a 5 on the Enneagram. I LOVE people, but lots of people time is very depleting to me. I need alone time, book time and space to journal, write and process.

How are you wired? Are you artsy? Do you love a good work out? Would you enjoy a walk in the park, a chat on the phone with a friend, or trying out a new recipe in the kitchen? There is no wrong way.

Take notes about what you enjoy and think about ways to make space for that right where you are. A few years ago, I started to have a desire to do oil painting on canvas. Actually, the story I told in part one is what brought that desire on. Eventually I would love to take painting classes, but I did what I could do at the time, which was buying a couple of canvases on sale and few colors of acrylic paints (cheaper than oils). For a few nights after the kids went to bed, I spent 15 minutes painting on my canvas with no particular plan or technique. It was nothing special to look at, but it felt therapeutic to follow the whim of my inspiration and let my hands do something that didn’t look like dishes or laundry.

What sounds refreshing to you?

Ask for help.

This could be a spouse, a family member or a friend. Sometimes it’s as simple as clearly expressing your need and asking for support. What if a family member could pick your kids up from school to enable you an extra 30 minutes to go for a walk or have coffee with a friend? What if your husband could do daddy breakfast with the kids on Saturday to enable you to take a leisurely shower and do whatever it is that makes you feel human again?

Schedule it.

This is not always doable, but often if we’re able to cross that bridge of asking for help, it becomes doable. For example, there’s a moms’ night coming up in a couple of weeks. During our calendar review last week, I had my hubby check his calendar and when he confirmed it was clear, I asked if he would empower me to do this. He said yes, put it in his work calendar, and now I have that to look forward to.

It’s okay to start small. It doesn’t need to be picture or Instagram worthy. There’s something powerful about just taking those intentional baby steps to nurture ourselves as a whole person.

Here are a few more questions to get you thinking.

What’s the biggest obstacle you face in finding and/or planning for delight in your day to day?

Is there a gift or interest lying dormant in your soul that you could find a small space for in your current lifestyle?

What matters is what do you enjoy and I would so enjoy reading what that is.  Just hit the comment button below. I’d also LOVE to see what you’re enjoying. If you’re on Instagram, you can use the hashtag #daringtodelight or tag me @hannahsavagewrites and I’ll be sure to see it and comment!

If you are a widow, are grieving or know someone who is grieving, I recommend 10 Ideas for self-care for widows and others grieving written by Dorina Gilmore. 

If you are facing the unique challenges of a single mom, I encourage you to check out CarriedbyHope.com.

If you’d like to read more about self-care for moms, I highly recommend you check out what the Kindred Mom Community has so beautifully curated for you. The Self-Care for Moms Series features everything from essays by moms like you, podcast episodes and added resources. I’ll see you over there! You can also follow the Kindred Mom on Instagram @kindred_mom.