Tips for Self-Care, and what it takes to make Mom happy
By Nina Sidell
Becoming a parent summons you to take on a variety of roles and responsibilities outside of life as you know it- including your existing obligations. Delving into new unchartered territory comes with the job description- and continues throughout time, when you are a mother. From the beginning of your time together, until the end of your time together, as a parent you are stretched beyond singular, self-focused responsibilities, attend to the variety of needs of your child, and everyone else in your world. You become an adept juggler when you are a mother managing your world. So, when the “balancing act” of juggling stops, who takes care of you?
Being a parent is the biggest job you will ever have. As a mom, you need to appraise your feelings, thoughts, beliefs, body, relationship status and requirements, how to juggle your work or career, care for multiple children, and other relationships. In addition to caring for the needs of your family, it is up to you to care for yourself. Self-care is important for your parenting skills, mental, emotional, and overall health. This practice sets a wonderful example for your child or children who are watching you as they grow up and learn how to take care of themselves. “Since you are the key model for your child, model self-love and reinforce what you value and make important with consistency”. (Parenting for Life, Nina Sidell, 2015) It is with this conscious parenting perspective, that everyone in the family is permitted to grow into the best versions of themselves as they can- with the love and values you hold dear guiding the way. For some, new values must be integrated into the parent’s perspective to strengthen and heal the family system.
It has been said, “When mom is happy, everyone is happy.” So what does it take for you to feel happy, (and in this case healthy) while in the throes of parenting? Take a few quiet moments and evaluate the level of care you give to yourself. Even with greater responsibilities, you always have the right and responsibility to take good care of yourself. You deserve this for yourself and your consistent priority of self-care helps fortify your efforts in caring for those you love.
Here is a list compiled for you to assess where you are in these various categories:
- Do you feel overall satisfaction or dissatisfaction with your life most days?
- Are you focused on gratitude, love, and joy or do you feel dissatisfied, irritable, and unhappy?
- Do you get caught up in the struggles and challenges of the moment, or see the bigger picture and “go with the flow”. Are you more problem-oriented or solution-oriented?
- Do you employ regular healthy outlets to de-stress and take care of yourself?
- Are you comfortable with and do you make childcare provisions that support time for yourself or do you not provide childcare or feel guilty and stressed when you do?
- What activities or practices do you consistently engage in that fulfil, calm, soften and strengthen you?
- Who or what do you make responsible for your happiness?
- Do you feel guilty or deserving to commit to regular self-care practices?
- How do you handle your mistakes? Can you authentically apologize, forgive, learn new skills, and be growth-focused, or do you berate yourself, stay stuck, and repeat the negative pattern?
- What are your “Go to” patterns when you feel stressed, depleted, overwhelmed, or short-fused?
- How often do you feel and project loving, calm, reasonable, and firm parenting?
- Is there a good support network around you, including professional support if need be?
- Do you make time to socialize with friends, peers, or colleagues?
- How often do you find yourself laughing? How often do you cry or allow yourself to cry?
- Does your behavior and the feedback of family and friends signal that you are doing well or that you need to make some positive changes?
- Do you see and hear your child or children about your impact on them- whether mostly positive or negative?
- Do you see and hear your child or children about what makes them happy?
- Are you supportive and collaborative as a conscious parent or do you need new skills?
- What is your attitude and belief system about happiness and if you deserve it?
- Can you observe your internal dialogue, or “Self-talk” to catch and re-direct negative thought patterns?
- What are the important elements for you to create a happy internal and external environment?
- Is exercise, meditation, nature, good food, adequate sleep, and love a part of your life?
Your answers to these questions determine the areas you need to pay attention to and take positive action to address. While investing yourself in the holistic and multi-faceted job of parenting, your basic needs matter too. You are the mama protecting and guiding your little one(s) to eventually stand up tall and fly. When you are in a good place within yourself along the way, you set the groundwork for each of you to discover your own personal metamorphosis in unique and miraculous ways. Self-awareness and self-love garner unexpected and beautiful rewards; gifts you deserve to give to yourself, that trickles out to the hearts and lives of your dear beloved ones. Enjoy your lifelong parenting journey and you take good care of all of you.
Live Inspired! ® Nina Sidell, M.A. Therapist, Life Coach, and Speaker. Mom’s Choice Award-Winning and Deepak Chopra endorsed author of, Parenting for Life www.LiveInspiredwithNina.com