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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

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What Do You Do For You?

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As chief family officer, I’m constantly finding myself putting the needs of everyone else in my household first. This puts me in a precarious situation of doing too much for my boys and not allowing enough me time. 

My boys have come to expect that I am here to bail them out or pick up the pieces when they forget something. I know at 13 and 9 they need to learn to take responsibility for their stuff and they need to learn that their actions have consequences, but in the long scheme of life, they are still babies. My husband gets annoyed at our 13 year old and tells me that he needs to be held accountable, but I’m a mama bear and will go to bat for him every time.

The old adage holds true, the days are long but the years are short. These days, I find myself looking up at my 13-year-old now, and the memories flood my mind of why I decided to homeschool five years ago. When he was away at school, I remember wishing it was always Friday and feeling that I was missing out on the best parts of his day. Even with managing his teen hormones, I wouldn’t want anyone else to do what I do for him day in and day out.

I continually ask the question: Is what I’m doing for them or is it really for me? It’s actually for me. My children are my greatest accomplishment and if they don’t succeed then I’ve failed myself.

To be a good mother and wife, I must take time for my self-care. In the past 18 months, I have learned to knit, carved out time to go to the gym three times a week, cared for my nails and made attending Mass a daily priority. Part of self-care is also self-love and I have learned to be intentional with my time and have set boundaries so as not to over-commit myself. Still, I am more apt to do for others than for myself.

Here’s an easy way to get started. Consider adding a line item to your family’s budget for your wellness. You’d be surprised that $10 a week (a beverage of your choice) or $40 a month (a massage) may be what you need to maintain your health and well-being. Other suggestions that don’t cost anything but can align your chakras are to read a book, listen to an audiobook, pray, walk a dog, take an Epsom bath, practice taekwondo, ride a bike or sleep in.

While at Thanksgiving, my 13-year-old and his cousin made the seating chart. On each name tag, they put the person’s name and something about him or her. My son put that I am a perfectionist. This hit me hard. I asked him why he thought of me this way, and he said because everything you set your mind to you do at 110% or don’t do it at all. This may be my greatest strength but also my greatest weakness. At the end of the day what I do for myself is for the greater good of all. 

Nikki Ducas
Nikki Ducas is a freelance writer and for the past 8+ years writes the money column for Fredericksburg Parent & Family Magazine. She has lived in Fredericksburg for 16 years with her husband and is a homeschooling mom to their two boys. Nikki enjoys hiking, knitting and her other side hustles of pet sitting and event management.

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