As a mom living abroad, half a planet away from closest friends and family, I find I often troll the internet looking for support and understanding, a sense of community that I can lack in my immediate surrounds, little tips and tricks that make life easier and more balanced, or fresh approaches to a parenting challenge. Sometimes, I find just what I need just at the time I need it. Sometimes, it finds me. For all the benefits I receive, I should be sharing them in hopes that it might help someone else too.
The little tidbit that found me recently came from Rachel at Small Notebook. I've been following her blog for a few years, and I remember reading this post when she first put it up over a year ago. In her last post, she linked back to it, and I took the opportunity this morning while everyone was still asleep to sit down and make a Mama Pie of my own, complete with little three- or four-item lists under each pie wedge to detail what each piece needs. I took Rachel's pie as a guideline and made only minor adaptations, and I think it will be useful to revisit it over time and tweak as needed.
The beauty of this visual is that it allows me to see areas where I can replenish and renew, as well as areas where I can improve balance. The "tyranny of the urgent" in a mama's life can be overpowering; everything/everyone seems to compete for our attention and focus, and everything/everyone wants it all at the same time. Keeping this visual in mind, it becomes easier to see which areas we're giving too much importance, too much time and energy...and the areas where we could give more.
Possibly one of the most critical pieces of wisdom Rachel imparted in her post about priorities was including a "me" wedge. So often, mamas don't give themselves a piece of the pie. I recently read advice on a different blog to make a list of the most important people in your life. Then, check to see where you are on it. Are you on it? I wasn't on mine. It hadn't even occurred to me, not because I don't find myself valuable or important, but because that's what the mama mentality does to so many of us. Our children are important. Our spouses are important. Our parents and extended family are important. Close friends are important. If you participate in charity work, those in need are important too. But. If we don't take care of ourselves, how can we take care of others? In the Christian faith, people are urged to "love others as you love thyself." If we were really to do that, would it be a rather sad state of affairs all around? I thought so. Including "me" in your Mama Pie provides a crucial place to replenish when the other demands wear us down.
If you can find a few minutes, I can recommend making a little Mama Pie of your own. What would it look like? I hope you'll find it helpful!