Self Care

Take a Break Mom

For a working mother of any kind, Mother’s Day is a day to be pampered, but also to reflect. Many mothers reflect on how fulfilling their lives have been with their families, the advancement of their careers, but some may be thinking about how little time they’ve had to themselves. Not have a distinguishable time to break away from the duties of being a mother can create a lot of stress and worse depression; unfortunately that is one of the leading causes of heart attacks and heart disease for women. When you become a mother it does not mean that you must relinquish everything that you are and that includes taking some time for yourself.

Ask for help 

One of my friends showed me this article from Scary Mommy, which I thought was a funny and accurate title for a motherhood blog. We talked about how taking time for yourself or asking for help became a ridiculous thought because we needed to be there for our child/children. Then when I read the quote below it summed up how we need to ask for help whether from a partner, relative, or friend, because no one can do this alone.

“Just handle it! You asked for this!” constantly rang in my ears, and I refused — and I mean straight-up refused — to ask for help. Help is for wimps!  Help is for…for moms who don’t love their kids and need those silly “breaks” from them all the time…And then I hit the mother of all mothering walls and collapsed in epic fashion. I was toast. Burnt [sic] toast. And burnt toast can’t raise children.”  (Scary Mommy)

Demand time for yourself. 

 “The more we fill ourselves up, the more we have to give. And as moms, we have to give a lot.” –Kristy S. Rodriguez, a pre- and postnatal wellness expert and advocate stated in a Parents.com article. . 

Loving yourself first is not selfish, especially when you are a mother.  When a woman becomes a mother the thought of putting anyone ahead of their child’s needs is completely out of the question. However if you are unable to distinguish the mother, wife/partner, friend, and individual parts of yourself, they will eventually collide and you will implode. Demanding space, quiet time, time to something you enjoy and more is not hard. Ask for it. Create times for you to be with yourself and enjoy that time. If anyone disrupts it, unless it is an emergency, remind them that they are being disrespectful and ask them to respect your time so that you can be a better person overall.

The important thing to remember is you are not a bad mother if you need some time for yourself. Create in yourself a place of peace that will radiate outward and demand balance within the household. It will take time and adjustment, but it is possible. Take break to show that you know how to love yourself.

Your children are watching. 

Give Yourself A Chance

I was reflecting today on a conversation with a young woman I was mentoring about building her business, I’ll call her Lynn. She was so focused on going through a “life reset” post a recent turbulent transition that she would not give herself a chance to grow as a person and a professional.  One day I said to her ‘You walk around with this chip on your shoulder saying you survived, but what does that mean for your business?’ Since our conversation Lynn has grown in her business and appreciated the process. However it made me think about how much we press the “dress for the job you want” mentality instead of enjoying the process. When my mentee was telling me about what she wanted to accomplish, the plan was rushed, not thought out and she wanted to be the best instead of one of the best, which would’ve allowed the flexibility for growth. Instead of cultivating knowledge learned from mentors, mistakes, and risks she wanted to work tirelessly for the glory now. Which she did. It wore her out and she did not achieve the goal she was seeking. At this point she had given up because she wasn’t making six figures by a certain age.

It was initially hard to understand why she was giving up. But then the realization hit me that she was not giving up, she was upset that she had to start over again. She had worked, stressed, and dressed for the job she wanted without enough substance behind her experience that would have propelled her into the roll she wanted. Lynn needed time to give herself a chance and not sulk about on her lack of desired accomplishments.  In one of my mentoring sessions I suggested that Lynn read The Alchemist. I love this book because it is a look at the wisdom behind taking a chance and going through a process for your “treasure”.  And just like the boy mentioned in the book, Lynn had many stopping points that forced her to grow mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and in skill to achieve her ultimate goal.

We get these ideas in our heads that we will be exceptional, and we respectively will. The distraction is in the anxiety of it not happening fast enough. When your mind is not lined up with how a process will work to achieve your goal, there will be missteps that force you to start over or reevaluate. This is not a bad thing, because we need to learn from mistakes.  However it can cause you to be disheartened on an emotional and spiritual level and that distraction in addition to the initial distraction of rushing, will derail you completely. Lynn had to, as the church folk may say, have a conversation with herself and say “Self! What do you want?”. When she finally had that conversation and chose what she wanted in general for her career,  for her wealth, and for her family all of the little steps that lead to bigger steps have been moving her forward in her business. She had to give herself a chance to get balanced so that she could walk the path to her desired glory.

Do not do yourself the disservice of not allowing the different components (mind, soul, and skill) of who you are to align with each other and lose your “treasure”.  Give yourself a chance to develop and be humble enough to know that you will make mistakes and learn from them. The process is long, it is rough, and your “components” will collide. Take care of each of them and watch how they will intertwine together to conspire in helping you to achieve what you want.  Lynn is still building and giving herself a chance to get it right, you can do it too.