When the focus of your days and nights is keeping your child safe, it’s easy to forget to take care of yourself too. As a mom to a child with severe food allergies, it can even feel selfish to care for yourself. Slipping away to the gym, for a relaxing walk outside, or a trip to the spa all can trigger intense feelings of guilt, even when safety measures are in place to protect your child. How could I step away from my child when it’s my main job to protect him?
The stress levels of mothers of children with severe food allergies are sky high. That goes with out saying. FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education) reports that “mothers of food-allergic children under age five have significantly higher blood-pressure measurements and report significantly greater levels of psychosocial stress than mothers whose preschool-aged children do not have food allergies.” Combating this high stress level can be challenging. So challenging, in fact, that I often find myself doing nothing about it. But then how can I be my best if I don’t get the rest, nourishment and refreshment my body requires?
“Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” (Mark 6:31)
Sometimes, we do have to take a step back and find rest. I admit, I find it difficult to discipline myself to self-care. As a mother & wife, the demands seem never-ending. As the mother of a child with severe food-allergies, in addition to the normal demands, I feel like I’m sinking in quick sand most days. When I feel most overwhelmed and stressed, I feel that gentle nudge telling me to take a self-care moment. That nudge gives me permission to seek rest and refreshment. That nudge pulls me out of the quick sand and onto solid ground.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matt 11:26-30)
For me, it could be a time out for prayer, reading an encouraging devotion, a walk outside, or a quick trip to the gym (complete with a visit to the hydro massage bed). For you, it could be something different. Either way, rest is necessary. Refreshment is necessary. Take the time, Mama, to care for yourself. You need it. Your child needs you to have it, too. Draw close to the One who provides rest and refreshment.
Stay safe…and get some rest.