10 Reasons Self Care Should be a Part of Motherhood + How
Burnt out. Sound familiar? Sound like story of your life? Yeah - been there, often. It happens to all of us, y'all. I mean it happens to everyone, but any mother will tell you, burnout comes a lot more often when you are needed by so many people for so many things. It's hard to focus on any one thing, much less yourself. But I see you, I see you out there doing the best you can running on cold coffee and day 4 dry-shampooed hair. I see you saying yes when you want to say no, and saying no when you want to say yes. And as much as I know you're going to want to give a big ol' hefty eye roll when I say this... Girl. Take care of yourself.
Why? Why should you prioritize yourself when you're being pulled in 10 different directions, and actually you're totally "fine" and you'll "sleep when you're dead" and "coffee is life" and all the other excuses we give ourselves daily? Hear me, y'all, when I say this (completely out of love!) - being burnt out is not a badge of honor. Running on empty is not a bragging right. Feeling run down in the name of super-momming is not worth it.
1. You cannot pour from an empty cup. This is the most important thing. Take any cup and continue to pour from it without refilling it, even the biggest of Bug Gulp cups are going to run dry and they'll no longer be able to pour. Don't let yourself be an empty Big Gulp, friend.
2. Your children need an example to follow. Part of being a parent is by leading our children with our actions. Our children should see us prioritizing ourselves and respecting our own needs just as much as we do other peoples'. How else will we teach them about self-care and self-worth if we don't do it ourselves?
3. You're still a human being. I know you wear many hats every day - Mom, wife, taxi driver, friend, cook, accountant, crafter, the list goes on. But at the end of the day, when all the tasks have been checked, the kids in bed, and you take off your hat, you need someone to be. Invest in who you are outside of your roles, it will only make you better at them. I promise.
4. Happiness comes from within. It's no secret that other people and other things in our lives can contribute to overall happiness, but if you're not content within yourself and happy with who you are, you'll have a hard time feeling truly happy. Feeding your soul with things you truly enjoy and doing things because you enjoy them is much better fuel for a happy life than most people can imagine.
5. Keep yourself motivated. It's hard to stay motivated to continue to do things for other people all the time when you don't feel like you're reaping the rewards. It's not a bad thing, it's human nature. Give yourself a reward for working so hard, for doing so much, for being so great (because you do, you do, and you are...). And when you're having a rough time wearing one of your hats, it's easier wearing it knowing who is underneath is doing okay in spite of an ugly hat.
6. It's okay to be selfish. My husband has to remind me of this constantly. We often look at selfishness as a negative trait. And sure, completely ignoring others isn't the best decision you could make. But there is absolutely no shame in looking out for your own well-being. Being selfish in a self-care kind of way is, in itself, not selfish. Why? Read the other 9 points.
7. Your marriage deserves it. I don't know about you, but when I'm burnt out and worn out and scatter brained and overwhelmed, the first person I get short with is my husband. Not because he's the one burning me out or overwhelming me, quite the opposite actually, but because he's closest to me and I depend on him to be there even when I'm a hot mess. When I'm doing okay mentally, emotionally, physically, our relationship is so much better. I'm able to focus on being in our relationship and investing time into it, and I can focus on just being myself with my husband and be his wife.
8. This phase will end. And then you'll move onto a new phase. Maybe it gets a little easier during the next one, maybe it gets a little harder. But either way, as things change in our lives, we have to remain consistent in our commitment to ourselves. We'll never survive motherhood or anything else Hurricane Life throws at us if we aren't focusing on our well-being through it all.
9. Think of future you. When I'm having a hard time making a decision, I think of 90 year old me (who I basically envision as Betty White...), looking back on my life and telling this story - the one I'm living out right now. What would 90 year old me think? What would I have wished I did differently? And almost every single time something goes sour, I think 90 year old me would say, "I wish I would have just done what was best for me and not what other people wanted me to do." I can't do what's best for me if I'm not listening to my own body and mind.
10. You'll be a better mom. It is proven, real, scientific fact that I am a thousand times better mother when I can approach parenting as a blessing rather than a burden. And I'll be super honest with you right now - it's often very much a burden when I feel stretched too thin to commit to it. The hard part? I'm often stretched thin. The good part? It's a conscious choice can make to prioritize myself so that I may also prioritize my children. I'm more patient, more kind, more loving, more present, more focused on my children's needs when I am not focused on how tired I am, or what needs my own self is screaming at me internally or how many other people or things need me.
And if I haven't convinced you by now, I may never. But it's worth noting that some of you might be coming around to the possibility that you might actually be worth some of your own time. But how? When your time is finite, your budget may not allow for a weekly massage (but my goodness wouldn't that be nice?!)... I'll tell you. And it's really simple.
Do something every single day for you.
And it may be a more difficult habit to form than you think. But do something every day. Work out, paint your nails, do a face mask, take an extra long shower, go to sleep early, ask for help with a task you normally do solo. Spend 30 minutes on the phone with a friend. Watch a throwback awesome chick flick on Netflix. Splurge sometimes, too. Go get that facial. Buy some new shoes. Go to breakfast alone and read a good book.
Whatever you do, do something every single day. And when it's hard to make that choice to do something for yourself, when all your womanly, mom instincts are pushing back at you to keep on keepin' on for everyone else, I want you to say these words out loud:
I am worth my own time.
Because you are, and I really really hope you'll start to take it.