You do it all. You are up at sunrise, cuddling, preparing, feeding, wiping, driving, explaining, teaching, encouraging, fixing, day in and day out. And you love your job and wouldn’t want things any other way because you know it’s worth it. But you are depleted, exhausted and have no time to fill your own needs or wants.
Time with friends, quality time with your partner, remembering what real clothes feel like, gym time, quiet time (hahah never!), time to finish all those things you started 10 years ago.
Without you, their world would be a mess. You are the glue. The peanut butter to their jelly, the Nutella to their…well, anything.
So when I say that you need to put you first, here’s why:
- Be Happy! A happier mom automatically equals a happier home (kids and partner included). Research has shown that a happy mom is the one thing that kids want. And my own son often asks me when my face looks tired and drawn, “Mom, are you happy? Be happy!” Think about your own memories as a child, I bet you don’t recall a lot of outings or lessons or events. You probably remember small moments when your mom was happy and playing with you wholeheartedly. How did your mother’s happiness manifest in your relationship with her and outside of her? It matters. When you are happy, things are more lighthearted and the environment feels brighter.
- Satisfy Yourself. Feelings of satisfaction fill us up. Sometimes this motherhood gig can feel downright unsatisfying. We are unable to measure any real results of all the hard work we are putting in day after day. Seeing this project through to completion will take approximately 35 years. Doing something separate from motherhood that we enjoy can satisfy us. Knitting a blanket, journaling, a yoga practice. Whatever you like to do, do it!
- Patience. When you feel satisfied and happy, you will actually BE a better mother! And who doesn’t want that?! I was never a patient person before having Xavier, but now, people often commend me on my level of patience and I owe it all to yoga and having me time, which allows me to step outside of myself and see things clearly.
I know what you’re thinking, “Where am I going to find the time for more stuff?” And I’m not telling you this to put more items on your To Do list, or to cause guilt – b/c lord knows moms don’t need any more of that shit.
I’m telling you this because I think it really matters to the level of happiness we feel in our lives. And it directly transfers to our relationships with our partner, our friends and families and our children. Someone once told me that I was the one who set the tone of the entire household. If I was grumpy, everyone was and vice versa. And while this doesn’t always feel fair, it’s the truth. So get your shit together woman!
The bottom line is that when my personal needs are being met, I am a better human, period.
Where do you begin? With small, achievable actions. Some ideas might be to:
- Start your day with a quick inspirational reading from Journey to the Heart by Melody Beattie or any other book of your choice. It can help you focus and set mindful intentions to live your day more presently.
- Outsource where you can! Hire a babysitter/enlist family members to watch the kiddos for a bit or splurge on a housecleaning service once a month and free up some of your time. You might feel guilty at first, but once you see how good it feels, the guilt melts away – I promise.
- Get rid of some of your family’s belongings. Up front this is more work, but think about this: the less stuff you have, the less stuff you have to clean/organize/deal with.
- Work smarter, not more. Keep away from distractions! When you are working, stay off of Facebook and keep your work focused. When you’re done, you’re done – turn it off and move on to your next thing. Be all there, wherever you are.
You know when you’re about to take off on a flight? They make an annoucement saying very clearly to, “Put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others”. Our first inclination would always be to give the oxygen to our children sitting beside us – but if you don’t first help yourself, you won’t be around to help anyone else.
So fill yourselves up Mamas, your families will thank you.