''Show me the Love''
Love is the driving force of our lives. We wrap ourselves up in the warm glow we share with our loved ones, giving everything in our power to see them thrive.
And, through this ever-flowing exchange of loving and being loved, somehow, we mothers put our individual needs right at the bottom of the priority list. Most of the time it doesn't even make it onto the list! We settle for so little and satisfy our desires by living vicariously through the sunny smiles of our little charges.
But our baseline, what truly holds our self-esteem is, I believe, the love we show ourselves. Today, the pressure is really on for women to excel at everything.
We have to have careers, be a perfect mother, a dutiful partner and if we can whip up a gourmet meal on top of it all, we are then living the dream! An impossible dream that is bound to fail if we don’t put all of that aside and let our own needs take the driving seat for a change.
Of course a glass of wine or a feel-good DIY rub at the end of the day can really help take the edge off, but it doesn’t really fill us with a sense of well-being or self-worth. The daily niggles can seem like insurmountable battles when we don’t gift ourselves precious time, even if it’s just for an hour.
There is a reason when flying in an aeroplane, we are requested to put on our own oxygen masks first, before helping others. And as mothers, it is so easy for us to forget to even take a moment and breathe! The constant demands on our time can really drain us and leave us feeling like those deflated balloons that are left lying around the house after a birthday party.
We all probably started 2020 with some type of resolution, I for one wanted to drink more water every day and also to start meditating at night for about 10 mins. I drank so much water the first couple of weeks that I thought it best to just hang out in the bathroom instead of racing there every half hour; my pelvic floor muscles have certainly seen tighter days!
And my meditation?
Well that just ended up with me slumped over, cross-legged, with headphones askew and fast asleep mid-way through the fifth “Om”. The failure of new resolutions can also make us feel quite wretched and so it's easy to abandon them. So how do we work these things into our routine so it becomes a part of our daily activities.
There is a popular theory that it takes 21 days to form a new habit. What a lovely formula! Do something every day for 21 days and voila a new habit has been formed. Unfortunately, that is so far from reality. The '21 day' idea was put forth by Maxwell Maltz, a plastic surgeon in the 1950s. He was merely studying the effects of his surgeries on his patients and found it took his patients a minimum of 21 days for them to get accustomed to their new appearance. This idea was then expanded to include other aspects of life such as building a new habit. However, in people’s eagerness to find a simple and achievable method, they left out the key word “minimum” and embraced the more attractive proposition that it only takes 21 days to form a habit. And we all know that nothing could be further from the truth. Habit formation is a complex process that varies for each individual.
So, there we go, we are back to square one.
How do we remember to take care of ourselves?
Enjoy the journey
We have to remember to enjoy the process as much as the destination. Give ourselves credit for every little achievement and not berate ourselves for every little setback. When small children are involved, something always derails good intentions: sickness, weaning, toilet-training, the half-term breaks!
We have to somehow remember that we don't have to follow the all or nothing approach, which is most definitely doomed from the start.
Find supportive friends
It is also a great help to have a really supportive network of like-minded people to support us. We need friends that applaud our achievements, as well as help us back on the road when we lose our way. To get more insight, I decided to tap into the collective wisdom of our lovely More Than Mums community and get some perspective on how other women have taught themselves to carve out time on a regular basis.
Make the time
Leora Siretz mum of 4 boys says,“It's really not about having the time, it’s about making the time." There will always be dishes to do or another email to reply to, that stuff never goes away. We need to learn to hit that pause button and take that moment. The
chores will definitely seem less tedious if we have had some headspace. Take a long walk and listen to the birds, go to a class, or sit in in a cafe with some friends or alone with a book. It all counts, it makes a difference.
Love your routine
Social Media whizz and mother of two Joanna Michaels feels most alive when she is on a run. ''One of my main self-love activities is a regular run. I try to get out three times a week. Some runs are strong and invigorating, but not all of them. Regardless of performance, I never regret a run, they always make me feel better.
There is something about the rhythmic sound of my trainers hitting the ground that soothes. Being surrounded by nature, witnessing the beauty of early sunrises and the pleasure-pain of physical effort never fails to fill me with renewed energy and a sense of calm.''
Keep your cup full
Sabreena Evans, Director and mother of two young children, sums it up perfectly. "Self-love means understanding that my own needs are just as valid as other people's. Making sure to meet my own needs gives me the strength and insight to adequately meet the needs of my family, friends and acquaintances. Exercise gives me the opportunity to reflect and puts me in a positive frame of mind, giving me the energy to take care of myself."
Finding the time to take care of ourselves is probably the hardest thing to do as a mother. Doing something for ourselves needs to be something we commit to everyday. And when we do give ourselves importance we’ll find it's much easier to take the rough with the smooth and truly live that perfect dream.
Share your thoughts
What does self-love mean to you?
If you had an hour all to yourself everyday what would you do with that time?
Go ahead, leave a comment and inspire us all to truly feel the love.