Mommies need to eat too

Published 9:20 pm Tuesday, November 24, 2015

By Tonya S. Swindell

Thanksgiving can be a special but busy time of year for us moms.

I remember helping my mother prepare turkey, dressing, casseroles and potato salad for our Thanksgiving feast; then sharing memorable moments with family while eating at our dining room table. Mama rarely got to eat much during those meals, because she was out of her seat making sure everyone else had what they needed.

Email newsletter signup

Now that I have my own children, I realize mommies need to eat, too, or make time to be nourished and refreshed also. If we don’t, we can’t maintain the spiritual strength, physical stamina and mental focus needed to care for ourselves and our families.

My goal is to be more intentional by using my time to engage in activities that “feed” me spiritually, physically and mentally.

Many years ago, Pam, the wife of my former pastor, suggested I make time to engage in activities that are healing for me. She shared advice she had received from another wise woman: “You don’t have time and then make time, but you make time and then you have time.”

Her words made me see that when I carve out time for activities that are important to my well-being, I discover I actually have time for those activities. Pam’s words also made me realize how much I neglected to care for myself in ways that were fun, relaxing, and good for me.

Now my sister-in-law, Martha, who serves as a chaplain and teaches a series of personal and business communication classes, reminds me to express my needs to others while being intentional about using my time.

To satisfy some of my spiritual needs, I usually spend time praying, reading my Bible and Our Daily Bread devotional before my family wakes up each morning.

Weekly swimming classes and walking with my co-worker on most days of the week are my physical exercise. To maintain my mental health, I do things like writing and reflecting, reading or treating myself to other relaxing activities before picking up my kids from school.

In 2014, I had a meal with at least one friend a month to catch up on old relationships, while building new ones. I also thank God for family and friends and programs like Parent’s Night Out at the YMCA that keeps our kids for a few hours so my husband and I can spend time with one another.

As I get older and wiser, I’m becoming more aware of my need to make time for activities that inspire me in different ways.

Although I still remind my children that mommies need to eat too, my kids are becoming more responsible as I spend time caring for myself, also. As each of us develops within our personal stage of life, I’m thankful we’re learning to make time for activities that are good for our own spiritual, physical and mental well-being.

Tonya Swindell writes a blog for and a teacher for Kingdom Building Equipping School ( She can be reached at