I have seen the picture on Pinterest so many times, an empty coffee cup with the saying “You Can’t Pour From An Empty Cup”, and while I realized what it meant, it never quite rang true to me until recently. My pastor, Cory, recently spoke about our Discipleship training, and about how in the life groups we are in (mine is the Single Mama group) the purpose is to pour into one another, being there for each other, praying for each other. Relationships are so important to people, and women have different kinds of relationships with other women, some complex, some not so complex.
When I moved to Batesville a little more than seven years ago, I didn’t really know anyone except for a few people. We had decided I was going to try my hand at being a stay at home mama, so I was in a new town with a newborn, and basically no support system. It was a recipe for crazy loneliness. I went from being surrounded by people all day long to being home with this precious tiny human all day. To say I was overwhelmed would be an understatement. Fast forward to now and I am surrounded by people again, working full time. I have a small business on the side (with women’s fun fun fun clothing, if you don’t know about LuLaRoe, you certainly need to), my kiddo is happily involved in soccer and we are active in our church and our school. As working mamas, we can easily fill up every single evening with a different event, school, athletic, church or volunteer. I find myself dreaming of the nights at home where we simply get to eat dinner, talk and laugh (laughing is our favorite, we do it a lot) and just be together.
Our church family is so important to us, and high on the list is my group of single mamas. I love to help them navigate their lives, hear about their happy moments, and listen when they are in the depths of their sadness. As women, and as mamas (single mamas, I would say single dads too, but I have never been a single dad, just a mom) we are designed to put everyone else’s needs before our own needs. Our kids come first, then work (because my kid has to eat and have electricity), then my friends and family, and then, if there is anything left at the very end of the day, there is me. Most days there is not a whole lot left, except for a nice bath or perusing Pinterest, in the event I did not fall asleep with my child in his racecar bed (true life, it has happened more than I care to share).
I hit a point this last week where we had something every single night, and I felt a little bit like getting Cole in the car for school in the morning and just driving off to the beach. I kind of thought I might be cracking up a little bit, everything was setting me off. I love the blessing of my job, helping kids and adults navigate their lives, but even my job seemed so stinking heavy. The problem was that my own cup was absolstinkinglutely empty (and probably still sitting in the sink and not the dishwasher). I needed a minute.
You simply cannot pour into other people if your own cup is empty. You just can’t. So unless you take a few minutes, an hour, a day, to recharge your spirit, sit in the sunshine, talk and walk with a good friend, read a book that is not about furry creatures (we are currently reading a great series about Humphree the classroom hamster, very engaging. A big shout out to Amy Fairchild, our fabulous media specialist at Central, for helping Cole Keller pick out a set of three of those books at the last book fair :/), cook a meal just for yourself that is what just you want to eat for a change, then your cup will be empty and you will be so cranky. The problem with taking care of yourself as a single mama is that you just simply usually don’t. Any extra funds go to keeping your kiddos clothed and fed, but the investment in yourself is also worth it, and they do not have to be investments that cost money. Take a yoga class, go for a walk in the sunshine (with a friend you have been missing, I got to do that today) find yourself a hammock in the sun, go to the library and find a good book (the library is a quiet place and no one else can actually talk to you because it is the library and they have to be quiet. Mommy win). It is not selfish to take care of yourself, or you cannot take care of the very important little people who depend on you, your children. My cup is feeling so much more full, and I just had a couple of hours (and some sunshine, I am pretty sure that is key to my happiness). Sometimes just a visit and a laugh with a sweet friend will do the trick too. Women need one another, whether they want to admit it or not. Check on your friends, when they seem zany and crazy tired, because I am betting their cup is pretty empty too.
*I obviously did not drive off to the beach that morning, but if you can’t find me and the weather is dark and gloomy again, you might search for me at the Emerald Coast, no joke.