Updated: Oct 1, 2021
There is no one way to define motherhood. It is a journey and a lifestyle that is unique to all of us. However, the consensus is that motherhood can be unpredictable and difficult for various reasons. As mothers, the love we have for our children often takes precedence over everything, including ourselves. We sometimes lose sight of the fact that to efficiently nurture our children we must also nurture ourselves.
Before motherhood and marriage, I’d come across this advice often. I would acknowledge it and put it in my back pocket without fully understanding what it meant. After having kids I would occasionally make it a priority to schedule some time for self-care and pampering. “Nails done, hair done, everything did”, then back to my regular scheduled programming. It took me years to get to a point where I realized this wasn’t enough. Taking care of yourself goes much deeper than the surface level.
I would return from my self-care sessions to stagnant dreams, ideas, and desires. I would return to complete selflessness, prioritizing everything and everyone over myself. I would return to a job that had become morally unsatisfying and emotionally unfulfilling to me. I convinced myself to stay out of feelings of comfort and stability. While stability is a high priority for most of us with children; what I failed to realize was how much of a disservice I was doing to my children by staying in an environment that I knew I had outgrown. All of these factors began to affect me in different ways. I found myself becoming more and more emotionally and physically drained, and that impacted how I catered to my children. I found myself at times pushing through and forcing the energy that I desired to give to them naturally. This became my pattern until I realized that no matter how much I tried to hold it together, my daughter saw through my façade. It grew to a point where she would actively tell me “mommy, you have to take care of yourself”. I realized that if I wanted to honor her request honestly, I would need to do deep inner work and find ways to truly connect with who I am, the things I love, and who I strive to be.
Over the course of the year, I have been diligently working on ways to nurture and cater to my needs and desires, without relying on outside factors to do so for me. I realized that finding ways to sincerely tend to my needs is where true stability lies. Appropriately taking care of myself provides me with the balance and peace of mind that I need to raise healthy children. I observed that when you’re fully in tune with who you are, it brings you a sense of peace and confidence that will carry you to exactly where you are meant to be. It is that sense of peace that allows me to not just verbalize my love and presence to my children but to actively show it. It is that peace, that allows me to lead by example in showing them what it looks like to truly love and care for themselves.
Self-care has gradually taken on a new meaning to me. I’m defining self-care as a means to do some deep soul searching. It means finding ways to connect with and nurture the different parts of you. Finding ways to be kind to yourself and forgiving yourself for mistakes you made in the past. Carving out quality time to be present with every single person you love. Exploring ways to connect with the “Inner Child” in you. Giving yourself the invitation to fall in love again with all the things you use to do. I’ve learned that motherhood simply adds on to your identity, it doesn’t negate it nor does it mean you should no longer live your life. Your individuality, your health, and your happiness are just as important as your little ones. In many ways, you prioritizing your own self will in turn benefit them significantly.