By Danielle McKenna
Career, partner, kids, house, gym, social life, trying to be a good person, swearing less, eating less but moving more . . . You know the cycle, the juggle is real. Especially for mothers, who lets face it, are the CEO’s of their household. The decision makers, the crisis handlers and the chief bottom wipers. No one warned us how tough it would be.Don’t get me wrong, becoming a mother and the love I have for my child could not be more rewarding. My daughter has made me a far kinder, more resilient, empathetic person, but my goodness I have those moments where I could hide under my duvet for a day. Or just quietly disappear one day and join the circus (although that wouldn’t feel much different from home) or simply long for the days I could lay in past 7am.When you are spinning so many plates, self care can be quite thin on the ground, if at all. Most mums I speak to have an element of mum guilt. You may have convinced yourself you don’t deserve to be looked after and that you come last on the priority list, but if you’re going to make it through with your sanity and identity intact taking care of yourself is not optional.With Mother’s Day around the corner, what a better time than now, to ask for a partner to support your self care or even take it into your own hands and put yourself first for the day. A whole, entire day dedicated to you, imagine that?! If you’re reading this, there’s no excuse.
A really easy way of determining this is ‘What do I need?’ Vs ‘What do I want?’ For example, you may desperately want a new handbag or new shoes, but these purchases won’t sustain you long term. What works for you is likely to go a little deeper and be more lasting than the fast buzz of a quick purchase. Does it nourish me, does it nurture me, does it refuel me? Am I giving myself love and kindness? All important questions when making correct self care choices.Secondly, I want you to start pondering what you actually need? Don’t take any notice of the bombardment we receive on a daily basis from media, friends, family (not easy I know) and think about what YOU need. The results won’t last if self care is not in line with what you are mentally and physically craving.Start listening to your mind and body and begin to hone your intuition. Are you going to that punishing gym class because you enjoy it and it will revive you or because you think you ‘should.’ Are you reaching for a that piece of cake/glass of wine/family sized chocolate bar, because you’re hungry or you’re trying to fill a void left by an unpleasant emotion during the day?
Easy self care tips, that don’t cost a penny include; making sure you get enough sleep, having a relaxing bath or shower, being around friends and family, meditating, treating yourself kindly, making time to rest, walking in nature and having quiet time. If you want to invest a little more you could book yourself a massage, a creative course or even a spa weekend. Anything that helps you to feel rested and supported.Thirdly, make Mother’s Day a family project. Invite an open conversation with your child, children or partner about what mummy needs and what would make her happy. I think sometimes we are reluctant to ask for what we need or even assume that others already know. However, I think more often than not people want to make you happy and they want to support, they just need some gentle guidance. So be bold and have that daring conversation.
The oxygen mask on the plane is the simplest way of demonstrating putting yourself first. If you don’t get that mask on quick fire then you cant take care of anyone else, including your child. If you are depleted and exhausted in life you won’t have anything left to give the people you love and care for. Self care is paramount to a balanced life.Motherhood is the survival of the most resilient and creating healthy self care habits will ensure that you create lasting safety and stability for you and your family. No better gift for you on Mother’s Day than that.