Stop Running on Empty

I can't tell you how many times in my previous life (okay, it wasn't that long ago) that I would wait until I absolutely needed to fill up the gas tank. I couldn't be bothered. I'd find my gas light on thinking, "oh, I can make it to school and back on the 'reserve tank'". Fortunately, most times I was right, but what this created was a rush the following day to fill up as I was on my way to another commitment. I recently had to call a good friend to tell me where the nearest gas station was since I was not in my 'hood' and I was running on fumes (literally). I ended up going 15 minutes out of my way with two hungry kids screaming in the backseat.

I soon realized that I'm going to need gas indefinitely and I'm much better off filling up when my tank is 1/2 to 1/4 full. I eliminate the stress, the rush and I'm able to select a gas station with a good price (rather than the one that's closest). Another idea is to fill up on the same day every week. Either way, I get rid of the garbage and tidy up with a baby wipe while I'm waiting for the tank to fill up.

Wouldn't it be nice to transfer that same analogy to our lives? If we keep going and going, without much planning, eventually, we run out of fuel. We're exhausted, we're not taking care of ourselves, and we feel depressed or resentful for taking care of everyone else but ourselves (moms - can you relate?) I can't tell you how many days I'd find myself still in my pajamas at lunchtime because I'm tending to other things (typically related to my kids). I'd feel like crap (and look like it too). It brought me down, day after day. If you work outside the home, I imagine getting dressed in the morning is a priority but you're likely waiting until the very last moment to walk out the door. We literally run out of gas.

Start by making yourself a priority. If that means waking up 15-30 minutes earlier than your children or when you otherwise would, that small extra bit of time will allow you to honor yourself. You'll hear more about this in future posts, but much of my inspiration comes from the FlyLady, who insists on getting "dressed to the shoes" first thing in the morning before we even go downstairs. Wear clothes you feel great in. Carve time out of your schedule for things you enjoy, even if its just reading a chapter or two of a book you've been dying to dive into. These baby steps toward honoring ourselves help us keep our tanks full; allowing us to be better mothers, better women and happier people.

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