Managing Mom- Why Making Time for Self Matters
As a psychologist, I spend my days, and sometimes my nights, working with others, listening to fears and worries, helping people cope with grief and loss, and ultimately help people better care for themselves and their emotions despite their many life experiences. As a mom, I spend my days, and all of my nights (smile), helping to raise a toddler. Insert all of the many duties, tasks, and roles that come with that here. In both roles, psychologist and mom, I get tremendous fulfillment in caring for the delicate lives of others. I get excited in helping one build and overcome, then strengthen areas where they may feel weak. Likewise, in both roles, I sometimes get overwhelmed. Drained. Emotionally spent. I am sure there are many mothers who also perform double duties on a daily basis and can relate to the feelings I am describing. Add onto that, the task of being a good wife, friend, employee, daughter, sister, volunteer, classroom mother, caregiver, and/or any of the other countless roles moms identify with daily. Many mothers are left at the end of the day scrambling for the ability and time to take care of what is left: THEMSELVES.
What I’ve found is that there is definitely not a shortage of information on ways that women can be better and more efficient at this “mom thing”. How to multi-task, how to prepare amazing meals in minutes for a month of meals, how to remove stains as if holding a magician’s wand, or how to take a shower in just under 30 seconds. I still haven’t achieved that feat yet. There are groups for these things, classes, and weekend retreats that further indulge in teaching us how to mom better, faster, and more effortlessly. But what I found less of, was the “How To” on staying sane, how to effectively care for one’s self, and how to be appropriately selfish in a time one’s life where it is necessary to be selfless. Because after all, there is no “I” in MOM, right? Giving all of me makes me feel like a good mother, because that is what I saw my own mother do day in and day out. The sleepless nights, overscheduled days, demands, and sacrifices are considered badges of honor in the sorority that is motherhood. However, often times in the personal life of that mom, she is crying out for rejuvenation. More specifically, she may be crying out in silence.
So it is important to realize that self- care is a function that should be just as necessary and automatic as caring for our children, because at the point where we give all we have to give, there may be nothing left for just us. And eventually that will turn outwards, and there will be nothing left to give anyone else as well. Self-preservation can be a lost art at times when taking care of others takes precedence, but all is not lost! Learning to say no (and mean it), asking for the support of those you trust (and taking it when offered), reigniting a hobby, leaning on your spirituality, talking with a counselor, and accepting that the best you are doing right now is ENOUGH, are all ways to begin putting yourself as a priority again. And you don’t have to feel guilty about it, because mom, you matter! Trust me, your children, loved ones, world around you, and best of all, SELF will thank you for it!
Happy Mother’s Day to all of you ladies who may be mothers, by choice, in heart, or in spirit. Mentors, Role Models, Examples, Big Sisters, and all the other motherly roles many women can play each day without ever giving birth to a child! I celebrate your amazingness today!
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