As mothers we tend to completely neglect ourselves. The kids comes first. Our spouse comes first. The clean house comes first. Our work comes first. But when do we come first? Do you set aside time to do you? To rest and reset? If your like me that rarely comes around.
I use to think that an hour of peace in a bathtub with a glass of wine and my favorite tv show was self care. I use to think that that blip of time was enough to “reset”. However after starting my own business from the ground up, managing social media posts, budgets, new inventory, all of the things I realize it is NOT ENOUGH. As mothers and as women I feel like we choose to be the masochist and have a mind set of ‘no pain, no success’. If we aren’t tired, if we didn’t take an hour to make the cutest soccer mom shirt, if we don’t make gourmet meals, if we don’t have the best clothing for our kids, if we don’t volunteer as the classroom mom, then we are failures. But I am here to tell you that it is OK to fix your kids chicken nuggets for the third time this week if it help make your day easier… they won’t die of malnutrition, I promise. I am here to tell you that it is OK to sleep in and let the kids make a mess of the house if you need it. I am here to tell you that it is OK to let the laundry and dishes pile up so that you can be more present and play with your kids. I am also here to tell you that an hour long bath every few months is NOT enough time to recoup and reset.
As mothers we have this incredible power to set the mood for our entire household, I know this all too well. I was hustling and working my business SO hard that I had compromised my personal and mental health, as well as my family life. I didn’t even realize that when I was ‘playing’ with the kids, while multitasking work stuff on my phone they noticed big time. They noticed when mommy was so stressed, that it lead to her being angry all the time. They noticed when daddy began to mimic mommy’s anger and short temper. They even began to mimic this behavior with each other… I finally got my wake up call when in the same day my husband said to me “your not happy anymore”, and later that day my 6 year old said to her sisters, “Lets go play in our room so we don’t make mommy mad.” Ya’ll I can’t even describe what that felt like. My soul was crushed. I was so caught up in ‘making money to help my family’, that I completely neglected their needs. I had gotten to a point where if the house wasn’t spotless, if the kids got too loud, if there was any disorder (which is frequent with 3 toddlers…) that I got angry. I had neglected to take care of ME for so long that I had completely lost myself in the process.
Honestly, the term “self care” really bothers me… as I said earlier, its as though a mani-pedi and a few hours of alone time should be enough for us to feel refreshed. I realize now that for me personally, forcing myself to go to the gym at least 4 days a week was a big part in my necessary self care. Its not just the exercise that I needed, it wasn’t just the endorphins, norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine release from the exercise (all balance your mood), but for me the time at the gym meant an hour, 4 days a week that I had free childcare!!! And if your a mom, you know that that is huge, especially if your a stay-at-home-mom like me that doesn’t get a break. Frankly getting myself motivated to go to the gym for physical reason failed miserable every time… however motivating myself with free childcare worked EVERY TIME! For me self care meant actually taking time to eat. I am sure that may sound ridiculous, but for me I took care of everyone and everything needed for that day before I stopped to even think about eating a meal. Obviously this lead to me getting hangry, which fed my already habitual process of over working and neglecting the relationships with my family.
In all of my educational research to push my business to be more successful, I learned about something called ‘time blocking’. I heard it mentioned a ton, but never thought it was relevant to me. All of that changed when I heard a podcast where the author put it into words that finally clicked for me. She asked if I though I was am amazing multitasker? Heck yea!, I am so efficient too… Then she asked if I was exhausted and stressed? Well… I am a mom, so obviously… She then quoted someone that said ‘To do two things at once is to do neither.’ No clue the author for the quote, but it was a revelation. Her point was that as mothers and as humans we weren’t designed to multitask, we were designed to give 100% to whatever we are doing at the time. So if it’s family time, put the electronics away, tv off, and be 100% present. I still struggle with this. If its time to work, make sure you select a time to work when either your husbands is home, kids are asleep or at school, so you can be 100% present. The application of this is so hard ya’ll, but I feel like it is so necessary. By time blocking your helping structure your day so you don’t drop the ball with anything on the to do list. For me getting up before the kids so I can drink some coffee and spend time in the word completely shifts the direction of my day. Lately I seldom do it, but I can at least acknowledge the significance and hopefully create a habit of it. Research shows that is takes an average of 21 days to create a new habit, sometimes upwards of 60 days. So know that when you make change and it doesn’t seem to be working, it takes time girl! You can do it!
Another podcast talked about thinking of your family, work, health, friends, and spirit. They said pretend you are juggling these 5 balls, the work and friend balls are rubber and the rest are glass… if you drop the ball with work or friends, it will bounce and you can adjust. However the other three are made of glass and are necessary, so place your priority to those areas. I loved that. First and foremost take care of yourself. Make sure your mind, sprit and body are fed and prepared to tackle the day. Then spend all the time needed with your family, to make sure they feel like they have enough of you. Whatever remains can then go to your work, your business, housework, all the things that will still be there when you get around to it.
You set the mood for your household, so feed yourself with positive, uplifting, healthy things and I promise you will see drastic changes. Take care you yourself first girl! The better prepared you are to be mom each day, the better mom you will be.