Most of us know that the love that we give to our children is far more than the love that we give ourselves. The times when we are removed from our children and partners, we get caught up in all the other identities we become as a parent, and as the days continue to pass by it gets even easier to put off our own needs, to stay in touch with ourselves mentally and maintain ourselves physically. That change when we become mothers can make loving ourselves even harder.
I often choose cleaning the house over a book. I choose an extra 30 minutes of sleep over a workout, I choose a quick meal over a healthy one, and I choose my children and others needs over myself, and it has started to show. It shows in the tiredness in my eyes. It shows in the extra weight wrapped around my body. It shows in my demeanor, just how hard I find it to love myself on days where the only things I see are the things I could do better and the pieces of myself I no longer recognize. I feel this makes it even harder for those around me to see the real me.
I spent many of my younger years not having a clear sense of who I was, what my purpose or longing in life were, creating a very low self esteem and often wondering what I was doing here. Since adulthood I have slowly found the pieces of what I was searching for, my passions, my strengths and trust for others. Motherhood has been the most rewarding and intense personal path that I have ever walked and now alongside my children. I am learning a lot about myself and this crazy life every second of every day, and finally in my life I am starting to feel whole and here is how I am getting there to a life well lived.
Surround yourself with people that truly love you and cheer for you, people who are your stepping stones in life to help you reach your goals, whether it your spouse, your grandmother or your best friend you might have a person who tells you a better story about yourself when you are having a bad day. Sometimes we just need to talk to someone we trust to remind us of our self-worth. And this is a good thing, the best of things.
“Everyone tells a story about who they are in their own head. That story defines you, dictating all your actions and all your mistakes. If your own story is filled with guilt and fear and self-hatred, life can look pretty miserable. But, if you’re very lucky, you might have a person who tells you a better story, one that takes up residence in your soul, speaking louder than the woeful tale of which you’ve convinced yourself. If you let it speak loudly within your heart, it becomes your passion and your purpose.”
– Mia Sheridan
So often we’re pulled in several directions at once. The kids need this or that, there’s an appointment, a deadline, you’re out of groceries. Again, the list goes on. And when there’s finally a moment of silence, we turn to our phones, computers or televisions. On occasion, take those times to just be in silence. Use the silence to think and relax. Write in a journal, spend time in nature, go for a long car ride in the country, enjoy a cappuccino out of a pretty cup. I have found that it is little things like this that are truly good for your soul.
Think about it, before you had children what brought you happiness? Don’t let the things that made you happy pre-parenthood completely disappear. Make time to enjoy them again, and furthermore, take time to grow in areas that you find interesting in life now. Start painting again, take a class, join a photo challenge. It will be worth it! You deserve the chance to further yourself and become a better you!
Love yourself. Know that you are beautiful no matter how physically different you may feel, people love you and no matter what you are adored by your children. Your body is powerful; it housed, nurtured and birthed children. A dress size two and poreless face are not the only things that equal beauty and it is easy to compare ourselves to the plastic bodies and faces we see on television. Loving your body can also mean treating it well and putting effort into the things you do and put into it that reflect care and love. Accepting that not only does your physical appearance define you, but taking the steps to change the things you can and taking care of your body’s health will change your image inside and out. I have found that taking 20-30 minutes a day for exercise has changed me, not just physically but I now rely on exercise for my mental well being, I am happier and more patient throughout the day with my children, sleep better and have more energy. Exercise is free therapy for me!
Listen to music daily! Children love music, my 4-year-old daughter now knows how to access my Spotify account and has her own saved music, we listen to music and dance every day while I pick up the house while they play and color. This is an instant mood enhancer for everyone and I laugh when I see my daughter sing Adele lyrics!
This was a game changer for me – ask for help! I wanted nothing more in my life than to become a mother making it still hard to admit that I need a break from them at times!! I need HELP!! Planning our schedule ahead I would only schedule a babysitter on the days that I had to work, schedule a few hours just to work on yourself too. I’ve learned that this is better for all of us to be apart, I appreciate them and they listen and respect me more and I think they get sick of me too! I wanted to be a wife and mother that does it all, but sadly I can’t. I have tried and repeatedly failed from holding the bar too high. I used to hate the fact of bothering my spouse after a hard day at his job, but not anymore, he is happy to help, he just didn’t realize it!
As you continue to focus on yourself, know that your children are watching you too and learning. Realize that self-love is one of the most important things you can teach your children, and one of the best things you can ever offer them is loving yourself. If you don’t take care of yourself, nothing else will seem to go right. You won’t be able to give 100% to your family, job, responsibilities if you have nothing in the bucket to give. It doesn’t have to be much, but figure out what recharges you, what you need to function, and make that a priority worth spending some time on.
It’s time. Love yourself again. Put yourself first today. Happy Valentines Day to YOU!