I was delighted to hear that there appears to be a “self-care” movement in the blogosphere. For years, I’ve been telling my readers and clients the importance of “making time for you” and preaching the old adage that “if you’re not good to yourself, you can’t be good to anyone else.”
Being a mom is the most challenging—and sometimes thankless (yes, I did just say that)—job around. But, on the other hand, it is the most rewarding, heartwarming, important and significant role I will EVER play in my entire life! My children mean the world to me! From the moment I wake up until bed time, their well being is my primary concern.
However, after you’ve been a mom for a few years, you begin to realize that if you’re only focusing on your children (or other people) that it takes an enormous toll on your physical and mental state. The constant attention needed for a newborn, toddler and preschooler is enough to send a sleep deprived mother into a dreaded depression IF there isn’t time taken for self care. But rarely does a mom with a small child or children have time to even stop and think about that aspect of her life.
I remember when my children were about 3 and 5 and I became terribly sick. I was in bed with a fever, throwing up and major lethargy for almost 5 days. Why I never went to the doctors, I don’t remember and why my husband didn’t take me, well we’re divorced now…need I say more. Anyway, during that week, I remember having thoughts that I was actually dying. I was certain, in fact, that I wasn’t going to make it and I was too weak to even speak or let anyone know. Looking back on the experience, I think my body shut down in a response to be overworked in my role as a mom and wife. It was pretty terrifying though, to say the least.
Shortly after that experience, I began to realize that whatever emotional needs weren’t being met—by my own hand or at someone else’s—needed to finally be addressed. Self-care was a HUGE part of this. I began carving out some time for myself, asking for help where I needed it, and getting out of the house (without children) and spending time with gfs who fed my soul with their non-judgmental emotional generosity.
While I was married, I kept myself extremely busy. I know now that it was because I couldn’t dare look at the unhappiness or address the failing marriage, so I continually found new projects to keep me distracted. I’m telling you this because whether it’s a failing relationship or just a plain lack of self-care, it’s critical to slow down and assess you and your surroundings to make sure you are in fact taking care of you in a way that is positively affecting your family. Remember, if mama’s not happy, ain’t nobody happy! Good or bad, stop and assess and ALWAYS make time for you!