Why Mothers needs more than self-care.
Self care is a topic being discussed now more than ever. Why? Because people are burning themselves out more than ever today. Almost every where you turn you hear about the importance of self-care and how it's beneficial to your life. This powerful two letter word can be tremendously helpful when implemented but why is it that so many people, mothers especially fail to do so? Yeah we know about taking long baths or getting mani and pedis to feel good but moms need more than just that. After a long day of work and/or parenting, every mom needs to restore her balance. So many moms are drowning in large amounts of stress, pressure and expectations.
You know what mother's need...they NEED support! Some Mother's are drowning because they lack real support systems. They lack family willing to help and/or partnerships that allow them adequate time to decompress from being a mom. A recharge if you will. For moms. most self-care is done as an after thought or not at all. Maybe if you're lucky you can steal a minute after you cook the kids dinner, after you get them in bed, after, after, after you do everything for everyone else. Now there's nothing wrong with implementing some "you" time when you can but mom's need more than an hour or so to unwind and to get back balanced.
When I was growing up I remember being dropped off at my grandmother's or other relatives house so my mom could take a nap, grocery shop or just get a break. Many grandparents today work full time jobs (like myself) and aren’t retired by the time they become grandparents. Depending on a mother's relationship with her parents, some grandparents don’t even want to help or offer their children a break from parenting. The saying "it takes a village to raise a child" is true and oftentimes our parents are our village and without them we may struggle or have to find other options on our own.
By all means self-care is needed especially after a long week, however mom's need support systems more than baths. Support systems allow for mothers to take a break without having to do everything for everyone else before she can care for herself. A village is needed so you can get a whole 24 hours off without worrying about the safety or well being of your child(ren). The mental load and emotional labor of parenting is something that has always been meant for more than one person (both mother and father). Mothers are not meant to be everything to everyone and doing so is killing us.
Here are some things we can do to start:
1. Build your village. Support networks used to be built into your life by way of cousins and siblings, grandparents and neighbors. Today, help may not be related to you by blood or proximity, but that shouldn’t stop you from building your family’s team with the mix of people that work for you. It could be the retiree down the block, a couple of sitters, the moms from your book club, and that high-schooler next door. Whoever they are, build them into a roster that’s flexible and evolving and covers all the times you need someone to be available.
2. Identify places where you could use a villager. Create a map of your family’s weekly needs. The point is not to see if you can make it all work—it’s to learn how to see the places where you can be open to seeking out and asking for help. It could be swim-lesson registrations, coordinating playdates, driving to soccer, or just finding guilt-free time for a workout. Map out all the places that you’re currently on tap but could easily have someone else trusted step in.
3. Commit to abundance. To truly escape the scarcity trap, we need to replenish ourselves. This means committing to even just two or three hours a week for yourself (and your spouse, if you have one), no matter how decadent it feels. Find a way to feel rested and complete. It’s only when we feel abundance that we can also reach out and help others. This is the ultimate goal.
I know for many moms it can feel like we’re operating in a time of scarcity: of time and support. But when we’re able to get parents feeling like they’re operating from a place of abundance, we return to the essence of raising strong, resilient children within thriving, connected communities. Here's to the supermoms that make it happen each and everyday no matter what! You are amazing and a great mom!