A special thanks to MOPS for allowing me to re-publish this article on taking care of yourself as a parent so that you can care for your children.
Teresa Hollowell, Area CoordinatorMy husband and I have five children. To keep expenses down, we frequently travel with a camper. One benefit to camping is that we are able to take our bicycles. We love to ride.
As we prepared for our first ride of a recent trip, I made sure everyone had their helmets, water bottles and gloves. We went over the rules of the road and the importance of staying together. Everyone mounted up and off we went. My husband was in the lead, with our three older children riding in the middle, and I brought up the rear with the babies riding in the baby carrier attached to my bike.
I'd not gone half a mile when my legs began to ache. My knees were burning, and I struggled to keep up with the rest of the family. All I could think was how heavy the babies were, and how out of shape I was. I signaled my husband to stop and told him I had to turn around and go back. I couldn't continue.
With many moans and groans, we turned around and headed back to the campground. I struggled the entire trip back. I thought we would never get there. Once everyone was off their bikes and the kids were helping unload the two little ones, my son told me, "Mom, you have a flat tire." I didn't have just a flat tire. I had three flat tires.
I'd made sure the kids bikes were in good shape, and that they had their helmets and gloves. What I failed to do was look at my own bike. I hadn't checked my tires, nor had I thought to check the tires of the baby carrier.
In the same way, sometimes I forget to maintain my life. I make sure my children eat their veggies, say their prayers and get enough sleep. Yet I forget the needs of my own life. When I do take the time to care for myself, especially my spiritual needs, things are much smoother. I don't have to struggle so hard to carry the load.
The next bike ride my family took was much easier. My tires had been inflated, and I'd adjusted my seat. The load I carried wasn't as difficult to pull. I was prepared for the journey ahead!
Prayer From a Mother's HeartDear God, help me to be an example to my children in preparing for life's long journey.