Updated: Apr 4
As moms we are notorious for putting ourselves last. Perhaps it's hardwired in us, or perhaps it's because we have been socialized as people pleasers.
But if you are a mama putting herself last, I can assure you it's not serving you.
More than likely, we are not showing up for our kids and families the way we would want to when we are putting ourselves and our needs last time after time.
Let me give you a little example...
Let's say I am cooking dinner and my little one is fussing, demanding to hold the butcher knife in my hand, or put the sponge in her mouth in a seemingly endless effort to thwart my ability to prepare a meal for her and the rest of the family.
How I handle this scenario truly depends on how well I am caring for myself.
Here are some reasons why I might just lose my s*$#@ and yell at my little girl:
1. I spent the night before up all night with the baby
2. I spent the day beating myself mentally with thoughts like "you're not good enough,"
3. I haven't allowed time for wellness or exercise activities
4. I haven't budgeted time for work commitments
5. I haven't sought out the care I need and am dealing with pain, pee leaks, or vaginal heaviness throughout the day.
Listen, I don't even need all five of these the snap, just one or two will do!
What happens when I do end up yelling at my toddler? Well, she gets scared a cries. I then I feel even worse and I blame myself for being a horrible parent on top of everything else.
Thankfully this doesn't happen often, but listen, it does happen. Now that I'm a little better at offering myself compassion, I can catch myself before things get worse.
This parenting stuff is hard. We're all doing our best.
We can't always have sleep-filled nights and sometimes we are not able to get in the things we really wanted to do during the day. We can offer ourselves understanding.
In a moment of self-compassion, I ACKNOWLEDGE all that I have been attempting to accomplish while my brain has been repeating "not enough, not enough, not enough!"
I would never ask my daughter to raise a kid and build a business, and then follow her around reminding her how she's not good enough at every turn.
That's like...absurd and evil.
Yet I do that to myself all the time! My hunch is if you're reading this, so do you.
So how do we do this compassion thing?
The healing word is acknowledgement. We first need to acknowledge what we are experiencing, and offer ourselves love and compassion for why we lashed out at our loved ones.
I was feeling overwhelmed and under-appreciated. I was berating myself for not meeting my impossible standards. I was not acknowledging my hard work or thanking myself for just showing up to cook dinner for my family.
When we are supporting ourselves from a place of love and compassion, we often find the extra energy and patience to dig deep and find an alternative activity for our little toddler while we cook dinner, or even engage her in each step of the process.
So how do we offer ourselves love and compassion?
It takes work and consistent effort. We have to be intentional. It's not enough to just think "oh, I should be nicer to myself," because this is usually followed up with "great, another thing I'm doing wrong!"
One way I practice is by writing down 5 reasons why I am grateful for myself and acknowledge my accomplishments every single day.
When our brains have a certain habit of finding the worst in ourselves and our situations, it takes intentional practice to shed light on the reasons why we are not so bad and make a case for why we are actually amazing.
Because that is the truth. You are a mom. You are the foundation of your family. Your little ones love you and turn to you for guidance and support. You are a leader in your environment, and we are the best parents when we lead by example.
You are WAY TOO IMPORTANT TO IGNORE. Your needs are paramount. You are the torch that guides the way for your family.
So it's time for you to take care of yourself. Change that self talk mama.
And don't forget to book your pelvic floor physical therapy appointment TODAY! Because seriously, self-compassion!