On Sunday it was Mothers Day. My social media feeds were flooded with lovely photos of mothers with their children and beautiful words of appreciation for the women in our lives.
What struck me though, was the occasional praise on how selfless mothers are, how they put others first and themselves last. Something about this sentiment saddened me. What kind of message are we sending to ourselves and others if we praise mothers on putting themselves last? Where is the self care that we should practise and teach our kids?
Don’t get me wrong. Of course I’m not talking about kindness and compassion, about caring for others and lovingly nurturing the people in our lives. These are all wonderful things. But I would argue that by congratulating the trait of putting yourself last, we continue to foster a culture of guilt around motherhood. Guilt if we don’t live up to these expectations. What if we dare to put ourselves first, if we dare to go back to work because we want to, if we dare to find it boring and isolating to be around our kids 24/7, if we dare to make sure that we are ok, before we take care of others.
Let’s make this the end of ‘putting yourself last’!
I think it’s time to re-consider how we see mothers and to give ourselves a break in the process.
I want to invite you to put yourself first!
It is vital, you deserve it, you need it and you will be a better mother for it.
If you are a working mum – you rock! You embody strength and love and are a role model to your children. If you are a stay at home mum I bow my head to you. I’m in your shoes, I know how hard it is. You equally embody strength and love and are a role model to your children. However we choose to spend our days, it should be guided by what is good for us and what makes us happy. Being true to yourself is essential to your own happiness and therefore who you are as a person and how you will be as a mother. Feeling guilty about anything and putting yourself last however, shouldn’t be part of this picture.
Why it’s important to nourish yourself first
We mustn’t forget that by nourishing ourselves first, we fill ourselves with love that we can then share with others. Let’s teach our children the importance of looking after ourselves. How being kind to ourselves gives us the ability to be kind and caring to others.
Self care is vital for everyone, but especially for mothers. It is all too easy to loose yourself in other people’s needs. It sneaks up on you, even if you don’t mean to. I was adamant that I will look after myself when I became a mother and only found out in the last two years how that is all very well in theory, but damn hard to practise!
Let’s find moments in our everyday lives that we use mindfully to nurture ourselves first. Without guilt. Without apologising for it. It needn’t be much if you feel you struggle enough with fitting everything else in. How the hell are you meant to find time to look after yourself properly in all this. I hear you. I’m right there with you. But it is possible! And the more we practise the better we get at it.
10 ways you can practise self care today
Be kind to yourself.
Here are 10 ways you can practise self care today. Mostly kitchen related :).
They only take a moment and cost next to nothing:
- Plate up your food with care. Make yourself feel like you are sitting in a cafe. Not every time, but as often as you can.
- Be mindful of what you eat and whether it nourishes your body.
- If you really want chocolate, have chocolate. No substitute, but also no guilt and no regrets.
- Take time out for your meal. Breathe. Eat slowly.
- Sign up to my Friday Capsule email newsletter, so you know some of your meal planning is taken care of. Three nourishing and easy to make recipes in your inbox every Friday for the week ahead and the newest blog post to read.
- Make a quick hand scrub out of 1 cup coarse sea salt, 1/2 cup of coconut oil and 4-5 drops of essential oil like lemon, grapefruit or bergamot. Keep it in a jar by the sink in the kitchen and allow yourself 1 minute of gentle hand exfoliation after doing the dishes.
- Make a cup of herbal tea. Choose calming herbs like camomile, peppermint or lemon balm or treat yourself to a good quality organic calming blend. (I love Pukka.)
- Take a walk outside. Breathe deeply. Stretch.
- Leave the leftovers and make yourself something else you really feel like. I definitely advocate to always use up your leftovers (try to anyway) and hate food waste. But that shouldn’t mean that you constantly eat what needs using up, while making beautiful meals for others. I fall into that trap all the time.
- Sit or lie down, close your eyes and listen to your body for a moment. Tune in. Everything starts with you and your needs. Find out what they are. Big and small. They are all worthy, because you are.
I’m sending you love, a hug and give you permission to put yourself first.