Moms: It's OK to Make Yourself a Priority
because there are a lot of days where if we don't make ourselves a priority, no one will
I think it's safe to say that, as a mother, we've all been there. We have started a day off on the wrong foot and then the whole thing crumbled apart from there. No breaks, no relief in sight, and not a single moment to yourself. Then as soon as the children are asleep and you think you might have a moment to do something just for you, you fall asleep. Or maybe, if you're like me, instead of sleeping you clean your kitchen because it's the next thing on the list that needs to be done.
Not only did I find myself in this position more than I'd like to admit, I suffered from post partum depression that made everything harder to do. I had negative thoughts about everything that needed to be done and couldn't find the willpower to want to do anything. I would clean because I had to, not because I saw the value in a clean house. I gave my two daughters a well balanced lunch with fruit, veggies and a main course of some kind of protein. They would smile and laugh and enjoy what they ate and I would go sulk with a cup of coffee like they were doing something offensive.
Now please take those stories with a grain of salt because the mind does weird things when it's in withdrawal from all those yummy hormones of pregnancy. I wasn't myself at that time, and that was hurting my family.
I am also very lucky in the sense that I have a husband who recognized I was going through something and that he couldn't fix this problem with an easy solution. He knew it would take time, and he also knew that if he provided me with that time every day then I would come back to my family eventually.
And I did.
It started out as just a thirty minute period a night where I was told to go relax. No cleaning, no bill paying, nothing that would cause stress; just time to do something nice for me. My thirty minutes when my husband got home eventually turned into waking up an hour before my children did for some me time. Then I added on an hour after my kids went to bed. I also found an opportunity while both my girls would take an afternoon nap.
It was in these small moments scatter through the day that I remembered something; I am a person too, and so much more used to define me besides the word "mother." I am proud to add that word to the list of things I use to describe myself but it took time to remember that's not the only word I use.
I am a writer, so that was something I turned to. I would use that break mid day to light a candle and write something down whether it was working on my book or just getting some feelings out of my head and onto a paper. I also made sure I was multi tasking while I was writing so the laundry would be running or my rumba would be cleaning the floor.
Those thirty minutes my husband gave me after dinner were put to good use in my bathroom. Sometimes it was just a nice long shower, other times it was a bath, and every time I made sure to use my facial cleanser and scrub my feet. It wasn't about the need to clean my face or scrub my feet, it was about taking the time to do something that was only for me.
Looking back at those times though, the early morning and the late night were my favorite moments. Before getting married, my husband and I would play video games together. When our kids were asleep, I tried to take that hour to play a game with my husband before I was simply too tired to do anything else. In the early morning, I would pour myself a coffee with some music on and read a book. I needed the peace and quite before Blippi was yelling at me on the TV for the rest of the day.
Don't feel guilt about walking away to do something just for you, you earned that time! Even full time employees are granted a few breaks during the day. Don't be afraid to ask someone to take your kids for a little while so you can drive by yourself to Starbucks, or so you can go in the bedroom and tap a nap. Remember the dishes will be there after you paint your nails, or put on some trashy TV show while you wash them.
You were an amazing person before you had kids full of interesting traits and unique desires. Now you are that same amazing person with kids, still full of interesting traits and desires. Don't loose that, don't let it go.
Need an idea of something to do? When my mind was sad, I couldn't even think of the things I liked to do. Use this little list to find put yourself first for a few minutes today!
1. Read a chapter from that book you've been putting off
2. Lay down in the quiet without your phone. Trust me, it's good for you.
3. Turn on a song you love and dance.
4. Take a bath, not a shower. Use a bath bomb if you've got one!
5. Craft something. I prefer knit and crochet personally
6. Play a game. Video game, phone game, card game, etc.
7. Watch one episode of something you love
8. Make your favorite drink. Coffee, Tea, Wine, Whatever you like.
9. Give a self massage. Putting lotion on your shoulder or feet and massage the muscles
10. Go for a walk around the block. If you have a dog, take that four legged creature with you.