{Build 'Em Up} Remembering You

I'm linking up with Erin from Blue Eyed Bride, Kelly from Kelly's Korner, Jennifer from Life in the Green House and Courtney from Lil Light O' Mine for Build "Em Up! 

To read my post on bringing faith to life, click here, and to read about the joy of playing with my kids, click here.

Regardless of your stage in life (single, married, mother), it's so important to remember to take care of yourself. It's also a lot easier to talk about than do sometimes though. I think taking care of yourself helps to make you the best version of yourself that you can be.

I know for me to be the best wife, mother, friend and employee I can be, I have to remember myself. My journey to motherhood has been different than probably that of most of you who read this blog. I went from being a single girl with a great job, many weekends spent with friends at the lake or beach and evenings full of whatever I wanted to falling completely in love with my sweet husband and his {now our} two little boys who were just two and three at the time.

Life changed. And it was for the better.

Fast forward almost two years and we're married with two very active children (4 and 5). I still love my job and I still love the beach, but life is so much fuller now. I really can't remember what life was like before Kevin and the boys. I know I was still busy, but I know that it's nothing like it was and for that, I'm so very thankful.

One of the things that concerned me most about motherhood when I was growing up (you know you daydreamed about when you'd be a wife and mom, too) was the fear of losing myself. I didn't want to lose myself for me and I didn't want to lose myself for my husband because after all, he fell in love with me for me. While I haven't become a mother in the traditional pop out a kid way, I am a mother. Yes, I may have missed out on the nighttime feedings and the very early years, but that doesn't make me any less of a mother. (There will be a time for all of that, too.) And you know what I've discovered in these past two years? I haven't lost myself at all. I'm really a better me.

Besides the whole not losing myself thing, I think it's so important to invest in me so that my people get the best parts of me. I also think it's important for the boys to see Kevin and I doing things that we enjoy and see us spending time together. I want our marriage to be something they want to have one day, but that's another post for another day.

When it comes to remembering myself, I've learned that there are two things I need every day (or most days at least).

1. Quiet Time: I need a few minutes of quiet. I'm quite outgoing/super peppy/happy, but I need some downtime. I need a few minutes each day where I don't have to think and a few minutes where I can just be with my husband. I also need quiet so that I can spend time talking to God and reading His Word.

In the mornings, I'm up before everyone and I enjoy having those few quiet minutes as I take a shower and get ready for the day ahead. I like the quiet mornings that I get (which don't happen too often) when I'm at work early and have a chance to just better prepare for the day. I love the quiet moments at night after we put the boys to bed where we can connect and just relax.

2. Exercise: Exercise is very important to me. I love to run and workout. I am better for it. Not only do I want to do this for my health (and to look good for my husband if I'm being completely honest), I want to set a good example of a healthy lifestyle for the boys. I will be the first to tell you that running and working out each day (or most days) is challenging. With work, home and family responsibilities, it's not always easy, but it's something I want to do and I manage to do it - I've run 26.5 miles this month and it's only the 9th. I'm proof that you can do it!

I like spending my evenings with my family, so I do my best to get my workouts done early in the day. I'd rather do a fast, intense workout in the morning and run on the treadmill at lunch than to take away time from my precious family in the evenings. I'd like to think I'm becoming seasoned at seizing the opportunity to do something active (besides all the playing we do inside and out). On Sunday afternoon, I ran two miles while waiting for cupcakes to bake and last night, I did 8 minute abs while the boys were playing in the tub. Does it require planning? Yes. Is it worth it? Most definitely.

I know those two things aren't as exciting as nights out, weekends away or bi-weekly manicures, but for me, they matter and make me feel good. They're the most important items on my "me" list. And in this season of my life, the most important things are my sweet husband and those two smiling little boys.

Of course, there are other things I enjoy doing for myself. You know I love to blog and it's something I do nearly every day. I won't turn down a pedicure date with my sister. I love to read everything from novels to your blogs to magazines (although I will admit I have a stack waiting to be read in our den). There are a few shows we watch (albeit, DVR'd). I love to shop and take relaxing baths. Cooking is fun. And I love to plan things and do special things for the people I love.

The one thing I still struggle with is doing things for myself when my people are around. I do sometimes, but it's hard to leave them to go do things that don't really have to be done (you know, like pedicures). Kevin and I both encourage each other to do the things we love (like running for me and sports for him) because we know how important it is to take care of ourselves, but we both (I know he would agree) feel bad for doing those sometimes. I'm assuming this "guilt" feeling goes away, but I'd appreciate any advice you want to give me!