It’s time to put myself first
Breeze in my hair.
The inspirational harmonies of Alexis Ffrench in my earbuds.
The sun playing hide and seek with my face.
How I wish this could be my daily routine. The fact is though: I’m a mom. It doesn’t get much less peaceful than that. I am the referee, the judge, the healer. I bring wisdom, food, love. I’m everything for them…and nothing for myself…if I let that be the case.
I remember when I had my first baby over six years ago. The feelings of being overwhelmed and on the verge of tears where common. I was out of my depth and completely unprepared. Despite the insistence from the world around me that I would become fully wrapped around motherhood and therefore die to self, I chose differently. I chose to put part of myself first.
The biggest piece of advice that I give new moms (but this applies to everyone): be selfish if being selfish makes you a better person. Is that counterintuitive?
I remember the days when I so badly just wanted a simple shower but my child never wanted to be put down. I remember wrestling with my desire to take care of myself and my desire to take care of her. However, what I decided was that in order for me to be a better mom, I had to come first.
I put my daughter in a bouncer next to the tub and I showered. Sometimes she screamed. Sometimes she was fine. Yet all I knew is that if I didn’t take that time to care for myself first I wouldn’t be the best mom I could be for the rest of the day. That simple philosophy is what I’ve adopted for my life as a mom.
…if I didn’t take care of my self first, I wouldn’t be the best mom I could be…
Fast forward to today and I still hold that idea dear. I always put the needs of my children first but if I know that me taking half an hour to exercise despite their insistence that I don’t will not kill them, harm them or ultimately ruin them, I will choose me. It’s not that I’m callous towards my children. I simply recognise that the me I need to be for them includes taking care of myself first.
I want my children to see me as an example of caring for myself, my family and others.
But how can I take care of others fully if this body and mind of mine is struggling? It’s simple: I can’t.
Maybe today you just need the permission to be a little bit selfish. Maybe you just need to hear from someone going through the same thing you are that letting the kids watch that half an hour of TV or letting the dishes stay dirty or letting dinner be a little bit late is okay if it means you can take that half an hour to take care of you. The world will not end. Your kids will not have their growth stunted. It does not make you a bad mom. It makes you a mom who wants the best for her family and knows that the best means making you feel at your best.