Is it the day you feel loved, appreciated and you get to be with your family who you love and adore?
It is the day you get made breakfast in bed or treated to lunch?
Is it the day when you can put your feet up and actually drink that cup of tea?
Whatever it is that you love about it, is a sign that you need MORE of that in your everyday life.
This then got me thinking: “Does that mean the rest of the time you feel resentful, put upon + totally exhausted?”
I hope not. Whilst I was bobbing around the flotation tank at Nirvana Spa a few weeks ago, I thought about writing a blog which would make Mums sit up and make their self care a priority. I thought about calling it something like ‘Bring the Spa home or Stay in your Zen Zone.’ Every time I mention self care or Mummy Time (we do this over in Chatty Club every week), Mummies everywhere grimace, feel guilty and then dash off because they are just too busy to even think about that. I even took to my blog last week to dress it up like this: How to Speedily Return Family Life to Balance + Manage Everyday Stress
Can I just bust the myths of self care for those of you who are thinking:
“Yes Smiley you don’t have children so you can pop off to the Spa whenever you want!”
Well you’d be wrong, I can’t do that because firstly I have clients that I am responsible to, I run a successful business and I am really really rubbish at putting myself first. So this is really what the problem is lovely reader and every excuse – too poor, too busy, too many emails, too many children, too whatever, are all excuses which we tell ourselves because we don’t value who we are and we don’t value time alone.
Treat yourself as you would treat your best friend or a small child
It’s not only about pampering although that’s part of it but it’s about treating yourself as you would somebody you love: your best friend, a small child. Part of doing that is:
- having healthy boundaries
- having respect for yourself
- being self aware (knowing who you are and understanding your past maybe part of that)
- the way you speak to yourself
- nourishing your body
- forgiving yourself of your mistakes and having compassion that you are an imperfectly perfect human being
- being kind to yourself
- making sure you get your needs met
- having a voice and knowing you matter
- honouring your feelings
- saying no and feeling comfortable making decisions which put you first sometimes
At what cost are you going to continue down this road?
I’m not taking this subject lightly because if you are too busy to care about yourself or you are not prioritising yourself, then at what cost is that to you and to your child?
Do you think other people are going to take care of you? I wish that were true but no. It’s down to you and the way you treat yourself shows other people how they can treat you too.
Do we think we have to suffer for our children and for our families?
This is a sign that you are feeling unappreciated and you are not getting your needs met.
How hard is it for you to ask for what you want? Do you appreciate yourself?
Martyrdom comes from struggle and pain. Your children were not made from that and nor can they fill up your cup for you. So I’m being Mrs Tough Love now when I say that it’s your responsibility firstly to yourself to make sure that you are making a choice not to struggle every day but to choose you! You deserve it. You are worthy of appreciation, love, recognition. You truly are. Make a choice which serves you and please don’t hurt yourself anymore.
So here are my 10 ways you can bring a little bit of Mother’s Day into your life everyday. It starts with
Whether that’s putting it in the diary or saying out loud in front of a mirror or texting it to a friend who can make you accountable. It won’t happen if you add it to the to do list. It will always fall to the bottom of the list. You are not a ‘to do’. You are a wonderful person who deserves all the great things life has to give you. Besides, you will always find something else to fill your time or somebody else’s drama or problems to get wrapped up in. People who focus more outside of themselves really struggle to go within and stay there. Go on say it out loud now: ‘I choose to take care of myself because I want to and I matter.’
2. Change the way you see self care
Self care is not self indulgent, guilt inducing fun and frolics. It’s mandatory because if you neglect yourself, you are going to be one ratty Mama and that’s not going to feel very nice for you or your family. Can you see it like taking vitamins for your soul? Without taking care of yourself a part of you is dying inside, undernourished and sad. What judgements do you make in your mind about Mums who go to the gym or go away on holiday without their kids or get a weekly manicure or Mums who work / don’t work or whatever stories you are running around the Mums who are doing it wrong! Is there a right way to do it? Is there more than one way to be a ‘good enough’ Mum?
3. Appreciate yourself
When was the last time you looked back and realised how far you’ve come as a woman, as Mum (if you want to), as you? If you don’t appreciate all that you are and all that you do, nobody else will and if you expect them to, you are giving your power away. Ways that we appreciate and value ourselves are reflected in lots of different areas of life – our cluttered wardrobes, our old grey knickers, our hairy legs (oops sorry is that just me?), our overdue smear test, our missed yoga class, our emotionally hungry soul which is on the brink of exhaustion are all ways which show we are neglecting ourselves.
Practise daily gratitude as a way of improving your view of life. There’s a million and one reasons to be peeed off or offended but there are a million more to be glad and grateful for. Have a go at my fun Gratitude Challenge with your kids or find out How Gratitude is a Super Power as a Mum.
5. Create healthy rituals
These are givens for some of us but for others we forget to eat when we are hungry, sleep when we are tired, drink when we are thirsty, say no when we don’t want to. This is because we are too busy rushing and we are not in our bodies listening to what they are telling us. We are up in our heads worrying, thinking, planning, stressing or regretting. My blog post Smiley’s Top Tips for Creating Healthy Habits in 2017 will help you with that.
6. Look at what you are responsible for
If you find yourself saying no or doing things for people (big or small) that they could be doing for themselves, you are avoiding spending time with yourself. You are not responsible for everything and if you struggle to trust others to do it in the right way (yep that’s me total control freak) or you think you have to be all things to all people or you are avoiding spending time with yourself because actually you wouldn’t be able to sit still with all that ‘stuff’ that’s whirring around in your head. Be honest about what is keeping you from being with you. If you are not connected to you, you will not be emotionally connected or available to your child.
How good are you at admitting you are wrong or making mistakes? As a parent this is a given as children are unpredictable and we are learning on the job.
Can you cut yourself some slack and have compassion for yourself? You are doing your best and that is good enough. What’s more it’s so important that you role model making mistakes and self forgiveness to your children otherwise they will be hard on themselves too. Be your own best friend and be kind. The kinder you are to yourself the less judgemental and kinder you will be to others.
8. Talk to yourself nicely
What does your inner voice say to you on a daily basis? Does it shout or is it soft and gentle? Does it shame and punish you or is it kind and accepting? Does it fill you with fear and worry or does it praise you for your efforts? Lots of us have a Mean Girl in our heads who literally bully us into feeling guilty, ashamed, not good enough or inadequate. Start noticing what your inner critic is saying and write it down. Bring that voice into your awareness so you can retrain it to be kinder and more compassionate (see previous point).
9. Take a breath
For clients that are rushing, I suggest they set the timer on their phone to go off every hour so they can get in their bodies, take a breath and check in with themselves. This helps us to feel instead of think. I also prescribe morning Silence for the Mums I work with (as well as weekly gratitude and self care) because I know that breathing from our tummy reduces stress, helps us to feel connected to ourselves and releases happiness and love hormones into our brain. If you practice mindfulness daily, you are paving the way for your children to follow suit and that is going to really help them manage their stress levels.
It doesn’t have to be expensive but think about what you loved doing as a kid and do more of that. Maybe every quarter you want to make a date in the diary for a manicure or a massage or a day with your friends. Maybe every week you want to have a soak in the bath, or go somewhere on your own for 30 minutes without the kids in tow. It’s good for them too to do stuff without you. They learn to enjoy their own company and understand what makes them tick.
Why wouldn’t you want to treat yourself to all the nice things life has to offer? You deserve the best.
You can start celebrating your role as a Mum or to be acknowledged for you who you are right now!
- It starts with you having a willingness to doing so
- Make a commitment to yourself and honour it
If you can’t do it for yourself, remember you are role modelling self care and self love to your kids, so do it for them. Although I’d much rather you did it for you because you realised what a good, kind, loving person you truly are.
If you need help re-writing your job description as a Mum, then you may want to have a look at my ‘Be The Mum YOU Want to Be’ mini training course which you can do with a cuppa from the comfort of your own home.
Happy Mother’s Day! I hope you have a fab time.