This image sums up how I felt much of the time as a new mom. Can I get an AMEN? Making a mental shift to care for yourself in the midst of the chaos of parenthood is hard! However, for your own sanity and for the benefit of your children (and spouse if you have one) you must do this!
If you have kids and work full time, I know you have been here before, probably several times! Let me set the scene.
You desperately need your hair done, your nails are so disgusting and chipped down to just a few specs of color in the very center of about half of your nails. You need to shower this morning but you are running behind because your daughter won’t get dressed without a second opinion on her outfit. You just discovered the baby pooped through his pajamas while he was sleeping which means his bed has to be completely disassembled and everything laundered and baby need a rinse off at the bare minimum- EWW!
Work is insanely busy you barley have time to eat lunch. After work you are fighting traffic and trying to pick up kids before social services gets called. There is softball practice and girl scouts and dance class. Getting home doesn’t ease the chaos as you feed the hangry offspring and attempt to bathe them. You stay up all night to make lunches, pack diaper bags, dream feed the baby (if you have an infant and don’t know about this… you have GOT to try it… it will change your life!) and clean up the mess you made doing all of that. You are so over committed, stressed out and exhausted.
Doing anything for yourself seems miles away and you are feeling like a total hot mess. Your heart’s desire is to be clean, meal prep and work out but those things take time. Time is the one thing you are stretched WAY too thin on. Eventually, you daydream about these things long enough and you can take no more so you finally just make the time to arrange a few minutes to yourself only to spend the whole time thinking about what your family is doing without you and wondering whether or not you will have a house to come home to or if it will be burned to the ground in your absence. On the flip side, if you manage to enjoy this time, you tried home to find the extreme chairs had gotten worse! Then it sets in… #momguilt.
We cannot do all of this day in and day out without making time for ourselves to regularly recharge our batteries. I love this crazy life but it doesn’t leave much time for me to do me! This concept of self care is SO important but it is the first thing overlooked and the last thing booked. Time is not something we will ever any extra of but we need to work something in daily that will allow us to refill our buckets and clear our heads, or I fear it may one day explode!
Making time for your interests when your life is jam packed with supporting other people’s interests is so hard. We often take a backseat to the rest of the family, especially when it comes to extracurricular stuff. But, how long can you keep up the charade if you cannot find some relief for yourself?
You have to let go of the guilt and prioritize yourself. This is hard but you and your family deserve you in your best state of mind, body and spirit. Rachel Hollis describes this as “discovering that the world will still turn” when you sit this one out. When you can take care of you, you will have more patience, creativity to solve problems, more energy and more joy. You will be better able to see the beauty in the chaos of your life and be able to enjoy the ride. You NEED this! So DO it!
Not sure where to start? Neither was I. The first thing that helped me was to re-frame the idea of self care in your head. You are not escaping your family to get time for yourself. You are taking time to rest and refresh so you can be more present and available for your family. You are not doing this to them but for them. Initially your children will try every trick in the book to sabotage your attempt to leave. Sometimes they are attached at your leg crying and begging you with the most pitiful looks and crocodile tears. Other times they may seem possessed by the devil himself and you think “how could i leave this for someone else to manage?”, You have to stay strong and go. This will get easier and they will get used to the idea of mom needing some mom time. It will become routine if you let it, heck make it!
To actually do this though, you need to decide what specifically to do for yourself. Start by identifying the things or times in your life that you felt so pumped and refreshed and ready to take on the world. What were you doing? Did you make or build something? Did you read something? Did you cook or bake something? Did you throw a party? Or meditate? Or meet with friends? or volunteer for helping those in need? Sit in silence. Walk the dog? Go running? Whatever it is, Do more of that REGULARLY!
For me, there are two things that fill me up and get me pumped. The first is that I LOVE ideas. I like discussing them, planning them, thinking about the biggest of big ideas and the smallest ones. When I took the Gallup Strengths Finders talent assessment, Ideation was in the top 5 of 32 possible strengths. This was not a surprise. I have always been inspired by what could be. The second thing that always provides a release for me is producing something creative; building, writing, painting, creating, etc. This blog is a perfect marriage of these two things. Plus, I get to share things I have learned with you and work to build up other women which sets an awesome example for my fierce 5 year old daughter.
Please note, that until a week ago, this blog was a pipe dream. I had no idea how or if I would ever actually do this. With no real idea of where to start, I did what every other Millennial does. I asked Google! (Yes, I am a millennial… barley… but I am.) I have been googling and testing, and publishing and testing again. I have been creating the social media accounts and sites that you will hopefully visit. I have been thinking of things I want to tell you and share with you and saving a bunch of drafts with all the stuff that is stuck in my head. I just decided to DO it and I did!
I didn’t have time to do this but somehow, since I have started this, I have made time. You are a priority for me. I am holing myself accountable to creating drafts of new content at least twice a week. Sarai and I have set up the social accounts on our phone so that we are connected with you guys. You all are our accountability partners. This new venture is hard but we will have so much to show for it. I am one week into this change but I already feel so empowered to keep doing this.
Commit to yourself. Or find an accountability partner to help you with this. Chances are you have at least one friend or family member who needs this change as much as you do. Doing it together not only increases your chance of being successful but it also provides some accountability to keep your promise to yourself and your partner. Since whatever you are doing should provide you enormous intrinsic value should enjoy this time and feel proud of the work you’re doing which will make you want to keep doing it.
So keep doing it. Do whatever this is for a month and you will be on your way to making this kind to self care and fulfillment a normal part of your life. You will be happier. If you find that you are not, go back to the Do it phase and keep exploring what is is that fills you up and make the necessary tweaks do find something that works in your life and with your family. Then set up your accountability to yourself so you can Own it. Repeat this until you can truly live the change and enjoy it not just live through it.
I am making it a habit to sit down and write at least a few times a week. This is giving me an incredible release. Getting this content out of my head and giving it a place to live is helping me in so many ways.
Once you are really living with your new self care routine and are enjoying it, you will find that you are less stressed and loving your life just a little bit more. If you don’t, you need to go back to the beginning and keep working on this until you do. You are responsible for your happiness and your happiness sets the stage for your whole fam. So prioritize yourself and make this a life you LOVE by taking care of yourself first.
As for me, I am definitely loving this change. Every time I throw some ideas down to share with you all reminds me that I am working on something I can be proud of. My daughter asks me about the work I am doing and why I am so excited about it and I get to explain to her how I hope to help other women when they feel like I did. There was a major intrinsic pay day recently even my daughter asked me if she could start a You-Tube Channel like JoJo Siwa so she can talk to all the little preschoolers about why they shouldn’t be afraid of kindergarten! She sees me working to build up other women and now wants to do the same for those coming behind her. What more could I ask for!?!