I’ve been talking a lot to friends and clients lately and it seems like many of us are in a season of exhaustion. I have been been encouraging them to find some non-negotiables to put back into their life. A non-negotiable is something that, no matter what the circumstance, you try to have as a daily or weekly part of your life to function effectively and with sanity. Let’s face it ladies, we have a crap-load to do on the daily. And the list seems to multiple as the day goes on! There is always something to do and add to the to-do!

Somewhere along the way, especially observed {for me} in Southern, Christian areas {tho I know it is everywhere}-there has been a great deal of pressure put on women. Heaped upon us, has been the notion that if we are to be a good wife and mother, we have to be last in line and constantly in servant mode and if we aren’t living in constant service to the needs of our children, our spouse, our jobs, our kid’s school, our church…we are “bad” or not fulfilling our womanly duties. Worst part, it’s not really been heaped on us by men or our children–it’s heaped on us…by us.

We are our worst critic. And I think we are critical on ourselves and each other because we feel guilty and not 100% sure in the decisions we have chosen. If the stay-at-home mom scoffs and the working mom-it’s likely because she has felt a sense of loss in herself. If the working mom is touchy about the SAHM-she probably longs for more time at home. Our guilt overcomes us and warps our senses. So, we often feel that the way to justify our decisions is to put ourselves and our self-care on the back burner. Tending to everyone else while running on fumes. This is no way to live. This is what I call The Mom Martyr Mindset. The MMM leaves us exhausted, weary, bitter and often isolated.

So, if you are living in the MMM, I want you to consider a few things. First, I want you to rest in grace. Give yourself a break-emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically. It’s ok to not do all the things. It’s actually very ok. The pressure we put on ourselves to be perfect is going to leave us spinning our wheels for a very, very long time. So, speak grace over yourself! Secondly, I want you to think of a few non-negotiables that you have not been allowing yourself to have. Typically, I find that people martyr their sleep first. This is a horrible long-term issue. It’s one thing to have a newborn and be up all night–that is just a rite of passage we all have to get through. It’s another thing to constantly burn both ends of the candle-staying up late to “get everything done” or waking up early to do the same. You need sleep. Your body doesn’t understand what to do when you choose to not sleep. It pumps you full of cortisol to rescue you, and thanks, but no thanks-cortisol makes you gain weight. One of my non-negotiables is to get enough sleep. I wake up at 4:45a three days a week, but I will make sure to nap on at least two of those days. And my weekends are sacred to sleep in. Sometimes, it even means going a few minutes late to my son’s 8am football games. Gasp. You know what? He survives and he knows when mommy shows up, she SHOWS UP ready to cheer her head off for him! My other two NN’s are: time with Jesus on the front porch swing every day & coffee. Together always! I will even put on a show for my 3-year old is she is already awake so I can spend time in the word and re-center. If I don’t, my day is much more likely to crumble. webnicki21

Non-negotiables don’t have to be huge. They can be tiny. Sometimes a nice walk after dinner with the family or alone is all you need a few times a week. Maybe you NEED to READ a book. I talk to women all the time who say, “oh, I used to read, but now I can’t ever find the time.” My advice-find the time! These things that make us tick, fill our cups! The more full the cup, the better you are at your role as a mom! webnicki31

Thirdly, back to the guilt thing. I am in no way asking you to be selfish and put yourself first in every scenario, or go on extravagant vacations alone or indulge your every desire! What kind of a monster would I be to do that {wink}? Finding a non-negotiable will sound and feel so selfish at first if you are deep into Mom Martyr Mindset. Thinking of even ONE non-negotiable will feel like you are asking too much of your family-it will feel self absorbed and indulgent. So, I want you to start in a place where you feel the most depleted and think if there is any way to fill the cup. If you feel like you have been neglecting your body and hate having to put on clothes every day-I want you to consider squeezing in a workout for 30 minutes a few times a week-you can do that by starting with me HERE. If you feel like you are no longer able to be creative as you once were and are missing that part of yourself-I want you to consider politely telling your kiddos that after dinner, you are going to sit in your room for 30 minutes and journal {draw, paint, blog} while they finish homework or get themselves ready for bed {BTW-you will be surprised at what even your littles are capable of on their own}. Put on make up. Get a pedicure once a month. Take a nap once a week. Buy expensive coffee just because it’s your favorite thing–but fill your cup. webnicki25My desire would be to see all mamas out there being ALL IN. I think you can be home all the time and your mind is somewhere else. Or be gone from your family all the time because you want to escape your mistakes and feelings of failure. Either way, I think we are doing ourselves a disservice when we don’t tend to our souls. Small tending-to’s are really going to be helpful to everyone in the end. Remember, we can’t have it all at once-there is always a season for things to let go of certain things and focus on another. Balance doesn’t exist (I wrote more about that HERE). Let’s get out of this mindset that we are martyrs, take care of ourselves and in-turn be ALL IN for our family!

ANNNNND if you REALLY want to journey further along with me, get my FREE downloadable checklist #ActionOverPerfection and join our FB Challenge Group that will begin MAY 1st! Once you sign up, you will receive a THANK YOU prompt with the link to request to join our FB group. For 10 days, we will be spending time in 5 different areas for as little as 5 minutes-taking small steps to consistency in showing up 100%, but not feeling the need to be perfect! My hope is that you will see some significant joy in your daily life as a woman, mama and wife!