We easily spend money on our kids, donâ€™t we? Lessons, sports, clothes, treats. And we make sure theyÂ get lots of down-time and exciting opportunities to grown and learn. But us, not so much. Iâ€™ve still gotÂ old hoodies from 15 years ago. And I feel guilty sometimes when I want to go out with friends. Whatâ€™sÂ up with that, right? I know some dads feel the guilt too, but this oneâ€™s for you, momma. We could delveÂ into gender roles and societyâ€™s expectation of womenâ€™s self-sacrifice, yada yada, but my fabulous editorÂ will cut me off well before I could do that topic justice.
So letâ€™s get right to remedies.
Is it selfish to take care of ourselves? No! Letâ€™s release that notion. The Educarer approach to childcareÂ states that, â€œIf we want to learn to be kind, patient, and compassionate with children, we need to first beÂ kind, patient, and compassionate with ourselves.â€ We all know what it feels like and how the familyÂ dynamic changes when we do not make our own needs a priority. Who has never been a bit short withÂ their child when overtired, for example? So if we cannot care well for others when we are overwhelmedÂ and depleted, letâ€™s change our approach. When we feel good, rested and happy, we are more fun,Â empathetic and calm. And whatâ€™s the best way to help our children learn? Through play, compassionÂ and having a cool and level head. See the connection?
Next step: Get help. Help with chores. Help with shifting your mood. Help understanding your needs andÂ lack of self-care. Remember that phrase, â€œIt takes a village to raise a child?â€ Itâ€™s true. Is no one steppingÂ up to help? You may just need to ask. If that doesnâ€™t work, invest a little time teaching your family theÂ skills they need and what you need to be at your best. Let them know the benefits to them. PersuasionÂ 101. Tip for the perfectionists: Decide if you want it done â€œwell enoughâ€ or do you want it to stay onÂ your to-do list? Repeat after me, â€œItâ€™s good enough,â€ and move on.
Take time for yourself. A no-brainer to say, but critical to create this habit. It is so exhausting, especiallyÂ in the early years when babies are awake all night and nurse all day and the toddler keeps havingÂ meltdowns, and our partner is away for work. Sometimes we need to get a little creative to carve out aÂ few moments to recharge. But make it a regularly-scheduled program. Yes, a weekend away with theÂ girls would do wonders, but if that isnâ€™t in the cards for you right now, grab as many of the littleÂ moments as you can. Donâ€™t wait until you lock yourself in the bathroom, crying, to escape theÂ unrelenting little groping hands. Teach everyone what you need. Teach them how to help you. ScheduleÂ it in and stick to your guns.
Here are some simple ways to start. Create the habit, even if it is only 5-minutes a day: sleep as much asÂ you can, meditate, keep a stash of (organic, fair-trade, free-rangeâ€¦) chocolate in a safe place thatâ€™s easyÂ to get to, find a support group, pump a few ounces for hubs and go have â€œteaâ€ with a friend, join or startÂ a babysitting co-op, listen to empowering podcasts while you breastfeed for the 68th time in one night,Â hire a mommyâ€™s helper from middle school to come by for an hour after school every day, go to bedÂ when the kids do a few times each week, get up 30 minutes (or even just 10!) before the family to justÂ breathe, do a few affirmations, stretch or walk. Use whatever works for you, find ways to recharge yourÂ batteries and you will feel more patience, more energy and joy. Howâ€™s that for a healthy family? HappyÂ Motherâ€™s Day, momma. Youâ€™ve got this.