While traveling by plane recently, I overheard the flight attendant reminding parents to ‘please put their own oxygen mask on first’. It makes sense that by putting their mask on first, they will receive enough oxygen so that they can be coherent enough to put on our their child’s mask. However, it does not feel natural for parents, especially Moms, to take care of their own needs before their child’s.
Moms often share that they feel selfish when taking time for themselves. They feel guilty or judged if they aren’t putting their child first. Being selfless means having little concern for one’s self…doing for others before yourself. Mothers often lament, once their children are grown and gone, that they’ve ‘lost themselves or that they don’t know who they are anymore’. Their fear of being selfish, perhaps led to their selflessness…forgetting about their own needs…forgetting to take care of themselves…forgetting who they really are.
Loving yourself is the first step to being a good parent…when you love yourself, you’re able to love your child fully. When you love yourself, you don’t need your child to validate your importance. When you love yourself first, you are then able to be there for your child.
You’ve heard the saying, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”? Isn’t this so true?
So how can you love yourself and be there for your child? First by committing to taking care of yourself. I know you’re probably thinking, there aren’t enough hours in the day. I know because I was right there where you are…raising four kids and wondering how was I going to get through the day…and somedays, that’s all I did, was just get through the day. However, what I do remember and what other Moms share, is that just getting through the day is not good enough…when we are spending our time, ‘just getting through the day’, we are losing out…and so are our kids. If we’re not living a meaningful life, and we’re losing ourselves in the process…what are we giving our children? What messages are we sending them? What lessons are we teaching them?
The first step to taking care of yourself means taking time to do just that. Carving out “me” time, even if it’s only 10 minutes a day. Letting your family know that this is your special time. Just as you create special time for them, you are also creating special “Mom” time.
Here are some thoughts about how to take care of yourself…
Make a list of what’s important to you, including things you used to love to do before you were a Mom…chances are you still have passion for those same things.
- Practice good self-care
- Healthy eating
- Massage, pedicures, anything that makes you feel good!
Create fun in your life!
Whatever floats your soul…dance, sing, paint, be silly
Connect…with your partner, your girlfriends, others that help make you feel good about yourself
Learn to say no…
“No” is a complete sentence.” ~Anne Lamott
Remember that everyday is a new day…a new opportunity to practice self-care. Break out those sticker charts, that you use for your children, and reward yourself with a sparkly star every time you make time for YOU.
Who’s Taking Care of You? Take time to Mother yourself, so that you can then Mother your child…
“I know for sure that you can’t give what you don’t have. If you allow yourself to be depleted to the point where your emotional and spiritual tank is empty and you’re running on fumes out of habit, everyone loses. Especially you.”