As a life coach, I often meet mothers who are great at caregiving. They’re setting their best foot at work, for their kids, for their partners. When asking who’s the most important person in your life, they often reply it’s their kids or partner. But where is the mom herself in this story? Is it realistic to expect to be able to take care of your loved ones whilst not making yourself a priority? And what is the message you’re relying on your kids when you’re only in service to others?
All mothers want their kids to be happy, and as such, it is only natural to say that seeing your kids and partner happy is what makes you happy as a mom. However, it’s good to realize that your happiness depends on how you feel inside. Of course, seeing your kids or partner happy gives you a good feeling, but ultimately your internal feelings or what happens inside of you are key to your happiness which stresses the importance of making yourself a priority.
The challenge is that often we’re not used to taking care of ourselves the same way we’re taking care of others. Maybe you also grew up with the idea that it’s important to always serve or take care of others and to put yourself second.
It's easy to think that looking after yourself is egoistic, however, prioritizing self-care is everything except being egoistic for two reasons:
Maybe this saying is a bit cliche, but there’s a truth to it. In order to carry out all tasks in family life, you first need to energetically feed yourself otherwise automatically a shortage is created.
We’ve all had the experience where you had a busy day, and your kid keeps pushing your boundaries until you react very irritated. Afterward, you feel guilty. This is just an example, but this shortage can also manifest in irritation towards your partner, an emotional breakdown, a clouded head, or little energy. To conclude lots of guilt, insecurity, and restlessness. It’s bypassing your needs that creates this stress. It’s like putting your own oxygen mask on first in the plane. By taking care of yourself, you ensure that you have enough energy to carry yourself and motherhood.
It’s not a surprise that mothers play a significant role in shaping their kid’s behaviors and attitudes. Knowing this, what is it that you’re teaching your kids by always being of service to others and not making yourself a priority? Your kids might interpret this that you always need to put others first and not guard their boundaries.
By practicing making yourself a priority, you can teach your kids the importance of self-love and self-worth. This sets a positive example for your kids, helping them to develop healthy self-care habits as they grow.
Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the here and now whilst observing without judgment. It’s not necessarily only meditation, something a lot of mothers don’t have the time for, but it’s about integrating mindfulness in small everyday situations by checking in with yourself.
We often do things on an automatic pilot; laundry, picking up the kids from sports training, ordering a present for someone’s birthday, etc. Before you know it, the day is over, and your cup is empty. The key to avoiding this is to step away from the autopilot, check in with yourself, and give yourself what you need.
For instance, your kid asks you to play hide and seek. It’s very tempting to automatically say yes, however, if you would check in with yourself and notice how you feel, what would you then say?
Whatever it is, by stepping out of the autopilot and tuning your attention inwards, you can notice what you need and give yourself what you need. Maybe you say yes if you have enough energy, maybe you say no because you’re absolutely not in the mood for an active game, or maybe you say yes but ask your kid to wait until you finish your cup of coffee. Whatever it is, by allowing yourself to be a priority, you ensure to refill your energy so you can take care of yourself and your family.
As with every pattern that needs to be broken, learning to make yourself a priority is something that needs practice and patience. It’s like learning a new language. Taking small steps is, therefore, key.
In the beginning, it might feel uncomfortable, and maybe you might also feel guilt if you say no, but by taking small steps and practicing checking in with yourself, you’ll notice that it will get better with time and that taking care of yourself is the best for you and your family.
If you need help finding more balance in motherhood, then I invite you to take a look at my 1 on 1 coaching program: The Grounded Mom. Within this program, we work on building a strong foundation within yourself so you can stand strong instead of being carried away by worries, fears, and judgment from others. Living in balance, according to your core values, and being confident to speak out about what you need. You’re very welcome to book a free and non-binding discovery call to explore further.
This article was written by Laila Fanzi, a mother and a life coach, empowering you to return to authenticity, balance, and calmness. Learn more about Laila and her work here.
#selfcare #motherhoodjourney #selfcarematters #mindfulness #mentalhealth